http://annealmasy.com

Editor’s Note :: Photographer Anne Almasy is joining DEDPXL as a regular blog contributor. Look for a post from her once a month. – Z

“I’m a wedding photographer,” I told the woman sitting across from me. She clapped her hands eagerly and beamed at me. “I LOVE wedding photography!” she squealed.

This isn’t an unusual response. It’s typically followed by, “Have you heard of this photographer? Or that photographer? I look at their blogs and I just DIE. And PINTEREST. Don’t even get me started on Pinterest!”

Yes, please. Let’s not get started on Pinterest.

Because my dirty little secret is this: I hate wedding photography. I don’t hate wedding photographers, and I certainly, truly don’t hate photographing weddings. I just hate the compulsion to obsessively, gluttonously devour wedding photographs, as if looking at another wedding photographer’s work will somehow make my own… what? Better? Prettier? More expensive?

I devoted more than a few years to pouring over other wedding photographers’ pictures, hungrily seeking inspiration. And you know what it got me? Panic attacks.

View More: http://annealmasy.com

Seriously. I used to have regular “wedding nightmares”, dreams in which I’d arrive at a wedding and my camera would catch on fire. Like, flames, shooting out of my camera. I’m pretty sure this was an internalization of the general terror I had been storing up, a Pandora’s Box of horrifying certainty that everything I was doing was wrong, and eventually my carefully-built career would spontaneously combust, just like my dream-camera.

I wish macro shots of wedding rings burned like fuel for my mind. I wish Lensbabied bouquets lit a fire in my soul.

But they don’t. In fact, they do the opposite. They suck me dry; they weigh me down. They turn this work that I love into something heavy and hard.

So I STOPPED.
I stopped looking at wedding photographs. I just gave it up, cold turkey, like cigarettes or booze.

 

Instead? I read books. I listened to music. I drank whiskey with my friends and had impromptu dance parties in my living room. I binge-watched TV shows and ate entire boxes of doughnuts. I took road trips, stayed up all night, slept in all day. I snuggled my husband, my sisters, my nephews. I wrote and drew and sewed and took pictures with my iPhone — my iPhone, for heaven’s sake!

In short: I lived. And I discovered that if I would just live my life and be a person, if I would commune with other people who live and love and ARE, inspiration grew. It blossomed out of me like herbs in the windowsill, taller overnight, greener by the hour.

And instead of incessantly reminding myself of all the ways in which I fell short — the money I wasn’t earning, the gear I wasn’t acquiring, the pictures I didn’t even know how to make — I stepped back and saw that wedding photography — this beautiful, terrible, exhausting, wonderful thing I called my job — was really a direct path to communion.

Yes, a job.

Yes, my craft.

Yes, a priceless heirloom to the families I’ve photographed.

But even more, wedding photography is an opportunity for connection. A glimpse of life. A chance for celebration. And in dismissing “style” and “approach”, I found myself embracing the soul of this work I do: the beauty and frustration and intensity of a wedding day.

View More: http://annealmasy.com

Now, when someone asks me, “Do you know So-and-So, That Amazing Wedding Photographer?” chances are I’ll say no. Not because I’m an obtuse jerk, but because I really don’t know them. The people in my life now are people I love intimately, people who add something authentic to my conversation, something broader than wedding photography. They add fresh perspective, honesty and integrity, legitimate creativity.

They add life.

I don’t know anyone in Rangefinder’s list of “photographers to watch”, but I know Emily and Tommy, who got married less than two weeks after Tommy’s mother was paralyzed by a horrible neurological disease. I don’t know who spoke at WPPI this year, but I know Jason and Jeff, who are flying all the way to New York this summer so they can officially, legally become husbands. I’m not sure how to make an award-winning print, but I knew how to photograph Betsy and Matt’s wedding in the rain, my camera wrapped in a humongous garbage bag, while a tropical storm whirled around us on a Bahaman beach.

Has my work gotten better? Well, better than what? Better than it was before? You bet. Because my competition was never “them”. My competition was, and has always been, me.

This is my life. This is all I’ve got. And I’m positive that I won’t be wishing on my death bed that I’d spent a few more hours looking at another wedding photographer’s pictures.

At the end, I just want to be grateful. Grateful for the moments I got to share, for the stories I got to tell, for the pictures I got to make. And for the people who opened their lives to me.

I hate wedding photography.

