perhaps not long for the world of wedding photography…

Truth be told, I’ve been having doubts about my wedding photography work over the last 6 months.  Don’t get me wrong – I have faith that I am a more-than-competent photographer.  I understand lighting, I understand what I should be getting, I have a myriad of tricks up my sleeve to get what I want to be getting, and I enjoy working with clients (there’s about 30 other things I can list but that’s just a start). 

However, the “art” of my photographs have honestly not been improving.  I have hit a kind of wall in my creativity when it comes to new types of shots, different kind of feel, etc.  I am merely a good photographer, and seem to be stuck here.  And not for lack of effort.  But perhaps lack of talent.  I keep an eye out, I rarely sit down and stop during a reception or ceremony so that I can capture those key moments, etc.  But other than getting all the necessary shots and doing a solid job, I’m not sure I’ve been doing a great job and I’m kinda-sorta confident I’m not getting a whole lot better.

Recently, I applied to a group known as the Wedding Photo Journalists Association (WPJA) with the hopes that my membership would improve sales.  I had not heard from them at all for a long time, and asked about the issue on photo.net.  I didn’t provide a link to my website or samples because it’s still kind of rough around the edges and I didn’t think my ego could take it, honestly.  But, aside with a confirmation that I didn’t get in if I didn’t hear back, I have gotten more feedback on the quality of my photos than I had really wanted.  This was one that really discourage me:

  1. Too many detail and posed shots, I would say 10-15% of your images are photojournalistic. It needs to be the other way around to qualify. 
  2. Too many f/3.5+ photos (This would be shots with too much in focus, I guess).
  3. Please don’t take this personally: Your flash photography probably isn’t good enough. There are quite a few direct flash shots, or seem like pop-up flash.

The reasons why I am so discouraged is that 1 – literally 2 of the dozen+ photos on my website are posed.  Nothing else is.  Some may look like they are, but they aren’t.  Isn’t that part of the trick?  I guess not.  And 2 – I thought I had a good grasp on lighting.  Yes, I prefer to use flash than just open my lens wide open and have no depth of field, but I think I go after a very even flash look, not a “deer in the headlights” look.  None of my shots are direct flash.  And I have never used a pop-up flash.

But if they look that way, then perhaps I’m not getting the job done.  I’m not up to par.  I’m the kind of photographer that I have told others to avoid.  Someone “good enough” but nothing more.