I think most people, especially the younger crowd, are familiar with the game Never Ever Have I. It’s a game wherein one of the players state something that they have never done, and then everyone who has done that thing partakes in an adult beverage… by shooting it down… without any explanation. I’ve never played but I have two millennial daughters and have heard them talk about this game. They describe it as a very fun way to get to know your friends… like really get to know your friends. Hearing them talk about the game, I think it should be called I Had Absolutely No Idea You’d Do That!
I’ve been a photographer long enough to spot a trend in the industry, especially the photographic community… both good and bad. I absolutely loathe when an entire group of people or creatives adopts a herd mentality. An example is when people say, “I love you to the moon and back.”
While it’s a nice sentiment to actually love someone that much (that’s 504,176 miles), there’s nothing unique about that love because literally almost everyone is declaring their love in the same way. I often tell my kids, “I love you honey bunches of oats!”
I have no idea why I say that, but I do know that it’s 100% original to me and it means I love my kids as the same distance to the moon and back, if not more. I’ve never been one to follow. I prefer to forge my own, unique, clear cut paths.
In the spirit of Mother’s Day and the tails my daughters tell me, I’d like to play a photographer’s version of Never Ever Have I.
Never ever have I:
- Used selective coloring to edit an image. This was an actual thing… an ugly thing in the early-2000s. And, I can hardly believe that there are photographers still doing this today. I just about cringe when I see this method applied to an image. Just because your software will do something doesn’t automatically mean it needs to be done.
- Taken a slanty image, well, at least on purposes. I inevitably slant my camera about 3º to the right (my dominant side) when taking a picture. I have to be extremely vigilant and really pay close attention to the horizon line in my viewfinder to avoid this. However, the slanty images I’m referring to are the ones that have about a 45º tilt. Some may say that it’s an expression of creativity. I say it’s a crooked picture.
- Used the term e-sesh. I always call my couples’ engagement sessions what they are: engagement sessions. I don’t get lazy or try to be hip by calling them an e-sesh or e-session.
- Used the word swoon to describe anything. Believe it or not, there was once a time when about 75% of photographers were using the word swoon like it was the only verb they knew to do after a photo session or wedding. Everything was “swoon worthy.” Everyone was “swooning” over this and that. Happily, I never swooned over anything though I have had a lot of very emotional, love-filled weddings, more than a few beyond-beautiful bridal portrait sessions, and lots of fun and fabulous engagement sessions. I’m also happy I don’t see this word as often as I used to.
- Quoted someone every time I posted an image. There was a time when I would post an image with a quote, but those quotes were only about photography and attributed to some of the best photographers in our history. Now-a-days, it seems that just about everyone is including a short quote or quip when they post an image instead of just saying something truly related to the image. I see a lot of quotes that don’t really tell me anything creative about the person posting it… only that they can copy and paste very efficiently.
- Purposely shot an overexposed image. I just don’t understand the complete lack of regard for the exposure triangle in an image and how this can be pleasant to look at… at least long term… as in 10, 20, 50 years down the road. Every time I take an image I’m looking at the exposure meter inside my viewfinder and then compulsively checking the histogram afterward. I know art is subjective, but this just goes against everything I’ve been taught. While I have been taught to break the rules sometimes, basing an entire photography style around a broken rule seems inept. My opinion is that a properly-exposed image will never be out of style and a badly-exposed image eventually will.
- Left glitter or confetti on the ground after a shoot. This is just plain right disrespectful. I don’t think any of those photographers would appreciate someone coming into their yard and leaving a bunch of trash. On the rare occasion that I have been asked to photograph someone while they blew or threw “trash” in the air, I explained that if I agreed to do this, we would, #1-try to contain as much as we could on a clear shower curtain, and #2, clean up everything when we were done. Sometimes, my clients decided they didn’t actually need this image. Sometimes, we swept sidewalks. (Side Bar: A few years ago, I was delivering some player banners to a softball team and wanted to really celebrate them. The team was awesome and so were the banners! I took a few confetti cannons not really knowing what was going to come out of them. BUT, I also took a broom. When the cannons were deployed, a simultaneous 40 m.p.h. gust of wind came along and scattered the confetti everywhere. I cleaned up what I could in the still gusting wind, but had to go back the following day and spend about additional three hours walking the softball field picking up every single piece of trash (including the confetti) that I could find. Finally, all those trash details from serving in the U. S. Army came in really handy in my civilian life.)
- Followed a bunch of people on Facebook or Instagram and then about a week after they followed me back, unfollow them! This is about the rudest possible way I know to inflate your number of followers. It is for this very reason that if someone I don’t know follows me, I always look at their follower/following ratio. If it’s completely lopsided, I don’t even bother with my follow back. True story. I also make very good use of an Instagram follower app. If someone unfollows me, I do reciprocate.
- Not necessarily a trend, but this year I KNOW this happened to me, and it was not cool. Never ever have I secret shopped another photographer. I’ve never scammed their pricing or promotional materials in a dishonest way. I’ve never subscribed to their mailing lists with an inconspicuous email account. A fellow vendor and close friend called this catfishing. Do your own thing and know YOUR own worth. That’s all I have to say about that.
Those are my thoughts for the day. If you’re a fellow wedding creative, what is something that you’ve never ever done even though a lot of your peers are doing it? Leave your answer in the comments section below, and let’s have a funny conversation about this. You can partake in adult beverages if you’d like.
My fellow, fabulous San Antonio wedding vendors showcased in these images are:
- The Club at Garden Ridge
- from His garden Flowers
- My Emmy Events
- Tim the Girl Catering
- Bartenders & Dreams
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I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding and senior photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journeys and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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