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2009 Bride Collection -OR- “Haters”

Lots of hate going around the internet these days. Orange County wedding photographer Becker won the PDN award for “most influential photographer of this decade”, and people cut him to pieces because his work isn’t influential enough for them. Even though, in the photography industry at least, Becker as a person is BY FAR one of the most influential leaders out there and is in my opinion the main catalyst of positive industry change. ~10 years ago he took the cold-shoulder mentality that other pros brushed him off with, and used that to fuel his efforts to create COMMUNITY and friendliness amongst even competing professionals.

One thing I learned, (maybe from Becker?!) is that your energy is in limited supply each day. Consider each emotion or action throughout the day as if you’re spending a dollar. And you only have so many dollars. Life is short, energy is precious, so why spend your energy on negativity? It serves no purpose. Well maybe it serves a purpose for people who need to release their anger regularly, to vent frustration or something. They say it’s not good to bottle up anger. But bottom line, hate mail is just a bad habit that needs to be kicked. If you’ve got anger to vent, take up boxing.

Anywho I got my own “hate mail” the other day. On my blog actually, next post down, go ahead and read it! Someone named Michael called my recent images “fake”, because they were staged photos of models. Thanks for the opinion! You’re right, I’ve been posting a lot of Photog Shootout events lately, and not many real weddings. Oops! Sue me. It’s winter time, how many weddings are YOU shooting in December / January? ;-)

It wouldn’t feel right if I just deleted the comment and censored people’s opinion of my photography, so instead I’m going to take a minute to at least mention WHY I shoot photos together with other photographers in a “staged” environment. Oh, and I’ll be posting portraits from all of my REAL 2009 weddings. So eat your heart out, Mike!

Alright… (Oh by the way- Click on my website. The photos in my main portfolio are ALWAYS real-world clients. I don’t believe in using modeled portraits to sway potential clients who are about to hire me; I only ever use on-the-job wedding photos. Modeled portraits are strictly a blog, Facebook, and “for photographers” thing… (Apart from ONE of my favorite images of Rachel Amara, a friend who models for me regularly just because we enjoy shooting together. To view her PRIVATE portfolio, click here…)

1.) I enjoy shooting with friends. And I can’t exactly have 10 friends tag along at all my weddings, can I?

2.) Practice makes perfect. Especially during the winter when there are as few as 0-2 weddings a month, you gotta stay sharp. I’d NEVER let myself go from November to March without shooting some portraits!

3.) As a leader of the Photog Shootout community on Facebook, I attend a LOT of photo shoots. Plain and simple, I have been blessed with the opportunity to do LOTS of photo shoots, with LOTS of friends.

Looking back over my 2009 year, I’m really happy with the images. More importantly, my clients are happy! I hope that a similar thread of quality and style can be seen in all my images, which to an extent I’ll consider a good thing. When a bride and groom hire me, they know what they’re getting- awesome photos! Of course there’s always room for improvement, and one should always stretch upward to that next level. 2010 will be better than 2009. Just like 2009 was better than 2008, and 2008 was better than 2007… But here’s 2009. Thank you, to all the couples who hired me and let me be a part of their amazing weddings! Each one was truly memorable, and I say that sincerely. To me each wedding day is such an adventure, I feel totally pumped each time I show up, pull out my cameras, and go to work.

I have many goals for 2010- venues I want to shoot at again, new locations and ideas I’d like to try out… And of course behind the images I’ve got a few changes planned for my workflow and business. Branding is getting tightened up, slowly but surely, and I’m also going to have a helper or two with client correspondence, paperwork, and album design.

…Okay I’m done typing, this is getting un-exciting. Photos, then I have other work to do. Without any further ado, here’s 2009 in review! (Remember, these are real brides and grooms, and in numerous instances we had no more than 5-15 minutes to knock out the wedding portraits! I hope you think I rocked ‘em…)

Take care,

by Matthew Saville

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January 26, 2010 - 11:08 AM Michelle Robinson - Well said Matthew. Afterall to do all those amazing photographs that you just showed in this post - you need to practice. What better way than with other photographers who can share with you different techniques. Your work is beautiful - and I thank you for always helping and inputing on so many different forums as well as on your blog.

