Monday, February 6, 2012

this will be good for your portfolio

It has been a year since I started working in the wedding video and photography business. I never expected to be here and it happened mostly by accident. There is plenty to learn, not the least of which is how the photographer/film maker is viewed by the average client. I have watched the wheeling and dealing first hand, and I was surprised because the above youtube clip is exactly what I've seen happen in the boss' office. 

Craigslist is full of couples looking to have a wedding video or photos done for cheap. The usual approach is one of pity, as in "I didn't budget enough for photos. So if you have a car and a good camera kit, please respond." 

And then the demands start. They might have 100$ for the services, but you'd still better do a good job. "We want more than just 400 photos. We want professional photos please. If you can't do this, don't respond."

The final little quote from each and every whine from a demanding bride will inevitably be "THIS WILL BE GREAT FOR YOUR PORTFOLIO". 

To the new photographer: It will not be good for your portfolio. 

People asking for this will probably be the highest maintenance pseudo-clients you will ever deal with. Good posed photography requires some give and take with the subject - or I should say usually does. And as the hours drag by, you will not get those epic photos because you will now resent the couple. 

Ironically, the more a client pays for the project, the more respect they will have for your work.

The sad thing is many young photographers will fall for this. It makes life that much harder for themselves and for seasoned professionals. If you are this photographer, I urge you to intern for a proper photographer if you want to do it for free, and if you want to make a go of it, get hired on as an assistant. 

If you've gone to school for photography and want to be considered with respect, you shouldn't be working for free.Just because you have passion for your work (or art, if you prefer) it doesn't mean you do it for free. These same people will not argue with a lawyer, doctor, dentist or mechanic about the bill. At least make sure you are the one choosing the freebies you hand out. There are plenty of worthy causes that will benefit you far more than shooting a wedding for free.

To those of you planning to get married, read this with care. Photography and film making is not simply a matter of pressing one button. It may seem that way, since the technology involved mostly involves various buttons. But your wedding video will take a long time to edit because someone like me has to do each wedding one at a time and each second of footage has to be dealt with one at a time.

The conclusion of this little rant is this: you want something done right, you will have to pay for it and like a good meal or a fine glass of wine, you will have to be patient. And just like sitting in a fine restaurant, you will have to do all this with a high level of respect, otherwise you'll find yourself thrown out without tasting that wine.


Thank you for visiting. I live in Vancouver now, but I've lived in other places too. I take photos and make short films about things and people. Please comment and be argumentative. It amuses me.

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