But damn, do I love my job.

Anne Almasy is a full time portrait, commercial, and wedding photographer based in Atlanta, GA. Anne is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and is the first regular contributor here on DEDPXL. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Anne Almasy

Contributor

 

123 Comments

  1. Vince

    I feel you ! Wedding nightmares .. hahaha . Rangefinder…? What’s that?
    Thanks for the blog! Loved it!

  2. Andrew Tomasino

    Anne, ya done killed it. Awesome post, and truly beautiful photos. Can’t wait for your next entry to the DEDPXL community.

  3. Rich

    Great Post! Its so easy to get wrapped up in “the game” (for lack of better words), and so hard for many to separate from it. Congrats!

  4. Jennifer

    Well said – applies to most photography genres really. What a way to start to create better art and different photographs then what others do but to be inspired by your life:)

    So happy you’ll be a regular!

  5. Derek Anson

    “…my competition was never “them”. My competition was, and has always been, me.”

    Love that.

  6. David

    This was a truly excellent piece. Thank you.

  7. Alex leon

    Great post! I also feel you but hey I stopped too. No mood boards, no inspiration shit. I shoot it like it comes and guess what, I’m still good at it. Weddings in Tijuana go from 500 bucks to 2k, yes 500!!! I’m amazed in how people really don’t give a crap over here. Still, I have my price set. No budging or favors. When they see the outcome they’re at ease. Anywho, stay true to your gut and keep shotting. Thanks for read.

  8. David Gardiner

    Wonderful post looking forward to reading many more!

  9. Styron Pennywell

    “Step away from the Mac, and go live your life…” This was the lesson I learned in my first design class. Now as I make the transition from design to photography, I compulsively comb through photography books and web sites. Thanks for reminding me to go out and live…and keep shooting. I look forward to your next post!

  10. Ben Godkin

    “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    Great article. :)

  11. Rayhaan

    I can definitely relate with what you’re saying (story of my life at the moment). Thanks for sharing it – looking forward to more of your contributions in the coming months :)

  12. Felicitas

    You just made my day!

    It’s such an important step to let loose to achieve something good on the other hand… Not only in photography.

    Seems yet so simple, but I couldn’t figure it out that clearly what it was that frustrates me more and more… It’s me sitting in front of my computer constantly seeking for any comparison that will make me feel smaller. Cruel.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! That’s a helpful clue for me to go in a more healthier direction!

  13. Zachary Long

    Thanks for the article, looking forward to more! A good reminder to get out of the “rat race” of competing with other photographers and grow yourself. Took a Jeff Newsom workshop to give me the kick in the butt I needed, hopefully this article will do the same for others!

  14. Nicholas gonzalez

    Awesome! Thank you!

  15. Robin M.

    Insightful and thought provoking! Thanks!

  16. Michael

    What a great post. Why don’t you kick Zack outa here and move in by yourself? (Nah, just kidding, here.)
    A quote by someone who I’m sure you don’t know, either (Joe Buissink) fits right in here: “The most important thing as a photographer is who you are.”

    • Zack

      @Michael – Hahaha! I know. I’ll leave the keys on the counter and see myself out now. :)

      Cheers,
      Zack

  17. Gulnara

    Well said! I too stopped looking at wedding photography a while back. And I don’t look at street photography which is my passion. I prefer old black and white documentaries and look thru photography book that I have so many for the inspiration. I would like to deliver something unique for my clients – my vision on how I see them and their personalities and not something I saw online.

    • Zack

      Hey Gulnara! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a great comment. I hope you are well! See you in NYC for Photo Plus in October?

      Cheers,
      Zack

  18. Andrew

    So well said!

    One of the most consistent things I’ve heard interviewing the best photographers is “stop looking at the work of other photographers in the same genre” – all with a similar reason; it will suck you dry.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  19. Dallas

    First shot; that girl in the green dress in the background… is that Becca from Californication? Sure looks like it could be her. Or a doppelgänger.

    Great article, by the way.

  20. ivan

    Great post

    For someone who is looking to start photography as a profession…. Awesome starting point

    Thank you

  21. Jorn

    I have adopted a different approach: While I no longer spend an awful lot of time behind my computer looking at the work of contemporary peers, I do spend some time browsing through the photo books of current and past masters of photography.

    Study the masters, but don’t compare yourself or your work with them. You are not them and they are not you.