January 26, 2010 - 12:06 PM Sara Beth - I completely agree Matthew! Who needs haters? I think your work is beautiful and I'm jealous of the opportunities you have to put together shoots and practice. Plus, it's not like you're trying to pass off a shoot as a real wedding. You were upfront and honest about it. Keep up the great work! And thanks for always being willing to share - I love that about you!

January 26, 2010 - 12:25 PM Cathy and David - GORGEOUS MAN! JUST GORGEOUS, and AMEN on the Becker thing. :D

January 26, 2010 - 2:33 PM Lexybeast - Maybe this is snobby of me, but how influential can a wedding photographer be strictly through the body if his or her work? Given the subject matter, it doesn't seem like a photographic field that leaves a lot of room for innovation; not to say that there isn't any truly beautiful work, but it seems like client and community is one of the only places a wedding photographer could really be influential. I think this sums it up. BTW, your photos make that Sigma 50-150 look mighty nice. I've been playing with the Sigma 50 1.4 recently. Beautiful bokeh!

January 26, 2010 - 3:06 PM Matthew Saville - Alex I think you're completely right. Whenever I view the work of people like James Nachtwey, I remember just how insignificant my own work is. If we're talking about IMAGES, and their influence on the entire world, certainly no wedding photographer stands a chance at making the list, unless you're arguing the premise that photos of love and happiness are influential. I'd be willing to buy that. But, the way PDN conducted the survey, they just set themselves up for a popularity contest, and the only voters were other photographers. HALF the photographers on all three lists do mediocre if not downright terrible work; they simply had a few dozen hardcore fans who voted ten times a day for the entire length of the voting process. But, the point I've argued is that people like Becker really did influence the photographic industry in a huge way. A decade or so ago, nobody would talk to you if you were "trying to get into business". You'd get laughed out of town, especially if you hadn't attended a prestigious art school and been "formally trained" in all aspects of photography. In fact, wedding photography was until recently considered to be the black sheep of freelance photography. Shooting weddings was, except for a handful of elite, something that only the desperate photographers would do. If you shot weddings, period, you got scoffed at by commercial / editorial etc. photographers. People like Becker turned that around and made wedding photography a decently honorable profession, and more importantly an industry with a very strong sense of community spirit and mutual learning etc. True, the industry unfortunately still has "rockstars" and some of them aren't all that amazing as artists, ALSO there are certainly a fair share of hacks trying to shoot weddings when they really shouldn't. But the point was that lots of positive change has been brought to the photographic industry in the past decade... =Matt=

January 26, 2010 - 3:44 PM Ted - Great post, Matt! I haven't read the PDN issue with Becker, actually I haven't read much photography material lately. Just a ton of sociology texts. Anyway, in regards to your own personal hate mail. Does it matter that those sets of photographs you have is staged or not? Big whoop. {they are awesome by the way.} Only way to improve is to practice and do things that you can risk outside of a wedding.

January 26, 2010 - 5:00 PM evie - Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who wish to share their bitterness with the world. We just have to cast it aside because, as you said, we have a limited amount of energy to work with every day and it is important that we use it wisely. I am a huge admirer of your work. It is simple, clean, understated, and absolutely beautiful! It was such a joy to look through your faves of 2009!

January 26, 2010 - 6:43 PM Virginia Vo - absolutely stunning photos!

January 26, 2010 - 9:16 PM Lindsay - I just want to give a HUGE thanks to all the photographers who have created such a welcoming community of talented artists and business people. I've only recently begun my photog biz, but the amount of resources out there from some of the nicest people I've ever come across is refreshing. It makes me feel good about my decision to take my photography to the next level. I'm happy to join a community of people who care about photography and sharing their knowledge and art to everyone. So thanks Matt, Becker, and all those other photogs out there who make us newbies feel so welcome!

