Somehow, I stumbled upon a discussion in a wedding related group on social media; I rarely participate in those discussions unless someone really wants information I can provide. A bride was looking for wedding photographer recommendations; I understand her intentions, though by the time I saw this query, I realized there was no point throwing my name into the hat. She gave zero information about her wedding, her visions, or any specifics about what she was looking for. You guessed it, that yielded over 100 responses, that after the first three, she probably left the discussion and never looked back. Hiring a creative artist is not as black and white as it’s rainy or sunny outside. Diligence and attention to details have to be part of the couple’s selection process. Also, finding the right clients is why wedding photographers specialize in a specific style and approach.
Sure, there are some “one size fits all” wedding photographers, and wedding photographers of all different price and experience levels. I’m not here to “should” on others, but I can speak for myself as to why I specialize in my documentary / photojournalist approach of wedding photography. By focusing on what I do extremely well and accentuating only my strongest points, I’ve built a brand and signature style that stands out. That does not mean what I offer is right for every couple, nor am I trying to be. Why wouldn’t I go with the safe option and be “both, or one size fits all”?
-I wouldn’t enjoy my work, and would be going through the motions, which isn’t fair to my clients or me. Working with the wrong clients doesn’t do either of us any favors. Why water down my best work?
-I’m giving the couples looking for my approach a reason to hire me.
-As a seasoned wedding photographer, I’ve built this signature style, product offerings, organization and systems to benefit my clients. These are the systems I put to work for my couples. Why would someone hire me and want something different? It makes no sense. Honing in on my niche helps match me with the right clients as well.
Wedding photographers who excel with portraits and orchestration will be spending a majority of the day doing just that. This is perfect for many couples. Will this same photographer be as excellent with documenting natural emotion and candids? Usually not. In their case, the baseline moments and candids are their secondary offering. Just as with me; documenting the true moments are what I absolutely do best. This approach also offers the couple and guests a very non-intrusive presence on the wedding day. The few portrait groups I do are my secondary offering. Couples are, and should be hiring me because they value human emotion and storytelling, and that understated presence. Part of storytelling is about consistency and flow. Even those who don’t understand why wedding photographers specialize would understand the couples who want either style want different things.