'TFP Wedding Photographer Required' - The Controversy... Justified?

'TFP Wedding Photographer Required' - The Controversy... Justified?

26 posts
4 July 2013
I have seen quite a few forum posts recently in which the subject matter has concerned models touting for a wedding photographer on a TFP basis... and it would seem that such castings cause quite a bit of controversy...

From what I have read, some photographers seem to take issue with the fact that:
- The model apparently has no idea how much hard work goes into photographing a wedding;
- The model has no appreciation of the value of a wedding photographer; and
- It prevents photographers who rely on the income from photographing weddings from making a living.

However, couldn't an argument be made that every individual is free to cast for any type of photography service on a TFP basis? Isn't that what the casting feature is for, for photographers and models alike to consider a casting and (if they wish to collaborate) then apply for the work (be it paid or unpaid)?

Modelling is my full-time job, and yet I get approached for work on a TFP basis several times a week. I politely decline such work, explaining my reasoning, but if I were to follow the 'TFP wedding photography' mantra it seems I should belittle every person making such a request...

Now I'm sure those who disagree with people touting for TFP wedding photography would argue that the time and work involved in photographing a wedding sets it apart from other kinds of photography, however I would argue that in order for me to 'appear' as I do and in order for me to be able to create the kind of images I achieve, I spend far more hours per week working towards such goals... Yet, should I rant and rave about this fact when I get approached for TFP shoots, or when I see a TFP casting for a male? Of course not... I just don't apply for the job!

Yes I can understand how disheartening it is for photographers who specialise in wedding photography, but no more so than when I trawl the paid castings and find that 99 out of every 100 opportunities is for a female model, or when I see a photographers portfolio which doesn't contain a single image of male despite claiming to have been working as a professional photographer for a decade or more (specialist photographers not included). And let's face it, in terms of wedding photography the vast majority of assignments are paid... the few TFP jobs on here are a tiny drop in the ocean...

Now, as some of you will know, I have my own photography studio and location and I do both paid and unpaid photography assignments... and yes, I have a shot a wedding on a TFP basis - so if I was prepared to do it, who is to say that another photographer wouldn't? Was it hard work?... Yes. Did I feel under pressure?... Yes (but not being paid took the pressure off me in this respect). Did it improve me as a photographer?... Yes. Were the couple happy with the images?... Yes!

So guys, if you don't like a casting then my message is simple... don't apply for it, and just let it wash over you... TFP offers of all kinds aren't going to go away, and it is only expected that TFP work would spill over into the wedding genre...



Posted 4 July 2013
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
The problem with professional wedding photographer (or just professionals in general), is that they feel it is their (as in members of their profession) God-given right to earn money out a job and the concept of someone undercutting them or even doing something for free really gets their back up. They near as damn-it have a union like mentality over the whole concept of doing photographic work, which IMO is incredibly outdated and a good example that they cannot move with the times. Ultimately I guess they'd want a system of acreditation much like architects for example although I suspect they know full well that'll bring many of them under scrutiny for the quality and professionalism of their work. IMO they'd be better off clubbing together to form a guild of sorts with high quality as it's leading principle, that way the better ones among them will be able to combat the flood of weekend warrior type photographers who do make a living that have decimated their industry with cheap/low quality photography rather than picking on the odd guy/girl wanting to have a go. You only have to look at the standard of photographers on the SWPP website to realise they've only got themselves to blame for allowing this sort of amateurish behavior to spread/multiply. Yes, to do something about it could be branded as elitism, but then again so it talking down to and critisising those wanting a go. I would agree though that as 'professionals', having a whine about these things on forums does make you question their professionalism, heaven forbid should they have a client who rubs their fur the wrong way.
Posted 4 July 2013
mattharper
Photographer
mattharper
RedChecker

The problem with professional wedding photographer (or just professionals in general), is that they feel it is their (as in members of their profession) God-given right to earn money out a job and the concept of someone undercutting them or even doing something for free really gets their back up. They near as damn-it have a union like mentality over the whole concept of doing photographic work, which IMO is incredibly outdated and a good example that they cannot move with the times. Ultimately I guess they'd want a system of acreditation much like architects for example although I suspect they know full well that'll bring many of them under scrutiny for the quality and professionalism of their work. IMO they'd be better off clubbing together to form a guild of sorts with high quality as it's leading principle, that way the better ones among them will be able to combat the flood of weekend warrior type photographers who do make a living that have decimated their industry with cheap/low quality photography rather than picking on the odd guy/girl wanting to have a go. You only have to look at the standard of photographers on the SWPP website to realise they've only got themselves to blame for allowing this sort of amateurish behavior to spread/multiply. Yes, to do something about it could be branded as elitism, but then again so it talking down to and critisising those wanting a go. I would agree though that as 'professionals', having a whine about these things on forums does make you question their professionalism, heaven forbid should they have a client who rubs their fur the wrong way.