January 26, 2010 - 9:29 PM Lexybeast - "Insignificant" is a bit harsh I think. There's still at least two people being affected by your work. Even photojournalism lives in its own bubble sometimes, and even though the bubble might be bigger, doesn't make wedding shooting unimportant by any means. I think though that wedding photography still hasn't totally shaken off its black sheep status, maybe even more so now because the economy is making a lot of photographers desperate. I've met a lot of wedding photographers who seem to go through the motions; go online and check out tons of wedding portfolios, and you'll find a ton of frankly mediocre work. This is why when my friends ask me for wedding photographer recommendations, the best advice I give is: 'Find someone who absolutely LOVES weddings.' That's the change I'm seeing with this new generation of wedding photographers, and through the work, it really shines through. Oh, and as a reference I point them to your site afterwards. =)

January 26, 2010 - 9:32 PM Lisa - These are really beautiful photos, Matt! I definitely think you rocked 'em - great lighting, great composition, and I'll bet you had lots of happy brides and grooms :)

January 27, 2010 - 4:32 AM Bet Rank - You rocked 'em. Rocked, rolled and hit 'em straight outta' the park. What you achieve with each photo is truly amazing but what tops that is your willingness to share your knowledge with others who truly love photography. Change is never easy and the community of photographers that continues to grow will always bring haters out of the woodwork. I've always felt that the "killing them with kindness" approach worked best. Can't wait to see what you do in 2010.

January 27, 2010 - 10:55 PM Hanssie Trainor - You have a hater--you've arrived. You're awesome and people are just jealous. Brush it off and keep being fabulous.

January 29, 2010 - 7:52 AM Elizabeth Luna - Love them images Matt! also I love your input about haters. Glad you got your head up. Until next time my friend. :D

February 2, 2010 - 8:16 AM Jo-Anne Kyle - Beautiful work, Matt, and great attitude! Thanks for sharing your 2009 couples with us. I know that you are always super helpful and generous with your knowledge and the photographic community is blessed to have you.

February 2, 2010 - 12:07 PM The Red Gecko - Love love LOVE those shots, Matt, they are GORGEOUS. It is obvious that you put a ton of work not only into your weddings, but into exploring and mastering your craft as a photographer! You're an inspiration to us all, and thanks to [b] and others like him, we can all be happily connected in a great photography community!

February 2, 2010 - 3:16 PM Tira J - You've arrived! Nice comeback Matt! Your images are beautiful. Haters are just jealous! Get a life!

February 2, 2010 - 3:35 PM michele bowman - great job as always Matt. haters are just bored because they aren't actually doing anything but being haters. your work is always beautiful, and you are always so wonderfully helpful to the b-school community! awesome!

February 3, 2010 - 12:20 AM Thomas Frank - Great Job Matt! screw him, you rock dude!

February 5, 2010 - 6:14 AM Sue McFarland - Set up shot, fake shot, real client, not real client!! Who cares as long as you continue to shot and share with us your inspiring photos! Your work is amazing and no matter what the "hates" say, I am positive your clients are always thrilled. I know that I love seeing your images and love when you share the stats about the photos! Thanks so very much!

February 11, 2010 - 12:57 AM Emily - Matt, you ROCK as a photographer, and I commend you for not being an elitist, and taking precious time out of your schedule to shoot "staged" shoots and help other photographers of all skill levels in the process. Who cares what methods you're using to improve your skills as a photographer? Real client or models, you bring it every time, and every time I think you've topped yourself you suprise me again. I'm in photography today because your work inspired me. Keep the faith!

February 13, 2010 - 12:03 AM Pamee Booher - WOW! I really do LOVE your work! I have been a fan of yours for a while now... I am just a QUIET fan =) I LOVE BECKER too! I have learned so much from him and all of you "others" out there! I just LOVE your pix in the snow - and the "fake" ones... MOST of those models are my wonderful friends!! AND I just LOVE what you shot!! My friends involved in this felt so BEAUTIFUL and LOVED as a result too... which I think is just as important! THANK YOU for your willingness to share like Becker does... it HELPS so many! =) I am now retired -but still blog stalk!

February 24, 2010 - 2:08 PM Jessika Feltz Photography - Matt, love this post! You are always so positive on the [b] school and everywhere else!! Great job on the images... the lighting is beautiful as always!! :)

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