Monday, August 16, 2010

More on Blogging and Photographers

So it seems I've created a bit of a firestorm with my post last week. And I think I need to step in and clarify a few key points, both about interpretations of my post and about things I've learned in a deluge of emails since then:

1. My post was about a segment of photographers I've come across in my time researching, reading, and blogging about weddings. It was 100% not a post about a specific photographer. In my comments, I saw an example of poor treatment from a reader and snapped. Her comment reflected what I know to be true from speaking with wedding pros, brides, and following wedding-industry blogs like Think Splendid (both this article about Online Marketing and the Plus Size Bride and the comments are worth a read). I included my reader's comment as an example to illustrate these issues and not to call anyone out and I purposely did not discuss who her photographer was.  However, I now have reason to believe that I was never given the whole story about this particular example. There's a reason I didn't provide names and would request that others not jump to conclusions about the same. Regardless, my post absolutely highlighted a truth I have seen in this industry. After receiving emails and reading entire pro photography forums dedicated to calling me a "fat, ugly, bridezilla" because of my post (and that was the nicest of it) I know this is a real undercurrent in parts of the wedding industry.

2. We brides tend to be an insecure bunch. I've admitted to my own issues publicly, in an attempt to move beyond them, to be brutally honest about the good and bad of wedding planning, and because I know I'm not alone. Really, you try going for 18 months of an engagement being asked all the time how much weight you're going to lose and you try to come out with healthy self-esteem. It's hard. I know a few other brides who hated their photos when they first received them. Everyone else loves them, but we can't see beyond our own imperfections... for the first few weeks. We can see that the photos and art are amazing, but we hate how we look in them. And for us, I would recommend we all take this advice to heart. And then, there are truly disappointing photography experiences. Those where a bride didn't get a single photo with her daughter and new husband (which happened to a fellow bride here in blogland quite recently). Or where the photos were average and none looked like the perfect website or blog publicity shots (which is why I requested access to view at least one full wedding from my perspective photographers, to get a feel for their style beyond just their best work.) But I can tell you there's a difference between insecurity-hatred issues and bad-photographer issues. We know the difference.

3. My post was about that difference. My post was about the photographers who really don't respect clients of all looks. Blogs are one possible place where that bias comes out, but they are not the only indication and blogs were not the point of my post: respect was.  Most photographers I've met are fabulous people who got into weddings because they love using their art to illuminate couples' joy. And some - a select group - are cruel and horrific to less-than-stunningly-pretty couples. That was my real problem in the post. And when we get a less-than-sensitive comment from our photographers - even if it wasn't malicious - it's deeply hurtful. And when we know that we aren't publicity worthy (again, we know the difference between an insensitive comment and something worse) it is profoundly insulting and painful. 

But because blogs were the focus of many conversations happening about my post, I wanted to address some of the issues about blogging that have come up:

4. My post referenced photographers' blogs, which are really different than mags or pro wedding blogs (those are topics for a different post altogether). I think the last two years have seen a huge shift in the wedding industry due to blogging of all sorts, and there are no standard rules or expectations yet. Some photographers have sites and blogs. Some have turned their blog into their primary site because it's more dynamic and up-to-date. Some see their blogs as a personal space and their websites as a professional space (though as clients, we see your blog as a reflection of your professional work, I assure you). I had assumed that photographers' blogs were a place that featured all of their most recent wedding work... except for a few "edited" choices that ticked me off. For some photographers, they in fact edit like this, and they've said as much in forums and emails, though they wouldn't often say it to clients faces.

5. A lot of photographers use their blogs differently than I had assumed. Some emailed to gave me insight into why not everyone gets blogged and I think it's important to share their perspective: "I just wanted to let you know, from a professional photographer's standpoint, that choosing whether to blog a wedding has MUCH more to do with the light, venue, details, emotions, and quality of our work than with the attractiveness of the bride and groom.  I'm sure there are a few jerks who choose to only blog pretty people, but I think the vast majority of photographers would agree that there are a LOT of factors that influence whether we blog a wedding or not, and the attractiveness of the client is pretty low on the list. Brides whose photographers don't blog them shouldn't take it as a personal attack or get offended or hurt by it, and if they do, they should be honest with their photographer and ask them why.  Chances are that the reasons the photographer didn't blog the wedding had nothing to do with how the bride and groom looked.  Maybe the photographer just got busy and didn't have time to blog it - maybe they were saving it because they wanted to use fresh, never before seen material for their sample album - maybe they were trying to get it published so they didn't want to put it up on their blog - maybe they just forgot!!  Don't hate a photographer or assume the worst just because they selectively blog - there are plenty of legitimate reasons, none of which are a judgment of the "publicity worthiness" of the wedding or the bride and groom."

6. I am genuinely curious about the "not enough time to blog every wedding" issue I've heard from multiple photographers as a reason they don't always blog weddings. Honestly, I blog about 3 times per week in text-heavy posts that I create from scratch and edit (on top of my real job, wedding planning and a completely overscheduled life), so I didn't expect it would take a lot of time to blog a few photos that a photographer has already edited for clients packages. I could be wrong and would absolutely want to correct that misperception here on the blog (photographers - please chime in in the comments!)

7. I remain 100% convinced that great photographers can beautifully capture people of all sizes, colors, sexualities, and wedding styles because I've seen those photos over and over again on high-end photographers' blogs. And I also believe that having a few photos of these weddings will increase your market share. You can continue to focus the majority of your photos on traditionally attractive photos because yes, that makes sense to draw clients in. It's the first glimpse of something obviously aesthetically pleasing that gets often gets new clients to click on your site. But then... we want honesty. We like knowing you can capture us, beautifully. In a similar "we want honesty" vein, a lot of the real bride communities that I've followed (Weddingbee, Offbeatbride, Indiebride) have huuuuuge numbers of forum posts with real women in real wedding dresses. Readers have been overwhelmingly positive about me posting pictures of myself in various dresses. It's because we want to be able to make informed decisions and the models aren't helping. We are unbelievably relieved when we see people who look like us in dresses and wedding photos  and relief is the main emotion on these sorts of threads. We understand all about marketing needs and we are darn savvy consumers. We like the pretty pretty pictures, but we also like knowing that we can trust our dress and photographer to make US pretty on our wedding day too.

8. Our photographer, and every photographer we seriously considered hiring, blog clients of all sorts (unless the client doesn't want to be blogged, which can be contracted). These are all photographers with features on major blogs and all charge several thousand dollars (plus) and have heavily/fully-booked schedules. In other words, respect is not limited to "low-class" or "poor" photographers and their clients, like I saw discussed in many comments, emails and forums. I made a conscious choice to only interview photographers with a representative sample of clients on their blogs. So yes, as several defensive photographers have mentioned, your blog is a marketing vehicle and it advertises a lot about you. And no, for the record, I am not "fat, old, ugly, and poor" and that's not why I was looking for a photographer who had a range of clients. Instead, I was looking for a photographer who understands what's beautiful about weddings and I prioritized respect and real human emotion and connection.

I'll spare you from the language I've received about this, because it's truly horrific the ways some photographers refer to "fat ugly" brides. These photographers obviously felt that "fat and ugly" was the worst insult you could hurl at someone on the internet, thereby displaying their own prejudices and limitations. And yes, I stand by my belief that these people shouldn't be anywhere near my wedding or wedding photography in general. Because if you can't see the beauty in the wedding emotions themselves, then you're probably not the best person to capture it for posterity. Go become a fashion or product photographer, please. Hire your beautiful models so the rest of use don't need to be exposed to your misguided contempt.

