Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What to Look For In a Photographer

This isn't going to be a post about what questions to ask your photographer. Those posts exist all over the internet. And this isn't going to be a post about what techniques to look for, since everyone's aesthetic preferences are different. What I like may not be what you like, and visual preferences in wedding photography are really subjective. But you know what isn't subjective? Whether or not your photographer can capture the essence of joy, love, and sheer unadulterated beauty in your wedding day. A photographer isn't great because his (posed, prepared for) engagement shoot is featured on Green Wedding Shoes or Style Me Pretty. A photographer isn't great because she's snapped a few beautiful images of beautiful hipster 20-somethings at their beautiful handcrafted wedding. No. A photographer is great when they can see the genuine beauty in pure love, regardless of how it's packaged.

When I started searching for a photographer, I scrolled through pages and pages on site after site of perfect color- and light-saturated images. I scrolled through pages of stunning dresses and perfectly decorated settings and interchangeable brides and grooms. They were all slim, stylish, under 30, and gorgeous. None of them looked like me. None of them looked like my friends with hips, curves, laugh lines, or maybe even some pigment in their skin. Very few of them were apparently anything other than heterosexual. And I started to get suspicious. Because it's not normal - even in Los Angeles - to be hit with that many beautiful people (and Los Angeles is pretty darn ethnically and sexually diverse). So I went to the featured photographers blogs to look through their most recent work, but no, I still couldn't find any average looking people.

I understand that photographers' websites and blogs are marketing vehicles. I expect the websites to feature traditionally attractive women and men. But your blog? Your most up-to-date work? Theoretically a glimpse into your entire portfolio? And not one single woman larger than a size 4? Or how about a black, Latino, or interracial couple?  Or how about a gay or lesbian couple? Or how about a couple who got married in a hotel banquet hall setting? No? You haven't photographed any weddings like that?

I call bullshit. Maybe in your corner of the world it's more ethnically and racially homogeneous, so maybe you get a pass there. maybe. And maybe you live somewhere with smaller homosexual populations or where gay marriage isn't yet legal, so maybe you get a pass there. But, um, 60% of women in the United States wear a size 12 or larger, so you don't get a damn pass there. And, while I don't know anyone (besides fraternity boys) who has done extensive statistics on the number of 10s versus 5s on the attractiveness scale (which yes, I find repulsive, but moving on), I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that everyone hiring you for wedding photography isn't a culturally-defined 8, 9, or 10 because that's statistically impossible.

So where the hell are the photos of everyone else? A wedding photographer friend confirmed my gut-wrenching suspicions: that lots of famous, big-time photographers everyone's swooning about take photos of "everyone else" but won't blog their "less attractive" couples because it hurts their "brand" and "image." Chubby, ethnic and old is apparently downmarket. Even when they can afford the "upmarket" photographers who happily take their money.

Well fuck you and your brand. You and your unfortunately narrow interpretation of beauty are some of the ugliest things I've run across in the wedding industry. When you don't post photos of paying clients on your blog you are explicitly telling them that they are unattractive. No, actually, you're telling them you're too talentless to capture the unique beauty in their specific love. You're explicitly telling them that their wedding wasn't as special as your other clients' weddings. And you play a small part in adding to the sadness and misery of the world. Because when you behave like a shallow asshole, real people like get hurt by your petty branding bullshit. Like Rachel said in the comments on Monday:
"My photographer told me to my FACE that he only blogs publicity-worthy couples. I'm a size 16. Yeah, we definitely didn't get blogged. Not only that, but during the shoot, he kept telling us how excited he was to come back to that place months later so he can do a "shoot". I'm guessing he'll be going back with beautiful people since those of us who were actually getting married weren't thin enough. And yeah, he's definitely one of those photogs on Green Wedding Shoes, SMP, etc.

I kept trying to tell myself afterwards that it didn't matter, that I shouldn't allow my feelings to be hurt by this stranger, but I bought into the bullshit hype that a 'great' photographer can make everything look magical. It just simply isn't true. It sucks because the wedding was seriously so much fun and ended up being better than I hoped for, but looking at the photos now just bums me out."
And from a follow-up email with Rachel:
"...there's something just deeply and personally hurtful about your wedding photographer telling you in so many words that you aren't 'good' or 'beautiful' enough.

My husband pointed out that there is a possibility he is simply unhappy with his own work on our wedding and that is why he is dragging his feet on getting us the final product, being unresponsive to my emails, and just generally acting as if he could care less about our photos. Or maybe he doesn't want to post our wedding in [place] because doesn't want to detract from when he drags his [props] out there in a few months for one of his "shoots".  I don't know.

Sigh.  I keep checking and asking myself if I'm not just being petty about the photos.  "Boo hoo, I didn't get posted on my wedding photographer's blog, wasted thousands of dollars, and he was mean to me."  I thought that I was being a 'bridezilla' until my parents, husband, and friends all thought that his photos of us were not as good as his photos of other clients, without being prompted by me." 
This is part of the bullshit that subtly twists us into thinking brides all look like models and that therefore my plain-Jane face isn't really bridelike. Granted, it's not a photographer's responsibility to change the systemic issues that drive my self-esteem problems. However, it's a paid photographer's responsibility to respect all his damn clients, regardless of what they look like. If you take our money to capture our wedding photos, it's your responsibility to capture our joy and beauty, and our beauty-as-joy. And that requires that you see it, that you understand it, that you interact with it, and that you cherish the real heart of the wedding.

Fuck the sofas in fields with pretty people - it's EASY to take pretty photos of pretty people in pretty settings in posed situations (whether they're actual clients or models, it's still staged) . But you know what takes real art? Seeing beauty where it really resides - in scrunchy-faced tears and heads-thrown-back laughter and overwhelming love, caught in an instant as someone brushes away a tear in real-time. If you don't want to capture that, why would you bother with becoming a wedding photographer? The majority of the world isn't an 8, 9 or 10 on the attractiveness scale, so you're going to have clients who aren't model-like. If you tell them they aren't model-like, you crush their beauty and the chance for real art. But if you can treat everyone with respect and see the real beauty that drives them as people and a couple, then you can create wedding photography art. 

So when you start to consider which photographer to hire for your wedding day, my one piece of advice is to hire someone who obviously respects all her clients. And the way you do that is to look through her blog and confirm that she respects people of all sizes, shapes, colors, and sexual orientations. Make sure he respects each and every client enough to blog them (unless the client requests otherwise). Make sure she respects ballroom weddings with bad carpeting as much as a rustic-chic handcrafted color explosion wedding. Make sure he respects people like you and will know how to make your photos glow, from the inside outward, on your wedding day.

