It's no secret that the wedding industry is incredibly saturated with an overabundance of photographers. I pray for all newlyweds out there trying to find the perfect wedding photographer for their wedding!
With every year that passes and every new camera launch, it gets easier and easier to enter into professional photography. The market is flooded with fickle new photographers looking to make a quick buck or woefully unaware of the hard work it takes to not only be successful but be competent.
Furthermore, unfortunately, often times the wedding photographers that get the most business do not necessarily produce the best work. There are other variables at play such as how much they pay for advertising, SEO, and reviews (yes, I've heard of photographers paying for fake reviews).
It's only natural, then, that the wedding photography industry evolve to a point where there are mega studios employing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of photographers nationwide. The typical mega studio runs like a corporation: there is a department for customer service, sales, editing, managers, directors etc. The photographer only has to show up on the wedding day, shoot, and be done.
There's great value in a photography mega studio for the potential customer. They have access to the portfolios of many photographs who have presumably been screened for competence, to dedicated customer service representatives and other benefits of a multi level corporation.
It's like buying something from a big box store or online where the choices are seemingly limitless versus a specialty store. Why purchase expensive bread from a dedicated baker when it costs a fraction of the price to purchase bread from a grocery store?
But I'd like to make a case for the boutique wedding photographer.
The boutique wedding photographer runs a much smaller operation than mega studios. They may only employ a handful of people, if any, and runs most of the business themselves. However, unlike the relationship a customer has with a mega studio, the relationship of the client with the boutique wedding photographer is much more intimate.
First, flexibility. As in the example of the bakery vs grocery store above, it can be as simple as the baker knowing your usual order or the ability to personalize your bread to your specific liking. You can't get that from a loaf in a bag that's been mass produced.
Second, integrity. I confess, when I first started my career nine years ago, I started with the mega studios. It was amazing. All I had to do was make one 10 minute phone call the week of the wedding, show up and shoot for a set number of hours, and ship/upload the photos in the next couple of days. But after a couple years of doing this kind of work I felt like I lost my artistic soul and felt it was incredibly unfair for the wonderful couples I got to shoot. As a photographer, it's imperative to me that I connect with my subject. For couples, I want to understand their unique relationship so that my photographs of them will reflect that. Shooting for the mega studios, I didn't have the opportunity to get to know my clients and I ended up producing a product, not artistic work.
Third, quality. This is the big one. Not having met or gotten to know the wedding photographer beforehand, the client has no idea what to expect. You see, unlike a product that has been mass produced by a corporate system, the boutique wedding photographer is motivated to produce the best quality of work possible due a combination of having far less volume and the ability to listen to the client's specific requests. A personal connection between the wedding photographer and the client goes a really long way.
And that's the photographer I want to be. I want to be your personal wedding photographer. I want to know and understand the unique connection that you have with each other and capture it for years to come.