The problem is that many wedding photographers out there are using the same tricks.
Every wedding is different, yet there are many elements that remain the same from couple to couple. This is a traditional ceremony after all, no matter how quirky, fun, and unique the two lovebirds may be.
Weddings take all forms, but as photographers know, there are always the shots you need to hit every single time. Ceremony. Cake. Details. Wedding party. Family formals. Ah! Family formals. Probably the most "crank it out" factory assembly line type of shooting we do on a wedding day. Don't get me wrong, many many photographers out there are doing creative and fun things with wedding party shots and family group photos. But how do we take it to the next level?
The problem is that many wedding photographers out there are using the same tricks. With so many wedding shots being of a necessarily similar ilk, how can we combat this lack of creativity?
Most people have similar access to similar types of gear. Cameras, lenses, lighting, reflectors, et al. Most people have similar access and use similar types of post-processing. Lightroom! Presets! (Shout out to Mastin Labs for making pretty great analog film representations.)
Now, I always say there are two sides to shooting. There is what you're able to capture in-camera, and there is post-processing. Both of these take many forms. But what I've learned is, if you as a photographer are trying to get the best results possible for your clients, you're spending a good amount of time getting good at both of those pieces.
But we're talking about when you've climbed those mountains, right? How do you stand out in a sea of hungry wedding photographers all strapped with D750s and 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms, rocking the latest Adobe Lightroom Presets, and dodging and burning their way through Photoshop?
You find your own style. Wait, everyone says that! Damn!
But seriously, by the time you get to the point where you're wondering what can you do next to set yourself apart, or to challenge yourself and push the envelope as they say, you should have been able to craft a pretty decent brand. But I'm talking about finding that perspective that you were born with. Forget the trends. They are trends and by definition trends become stale and pass. Don't do what other people are doing. Learn what YOU like to see in a photograph and tell the story of your client's wedding through your eyes only.
For me, this often means I like to take a combination of two approaches. Firstly, I love fine-art and fashion photography. Given the proper situation I like to work with my clients to craft gorgeously executed and planned portraits. But, taking it to the other extreme, I absolutely adore editorial and street photography. Candids. Like a sniper! People as they really and truly live and breathe. These are my favorite wedding photographs to take and you don't see these at the forefront of many wedding portfolios.
The bride will always have her day, but she will also miss so much of it in the moment. It's your job to preserve as much as possible for her. The little things. The ones that no one else pays attention to, but you do. Because that's what you do.
To book Tyler Steimle for YOUR wedding, visit his storefront at The Knot!