"Hey, Jon! How's it going? What can I do for you?" "Not much, Jake. Thanks for answering my call. I was wondering if you could help me out. I have always wanted to get more into photography. I look at your pictures all the time on Facebook and want to take as good of pictures as you do. So I've been saved up $500 so I can buy a big camera like yours so I can take great photographs too."
"....." (Silence and frustration, I have heard this before)
This conversation just happened to me just a few weeks back. The Jake up there in the conversation is me--Jake Schnake. I just joined Matt Mason Photography this year. And in the next couple of blogs I'll be sharing more about myself. For now, you'll just have to get to know me through this blog.
It's not easy starting to plan for your wedding. The holidays are over and your wedding may just be 6-8 months away--or maybe you're ahead of the game booking for 2015. You're trying to wrap up all your remaining loose ends. The venue, the flowers, tuxes, transportation, favors, gifts, and--most importantly--your photographer. And then, aha!!!, you realized your best friend's-cousin's-in law's-brother had just bought a big camera. That's it! He'll do it for cheap! I mean, if they own fancy photography equipment they must know what they're doing with a camera!
I love being a professional photographer. And it seems everyone else in the world loves being a "professional" photographer too. And, why not? Think of the technology we all carry in our hands--cell phones with cameras. We have instagram and other amazing apps that crop, edit, and can even add instant effects. And most people don't stop there. They invest in a "good" camera so that they can be "good" photographer. That's the way it works, right? If I just buy a fancy camera, it will automatically make me a professional photographer. Not quite. Its like asking your baker what oven he uses so you can make cakes like she does. Or next time you have a great meal at a restaurant ask the chef what kind of pots and pans they use so you can make a meal just as tasty.
I have a friend who owns a wood flooring business. Once in a while if he is really busy, I will help him out for a few hours. He has been working with wood for years and that experience has paid off. We both have the same hammer, tape measure, cats paw, utility knife, knee pads, saws, and fingers. But why is he so much better at it than I am? Why is he so much faster? Why doesn't my gear (and fancy tool belt) make me an artist with wood? Because it is an art: making sure all the wood fits tight together and is square, taking worn out wood and sanding it down to its natural beauty, and working out the bumps to make the wood feel like glass. No one could immediately do an amazing job, even if they had 40k in flooring gear. It takes time, experience, mistakes, and commitment in addition to your equipment to be a tailored professional.
It's probably true in your profession and it is the same reality with photography. Everyone really isn't a professional photographer just because of their equipment and only spending $500 isn't going to make you one either. And do you really want your best friend's-cousin's-in law's-brother taking your photos on your wedding day (unless that happens to be one of us, of course). There is a lot more involved in wedding photography that just pictures and fancy cameras. You have to work well with people. You need to keep those people on line, troubleshoot problems that arise, work with the family to organize them for family photos, coax inebriated groomsmen into cooperating for just a few more minutes, be prepared to capture moments that can be gone in an instant, plan out scenic backdrops during the right time of day, show a day of slideshow without any glitches, work around inclement weather, and I could go on and on.
My point is to show you that wedding photography is not an easy career. There is a lot of pressure and it takes a certain personality and professionalism to get you through it. And that is who you want to hire. Matt, Kerry, and I have all been in the wedding industry for about eight years and we have been a part of a lot of weddings (close to 500 combined). That is a lot experience. And that is the professionalism and ability you want on your wedding day.