Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Modern Bride

What is today's bride truly looking for? The easy answer is a great photographer. Lets take a few minutes to get a little more detailed than that. What makes a "great photographer" may change from person to person. Perhaps she is looking for a stronger formal aspect to her photos or on the flip-side she might want more spontaneous journalistic run-and-gun style images. A bride's taste is distinct. How well one caters to that taste is the line that separates the men from the boys.

I hear photographers say "Well I am a photo-journalistic style photographer. I don't do poses and formal photos." Most of the time that is because he or she doesn't know how to capture a formal image while maintaining a trendy look and feel. On the other side of the tracks are the photographers who rock portraits (you know who you are). Their creative approach is all in the pose. They are highly technical and very experienced. This style photographer is getting harder and harder to find for a few reasons. Popularity of the photo-journalistic style has driven new photographers away from the technical side of posing mixed with people with little to no training shooting weddings.

Is there middle ground? Under most situations I would say no. Formal, well posed images are becoming more and more rare because of the rigidity the photographer generally brings to the table. A very wise photographer once told me that people will recognize quality in any form. Produce quality and people will hire you. The question comes to applying your style while maintaining said quality.

I started thinking about this post because of all the simply ok images I have seen online here and there over the past weeks. What are brides looking for? They want no, they deserve quality. Are your images consistently visually evolving into technically superior images? A photo-journalistic approach is a great place to start but what are you adding? Anyone can buy a digital SLR and a zoom lens and run-and-gun a wedding... and they do. What will you do to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

When was the last time you attended a seminar or invested something into your training and talent? When was the last time you scoured the web for other photographers who are doing new and different things? Maybe someone overseas or in a different area of the country. Shoot, you could even take in the technique of someone who is in a different photographic field. Every time I am in a book store I dive into the wedding magazines. Probably the only straight guy who read's modern bride and the knot ... no comments.

As photographers we have to be educating ourselves about proper techniques and that assist us with expressing our vision. Which side of the face should be lit with an off camera flash? What does the soft vs. harsh quality of light bring to your images? Are you counting on Photoshop to saved your poorly conceived and poorly captured image? As David duChemin says - "There is no un-suck filter in Photoshop."

Don't fool yourself. Don't slouch. Modern brides want the strength of great portraits with the spontaneity of a photo-journalistic approach. Where are you weakest and what are you doing about it? Become a better photographer. Do it for your brides. Do it for yourself. Do it for your vision.