Whenever I visit a trade show, or training event, I bump into photographers from all over the country that I've known for many years, and I'm often surprised to hear they no longer photograph weddings.
Their reason? "too stressful", "more money to be made in portraits", "fed up waking up the next day like I've gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson!"
But me, I love weddings.
How many people get to go to work where everyone is happy? Where every work day is a momentous occasion in someone's life?
And I get the honour of documenting the occasion for all posterity.
I still get nervous butterflies in my stomach the morning of every wedding I photograph. Not because I am anxious, just an excitedness at the task at hand and its importance - the photos I take that day will be raising smiles, invoking memories, and maybe even causing a few tears, long after I am dead and forgotten.
For many, photographing weddings is just another job. Get in, get out, and move onto the next.
I hear phrases such as "most clients can't tell a good photo from a bad one, so why stress over it, good enough is good enough".
Well, for me, and I hope for you too, good enough is NOT good enough.
These people are doing a massive disservice to their clients, and their client's families, and don't understand, or don't care about, the importance of their work.
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life.
Every choice you've made, every decision you've taken, has shaped the person you've become, the person your partner fell in love with, and has led you both to this point where you are about to celebrate your love and commitment to each other.
The love of your life, your kindred spirit.
The bringing together of two families and the starting of a new one.
That deserves to be documented with the same passion, the same excitement, the same laughter, and maybe a few tears, as you yourselves will have.
So no, good enough is not good enough.
Sure, I get back from a long day, memory cards to be backed up, equipment to be cleaned and put away, every part of my body aching but my brain too wired to sleep, and while I'm sitting there with my cold beer and my feet up, I think to my myself - Why am I a wedding photographer?
To catch that special moment when a father sees his "little girl" in her wedding dress for the first time.
To catch that smile and the squeeze of a hand between a bride and groom who think no-one is watching.
To catch the pride in a grandmother's face as she hugs the bride tightly.
To catch the bride and groom embracing during their first dance as if they're the only two people in the world. And for that moment, they are.
To catch the laughter with friends, the tears for those no longer with us.
To leave you with a collection of images from your wedding that will still make you smile, laugh, and maybe even cry, many years from now.
A collection of images that'll be treasured not only by yourselves, but by your children, and your children's children.
If this is what you want from your wedding photographs, then please, don't settle for "good enough".
Because it isn't.
You deserve so much more.