Everyone has that “friend with a camera”. The person that offers portrait sessions for $50 and wedding photography for $500. The reality is that while there are some perfectly capable people in the industry, everyone that labels themselves a professional photographer… definitely is not.
The cost behind the camera
When people talk to me about photography I genuinely get excited because it truly is something I love. Swapping stories about preferred brands and lenses, shooting styles and what people enjoy is pretty cool. They’re always amazed to hear that 80% of the work I do involves nothing tied to editing or actually capturing the picture.
All businesses share common tasks. Marketing, accounting, sales, business meetings, licenses, insurance, education and more. This is the reason may people give up and photographers fail. Honestly, some people are just lazy. If it was me, I would be thinking “Awesome, you can take decent pictures but you cant provide competent service to your client. I’ll pass and pay a bit more for quality service overall.”
While at it’s heart photography is a creative industry, many photographers are missing the basic art of professionalism. My wedding clients deserve prompt responses and communication. Clear expectations to be set and met. I can count way too many times how often a client tells me that they’re amazed how easy it is to get in touch with me and how quickly they get responses to any of their questions or concerns.
In my eyes, I want people to be treated by their wedding photographer as if they were handling a clients money instead of images. If you paid someone to invest $50,000, you could absolutely bet that you’d be upset with poor communication and excuses. Once you start thinking of it like that, pictures to customers with weddings and events that cant be repeated are in essence priceless. They can’t be recreated.
More than just a camera
Ok, so this is a sensitive subject because gear is not the end all be all. There’s all sorts of examples of work that’s done with 25 year old cameras and as technology progressed, a lot of things are quality of life improvements for photographers versus image quality to a point.
What I’m talking about is having the tools to actually run a successful business and provide for clients in a way that is responsible.
I already touched on the concept of having a camera with dual card slots here so I wont get into that.
A good start for professional work is to always have backups and redundancy built in. There’s no reason ever to explain to a bride or groom how your camera broke so now you’re stuck.
It doesn’t matter what brand you shoot with. For events, I generally bring the below.
3 Camera bodies
8-12 batteries depending on the event
4 flash stands
Does all of this come out of the car with me? Absolutely not. I shoot with two camera bodies at the same time because I like primes and not switching lenses on the fly as much. What the equipment means is that any wedding or event I’m covering, I have a backup and even if multiple things were to go horribly wrong, I have what I need to still cover the event.
Ultimately, photography is a rewarding and I can’t see my life any other way. It’s a lot of work, a lot of late nights but also a lot of what makes me enjoy life.