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:
- 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.
- Too many f/3.5+ photos (This would be shots with too much in focus, I guess).
- 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.