“Hey, Let’s try this!”

March 30, 2009

I don’t typically write blog posts like this, but I just can’t keep it to myself.

I happened to be in a local camera shop last Friday looking for a camera part.  It was taking me a while to find what I was looking for and there were several other people being helped so I walked around a bit.  One of the customers was a lady who brought her camera in to have the sales person help her with the settings.  She explained that she had a photo shoot the next day and it was going to be in a dark place.  So I’m thinking OK, her kid is having a birthday party or something and she wants good snap shots, that’s cool.  Then she said the thing that made my blood go cold.  She said:  “The place is dark and the ceilings are high, and I’m sure I’ll have to get really close to the bride and groom during the ceremony so that they show up.”

Say what?  Can she be serious?  Is this for real?  As the sales guy explains what color settings she should use for good skin tones and that she could just point her flash and that “should be fine” (his words), I’m over there freaking out on the inside.  Knowing full well that this lady was going to leave her house the next day and go screw up someone’s wedding photos.

I kind of had to leave at that point.  I felt weird, like I was an accessory or witness to something bad that was about to go down.  Most of all though, I was completely offended that this person had such a casual attitude about the major event that she had been hired to photograph.  I felt bad for the bride and groom for about a minute until I realized that they hired her for some reason.  Maybe it was a good deal, maybe she’s a friend, maybe their standards are low, whatever the case, I’m sure they got what they paid for.

Then a few other things ran through my head that got me even more annoyed.

First of all, weddings don’t just come up all of the sudden.  No one calls you on a Thursday and says “hey our wedding is Saturday are you available?”  This person probably had months to work out her technical issues, shoot tests under similar lighting conditions and get it right, but she chose to think about it the day before the shoot.

Second, why would you go to the place that sold you the camera to get photography lessons?  Nothing against the sales people, they are cool people, but while they might know a fair amount about the equipment itself, they don’t shoot weddings for a living and can’t really speak to that experience.

Third, I know what we do is not rocket science, but it does take hard work, dedication and several years of experience before you’re even kind of good at it.  This mentality I see of getting a fancy camera, a template web site and being a wedding photographer in three easy steps is bringing me down.  We don’t compete with those people, so I’m not worried about that, but it’s sad to see the profession that you’ve poured your entire adult life into cheapened like that.

Fourth, can I even list a fourth? After three points it kind of seems like maybe there really is no point and that I’m just rambling.  So what’s the point of me ranting like this?  Well, it makes me feel a little better, and hopefully you are wiser than you were a few paragraphs ago, and if you are looking for a wedding photographer please interview the crap out of them to be sure they are competent before putting your wedding day in their hands.

8 Responses to ““Hey, Let’s try this!””

  1. You can’t be more right. Sometimes I think why don’t they just do like all of us? Start from the begining, shooting weddings with “mentors”, observe, look, learn. And after that start actually selling wedding photography. Here in my country (Brazil) I believe it’s even more common, people want the cheaper service possible and then they get those “great” pictures.

    For sure I’ll write about that on my blog too, I was even twitting about that and then read your post today.

    Keep up with the good work!

  2. Season Moore said

    😀 Great post!

  3. Ed Kawczynski said

    Hey, everyone has to start some place….just kidding, April Fool!(c: Could it be that you just misunderstood “a photo shoot” for “I just got this camera and I’m going to a wedding tomorrow”? Just a thought.

  4. Bronwyn Duffield said

    After reading this I genuinely felt sorry for the bride and groom, even if they were completely ignorant. However, this story also confirms that I don’t have to worry in the least about my own wedding photographs. I’m so happy that both of you will be there for us!

  5. Great post! I may have to quote you. Unfortunately this type of things happens to many different disciplines in our industry. It is so difficult to communicate to clients how important it is to trust your wedding to true professionals.

  6. kevin said

    hello from wilmywood
    great post and even better images

  7. shane said

    Dude… stop listening in on my conversations! 😛 😛 😛

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