9. The vast majority of the wedding photographers I've met are absolutely incredible. They are wonderful people who actively celebrate joy. They are artists who can capture joy-as-beauty. They love their clients and became wedding photographers because they love weddings and photography-art. This makes me happy. This makes me jump for joy (and not in a jumping bridesmaid photo way). These are the people who I want to have surrounding me at my wedding. These are the photographers sending me dozens of emails about how they support what I wrote and how they blog and love all their clients.

Thank you to all the wonderful photographers who reminded me that my issue is just with a narrow segment of the photography world. Thank you to everyone who emailed kind words and beautiful photos of your weddings. Thank you to everyone who sent balanced and fair counterpoints that are worth discussing. From all of us couples navigating the challenges of this engagement and wedding process, Thank You. If I haven't sent you a personal email or thank you yet, I apologize. Give me time, I'm still trying to get through the inbox, but please know that I truly appreciate this dialogue and chance for us all to bridge the gap between couples' and their photographers.

57 comments:

  1. I can't get enough of this discussion. Thanks for this wonderfully constructed, fair, and fascinating recap, Becca!

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  2. yep.

    all of the above.

    not being blogged about is a non-issue. being told you're not "blogworthy" is a-whole-nother thing.

    i want photographers to blog all types of couples. not because i want to be featured. but because i'm tired of the stale, old "gorgeousness." i want to be inspired by couples/weddings of all sorts.

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  3. Would it be amiss to post a link to the site of a photographer who DOES blog average couples, who is quite talented, and who seems to take great jo in nontraditional couples, nontraditional weddings, and capturing love in any body type? I can't see publicly shaming the "bad" photographers in the comments as leading anywhere good (by "bad" I mean the ones who lob "fat and ugly" as though it's OK to call your clients that behind the filter of anonymity - I'm reminded of the Penny Arcade "Greater Internet ****wad Theory" there)...but I can see celebrating examples of what we want to see as a force for good.

    And we DO want to see it. WE DO. I am getting married in 2.5 weeks and, HELLO PHOTOGRAPHERS, I booked mine based in large part on her site and blog, which features couples of all sizes, races and orientations. Not just her blog - her actual site's galleries feature photos of normal looking people and I just could eat it all up it's so good. So it's sort of a message to the "brides who don't like it are fat, ugly, old and poor" photographers out there that we are giving our money, quite purposely, to someone who doesn't just feature The Pretty as if that's all there is and can be. She's so awesome she featured the original of these posts on her site, because she's 100% behind it!

    So would it be within the realm of acceptability to post her awesome site here? I don't want to step on any toes.

    And I love this conversation too.

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  4. @Jenna - Please send me your photographer's information! People have been emailing me some great photos and info about their amazing photographers and I'm putting together a series of posts and list of photographers who meet my personal criteria.

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  5. Becca, I love that you are willing to come back and clarify and keep driving the nail in where things may become muddled and blurred. I think that your original thought process and topic are totally justified concerns about the photog industry. And I also love that some photogs stood up to clarify some things for you and that you shared those clarifications. I think it's all true on some level.

    It's unfortunate at the minimum. I think so many of us have a hard time putting ourselves in someone else's shoes. It is the nature of humans to think everyone sees things and feels the things that we feel individually. But that is obviously not true. Some of us will post pictures all over our blogs and others tend to keep it simple and text worthy only. Nothing is wrong with either desire.

    The unfortunate thing is when hurtful comments are made or people make assumptions that come from insecurities. That makes me so sad. I recently saw a few blog posts about a video from a bride on Weddingbee who had a phenomenal artsy wedding video posted and a ton of people made horrific, hurtful comments about her weight and the 'ugly' people in the video (bridal party). To me, those people are clueless, selfish, ugly people on the inside who have no idea of what true beauty and joy is. Rather than get angry at how stupid their behavior is, I pity them for the fact that they cannot fully understand the emotions that people like you share through this medium of the internet.

    I only hope that justice is served in the end so that those who choose to ridicule and make hurtful comments feel the pain they inflict on others. Not that I am trying to be vengeful, but you just can't have true compassion until you've experienced that you need it yourself.

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  6. After a lengthy discussion....

    "There is a reason why brides and grooms get married - they are all attractive in some form or another. If a photographer can't see the beauty in that, then what are they capturing? And weddings shouldn't be about looks but memorable moments shared between the couple and their guests. Decoration does jazz it up and personally I haven't had many chances to photog those types of weddings but again, the decor is all about them anyways. It is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime event that is sacred and meant to be captured the best way possible. It certainly does not have to be about anything really, except for the bride and groom. It's their day, they CHOSE the photographer so it really shouldn't be acceptable of a photographer to say such harsh things. They should in turn be grateful that their services had been chosen. But I can also understand that in our society, it's at times quite easy to forget all this."

    Translated by assistant on behalf of Billy Kim

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  7. Throwing in a great email I got from a photographer re: the time-it-takes-to-blog question:

    "I obviously can't speak for every photographer, but I know for myself and many others, blogging is a VERY time consuming process. It's typical for me to spend about half a day working on a blog post, sometimes even the full day. The way it works for me is that I will pull up the entire session/wedding and go through and select my favorite images. Out of 700 wedding photos, I might pick 200 or so. Then I will go through those favorites and start to weed out images until I get to a reasonable number for a blog post. That alone can take up to two hours. Once I have selected the images that will be bogged, I have to edit them meticulously. Some photographers are happy to just throw their images up on their blog with no further editing, but I am extremely picky, and I will open up each image in Photoshop to fully retouch it, paying special attention to the bride - smoothing her skin, fixing any double chins, large arms, pooches, blemishes, etc. - and add my "artistic editing" such as converting to black and white or adding special filters. This process usually takes at least three or four hours. Then we have to prep images for editing.. That means creating storyboards or vertical diptychs, resizing, adding borders, adding watermarks, etc. That takes quite a bit of time as well - if it's not automated it can take over an hour. Finally the images are ready to be blogged. So now we write the blog post - that's the quickest part of all of it (and since your blog is very text-heavy, that's probably why you think that blogging can be done quickly and easily). Then we must upload the images (which, again, takes some time) and add alt text to each image to describe what's in each photo, being sure the add keywords to help with SEO such as the bride and groom's names, the venue name, the type of dress, the type of flowers, the city location, etc. That takes a good hour, as well. Finally, the blog post is ready to be published. Hooray! But then, of course, the images need to be uploaded to Facebook as well (a large chunk of photographers post to facebook and their blog at the same time to maximize exposure) - including tagging everyone in the imnages and adding my hyperlink to the caption of each image so people can find my website if they like the images. That adds another hour or two to the process.



    So there you go, that is how blogging works for me. Engagement sessions and bridals go fairly quickly, maybe only 3-4 hours to prep, but weddings can easily take up a full day of work. You also have to remember that "office time" can be very scarce for photographers - I'm out of the office for at least half a day for a session or meeting 2-5 times per week, which leaves me only 3-3.5 "business days" each week to get my photos edited, e-mails answered, albums designed, print orders fulfilled, and blog posts prepared. Time is very limited, so I can only afford to blog once, MAYBE twice a week (sometimes I can't afford to blog at all that week). Currently I have nearly 100 weddings/sessions in the queue waiting to be blogged. Obviously, due to sheer lack of time, not all of those are going to make the cut. For me, selective blogging is a necessity. Sure, I could just post one photo from a wedding and say "There, you got blogged" but to me that is almost more insulting than not blogging the wedding at all. At least if I don't blog a wedding the client can always hope that I will, someday (and maybe I will!). If I blog just one photo, then the client knows that's all she's gonna get, and I feel that that would be more hurtful than at least leaving the possibility open of blogging the wedding in the future."