    • Zack

      Well said Jorn. Not enough of us go back and study the those whose shoulders we stand on.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  22. Mark Zelinski

    That’s awesome! Hey, do you know Zach Arias? :)

  23. bryan karl lathrop

    As with anything in life, I think moderation is key. There’s nothing wrong in looking at the work of photographers whose work you admire, as long as you don’t obsess over it—which is what I believe you were referring to, Anne. I’ve found that the longer I stay in the game, the more self assured I become in putting my spin on an image, and constantly looking for ways to up my game. The healthiest competition definitely resides in finding ways to improve your own work. Thank you for this awesome article.

  24. Kaushlesh Biyani

    Very well written. I have taken to books by my favorites (Cartier-Bresson, McCurry, Rai), but still need to get over the “comparison” part. I look at McCurry/Rai’s photos and always wonder, how am I ever going to photograph anything in/about India when he’s done such a phenomenal job at it!

  25. Samuel Clifton

    YES, I really liked this and will follow this strategy. Thanks Anne!

  26. Edward Maurer

    Wow, this made me smile. Especially that my competition is me. Love that. Thanks for writing this, so many of us feel the same way. Exactly the same.

  27. Kaisa

    Absolutely loved it!

  28. Aubry

    love me some Anne! Great article and appropriate for any genre….. **thumbs up**

  29. mirko

    Damn! Fast and good article!! I loved it, and I’m pretty sure you can extrapolate it to other crafts/disciplines. As a graphic designer, I’m often confronted with the same questions and extremely high standards that never seem to lower, instead, they frustrate me. Until I tell myself to *¨^% off and leave it be.

    Then I create more easily.

  30. Ed

    I stopped too. Except my stopping was different from yours. I shot what I call social photography (events, portraits etc.) for quite some time and grew to hate it. Got a regular job, didn’t really touch a camera for about ten years and I enjoy photography more now than I ever have.

  31. Adam

    Nice article – I spy Jim Fiscus. Should I look back at older posts and try to find other photographers in them too?

  32. Dave H

    Well done. I’m not a wedding photographer but I feel the same emotions at times about portrait photography. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Ashley Scobey

    You are wonderful! I love everything about this. Cheers to living and rejecting the panic attacks.

  34. Thomas Carr

    Great article. Thanks for your insight Anne. I’ve been a photographer since I was 10, and I’m 50 now. Seriously, I love photography, it’s my passion in life, it’s part of life. But I didn’t choose to pursue it as a career. I think I purposely went another route to keep my love of it alive. I admire photographers who work with people for a living. What a challenge. I’ve only photographed weddings for friends and I understand the anxiety. I’ve recently decided to try and get more work on the side doing weddings and portraits, but I’m having second thoughts. I just can’t get inspired. I’m writing this reply mainly in the chance you happen to read it and have any additional insight on how to personalize something when you don’t really know the people.

    • Anne Almasy

      I like this train of thought, Thomas. I got my first camera when I was 8, so I can totally identify with growing up as a photographer! I always tell people I’m a photographer in my soul. :) But I COMPLETELY understand the struggle to find inspiration in strange, awkward, sometimes boring scenarios. I’m not gonna say I have it figured out — far from it. But I do think I’ve gotten better at finding my heart even in jobs where I have no direct connection to the people I’m photographing. I’m gonna think more on this and write something special just for you. THANK YOU, for making me think! XO

  35. Danielle Almond

    I never, never never NEVER comment on stuff like this, but boy, I REALLY needed this tonight. Thank you for writing this. I want to read it every single day. Much love to you & much happiness in your life & in your craft.

  36. Andrea Doziér

    Thank you for sharing this I completely get it. I love that you talked about connections & taking pictures with your phone. That is exactly where I am & this just confirms to keep at it.

  37. craig john

    Good GOD! That’s awesome! Thank you……whomever you are. :)

  38. Dan Cheung

    Took what has been in my mind for the past 2 years and eloquently transferred them into writing. Thank you.

  39. Allie

    I could have written this myself. I also gave up “cold turkey” following others work YEARS ago. I don’t shoot weddings for other photographers – I shoot them for the clients who I get to call friends. One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy” .. shoot with love for people you love to shoot for and everything else will fall into place :) xo

  40. Emily

    Beautifully written! I remember the day I stopped following the blogs of lots of photographers I looked up to, such a weight off my shoulders. While I still love their work and respect them, I have found more freedom to just be myself when I’m shooting!