And if you find that, then you've found a photographer who understands the messy beauty at the core of weddings, and therefore the point behind wedding photos. I want photos that are honest, that capture the hugeness of it all and not just the prettiness of it.  Because the prettiness is besides the point. I want to look back at my photos in 30 years and be able to reconnect with the hugeness of the day and the marriage experience and not just think to myself "wow, we sure looked pretty." What I want is the raw emotion of the day: the pretty, the ugly, the heart wrenching, and the ephemeral moments that slip by so quickly that I'm likely to forget them individually but that I'll somehow remember because, woven together, they created the fabric and texture of the day. I want it all captured spectacularly but, most of all, I want it to be honest.  Because that's where the art is, and not in the Pretty. And any wedding photographer who's forgotten that is nothing more than a shuttermonkey with a hollow "brand." And that's the last thing I want anywhere near me and my loved ones on my wedding day.

68 comments:

  1. DAMN RIGHT. I chose our photographer because she started as a photojournalist, sees real beauty in the love that is in front of her, and has no furniture-in-a-field photos on her site.

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  2. i want to meet this mothereffer.

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  3. Oh my god, I cannot even believe that photographer! We picked our photographers because we liked there work and when we met them in person we just absolutely loved them. If people who are essentially strangers are going to follow us around all day, we need to at least have some sort of chemistry. We picked them over other photographers whose work we liked a little bit more because that chemistry was there with them and not with the other photographers.

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  4. @Elizabeth- I wish it was just one mothereffer, but it's pretty widespread. I had a version of this post in draft form for ages, ever since I figured it out and got confirmation from several pro wedding photographer friends. But Rachel's comment finally set me off, as well as the plus-size issues Kelly referenced in Monday's comments too. I've been privy to some really ugly insight about some wedding photographers, so I hope posts like this can convince us all to do a bit more digging beyond big-blog publicity shoots to find photographers with true respect and art.

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  5. I've heard some crap come out of photographers mouths (happens when you run in a crowd of photographers). Ugh. But there are some really great people out there who champion diversity. Those are the ones I want to pay money to. I think photojournalists generally are best at doing this, because that's how they are trained.

    One thing I'd like to just throw out there, is that sometimes it's hard to get a diverse group of clientele when you charge a certain amount, and start off shooting a few couples all of the same race. People refer their photographer to their friends, who a lot of the time look the same. This is the problem Mr. Beagle is facing. He wants to shoot more diversity and non heterosexual couples. But the people that are seeking him out aren't that. But one of the reasons I love him so much is that he puts up pictures of every couple he shoots. He finds beauty in all his clients regardless of size or age and captures their joy.

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  6. @Ms Bunny - absolutely. There are a ton of amazing photographers out there both championing and quietly demonstrating diversity. And my definition of diversity was purposely broad, for many of the reasons you indicated. I tend to think that size and wedding-type (ie "traditional" and "indie") are good starting points to demonstrate a range that most non-brand new photographer has probably captured. Referrals and price are a barrier for some diversity, yes. But confirming he blogs every couple is a huge starting point for basic respect.

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  7. wow- that is absolutely catastrophically terrible. BOO THAT.

    Our photog is awesome.. down to earth and posts tons of diverse and anti-culturally dictated "pretty" people on her site.

    Beauty is definitely subjective culturally and socially. Posts like this are important to remind us why we can't forget that. :)

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  8. THANK YOU! :) I'm a photographer, at the beginning of my career (this year was the first full year of bookings) and I reflect often on this subject. My first weddings for the most part were not as photogenic as my current weddings - an unfortunate byproduct of charging only $500 for an entire day's worth of photography - but I displayed each and every cheap dress, every home made, walmart silk flower bouquet, homemade cake and every VFW banquet hall.

    I still do this, even though my clientele has for the most part grown out of the realm of the VFW hall. Not every wedding takes place in a refurbished barn but after all, a refurbished barn does not a happy marriage make.

    Before this wedding season, I sat down and had a heart to heart with myself about the future of my blog. Who should I post? Will posting pictures of my sweet, size 16 client chase the thinner, prettier brides away? What about the engagement pictures I just took of my gay best friend and her fiancee? Will I even have TIME to post all of these brides?

    Eventually I decided that it would be impossible for me to choose between the validity of one wedding over another. Maybe it's the difference between male and female wedding photographers, maybe it's my target market, maybe it's just ME. When I spend the day with a girl on her wedding day, I feel connected to her. By the time I get to teh ceremony, a lot of the time I've had breakfast and lunch with this girl. I know her best friends, her sisters, her mom, her grandmother and her aunts. I am cheering her on when she walks down the aisle. I am witnessing the first few hours of their marriage during the portraits. All of this is something no one else gets to experience; that is seriously sacred...how could I invalidate it by deeming it un-worthy of being broadcast to the wedding community at large? I can't...by the time I've edited her pictures and relived her day over and over again, I'm so overwhelmed that it's a personal mission to broadcast FOR her: "These people found each other! It's a miracle! They chose ME to be there!"

    Ok, so I'm a little sappy. Maybe eventually my job will wear me down and I will become more cynical. I know the photographers you're talking about; once I posted a portrait of a gorgeous plus sized bride on a forum full of them for critique. She was glowing, the exposure was perfect and tack sharp and I was fully expecting to hear praises for it (actually, I was FISHING for praise, I won't deny it). What I got was about 10 complaints about how fat she was and how I should have photoshopped her curves to make her look thinner. I should have spent more time posing her to hide her body, blah blah blah. I was flabbergasted, because she looked BEAUTIFUL.

    To make a long story even longer, I told a forum full of some of the most renowned photographers in america and the uk to shove it. There was no way I was going to editorialize this beautiful girl on her wedding day to make her more suitable for my blog.

    So, three cheers to love and marriage and all the ways you can choose to celebrate it; from silk flowers to orchid curtains :)

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  9. such a limited portfolio would undoubtedly demonstrate a lack of skill, no? you can't take pretty pictures unless everything is pretty? eff that. what the hell am i paying you for?

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  10. Rachel's story just made me cringe. As a wedding photographer myself, I can't even imagine telling a client those things!

    What's even worse than not posting certain pics on their blogs, I know a few photogs in SoCal who don't even take on clients who don't fit their ridiculous aesthetic criteria. Unfortunately, those photogs are very sought after so they can afford to be picky. Fortunately for the couples they don't work with, those couples can then go find a photog who actually gets what the wedding is about, and I think ultimately gets better photos.

    I want to second everything Kate said. In fact, that's probably the number one thing couples should look for in a photog (or any other vendor): someone who is going to cheer you on as you walk down that aisle!

