Since embarking on the MA my approach has developed significantly and it is causing nightmares in terms of my wedding photography business. My approach to taking wedding photos, I have three main themes which I need to satisfy to ensure that the people who book me are happy. The general rules I adhere to are moments, couple time and group shots. This is a very loose description and there are other areas such as details etc however I won’t speak about them here.
In terms of the wedding business, I endeavour to build the brand on chasing moments such as instances of happiness, emotion and humour. These type of photographs are what I try to fill the portfolio with as they are spontaneous and provide a greater opportunity stand out against the vast competition in the online jungle. This is an approach that works for us as 80% of the competition usually rely on portraits and happy snaps using a long lens. That leaves the other 20% who I am engaged in a competition with. I shoot at 24mm with an ethos of wide and close, filling the frame with a random moment to invoke an emotion.
Regarding the making work for my project, I understand that I cannot get away with the wide and close strategy in many cases. And from the MA course I have discovered that I really enjoy speaking to people and making portraits. With regards to this, I have made every mistake in the book however I feel that I am slowly beginning to make portraits that are more considered and moving towards my intentions. Looking back at previous work, I feel that much of it has potential but naive in parts, this is still the case although I would argue that my work is improving.
When making wedding portraits I have a set routine that I know I need to cover to make a couple happy. Only when I have done this do I feel able to take risks and try something different which is where the job can become fun. Taking the conventional and trying to push the boundaries. This approach transcends into the type of audience who book us for their wedding photos. Before we meet, clients already have an idea of the type of people we are through the type of work they see on the portfolio.
When making work for my project I feel that I scrutinise my work a in much greater depth, firstly looking for a clean composition which isolates a subject whilst encompassing the environment included in the frame. In doing this my intention is less subjective leaving the audience to contemplate the work further as any messages may be less obvious. Bate (2009,P70) suggests that the ‘purpose of surface depth in photography intentionally leaves the spectator out of the equation.’ This may be relevant as I feel that the majority of my wedding photography is mostly about surface depth with the intention of confirming Sontag (1973, p9) and the idea that “the trip was made, the programme was carried out, that fun was had”. Sontag perfectly summarises the objective of a wedding photographer and I need to understand that this type of visual language is appropriate for the context of a celebration. When my commercial/wedding work goes beyond this objective I am in danger of putting my business at risk.
BATE, D (2009) Photography, The Key Concepts. Oxford, Berg.
SONTAG, Susan. (1973) On Photography. New York, Dell Publishing.