  41. Sacha Miller

    Good article, though ironically the first thing I did after finish reading it was click the link to view your website…doh!

    Oh well baby steps……..

  42. Chris

    I think everyone goes through the same phases from when they start photography to when they truly step into their own voice. You start by picking up a camera, playing for fun, enjoying the heck out of it. You look at other’s work and at that point it’s all inspiration, so you’re trying different things and learning and experimenting, and still enjoying the ride.

    At that point you start to hit a plateau which can devour you whole if you let it. It takes hard work and commitment at that point to get better, and the more you look at other’s work, the more it builds resentment about it. It’s less inspiration and more like someone trying to diet having a massive cake. You just end up feeling crappy afterwards. You start to pick up your camera less and less because there comes with it a massive weight of expectation to keep the quality of your work so high (as you’re only exposed to other peoples best work and not their crappy outtakes) that why bother. When you once just wandered snapping photos for the sheer enjoyment, you now have a weight around your neck every time you lift the camera up to your eye.

    Cold turkey is a great idea but there seems to be cliques within any industry and photography sometimes feels no different. You almost feel like you have to “play the game” engaging with other photographers to get referrals/clients etc and the old “fear of missing out” starts to rear it’s head and before you know it you’re right back where you started.

    It’s what I love about Dedpxl and what Zack’s trying to do, I sometimes find following photographers is just one long stream of self promotion with zero interaction which is like a massive tube of cookie dough (of course there are obviously exceptions.) I think the more you stand for yourself and become “signal and not noise” (to steal a tagline) the more you’ll appreciate your own work and the journey you’re on.

    I look forward to articles like this being published because they make you question exactly what you’re in this game for. Peer commendations or happy clients. Fantastic choice of guest poster Zack and thanks for sharing Anne.

  43. Jen

    YES! So much yes! Life’s too short to “draw inspiration” from all the wedding stuff that floods the internet weekly. Drawing inspiration from your clients and their interactions with friends and family is the good stuff. Breathing fresh air instead of inhaling Pinterest with a wedding blog IV drip will always result in more authentic photographs. Thank you, Anne!

  44. Catherine Fiehn

    My standing nightmare is a polar bear circling the church and I can’t get inside. I love this article . I too am a bit dislocated from the team of photographers out there that specialize in weddings. You can lust after someone work and feel they are making more, booking more and speaking to the masses only to realize they have 4 weddings up for the year on their proofing page. Hmm…you only need to compete with yourself! Best yourself!!!

  45. Kent Meireis

    Life is a huge balancing act. Work hard, play hard and try to enjoy what’s around you. For me photography is like people, they can only pretend to be something they are not for a period of time. Sometimes people let you in right away and sometimes you have to hang around until people relax. Photographers can copy ideas and pretend to shoot like someone else but in the end we are who we are. Life experiences play a big part in how we see and photograph.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  46. Wayfaring Wanderer

    This post makes me want to dwindle down my “friend” list on FB once and for all. It’s actually something I’ve thought about doing for a while but I hadn’t really considered the impact seeing other people’s work would have on my confidence levels. Try as you might to not compare it’s something that can be happening subconsciously below the surface.

    Your post definitely gives me something to think about! Thank you for sharing!

  47. Shari DeAngelo

    “At the end, I just want to be grateful. Grateful for the moments I got to share, for the stories I got to tell, for the pictures I got to make. And for the people who opened their lives to me.”

    THIS.

    I like artistic images and think up new ones to take in my sleep. I do this so I have something great to give my clients. In the end of each session though, the ones that matter are the ones that they gave me. The ones they trusted me enough to make.

  48. Rey Cuba

    This blog should be named the wake up call, the posts are so amazing and this one makes a complete sense with life itself, been wandering all over is the usual stuff at least for me and having this clarinets it is fantastic.

    Thanks for all

    Rey

  49. Viv

    THANK YOU for writing this. You summed up EXACTLY how I feel about my job and what we do. THANK YOU!