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  8. My wedding photographer blogs every engagement, every wedding, and every other photo shoot (bridal shoots, portrait shoots, etc), and I think that's the way it should be. She takes on a limited number of clients a year to ensure that each client feels special, and I can assure you that it has certainly made us feel special.

    I think that not blogging about a couple because the venue, details, emotions, etc. aren't up to the photographer's standards is almost as bad, if not just as bad, as not blogging someone because they aren't conventionally attractive. How dare a photographer make you feel bad about your wedding or imply that the emotions in your photos aren't good enough to be blogged?

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  9. i blog daily, so i get the time-consuming thing. i can understand that some photographers will simply be incapable of blogging every client.

    however. i don't know that it is as important to me that EACH client be posted on a blog, as it is that variety is demonstrated. be "selective" is understandable, for sure. but choosing based on the "quality" of the subject rather than the quality of the photo taken doesn't seem to make sense- especially from a marketing point of view.

    as a bride. as a customer/client. i prefer to see a spectrum of weddings- it reassures me that a photographer can work with whatever s/he is handed.

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  10. also, making the venue/details look beautiful is a talent in photography. our photographers took a dusty old church and made it look like a shining cathedral. it can be done.

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  11. I can't believe the abuse you got, that's absolutely over the line.

    I think that your posts on photography have been fantastic. I'm sure that many photographers will have taken note, and that many couples searching for the right photographer will have a clearer idea of what to look for, not just in style but in attitude (not that the two are mutually exclusive by any means).

    Also, while I'm sure it's true that many photographers don't have the time to blog every wedding, they can ensure that they don't select images to blog on the basis of how skinny, white and model-like their clients are.

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  12. Your point #8 seems to be at the heart of the matter. Why would photographers (or anyone else) toss out "fat, ugly, old and poor" as the ultimate insult???!??! (though I have to admit, it does roll off the tongue nicely. I'm thinking of starting a band with this name, or maybe changing my blog name... but I digress....)

    Is the worst we can say about someone an insult against their appearance? This kinda reminds me of 6th grade, when the cool girls didn't want to be friends with me because my skirt wasn't the right length, and I was wearing the wrong brand of t-shirt.

    It's the rare person who hasn't felt some combination of those traits at some point in their life. But does that make them less important, or less worthy of securing excellent professional services for an important life transition? I think not.

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  13. I already told you this via e-mail, but for me it takes about 3-4 hours to prep an engagement or bridal session for blog, and 5-7 hours to prep a wedding. That's almost an entire work day, just for one blog post. Writing is the quickest, easiest part - which is probably why you don't understand how it can be so time consuming for a photographer. It's all the other stuff that takes so long, especially for those of us who are very particular about our images and our blogs. Plus, most photographers I know only have 2-3 "work days" in their office each week (since we are out so much for shoots, weddings, and meetings), so one or two blog posts can effectively take up a third of the work week. Then of course there'a all the culling and editing to be done, albums to design, e-mails to answer, packages to send, orders to fulfill, etc. Believe it or not, most photographers have a LOT to do and a very SHORT amount of time to do it in, so often blogging gets sacrificed.

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  14. I'm a wedding photographer and I blog every wedding. But I can see how people might not have time. I have four weddings this month, plus a 40-50 hour per week day job. I spend about 40 to 60 hours a week on my photography job as well. I'm falling a little behind this month. If I had 4+ weddings every month, I probably wouldn't have time to blog them all either. In the list of things to do, blogging falls near the bottom in terms of importance (even though it's great marketing). Replying to client and potential client e-mails and phone calls is near the top. Delivering their products in a timely fashion and with quality is up there. Those things take a lot of time.

    I do think every bride is beautiful, though. How can you not be beautiful when you're so happy? The couple at the elopement I shot yesterday were bounce-off-the-walls happy. The bride was twirling around her hotel room before the ceremony. They were the most beautiful couple I've ever seen, and not because of their looks. I didn't even realize how amazing they were until I shot their wedding.

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  15. I just wanted to note that this IS a moderated comment section. I am absolutely okay with considerate dissent (inconsiderate multiple-comment single-minded, dont-want-to-have-a-conversation dissent is what shut down the comments last week.) I will, however, delete references to particular photographers who behave like *sses. That's what weddingwire and review sites are for. (And please please please go post there.) I really trying to keep this space civil and on the larger point and not on any single photographer.

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  16. I would blog more if I charged more for my weddings. In other words, I haven't set my prices high enough to justify spending four or more hours per wedding blogging. And, to do it right, it takes a whole lot of time.

    This is a business, and everythng I do during the work day has to contribute to the bottom line. While blogging more might bring me more work, right now I couldn't deliver my photos on time if I stopped and blogged every wedding.

    If I charged more I could afford to hire a part time employee to come in and do part of the work, or sub contract out part of my work to free up more of time specifically for blogging. I think some brides fail to realize that if they want all that blogging, someone has to pay for it.

    You think you can't hire a photographer unless he/she blogs a lot? Better be willing to pay more.

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  17. This is a really important discussion. as a wedding photographer I hear from people all the time about how they are treated by other photographers. I will say most of the good photographers I know are very professional and treat their clients or prospective clients with respect and care. I would hope so. Weddings are sensitive events and very important in people's lives. My own opinion of blogging is that some of us are good at it and some aren't. In my busiest times I don't have a lot of time to work on the blog because I am too involved in processing the pictures. I look at every one of them myself. So I can understand that sometimes you can't put everybody on the blog, at least in a timely fashion. I will make one comment though about looks. In the fifteen years I have been shooting weddings every single one of my brides has looked beautiful on her wedding day. Not every one is a model or an actress and people don't pay as much attention to every detail of their appearance as celebrities do. But that's why they look their most beautiful. Because on that day, they are glowing and their beauty is all around them. They are the center of attention and they are also happy. This translates very well into pictures. "Regular" people can be beautiful too! There are people of all sizes. When they get married they still have a glow because they are being themselves. The only thing I ever notice is whether or not the dress is the best choice for them but by the time I am involved it really isn't my business. Some people do make unflattering choices. But, given that, you have to look for the ways to maximize what does look good and make sure it is obvious in your shots. It is always a pleasure to shoot weddings and in all of these years I have never had a single client that was a problem. My brides are all very cool! :)

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  18. @Stacy @Lara - thanks for the insight on the time it takes to blog. It's something we genuinely don't know as potential clients.

    However, even a photographer with limited time for blogging can take care to present a representative sample on their blog. If you don't blog every wedding due to time and tell me that, as a client I can understand that. Especially if you already have a range on the blog. Because if you have limited time and you're only cherry-picking the most traditionally attractive clients, then there's a real element of "am I a publicity-worthy bride or not?" Especially when many of the blog posts gush about how beautiful the weddings and couples were.

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  19. @Anonymous - as I and other brides have mentioned in the comments, we're more concerned with having a representative sample of your work and how you capture a range of couples and situations.

    I can also sympathize that at the lower-cost end of photography you have to book a lot more clients to pay your bills, leaving less time to blog. But, as a bride who's a thorough researcher who's willing to pay for quality work, I'd say the blog is definitely marketing time well-spent. You don't need to blog every wedding, but we want to see a representative sample of recent work.

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  20. First time here. Directed here from a fellow photog.

    We have had so mentioned bridzilla's before, who pretty much want everyone involved to bow to them and hand stuff over for free! Not cool! But, we are always able to dissolve situations like that where everyone walks away happy! :)

    Plus size brides:
    In this day and age, sexy sells! Which usually consist of skinny models with big boobs that make guys drool, myself included. But, photographers are supposed in the business of "People." For which there is no one that should be viewed as substandard. You are correct in stating regardless of size, there is always beauty.

