Oh dear, when someone writes a letter like the one this anonymous photographer published yesterday on Hindsight Bride, you know the end of the world is about to start! I went on Twitter yesterday and saw comments that I struggled to understand, about ‘normal weddings’, ‘vintage weddings’, ‘segregating the wedding industry’ and so on and so forth. It wasn’t until this morning, when I took some time to investigate the matter and I saw Annabel’s response on her fabulous Love My Dress blog that I got my head around what those Twitter comments were referring to.

For a moment I nearly sympathised with that photographer. But then, reading Annabel’s point of view, and thinking about my experience as a newbie wedding blogger, I’ve realised that the issue lies more on marketing strategies than on how good or bad photography is or how many details a wedding shoot is showcasing.

♥ A blog exists to inspire couples, brides or individuals that love all things pretty. FACT.

♥ Details are key to inspire our readers. FACT.

If a wedding is a collection of portrait photography, then you need to understand that as beautiful, romantic and sweet the photography or the individuals are, it might not be that inspiring to look at pictures of a couple hugging, kissing or smiling at each other. A bride or a couple reads a blog to get ideas for their wedding, not to get an idea of how to pose in front of the camera (although, that might help too!). If a couple asks you to take traditional photos of their own wedding and simply require portraits and posing images rather than images of details, then you may have to accept the fact that this specific wedding may not be suitable for publication on a blog.

Now, when we talk about details, we are not all necessarily referring to vintage details. Some bloggers like vintage, some don’t.

As far as I’m concerned, my wedding was pretty minimal, nevertheless breathtaking to many (or so I’ve been told). But when I featured my wedding on Linen and Silk, I had a very small selection of images I could share, not because there were no details in my wedding, but because the photography was poor quality. And you know what excuse the photographer gave me to justify the fact that he’s cut people’s feet on lots of pictures, he took no second shots of all those images where the guests had closed eyes and he managed to photograph himself in the mirror? “There were no inspiring or striking details in my wedding”. That clearly wasn’t true, but the point is – to be featured on a blog you need a combination of two things: good quality photography & details – vintage or non-, it doesn’t matter. Different people like different styles. I like minimal, urban weddings. Vintage is not for me and I guess is not for the readers I attract either.

Just to give you an idea, these are various reasons why I will not feature a wedding shoot on my blog. If:

♥ The photography isn’t good quality, and with good quality I mean PROFESSIONAL. Just because one has a big camera with incredible lens doesn’t make one a good photographer. And just because someone knows how to use Photoshop it doesn’t mean that their professionally retouched photographs are good either.

♥ The type of photography is totally irrelevant to my readers. Recently I was approached by a Swiss photographer whose site portrays images of weddings on the mountains. Beautiful photography, but the questions I have to ask myself are: How is this going to inspire or enrich my couples? Is there anything in this shoot that can be taken on board by my readers and recreated if they want to?

♥ The photographer approaches me either showing that they haven’t even looked at my submission page or in a very casual manner. I don’t think of myself too highly, but the least you can do is show that you WANT to be featured on my blog because you like the environment where your images will sit. I am not forcing you to approach me. But if you do, the least you can do is have a nice pleasant manner about yourself.

♥ A photographer cannot be bothered to provide further details on the wedding, such as the name of other suppliers. These are key information that help the readers who may want to get married in the same location or who like that specific wedding design, but also help the other suppliers get a bit of exposure. I like to share the love, so why not?

What I have found incredible in my journey as a blogger (very short indeed, but revelatory nevertheless), is that I get constantly approached by non-UK photographers asking if they can be featured and checking if I know wedding planners who organise destination weddings in their area. Some of these photographers are incredibly grateful even just to receive an email from me saying that I cannot feature them! They are super-talanted but don’t get much exposure in their own country, and they really cherish the opportunity to have their images featured on a UK-blog.
Have I ever been approached by a UK photographer? Not once.
And I think this has to do with the marketing strategies I was referring to earlier. The UK market is saturated with wedding blogs, some more successful than others. UK photographers are sometimes more internet and marketing savvy than some of the photographers I’ve worked with recently (no offence to anyone in particular!), and know fully well that my up and coming blog is a few thousands monthly visitors short than mainstream blogs read by thousands of brides each day. So why even waste time with the tiny weeny Linen and Silk? Well, the reason is simple. Because my readers will be different from Miss Such and Such readers.
As bloggers we not only try to feature inspiring ideas, but we also try our best to pour our personalities into our blog so that the bride who reads it will be emotionally connected to me, and she will come back because she likes what she reads AND she likes my company.
Of course I hope that one day my blog is as buzzing and popular some of the well known UK bloggers (didn’t know whether it was ethical to mention some so I ended up removing their names), but I refuse to view them as competitors. Their style is probably different from mine, so their readers will automatically be different from mine.
And the same goes for photographers. If you only target a blog because of its popularity, then you may well be rejected if your style isn’t something that resonates with that specific blogger.
Don’t take offence and research wedding blogs to decide which ones you feel offer the best environment for your photography style.
Clearly I cannot offer a photographer the level of exposure that the best UK bloggers can offer, but joint efforts go a long way.
Two weeks ago I featured the shoot of Canary Islands photographer Quim Leon. It took him time and effort to supply the images and the copy in English (of course the post was mine, but he had to give me as much details as possible in a language that wasn’t his). We then both did the best we could to promote the feature on FB and Twitter, and as a result the joint effort produced traffic to the site that was 4x higher than my daily average. I was happy, he was happy. Will a bride ever book him just because they have seen the wedding images on Linen and Silk? Maybe not. But I know that the other suppliers mentioned in the feature visited the site and read the post (one even kindly left a comment), so I’m pretty confident that they will remember him and most probably return the favour by recommending him to couples.
So if a mainstream blogger decides not to feature your photography, don’t get downhearted. After all, as acclaimed wedding photographer J* always preaches, you want to appeal to brides that are attracted to both you personality and style. We, bloggers, work in a similar way. So just look for those blogs that you too, photographer, are emotionally connected to and don’t stress about those you are not.
But please don’t generalise by telling us that we all are the cause of brides feeling insecure about their wedding. Most of us are here to empower brides and remind them that even if money or creativity is lacking, there are ways (i.e. DIY) and sources (blogs that feature DIY ideas or examples of real, creative weddings) that can help a couple achieve the wedding they want, within their means.
Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments about this topic. It’s an interesting topic, so it would be great to hear your opinion.
xx Betta
© Linen and Silk Weddings