Friday, May 30, 2008

Got A Wedding Tomorrow, How Do You Feel About It? 10 Ways To Stay Inspired

Are you fired up, ready to go, can't wait to get on site and take the first shot. I hope so. Because if you are not, think about changing jobs - your giving the rest of us a bad name. Too many photographers approach a wedding as just a way to make a little extra money. I call it beer money. It's that extra bit of cash in their pockets from a weekend job. Other photographers may complain, "Oh, I've got another darn wedding to shoot tomorrow." If it's a darn wedding, then why are they shooting it to begin with? Hey, we are back to that beer money mentality again.

Folks, if we are not going to give our clients about 110% of our energies, effort, talent, and creativity all the time, then it is time for us to look for work elsewhere. Sure there are a lot of photographers that love what they do. They are constantly wanting to try different ideas and put a new twist or creativity into their shots. Man, we have to do just that every single wedding if we want to stay fresh for ourselves and give our clients our best result. It's this kind of attitude that keeps us loving our job. If we ever sink to something less than that - we will become frustrated, bored with what we are doing. After a few more years that frustration turns to resentment, and when our attitude is hovering between frustration and resentment, the client sure isn't getting what they are paying for - and we aren't happy campers either.

So how do you keep yourself fired up for yourself and for your clients. It's easier than you think - here goes.

10 Ways To Stay Inspired

1. You have to want it bad. You have to want your wedding photography to be exciting. Only if you want it are you pointed in the right direction to get it. Those not wanting that excitement will never achieve it.

2. You've got to prep yourself. What excites you about wedding photography, what kind of images. Seek those images out on Flickr, other photographers sites. I've certainly covered a lot of that on this blog. Bookmark the sites and images that really fire you up. Refer to them before every wedding. Man, I did that years ago after every wedding seminar I attended. I reviewed those sample seminar images before every wedding. That little exercise gave me image goals to try and produce for my clients on the wedding day.

3. You've got to start therapy. What are you weak points - composition, lighting, exposure? Then it about time you practice those weaknesses on your off time. You just "ain't" going to get better by doing nothing about it.

4. Be a good copier. This was one of Monte Zucker's pieces of advice and I agree wholeheartedly. There are some great cook books out there by some very famous chefs, but following Emeril's recipe perfectly does not make us Emeril. But copying the masters, getting comfortable with producing images like theirs, now you are ready for the next step. Now mix a little of your own creative juices into the mix, and your extra touches of spice to Emeril's recipe may make it even better that the original.

5. Try something different at least four times in a row. Those different things could be composition, lighting, filters, off camera flash for instance. Keep on doing it till you get the result you want. Once you've got, it's time to move on to the next different thing. Now set a new goal. I've practiced at this for a lot of years and I'm already considering the "different thing" for me try tomorrow. I let you see what is and how it worked or didn't work on Monday.

6. Now, Continue looking for different things to try - keep it a moving target always looking for that something new. Folks, that's what keeps it fresh and exciting.

7. Go buy a really wide angle lens, like a 10-12mm lens. The whole world looks different. The images look different and many times exciting. Guess what.... it feels good too when the images fire you up. When I'm excited about an image and the bride knows it, she is excited too. And isn't that the whole point.

8. Start a brain trust with other wedding photographers in your area. Nothing fosters creativity than a group of enthusiastic photographers, telling stories, suggesting ideas to each other, and working in unison on a group shoot. The entire process is a wonderful creativity booster.

9. Save your favorites in a special place that you can revisit over and over. Then change out the old for the new. Celebrate your successes. The self affirmation gives you the juice you need to keep the process going.

10. Never be afraid to share with the "up and coming" photographers. Never hold back. The best way to learn is to teach. And not keeping all those secrets to yourself allows a different kind of chemistry to flow through your veins that will only help you soar higher!!


  1. Goodtips man. I'm especially a fan of looking around at your favorite photographers work before going on a shoot (wedding or otherwise)

    Your also too right about "beer money" if you're not into it, then don't do it. Weddings are special events, and people are counting on you.

    Gavin Seim

  2. Hello David,

    I am new to your blog and must say that it is full of very valuable information. I have a question for you concerning wedding photography, in particular the use of light.

    I have noticed that you make mention to using your quantum q-flash during your wedding shoots. Is this your main source of lighting for the majority of your photos? What would you recommend as a good lighting setup that packs small and plays big all while getting the shots you want from start to finish? I am thinking of a quantum q-flash coupled with my 2 SB800 strobes. I ask as I am mostly an available light shooter. I am really interested in improving my wedding shoots with the use of light, but I am a bit overwhelmed with all the choices on the market.

    Any help you can provide in guiding me down the right path will be more than appreciated.

    Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work.

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