Monday, January 5, 2009

Goodbye 08! Hello 09, I don't wanna be a rock star!

2008 was such an incredible and challenging year. From the sad economy to the historic Obama event, life outside wedding photography was dynamic to say the least. A HUGE thanks goes out to my 2008 wedding clients who helped make 08 a memorable one!! As for 2009, I got some incredible weddings coming up that I cannot wait to shoot!

Something interesting has happened over the last few years in the wedding industry. Wedding photography is now "cool". Yep, the days of boring & cranky wedding photographers are coming to an end. A new breed and new world of thinking is on the horizon consisting of eager shooters, magnetic personalities, and savvy business minds. The "Rockstar" Mentality of the wedding photography industry has really made an impact on my business, good & bad.

  1. Wedding photography is now "cool" these days and taken much more seriously, especially on the east coast (our west coast friends have been on this track a while longer). It focuses more on the couple's love story, lifestyle and the big day the way it truly unfolds.
  2. The value of wedding photography is steadily increasing as brides become more educated about the difference between a paid picture taker and a high-end service experience with the right photographer that fits the big picture of their dream wedding (haha, pun). Expectations of great service, product, and a branded experience are rising.
  3. The "rock stars" of our industry have educated & inspired so many new photographers to pursue their dreams through workshops, tradeshows, and online forums & social media. This has resulted in a revolution where more guards are being dropped and more doors are being opened. Knowledge sharing and helping one another succeed as wedding photographers is becoming common behavior & practice, not to mention fun!

The BAD:
  1. The dream of charging $20,000 to $50,000 a wedding like Mike Colon or Denis Reggie is now every new wedding photographer's goal. No it's not quite that simple folks! And if your ONLY goal is to earn big bucks shooting weddings, just remember to keep your head on straight and give yourself a reality check.
  2. Wedding photography (photography in general) is way more cool now that anyone with a good eye can purchase a SLR and a couple lenses these days and say, "hey I'm a photographer and I'll shoot your wedding, that'll be $3000 please" .... thanks Ashton Kutcher, thank you very much.
  3. The "rock star wedding photog" mentality is a joke. It's amazing how sponsors are hyping up these folks to a level of celebrity & stardom.

Let me elaborate more on #3. Last year a little trade show presented a recognition piece for over a dozen up & coming wedding & portrait photographers with the full rock concert treatment. Fancy lighting, Jon Bon Jovi music, and a smoke machine.... yes a smoke machine! A little over-the-top I must say. Don't get me wrong, the trade show was fun and educational and very social, I had a blast! And with all due respect, these photographers deserve all the recogition in the world. They've paid their dues, done their time, and earned some accolades. But the rock star treatment? Is this the perception they really want to create? Was this the photographers' idea or the sponsors'? Back to reality folks. As a good friend of mine once said, "It's just wedding photography for crying outloud." =) Don't get me wrong, there IS some amazing wedding art work out there that deserves to be recognized for sure.

So for all my aspiring photographers out there, here are two pieces of advice:

1. Click on THIS LINK & carefully read the Post article about DC Wedding Photojournalist, Matt Mendolsohn.

2. Do it not because you want to be the next celebrity wedding photographer, do it because you love shooting. Let your passion for life, history, and photography come together to motivate you to share your god given talent with the world & find a way to make a living doing it. And if you are a savvy business person and market yourself to the high-end client, by all means go for it. Just don't lose sight with why you're there to begin with. Greed & envy only leads to emptiness & regret. Besides, if you want to earn big bucks and rise to celebrity status, there might easier ways to do that, lol =)

Let me leave you with this song by Nickelback, "Rockstar"


David Burke said...

Excellent Post Armin. Mendelsohn has been one of my rss feeds for a long time. He has journalism nailed. The article is excellent too.

Maggie said...

whoop whoop :)

Anonymous said...

touche. ditto. amen.

kristieblake said...

perfectly said Armin....

Sarah Hodzic said...

I agree with so much of what you said Armin, thanks for posting this.

And really it is just wedding photography... and the whole rock star status is a fabrication of someones genius marketing scheme.

The good news like you said, is that wedding photography is being taken more seriously as an art form.
Gone are the days were some of us were embarrassed to say we were wedding photographers, and I am really excited about that.

But I will say, people (meaning other photogs) who end up worshiping or getting all giddy and ga ga over other wedding photogs because of all the crazy hype really need to calm down a bit.

laura kay photography said...

great post! thanks for posting this!