What If A Wedding Doesn’t Feel That Interesting to Shoot? | Dear Devlin

Dear Devlin.

Is it normal to sometimes turn up to a wedding and not feel inspired, like, at all?

Like either I’m not on form, or the venue isn’t interesting, or the guests aren’t very expressive or dynamic, and just stand around chatting. Perhaps even the couple don’t seem that up for making something interesting?

Is there anything we can do to gee ourselves up and still produce?

Overthinking from Orpington

Hello Overthinking and thanks for this question. In a world where we are all exposed to a lot of excellent photography from our peers every time we open up social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap and forget that your primary responsibility is to your clients, their memories and what they value.

It’s not creating content that stands out, it’s not impressing others in the industry, and it’s not bettering our portfolios.

Having said that, I do understand why you have posed this question. There is a lot of pressure in our picture-perfect world to produce work that stands out in the busiest of spaces.

One thought that might go a little way to alleviating that pressure is to think not of your own social feed but that of your clients. If this is hard to imagine, ask to see the feed of a non-industry pal or even if you get the chance, ask a client. I found this to be incredibly reassuring as it’s such a mixed bag normally. Our own feeds tend to be predominantly professional imagery and that’s just not reality.

I’ve shot hundreds and hundreds of weddings now. Are they all super inspiring visually? Not always, sometimes they are not so aligned with what I love to shoot but I still feel that doing this job is a huge privilege. Earning a decent living from my cameras is rewarding and every client deserves your best. Even if everything else is off, try to still be on.

How to Stay Inspired in Wedding Photography

How do we do that? I love the idea of focusing on the one element of a wedding that can appear elevated and challenging yourself to shoot it in a way that is creative and beautiful. It’s a great way to push yourself to improve and to find inspiration even in weddings that may not be your ideal subject matter.

Here is an example. The wedding outfits are not designer but maybe their wedding day scents are. Challenge yourself to shoot the bottles as if they were a campaign for the perfume company.

What area of your work do you feel is the weakest? Could you push yourself to improve that at this wedding?

I like taking inspiration from our Photography Farm Prompt Randomiser before a wedding and doing the challenge it suggests. It keeps me thinking with a fresh mind.

Not every couple prioritises photography. Maybe they are foodies and what’s on the menu is more exciting for them, or they have a passion for cars and the transport is a big thrill for them.

Just do your best and it’s pretty much guaranteed that what you deliver will be better than if they’d just left it up to guests using smartphones.

I also think it’s important to educate your clients on your approach and what working with you is like. Clear messaging on your website or in your brochure can help manage their expectations and ensure that you’re both on the same page. Could you create a blog post on how to make the best of your wedding photographer and send that after they’ve booked you? It shows that you’re invested in their experience and that you’re there to help them get the most out of their investment in you.

Try to remember that every wedding is different and every client is unique. Your job is to capture their memories in a way that is true to their story and their vision. Trust in your abilities and your experience, and focus on delivering the best possible experience for your clients.

Some jobs are utterly killer and some are just money in the bank.

Images for Rock n Roll Bride Magazine
Photography: Devlin Photos
Concept & Art Direction: Kat Williams
Styling: The Bijou Studio
Hair: Love Hair Co.
Make-Up: Shani Mushington
Flowers: Green Parlour
Assistants: Georgia Irving, Shiyan Zering, Katie Rogers, Sophie Cooke
Models: Funso and Pedro via BAME Models
Location: W London