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  11. @Emily - I 100% agree that feeling a real connection with your photographer is key - if I'm spending 8 hours of my wedding day with you (that's longer than I'll spend with anyone else, including my partner), I want to know we get along and you're (nearly) as excited about the wedding as I am! But figuring out whether you have that personality click comes after you've whittled through the websites and blogs to find photographers whose style you love enough to contact. Like you. (Psst everyone - I adore Emily AND her photos!)

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  12. @Kate - three cheers to YOU for standing up for love and marriage and your clients in all the myriad forms their beauty takes! And, from all of us brides, THANK YOU for telling that forum of asshat photographers to shove off.

    Also, as to the cheap dresses and walmart bouquets, I've seen great photographers turn them into stunning pictures. I have a cheap dress. But when a pro friend took a snapshot of me, it was beautiful. Because that's what great photogaphers DO - they make the mundane beautiful and they capture every wedding at its best.

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  13. Hear hear! What a great post. If someone only wants to/knows how to shoot model types, she should not be a fashion photographer instead of a wedding photographer.

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  14. This post is amazing. I want to stand up and cheer!

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  15. I am appalled at the treatment that Rachel received! What a horrible way to treat someone, especially a client! It breaks my heart that she had to endure that, and shame on the photographer that makes the bride feel ugly. Absolutely terrible.

    I was always annoyed with photo contests requiring a photo of the couple that was applying, or having specifications for who they were looking for. It always turned me off.

    I chose our photographer, Jessamyn Harris, because I loved her style and also admired her for offering free photography to one lucky couple after same-sex marriage became legal in California. In addition, she was easy to work with, didn't feed us any BS, was super responsive, and was very supportive the day of the wedding. My kind of gal.

    @Emily Takes Photos: Wow! Seriously? Photographers TURN DOWN clients? That just breaks my heart even more.

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  16. @Mo - the photo contests that require you to submit a photo turn me off too. I applied for one contest like that and felt so rejected. I KNOW I wrote a great entry and I'm sure the winning couples (yes couples) did too. However, when I saw who won and read their stories, I couldn't help feeling that we were rejected - at least in part - because of our photos. And that really hurt. I understand that it's a free service and it's really offered as a publicity opportunity for lots of photographers, but I just decided to no longer put myself in a position where my looks are part of the judgment criteria.

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  17. Oooh, Becca's pissed today! You know I have a soft spot for the F-bombs and potty-mouth posts! You wrote this post for ME, didn't you?
    JK.

    That's a pretty pathetic photographer, if you ask me though. I cannot remember where I read it (Practical Wedding maybe?) about an overweight bride and her feelings about how she would present herself on her wedding day to people who had not seen her, or her weight gain, in several years. But what was great about the post was, in fact, her pictures. Both her and her groom were not what this industry would label as conventionally pretty/handsome or trendy and hip. But oh - the pictures were de-LISH! Why? Because you could just feel the love oozing out of them, that's why!

    So yeah, you just gotta pic the photog who can show you the love, man! There's a great post on ABG about picking the right photographer because that will be the thing that you look back on. You want it to reflect what you FELT on that day, not just your antique typewriter guest book and vintage-looking blowy-veil shot. Right?

    When I met with my photog, he showed my a ton of pictures that weren't on his site. One was of the flower girl with her finger up her nose. It was AWESOME! He tried to click away from it and I screamed at him to stop and told him THAT'S what I wanted. I wanted the real deal. Because flower girls with their fingers up their noses? Totally real, totally awesome and WAY funny.

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  18. Standing ovation. Seriously. :)

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  19. I want to find Rachel's photographer and break his thumbs. What a load of horse turds. Rachel, please tell me you wrote him an awful review on Yelp or WeddingWire or something similar.

    If photographers are so worried about their "brand" that they'll only let pictures of skinny, affluent couples out into the light of day, no wonder wedding images are so homogeneous. Depressing.

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  20. This makes my blood boil. I hate that this happens at all. I hate that people can be so cruel, intentionally and unintentionally.

    A few months ago, I was emailing with another bride who had written that she decided against going with a photographer, whose work she admired, because when she and her fiance interviewed him, the photographer told her that he would have a problem photographing her gay best friend and his boyfriend if they kissed or held hands or hugged one another at her wedding because he didn't think he could capture that kind of love.

    Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder? If that had been me, I would have immediately shut the album, handed it back to him and said, "I'm sorry. I don't think we're going to be a good fit for you." But then I would have written about it. Everywhere. Because that asshat needs to be called out as the creep that he is.

    Who are YOU to tell me that my money is plenty good (or not, apparently; that is very disturbing, Emily) but my face is so fat it might break your blog? Fuck you, mean photographers, for mistreating people like that. If you can't see beauty in imperfections, then what the hell are you doing in wedding photography? Go be a second shooter or assistant on a fashion shoot and look at all of the artfully arranged beautiful people you want.

    We purposefully set out to find a photographer who loved to get in close and capture the emotions of real people. What the eff does a sofa in the middle of an empty field have to do with our wedding day? Nothing. Whatsoever. But I desparately want that picture of everyone laughing in a heap with my giant brother on top at the end of a mad game of Twister. Of me nose-to-nose with my daughter, whose favorite kisses are "Eskimo" nose rubs.

    If you're going to complain because my family consists of people who are of different races, different sizes, different sexual orientations, different religions, and differently abled, you are not a wedding photographer. You're just a jerk who owns a camera.

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  21. I am a wedding photographer and this just makes me livid! i have been in the industry for 2 years now and definetly know that this does exist :( and its extremely unfortunate! and downright cruel! i cant even imagine doing this to someone! and the new thing is apparently photographers will say they "support" gay marriages, yet refuse to shoot them!? wtf. umm, you obviously have an issue with them if you wont shoot them. sigh... makes me sad that this is the world we live in.
    and at the end of the day, your clients are not morons! they know they are not on your blog for a reason... you are fooling no one.
    brides- (&grooms) you deserve the best on your day! dont ever settle for anything else!!!
    xoxo. ashley rose

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  22. So sad for the terrible story of Rachel's photographer. I can't imagine that people can be so thoughtless and cruel. {and I think we need the photographers name so we can all call him out on it!}

    A couple in love is ALL that matter's for a beautiful wedding. {Don't get me wrong, I love the rustic, organic weddings} but if they don't even like each other then beautiful photos of them getting married will be VERY hard to capture!!

    Love is where it's at. Give me a couple in love and I'll give you pretty pictures!

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  23. @AbiQ - Rachel's photographer is just one of MANY so I don't want him to get called out when it's a systemic problem. (Also, she hasn't recieved all her photos yet and I don't want to jeopardize that!) But because it's systemic, it's something couples need to look for carefully in their photographer selection. It's suddenly easier to see it when you start looking through blog posts (checking for frequency/amount of posting, variety of people, church v "trendy" venues, etc.)

