We once heard it said, “If you have a strong enough Why, you can endure any How.” So our advice to new photographers is always to start with Why.
Ask yourself these questions: Why do you want to be a photographer in the first place? Why do you want to be a wedding photographer (or portrait photographer or senior photographer) in particular? Why is it that you want to do this thing that we are all lucky enough to do? What drives you?
A few years ago we had cause to pause and take a hard look at our own Why, to ask ourselves the hard questions, and to say with certainty for the very first time why it is we do what we do. We started asking the really hard questions, and then we did something even harder: we sat down and wrote out the answers. This is what we came up with:
"We recognize that what we do is about preserving life, preserving love, and preserving history. It is to provide the very proof that this love existed in the first place. Therefore, in reverence for the gravity of that which we do, we choose to exercise the restraint to only tell those stories through the veil of authenticity and to capture the meaningful images that will record that history for the generations yet to come."
To put it another way: there are a lot of things that we as photographers can do, but that doesn't mean we should do them. And the good news here, is that our Why doesn’t have to be the same as your Why. In fact, they can be very different and lead to very different images from ours. As long as you know what your Why is in the first place and you start shooting in a way that draws you closer to that purpose, then we will consider this a win. So starting today, begin writing out what you believe your Why to be. Sit down and ask yourself the really hard questions. And then take the time to write out the even harder answers. Trust us, you will be a better photographer because of it.
The very best "about" video we've seen to date in the wedding industry is all thanks to Justin and Mary Marantz. They're excellent teachers, writers and photographers, but at the top of the list is their passion for the craft and their clients. Looking to follow Justin and Mary? Just wander over to their facebook page.
Images copyright Justin and Mary Marantz. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.