One of the things that I’m enjoying about writing this blog, is that it’s like my internal dialogue. When I was going to be a famous musician I practised my interviews with Michael Parkinson. When I was en route to becoming a millionaire entrepreneur, it was Peter Jones or Theo from Dragons Den. It helped my to rationalise my thoughts, work out a plan. Sometimes saying things out loud in my interview, would make me realise what a great (or more often, absurd) an idea was. The blog goes a little further, as I’m writing slowly (due to my typing ability), and it’s written down if front of my. I can re-read in a couple of week and see if it still looks viable.
Any way, Weddings… I have to admit that the 3 days that I spent on the wedding (shooting and then processing) have been my most enjoyable 3 consecutive days for quite a while. Although there is a responsibility as the ‘official’ photographer, it didn’t stress me. There was the concern of not being especially proficient with my new Speedlite, and that there would be a technical hitch and the flash card would decide that it wasn’t going to share the wedding shots with my PC and keep them locked in its memory forever. Both of these were unfounded, and I now have the images on servers in 3 different continents, 2 separate hard drives, and on the original flash card. So I think I’m safe there. I soon got the hang of the speedlite, but need more hands-on with any new kit next time. But that’s the same for any shoot, or probably any profession.
So, having had such a good 3 days, am I ready to add Wedding Photography to my offerings? Still unsure to be honest. Lets look at the reasons. First off, I don’t have a portfolio, so getting new work would be tricky. I have a few shots from this wedding that I could include, but to get a good portfolio together in time for bookings for next season i’ll need to hire some models and stage a few ceremonies. Not impossible and would be fun. Secondly, do I really want the responsibility of being the only person that really can’t afford to make a mistake on the day? The dj can miscue a song, the bride can get his words wrong, or the wedding car might take a wrong turn, but at the end of the day it’ll all be forgotten about. If I don’t get the shot, its gone forever in most cases, and it’s there to see (or not in this case) in black and white. And lastly, the prices! A typical days wedding coverage is costing anywhere between £795 and £2995 and on the face of it, I can’t honestly say I’m worth that. My images were good on the whole. But £800 for a days work? But lets break that down. On this wedding, I knew the couple, so the pre-wedding discussions and planning were a more social occasion, but in the normal course of things, you’d have 2 or more meeting, venue scouting trips, ceremony rehearsals, then a full day shooting, travel expenses, salary for the second photographer, and then a few days of post processing. So if I look at it that way, £800 becomes about £150 per day after expenses, and I’m beginning to see that my skills are, even at this stage, worth more than that. So for a 2 camera, full day shoot with an album (forgot to mention that) £795 is sounding cheap all of a sudden. What does a dj charge? In my simplistic mind, they set up, play some songs for 4 hours, then pack up and go. And the wedding cars? They probably only are on the road for an hour or so, but I know they’re not cheap. However, I do appreciate that the other vendors at the wedding have expenses, maintenance of their equipment, travel time etc etc, but i bet that their hourly rate is lots more than a photographer charging £795 for a day.
Hmm, I can feel myself being convinced that I need to keep weddings in my arsenal. Even just a handful of weddings a year would pay half of the rent on a studio pretty much. And that’s not to mention any extra sales or services that I could add-on. Yes, I’ll need some more kit, but any professional needs reliable equipment. Just changing my camera body to a twin card model would pretty much eliminate the fear of losing all of the images. And a longer zoom? Well I was going to buy one anyway.
So, on reflection, weddings are IN. It’s too much of a large portion of income to ignore. As things progress, and a potential studio picks up business, maybe then I can start to become a little more choosy with the work that I take on. But I know of many pro photographers that started out doing wedding, kid, pets etc. and now specialise on a particular field because social photography has given them a little stability, their bread and butter income, whilst they practice on the prefered activities. Who knows, I might even keep wedding as my speciality?