  50. Rachelle Foster

    i deeply LOVE this post! i took the plunge a couple months back and removed 700+ people off my personal Facebook. one of the best decisions i have made in my 15 years of business and shooting weddings full time. i just couldn’t bear to see anymore pictures of cakes, and rings and dresses and who did what and who got featured. its truly draining. and my poor family and friends were truly sick to death of seeing post after post and picture after picture. GASP, i came to point of feeling as if i were drowning in it. i am sure tax preparers or those great people that work at the cash out line in your grocery stores have daily posts or blogs about their work day. i say “hail to family, friends, road trips, gardening, scrubbing your toilets and just living…while we go to work to pay our bills!!” thank you for this wonderful post and knowing there are so many of us that feel this way!

  51. M

    YES DUDE!!!! I attended WPPI many years ago with my best friend. We were hitting the “scene” and got invited to a party by someone she “followed” and “knew.” I tagged along. We were at the bar and this lady Anne turned around and started talking to us. She said she was shooting in a city near me soon. I suggested maybe we trade service for assisting. I shoot for her, then she shoot for me. I gave her my card, “call me if your interested!” She walked away.
    My friend looked at me like I was on crack and had the biggest set of balls she had ever seen. She said, “Do you know who that was?” I looked at her card and said, “Well, her card says Anne!” Friend replies that she is some fancy photog that has a massive following, super popular, important and started some big website or something.
    I still laugh that I had no idea who she was and treated her like she was like … me (gasp)! Ha.
    Who has time to “follow” all these people, read all these posts and look at all these images? Love your post.
    Follow your passion, not a blog.
    M

  52. Geoffrey

    I feel this has a vein of “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” For finding a way to do thing you love in a way that let’s you love, I applaud you!

  53. Taylor

    This is PERFECTION. Thank you for writing exactly what my heart is feeling, and not just about wedding photography, but family photography as well.
    xo

  54. Ralph Misa

    Amazing post… i felt myself right in this post. It’s so important that you take the time to grow and let your passion come first… your creativity is truly an extension of who you are… I love this post and i love your brutal honesty. The most important thing as a photographer is… YOU.

    Thank you for your sharing.

  55. Chris

    A very moving article, with one of the most moving wedding photos I’ve ever seen (the bride and father). Thank you for writing this.

  56. Rachel Dobbs

    It’s great to be reminded of these principles. It took me several years to learn this; several years and for someone who I looked up to professionally to spell it out that you should only be concerned by the audience of one (yourself) when it comes to your work. I’m sure the irony is not lost on you that your beautiful images accompany this post, I’m not complaining I enjoyed your writing and your work. I’ll try forget your name and I won’t look at the ‘rangefinder link’ that I’ve opened in another tab. ;)

    Rach

  57. Ally

    This is a refreshing look at what most of us live and breathe from Spring to Fall… weddings. Photos. Editing. Lightroom. SD cards.

    But what we really need to focus on is the human element. Pretend none of the technology exists and capture what happens. We can’t keep competing with each other over the best blogs, the best flashes, the best cameras. We should be reaching and stretching to create the best IMAGES.

    Thank you for writing this. It reminds me that I don’t need to look at what others are doing, in order to do great work on my own.

    Ally
    Portland Photo Company.

  58. Danielle

    Thank you Anne for this article !!!
    You’ve actually read my thoughts!!
    I was sure I am the only one who feels this way :)

  59. sonia

    thank you thank you thank you!

  60. Andrew

    Exactly! I used to feel embarrassed that I didn’t know suchandsuch wedding photographer but now chances are I don’t shoot like them anyway so why would I obsess about their business.
    I do what I think is right and hope the market follows me – if it doesn’t I’ll photograph other things in that way. The constant pursuit of the new, the now, the latest and the best within one single sub-genre in the hope that it will transform you by osmosis is crazy.
    Thank you for saying it so well.

  61. Neil

    I think I may be the only one who disagrees with this article, here goes anyway…

    It sounds like you have to learn the difference between being inspired by others and comparing yourself to others.

    Cold turkey is certainly not the way forward, simply start enjoying other photographers work. Don’t spend too much time on it, life is too short but I think if you find the balance and the right mental attitude then looking at others work can be inspiring and rewarding.

  62. Betty

    I can see how some may feel drowned by amazing images & then feel the need to compare to & emulate others, I guess there has to be a nice balance between obsessing & going cold turkey.

    Maybe the first step should be to try and feel at peace with your own work. I can take pleasure in looking at the images accompanying this article & not feel pressured or discourage d by them, I find them inspiring.

