Being a wedding photographer may seem like a dream job: wouldn’t it be great to spend most of your time surrounded by people celebrating the happiest day of their lives? The reality, however, can be somewhat different. Just ask photographer Lee Maxwell Judd, who got into a dispute with a not-so-happy couple and hit the press after publicly calling the bride the ‘ugliest’ he had ever seen.
The headlines screamed about Lee’s indiscretion in publications ranging from the UK’s Mirror at mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ugliest-bride-ive-ever-seen-5650620 to the New Zealand Herald at m.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11444736, telling the story of how he had to apologise after a Facebook rant that accompanied a photograph of bride Ashlea Howard, 30, and new husband Daniel.
Not Me, Ashlea!
Lee has claimed that he didn’t post the acid-tongued insults, saying that his Facebook account had been hacked, but the couple, who got married in New South Wales are still furious and Lee has received a backlash as a result of ‘his’ post.
Surprisingly, though, Lee says he has also experienced ‘an overload; of likes, new leads and clients. The majority of wedding photographers, such as those found at lemontree-photography.co.uk, probably wouldn’t see this as the best way to get publicity for their business, however. Most people searching for a wedding photographer in Hampshire, England, or New South Wales, Australia, for example, are not likely to choose one based on their insulting skills after all.
The Good Life?
This tale does demonstrate how life as a wedding photographer may not always be rosy, however. There’s no doubt that it is a great job but it is also incredibly demanding, both in terms of time and effort. When people want a record of their ‘best day’ the bar is always going to be set high and there is rarely room for mistakes.
It takes much more than simple camera skills to succeed in a job that can be as much about public relations as photography. Lee Maxwell Judd may have become well-known for allegedly insulting a bride but, for almost every other wedding photographer, their reputation is built on being able to communicate effectively with clients, deal with people even when emotions are running high, cope with any eventuality knowing that there is rarely a chance of a second chance on a person’s wedding day, and delivering the required results, on time, every time.
There are few photographs that go on to be treasured more than a person’s wedding snaps and that is why only special photographers generally see huge success in the field of capturing those special days. Whilst an ‘off’ shoot can often be re-scheduled – if time and money allows – this is generally out of the question when it comes to weddings, meaning that these photographers have to get it right the first time, every time.
Success is not just about talent, either, but about effective preparation, communication, innovation and inspiration. Forming a good relationship with the bride and groom is also a major part of the process for those photographers striving to be the very best. It is certainly a lot easier to look relaxed and happy in photographs when you don’t hate the sight of the person behind the camera, after all.