Producing art as a livelihood; why wedding photographers are amazing

Wedding Photography takes a special kind of artist

When we discuss artists, for most of us the image that comes to mind is someone sitting perhaps on a street corner of a bustling city center with easel and palette at the ready. This universal image of artist, the one who wears a beret and takes lunch at the cafe sipping on red wine or a fancy coffee, is universal because it’s true. Like most stereotypes, they are usually based in fact. When we discuss artists, rarely does the thought of a wedding photographer come to mind, unless of course, you are one.


But it’s not art if you do it for the money!

I can’t tell you how many times this has come up in discussion with aspiring artists. There is this notion in the art community (at least throughout Canada, where I am from) that true artists must first endure a long and arduous tenure being broke, sleeping on friends couches, and putting oneself into a pile of debt. It’s justified for the people that go through these trials and tribulations then, to scoff at someone who dares to make money and call themselves artists. They feel justified because they are surrounded by similar, like-minded people who are all going through the same process. It’s for this reason wedding photographers find themselves isolated in the art world. We find ourselves constantly seeking approval from other wedding photographers. Comparing ourselves is really what keeps us competitive and improving our art. I have never met a wedding photographer so fresh, and so different, that she is celebrated. More likely they are shunned and find themselves unable to find any work, thus forcing them to centralize and seek to become more like the norm.

If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius

A quote I’ll always remember by Michelangelo referring to his sculptires. Most likely his sculpture of the statue of David. Genius, makes it sound as if it was easily accomplished. No one but successful artists understand how much work you must put into something before you see success. Wedding photography, just as much as any other art form, takes an absolutely maddening amount of work. This isn’t the kind of art that you get to share in a university lecture hall and put up to your peers who are struggling just as much as you are, no, this is the kind of work that if it is not good enough means you do not make money.


For that, it’s more demanding than most other forms of art. There is no soft buffer period where you are being critiqued as a learner. As soon as you enter the industry you are held to the exacting standards as the best in the world. If you aren’t as good as them, then you will not make as much money as they do. It’s logical and it’s factual. There is no mysterious “artistic vibe” that will increase the value of your wedding photography. You are either good, or you are not. It’s not your peers who decide, it’s the uneducated public who know nothing about composition, lighting, timing, angles or posing. Imagine if picasso’s success was based on what the general public thought of his work. It would have been immediately dismissed and we would never have learned of the true greatness of his art.

There is greatness all around us; we just have to look

On every continent, in every major city, there is art. Great art. Recently, while researching a wedding photographer in Australia for a friend I came across this amazing wedding photographer Sven Studios is based out of Adelaide and he is one of the great artists I have been discussing. Get out there, find the great artists and appreciate what they have done to create greatness.

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