    • Zack

      Oh Betty! Teach us thy ways! I know I have struggled for years with comparing myself to others. I find it very difficult to find that balance. I’m inspired by so many photographers but I’m also easily paralyzed by them as well. For me, I am like Anne. I have to just turn off the other voices for awhile. I’d like to find a healthier balance.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  63. Kasia

    Wow this is amazing! I nearly cried reading it, this is so true! We spent far too much time following others work instead of having our own life and getting to know our own clients! Thank you! I feel inspired!

  64. damian burcher

    Really interesting. I photograph weddings professionally but you know what? I don’t class myself as a “wedding photographer” I say I’m a photographer who photographs weddings.

  65. Richard Wintle

    *applause*

    I’ve never photographed a wedding (and never want to…!) but I read this and feel echoes of what I do photograph. The compulsion to look at others’ work, not for inspiration or enjoyment, but as kind of a self-destructive way of benchmarking what I have, and haven’t, been achieving… well from the comments above I’d say it’s pretty pervasive. I think we all need to bookmark your post and read it regularly!

    P.S. Welcome to DEDPXL, and please post more. :)

  66. Beth Monson

    GOOSEBUMPS! What a refreshing, honest article. Thanks for sharing.

  67. Ryan Brenizer

    Obviously the “wedding photographer rockstar” culture is deeply annoying, and part of growth is learning to reject the art that isn’t true to yourself, but, speaking as someone who has said similar things in the past, I think there are some wrong lessons that come from being too cool for school

    Of course Pinterest is annoying, but that’s the wrong takeaway. What we need isn’t lack of collaboration, but better collaboration so that we keep using and refining and adapting others’ ideas to keep raising the bar. If scientists said “you know, I really hate the science community” we’d still be lighting our home with whale oil and living about 20-30 years less. Yes, wedding photography, like any art form, is mostly hackwork by volume, but it has dramatically improved over the last 10 years largely because photographers STOPPED ignoring each other and started forming collaborative communities. I’ve learned so much from so many and they’ve learned a great deal from me, and that’s better in the end for their clients, the photographers, and photography in general.

    Just be more refined about what you avoid. I tend to avoid the style me pretty photogs simply because they are out and out bad photographers. But there are things to learn from the style. A Tiffany ad campaign from a few years back that was like “What if a good photographer shot SMP style?” absolutely stopped me in my tracks and I learned a lot from it — and shamelessly ripped it off, as I kept refining my own vision.

    I haven’t looked at almost any wedding photography in six months other than mine or my partner’s, and I’m realizing that was my mistake — even well into my career I need to keep learning from others, and giving back to them. It should energize you to see what’s out there, to adapt what’s new, and to say “yeah, I don’t like that,” and throw that part away. That’s all part of innovation and improvement.

    We agree with so many of the individual statements, but we found instead of turning away to focus on the things you thought were more important, why not create a community around those ideals? So we created Moment Junkie to say to other photographers — HEY, THIS IS THE STUFF THAT IS IMPORTANT. INNOVATE THIS WAY, GUYS. I know that Zack understands this, which is why he has integrated himself into his community so thoroughly with projects like this one, to his benefit and ours.

    • Zack

      Thanks for chiming in Ryan!

      I think you make some valid points here. I’m trying to distill a main one. Would it be something like “Don’t write everyone off. We all still have a lot we can learn from others in our field.”? Would that be an honest assessment of your point?

      Moment Junkie is great and I’m glad it is gaining traction!

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Ryan Brenizer

        Absolutely Zack, really it’s about the fact that creative communities have power. I had so much going on in my life that I really DID stop caring about what was happening in wedding photography in the past six months, and not only did that somewhat slow down my pace of creative innovation, it also made me feel somewhat shut off from the friendship, camaraderie and energy that the community provides.

        A lot of the individual points are universal and hard to argue against (I’m not coming out as anti-reading books here), but I don’t know that they support the thesis. You can cut out a lot of the bad parts of the wedding industry and still have a bunch of amazing, supportive communities. You can step aside and see if you can revel in others successes and learn things even from those who are different from yourself. It isn’t always easy — I’ve certainly spent many hours saying “Why do people like THIS?” but it leads to personal growth on many levels. The real story is that in the past 10 years wedding photography has become cool, which is weird and has drawbacks but also has a lot of positives. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  68. Stephen Bunn

    Very wise words, Honest and true, it’s like a busman’s holiday looking at Wedding Photography all day long, I get far more pleasure looking at photojournalism or Street photography, anything but the tedious processing style so evident in todays Wedding Photography where everyones blog and images look the same.