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  24. This post made my morning. Maybe if we cause enough ruckus in our corner of the web all those f*ckers will sit up and take notice? One can hope. @Emily's comment above just made me sad. What do these photog's do? Not even consider a client until they mail in photos of themselves or meet face to face? Sick.

    My photogs (One Love Photo) were so, so awesome. They were really the only people at our wedding that we didn't know personally and you never would have noticed, they just blended in like old friends. Even though I haven't seen any of our photos yet, I would recommend them 200%.

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  25. this makes me appreciate my photographer even more.

    from his blog, most of his clients aren't the svelte, stunning models seen on [fill in the blank]. they are real real people, with all their flaws, all their realness that most media doesn't champion. in the past three months, he's featured a lesbian couple, interracial couples, military couples. couples with what could be considered downmarket style aesthetic, and couples who have clearly been drinking the wedding diy chic juice.

    and every single one of them shows love love love.

    i'm happy to recommend him to anyone in the western mass area!

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  27. That is just ashame. I am a photographer and I am sorry Rachel, for how he made you feel. On your day, you are beautiful, you are full of love and happiness, you are unforgettable. That is how I feel about my brides. The 23 year old with cancer whos skin isn't perfect, the 47 year old african american 1st time bride, the 21 year old terribly shy because she wasn't a size 4, the 27 year old who was a size 4. They are all beautiful, they are all in love, they all had their perfect day. It is my job, to make sure their photos represent that. So, in 20, 30 or 40 years they can look back and remember how great that day was. That is what they should remember.

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  28. Being a 12 side myself, loved what you wrote.

    Kudos.

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  29. I'm pretty sure I know who this is about from a subtle detail stated earlier. :) I agree that this is so sad. I see it a lot. I have also noticed that many of these photographers put photos from posed "inspiration shoots" and workshops in their portfolio, and that upsets me because they often can't capture that feeling during a busy wedding. I will admit, I do enjoy when I get a chance to shoot wedding with people who really enjoy being in front of the camera (and will play a little), or who put a lot of time/focus into their details, but that does not mean everything needs to look like it belongs in a magazine. Photographers who can't catch thhe true beauty and meaning in the environment are not worth the money.

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  30. I have wondered about this exact thing when looking at blogs. It seems like a sad reality.

    I shot a boudoir session with a girl who's wedding I shot 2 years ago. She was probably a size 14 then and still is, and you know what? Her boudoir session was HOT! I actually posted it earlier today before I even saw this post, but it never crossed my mind not to! You are right - they are paying clients and deserve the same treatment.

    Kudos to you for posting this!

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  31. And suddenly, all is right in my world again.

    I second Robin's assertion above that these folks missed their callings as fashion photographers. And sadly, that is why they'll keep getting business -- some clients desire to be photographed that way. They have latched onto a specific, trendy style that makes them money, so it's not likely that they'll stop.

    But we need to keep trying to change the system.

    And knowing is half the battle, so thank you, thank you, thank you for heading up the discussion about this. I never thought about these issues when I went looking for our photographer. And thankfully, I believe I ended up with one of the good ones, but I could very well haven't.

    If this can save one couple from photography vendor regret, it was well worth it.

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  32. I feel so naive . . . I had absolutely no clue that this happened. I guess I figured - uh, duh - that if you paid people to do a job, if you paid a photographer whose work you loved to do their job, that they would do it, no problem. How fucking ridiculous.

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  33. this makes me sick.
    we really can't afford a photographer but lucked out by having several professional photographer friends who will switch off throughout the day. at least I know they love us and will cheer us on.

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  34. As a photographer who has both multiracial and plus-sized brides on a frequent basis (and posts them on blog), I can understand very well why any businessperson would want to put their best face forward.

    Now, this applies to all forms of business and marketing, so please be sure to point double the fingers and derogate the massively wealthy corporations (as well as your police, medical professionals and various other public servants) whose coffers experience billions of dollars' outlay in the interest of maintaining good PR and public appearance. The world we live in only exists because so many kinds of wool are constantly pulled over the public's eyes. Do you know how many unethical things go on all the time in any given company, police precinct, hospital/medical clinic, political office, etc.? Incredible numbers of things are kept under the rug every day. What about marketing in general: You do realize that many food commercials aren't even using real edible products because other things "look better?" This is marketing. Marketing puts the best face forward, even if that face is completely false.

    Marketing is all about showing a 2-dimensional perspective on a 3-dimensional product: As long as you see the best parts, it is desirable. How many personal hygiene and care products would you be willing to use if there were clear disclaimers that each one of them increases the risk of some form of chronic or fatal disease or syndrome? Probably not very many. How much research is done on those things, in order to find out how toxic they really are? Only as much as good business marketing allows. And what research is easily accessed by the public? Only as much as is needed. Does it give you a true, honest, comprehensive understanding of what you're dealing with? Almost never, because that would make you not want it.

    When you criticize a wedding photographer for only putting up their best work with the best looking subjects, you are criticizing one of the concepts on which modern marketing is most dependent. Here's another semi-related concept: Beauty products. How many of you wear them (especially on your wedding day)? Remember, they are not your true face (or legs, or other areas); they only help "enhance" your outward appearance. Why? Self marketing: You wouldn't care what you looked like if you didn't think it was important to do so, whether by cultural norms, constant advertisements showing off the best looking people, or just trying to look good for your husband/boyfriend/friends/social outing/business appearance. Your goal is (just like any businessperson) to make yourself look better than you would if all of your flaws were put out in the open. Looking better gets you more positive response.

    On the topic of selling this "look" that photographers sell...visual art is their specialty and core of their business. The look that they attempt to achieve is related closely to what cultural norms find acceptable, and is influenced strongly by those norms. Therefore, they are only putting on their storefront what they know sells in a given market. If our market changed to, say, prefer larger subjects, then photographers would most likely display such persons in their portfolios more readily. In a subjective thing like photography, the market and public preference sells the art.

    Before you say for certain that there is no good reason for the proportionate, fit and trim woman to be perceived as more attractive, I suggest you look up the golden mean and how it pertains to human anatomy and our perception of beauty. There are details suggesting innate preferences that may be genetically coded into us.

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  35. Anonymous wedding blogger here:
    Readers can change what big wedding bloggers blog. I blog details, styled shoots we get comments, I blog amazingly candid moments that take your breath away- the tears, the hugs...no comments.. '
    Our barometer of what you love to see on the blog, or want to see more of is how many comments a post receives, *you can* have an influence with what gets posted, what we seek out. Comment when you love a post, comment if you love the emotion, the non cookie cutter wedding- let us KNOW what you want!

