The phone rings one day a long, long time ago…
Phone: “ring ring”
Phone Person: “Is that the photographer?”
Me: Err yes, yes it is (?)
Phone Person: I’m looking for a photographer for my wedding
Me: OK… what style of work are you after, and how much do you intend on investing?
Phone Person: “Investing?”
Me: Yes, it’s important to have an idea of what you are after and a cost too
Phone Person: Oh I’m open to any style and I’d say I’d like to spend 50p
Call me crazy, and some do, but this is no way to seek out a photographer. I have had this in the past, and even these days I find it amusing to receive such a call as rare as it is, and it’s just plucking numbers out of the air and making contact without really having an idea of the concept of booking a wedding photographer. It seems epidemic in this industry.
What bothers me is that searching for a brand of work hardy comes into the equation, but it is an absolute must in my view. For me, I have a way of working and never break the borders of that philosophy. The industry is rampant at the moment with wedding photographers, and I use the term very loosely, coming out of the woodwork. You can hardly put a cigarette paper between many of them. Of course many claim to be documentary. They are not, the words reportage / candid / documentary are just bandied about (and of course they are all unobtrusive, which today means nothing), and it may be easy to get snared into that, while others make the pretense that they are GETTING a documentary wedding photographer yet their images will be laced and peppered with set ups and some awful run of the mill stuff, often looking like the work of a dozen ordinary wedding photographers whose work has been cobbled together, strangely, some will just settle for it. I constantly stress than nailing down what you want from your wedding is vital. In candid conversations this is the overall impression that I get, this is how I always measure and draw conclusions.
A couple candidly said to me recently that one “documentary” photographer seemed to have the usual lazy clichés like the groomsmen jumping in the air (ya, even in this day and age, hard to believe, right?). They could not fathom it, it just did not fit their personalities and they certainly would not be entertaining it, but some will, even against their will.
In this fast paced digital world it is so easy to ignore the finer aspect of things. When it comes to somebody booking me as a photographer I demand it. If a booking does not feel right for me I will walk away from it with no excuses. I’ll continue working with a brand of work that I always have, and one that is comfortable for my clients, they know what they are going to get, style wise and attitude wise
, but more importantly they know that there will be no messing about or cheap tricks. It’s a one shot job. Think of the wedding pictures you want many years from now, what do you want them to tell you?
Best advice I can give is to ignore the “I can do any style for you” and book a specialist, that is what a specialist is there for.
I’m a reportage wedding photographer, a documentary wedding photographer. But don’t just take my word for it, seek out my work where ever you can find it and at the end you will come to only one conclusion.