Sheesh, I have now seen sooooo many rants on the internet about photographers giving up because they find it too tough to cut it as a wedding photographer or they are sick of competing with the newbies. So here is my two pennies worth…. first up a little history, I started working as a music industry photographer in the early 1990s and then from 2000 the majority of my work has been in weddings. I am still as thrilled to earn my living in this way as I ever was, still as excited about each and every job, from the simple engagement shoot I did in the sunshine on Brighton Beach last night, to the look book that I shot for a collaboration between Rock n Roll Bride and Crown & Glory that was launched this week. I will NEVER tire of taking photographs or being in such a privileged position that people trust me to record their memories on one of the most important days of their lives. I will always be on a quest to take THE perfect photograph that sums up a wedding day.
So how have I managed to maintain that enthusiasm and longevity, especially at a time when the industry has become rather over-saturated? Well as I used to work in the music industry, let’s look there…. who are the artists that have lasted, that are still creative and obviously loving what they do? To me, the one person that immediately springs to mind is Madonna. When I was a teenager, I loved Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, I loved how they looked, the music and their style. Over the years Madonna has constantly evolved, reinvented herself and embraced new music styles, then collaborated with new artists. She has built an empire around herself and said “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” Cyndi hasn’t maintained the same level of success or acclaim and hasn’t really changed in all this time. I’d much rather take Madonna’s attitude.
Over the years, the heart of what I photograph is always the narrative. My style and how the images look has evolved and changed direction depending on how I am shooting, what I am shooting and what my current obsessions are. This is one of the reasons why I am still passionate about all that I do. Not everything works but I believe in being your own fan club. I will shout about the good stuff and gloss over the stuff that doesn’t work so well but at least I’m taking a few risks. I also adore working with new photographers. I find their energy is infectious and I love seeing the industry through their eyes.
There is no denying times are tough for a lot of photographers. There are a lot of low price options for couples but I also speak to many who value photography even more in this age of social media and affordable digital photography. They appreciate the skill and craft involved and how easy it is to get it wrong. My clients fall into two basic groups… those for whom my fee is a drop in the ocean of their substantial budget and those who push themselves to afford the photography and will cut corners elsewhere to ensure that they have a great record of the whole day. I love working with either but at times those who have put the higher percentage of their budget to the photography can be incredibly rewarding to work with. They make time for the photography on the day and are excited about the whole process. I have been incredibly lucky to work with some amazing clients this year and am pushing myself on the areas I felt I was weakest on. I am working on some amazing projects with Photography Farm and can’t wait to share something rather special soon that has been almost a year in the making.
So if you feel you haven’t the heart for it and want to give up, then fair enough. But just get on with it, I don’t really need to read your whinge about what everyone else is doing… If life gives me lemons, I get busy whipping up a kick ass lemonade… I don’t squeeze the juice in my eyes and then cry to everyone.
All images were shot behind the scenes at the Rock n Roll Bride/Crown & Glory Shoot by Alexa Loy, a Newbie, a Farmer and an all round inspirational woman with a camera.