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  36. The most difficult clients are usually the ones with low self esteem, and many of those are the unattractive clients. Any good wedding photographer always looks for the beauty in their subject, but others who are not associated with that wedding may not see the same beauty that the photographer (and the bride/groom whose photos they are) sees. In truth, love is a feeling and can't be photographed: it must be interpreted. The silliest expression, to one person, could be love - to another, it could be just a silly expression. However, certain other expressions almost always are associated with love, and those are what a photographer most wants to have in their portfolio. Body styles could be said to be interpreted with the same amount of subjectiveness: There are minority personal preferences (plus-sized, a unique facial feature or other physical trait), and a vast majority preference (conforms to sociocultural and possibly genetically-associated norms of what represents beauty). It makes sense to appeal most commonly to the vast majority preference, and therefore a portfolio is based on that majority preference.

    It is unprofessional of any photographer to fail to consider the personal feelings or value of their client, so any time they say something openly derogatory about their client is bad for all those involved. I would never condone, and there is no justification for, unprofessional conduct on the part of a professional.

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  37. @Anonymous photographer:

    "Our barometer of what you love to see on the blog, or want to see more of is how many comments a post receives, *you can* have an influence with what gets posted, what we seek out. Comment when you love a post, comment if you love the emotion, the non cookie cutter wedding- let us KNOW what you want!"

    I feel like Becca's blog post is doing what you say - letting you know what she wants. Judging by the number of comments this post has garnered, I'd say there are quite a few people who agree with her.

    "The most difficult clients are usually the ones with low self esteem, and many of those are the unattractive clients."

    Most difficult? That needs clarifying.

    " The world we live in only exists because so many kinds of wool are constantly pulled over the public's eyes. Do you know how many unethical things go on all the time in any given company, police precinct, hospital/medical clinic, political office, etc.?"

    And if this were a 'corruption' blog rather than a wedding blog, I'm sure we'd be talking about all of that like this were an episode of The Wire. But LA Love seems to be about her life and specifically how it pertains to the planning of a wedding. Picking a non-douchey photographer falls under that category. (Of course, I could be wrong. This could be a blog about angora rabbit breeding and I'm just retarded.)

    "It is unprofessional of any photographer to fail to consider the personal feelings or value of their client, so any time they say something openly derogatory about their client is bad for all those involved. "

    So subtly derogatory is okay? Because that's what all this 'marketing' talk is really about. Genetically coded preferences? People aren't picking future wives or husbands when they look at a portfolio, they are picking someone to execute a task. Speaking of the marketing...

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  38. "On the topic of selling this "look" that photographers sell...visual art is their specialty and core of their business. The look that they attempt to achieve is related closely to what cultural norms find acceptable, and is influenced strongly by those norms. Therefore, they are only putting on their storefront what they know sells in a given market."

    That would be well and good if we were packaging up couples and selling them off to someone else, but that's not what is happening. A photographer is selling a process. Couples in love who buy that service aren't looking to be sold off to the highest bidder, they are looking for a vendor to do right by them. I don't know about anyone else, but when I look at a wedding photographer's portfolio, I look for technical skill, attention to detail, and how many candid moments they seem able to catch. (And the percentage of photos on a tilt. Tilted photos drive me banana sandwich, and if there is more than 3 in a portfolio, I move on.) I would NOT be turned off by a photographer who used ethnic minorities, homosexual couples, or larger people because these people EXIST. They are REAL. And they are 100% equally capable of "showing off" their love so you can turn around and use them to sell yourself to someone else.

    Bottom line - some wedding photographers should have been fashion or product photographers because all they see when they look at a couple is how much money they can make off of them. They don't see it as their job to document the event and the REAL LIFE. Photojournalists seem to understand that the ART is in the LIFE. It is NOT in how many bicycles can be dragged out into a field, how many size 2 white women in their 20's they can pose on them, and how many hipsteresque over-exposed black and white photos can be taken of this set up. Real people in love are the art, and they are NOT a product. If a wedding photographer gets burned out on weddings, which is entirely understandable, then they should pick a different subject.

    A lot of what you said about marketing is true. Perhaps these photographers should start taking photos of soap and Gucci handbags so they can put those tenets of 'good marketing' to use on something that was meant to be sold.

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  39. Hey, Anonymous photographer! If the marketing and advertising departments of every major company on the planet asked you to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it?

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  40. Well said, Tarah!

    I think it should also be pointed out that in photography, as in life, there is a huge difference between "beauty" and "love;" and in photography, as in life, one cannot replace the other. This is what so many photographers seem to like to do in their portfolios. They're incapable of finding beauty in true love, so they present just "beauty" to prospective clients as if that should be enough. "How could these two people NOT be in love? They're GORGEOUS!"

    Of course it's impossible to show two people in love in every single photo you take. But the least you could do for those of us who don't look like GQ models is present us with a portfolio that shows you at least make an effort to look for it in ALL your subjects.

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  41. this is a great post. as a photographer...i look forward to blogging every client that i shoot...because i'm always excited to share the moments that i was lucky to (capture and) be a part of. i feel special being chosen to be the one behind the lens...and that's what i hope truly resonates with my current and future clients thru my imaging...

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  42. Difficult refers to the two challenges of making them look good (their self-consciousness shows in the photos no matter how much positive feedback they receive) and having them satisfied with their photos. This is not an all-inclusive idea: brides with less ideal body styles are perfectly happy with the photos they receive with almost the same frequency as those whose features are more socioculturally ideal.

    I can't speak for the upper echelon of the wedding photography industry, but I would not be surprised if a few of them have - through living their art for so long - had their focus become directed more toward the art or the money than on the persons being photographed. However, the art they put out shows that they must be in touch with their subjects, because only when they have that special understanding and connection with the person can they consistently produce excellent work. After my few years of wedding photography, I am only beginning to scrape the surface of truly understanding all the extremely important details to consider when making excellent photos. There is a very specific, involved process to the eye, the use of the environment and angles, context, composition, lighting, exposure, and the retouching afterward. An idea has to exist, but it's more complicated than that. Consistently great photography has to come from a much larger knowledge base and level of awareness of the subject and environment than most people realize.

    Actually, the portfolio is being packaged and sold to prospective clients, so that's pretty much what is happening. If you don't like the package, you don't buy into it.

    Tilted photos are a specific method of influencing line and perspective, and can be used to change the importance of elements within the frame. When used correctly, tilt produces an image that could not be obtained in as pleasing a fashion any other way; in other cases, tilt can simply look like crooked photos. I don't recommend generalizing against all tilt because it closes some doors of understanding.

