I wish I had a penny for every time that a client has come to me expressing disappointment with their choice to go with their wedding photographer for maternity or baby portraits. “He did such an incredible job at our wedding and I don’t understand why he wasn’t a great maternity and baby photographer.” Their surprised reaction always catches me off guard but then I remember that not everyone has hung around the photography industry for decades like I have.
The assumption from every layman is that a photographer is a photographer and that means that they should wear every hat. That’s like expecting your podiatrist to perform open heart surgery. We choose our specialties based on what we are passionate about and what we are good at. Don’t expect good portrait photographers to be good event photographers, and vice versa.
This has all been brought up again for me as the press of the misunderstanding between Annie Leibovitz and Kanye West just hit the newsstands. The misunderstanding occurred when West wanted Leibovitz to be his wedding photographer after she created a stunning portrait photography session for Vogue magazine. Apparently she did not say no, but didn’t confirm either.
I understand, totally. Leibovitz knows that she’s not an event photographer, which is what a wedding is. There is a different mindset to photographing a wedding than to creating a portrait. I’m sure she wanted to please them and I’m sure she was thinking about how she could do the photography for them, but she apparently let her people-pleasing get in the way of what she knows: a studio portrait photographer is not a wedding photographer.
To be a great portrait photographer you have to have a certain sensibility of the personality of the person in front of you and then juggle that with lighting, camera gear, and styling. You kind of have to be a bit of a control freak and there is just too much chaos at weddings for me. Weddings are their own beast and so are studio portrait sessions. I prefer the latter.
So please, don’t ask me to photograph your wedding. I’ve tried it in the past and my heart’s just not in it. I’m one of those portrait photographers who has tried every single kind of photography, and I know what I’m meant to do. And please think twice before asking your wedding photographer to be your family and newborn photographer.
Please visit the main websites to view a collection of specialized portrait photography at: http://linnealenkus.com and http://boudoir-photography-los-angeles.com/ or contact our Los Angeles portrait studios at 562.981.8900 for more information.