My name is Heather and I’m NOT a wedding photographer.

I know many of you are coming on this blog and thinking “What the heck?” and “why?”  But, I couldn’t feel better knowing something that I’m not.  I tried to be…I tried REALLY hard to be a wedding photographer.  I photographed a handful of weddings back in “the day” on film and when I renewed my love a few years ago and broke into digital, I found the industry had changed exponentially and if I wanted to make a living doing what I love, I would have to do it photographing weddings.  So, off I went! I interned, I second-shot, I shot weddings for cheap and I even shot weddings for free.

Don’t get me wrong…weddings are BEAUTIFUL and I love a good party and weddings ceremonies, eventually, lead to to wedding parties!  Most of those parties are beyond fun!  You have all your friends and family captive for an expected amount of time…consequently, they, themselves, end up having just as much, if not more fun than the bride and groom.  Wedding guests sometimes seem to “let go” more than they normally would and you can tell and you get to be a part of it all!  Even if some drama occurs…and believe me, there’s almost ALWAYS some kind of drama, it all balances out and, in the end, everyone is dancing, laughing, eating, drinking and having a genuinely great time!  Then, of course, there is the beauty of the location, the decorations, the details…and the love.  So much love at weddings it can be almost sickening…beautifully sickening.

So, weddings are great!  I’m just not a wedding photographer.  Period.  Some people like to watch football…they may even throw a “pigskin” now and then.  That doesn’t make them a football player and they shouldn’t feel badly about that.  Though I love weddings and the fun that surrounds them, I am happy to report, I’m not a wedding photographer.  I can certainly photograph them, I have the equipment, the patience to wait for moments that happen, the tenacity to seek out the moments, the skill of a hunter…I am a photo ninja!  But, just like that football fan who enjoys watching the game and occasionally playing it, I prefer the side-lines.  I prefer to enjoy the wedding as a participant and not a player.  I become so engrossed in the “hunt” of a wedding and obsesses with perfection that I end up not enjoying them as much. It becomes too stressful, too over-whelming and I’m never satisfied with my work…I always feel like I could have done better, should have done better.

Then there is the whole “sales” aspect.  I know I have value and I know that applying my skills is of great value to wedding clients.  However, the epic internal struggle I battle every time I receive an inquiry about a wedding and about placing a dollar amount on an occasion so momentous….I literally freak out.  I get sweaty, I get flush, I over-think, I under-charge, I break down, I cry.  Yes, that sad.  But, I cry and then I hate myself for doing all of this.  After all, I have value and I need to make a living and I deserve to make a living.

I’ve never had any complaints from any of my wedding photography clients…contrarily, I’ve received nothing but high praise and accolades.  I hope those friends and clients know how much that means to me.  I am so proud of what I was able to do for them and the moments that will forever be cherished  and the referrals they send which means they trust me….honestly, I feel like that’s payment enough.  It’s cliche, I know.  But, I would rather photograph a wedding for free or for tips, then be hired and paid an exorbitant fee to memorialize a life-altering event like a wedding.  Some may feel pity for my feelings about weddings…it’s not like I came to this conclusion because someone beat it out of me.  I came to this conclusion because of self-actualization and realization that it’s an aspect of photography I’m just not comfortable with and that’s ok.  Some people don’t like nudes or babes and hot rods or abstract or whatever…to each his own.  This is my own…this is my truth. I am proud to have found my own truth.

The face of photography has changed…that face is new, fresh, bold and also saturated.  Though, saturation may imply something negative, I don’t mean it as such.  Competition is SUCH a good thing for so many reasons and there are so many photographer better adept at managing the business of wedding photography and it’s dynamic changes and expectations.  

Turns out, I’m more than just a wedding photographer.  I thought it might not be possible to do photography for a living and NOT be a wedding photographer. But, as I grow, the more I shoot the more I discover what I love in photography and where I belong in photography…I’m not needed for weddings.  I haven’t solidified where I am needed, but I’m on the journey to discover my destination.  I tried the island of weddings and it wasn’t the island for me.  Maybe, one day, I’ll figure out a “system” that works with my style and my feelings about weddings. Until then, I am not a wedding photographer.  😉

As you can see, there are plenty of things I do photograph.  Hopefully you will read further posts to see what kind of a photographer I am.  I am still trying to figure that part out.  I think process of elimination is a valid way of self-discovery.

~ by Fortuitous Photography on May 31, 2011.

3 Responses to “My name is Heather and I’m NOT a wedding photographer.”

  1. You are a gifted Artist and the journey to discovey of self is wonderful because we learn as we journey, if we allow ourselves- just like lost objects- its the last place you look- because when you find it, that which is discovered is where it is for you at that time-then you can step to more journies!

  2. I think you can photograph weddings!!!

  3. Well said! Loved this post 🙂

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