Response-ability and my responsibility as a professional wedding photographer

April 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

As a professional wedding photographer personal responsibility is job one, to be able to respond quickly and correctly to challenges with grace and a happy heart is what I strive for…

Today I am writing this post from my campsite in the high mountain country of western North Carolina. As I sit here taking in the scenery and feeling the cool spring breeze on my face I am struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the circumstances which have placed me in this very spot at this perfectly lovely moment. Getting here on this very mountaintop hasn’t been easy! Haha, I do mean that literally. I am the proud new owner of large towable RV and it has been something of a challenge actually making it out here to the country this week on vacation. Between packing, planning, arranging dog sitters, no Google available for mapping routes and minor vehicle troubles while on the way here, my family and I have had to face and overcome multiple obstacles that threatened to ruin our yearly tradition of spending some quality time with each other over Spring Break. 

Thankfully my husband and I tend to be the types of people who hope for the best but plan for the worst when it comes to traveling. I am so grateful that before we even packed out the first bag we sat down and brainstormed about all of the things that could potentially go wrong on our trip. We then took the steps needed to prepare for the unfortunate things that might happen along the way. Tools for repairing my SUV and RV while on the road, enough food & clothing for two weeks ( we were only gone for 1), paid all of our bills for the month so that we did not have to worry about overspending while in town and even taking the time to download maps of western NC to our cell phones since I suspected that I would not have cell service for navigational purposes once we arrived. 

The steps that my husband and I took before we even left home turned out to be absolutely invaluable because our preparedness thwarted every single potential disaster and turned them into minor inconveniences at worst. 

We replaced the alternator on my Denali in Asheville but it was no big deal because we had the proper tools on hand to make the repair in under 15 mins. ( my husband is something of an engine repair savant ). 

As expected we lost cell service ( thank you AT& T) somewhere on the Blue Ridge Parkway but since I had pre - downloaded all of the local maps onto our phones before we left we were still able to navigate all of the unfamiliar roads using the stored data from Google Maps.

When we first arrived at the campsite there wasn’t a way for me to do laundry but since we packed enough clothing for two weeks it was not big deal.

The fancy gas grill that mounts to the outside of our new RV wasn’t working properly the first few nights so instead we headed into the woods, collected some firewood and roasted hot dogs over an open fire. Honestly, though, that one wasn’t really a bad thing because everyone knows that hot dogs are much better roasted over the flame of a campfire anyway, haha! 

Thinking about these things has brought one word to my mind. 

Responsibility. 

Being a responsible wife and mother means that it's my duty to consider the possibilities of what may or may not happen and to plan accordingly in a manner which keeps my family safe.

From planning safe routes through mountain passes (while towing a 7600lb RV) to packing enough food and medicine to cover any unexpected delays in our return home it is my job to prepare for the worst while ever the while expecting the best.

As someone who subscribes to the concept of "maximum freedom = maximum responsibility " I try to set an example for others that by living responsibly and planning ahead and owning my troubles)  it allows me to enjoy the freedom of less stress when things eventually go wrong. Being able -to- respond in a decisive and correct manner when action needed is paramount when it comes to the care of the people I love the most. I never think of the concept of responsibility as being a burden, rather it is like adding new skills and hardware to my life camera bag. The good news is that even though the bag is heavy with equipment the weight of it actually strengthens my core with every job. 

Going off of this idea, I thought it might be interesting to write today about the concept of “responsibility” as it pertains to my role as a professional wedding photographer and the impact of this idea in regards to the relationship that my clients can expect from me in the form of measuring my ability to respond to their individual needs. 

 

The Oxford dictionary 

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/responsibility

defines the word "responsibility" in the four ways as follows...

 

  1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.
    ‘a true leader takes responsibility for their team and helps them achieve goals’

 

As your wedding photographer, it is my duty to follow the requests of clients in a responsible manner. My clients rely on my experience to lead and direct as a professional photographer to execute the best manner to capture the most beautiful photos that my clients want the most. I am adept at posing my clients in a flattering way for the formal portraits and can find and utilize the very best lighting conditions to ensure that my client's pictures are properly exposed in whatever background our environment offers. I'm always ready to take specific photo requests and suggestions from my clients and honestly relish a challenge to capture some truly special one of a kind images. As a professional photographer, it is my responsibility to always put my client's photo wishes ahead of my own. It is my pleasure to do so!

It is my responsibility to be knowledgeable in using on camera flash and available natural lighting to create only the most beautiful of images. 

 

  1. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.
    ‘the group has claimed responsibility for a string of corporate failures’

 

The buck stops with me. I will always be honest about my technical abilities and limitations as an artist. If I screw something up I will always speak up and find a solution to rectify the situation. Bottom line, if my clients aren't happy, I'm not happy.

As a professional photographer, my clients rely on my technical ability to use my camera equipment properly. It is my responsibility to educate myself in all manners regarding the endeavor of achieving a standard of professionalism in my chosen craft.

I am constantly reading, training and learning more every week about the cameras and software that I employ with every photoshoot. I participate in photo-workshops and take online courses on best practices for taking awesome photos.

I strive to deliver all sorts of creative types of technically challenging shots so that each and every one of my clients receives unique and beautiful images that are on trend and on point with current photography styles.

Yes, sometimes things do go wrong sometimes and it's worth mentioning that when relying on electronic technologies (such as computers & digital cameras) things can break unexpectedly.

Memory cards can be corrupted, camera mirrors can lock up and digital files can fail to load.

As your professional wedding photographer, it is my responsibility to maintain and properly care for my equipment to avoid (whenever possible) problems. This means that I stay up to date with software updates on my Mac's and always use the latest technologies available to me for photo processing. 

I rotate my memory cards and send all of my SLR cameras and lenses for yearly service checkups at the Canon Factory service center in VA Beach.

Security is important to me too! During the editing process, I backup all of the digital photo files stored on my hard drive with a service called Carbonite so even if my Mac breaks my client's original RAW photos are safely stored off site.

My client's wedding photos are delivered via a secure online gallery that is double password protected for download security.

Responsibility means that it’s up to me to ensure that I can live up to my client's expectations without excuse. This means that I must take action before every event to ensure that I can deliver the image packages that my clients have contracted me for  Whether an engagement or wedding day I always carry back- up equipment on every single photoshoot. This means that I will have at least 3 SLR cameras on hand, 3 lenses, 3 off camera flashes and 3 separate memory cards. On top of that, I carry enough flash and camera batteries to provide enough power for twice the amount of time that I'm being paid for.

If for some reason I am unable to shoot on a date that I have been contracted for, a backup photographer will be provided to cover the event or I will provide a 100% refund.

 

  1. The opportunity or ability to act independently and take decisions without authorization.
    ‘we expect individuals to take on more responsibility'

 

My clients sometimes expect me to know what to do in every situation. While this is technically an impossible standard to achieve, it is my responsibility as a professional photographer to come as close as possible to hit this mark.

I can be relied upon to go out and capture everything with my cameras to the best of my ability without direct supervision from my clients. With many years of photographing weddings under my belt, I fully understand how long things tend to take throughout a typical wedding day. I know when it's appropriate to take my time with certain shots vs. when the speed of capture is an important element. 

I don't require a long list of items to be photographed throughout a wedding day because through many years of wedding photography experience I'm familiar with my client's needs. 

 

  1. Also a responsibility to/towards in singular A moral obligation to behave correctly towards or in respect of.‘individuals have a responsibility to control the outcome of a situation '

 

At the end of the day, I know that my client's trust is something I have had to earn from day one. If for any reason that I or my equipment may fail, my value as a professional photographer rests in my ability to plan for and respond correctly to any difficult or challenging situation, to make things right in the judgment of my clients. 

Achieving the skills needed to consistently offer an accurate and prompt Response - Ability (the ability to respond in a fast and precise manner to life challenges is what I train for, delivering exceptional images to my clients on the happiest day of their lives is the direct result of my pursuit.

To those who have trusted my ability to cover your wedding day and for placing your trust in my response-ability to your meet your photography needs, each of you are allowing me to live to my fullest potential as an artist, to enjoy the freedom of being the person I was made to be. You have made me a better version of myself. You've have taught me patience and the value of persistence. These are skills that have brought so many blessings in my personal life, as well. This is the best gift I could possibly receive with benefits passed onto my entire family.

Thank you so much.

 

 

~Sally~

 

If you have any additional questions concerning this post or want to learn more about my flat rate engagement and wedding photography service please contact me anytime!

-S. Siko

Investment information regarding Silvercord Event Photography's Raleigh  engagement and wedding photography price and service packages may be found here.

 


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