I’ve been in this wedding industry for seven years. My oh my has it changed just within five. One of the biggest changes in the industry are the subcultures that have been created and exploited by our very own favorite app, Instagram.
Back in 2012 when I was starting my photography business my Instagram consisted of #cloudporn, selfies and food.
Now, I have to post nearly every day, at a specific time or else I won’t have my own friends see a post of mine. The algorithm isn’t the problem. It’s the competition of “having the most [fake] followers, and the most ‘features’ for the wedding photography industry.” At least that’s what one subculture may say. The other actually work their asses off shooting weddings – having no time to even have any social media presence. Shout out to those hard working professionals, I see you.
This is where a lot of ugly feelings come up for me being an elder millennial in a NEW and, dare I say, immature wedding industry. Are you all ready for it? Well okay, commence rant.
Oh, wait pause, to give my rant a little bit of leverage and backing I will tell you a bit about myself. Hm, where do I start?
Well, last year alone I’ve photographed 272 days of the year. Nine of those were creative shoots I’ve done with friends. The rest were paid clients. I’ve grown my business by myself, before the age and subcultures of Instagram. And this is where I get personal, I’ve never needed a feature, a workshop, a preset or a mentor to get me where I am today. I’ve had word of mouth, a shit ton of friends and a whole lot of hard work get me here. But where am I at today you may ask? I have six going on seven associate photographers who photograph for me. I’ve photographed over 132 weddings in 7 years, going on my fourth year of making well over six figures. Been published in over 26 different magazine around the world, some of those are my favorites, going to be opening my own studio in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, photographed in over 31 different countries. I have a bachelors in fine arts and photography and in so much debt because of it – SO much debt. I wanted to be a photographer before photography was even looked at as a serious career – Now said to be even a stable career. Who would have thought?
It’s really awesome to see that so many people have changed their careers into a career I knew my whole life I’ve wanted to do. I see them and say, welcome to the ride, it’ll be a tough one, you’ll be in debt, you’ll have no income for some time, but it’ll all be worth it. BUT, that is not how it is anymore. Anyone can change their careers and become a professional wedding photographer/any kind of photographer. Even a 12 year old can run a whole Nike campaign, (true. freaking. story). WHY? Because we have the internet now, free tutorials for everything, technology for equipment is getting better and better and cheaper and cheaper to purchase. PRESETS ready for you to buy within a click, and lastly, over priced workshops taught by photographers just as fresh and new in the industry as the next one.
Newsflash, photographing your friends who are couples or doing styled shoots, does not make you a PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer, buying and then RE-selling presets does not make you a Lightroom Guru, and unquestionably, creating an overpriced workshop without actually having the professional experience does not make you an expert who should be teaching. Lastly, if you are selling presets (especially presets that make the skin yellow or orange) and overpriced workshops and making your living that way THAN actually photographing weddings, makes you a fraud. And I know there are a few well-known, “insta-famous, “verified” photographers who do that.
I end this free speech blog with one last thing. If you are a photographer just starting out in this New Age era, I wholeheartedly, and warmly welcome you. Have any questions, I’m here for you. Having a mentor in this industry is super important and I do offer FREEEE (because education should be free) mentorship Facetime hang sessions. I won’t sell you my presets because I worked hard to create them just how I wanted them in my own vision, but I will help you create your own from your own creative vision. If you want to run your own business my only advice for you is do it the right way, there will be expensive cheats and tricks from “professional wedding photographers”. But do your research – seek out established photographers that CARE about the wedding industry and not money driven.
There it is, this elder millennial wedding photographer laying it down on you thick. And although I may disagree on how others are running their photography business not with the professional etiquette that I portray in my business, all I can do is to focus on my own and keep doing what I have been doing since 2012. I want my couples, my clients and my followers to always know when they see my work and my name, they know they will always be getting the most authentic, raw, and truest work from me.
Okay, that is all. Now I go meditate.
Go like, love, share, follow, subscribe, floss dance.
A big thank you to the friends and colleagues who I’ve had these discussions with and felt the same. Thank you for encouraging me to write this blog. Somebody just needed to freaking say it.
Also, shout out to one of my starsseed sisters – Breann Schram with her new guided meditation.
Check her meditation out and follow her on Instagram, @BreannSchram.