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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Too Old to be a Wedding Photographer?

This question has recently been running on the Digital Wedding Photographers Forum(DWF).
As a 65 year old who last  photographed a wedding in November this year and started in 1975 I feel  I can make some observations..

Surely wedding  photography is all about quality of work, pricing, whether you can relate to the photographer, and you like what they have shown you of their last  work.

The customer may of course want to employ a  young,trendy, fashionable and award winning photographer for their own prestige not so much the quality of the work.

And that is perfectly legitimately their call.

From the photographer's point of view I make  the following points.

1. Are you fit enough to get through the day both Physically and Mentally?
2. Are you still on top of your game and striving for improvement?
3. Can you use all the modern technology?
4.Can you deliver what the couple want?
5. Is your age something that has grown with your photography and thus you have lots of experience or are you an older would be wedding photographer who may be  a good all round photographer?
It may be questionable to have a go if in that last category but once again in depends on your customer's perception of you and your abilities as a photographer.

My main concern personally comes in the physical ability area.As you get older you can become far less mobile and if you are ding wedding photography as it should be done you will come home feeling you have done a solid day's physical work.

My wife has continually said I need to be fitter and carry less weight.
She is right.
The worse case scenario and this is for all photographers , regardless of age, is do you have someone to step in if you are physically unwell or unable to do the job on the wedding day?

There does come a time when we all have to say I'm not doing this anymore.

I have done that several times but people still ask me.

The "Old Guy" in action
My next wedding is in December 2012.I will be closer to 67 than 66 at that time.

I was a reluctant starter for this but could not say no as I was keenly sort after and there are close friendship ties. I will make sure I have safeguards in place such as a standby photographer I can call on if needed.

I think after that it may be the final one but there are still nieces and possibly nephews that will want to engage my services.

Update: 2/12/12. Have just completed my latest wedding as above.
It was a very busy and action packed wedding and my wife and I are a bit "photo lagged" after taking many shots.
We stayed at the reception as guests.
As an older photographer I had a little bit of leg cramp at the Bride's house and hands cramping at times  on the way to and at the reception.
Not a good feeling but the amount of shots one takes with digital slr's is a factor in this.
I used a Canon 600d as my main camera and a Canon 400d for some shots on my telephoto zoom.
I had a Canon 430EX flash.
My wife used a Pentax Kr with short zoom and a Metz flash.
Too old?
We are possibly the oldest wedding photography couple around at present.
I am 66 my wife 63.
I think this will be my last wedding.
Time to pull up stumps at the same time(this week) as Ricky Ponting retires from Test Cricket and for some remarkably similar reasons.

Update as of February 2016: I am still doing about 1 wedding a year as an assistant.I am fast approaching 70. I have been helping a young friend who is at the beginning of her photography career. Next wedding 5/3/16.
Ps Did this wedding last Saturday. Enjoyed it and got some great shots that with permission I will post at a later date but I fear that will be the last except maybe to help out relatives.
It was a very warm day and suffered from severe leg cramps all night after the wedding.

NB:As at September 2016 I think I am definitely past my used by date as an active regular wedding photographer.
I have just last week had heart surgery after a very blocked large artery was discovered and now I am  home recovering.
I am hoping to end up fitter than I was but it was a close call.

late afternoon light on a golf course is hard to beat.

The race begins

More energy than the photographer

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