This post is aimed at photographers and the professional wedding photography industry.
With the over saturation of the wedding photography market, being a professional wedding photographer has never been more challenging.
If we read the papers, listen to radio programmes and watch day time TV we are constantly being told that there are less and less weddings. Then throw into the equation the tough economic times together with the proliferation of "Saturday Cowboys" entering the profession it seems that it is all doom and gloom in the world of the full time profession.
I could see a lot of these trials coming with the advent of digital technology in SLR cameras. At first it was a trickle as the price of such "toys" was high and the quality questionable at best. However the technology moved on an amazing pace, and combined with falling prices it was only a matter of time before becoming a wedding photographer was seen as a viable way to boost incomes or start a second career.
Many newbies have followed their dream whilst others only see the extra income from cash in hand shooting on a Saturday.
A lack of professionalism and regulation as well as a general lowering of photographic standards is really a huge problem. As someone who is passionate about the wedding photography industry, it is very worrying. I hear so many colleagues complaining about the way things are going. Many are struggling or indeed have left the profession disillusioned which is a tragedy.
There is a real danger that the skills and artistry of professional photographers that has been taught and shared down the years may end up being lost forever or at the very best a niche talent that is not readily available.
However, i have given the trend for lower standards a lot of thought and have decided to turn this situation into a positive.
In the past wedding photography was a bit of a dark art: even loading a medium format camera was a skill that has to be learned!
In many cases folks were put off by the unknown of shooting film and the stress of covering a wedding without knowing they had reasonable results. It meant that photographers were shooting in their comfort zones, keeping the images "safe". They were rarely being pushed and most seemingly settled on producing safe, standard images. But times have changed.
To me in these harder times, it has never been more important to push the photographic boundaries and the quality of the work and products being produced.
The constant striving to be better and raise the bar has never been more crucial.
OK IS NO LONGER GOOD ENOUGH!
In my opinion, we all should be going out on a limb to do everything we can to ensure we offer images and products that constantly blow away our clients as well as offering customer services/experience that vastly exceeds their expectations.
As professional wedding photographers we should be producing work that isn't even on the radar of the keen amateur or family member with a half decent SLR. Let's face it if we don't, there is no real reason for clients to employ us in the first place!
WE NEED TO ENSURE WE GIVE CLIENTS A REAL REASON TO BOOK OUR SERVICES!
So next time you are moaning about how tough things are, or how unfair things seem to be, it might be a good time to take along hard look at yourself and work on how you can improve.