  69. Kurt Vinion

    Thank you for saying what I am sure many of us have felt for a long time. If you ever get to Prague please look me up.

  70. John

    So apparently you don’t look at magazines unless they refuse to publish your gay wedding ad, and then release their confidential emails? Don’t think everyone has forgotten about that, Anne.

      • Adam

        Thanks for the link. Interesting story with a happy ending. I like Anne even more now.

  71. Lisa

    Great read and I can relate! Daily I wonder why clients choose me when they have so many options. I realize its a combination of factors, but they’ve got to like my work, right?? So, I stopped trying to compare myself with the 1000′s of photogs in my area, and now concentrate on improving my skill. So far, so good!

    Looking forward to reading more from your perspective!

  72. Michael Allen

    Love it! Panic Attacks …haha….you nailed it for so many of us! Thank You!

  73. erika

    Thaaaaaaaaaank Youuuuuuuuuu! I feel the same way. Just say no to panic attacks.

  74. Arek Kubiak

    Great share, thank you for that!
    Arek

  75. Marthin Fort

    Great post!

    I feel you, I’m a videographer… and now in my “stop” season.. I live.

  76. karol marchalewicz

    Well said! I have always thought that in the culinary industry. I tell people I am a chef and they automatically assume I know every chef in the city. Or, can you cook that? or can you cook this? Chances are, probably can. “My mom makes the best sauce! Or my grandmother makes the best meatballs.” I do what I do because I love what I do. Not because I want to compete with your mom, grandmother, friend, etc… will you love my cooking? I am confident about my passion that you probably will . If not, then it wasn’t meant to be. But you’re absolutely correct that I will try my hardest to put all the love and passion I put in every single dish because it’s what I love to do.

  77. Kim

    Very inspiring! Thank you Anne ;-)

  78. Alvis

    There is a saying in art in that you know when you made it when you no longer care what people think. Looks like you made it.

    • Anne Almasy

      My dream is to, in a future life perhaps, be one of those people who doesn’t care what others think. Sadly I don’t seem to be wired that way. I care entirely too much what others think of me! But I’ve found that I can avoid stressful bullshit by staying focused on relationships and experiences that truly reflect and enhance my values. At least, that’s my approach for now! :)

  79. Adam Faulkner

    Great read! I’m going to make an effort to stop worrying about other peoples photography. Need to follow my heart and do what feels right for me, not try and copy the latest fads.

  80. Jennifer Parke

    I LOVE this! It applies to all photographers! I swear the best thing that happened to me was the end of google reader! That’s when I stopped pouring over other photographers work! Thank you so much for writing this!

  81. DEB

    Thanks Anne…. I needed this! I am my own worst enemy…. now I will be my own competition! I like that thought a lot more!!

  82. Janelle

    Probably the best blog post Ive ever read! Serious food for thought and as a wedding photographer it meant so much to me! Thank you for the perspective!!!

  83. Alison

    Needed this! I have done portraits in the past but recently started second shooting and am doing my first solo wedding in July. I look at other photographers to learn but then I feel like it hinders my creativity or and makes me compare my work to theirs. I will be better off to just do what comes natural so I set myself apart from others. NOT looking anymore. I will create!!!

  84. Craig Prentis

    Great article. You’ve eloquently described how it’s been for me (and it seems many other people) for some time. I now photograph non-wedding related subjects every day and don’t really worry about what everybody else is doing. Cheers

  85. Gary Kaplan

    Wedding photography has nothing to do with cameras or style or money. It is all about timing, honor and sensitivity. If you are right on than the images are full of life captured forever and everyone can feel them. If your timing is off than the images are moments you remember but not feel, and if you are really off than we call it photojournalism. The difference is our sensitivity to life and not an f-stop.

  86. Kara Raudenbush

    Oh, what gifts you have Anne Almasy! Thank you for sharing them. I loved reading this.

  87. Natalie

    You are awesome! I did the exact same thing. I had to stop following Facebook groups and stop concerning myself with what others were doing. My business is about me growing and becoming better, while also loving the client. The client clearly trusts you already if they hired you! Thank you so much for you inspirational words! I am so thankful to also hear I am not the only one who has nightmares about my camera catching on fire or other random things at a wedding.

