Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Rant

I don't really think of myself as a good photographer, I do it because it's a passion. I don't think I'll call myself a photojournalist or whatever superlative anytime soon because I realize I'm not worthy. Even my idol Shaz considers herself as 'An amateur' on her Flickr profile, go figure.

A lot of people do wedding photography business these days because it is frankly good money. But it is not easy money, make no mistake about it. Some people think that getting paid thousands just to take a few pictures for a few hours is easy. It is if you're doing it without putting your heart into it.

Before the shoot, you have to make sure all the equipment are working, all the batteries are charged and all the CF cards are working and free of other pictures. Then you have to make sure you have more than enough batteries for your Speedlite, just in case. Never use anything other than Alkalines for faster recycling time and lifespan, though it costs a bomb.

On the day itself, if you have time you should recce the shoot area to find the best place to shoot. If not, you'll have to think on your feet. Keep moving, keep looking, keep shooting. That CF card can hold several hundred JPEGs, don't skimp!

Though you are invited to eat, try not to unless if there's a lull in the proceedings. Weddings are normally hectic with goings-on happening all the time. Eat in advance instead. You're not paid to eat, you're paid to shoot.

You'll sweat a bucket if you're doing it right, trust me. Talk to people, it'll put them at ease with you. Bear inm mind you are an outsider, an intruder of some sort. You need to blend in.
After the shoot, it's time to go through the hundreds of pictures and take out the bad ones. Honestly If I shoot 600 pictures, I would in the end only be happy with 200 or less. My benchmark of 'terer-ness' is when I can take 600 pictures and be happy with maybe 500 of them. Then it's editing time. Some people only want the raw pictures, that'll make your life easier. I don't edit my pictures too much, if it had to be edited too much to make it nice, I'll just scrap it. Editing 200 pictures is not a small task I can ensure you.

After all that, it's time to be properly rewarded for your work right? Not quite. I'm still owed a lot of money from friends. Though at first agreeing to the t&c and paid 20% for the pictures, they don't seem to be willing to pay the rest of the sum. It's my fault too for being too trusting with friends, no black and white agreement etc. Harder to take was when I asked for the money and he told me that my pictures was so bad no one liked them, everything was wrong about the pictures. Eventhough it's tough, I accepted his comments and told him that then I won't take any payments from him for my part but the pictures must be returned. But no, he said he'll still pay because it's unfair to me. And that was 6 months ago. To date he has been using MY pictures on his website about his lovely wedding. Oh well, have a good life bro.

Oh and I do feel some photographers are way overrated, and overcharging too. I've seen this famous photographer's pictures and they suck. I'll prolly churn something like him too, but at least I'm only charging 10% of what he is charging and I'm under no pretense that I'm one of the top photographers in Malaysia. Give me a break. So a word to people looking for photographers, look around and do some research. Just because it's a more household name, doesn't mean that it's gotta be better than the part timers.

But what do I know right, a dilettante talking about the 'pros'...


eyda said...

True, some so called wedding photographers out there only do it for the money, not because it's their passion. Some of them are not even good at it. I realize about this when i was looking for a wedding photographer for my own wedding. i search a lot of websites and photopages and came across some of them who dare to charge so expensive though their photos are sucks.

distant observer said...

Dont despair. Will hire you one day and will definitely pay!

The Banker said...

eyda: exactly. whenever friends ask for my recommendations i would steer away from the really well known ones because i don't feel they're worth the money plus they are better bargains to be had.

distant observer: haha, it's not a call of despair. just a learning experience which i won't ever repeat, insyaAllah ;)