You are such a hypocrite at times. 
You slate professionals and defend people having the balls to take them on, which is something you have done consistently for a few years now, but you absolutely slate and also want removed, anyone who joins a modelling and photography site who can't produce a quality that you deem to be good enough.

The two arguments don't really sit well together. 
Posted 4 July 2013
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
mattharper

You are such a hypocrite at times. 
You slate professionals and defend people having the balls to take them on, which is something you have done consistently for a few years now, but you absolutely slate and also want removed, anyone who joins a modelling and photography site who can't produce a quality that you deem to be good enough.

The two arguments don't really sit well together. 


I admire people who take the crap ones on (Pippins is a good example).

Time and time again you wrongly assume I refer to good, competent, hard working professionals when I talk about these so-called 'pros' I despise.
Posted 4 July 2013
Gerry99111
Photographer
Gerry99111
The problem is it used to be a cash cow for easy money for photographers who had reached a MINIMUM standard. The world has changed permanently and some cannot accept the fact that some are happy with a no frills service provided the person has an "eye" for a picture. Weddings are extraordinarily expensive - venues, facilities, flowers, service, food. People are now working out they have choices and it is not socially unacceptable any more to economise on a  wedding, particularly when they want to use the money to raise a family / buy a house.

What photographers seem to forget is people choose to get married because they want to and not to keep photographers in employment.

Photographers are self employed and therefore the ones able to choose whether the market has disappeared or changed and respond accordingly. Those that don't will end up bitter as they will not have a sustainable business model
Posted 4 July 2013
Edited by Gerry99111 4 July 2013
Sarge
Photographer
Sarge
You know how there are only Corgi gas registered engineers that can do anything to do with domestic/commercial gas fittings?
Well that is what some pro wedding photographers are like. They believe (or would 'like' I should say) that only people who are registered can take wedding photos and the hobbyist/jack of all trades/DIY enthusiast shouldn't be able to touch them.
When a hobbyist/JOAT/DIY enthusiast does do them then they kick off and feel threatened by it.

Posted 4 July 2013
alexkidd
Photographer
alexkidd
for me it's about honesty, a lot of cheap start up photographers aren't honest about their experience, use "portfolio day" images and sell sell sell rather than saying "i'm cheap because i'm not really sure what i'm doing" meh, my clients spend the money and they're the type i want, i don't cry over tfp weddings or the £250 full day folk because they're just not the people who are going to pay the money I want or value my photography in the first place
Posted 4 July 2013
Spike
Photographer
Spike
alexkidd

for me it's about honesty, a lot of cheap start up photographers aren't honest about their experience, use "portfolio day" images and sell sell sell rather than saying "i'm cheap because i'm not really sure what i'm doing" meh, my clients spend the money and they're the type i want, i don't cry over tfp weddings or the £250 full day folk because they're just not the people who are going to pay the money I want or value my photography in the first place


+1 I don't have any problems with other photographers working for low or none existant rates, irrespective of their ability it's not a sustainable business model & normally dissapear in between 6 - 18 months.

I do however take issue with photographers who claim amazing abilities & on the day can't produce the goods they are cowboys.

There was one localish to me whose website consisted of other photographer's work, he has since vanished however he did leave several unhappy couples in his wake.

Posted 4 July 2013
mikethefoto
Photographer
mikethefoto
Spike

+1 I don't have any problems with other photographers working for low or none existant rates, irrespective of their ability it's not a sustainable business model & normally dissapear in between 6 - 18 months.

I do however take issue with photographers who claim amazing abilities & on the day can't produce the goods they are cowboys.

There was one localish to me whose website consisted of other photographer's work, he has since vanished however he did leave several unhappy couples in his wake.


+1
Posted 4 July 2013
tomwhipp
Photographer
tomwhipp
in the UK most registered/accredited professions have serious long term consequences if the job is done wrong - gas installations, buildings, legal advice, medical professionals, etc...

Wedding photography, however good or bad, does not kill people or permanently affect their future life.

So yes, wedding professionals could create a guild of some kind as a quality mark - but it would have to be meaningful (i.e. have a proper entry criteria, and a credible process for removing members), and ultimately the most it would ever be is a marketing tool.

