Wedding Announcement

April 29, 2017 · 0 comments

No, despite the title of this post, there is no impending wedding. Instead, I’m using this space to make a more general announcement with longer explanation. Effective immediately, I will not be accepting bookings for new wedding photography or video jobs.

This decision comes after a long time of soul-searching, contemplation, and thought, so I want to explain the decision here.

I photographed my first wedding in my late teens. That was well over three decades ago, and I’ve photographed and videotaped countless weddings since then. I love weddings. I have always said that it’s a pleasure to have a job where everyone around you is having a good time. It’s also an honor and privilege to have that responsibility entrusted to you, and I have never taken it for granted.

But things have changed.

I fondly remember looking through my parent’s wedding album when I was a kid. I think they had maybe 30 prints, all beautifully mounted enlargements in a gorgeous book in crisp, clear black and white. They were amazing photos, and what makes it more remarkable is that each shot was taken as the result of a deliberate decision by a photographer using a limited resource: film.

There was no video of my parent’s wedding, but in my career, I’ve seen dozens of films of people’s weddings; short snippets on 8mm film that capture (usually) a procession or recession and maybe a few moments of a reception.

It’s not like that any more. On a typical wedding day that I shoot photos, I can easily take over 2,000 shots. That’s not a wedding album. It’s a flipbook. While I take great care with every shot I set up and take, let’s be honest…there’s no way to be deliberate when you’re shooting 2,000 photos in a day.

Video isn’t much different. Even with judicious editing, I’m delivering DVDs that last up to four hours to clients. I don’t think they get watched much after the first viewing. No one takes that much time any more. Again, deciding what to shoot is not a deliberate decision; EVERYTHING gets shot.

This isn’t how I want to work any more.

Now, let me be absolutely clear: I love working with my wedding couples. I’ve forged lifelong friendships with some of them, and I truly treasure the time I’ve spent at weddings and receptions over the years. There just comes a time when I have to decide where to put my focus (no pun intended), and I think it’s time to take a step back.

There’s another reason, too. A few years ago, I realized that I had become part of a larger “wedding industry” that has made big, flashy, expensive weddings de rigueur rather than the exception. People are spending insane amounts of money on weddings, and while I still believe strongly that the two places you should spend money when you’re getting married are on your Band/DJ and your Photographer (one is responsible for making sure you have a great day, and the other is responsible for making sure you remember it), I realized that if I were getting married, I couldn’t afford myself. While I have no doubt that I offered a good value for the prices I set, it nudged at my conscience.

Wedding photography also takes a lot of work on the back end—think of the effort involved in editing 2,000+ photos. And trust me, clients expect that many photos, and they want them all to look as good as possible. While that’s perfectly fine, the time spent in post-processing dwarfs the time spent at the event.

Wedding videos are getting tougher to shoot, too. Advances in low-light still photography mean that still cameras can now practically shoot in the dark, and reception halls have responded with darker and darker receptions. But video needs light…lots of it. Video cameras have not kept up with their still-camera bretheren, and it’s getting more difficult to put out a product that I can be proud of.

And one final thought…keeping up with technology is expensive. A wedding shooter who works most of the summer will quickly have to replace equipment through wear and tear, accidents, new technology arriving on the scene, etc. There’s a constant pressure to keep up with the latest and greatest. I’ve dropped lenses and cameras, had people spill things on my gear, and I’ve had cameras just wear out. It’s expensive to keep up, and I want off that train. I’d rather purchase a new piece of gear because I want to, not because I have to.

So there you have it. That’s why I’m stepping back. I hope to be able to work as a photo assistant for other photographers, and I’ll take on the occasional job when I can, or if I find a venue or couple just too interesting to pass up.

In the next few days, I’ll be updating this website to remove references to wedding photography and video. I’ll still be doing portrait work  and corporate photography; I’m not quitting the business altogether. I love it too much. I may add a new category for landscape and fine art photography as I hone my skills.

Thanks to everyone who trusted me in the past. I hope I met your expectations; I enjoyed working with all of you.

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