Chatting to a friend recently, it dawned on me that she'd assumed I stopped doing wedding photography for reasons that hadn't even crossed my mind, and I realised that there are a lot of misconceptions about why I've moved on from shooting weddings, and why photographers in general may choose to quit photographing weddings. I know a lot of great wedding photographers that love shooting weddings. I used to be one of those photographers. I'm not anymore, and these are some of the reasons why:
I lost my passion for it:
I believe a client deserves a photographer who is totally passionate about their work, whether it be a wedding, a corporate event, product photography, or any other kind of photography. After many years of shooting weddings I lost that passion. It happened slowly over time. I'd be a little less excited about shooting a wedding, eventually dreading it. I feel it's unethical to continue in a genre you don't enjoy photographing anymore, and that was one of the biggest reasons I stopped doing wedding photography.
Let's be honest, as much as photography is about loving what you do, it's also about putting food on the table. "But people pay thousands for wedding photographers" I hear you say. Yes, that is the truth, but remember that our work doesn't end when the wedding day ends. In fact, photographing the wedding is only a small slice of the pie. Afterwards we meticulously edit all the wedding photos, followed by the lengthy process of designing the coffee table book. In the end, we've spent weeks working on one wedding, rendering us unable to earn money elsewhere.
I dislike designing coffee table books:
This is a personal preference, I know other photographers who love designing coffee table books. It's nothing personal, design is just not my strong point, I'd much rather be shooting.
I prefer being a guest at a wedding:
I love dressing up, there's nothing like the feeling of wearing a pretty dress with heels. For years I never got invited to a wedding as a guest because I was always the photographer. The photographer wearing black suit pants and a collared shirt. I felt that I was missing out, and now that I've been able to attend a few weddings as a guest, I know that I was right, I really was missing out. Time to make up for that.
I like being able to attend social events on weekends:
The nature of wedding photography is that you'll be busy shooting on weekends when your friends are attending social events and life generally carries on without you. I spent years missing social events and family time because I was photographing weddings. There is a time in your life where that is perfectly fine, and then that time passes, as it did with me.
I used to photograph weddings alone. Many wedding venues are in remote locations where you have to travel gravel roads at night to get back home. Wisdom says that's probably not the best idea. I agree.
I fell in love with other kinds of photography:
This is probably the main reason I decided to give up wedding photography. I fell in love with shooting architecture and products (especially jewellery). I still love it today. It's technically challenging and I feel fulfilled when I complete a shoot that a client loves. Good product photographers are hard to come by, whereas every second photographer shoots weddings, so it's much harder to set yourself apart as an accomplished wedding photographer. Photographing products and interiors hasn't once bored me, and you know as creatives we need to keep the inspiration flowing. I stopped getting that satisfaction from wedding photography, and that was my signal to pack up my wedding photography gear, so to speak.
I'm continuously amazed at how many people think I will return to wedding photography just to shoot one more wedding, usually their own. Alas, that ship has sailed, but if you'd like to invite me to your wedding as a guest, I promise to wear heels. Deal? Deal.
Till next time,
I thought you may like to see some of my recent jewellery photography:
And architecture and interiors: