Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791 View Post
Firstly, photography in general, and Wedding photography in particular, has become an astonishingly aspirational profession.
I agree completely, when I look around me at all the people trying to sell photography it is crazy because I'd bet that maybe 1 in 50 has actually done a market survey or business plan.

That's not much of a way to run a business.

Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791 View Post
I wont shoot a wedding unless I can see myself earning a resonable wage for EVERY hour I spend on it. (Time is the most expensive aspect - even with film, processing and film is a small part of the cost.) There are many people out there working for less than the minimum wage because they only look at the wedding day itself as the time involved. Or they are just shooting jpeg and burning the image straight to a CD after the wedding without looking at them.
Been there, done that "less than minimum wage thing", good lesson; now I wont do any work that I don't get paid for either.

It wasn't too hard to figure out what reasonable rates were either. Labs that do wedding processing as a normal thing all have price sheets. I took these to heart, I figure if I can't get what they charge or more on an assembly line that I can't do it profitably as custom work.

Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791 View Post
The consequence of all this is that Wedding photography has come full circle: Back in the 70' and 80's it was the fag end of the profession (for those of you in the US a fag is English slag for cigarette) It was the what the photographer from the studio, who drew the short straw, or was the new kid, got sent to do at the weekend. Throughout the 90's and into the new millenium it became much more of a profession in it's own right, with prices climbing considerably and, importantly, the quality improving too.
I think what happened here is that a higher end market was actually created that could support people charging artistically.

As you suggest though this is a very limited market.

There is a middle market too that I think can support bread and butter pros, solid work for reasonable pay but it's limited too. This market feels the pressure from the aspirational shooters but my guess is just at the lower end.

I'd suggest that the challenge in breaking into these markets is driven more by marketing and sales than technique. I'm not discounting photographic skill here, I'm just saying that that's maybe 10-20% of the job required to succeed.

Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791 View Post
Then digital came along and lots of people percieved that anyone could pick up a DSLR and shoot a wedding - weddings in particular because they tend to happen at weekends and thus fit in around an existing job. The result of this, over the past 3 years in particular, is that the quality of work and the viability of wedding photography as a specialisation, has fallen through the floor, and I think we are back to where it was - the fag end of the profession.
At the low end of the market, I agree, the aspirational shooters you describe have flattened the market.

Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791 View Post
Unquestionably, the biggest money in photography at present is in training. Hands down, no two ways about it.

Just like the old time gold rushes, the general store is the business that made the real money, most of the prospectors went away broke.