I am not the type to rant, I prefer to keep calm and mind my own business. But I've had it! After hearing horror story after horror story someone has to say it. We as wedding photographers have a duty, and obligation if you will, and it's a BIG ONE! We are providing a service to a once in a lifetime event and it is our job to do the best we can, uphold our side of the deal. To put it simply we have a MAJOR impact and responsibility in our clients lives.
First up on my list is being on time. This is a vital part of our job and the minimum we owe to our client who is paying us their hard earned cash to secure our services. The wedding coordinator, makeup artist, bride, groom, family, and even the venue, need us there early or at the very least on time. When we are late everyone else is late because they will have to wait for us to finish our shots before they can proceed.
This one is a big one and will probably upset some other photographers. YOU are not the star of the show, you are a service provider, your job is to provide your service regardless of how amazing a photographer you are. I've seen it time and time again, when a humble photographer starts their career then starts getting recognition and praise which is well deserved but then allows it to get to their head. Alway's remember you are great only because your clients say you are so be sure to treat them with the upmost respect and care. With out them you do not exist.
Only do what you can handle
Another area of contention for me is ill prepared providers biting off more than they can chew. If you're going to be taking peoples money and don't have the gear, skills, or confidence to accomplish the job then you shouldn't be taking the job. Or at the very least communicate with your client the potential issues/problems that may occur. This also falls in line with knowing your limitations, be careful not to let your ego get ahead of your capabilities.
We live in an era where EVERYONE can take a photo. You have to be able to separate your capabilities from the guest shooting with their entry level kits and smart phones otherwise what's the point in hiring a photographer? Alway's strive to do better, practice, try new techniques, go beyond what is expected.
Here is where most of the horror stories come in. I'm sorry, but it should not take 4 years to produce a wedding album! Videos should not get lost or any output for that matter. Keep your promises to your clients please. I understand, sometimes something bad happens where you cannot keep your timelines, or you lost some output. This is why you need to make sure you do as much as you can to have backups upon backups. Personally we have many redundancies, one being we only shoot with camera bodies with dual card slots alway's in backup mode in the event of a corrupted card. Then, we take the files and backup to our computers, an external hard drive, and in the cloud. We have yet to loose a file (and we have had corrupted cards).
I wrote this post because I honestly want to make better photographers. Better photographers make better stories, better stories increase the respect of our craft, enrich the lives of our clients, and those around us. I have heard many stories so far of past brides and grooms saying how they wish they knew us back then, or how they wish they didn't choose a budget meal provider because their output was so delayed, of low quality, or never even received. Please don't take me the wrong way, sometimes we all need to have some hard truths to push us.