The day after Christmas I saw an article by Charissa Cheong on Insider.com, Professional TikTok creators are charging couples to film their weddings in a bid to help them go viral on their special day. Despite the long title, I read the article, but I didn’t pay much attention. The next day someone shared it with me and told me that I should, in fact, pay careful attention to it.
Why should I? I’m not a wedding photographer. Sure, like many who carry a camera, I have been asked a few times to capture the big day for family and friends. But that’s not something I’m interested in doing as a career. It’s too much work. Oftentimes, the wedding photographer is the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. Twelve hours of photography might equal 24 hours of culling and editing. Besides that, people sometimes don’t like pictures of themselves, because they see their own perceived flaws as flaws in the pictures, which is an unfortunate predicament for the photographer who photographs people. I’m also not a TikTok influencer. Yeah, I have social media accounts, and my Instagram has nearly 35,000 followers; while I never thought it would ever grow anywhere near that big, it’s still small-potatoes to be considered within “influencer” territory.
The article—what I missed the first time I read it—is about the power of swiftness. People are turning to TikTok creators to capture their wedding day because they can get ready-to-share pictures and videos quickly. People nowadays are less interested in a photo-book or DVD of their big day; instead, they want something that they can post to their social media accounts. Yeah, those polished products with a one or two week turnaround are great, but by the time the married couple receives them, the wedding is old news. Instant can be better than perfection. The younger generation in particularly would rather sacrifice “quality” for quickness.
Something else the article brings up is that people are interested in intimate and genuine content. “[Taylor Richardson] focuses on taking ‘raw footage’ and ‘candid’ images,” the article states, “which have a more ‘personal’ and ‘organic’ feel.” Richardson is then quoted, “The results end up looking like I was attending the wedding myself, like an amazing friend who never put her phone down the entire day.” It’s like the whole blurry picture trend—imperfections make it seem more true, more real, less staged. That’s what the younger crowd wants—authenticity. Or, at least, perceived authenticity.
What does any of this have to do with Fujifilm? Well, you all have a huge advantage! You can shoot straight-out-of-camera pictures using Film Simulation Recipes, and deliver amazing edited-looking pictures very quickly. Because you don’t need to edit, aside from perhaps some cropping, straightening, and maybe occasional very minor touchups, your biggest challenge is culling and delivery, not post-processing. That’s huge! Remember, it’s not perfection the client wants, but authentic pictures, quickly.
It’s not just photographs that the newlyweds want, but also ready-to-share videos. Video editing is even more slow and cumbersome than photo editing, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use Film Simulation Recipes for video, too (note that Grain, Clarity, and Color Chrome Effects are unavailable in video mode), so no need to color grade. You will have to splice clips to make under-a-minute short videos that are oriented tall and not wide. Consider having one camera dedicated to video and another for stills. If you don’t have much experience filming and editing short-form videos, that’s something you’ll want to get comfortable with well before the wedding day, and I suppose that’s why TikTokers have a leg up on everyone else. Storytelling is much more important than perfection, so consider ahead of time which clips you want to get to tell the story that you want to create.
Some people will look at the Insider article with disappointment. Those darn social media influencers with their iPhones and TikToks are ruining wedding photography! Some people will look at it with indifference. Why should I care? I’m not a social media influencer or wedding photographer. For some, though, who pay close attention, there’s a great opportunity for you, and the time is now to jump on it. You are already ahead of the curve because you own a Fujifilm camera and shoot with Film Simulation Recipes. Worry less about perfection and more about authentic in-the-moment images that are perhaps more raw and candid. The quicker that you can get these pictures into the hands of the client, the better.
The real advantage that you have over “TikTok Wedding Content Creators” is quality. While the iPhone is a good photographic and videographic tool—and don’t forget the RitchieCam App (a shameless plug)—it pales in comparison to what your Fujifilm camera is capable of. Your image and video quality can be so much superior while equally quick. The fruit is ripe for you, all you have to do is harvest it. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but if this is something you’ve been thinking about, it’s time to be decisive with your decision. If you want to be a wedding photographer, your opportunity awaits.
Nice article and very inspiring!
Thanks so much!
“… People nowadays are less interested in a photo-book or DVD of their big day; instead, they want something that they can post to their social media accounts.”
This has obvious consequences years to decades down the road. Unless of course, the idea and fulfillment of a wedding and marriage are as disposable as digital images no different than any other, left to be forgotten in a temporary or outdated medium.
Print, print, and then, print some more.
I completely agree with printing.
As far as DVDs of the big day… I’ve had two conversations with two photographers about this topic. One said that wedding DVDs are watched two or three times over a lifetime, and aren’t really worth the expense to the client… it’s more of an emotional sale than a practical one. The other said that only maybe 25 people tops will ever watch the DVD, and the wedding party’s grandkids perhaps will decades down the road be searching antique stores for a working DVD player (and maybe TV with the right connections) to even watch it, or paying someone to convert the DVD into some format that’s readable by whatever technology will exist in the future.
I do think it would be a shame not to have prints of the big day. Perhaps a company should (if one doesn’t exist already) make high-quality photo books of the wedding day… just upload the pictures and they do the rest. Maybe a business idea for someone.
I appreciate the comment!
Hello Ritchie, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on wedding photography. I found it very sad but true. As I learned wedding photography we strived for quality substance over superficial nonsense! It’s sad to see the quality of images from weddings fall to such a low. There are still so many outstanding wedding photographers that have set such great examples such as Monte Zucker that keep the romance and the historical value of imagery. Photographic people is so much more complex than a sunset or nature in many regards. because you are also photographing “ego” and that can be frustrating. Those of us that have done this for many years see the awful image of weddings today are saden by the inability of posing lighting and composition that many call wedding photography today. The true artist Lenardo & Rembrant are rolling over in their graves as quality has fallen to social superficial standards. Yes, Fuji cameras are great tools but the craftsmen behind that camera leave one thinking that this trend has fallen to an all-time low. The one area of commercial photography still has some of the true values of imagery left, but it too suffers from these social failures. Landscape imagery suffers from many compositional flaws. The really good ones still hold quality and other artistic values and many of us can still see it. It’s sad but painfully true. Are we really seeing the death of the art to create great works? Someone has to say the King has no clothes on!
I think the popularity of wedding photography as high-art is a fairly new phenomenon, over the last 40-50 years or so (and especially the last 25), except for perhaps among the ultra-wealthy, where it’s been a little longer. So, I guess, the trend to have high-quality-artistic wedding images is fading in favor of new trends, but I don’t think it will completely fade. But, as the saying goes, adapt or die. And in that is an opportunity to be just as high quality and just as artistic, but with a quicker turnaround. Perhaps the demands are greater, but there is indeed the opportunity for greatness, if one dares to grasp ahold of it. However, with that said, a lot of times photography clients and consumers aren’t art experts or photographers, and have very little idea of what a “great” photograph even is. So maybe it doesn’t matter, because it certainly doesn’t matter to most of them, it seems. I appreciate the input!
Great article! I was truly inspired!
Thanks so much!