Thomas Campbell wrote in post #14684887
The client wasn't an idiot. Just because I hadn't shot many weddings doesn't mean I wasn't an established photographer.
...well, thats the point though, isn't it? You are an established photographer who is producing quality, outstanding work. You are probably also an excellent and natural marketer that can sell yourself very well. After years of hard work in the photographic industry you find yourself in the position where you are being booked to shoot weddings without having to present a portfolio. Obviously this is the ideal situation: but how many people in their first or second year of business find themselves in your situation?
At that point, I had shot the covers of several major (6-figure circulation) magazines, been contracted to shoot in 7 countries on three continents and was a pretty good photographer. I wasn't an idiot that just bought a rebel and started shooting [LIke I see way too often here.] I also had the necessary equipment (1D3 and 1Ds2 plus all the L lenses and lights).
So what your saying is that if you've shot the cover of several major magazines, been contracted to shoot in seven countries on three continents you don't need to have a wedding portfolio to book work. To which I say...duh. Of course! How many photographers out there can make that particular claim and meet your body of work? Maybe fifty to a hundred out of hundreds of thousands of photographers?
So the answer to your original question is if you aren't one of the few photographers who are regularly published in major magazines, a wedding portfolio for a wedding photographer is normally a good idea.
Does Zack Arias or Joe McNally have a wedding portfolio? Would you pay them to shoot your wedding? (Not saying I was or am on their level.)
Another duh question. Both Zack and Joe have a huge body of work out there on which they can be judged: Joe Smith, Wedding Photographer in Kaitoke New Zealand does not. For Joe Smith: a wedding portfolio is a very good idea.
When you can make lighting a reflex that you don't have to give 100% focus to to get excellent results, you can focus more on the client and posing.
You sometimes forget what it was like to be a newbie photographer shooting for a first time. Workshops and training courses are fantastic value, but to a certain degree are "artificial" and you need to spend time learning the logistics of doing a photoshoot for yourself. Shooting a mannequin does not train you on what to do when a five year old boy DOES NOT STOP MOVING. It doesn't matter how good you are at lighting if you can't control your shoot.
A couple of years ago I was a recruitment consultant with a hospitality temp agency. My colleague interviewed a guy for general barista roles. The guy gave a fantastic interview and answered all the questions correctly, including the trick questions that my colleague threw at him. He knew obscure things about making coffee that even I didn't know about. The references seemed to check out so when we got an urgent request for a barista at one of the busiest cafes in Auckland city he was the ideal candidate to send.
Five minutes after he started his shift we got a phone call from the cafe telling us to get him out of there. It turned out that this guy was pouring cold milk straight into hot coffee: he didn't know how to steam the milk, and didn't even know how to work the machine! It turned out his references were fake and that his extensive coffee knowledge had been gleamed from a couple nights of study off of the internet.
Knowing the theory of lighting alone won't help you cope with the real world issues that strike photographers will hit when they step out of the workshop and start shooting real and unpredictable people.
I agree. You should be able to produce professional results before you charge. Too many people don't have the honor to do that.
So you agree that some people should shoot for free, yes? That shooting mannequin's and in workshops alone will not get you to the professional level?
Should people shoot for free? The answer of course is "it depends." There should never be any absolutes and the "NEVER SHOOT FOR FREE!!!" mantra does become tiresome after a while. The actual answer is that you need to analyse your business, look at yourself and examine your strengths and weaknesses, look at the market place and see where you want to fit in, develop a business plan on how to get to where you want to be and then to go from there. For some people, this might mean shooting people for free while they develop the skills that they need to overcome those shortcomings. For other people they won't need to do that.
Of course, this doesn't really address the OP at all, and as I don't live in the US I have no idea where his prices fall in relation to his work. But good luck!