    I didn't say that subtle derogatory comments were okay; you're interpreting my statement to be more specific than it was intended to be and therefore attack and devalue the idea I am presenting. Any derogatory suggestions about the subject (or previous subjects, or anything related to the work in any way), whether implicit or explicit, are unprofessional of the photographer.

    Photography is a dual-purpose job: It both sells itself and serves as the end product for the bride & groom. The way the wedding photographer's product or service is marketed is just as important for their long term success as the satisfaction of the clients. Putting the best face forward is an integral aspect of marketing, and without the freedom to be selective in what you display to the public, capitalism and independent business would not be able to survive. Staying in business is becoming harder and harder to everyone except massive corporations, and those less wealthy have to use all the tools available to them or cease to exist. Believe it or not, wedding photography is a far cry from the most lucrative line of work on the planet.

    The photographers who take incredible photos of attractive couples can and do take extremely good photos of less ideal couples. The end product that the photographer provides cannot be allowed to suffer from lack of vision on the photographer's part with any client: Again, this comes down to surviving and the photographer would much rather have extremely satisfied clients than dissatisfied ones. What this all means is that less-than-perfect subjects are not getting any less effort or quality with the finished product, they're just getting less blog/portfolio presence.

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  43. How do you know the wedding photographers are not capturing true love? Do you know for certain that they don't see beauty in true love? Are you sure you're able to discern the true love in every work of art that captured love or was born of love in the creator's mind? Love expressed with only visual stimulus is extremely subject to interpretation, and we often see what we want or expect to see: If we don't think we can see love in a photo, then we can't. A large amount of it is projection, both by the viewer and the photographer. If these don't match up correctly, then there is no connection of ideas. Going back to the rule of majority, it makes sense that the photographer would aim to present and provide styles that represent what the greatest number of clients interpret in the desired fashion.

    Most brides, no matter how perfect they are, have more makeup on their wedding day than on most other days of their lives. This is because weddings are not just about love: They are also about beauty. Beauty and love mingle in weddings. With all the attention the bride gets, she becomes a fantasy (certainly she doesn't look like that every day of her life) for one day. Of course, the bride wants to remember the day and the love and happiness she felt; however, most of the time, she also wants to remember how great she looked on that day. There is nothing wrong with this, but it makes perfect sense that wedding photographers would display beautiful people.

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  44. becca, love the post... but i have to laugh at some of these anon comments.

    it's a sad thing that love and beauty are intertwined and some tool is making money off of it.

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  45. Frankly, I don't relate at all to your rants. I am trying to do everything in my power not to be posted on our photographer's blog. I really don't care whether I fit the look he's trying to sell, but I'm paying him for a service to capture photos and to give them to me. Posting on the blog is not one of the paid deliverables. In fact, being on the blog would be free advertising for him, with no actual benefit to me. Why would you care that much about opening your most intimate day to the rest of the world, to be used as free advertisement? If you are looking to your photographer's use of your photos on their blog as a validation of your beauty or personal worth (or frankly, that it affects you negatively at all to not be chosen), there are much deeper problems.

    I have no issues with what anyone chooses to post on their blog or website. It's their business & the image they want to keep. Don't like it? Don't use them. Taking your $ somewhere else is the loudest protest you can make. I don't know what Rachel saw on her photog's blog before hiring him, but is it possible that his selective posting lured her in & caused her not to notice the lack of diversity in his blogs to begin with?

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  46. Wow! I'm a budding photographer, so I understand the want for beautiful pictures, BUT I'm a human being with feelings & a heart as well.

    Personally, I've been on both sides of the weight scale. The "fat, ugly" side and the "thin, pretty" side. I guess I see people with fuller figures differently, because I was one. I see people with scars, marks & moles differently, because I have them. And I found beauty in myself, "curves" and all.

    So I see the beauty in everyone, all shapes and sizes, skin pigments and things that make them "different". Everyone is beautiful, and that's what I love about photography.

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  47. I Love this article. I am a photographer and I think my gift is seeing beauty in things some may not consider beautiful. When starting my business I started following some blogs of successful photographers ... J* is one. I was perplexed how every stinkin one of her clients looks like they stepped out of a magazine. I posted once and asked her if she tells "normal" people she is booked on their wedding day after a first meet. She didn't allow my question to be shown. I really wanted to know. I do see she writes that it is important to know who your target client is ... and hers is only people who look as if they walked off the pages of Anthropology. I think it is absurd and no longer follow her blog!!!

    HoneyB

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  48. Let's all get back to being civil here. I will summarily delete any comments that get insulting to any other commenters on this post or people referenced in this blog. Discussion is fine. I will NOT tolerate insults.

    And now, since from the style of writing I can tell that many of these anonymous commenters are left by the same photographer, I will deal with his/her response separately from the others.

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  49. @Anonymous who wrote "Frankly, I don't relate at all to your rants. I am trying to do everything in my power not to be posted on our photographer's blog. I really don't care whether I fit the look he's trying to sell, but I'm paying him for a service to capture photos and to give them to me. Posting on the blog is not one of the paid deliverables. In fact, being on the blog would be free advertising for him, with no actual benefit to me. Why would you care that much about opening your most intimate day to the rest of the world, to be used as free advertisement?"

    I explicitly mentioned that people who request not to get blogged shouldn't. In fact, I have a contract with my photographer re: the same. But I wasn't writing about wanting to get blogged for the sake of getting blogged... it's about being deemed too unattractive by your photographer to be bloggable that's hurtful AND misses the point of wedding photography. Also, when photogaphers only blog slim, traditionally attractive clients, they aren't showing me that they can capture EVERYONE at their most beautiful, ie as transformed by joy. They aren't showing me that they understand that wedding photographer is actually about capturing that moment of joy and not getting two model-esque people to lean in tight and act in love in portraits. They're showing me they wished they had become fashion photographers who can make beautiful people look beautiful in interesting poses and great light. Big whoop. That's not what I want from a wedding photographer

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  50. To the "Anonymous wedding blogger" who wrote:
    Readers can change what big wedding bloggers blog. I blog details, styled shoots we get comments, I blog amazingly candid moments that take your breath away- the tears, the hugs...no comments.. '
    Our barometer of what you love to see on the blog, or want to see more of is how many comments a post receives, *you can* have an influence with what gets posted, what we seek out. Comment when you love a post, comment if you love the emotion, the non cookie cutter wedding- let us KNOW what you want! "

    This post wasn't about wedding blogs, it was about photographers blogs. I think the focus on details, products, portraits, and photoshoots on wedding blogs is a more complicated topic to tackle (the whys, the pressures, how everyone else's content pushes yours and then creates an expectation from readers that they want more details and portraits even when they also start hating them, the need for free content, the vendors' desires for publicity...) This was about photographers who can't see or respect art in the everyday wedding, when that's what they've been hired for. And, by extension, it's also about why they don't blog those weddings. Because I agree with you - if we want big wedding blogs to change, readers need to comment more and make our voices known. Unfortunately, by the time most of us want something different from our blogs, we decide to check out and just plan our own weddings.

