Wedding photography industry is highly competitive, especially in large cities such as Toronto, New York City or Los Angeles. Every year there are countless rankings, competition and Top 10 lists provided by different companies and organizations. Some Top 10 lists mean a little and some carry more prestige and provide the recipients with unlimited bragging rights. In today’s article we will take a closer looks at the whole new industry of Top 10 lists and what it means to us – as professional wedding photographers based in Toronto.
What makes top 10 wedding photographer and what separates the top one from others?
Our studio has had a fair share of wining multiple awards from different wedding professional photography associations such as Fearless Photographers or ISPWP, to being ranked on different Top 10 Wedding Photographers Toronto lists such as WeddingWire, BrideBox or EventSource to name a few.
As artists and creators we pay attention to what our peers say about our work. We value opinions of our industry leaders and try to be at the forefront of our craft. However over the years we feel these yearly awards have been losing its meaning and eroding its value. It seems like every week there is some kind of new competition announced, some new award being given away, or some new best of segment related list mentioned.
When we take a closer at these ranking we don’t see clear rules how photographers are ranked or compered. There is lack of transparency and honesty. What’s even more bothering is that sometimes these photography “competitions” are nothing but a scam to make money off photographers by charging them large entry fees and giving back very little in terms of rewards. We see a lot unethical behavior and even cheating. We think the whole industry is going in the wrong direction with focusing too much on bragging rights and being “number one”.
We decided to do a little thought experiment and create our own Top 10 Wedding Photography list in our Toronto studio. But instead of naming the finalists we put together a top criteria list of how to judge and pick top wedding photographers. We think that anyone scoring big in these categories deserves to be ranked as a top wedding photographer. Here is our formula.
Someone once said it take 10000 hours to become an expert. And we have to agree. There is no substitute for experience in wedding photography. If we translate this rule to wedding photography it takes about 200 weddings to shoot and edit to become a top wedding photographer.
Our studio shot at least 500 weddings of the last few years and we don’t recall one wedding that went according to the schedule. There are always minor issues with wedding vendors, problems with guests, traffic issues, the weather not cooperating and so on. You can plan as much as you want yet still there will be problems which need to be resolved on the spot. We believe that a top 10 wedding photographer will be able to improvise and adapt to any situation on the wedding day. His or her ability to quickly react and provide solutions is one of the major traits of top wedding photographers.
A great wedding photographer needs to know how to multi-tasks and be jack of all trades. What we’ve learned over the years of shooting weddings that on a wedding day the only real commodity is time, or lack of. There is multitude of things going on at the same time and a great wedding photographer has to react and do his/her job.
Our modern photography equipment is very complex and requires that anyone who aspires to be named a top wedding photographer would be very tech-savvy. A top wedding photographer must be a master of the craft. On the wedding day there is no time to learn how to operate photography equipment. Operating cameras should his/her second nature.
Wedding photography is a creative profession that requires huge amount of talent. Even if you have the best equipment in the world, at the end of the day they are just tools that enable to create art. We could go on here and debate if a talent is something acquired and can me learned or you are born with it. From our experience a great wedding photographer will have some qualities that make his/her work unique and just different from the crowd of other photographers.
Without passion it is very hard to success in any profession. Professional wedding photography is no different. We think when you do what you love you create a better experience for your clients and you also make better pictures, that shine through the crowd. It takes a lot of time and effort to become the best of the best, and the ones that succeed and become top wedding photographers are truly passionate about their craft.
A unique style is a major part of artistry of the best wedding photographers. Every artist develops techniques and methods that are very his or hers alone. Having a style also enables to be different and stand out in the over-saturated market of wedding industry.
Wedding photography is an art form. It requires a lot of creativity and imagination. A creative photographer has an eye for taking ordinarily and turning it into extraordinary. Only top wedding photographers can make a clichéd pose will look different and more original.