    This filters down to race, religions, etc... I know some studio's who will not work with people unless they are white, due to some twisted race issue. Others I know will not shoot a Jewish wedding due to their beliefs. Us, we shoot anyone and everyone because we see people as fellow people, not as some rich, middle class, poor tier system. Just because I wear an $800 watch doesn't some how make me any better then the person who can only afford a cheap watch. We have had clients that are Oprah rich and couples who are trailer park poor.

    Photographer's who will only work with A-list looking couples make the rest of us look bad. They put a stigma into the photographic community, which trickles down as a must if you want to be a successful studio. While we may not be pulling in 6 figures in sales, our clients are happy, and they are all treated with love and respect.

    Blogging is very time consuming for some photographers. Like stated in the email you received. We don't have near the work load some do, so we blog every single shoot we do, with at least a few shots. Even if we had a crazy work load though, we would blog our favorite weddings, regardless of what the bride and groom look like. Its sad that people will only blog the models, and not the normal folks too. But guess what?! There are way more normal looking people in this world then ultra good looking people. Personally, I don't care what you look like, and any decent photographer should be able to make even the ugliest couple in the world look good. If you can't, you're in the wrong profession! That's whats its all about! I personally may not find a bride beautiful on a personal level, but our job is not to judge, its to capture the beauty the groom see's. Or the other way around.

    Now are we the best photographers in the world? Not even close! We suck compared to some studio's and out shoot just as many worse studios. We are right in the middle. We have yet to turn down a single couple based on anything other than a scheduling conflict. I have booked brides knowing they are going to be a PITA! The PPA pushes selective booking based on if you click well with a couple as a good business model. While I agree to an extent, it should be based on whether you will work well together and not misconstrued to whether said couple will make your website look good. Just because a bride is gonna be a PITA, doesn't make my photo's worse. I'm still going to capture the love and beauty of the couple.

    All in all it was a very good read, and I agree with a lot of points you made! So bravo to you for posting this and to the photographers who are knocking and sending nasty emails.... GET A LIFE! But I guess there will always be a few bad seed's who tend to make the rest of us look bad. So we will keep shooting all those couples you feel are "unworthy" of your time or talent. And when all the model looking couples are running low, we will still have a huge, diverse, and happy client base...

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  21. Sing it Becca! You are spot on with every point!

    And I'm so proud of you for continuing this conversation. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  22. I agree with Robert, with one caveat: there's no such thing as a Bridezilla:

    http://offbeatbride.com/2010/01/of-brides-and-zillas

    We've been over that. :)

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  23. BTW, I blog. I'm not a photographer (though my images are pretty good for a mere enthusiast with a crappy camera) but there are tons of photos on there.

    It's not wedding related at all - it's a blog for expats by an expat - but I can say that to create a nice blog post with a narrative and nicely edited pictures selected to go with it, each full-length post takes me about 2 hours...but then I'd have already done the editing on the photos. 4 if I have to edit photos first.

    I can see how a professional would want to take more time than that, but if someone took four hours to blog one event, I can see why not every event would make it but most should be able to, even if they appear later on, during the low season, when work has calmed down. (ie early fall weddings making it on the blog in January).

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  24. The photographer under scrutiny has received bigger insults than being called fat and ugly. I belong to one forum where everything from his personal character to his business practices are being scrutinized and picked at. Apparently he is being attacked and defended in multiple forums.

    As a photographer, a blogger, and artist, a mom, a church member, a volunteer, a home maker, a marketer, a friend, a business owner and many more things it does NOT surprise me that a wedding photographer might not have time to blog images when the MAIN priority may be to sort through and proof hundreds of images, order the proofs or create a gallery, manage a business and their life. Blogging every session is not a priority for everyone.

    Brides can be ugly in more than just appearance... I'd be less worried about physical insults and more about my own inner self worth and ability to be sympathetic and not assume the worse.

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  25. @Monique - I have apologized already to the photographer for inadvertently identifying him. That was never my intention - I tried to keep everything anonymous, without links, names, or identifying features - but I obviously made a mistake in a reference that has now been deleted. But I assure you, I have never once mentioned his name and it's staying that way. I can never know what happened between him and his client and I did not mean for people to attack him for a conversation I wasn't privy to.

    My intention with that post was not to attack a single person but to shed light on selective blogging that only includes traditionally attractive couples. As you'll see throughout today's post and comment thread, I have clarified my original statement on blogging every couple, because photographers have brought up the real issues about time constraints. So, I want to see couples who represent a real range of marrying couples on photographers blogs, and not just size 2, 20-something, model-like couples. I want a range of people and styles of weddings, as much as the local population allows, and not just trendy indie weddings. Because really, the reason I care about a photographer's blog at all is that I want to know he appreciates joy and beauty in all their forms, and not just when it's packaged in "pretty" clients and "unique." That all can happen with occasional blogging. But, if a photographer doesn't blog everyone (as is often the case) then they are obviously making some active choices about who gets blogged. It was not out of line to bring up a public question for all photographers about why they make the choices they make on their blogs.

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  26. i'm confused by the continued argument that a photographer "can't blog every wedding."

    yes.

    this is pretty clear.

    as a blogger, i understand that. with a husband in graphic design, i understand that. photos take a large amount of preparation to become web-ready. particularly if you're using them as a means of marketing, and want them to look their best. depending on your website, there could be a good bit amount of coding involved in making sure the photos are aligned correctly in every version of every browser, etc.

    but.

    i don't think anyone here is requesting that photographers blog EACH wedding. i think that a good point was made above- sex sells. and in this conversation we- as brides, consumers, customers, clients- are making it clear that this is ONE field in which sex DOESN'T sell.

    so, if you are blogging sporadically. if you choose one wedding out of 10 to blog- it probably will not behoove you to choose the leggy-big-boobed-one. because your clientele is crying out for variety, diversity.


    (whether or not others are belittling the particular photographer becca inadvertantly mentioned is neither here nor there. noone on this site did much more than call him a mofo. ...and yes, that was me. critiquing a person you do NOT know based on anything other than facts in beneath this entire conversation- whether we're discussing becca's appearance or this photographer's lifestyle. so why even bring it up here?)

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  27. I feel so dumb, as I have no idea who the "identified" photographer was even though I've been following this discussion from the beginning.

    I agree entirely with Liz. I don't have a problem at all with photographers not blogging every single wedding/photo shoot they have, but that's different than only blogging a single TYPE of wedding/photo shoot. When you endlessly pick the high-end, model-perfect couples, all you are showing are the same images: the pretty dress in the window, hot couple kissing, wedding party jumping in a field. B-O-R-I-N-G.

    But then again, I much prefer the photojournalistic style wedding photography than traditional posed pictures, which is exactly what I looked for in choosing our photographer.

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  28. As a plus size woman/bride/photographer, I can totally understand where the brides are coming from. I was a size 24 on my wedding day, and my main goal was to be photographed beautiful and for my photographer to capture each and every single important moment.

    Now as a photographer, yes-it does take time to get images ready, to write the blog, upload images, etc etc. But, I still do it. Every wedding, every shoot that I do gets put onto my blog. Since I want to appeal to every client, I post every client. I love shooting different types of weddings with different types of brides.

    Now, not everyone here is saying that they want a photographer to blog every single wedding, but they want a photographer that showcases their ability to shoot different weddings and different people. I take pride in being able t do that. I give each couple individual attention, because they are the most important people of that day, and I make sure they know that

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  29. hah, sarah. i'm right there with you. i'm like, "wait, WHO?!"

