As a professional wedding photographer in these days there is a huge amount of competition. Everyone who has a decent camera nowadays likes to think that they can have a decent stab at shooting a wedding. And to be honest there are an awful lot of photographers who can take a decent image albeit without a lot of creativity but something that is in focus, well exposed and represents the moment that it was taken. Thanks to the digital age of iPhones and cameras which are incredibly sophisticated ( even though most people never put the camera in any mode other than auto or programme ) and have more functions than they know what to do with !!
So it was with intrigue that I received a call from someone for whom I occasionally shoot some commercial work. It was a saturday. In the afternoon. Unusual I thought. The gist of the conversation went something like this “hi Paul – we’ve been invited to a wedding in august and my husband ( who has a decent camera and has done some location work to be fair – but not weddings !) has been asked to shoot the wedding. He doesnt want to do it so are you free and how much would you charge ?” Always good to get the easy questions out of the way first. As its within 6 weeks time I guessed that it was worthwhile pitching in with a good price that I knew was both good value but also an amount that I was happy with.
Subsequently I then get the call from the prospective client – and straight away we got on really well – he had an in depth knowledge of photography across many genres and was pretty clued up on the style that he wanted. We arranged to meet the following week along with his daughter and partner to go through my work and have a chat. I gave them the website and asked him to have a good look through my style and images.
The meeting went well – very well. Better than I expected. We started to talk about the images images on my site – the first one that he singled out was this which is one of my favourite wedding images – mainly because its totally the opposite of a traditional wedding image. But it tells a story of the ages represented at the wedding from the gran with the walking stick and sensible shoes to the twenty something girl in heels ( well I hope it was a girl !!)
This really started to make me think – they really do “get” what Im trying to shoot – about how special a wedding day is, and how it can be taken over by a photographer who just has a formula to stick to whatever happens on the day. Nor is this everyone cup of tea either. Brides want to be made to look fabulous on one of the most significant days of their lives.
We then started to go through some of the other images – like this one which was seen as I walked to the back of the church and was just a lovely moment between a father and daughter.
And then this which is probably my favourite image that I have taken so far at a wedding – its the story that could be written.
We spent the next hour talking through all the plans for the day, and walking the route from the house to the church – a gut wrenching 30 metres and looking at the best angles for the day. But what struck me as we were discussing all this was how could someone who had such a love of photography – there were loads of photo books by great photographers in the house and some rare limited prints by some very famous photographers – be prepared to let someone shoot the most important day of his daughters life who wasnt a wedding specialist especially with the obvious love of photography that all the family had.
Marketing. Thats the reason – if you dont get seen you dont get booked. And shouting – in a nice way – about what you do. About what you believe in. About what makes you tick. And above all what really floats your boat. Im really looking forward to this wedding now – but more importantly it just goes to show that there are people out there that get you. Long may it continue. And never do cheese !!
Heres the rest of some of my favourite moments.