Photography Misconceptions and Myths
“Wow, your camera really is magic”. I replied saying “Yes and so is your oven”. Now, a great camera will no sooner make you an award winning photographer than a top of the range oven will bag anyone a Michelin star. Don’t think you need to have every bit of kit going and the latest fad bag to keep it all in. I’m actually quite minimal in the amount of kit that I take out with me and will usually take no more than one body and one or two lenses to an engagement shoot. However, there are certain things that you need to consider. If your body came with a kit lens, chances are that it isn’t amazing. As wedding photographers we need to be able to do the best job in all lighting conditions so make sure your lenses shoot at the wider apertures – f/2.8 at least. Bin the kit lens, okay sell it on eBay and invest in the best lenses you can. Build up to having a range that will cover every challenge that a wedding day will throw your way including a macro for detail shots and a long lens for those moments when you have to hang back, like the ceremony.
A lot of self-taught photographers think they can get away with not learning how to use a flashgun, but making friends with your flash can greatly widen your options at a wedding. Some of the very best photographers who you consider to be all about natural light will often also know when to add in some flash. So many of the photographers that have arrived at the Farm simply do not know how to read the light. This is a fundamental part of your craft and by constantly relying on looking at the back of your camera you will miss key moments at a wedding. Not only that, but by relying on fixing everything in Photoshop, you will never have an efficient workflow and your images will look overly digital. Work on getting as much right in-camera as possible and then practise and practise until it is second nature so that you don’t panic when you are under pressure at a wedding. A huge mistake I see newer photographers make right now is basing what they shoot on what they see on wedding blogs. Yes, it is great to aim to be featured on blogs and in magazines – it can be a huge part of our marketing strategy – but always remember that you are shooting somebody’s wedding. Your role is always first and foremost to record that day, and family photos are a big part of that. Those images are not what get attention from blogs but most brides wants a shot of her and her Mum or a nice portrait of her Grandma. Shoot for your client before you shoot for yourself, not the other way around. When you know you have the required shots, then play around and experiment. It can be all part of defining your style. Don’t be afraid to express your own passions and obsessions as you develop as these can be the things that stand you out from the crowd.
It’s easy when you are starting out to think that the best policy is to try to appeal to everyone but you may well end up not really appealing to anyone or not connecting with the clients you book. In a market as over saturated as wedding photography in the UK right now, being quite niche can be the thing that stands you out from the crowd.
Finally, the biggest misconception of all about being a wedding photographer is that it is easy and we all earn buckets of money. I don’t know a single photographer who is wealthy from shooting weddings. I do know that most of us work long hours in often stressful situations. I believe that you have to really love it to continually bring your best to each wedding.