I have never had any aspiration to make a living from photography, and I take it a step beyond that and actively dont ever want to be paid for it (I've done a few shots for friends who needed a half decent image, but "payment" has consisted of a cup of tea). The people I know locally who shoot a few weddings do so as a second income stream, which they can live without if needed.

Like everything you need to differentiate on value not price

Posted 4 July 2013
GaryWallace
Photographer
GaryWallace
Sarge

You know how there are only Corgi gas registered engineers that can do anything to do with domestic/commercial gas fittings? Well that is what some pro wedding photographers are like. They believe (or would 'like' I should say) that only people who are registered can take wedding photos and the hobbyist/jack of all trades/DIY enthusiast shouldn't be able to touch them. When a hobbyist/JOAT/DIY enthusiast does do them then they kick off and feel threatened by it.



CORGI evolved as a direct result of a number of incidents where deaths occured due to incorrectly installed gas appliances. I remember some students died in rental accommodation because their Landlord had installed an old ascot type gas-fired direct water heater. They died from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

DIY enthusiasts should not install gas appliances. I believe that it should be an offence to sell a gas appliance to anyone other than a GasSafe registered installer who has demonstrated competence to fit that appliance safely. Maybe I'm biased, I spend approx £5K every 3 years on remaining as GasSafe engineer. I am under a legal obligation to notify new installations to GasSafe and the local Building Control so that they can inspect me at any time, also that if there is an incident they can identify the culprit.

I've seen some absolute howlers, condemned and capped off gas services where DIYers and unregistered cowboys have carried out work that wasnt just poor - but immediately dangerous. It really does gripe my gizzard when some twat without a clue undercuts me and does a shit job though - is that what you meant?

There is a legal obligation that only GasSafe registered engineers are allowed to install gas appliances for pay. It costs a lot of money, time, training and stress to become a GasSafe installer. Of course we are going to get the arse when some unregistered cowboy takes our work.
Posted 4 July 2013
paule
Photographer
paule
Corgi got replaced years ago by Gas Safe... just so you know..

It's up to the couple who much they want to pay, if they want to pay at all.... and who they choose to ask... jsut as it is for me to turn them down because we can't agree a price for the service required...

I think it is unrealistic to expect someone who does it for a living to do it for free, though someone just starting out and needing a portfolio may take it on.

I find I don't book many couples who's first question is 'how much?' ..though I do much better with couples who's first question is, 'are you available?'







Posted 4 July 2013
Weddings are expensive events, I know that having seen some of the invoices. In some cases the flowers have cost more than the photography. It's all about personal value and where the individual will place an item in a "must have" or "can do without".
Most wedding venues hike the price at the mention of "wedding" rather than "party night with food".

Some people value photography over other items of have a bigger budget where cost is not such an issue. Most weddings are years in the planning and those who value photography tend to have their wedding photographer booked at least a year in advance. Given all the planning then "recording" the day tends to come quite high on the list of "must have".

Recently I have seen a real swing towards video and stills on the same day, and in some cases video being the preferred option. Maybe too soon to say a trend but it does appear to becoming more popular recently and having a revival.

Have no problems ignoring the TF requests for weddings and there will always be those who want much cheapness. Not a problem if you want to offer a cheaper option - I do it myself but most requests are not at the "budget" end of coverage.

Good luck to all - it's a personal choice for both parties.

Posted 4 July 2013
eebijeebi
Photographer
eebijeebi
Good old Red Checker, master of the sweeping statement.


Posted 4 July 2013
Simon1973
Photographer
Simon1973
I agree with Glasgowphotographers statement that its a personal choice for both parties

I also feel sorry for the people that have posted casting calls for weddings then get berated in the forums of which I have seen it happen to 2 or 3 recently. I was waiting for someone to have a go. How bad is that!?
Admittedly the way a phrasing call and the way its posted does help but me personally I would like to wish all those couples a lovely day and a happy future together.

I was married back in the day when digital was only just starting to be generally affordable to all and generally you couldn't instantly look at the pictures. I do like the fact that we paid a photographer who we found we liked and got on with at a wedding fair ( or fayre ;o) ) and we have an album that we can look at and show off and be proud of. Truth be told how often now do we still look at it.....? ;o)

At the end of the day you get what you pay for and unless you have seen a persons work you just take the risk with them regardless of paid or unpaid. God forbid it rains too! If someone offers to do it for free and you as a customer are happy with their work then I don't see the problem as long as you phrase it the right way.

Here endeth my views on the matter ;o)....



Posted 4 July 2013
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