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  30. i blog every client.
    every. single. damn. client.
    now, i am not doing 2 weddings a week, 52 weeks a year. i am busy and it could be a great cop out to say 'oh i just don't blog every one because i get too busy' bull. blogs don't take that much time. (again, i say that as a photographer that takes 2-3 sessions a week, and maybe 10 weddings a YEAR).
    the point of a blog for some is to get street cred with other photographers. and i call bullshit for any one that says that isn't true. this industry is getting beyond ridiculous. with the 'brands' and the workshops, the retreats and the online courses by so called "famous" photographers. i would never know about these people if i were not a photographer.
    i believe the said photographer of rachels wedding is probably the one in the same that has a travel bus with his face plastered on the side of it.
    sure this is a business for our clients but these people got famous by being phony douche bags selling their 'tips' to other photographers.

    my clients get put on my blog because i want each one to know they are important. what happened to civility and customer service. damn.

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  31. I love your posts and as a photographer, I DO NOT take offense. I find it appalling that people would verbally attack you.

    I sent you an email with links to my blog posts. I DO BELIEVE their is BEAUTY in real moments in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities.
    check it out.. I blog real people
    http://krashingmotions.com

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  32. anon, my amazingly talented, amazingly BUSY wedding photographers do full-on blogposts for each and every client, as well. it's not required, no. but kudos to those who do!!

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  33. I have to admit I cried when I read both articles as I am a photographer and I CANNOT imagine treating ANY of my clients in such a horrific way. Just the other night I had a client contact me to tell me how much she LOVED her Engagement Photos but how UNHAPPY she was with herself in the photos. IT BROKE MY HEART! I no longer was just her photographer... I was her friend and I didn't care about reshooting or the time I put into the photos I cared about her and what she felt about herself. I may be partial LOL but I think the photos are filled with love, chemisty, raw emotion and fun and THAT IS WHAT MAKES THE PHOTOS BEAUTIFUL! (Here si the link to my Facebook Gallery of some of their pics http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=195959&id=112209612102) They are a cute couple and so sweet. I told her to go back and no look at HERSELF but to look at the photo in a complete sense. What feelings to go you when you look at the photo... not at YOU in the PHOTO. She called me the next daya nd agreed she loved them and so did everyone else. There was never a reshoot :) It truly pains me to think what some asshole out there can do to crush not only the beauty of the day but the beauty of someones soul. Everything that you have said about what you look for in a photographer is what I strive to be with EVERY couple that works with me. I could charge thousands of dollars but I keep my costs low so that EVERYONE can get photosgraphs/memories of their special day they can treasure forever. Who am I to deny that from them? Who cares if that distracts the "pretty people." I have not shot one UGLY couple yet... I think every person in front of my lense is BEAUTIFUL! Funny thing... I think LOVE makes us all a little more pretty :) I am sorry to anyone who has ever had to feel that way but take comfort in knowing those "asshole" photographers are not just mean to clients but they are mean to other "photographers" as well. I have been told horrible things by others in my feild about my work. "Seems like you youngens think just because you can buy a camera these days ANYONE and EVERYONE can be a photographer..." and that is one of the NICER comments... I just use it to make my work better. My clients love me and my work and that is all that matters. Thank you again for posting these articles and I only wish I could be there for more people so they would not have feel as if they are less than worthy. Noone deserves that.

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  34. I have a few comments on this topic. First off, not all wedding photographers are full time photographers. Some, like me and my wife, work full time jobs. Believe me, we wish we could do photography full time but right now, it's not a possiblitiy, maybe in a few years. We both work full time, have a 2 1/2 year old as well as a new one coming in Dec, and me being in school. We have either weddings or other sessions most weekends and at night is our editing. Most of our sessions, weddings included get a sneak peak which we post on our facebook page. We don't do sneak peaks for everyone, it just depends on what we have waiting to be edited and how long the people will have to wait. We haven't blogged since January of this year, which has our favorites from 2009. So what I'm getting from your comments is don't choose us as your photographer because we don't blog. We always add our clients as friends on facebook and they know from the start that we're not full time. I barely have the time to update our website, let alone blog all the time.

    As far as not having photos of gay couples, there are clients out there that don't want to see this and would be turned off by it. On the flip side there are photographers that refuse to do same sex couples because of what they believe. We have done same sex couples and have no problem with it. Some photographers will lie to clients that they are unavailable for thier wedding date to avoid discriminating againts them, which is wrong. If you are a true professional, you should be able to create some great work no matter what the couple looks like, venue, etc. I know we've had some not so good venues, but have still ended with some awesome images.

    I thank you for your being "reminded me that my issue is just with a narrow segment of the photography world". Not evey photographer is this this one photographer. When I first read the other post, I will admit I was pissed off for clumping every photographer together, because that included us, which we are not like that photographer, so thank you for that.

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  35. I was actually looking for a photographer to do a boudoir shoot and ran into exactly the problem Becca was talking about: Every single shoot looked the same. I did not receive enthusiasm when I contacted the photographer. I definitely know I want that enthusiasm, so I will be looking for that with my wedding photographer, and that enthusiasm extends to glorying in beautiful photography, not just beautiful people.

    So yes, I will expect to see a range. Prove to me that you can shoot in different locations, with different people, show me candids or at least photos that look less posed and staged. If you won't show me that on your public face, I have to wonder if you can do it. I may still contact you, but I'll go in suspicious, and you will have to work all the more to get my business. I want to know that a photographer will make me feel special, not in the way of me being overly demanding, but in the way that they see ME, my vision, my beauty, and my love. If you can't do that, and can't enjoy hearing about my wedding and who my guy and I are, forget it. Because you will be among my friends and family for an important party we're holding.

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  36. Just to clarify what I keep reading about the first post... as a photographer I took no offense to it. I know I am not "that kind" of photographer and I could clearly read the two different types of photographer you were talking about.

    As for FULL TIME Photographer VS PART TIME Photographers. Here is my story... I work a Full Time Computer Consultant job during the week, I own and operate my Photography Business ALONE with no help. I am a mother of a 3 year old and a 16 year old. My husband works the night shift and I work day and night LOL BUT I still find time to "sorta" blog every day. I use FACEBOOK as a "blog" page for my clients. After EVERY shoot no matter if it is a weekend, weekday, Engagement, Family, Wedding, WHATEVER... I come home and write a quick status update about the client and what i just lived thru.... I edit 10-15 photographs, watermark them and upload them to Facebook where I tag the client and they have something to brag about right away. I also use my FB page to showcase my most recent work.... in fact by adding a few after every shoot it is up to date as in that very second! Blogging is time consuming but this is a happy middle ground where ALL of my clients can feel special and I have no excuses to why one couple is showcased and another is not. Not to mention I get great feedback from not only my clients but all their friends and family because they see the posts right away as well. Facebook is free and has brought me a lot of business! I don't sleep much but I am doing something I love and still have time for a career and most importantly my family so I don't think you can be upset with someone because they want to be as important as someone else. I think we signed up for this job and that means everyone of our clients deserves to be in the spotlight as well as our flash light :)We just have to find a creative way to make that work for our clients and for us :)

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  37. @Ben - I think most of us are aware of time constraints and the difference between a full- and part-time photographer. If you tell clients that upfront and you're consistently not blogging, then I wouldn't judge you on your blog. Or for not having a range of client types on said blog. (Although I would say that having up-to-date work is a huge marketing asset. Maybe you could do a six-month round-up as a portfolio update for new potential clients?)

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  38. @Kristen - if you're in the LA area, I can heartily recommend Jordana Hazel (Hazelnut Photography) for boudoir. I worked with her, and completely fell in love when her sexiest shoot was with a proud plus-size woman who rocked it. That shoot convinced me that she could make anyone look fabulous by bringing out their best qualities.

    And if you're not in So Cal, I'd say go check out the boudoir photography posts on Offbeat Bride and Rock n Roll Bride - they've both featured photographers who make women of all sizes look stunning in boudoir.