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  51. The the (I believe) single anonymous poster who left multiple comments attempting to refute the post... I am fully aware of marketing concepts, having run successful branding and marketing campaigns in the private sector and having worked in publishing. So let me clarify for you what I meant and what you're missing:

    WEDDING photographers are selling a service: capturing a wedding in all it's joy and specific beauty. Yes, you need to draw in clients. Which is why I wrote that I expect your website to feature your prettiest clients in your most stunning shots. I wrote that in my post. Go back and read before you rant. But I ALSO wrote that we expect your blogs to feature your most up-to-date work because that's what a blog is. If you can't find five great photos from each wedding to put on your blog, then you're doing something wrong. And you could easily intersperse those weddings with the weddings you found most "visually stimulating" to keep both your brand intact and your current and future clients happy.

    Because here's the key: you're NOT a product or fashion photographer. You're NOT trying to get any of us to buy beauty products or a trip to Maui. You're trying to show us you can capture weddings - all weddings - beautifully. And that's what I - as a potential client - want to see. I want to see that you can capture me and my mother and my grandmother and my larger best friend and my brother all at our very best. I want to know that you can SEE our very best, even if we're not models. and if you don't show me photos of everyday people transformed by joy and love into something beautiful, then I'm not hiring you because your wedding service "product" is meaningless to me.

    And it you really think images of joy are subjective, then you are clearly mistaken and in the wrong line of work. Visually-captured joy hits you in the gut. It's visceral and immediate and completely objectively beautiful. And THAT'S the service I'm looking for on my wedding day. Not fashion-shoot skills in a wedding ceremony setting.

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  52. It's not just me. This post got cross-posted on several forums on the Knot and I've been getting emails all day from brides AND grooms about this topic: we WANT to see ourselves in your client photos. We WANT to know that you can capture joy and not just portraits. we WANT to see a range of people, all captured with art and respect. We also love the gorgeous shots of gorgeous people. Of course. Maybe that's what pulled us in initially. But what gets us to HIRE you is knowing you will do right by us and our families and our wedding day, and we want examples of ordinary people looking joyous and beautiful on their wedding days.

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  53. Yeah! I bought some Cover Girl makeup the other day and it didn't make me look anything like Cindy Crawford. That's BULLSHIT!

    Why aren't they showing me and my pimple-covered face on their commercials? Beauty is on the inside! Are they trying to sell something, or WTF is the deal!?

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  54. @Anon at 9:06 - we aren't idiots. I don't buy my mascara because of celebrity endorsements. I buy it because other women tell me it works well on their lashes. And I'm hiring a photographer because I can SEE they work well with all clients of all types.

    And of course there's objective beauty. But there's also objective talent from people who can draw out the joy of a wedding and make it into photographic stunningness from anyone. Show me that, and I'll hire you. Show me two pretty people in a field and I'll say that was nice for editorial.

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  55. this was wonderfully well written. I haven't looked at one of those glossy blogs in a long time - I'm so much better for it.

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  56. Dear cowardly anonymous comment people:

    Becca happens to be gorgeous. That is not, however, the point. The point is that the idea of what the majority sees as beautiful is politically coded: it means white, wealthy, skinny, and upper class. Playing into that will always generate revenue, because that is who has the revenue. However, we, as bloggers, also get to ask for OTHER ideas of beauty. Becca has a long record of posting this kind of weddings.

    "Objective beauty"--which, you had better believe, is STILL in the eye of the beholder--is exactly what she is advocating. Not a pandering, trendy aesthetic (like a dresser in a field, bunting, or whatever), but the sort of love and joy that radiates from really excellent wedding photography. Becca is arguing for the beauty of a smile, an embrace, a nervous father, a happy groom, a dancing bride. The size, race, and amount of money at play in those photos are NOT the measure of beauty. The less we question those standards, the more we propagate a history of inequality in all things. Anyone who says their aesthetic is apolitical hasn't been paying attention.

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  57. Anonymous photographer: We all understand why a photographer wants to put his/her best foot forward on materials designed to attract clients. The desire for a "brand" or a great portfolio, however, is no excuse for the kind of treatment Rachel received. Presumably, no one held a gun to that photographer's head and forced him to accept her business, and treating her as though her wedding was a huge inconvenience because she wasn't his "brand" and he couldn't blog the photos was rude and unprofessional.

    This post is about how to avoid hiring that kind of photographer, the kind who will treat you differently if you're not a size 2. A Los Angeles Love is (quite reasonably, I think) suggesting that couples should look at a photographer's blog to see what kind of weddings they consider part of their "brand." If they share both the gorgeous "platinum weddings" and the weddings from hotel ballrooms and VFWs and feature couples who don't look like models, that tells you something. If they only post weddings in trendy venues with sky-high centerpieces and slender Caucasian couples, that also tells you something.

    In short, you're right: marketing is important. So why is the suggestion that couples should pay attention to a photographer's marketing so upsetting?

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  58. While the example you gave of Rachel is of an asshole photographer, you seem more upset that you weren't featured on a blog.

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  59. All emotions projected into an art form that only uses one of our senses are subject to interpretation, and the translation can lose the intended emotion. You can commonly associate joy with a particular expression or laughter or smile (as these are acknowledged by the majority in our sociocultural norms), but nobody interprets emotions exactly the same way and some may completely miss the emotion in certain physical expressions.

    Can you describe joy in a visual form? It's unlikely your description of joy in visual form would be shared by everyone, even if it was shared by most people.

    Here's another question: Can you say for certain that those photos of less attractive, less carefully pampered brides will contain the same glory and beauty in the blog as the photos of more attractive subjects? Visual art is heavily dependent on the physical features of the subjects involved, and the difference between the majority interpretation of an image being good and being just ok can easily be the result of just having a less attractive subject in the frame. In short, photos of less attractive people not have the same magic that draws you to the photographer.

    Let's say you can look beyond those flaws in the person and see the image for what it is. What if you're disappointed, and what if that disappointment has nothing to do with the photographer's execution of the image? Perhaps it really is the result of the perception of cultural norms that many of us can't appreciate the beauty in some images. If you can completely look beyond these physical flaws and still perceive the photo to be great, then it's possible that you have deliberately biased yourself to appreciate images that show less attractive subjects. If you do have that viewpoint, then I can understand why you would want to see less perfect subjects in the photos.

