I was approached earlier this year by a promoter for a local wedding show happening at the end of September, now just a few weeks away. At that time I did not have the money to lay out to get into this venue, although the exposure would be great to get my name and work out there. I also did not have the time to plan a booth and create sample prints or albums of my work. But that is not what this blog is about at all. It is about some of the things he said about my work. He told me that I am at the lower end of the price range for a wedding photographer but have good quality work and in a few years he wouldn’t be surprised to see me as one of the high end wedding photographers.
Now that’s pretty cool to hear, but with some of the things I have seen posted by “high end wedding photographers” on Facebook, I am not sure I want to become one of them. I see talented photographer posting images that, in my eye, have captured wonderful images that I am sure speak volumes to the couples receiving them, but this “Elite Group” seem to like to tear down everything they see as being below standard…. “clone out this”… “move that”… “you should have done this”… “I would never have done that”. I posted an image of my son’s wedding (I was the photographer) and they criticized the fact that he was wearing sneakers. We had all changed into our sneakers before going to Saxe Point to take photos on slippery, jagged rocks where on wrong step would have seen us fall rather unceremoniously into the Pacific Ocean, being bashed and battered on the way down. I thought that was petty and have not posted another image to this site. The one that drove me over the edge and inspired this blog was the comment “I am so tired of these ‘plastic hanger brides'” in reference to a photographer who was trying photoshop out a plastic hanger in the photo and replace it with one that looked “more suitable to a wedding.”
I have photographed three weddings in August, and (gasp!) the dresses were hanging on plastic hangers… and I never noticed (double gasp!). I guess I was caught up in the excitement of the day and was more focused on capturing the day’s events as the bride had planned them. I always like to spend a couple of hours before the wedding with the bride and the bridal party. It gives me a connection with the bride. We build on what we know of each other from our first meeting months before. I get to know the members of her bridal party and family and I feel that it eases some of the building nerves as she and the rest of her group get used to me and the camera. We share stories, laughs and idle chit chat as I snap photos here and there, showing them a few on occasion
The weddings that I have done have not been at fancy palaces with valet parking and grand ballrooms. They have not been created by an expensive wedding planner and catered by a company with food you’ve never seen before, let alone know how to eat. They are in quaint country churches where four generations have been married before them, at the local rec centre in a small community where all the children play, or at the groom’s parents back yard, beautifully decorated with love. Friends and family have helped supply the food and set it up, the bride has hand made all the decorations and everyone has gathered to celebrate the love of two special people in their lives. And that is exactly what I am there to capture. It’s not about how much money has been spent, but how much love there is. I get caught up in the emotion and become part of their lives for that glimmer in time. Nothing makes me feel more like I’ve done my job than when the bride gives me a big hug at the end of the night, tells me she couldn’t have done it without me and that she is glad she chose me to share her day.
When it comes down to it, it’s not what the dress is hanging on, how fancy the venue is or what anyone is or isn’t wearing on their feet. It’s the love and the commitment of the couple and their family and friends that matters… nothing else. If they see that in the photos I have given them, and it is a true, unbiased representation of their day, then my job is done and no one else’s opinion matters.