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  39. As a photographer - sometimes, I don't have time to blog everything. I can write loooooong posts that are text intensive in no time at all. Blogging a wedding, for me, involves going through photos to select my favorites (we don't always do it during the initial edit since my editor does that round, and I pick blog photos). From there, I have to prepare them for the blog - they get to be exported, watermarked, looked over for retouching. I normally only retouch things (under eyes, smile lines, stray hairs, dress fixes) when I'm sending an image to the lab to be printed or when I post it to the blog.

    Then it is the process of getting the post written, the vendor links together, and all the images added. Oh goodness, the images. That always seems to take forever!

    Some weeks are pretty intense with weekday shoots, client meetings, sales meetings, vendor meetings ... and when a blog post can take 2-3 hours, it doesn't always get done.

    That said, your post the other day made me realize a different point of view. Everyone wants to be on the blog, and I don't always get them there. So I'm going back through every single wedding I've ever done, and posting them. I'm also writing every client, sending them a link to your post (with a PG-13 warning) and telling them that I wasn't ignoring them. If I have submitted their wedding to a publication and can't post it yet, I'll let them know that too.

    Hope that helps explain why some people don't blog every wedding. And thank you again for the inspiration and clarity!

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  40. "As far as not having photos of gay couples, there are clients out there that don't want to see this and would be turned off by it."

    This is NO EXCUSE not to blog same-sex couples. If a photographer is more concerned about the feelings of bigoted potential clients than the feelings of their actual paying, not potential, clients, then shame on them for pandering to this sort of ugly prejudice.

    If a couple is "turned off" by images of a same-sex wedding, that's the couple's problem, not the photographer's. If you replaced "same sex" with "interracial" or "non-white" it would raise everyone's hackles as unacceptable. Imagine it: "As for not having photos of black couples, there are clients out there that don't want to see this and are turned off by it."

    Sounds awful, doesn't it? Because it is. Well, doing the same to same-sex couples is, well...the same. Just with a different group.

    Our society has matured beyond the worst of racism (though there's still room for improvement) - now it's time we mature as a culture into one that accepts same-sex relationships. If any one client has a problem with it, they can and should be promptly shown the door. Maybe that will cause them to re-think their prejudices.

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  41. Becca, one of the things that surprised me about the response to your previous post (both in the previous comment section and on some of the photographer message boards) was the claim that less conventionally attractive couples are more difficult to please and more likely to complain about their images, and that somehow this is a justification for not ever blogging photos of people who aren't an 8+ on the attractiveness scale.

    I wonder if the photographers who made those claims have considered that by showing clients a portfolio containing only their most attractive couples in the most beautiful settings, they're creating skewed expectations? I must have visited my photographer's website about eight million times between hiring him and the actual wedding day. If all I'd seen in that time were slender, stunning brides in super-expensive venues, it would have been easy to start thinking that our wedding photos would, or should, look exactly like the photos from those weddings, to ignore the great job he did capturing our friends' dancing and our first kiss and obsess over why I didn't look like the other brides in his portfolio.

    Also, my wonderful photographer doesn't maintain a regular blog, but his slideshow on his webpage shows a wide range of clients and weddings -- same-sex, VFW chapel, historic hotel, plus-sized, skinny, older, younger. Even if a photographer can't blog every wedding because of time constraints, I think it's possible to show off their range and demonstrate to their clients that they take everyone's wedding seriously, regardless of the couple's looks.

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  42. "I wonder if the photographers who made those claims have considered that by showing clients a portfolio containing only their most attractive couples in the most beautiful settings, they're creating skewed expectations?"

    THIS. THIS. A million times THIS.

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  43. Im absolutely baffled when I find fellow photographers who only post particular sessions/weddings... How is that fair?? I, as a photographer, Share images from EVERY SINGLE event I do unless it is a corporate gig (few and far between) Head shots, parties, families, newborns, weddings, it doesnt matter.. i dont care what color, ethnicity, height, weight or anything that you are.. you are a client who has hired me because you enjoy my work.. and I as a photographer and an ARTIST find beauty everywhere I turn.. I was a plus size bride last year, so I completely understand, and my husband is not white.. so again, I understand..
    While blogging is extremely time consuming as far as chosing images, preparing them for the web and whatnot.. I post all of my "teasers" on mty facebook fanpage within 24-48 hours of my shoot.. and this is something I advertise to my clients that I do.. they are called teasers so that you have something to hold you over until I finish the 1,000 images that I shot at your wedding... I for one want to work on the images and see the final product as much as you do!! and I want to see people reactions to them! There is nothing more satisfying to me than when I post teasers on facebook for a client, tag them in the photos, and then I see all of the positive comments.. not just on my page, but on theirs!!
    As for ANONNYMOUS and not making enough money to blog.. REALLY?!?! I dont make much money either and I work a 40hr job on top of my photography as well working on my BFA for photography.. but you must be EXTREMELY confused about Blogs... they are definitely not something that cost money.. yes time.. but not money.. My teasers/blog/website are what fuel my clients coming in... Clients' friends, family, coworkers, etc... will all see these images and know YOU as the photographer.. this is absolutely INVALUABLE!! My advice to you.. blog/post teasers.. perhaps then you would book more clients and could eventually charge more..

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  44. The link to the original post was posted in my photography forum, and I posted in agreement with you and stated how I would not hire someone who discriminated against same sex, mixed race, overweight, or average looking couples, as I fit several of those categories and all my friends do as well.

    I mentioned how there are some very vocal people in that very forum who say disparaging remarks on peoples appearance and weight, and I was called out as being overly sensitive, since I admitted fitting into some of those labels I listed above.

    It's a narrow percentage of photographers who have this discriminatory attitude, and unfortunately they are just more vocal especially given free reign in the internet.

    You know what? The more abuse you get, the more you hit a nerve. Times are changing, more so in urban areas than rural, but still changing. If the ones who are complaining the most don't change their prejudices, they'll be out of work or work themselves into the perfect hollywood hetero white perfect niche, as long as they stay far away from the rest of the world let them live there!

    and I want to heartily DITTO everything Jenna said (5:11 am)!!!

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  45. To add onto what K8et said, photographers need to realize that they are in the SERVICE industry. Making disparaging remarks to clients or picking a choosing who goes on the blog based off of some constructed ideal of beauty is not what brides want to hear or see. You are a potential client and based off of the responses here, you have a very loud voice and are likely influencing a lot of other potential clients. If these photographers that call you names want to keep their business up and going they need to realize that they are serving the client. If you want clients you need to give them what they want. Afterall, they are paying you. They want to know that you are taking them seriously and that you respect them. Their wedding is incredibly special to them and they want to know that their photographer thought it was special as well.

    If a photographer wants to pick and choose the clients he features then they need to make it a portfolio, not a blog. Clients expect to be on the blog because it's considered less formal and more about what projects the photographer is up to lately.

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  46. Wow, what a couple of articles! I'd like to make a few points from the perspective of a full-time wedding photographer.

    First, in this second blog, the writer said that she wanted to be able to trust her dress and photographer to make her pretty. Unfortunately, my job is NOT to make anyone look pretty! I do make my brides look as pretty as possible, but ultimately my job is to create meaningful photos that capture their emotion. Their photos are only for them. So, for my overweight brides, sorry, I can't shoot you skinny. What I can do though is bring out that glow in your husbands eyes when he's looking at you at the alter. Ultimately I can only photograph what you bring.