    Have you considered that some of the best wedding photographers only get hired by some of the most physically attractive clients? Not all photographers are like the one you mentioned: The cream of the wedding photography crop may actually only get inquiries from models and stars with a high degree of physical appeal. Money buys a lot of things, including plastic surgery and other appearance-enhancing resources. Certain wealthy people also commonly have to keep up appearances, so in many cases they have to stay looking attractive because it is part of their public image and appeal. Your photographer may get a greater mix of brides from all different walks of life: Does your photographer regularly take photos of actresses and models?

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  60. @Anonymous 9:52- I'm not even married yet, so I have no photos to be blogged. And I specifically contracted my photographer to NOT to blog my photos. I don't want to be featured on blogs, aside from my own, because I carefully guard my most personal, intimate moments and don't want them dissected by the internet as "inspiration."

    So go back and read the post. This was never about me. This was about everyone and about the systemic issues associated with photographers who don't respect their clients enough to photograph them well (because that was part of Rachel's complaint too), or blog them specifically because they're "not attractive" (which therefore deflates a client's previous sense of joy about their wedding) and about recognizing that wedding day beauty is deeper and more raw than simple slimness and bone structure.

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  61. Here's the thing, Anonymous Wedding Photographer: a number of honest wedding photographers felt no need to hide behind anonymity in order to discuss the issues raised in this blog post.

    Whether you admit it or not, you know, beyond a doubt, that if you put your name to your comments, you're business would plummet. The fact that you need to be anonymous in order to say what you are saying is your first clue to the fact that what you are saying is both wrong and offensive.

    And holy hell, I cannot believe you just insinuated that there are fewer interracial couples depicted because they're poor. Shame on you. If this was something you really stood behind, you would show your face.

    With every comment you write, I hope to hell that you are not my photographer. I don't care how much "talent" you think you have. I don't care at all. I don't want you to have my money or my friends' money.

    And because you seem to have forgotten, here is the Greater Internet Fuckwad theory: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/. Please take the time to review it and think about how you are behaving here. You seem to need a reminder that the internet is not license to trash people.

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  62. I think the photographer the bride in question found was particularly unpleasant and is not the majority.

    I agree with mouse about the politics of beauty and the generally accepted ideal being very socioculturally controlled, and I have suggested similar ideas in my posts. I am not saying it is right or appropriate (I have no respect for modern marketing because it is a very intentional form of dishonesty), but I am saying that wedding photographers who ignore the standards of marketing in their blogs leave themselves wide open to be trounced by the competition who is willing to take advantage of what's popular. For every well-meaning, well-intending, honest person out there, there is at least one person willing to capitalize on unethical rules if such behavior gives them an edge and keeps them in business.

    I posit that there is no such thing as objective beauty, because beauty is a perception and perception is a characteristic uniquely individual to each person and living creature. Based on modern research, there may be three different sources of interpretation of beauty:

    The first is probably the most "objective" and is related to the golden mean. There is supposedly something that humans have passed on through generations that makes us find physical forms more attractive when features conform more closely to the golden mean. I have read ideas that it is related to natural selection, and that the ideal physical form actually has the greatest physical health and would produce the most ideal offspring. This is quite like how birds choose their partners based on some physical feature like bright plumage: The bird with brighter plumage is healthier and has fewer physical defects, so the children would most likely be healthier, stronger and/or more able to continue the family line. I believe the golden mean plays a significant role in what wedding photographers produce and look for, because it is broadly perceived and accepted (even if this cause of the perception of beauty is not understood by the viewers).

    There is a preference for physical appearance that may be genetically associated, but which does not necessarily conform to the golden mean. This is a big grey area and could be caused by anything. This is your second most objective perception of beauty, but it ranges much more widely (the diversity is possibly explained by genetics) than the golden mean. It is probably the type of attraction that wedding photographers' portfolios and blogs devote the least attention to, because it is too dependent on unique traits that may not be shared by as many people.

    The third form of physical attraction would be related primarily to perceptions, personality, and the influence of experience. This would probably be the most subjective in that it is extremely dependent on the viewpoint of the person and the influence of all the factors in life such as media and personal experiences. A person could have had good childhood experiences with someone with a specific body type, and they may be drawn to that body type in the future even if it is not considered beautiful. Or, the preference could be based on sociocultural norms of acceptability pushed by modern media, pornography, or whatever else the person is exposed to. There is a vast majority preference based on the sociocultural norms, and this is a major driving force in wedding photography (and marketing, etc.).

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  63. If you really want to change what wedding photographers blog, then you may literally have to take upon yourself the challenge of altering public opinion in large enough volume that marketing is forced to adapt to the change. However, this may be an even greater challenge than simply changing public opinion: It may involve fighting our genetic heritage that centers around the instinct of survival through reproduction, because the golden mean is closely tied in with modern media's angle on beauty.

    On the other hand, I could be wrong and all you may have to do is get enough clients to shout to their photographers that they want to see more ordinary people in the blogs. In any case, be careful what you wish for: you just might get it. Many seemingly great ideas were later discovered to be bad ones because we often can't foresee the varied effects of changing one thing in a way that "seemed better at the time."

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  64. Sarah, you know as well as anyone that I never said other ethnicities were poor. However, I would challenge you to deny that the vast majority of wealth in America is controlled mostly (not solely or exclusively) by people of white, western european descent, while the next in line (actresses and stars) are actually very broad in their ethnicities. They all have the money to buy the best, and that's why I said I believe that great wedding photographers' portfolios and blogs are ethnically diverse.

    Just because other photographers volunteer to be named (and I did consider it in the beginning) does not compel me to do the same. I am making statements that are controversial, and controversy always has those who agree and those who do not. The ones who disagree often have a strong emotional drive to thwart or denigrate (unless they maintain respectfulness, like the original article's poster has in their replies); therefore, since I am not wealthy or powerful, I can't just sweep any harsh, reactionary assaults against me under the rug. I am not choosing to stay anonymous because I think that I am wrong, but because I know that some people may disagree with me (perhaps violently) since the subject is very controversial.

    I believe I am honest, but that does not mean I want to be identified specifically. I do not subscribe to the concept put forth by government officials and public servants (who are completely hypocritical because they value their privacy more than the modern public, and for good reason) that those who have nothing to hide should have no reason to mind displaying everything about themselves openly.

    You could meet me and have me as your photographer (unlikely because I am not an expensive or upper echelon photographer), and have no idea that I am the one who posted these thoughts and views. If you never find out, then odds are you would love your photos: It's only when you find a bias against me that you would hate the work I would do for you. Would it truly be better for everyone involved (or anyone, for that matter) if you knew who I was?

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  65. Enough. This post has been hijacked by one commenter who is adding nothing new to the conversation. We are done and comments are closed.

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