A few times a year I receive an email from an up and coming photographer who would like to come with me on a wedding shoot so they can learn from me. They offer to volunteer their time, their images, etc… Thus far I have not had an opportunity to bring a newbie along. But, I always respond politely and give whatever helpful suggestions I can think of at the time. Here are few.
I Can Tell In Five Minutes If You Can Be A Good Wedding Photographer
Wedding photographers, well good ones, have to be more than just competent photographers. During the day of a wedding you have to be all of the following; assertive and invisible, organized and spontaneous, diplomatic and commanding and likable. You have to be able to stand for a long time, to run quickly, to climb things, to squat, lie down and get out of the way.
Keep Your Ego in Check
To be a great wedding photographer you have to be a photographer, a friend, a social worker, a journalist, and a confidante and you have to develop this relationship within a few minutes of arriving at the wedding. Also, no matter how good you think you are, or how high your rate is, you need to remember to let the couple have a good time. It isn’t all about your photos. You’re not that important. Keep your ego in check.
The Best Photos I Never Made
Years ago I was photographing a wedding at an historic Cathedral in New York City and the bride was getting ready in a room inside the church. She had on a thong, a bra, high heels, and a long lace veil when she realized she needed to go to the bathroom and wanted to do it before putting on her dress. The bathroom was down the hall and there was no one there except the bride’s maids and me. The bride made a dash for the bathroom wearing only heels, lingerie and a veil, but before she did, she looked at me and said, “No pictures.” I did not take the picture.
I know it would have been a great and even iconic shot of a half naked bride running down the hallways of a church with her veil flying behind her. But these are the moments where your integrity as a photographer is tested. Had I taken the photo, she would have lost her trust in me and you’d be able to feel that in the photos. Because I am trustworthy and take my integrity very seriously, my clients can feel it. They are comfortable around me and allow me to take intimate photographs of their wedding day. In case you are wondering, I don’t for a second regret that I didn’t take that photo.
It Takes More Than Expensive Gear And Business Card
Do you think you have what it takes?