    With that in mind, I absolutely do filter brides and locations when selecting images for my portfolio. I have not yet shot a same-sex marriage but if I did I would not use those images in my portfolio. Why? Because I want to use the most marketable images to "hook" viewers as quickly as possible. Essentially, I look at my portfolio as my favorite work, not a blind sampling of my work. As such, there is no entitlement to be featured in my portfolio! (Small an honor that may be!) The job of my portfolio is to increase the perceived value of my work. Like it or not, beautiful people and locations do that. So, I strongly defend this practice in portfolio image selection.

    I do not blog my weddings. However, I do have complete images from all of my weddings available for brides to look at. I think it is important to show an honest representation of my work here, so I do not filter any weddings or brides out.

    Thanks for all of the feedback. It's helped me understand what a segment of brides want!

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  47. @Brad
    "First, in this second blog, the writer said that she wanted to be able to trust her dress and photographer to make her pretty. Unfortunately, my job is NOT to make anyone look pretty! I do make my brides look as pretty as possible, but ultimately my job is to create meaningful photos that capture their emotion. Their photos are only for them. So, for my overweight brides, sorry, I can't shoot you skinny. What I can do though is bring out that glow in your husbands eyes when he's looking at you at the alter."

    -I think that's exactly what "pretty" means to me. Make me look like my best version possible. I don't expect you to make me look like someone else. But capture flattering angles (in general) and raw moments (I'll take raw emotions of perfect flattering poses myself). The glow is what we want and it's at the core of what I would describe as real beauty. It's us transformed by joy, but still us.

    "With that in mind, I absolutely do filter brides and locations when selecting images for my portfolio. I have not yet shot a same-sex marriage but if I did I would not use those images in my portfolio. Why? Because I want to use the most marketable images to "hook" viewers as quickly as possible. Essentially, I look at my portfolio as my favorite work, not a blind sampling of my work. As such, there is no entitlement to be featured in my portfolio! (Small an honor that may be!) The job of my portfolio is to increase the perceived value of my work. Like it or not, beautiful people and locations do that. So, I strongly defend this practice in portfolio image selection."

    -We expect to see beautiful images of beautiful people. That's what initially catches our eye. But I absolutely want to see a range of images in your portfolio. Because I imagine you're going to get a range of people requesting your services. Size 12 women know they aren't size 2s and need to know you can capture them well. People getting married in a variety of locations need to know you can do that well too. So yes, the portfolio should showcase your favorite images. But frankly, it's smart marketing to showcase your range. We want to be able to see ourselves in your images and know that you'll do our wedding justice. We don't need to know that you can shoot pretty people in a pretty way. Let that be your hook, but I'd recommend also including some substance about your range. Because photos of non-gorgeous people can be gorgeous too when you capture that raw emotion with technical and artistic skill. And you're supposed to be selling us on your ability to capture US beautifully (as I defined it above), and not just on your ability to capture the level 10 people looking like level 10s.

    And as for your comment about same-sex couples, I would be hooked by those weddings. I and a ton of equality-seeking and believing couples would applaud you for it. I tend to agree with Jenna's comment above re: same sex couples. The only time I could understand (though I still can't justify it) a photographer editing out same-sex marriages from their portfolio is if they live in a predominantly fundamentalist religious market. But frankly, having same-sex images would be a HUGE hook for me and a whole lot of people in CA (where you seem to be based. Surveys show that if Prop 8 were on the ballot today, it would be defeated and gay marriage would still be legal.) You'd also get access to a whole new set of clientele.

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  48. This has been fascinating, shocking and informative.
    I was horrified when I read some of the experiences of brides. As a professional photographer, I cannot conceive of such rude, offensive and unprofessional behaviour as mentioned in the first blog. How these people expect to continue to succeed in their career - if they were working for a large company and behaved like that to a client, they would be shown the door, so why is it different when you work for yourself? Surely that is more reason to behave professionally, as you are fundamentally responsible for the success/failure of your own business/livelihood.
    Moreover, as a woman, I was shocked to the core by the behaviour of these few. It must have been crushing to feel so undermined and be treated in this way. I know from personal experience how a single innocent comment many years ago can have long-term repercussions in your self-esteem, never mind such wicked commentary made at such an important time of your life.
    Anyway, enough about the disgusting behaviour of some photographers... I have also been pleasantly surprised by the feedback from people about how important blogs are to clients. I only set up my blog this year, and have so far been posting a little sporadically, and not really being quite sure how best to utilise it for my business. It is very clear from the comments, that people do want to see their images (or at least some of them) uploaded to a blog. It is also clear that such honest posts as the original blog in this chain, can stir up emotion, passion and community feeling.
    So, I am pledging now to update my blog more regularly, allow myself to share a little bit of myself with people, and more importantly, post images of all my lovely clients!!! (I don't have any non-lovely ones!)

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  49. Thank you for the feedback! I think we are in basic agreement over what a "pretty" picture is. I thought as much but wanted to clarify.

    Thank you for your feedback on the marketing value of including weight and orientation diversity in the portfolio. I disagree, but I readily admit I'm not a marketing professional, so I may very well change my mind on that! Also, just to clarify, I target brides coming to California, not California brides themselves. So, I try to reflect a nationally-appealing "norm" and stay away from politically-charged issues. With that said, I welcome same-sex couples! A paying customer is a paying customer, and their photos will be on my site just like anyone else's.

    Thanks again! I'll stop replying now because I don't want to hijack the discussion. However, if anyone would like to continue the conversation with me on the side please feel free to email.

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  50. "With that in mind, I absolutely do filter brides and locations when selecting images for my portfolio. I have not yet shot a same-sex marriage but if I did I would not use those images in my portfolio. Why? Because I want to use the most marketable images to "hook" viewers as quickly as possible. Essentially, I look at my portfolio as my favorite work, not a blind sampling of my work. As such, there is no entitlement to be featured in my portfolio! (Small an honor that may be!) The job of my portfolio is to increase the perceived value of my work. Like it or not, beautiful people and locations do that. So, I strongly defend this practice in portfolio image selection."

    Honestly Brad, we chose our photographer based on how great her photos looked even with average looking people. Her blog features all sorts of couples and while I don't know if she features every wedding, her selection is diverse and representative of real people, and that's enough for me!

    In fact, we decided NOT to go with many photographers whose portfolio albums were filled with beautiful people in beautiful locations. It actively turns me off to see that - and in fact decreased the photographer's value in my mind - I think "So you think you can only hook me by showing me pictures of gorgeous couples in lovely locales? What about me - I am not gorgeous and our locale is pretty but it's hardly a spectacular castle on a bluff. I'd like to see what you can do with people like ME."

    I don't mean shoot plus size girls "skinny" (that's ridiculous) or make someone conventionally pretty who is not (also ridiculous), but I actively hunted for a photographer with a portfolio of images of average people in average locales that looked lovely and artistic, because she's talented.

    She's got at least one same sex couple and a plus size bride in that gallery if great images, and that's what hooked me in a way that the images you might have chosen never could. Ultimately, she's getting our money and photographers who put together portfolios the way you say you did...did not get our money.

    We're a straight couple but I'd probably ask any photographer with no same-sex weddings if he/she has ever shot them. If he/she were to say "yes" I'd ask why those images are not in the gallery - like Becca, those are images that hook me, because it shows tolerance and equal respect. If I heard something like what you said above, that person would be automatically stricken from my list of potential vendors. Same for non-white or interracial couples even though my fiance and I are both white.

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  51. I guess, in short, I don't mean to be so harsh, Brad, but if you'd been on our list of potential vendors (you weren't - I don't think you are in our location) your "beautiful people" filled portfolio would have actually lost you money: it would have been the #1 reason why we wouldn't have chosen you.

    I can't imagine that I am the only person who feels this way, and felt this way long before Becca's post.

