Photographers of all genres face many challenges and misconceptions about their job. In this video, Pye Jirsa of SLR Lounge shares seven common challenges you may have faced during your career, as well as some misconceptions people usually connect with wedding photography. Have you faced them too?
Watermarks are good and you should use them. However, don’t use giant watermarks to prevent people from stealing your photos. First of all, wedding photos are not the type of images people would want to steal. They capture specific people and their specific memories. Also, slapping a giant watermark in the middle of the image hides your beautiful work and transforms it into a billboard for your business.
So, use a watermark to mark your work, but make it small, discreet, and place in the bottom left or right corner of the image.
2. Dealing with stolen images
Okay, even though people generally don’t steal wedding photos, this still might happen from time to time. There will be con artists who will take your images to market their own business. They just want to take a shortcut to get clients – but they don’t know that it isn’t how things work.
If you notice that someone stole your photo, send them a takedown notice, but then move on with your life. Don’t bother suing them because you’ll spend money on a lawyer, and if would win, they most likely won’t even have the money to pay the damages. And fraudsters like this will end up closing down their business anyway.
3. Vendors sharing images
If vendors ask to use your photos from the wedding, Pye suggests that you drop the ego and just allow them. Your photos bring together all of the people involved in this wedding day. They are the final result of the time and energy they invested in this event. So, if they’d like to use your photos, just ask them for credits and linkbacks. You’ll gain new friends and people to collaborate with, and possibly new clients, too.
4. Getting distracted by trends
Pye refers to this as “industry FOMO.” YOu can see your peers doing workshops, selling presets, earning through sponsorships – and you may want to do the same things. However, it’s better to focus on the task you have at hand and on what you do best. Don’t get distracted by trends and by things you see other people do.
5. Social media is not real life
It’s easy to fake everything on Instagram, and don’t fall into the trap of believing that it’s real. Photos on social media are just 1% of someone’s life or business, yet they can make us feel the aforementioned FOMO. So, don’t let yourself forget that social media is not the reflection of real life.
If you’re thinking about sponsorships, keep in mind that they’re rarely monetary in photography, especially when it comes to smaller brands. It’s smaller and mid-size companies that usually sponsor photographers, and there’s no big money involved. Even if you get sponsored by a big company, it most often comes with lots of strings attached and lots of things you may not be willing or able to do. Also, your own business is always gonna be more lucrative than sponsorships. So, use them to get a bit of extra money or gear, but don’t set your business aside.
7. Getting rich as a wedding photographer
If you think “oh, wedding photography is gonna make me rich,” you must be from Serbia. :) Joke aside, wedding photography can be very lucrative, but it’s hardly gonna make you a millionaire. Also, there are more things to wedding photography than just taking beautiful photos. You need to be passionate, not only about shooting, but also about running a business, negotiating, dealing with people, and much, much more. In my case, the lack of this kind of passion is why I will never become a professional photographer.
How do you deal with these challenges and face these misconceptions? Why did you start wedding photography and if why have you stuck with it? Or if you left it, what was the reason? Share your thoughts in the comments.