Thursday, 13 October 2011

All weddings aren't beautiful

How can a wedding planner say that? Well read on, and you'll see what I mean.

Bit late to the party here but the anonymous blog post from a photographer regarding the types of weddings that get on wedding blogs, has really got me thinking. There were many interesting points raised that if I give my opinion on them all, we'll be here all day!

First up, I'll be honest, I've worked on weddings when the couple book me after having already chosen the photographer and when I check them out online my heart sinks a little because I know I won't be able to use them on my blog or website. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it's the truth. I love weddings, but I also love living and if it's a choice of showcasing every wedding I do so that I do my bit to reflect 'real life weddings' or are selective and therefore get more bookings, I know what I'm sticking with.

But let's be clear here, it's the photography I'm rejecting, not the people getting married. Which is why, whilst anonymous raised some interesting questions I think ultimately it says more about the photographer in question than the weddings themselves.

A good photographer captures spirit, emotion, passion, love and all the other wonderful emotions present at EVERY wedding, even the ones without any bunting, mason jars or DIY elements. Note that I say, a good photographer. of course their job is easier when there are lots of details but a wedding could be photographed on top of a hill with no guests but the witnesses and some sheep. And if the photographer has skill and a good eye, that would get on a wedding blog. So it's not really the details as such it's the eye of the photographer (made me think of eye of the tiger writing that).

Of course there are those function room type weddings that all photographers have to do to pay their bills and no, chances are, even with the best eye in the world that won't get on a wedding blog, or in a magazine. But come on anonymous, such is life!

Here's a cold, hard truth - not all weddings are beautiful. And not all people have taste. The problem with taste is that we all think we have it, but it's a fact of life that not all people do. Some weddings are aesthetically unpleasing. Boring looking, unimaginative and like millions of others. Some couples don't really care about being creative or unique with their weddings. They just want the local hotel, friends, family good food and dancing. A wedding in essence means the same to everyone, but the way people choose to go about it varies as much as our other personal preferences in life vary. And that's their prerogative.

And I as a planner take these jobs, just like wedding photographers do. But I don't promote my business with them always. And quite frankly, that's my prerogative. Just as it is with blogs. Most of the high profile blogs have advertising. They run, or at least want to run, as a business. And a business is not about showcasing every and any wedding. A business is about selecting what sits with your brand and using that to promote yourself. Yes blogs, planners, photographers love weddings but ultimately we're here to make a living.

I disagree that all brides that appear on blogs are gorgeous. There are many who physically would not count as beautiful, but at their wedding, in their dress, marrying the person they love, they are beautiful. And that's what you see.

Wedding blogs act as inspiration. And inspiration is often aspirational. It's not a wedding blog's responsibility to provide an accurate account of real weddings. They're like magazines like that. And how much 'reality' appears in magazines. That's not their role. And you know what? If Annabel, Kat and so on starting showing every wedding that lands in their inbox, their readership would drop off. As it would with all successful blogs. BECAUSE PEOPLE GO TO BE INSPIRED. Sorry for shouting, but no one goes for a slice of real life.

I have never had a bride apologise for her wedding being 'boring' and I market myself as doing 'unique or cool' weddings so if anyone would expect it I would. I do recommend brides limit the amount of blog browsing they do, because yes it can make you feel inferior at times. But brides aren't children or easily influenced teens. They're adults. And not riddled with self doubt by and large as you, anonymous seem to believe.

Which is why, after much thought, I do think that although you have raised an interesting and worth discussing topic, it is ultimately this (and I know you say otherwise) - your weddings don't get published as much as you'd like on the larger blogs.

Perhaps you need to look at your own skill and how you might learn to be a ' better' photographer. Or perhaps you need to realise that wedding blogs are not a slice or real life, just like Vogue isn't. It's an industry, full of businesses that thrive on the pretty, the original, the inspirational and are massively trend led. Just like the fashion and music industries for instance.

And sorry, but all weddings don't need to be loved. That's sweet but a little naive, no? This might be a fluffy, pretty world we inhabit but in essence it's no different from any industry. We're not dealing with vulnerable or at risk individuals.