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  52. If it makes you feel any better SEVERAL of my photographers sent me your post under the title "Oh SNAP" with lots of smiley faces. They saw it as a truthful and ugly reflection of part of their industry.

    On another note, I want to make sure we don't set "getting blogged" as some sort of standard to live up to. REALLY. I don't have time to blog every wedding I get sent. Sadly, that pften gets viewed as judgment, because people don't get how overloaded I really am. If I haven't blogged a wedding, there is an 85% chance I haven't opened the email yet, even, because it's that bad. So, we should give photographers some slack on that.

    BUT, more to the point, as someone who (oddly, or obviously) has serious privacy issues and internet boundaries, I contracted away the right of our lovely photographers to blog our wedding. And then I put up oh... 20? Tops? Photos of our wedding online. That's not very many for a wedding blogger, to say the least. So, I think what I'm saying is 'Beware thinking that having your wedding blogged is the bees-knees, or that it says something about you. Think really hard about how much (if any) of your wedding you want to put online. Don't just do it because it's the done thing. Some things are too important to be publically shared, and some things are so important you want to publically share them. You might not know which is you till after the wedding, so you might want to reserve the rights to thumbs up or thumbs down a blog post."

    So. That's a tangent. And I'm sorry you got such cr*p for that post. Lots of wedding professionals were expressing solidarity in places you couldn't see.

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  53. I'm a bit late to the game, but I found these few posts fascinating and wanted to comment on another aspect of the issue:

    What about brides who want MORE pretty photos of pretty people on their photographer's blog? I know I do. In fact, I've been worrying about the photographer we chose to shoot our wedding; his blog and website are full of unconventionally-beautiful couples, but there isn't a single bride that looks like she belongs in a fashion magazine.

    This scares me, because conventional beauty is EXACTLY what I am striving for on my wedding day and in my photos. I wish my photographer had at least one bride who looked like what I am trying to achieve. As it stands, I feel like he's more interested in capturing "reality" than capturing the BEST POSSIBLE version of me. The photographer is clearly marketing to "real" couples, and I'm sure the overweight/imperfect brides who look at his site love that. But as a non-overweight bride with features that are more conventional, I feel alienated.

    You might think that I can easily hire a photographer who focuses on good-looking couples and allay my fears. But I can't afford it. Our photography budget is not tiny, but it does not go far in the city we'll be marrying in. So the photographers we could consider were all the kind you'd approve of - concerned with representing "real" couples looking like their real selves. But I don't want to look like my real self - with the right dress/hair/makeup and the right angle/pose/etc, I CAN look like a girl in a magazine and for my wedding day, that's exactly what I want.

    PS I largely agree with your post and I don't mean to discount the very real issues you brought up. I just want to point out that while most of your readers seem to prize diversity in marketing materials (and I'm talking specifically about beauty, not race,sexual orientation, etc) some brides may not appreciate an over-emphasis on reality and a portfolio filled with "real" brides.

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  54. @Anonymous - I think we all want to look beautiful on our wedding days. We wouldn't be stressing out about dress selection and makeup tips otherwise. But I think a great photographer makes everyone look their best. Period. I've seen quality photographers take normal people and transform them. I can see they may still be overweight, but it's also clear that they're beautiful (without a ton of photoshop and post-processing). And then, there are photographers who can't do that as well. Or they capture beautiful people more awkwardly. Maybe they haven't been in the business as long and don't have the skill. I tend to think it's more a question of skill than anything else. If you are pretty enough for a magazine and you hired a capable photographer, I'm sure you'll look amazing. Because it's NOT about the couples. It's about HOW the photographer captures them. Go look through my photographers site (Kelly Prizel, listed on my sidebar). She captures a range of people, beautifully. Not once did I look at her blog and say "they looked great, but..." I just got excited because everyone DOES look like the best version of themselves.

    And also, it's a question of what you're looking for from your photographer. If you want a lot of posed/fashion photography shots and your photographer is focusing on the real moments (let's call it more photojournalistic) then it might a *style* fit that's bothering you right now. Go back and look at your photographer's work. Look at the angles. Look at the light. Look at the color. Look at the moments. If you're happy with those, then you will probably also be happy with how he captures you. If you're looking for the portrait-style fashion spreads that are popular on blogs and that's not what your photographer showcases, then it's a different issue altogether. (And I would ask you what your priority is from the wedding day - taking time to get amazing portraits or experiencing/capturing the full range of the day with some time for portraits too, of course).

    I would also say to spend some time really thinking through the link I provided from Amber Events (http://amberevents.blogspot.com/2010/08/post-wedding-pics.html). Because the truth is that most of us - even "pretty" women, are not models. We will probably be the prettiest we've ever been on our wedding days (makeup, hair, an amazing dress, maybe some spanx, etc) but we're still going to look like an amazing version of US. Which, after reading too many magazines and blogs that generally only feature model-pretty women, can be a photo shock (since losing weight still doesn't give me model-esque bone structure.)

    Lastly, some of my favorite "fashion" type spreads have been with larger women, so long as she had confidence and was working with a capable photographer. In fact, the photo that finally calmed me down about participating in a boudoir shoot was a larger woman's session from the photographer I used. It was - hands down - the most stunning boudoir shoot I've seen to date. I won't link to it, out of respect for privacy, but I wasn't thinking about her weight when I saw it. I just saw HER. And this photographer has dozens of amazing boudoir shoots with traditionally attractive women, but that one was the one that stood out. A great photographer can capture everyone well. Period.

    These are huge questions and there are a ton of layers built into the answer that's right for you. Good luck.

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  55. After reading through everything, my contribution is small and I apologise if I have misunderstood.

    As someone bigger than average (and certainly bigger than an average bride on a blog), I would feel uncomfortable allowing my pictures to be published on a photographer's blog. Becca, you have acknowledged that you're not OK with having your pictures published, so surely there are many of us who have the same issue, whether we are big or bigger or whatever.

    I just think that such issues obviously filter what images are approved by brides for photography blogs. I don't wish to remove the ultimate responsibility for what goes on a photographer's blog from the photographer themselves, but it's worth remembering.

    I was a bridesmaid recently for two close friends. I notice their wedding is on their photographer's blog. But I am very glad that pictures of me are not up there for all sorts of reasons and yes, a lot of it has to do with how I look.

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  56. @Moz - Oh - I would NEVER want someone blogged if they didn't want to be. We have clauses in our contract about what's bloggable and not and we had the full option of contractually refusing to be blogged/used in promotional materials at all. I think that's prudent and, if I didn't have my own blog, I don't think I'd want my private-moment photos shared with the world at large. As it is, we're keeping it very limited.

    Whether anyone *wants* to be blogged or not is an entirely different question (and a huge messy one where I can only offer my opinion about my own needs.) However, my point with these discussions is that photographers should be *willing* to blog couples of all types, that photos of couples of all types are beautiful when captured by a great photographer. A lot of blogs DON'T reflect that diversity, even when many couples would be happy to be honored to have their photos celebrated in a public forum (I know, because they've written me and talked about how painful it was to be actively EXCLUDED, which is different than being given the opportunity to decline.) Also, a photographer doesn't need to blog every couple they photograph in order to represent diversity. They should be upfront about their timing limitations if they don't blog everything (as photographers mentioned above) but I do think it's important to respect, honor, and celebrate beauty in all its forms on their blogs with a range of client *types*. Following approvals, of course!

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  57. i'm a delinquent wedding blogger...not-blogging is because...man, your perception of blogging photos is not-quite-right. :-D

    i used to blog regularly, text-only...and it took SO much less time. it can often take me 2-3 hours to choose photos for/format/write a wedding blog post.

    and thanks for sharing the bit about the quality of the photos vs the attractiveness of the people...that's pretty key!

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