A wedding is no place to learn how to shoot weddings.
The phrase "Spray and Pray" is causing an uproar because it is simply irresponsible for a person who is not familiar with wedding photography to advertise that they shoot weddings. It is dishonest and it causes problems.
Jessica Claire and Jenn Bebb shot our wedding. The images are spectacular and it's how I remember the day. Talk about girls who knew what they were doing! It was so captivating watching their lens selections, cool and confident manner of dealing with the never-ending surprises and readjustments to shooting a wedding. They are professionals through and through.
Today there are a lot of fake professionals. That's what has everybody up in arms. False photographers who don't know how to handle a crush situation. Who don't know which lens to use, or how to correct for heavy backlighting or other problems when shooting something that can't be done over.
I had somebody who had only shot a few weddings say that the reason she charged only $500 was because, "If things don't turn out, at least I didn't charge a lot". I looked at her impressive template website, and I could see how an unsuspecting couple could hang their trust on the perception of professionally. It says "internationally published". It says, "Available for International Travel". If you don't know the difference, you'd think that she was the real deal.
So wedding couples are getting burned. And the newbies who shoot these disaster weddings (at any fee) wind up quitting because they can't deal with getting screamed at. I know of MANY people who came into this, blew a job and quit right after. They leave a wake of their disaster behind them, as word spreads that the couple's wedding photographer "sucked".
How many times have we heard, "I hated my wedding photographer". Would YOU like to be the recipient of such anguish? Would you like to have to field the calls and feel the outrage of somebody whose day you've ruined because you believed that "now is the time" and you're just going to have faith in yourself and "go for it". All you need is a fancy website and a community of people who will encourage you to "do it" and boost you up. Much like what goes on at Weight Watchers or at AA meetings.
Wedding Photography is probably one of the most important responsibilities any service professional can have. When it comes out bad, its' heartbreaking. So to create a "slick" website professing to be a professional photographer when you are not experienced is dishonest.
Doing social media and hype and campaigns to get people to "like" your photography fan page on Facebook or Twitter is dishonest if you really don't know how to shoot. PDN or some other magazine named [b] as one of the top photographers in the world, scoring above Annie Leibowitz! He was one of the first to jump on blogging and tweeting, and got a ton of followers to rise him up the pedestal. What that did was bring down PDN's reputation, and even the people on that list don't really publicize their ranking on it because it was so badly ridiculed.
Me and DJ have been back and forth on voicemails. We're having lunch next week as he and I are friends, but we have vastly differing views on certain things. I can respect him because he's built this loyal group of followers that believe everything he says, and is that not admirable? He is getting rich off of these people because he was able to say the right things, do the right things to get them to believe that his advice is really great.
That's where I come from. The advice isn't really great. DJ doesn't (or shouldn't) care about his standing as a professional photographer - he left that a long time ago to go beyond that and teach people how to be "winners" in photography. I don't think he ever really took his shooting skills that seriously. In all of our long talks, he never talked like my photographer friends about photography. We shared discussions about SEO, e-commerce, touring to promote a product. I don't ever think we actually had a discussion about photography. For DJ, photography itself was a stepping stone to a more profitable path - and that's subscription plans. For that, honestly - he hit it out of the ballpark.
Dane Sanders tried it and was gone about as fast as he arrived. Becker's [b] school was an attempt at the same thing (getting rich off of monthly subscriptions) and that one fizzled a long time ago. But DJ did it. He's getting rich off of his followers and that was his goal absolutely for sure. My theory as to why he got traction where Dane and Becker sank? The tie to Christianity - that's my guess and I think it's right. I'm not saying this is wrong, he is not alone. And if he didn't do it, the crowd would select another leader.