First of all, let me up front that I aspire to be a great wedding photographer and that if I ever get to the point where I look at last year’s work and think it’s “great”, it will be time to hang up the camera bag.
Wedding photography used be considered to be at the bottom of the photography food chain if you will, a stepping stone to build a more profitable portrait business. But today, wedding photography has developed into a true art form and is the primary concentration of many of world’s top photographers.
I look at who are generally considered to be top handful of wedding photographers around the world and similar traits crop up, not the least of which is a passion for people, and ok, maybe you need to be a little bit of an adrenaline junkie.
It’s a given that you have to be a professional, creative photographer, but it takes much more. It’s interesting to see that many of the world’s best wedding photographers came to the profession from other walks of life.
Joe Buissink was a psychologist, David Beckstead was a forest fire fighter, Denis Reggie a football photographer, and I’m still working on this, Parker Pfister was a cement truck driver. So maybe, understanding people, working closely with other people in a high stress environment, anticipating the “moment” and well, help me out with the last one.
Many of you who know me well, know that I have three passions in life – my family, photography and flying, and that as a 17 year old, flying for a living seemed to be a bit more exotic.
So, with a newly minted philosophy degree from Pitt, I pursued an airline career, but always kept my passion for photography, running a part-time business photography business on my off days. As we got busier, something had to give and it was the aviation business.
While the joke in the airline industry was always “I hate to fly and I hate people”, in fact you really needed to have a love and understanding of people.
Each week, you worked with a new group of people and virtually lived with them for 4 days. It’s something very foreign to most people in the work world who see the same faces every day, but great preparation for wedding photography.
And it seems that many of the top wedding photographers around the world are a little older, the definition of which get redefined about every 10 years. But, maybe it takes some life experience to mature as an artist.