MIDWEEK MUSINGS


PRACTICE MAKES "PERFECT”


Perfection is a funny goal to have.


I don’t believe in perfection. It implies that there is no room for improvement and that something or someone is unable to change for fear of becoming imperfect once more. Imperfections are what makes the things we


love and adore, the things we love and adore. Embrace them. Don’t fear them. If everything was perfect there would be no mystery, no adventure and no reason to be or try anything new. Be you.


BE IMPERFECT


With that out of the way, in this post I go over what I am doing to keep my eye sharp during the wedding hiatus and why I believe it is important to stay practised even in these unusual times. I’ll also touch on what I believe turns a ‘picture’ into a ‘photograph’, and how I believe people are perceiving the value of photography in the modern day.



KEEPING A SHARP EYE

During the wedding hiatus of 2020, it is becoming more and more important to find other avenues to keep a sharp eye and heightened senses, skills that are needed when photographing someone’s wedding day. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so there are no second chances. Every moment passes by in the blink of an eye, and a wedding photographer must be able to adapt and react to capture those moments that so may people hold dear. The cheeky little smiles, the quick embraces, the slips, trips, smiles and laughter. Each blink of an eye is a moment missed. A memory lost to the sands of time. I know that soon, once the pandemic is “over” (if there will ever be such a thing) I will be back, working with new couples to celebrate their, more than likely delayed, wedding. I cannot afford to become complacent or to lose my eye for these kind of situations. So I must try and put myself in a place where these skills are tested, whilst staying safe. Where better to achieve this than on the streets.



STREET DOESN'T ALWAYS MEAN GRITTY


I understand that the words “street photography” do not inspire the feelings of beauty and finesse that are often associated with wedding photography. But photographs taken on the street do not necessarily have an on-the-street feel to them. Sure, there are no flowing veils or first dances, but the fundamentals of my style of wedding photography and my street photography are the same. It’s about capturing fleeting moments, details, intriguing patterns and emotions. The editing style I use between the two may be substantially different, but the heart and soul that goes into making them is all the same.

Staying practised is very important to me so that I continue on my journey of creating photographs and not just taking pictures.





TAKING PICTURES VS. CREATING PHOTOGRAPHS


I’ll let you into a little secret. Not every image I take is great. I wouldn’t even say that every image I capture is good. It’s just the nature of photography. Trial and error is a huge part of creating great photographs. There is always the possibility to learn something new, to improve on techniques and push your own boundaries once more to elevate you to the next level. I am always looking to reach higher and higher, and I cannot achieve that by standing still. It’s one of the main reasons I started writing these blog posts, to identify what my weaknesses are to attack them head on. But I digress.


So what is the difference between a picture and a photograph? Well, it’s very subjective, but the general difference (in my poorly worded opinion) is this; a picture is an image captured without much artistic intention, otherwise referred to as a “snapshot”. This could be those moments that you whip out your phone and quickly snap whatever it is in front of you because you find it interesting or amusing (think of the pictures we have of our kids where the we point the camera down at them, and yes, I have taken many).


A photograph on the other hand, isn’t taken, it is created. A planned and considered image created with post-production in mind. The angles, the lighting, and probably one of the most self-defining aspects these days, what will it look like with a creative edit? Everyone has their own style of editing so we all take photographs differently to meet our own vision. I even have different editing styles based on what kind of wedding I am attending. But remember, a good edit cannot make a bad photograph great, but a bad edit can make a great photograph bad.



PERCEIVING VALUE


Straight away, let us get the obvious out of the way. Photography services are expensive. I understand this, and I do believe that there is a stigma associated with this, wherein people are starting to believe that they are being extorted for the luxuries of photography services. And let’s be honest, a majority of services and activities we have at our weddings are luxuries that we expect to be delivered in a professional manner. But with experience and skill comes cost. Especially in the wedding industry. I don’t believe that this is exclusively photographers either, as many other vendors are constantly being told that they are “too expensive” and asked “why does it cost so much?”. I believe that the value of a photographer in the modern day has been reduced to a price sheet. A number on a page that is either right or wrong. But is this the best approach?


Firstly, I 100% agree and encourage everyone to set and stick to a budget. It would be irresponsible and unethical of me to actively encourage couples to spend more than they have on anything other than the fundamental elements of a wedding day. After all, the ceremony is the important part. It joins you together for life and cements the loving bond that you share with one another. The rest of the day is a party. An incredibly meaningful and emotionally charged one, but a party nonetheless. But please keep having the parties, they are my favourite bit to be a part of!



PRICE VS. VALUE


Too often have a I seen a race to the bottom when it comes to pricing wedding services. But price, although an important part of your overall budget, shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing your photographer. You need to not only like their images and style, but you should also gel when it comes to relating at a personal level. As a wedding photographer, I am not selling photographs. I am selling me - I am the service. I can give my camera and editing software to anyone, but it is me that makes it personal.


But why should you base your choice on personality? A photographer that you can chat with in a more personal manner will allow you to feel more comfortable on your wedding day and feel more relaxed in front of the camera. It will also make your photographer feel more of a connection to your wedding day, which will result in more meaningful images rather than just the key ones that everyone has come to expect. Would you buy food just because it was the most affordable, even if you didn’t like it?


I am not saying that I am the photographer for everyone. My style may not be to everyone’s taste, and I may be outside of some people’s budget. I’m not saying “book me, book me!”, I’m just saying, let your heart and your gut guide you more than your wallet, as you will be spending a lot of time with whoever you choose. Money is tight in this failing economy. Be sure to spend it on services that bring you the best value and joy.