If you make a perfectly good living photographing weddings, who cares if you don't get them on blogs. I've only had about two weddings featured and I don't give a s**t! Be the best photographer you can be for yourself and your clients, make that your focus. I admire you for starting a dialogue on this, but unfortunately I think it's a case of right back at ya. Unfortunately, if anyone needs to 'get real' as you say, it's you.


  1. Another good response to a very interesting debate. I hope as a photographer I could capture the love and emotion on the top of that hill in such a way as to make the wedding bloggable (although great views too, and sheep as witnesses? Totally blog-worthy!) Thanks for sharing! x

  2. I couldn't agree with you more, and so far by far the best responce to the anonymous photographer.
    I am very similar to you and market myslef on creating alternative weddings both in my wedding planning and on my wedding blog. Like you i don't feature every wedding I work on in my website gallery, because like you I am running a business and some weddings do not reflect my style...harsh, but it's a business after all!
    I also totally agree that it is all down to the photographer. As a blogger I am happy to featufre the more 'ordinary' weddings on my bog if the photography is good! Oftern a great photographer can turn a 'normal' wedding into an alternative, rock star wedding just by shooting it in an inteligent way! just as a rubbish photographer can turn an alternaive wedding into an ordinary one!
    At the end of the day we are all running our own business and for that reason it is our own perogative to post what we want when we want. we have worked hard to earn that right...and no one can take that away from us!

  3. I really agree with you Josie. As a photographer myself and a bride last year - I would trawl through all the blogs and look for ideas and inspiration that led to my whole wedding being made DIY style! I do however see the other side of the story to some extent that some brides might find this overwhelming - and not everybody is creative so it is sometimes hard to achieve on a small budget etc. But I think what the photographer didn't really get was that each blog now is a business - a brand - and if you don't appeal to your audience then you wont have one. it's like anything - you would expect to find milk and bread in Topshop. ARGHH!
    On another point - about vintage style photography,actions etc and being a fad - I think that the photographer needs to realise that as you pointed out - it is a trend led industry and that any good photographer has their own personal style will shine out from that and show the spirit of the day. There are many many photographers that are stuck in the past and that is why they aren't blog-worthy. harsh but true x

  4. Well written Josie! I agree.
    Of course you can find beauty in everything.
    But there is the right of quality selection of every blogger.
    It also doesn't mean that not featured weddings are not beautiful, of course they are for the family, friends and everyone in involved.

    It shouldn't matter if a wedding is getting featured, which bride is getting married to get their pictures published???
    Really!? And if anyone feels pressured, they should take a deep breath and do some yoga.
    If they are that insecure, how will they be able to face the bigest challenge of all: Marriage?
    I hope brides are all well aware of their own beauty and don't take things that seriously.

  5. Love this response, Josie!

    When I first read that letter/rant I felt quite guilty and started questioning myself and my blog...but you are SO right.

    So much of what makes a wedding 'bloggable' is not how pretty the bride is, how many DIY elements there were or how extravagant the table settings were but how good the photography is!!!

  6. Interesting discussion! I have to say that I agree with both you and anonymous in parts.

    While I certainly don´t think that all kinds of weddings should be published (totally with you on that), I also don´t agree that bloggers will in reality accept any kind of wedding as long as the photography is good.

    A relatively small part of the weddings I photograph are "blogable", not because of the quality of the photography or even the lack of an interesting location - in fact, lots of our brides and the locations they choose are really quite glamourous. So these weddings are "un-blog-worthy" not because of their lack of style, but because, indeed, there is very little decoration or ideas that could be used by other brides.

    I´ve had a lot of answers from blogs like "love your work, but more deco details would be required" and actually "love your work, but event is not special enough". This is, by the way, TOTALLY FINE - I understand that blogs are really there to give brides ideas, and while a great picture of a couple kissing might not be particularly inspiring - I would hope the bride IS already inpired in this way, if she´s getting married! :)- a combination of colours for the flowers, or a certain set-up of dining room, might well be really useful for her planning her wedding.

    So no hard feelings from my side, neither towards brides who don´t really care that much about the table settings, nor towards bloggers who don´t want to feature their wedding pictures! But to say that it´s really just the photographer´s fault... isn´t that also quite inaccurate?

  7. I agree that bloggers will in reality accept any kind of wedding as long as the photography is good.

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