  88. Amy-Louise Snelling

    THANK YOU.

    This doesn’t just apply to Wedding photography, but Creatives everywhere! Artists, designers, crafters, writers etc. We need to stop judging ourselves, looking at other people’s work and just CREATE what makes us happy.

    Thank you. I feel less insane now.

  89. gary rinaldi

    Thanks you so much for putting into words what I’ve been feeling for so long but I thought I was just being lazy. I have recently begun looking only at my own website for inspiration the night before a wedding. My recurring “dream” or nightmare is me in a room all by myself fumbling with equipment while the wedding is going on all around me and no one notices that I’m not there.

  90. Chris

    I’m not a wedding photographer. I’m a software developer. I know I thoroughly confuse my family when in one breath I will say how much I hate software development, but I love what I do and it’s the greatest thing ever.

    I never knew how to explain it to myself, but this is it! Thank you for sharing.

  91. camillle davis

    double like .

  92. Tyler Vance

    I don’t have to out shoot uncle Bob…

    I don’t have to out shoot all the wedding superstars that are the current fad…

    I don’t even have to shoot a wedding at all, if I don’t want to…

    I do have to be true to myself and my style.

    tv

  93. John the gear impaler

    Caravaggio Quotes
    “All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but bagatelles and childish trifles… unless they are made and painted from life, and there can be nothing… better than to follow nature.”

  94. Andrew - LFS

    Beautiful words.

    That is so true, I thought I was the only one who have nightmares for screwing up someones big day!

    I feel that social responsibility and burden every time I get an assignment.

  95. Robert Knapp

    Wow.

    Such an honest piece. I have found myself identifying with this very closely. It seems I do my best work when almost disconnected from what the other photographers are up to, Losing myself in the moment with my camera and the subject seems to deliver the greatest results.

    Thanks for posting

    Robert

  96. Vina

    Very impressive photography! I agree, wedding images shows every love, happiness, and tears of joy that are expressed in that moment.

  97. Ruth

    Thank you so much for writing this. After moving to weddings after lecturing and creating work for projects and exhibitions I am feeling I am beginning to lose myself and doubt my instincts…I am going to start doing all the stuff I love again – dancing – camping – having coffee with friends and just trust that just as you say they will enrich my wedding work far more than spending hours looking at beautiful pictures by other people.

  98. Christopher

    I hear you. After shooting weddings for 5 years, I switched gears and shoot mostly commercial/corporate work. It wasn’t clients who pushed me away (they were fantastic). But the wedding photography industry was so syrupy thick with cliques and cliches that I couldn’t stand it. Why couldn’t photographers just shoot in their own personal style, and not try to attain some sort of standard or fit into a box with everyone else. I never had any desire to go to WPPI. Blogs & websites that I frequently visited eventually just got deleted from my favorites. When I look through my work, the images I admire most are the ones created through my own thought process – not those where I was trying to emulate someone else. You appear to have discovered that photography is personal. It is.

  99. Daniela

    Lovely noise we’ve got from anne!
    I think similar but still love watching things i cant do cause makes me get out and try them! But the balance as zack says its hard, got to try your own new ideas and not just others. So bipolar jajaja
    Thanks zack! love feeling so near being so far here in argentina!

  100. Rekeisha

    I love looking at other photography because wedding photography seems to get very boring very quickly.

    I see learning from other professionals in the field but I had to learn how to filter all the information I received and implement that which would work for my company.

    Great Post

  101. Jeanette

    I LOVE this. A million times. Love it.

  102. Eddie

    Thank you so much for this. Like, I REALLY needed this. Seriously. You rock so hard right now. Bless you! …and thanks again for the words. I’ve been feeling this way for a few months now. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who feels the same way. Keep shootin!

    Edward

  103. wedding photographer melbourne

    Well interesting wedding photography with awesome directed by photographers, keep it continue.
    Thank you for sharing.

  104. John

    Hi Anne, you wrote a fantastic essay. It’s true, we’re always competing with ourselves, and I’m glad you highlighted this point. You’ve inspired me to look at my own work again, thanks again for sharing your thoughts and insights.

  105. John Driggers

    Well said…in fact, so well said I don’t know how you can top this essay with your next post on dedpxl. As you say…your only competition is you.

  106. Jorge

    EXCELLENT POST and rings Oh So True!
    J

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