I love people who are enterprising when it comes to starting a business, I applaud it. In fact, we need more people keen to take the bull by the horns and launch into working for themselves. Let's face it, any business owner reading this blog will know, running a business is stressful, time-consuming, a mental drain (at times), and your work basically becomes your life. These are all minor details when it comes to the positives, because being responsible for your own destiny, working your backside off to fill your own pockets, instead of someone else's, is easily one of the best and most fulfilling feelings around.
Let's not be naive though, because it does take time. There's only going to be a fraction of people who hit the big time overnight and building a name for yourself is half the battle. Jumping in 2 feet first really isn't the way to do it.
And here we reach the point that really does Grind my gears.
This week, I've been open to a bit of criticism, and to say it's wound me up is a bit of an understatement.
Now, as I said, the biggest thing is making a name for yourself. I'm proud to have worked in the industry for over 10 years now. I haven't always just worked for myself, I've sometimes done photography alongside a "proper job", and treated wedding photography, and taking photos in general as a hobby. It's definitely not always been easy, and I finally took the plunge to launch the Jonathan David Photography brand at maybe the worse possible time, only just a handful of months before the pandemic started, nevertheless, it's always been what I've wanted to do, and despite me being my own biggest critic... I'm alright at it. (I don't do self-praise, that's the best you're getting!)
Going it alone was genuinely one of the most terrifying things, as I didn't have a wage to fall back on, and I was firmly in charge of my own earnings. If I didn't work, the bills didn't get paid. Period. Mix that with COVID, and you've got a recipe for failure.
Despite family and friends worrying about me, and being firmly of the opinion it was time to go out and get a job with a stable income, I stuck to my guns, and stubbornly dug my heels in and as I knew this was what I wanted for myself.
Touchwood, we're the other side of the pandemic, things are going amazingly, and I couldn't be happier. My diary is chocca, and I've got some stunning pictures, with some fantastic couples, which I'm seriously proud of!
But the key ingredient here is time. It doesn't just happen overnight.
Lot's of you will know, I make a big thing about making wedding photography affordable. I've often been told I undersell myself, and I'm constantly being told I need to up my prices to be paid my worth. Truth is though, I value the opportunity to meet lot's of couples and I get the biggest buzz off seeing the people who I work with smile when they see their pictures for the first time.
Weddings are amongst one of the most important days of your life, and that's not something I take lightly. I want your pictures to be as perfect as your day is, and the idea of someone providing something that doesn't meet those exacting standards honestly makes me feel sick.
I market myself mainly through Facebook. Lots of you will have found me through social media, and whenever someone posts looking for a photographer in the local vicinity, you can guarantee my name will be somewhere in the comments, usually because I've been recommended, or because I've commented myself.
But the thing that REALLY, REALLY, REALLY winds me up, is when someone pops up on one of these posts, offering a full day of photography for essentially bugger all.
Let me just make something crystal clear here, cheap wedding photography isn't good photography.
And for this reason, I got into an argument with one of these cheap photographers on Facebook.
Weddings aren't something you get a second chance at. I've met photographers who work for magazines and big marketing companies who literally won't touch a wedding purely because they're one-shot things. If you miss that first kiss or don't have your camera in the right setting, there's nothing you can do even in photoshop to get that moment back, far short of asking the couple to hold another wedding just so you can get a few pictures.
This is all without taking into account equipment. I've spent thousands on my camera gear, from lenses to cameras to get the best possible results from my pictures. Cheap cameras just won't cut it when it comes to taking photos in a church, or for those first dance pictures, and the moment you try to print one of these cheap photographers' photos on a canvas or look at getting them printed, take my word for it, you'll regret it because they'll look terrible.
And no, you can't get decent photos on an iPhone either.
As I'm sure your dad will profess, "Buy cheap, buy twice."
So let's be honest, do you really want to put your hard-earned money and one of the biggest days of your life in the hands of someone who doesn't value it?
My advice is this. If someone approaches you offering to do your wedding for a price that's too good to be true, ask them to see previous work, ask to see reviews, and more importantly, ask them why!
If this is a person who wants to make a start in the industry, that's honestly awesome, but book a tried and tested photographer too. Suggest them coming along at a reduced price to shoot alongside a professional. Let's face it, they get some images for their portfolio, you've given them a leg up in the industry and you get a few extra pictures. If they're good, fantastic, if they're not, the loss is minimal.
But for the love of God, don't leave your day solely in their hands, trust me, it'll backfire.
Peace, Love and Photos.