I get this question quite often:
I’m not sure if I should separate my wedding photography from my editorial or commercial work. What do you think?
Well...it depends on your goals (personal and business).
It depends on your marketing.
I know, I know. You've heard it before and “It depends” isn't really helpful. It’s frustrating to hear so how about some examples to help clarify?
The Passionate Photojournalist: When Weddings Are Your Fallback
Susie photojournalist has a serious passion for traveling around the country making pictures of every day people and their stories. She has this deep-rooted love for getting into people's lives and loves to share their stories with the world. Susie has been successful in getting her photographs published in some major publications but the money some days just isn't enough to allow her the luxury to only follow her passion. So, Susie shoots weddings to supplement her income.
Dear Susie, please keep your wedding work far away from your editorial.
Why? Because the people who would want to buy your wedding services are coming to you to buy wedding photography; not look at photos (stories) about people affected by polluted water or how meth has changed a small town. Put yourself in the bride’s shoes for a sec. If Brenda Bride is looking for a wedding photographer, comes to your website and sees images of something graphic or uncomfortable, chances are Brenda is going to leave your website and go check out another photographer; what she might consider a real wedding photographer.
The Lifestyle Photographer: Weddings Are Another Opportunity to Do Your Thing
Tom Traveler is an editorial photographer who specializes in lifestyle: travel, home, gardens, food, etc. He also takes on wedding photography to supplement income and...(this is the important part) he loves weddings. He approaches them like any other assignment and especially loves the creative freedom weddings allow. All of his work has a particular style. The light, color, composition all convey a consistent mood; a feeling.
Dear Tom, go ahead and weave your wedding images into your portfolio.
Why? Because your photographs have a particular style; a look that is consistent (and this can be achieved through editing!) you can mix it up! You can take the whole of all your images and edit so your portfolio is cinematic; more like music. It doesn’t matter whether the picture is a bowl of beautiful green apples, the holding of hands or of beaches in Brazil.
The challenge and the key is in how you market.
Obviously, this is a meaty topic. Next time I’ll offer some useful ideas and ways you might approach this for your own business.
In the meantime, do you have questions about how this might apply to you?