I Quit Wedding Photography To Pursue My Passion For Art Photography

I quit wedding photography to pursue my true photography passion, to become an art photographer, focused on capturing the everyday.

I Quit Wedding Photography To Pursue My Passion For Art Photography
Me by Hiram Trillo

Life As A Wedding Photographer

For about 7 years I was a wedding and event photographer. I shot weddings and events all over Texas and the United States. I even shot one at the famous Plaza Hotel in New York City and another in Australia. The weddings I photographed were from a wide range of cultures and religious beliefs. Including Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Atheist, and Muslim weddings. They were all incredible and beautiful. I loved every minute of them and I was incredibly honored to part of so many people’s special day.

During those years, I also had to give up many of my weekends, especially during the spring and summer to photograph weddings. I missed important moments in my friend’s and family’s lives. Baby showers, birthdays, baptisms, graduations, and other celebrations. I even missed a few of my friend’s weddings. Those were particularly painful.

Additionally, there were some frustrating things about the wedding photography industry as a whole. The biggest one was that it seemed like almost everyone I met already knew a wedding photographer. Their best friend’s uncle, their friend from high school, their cousin’s wife, etc. Every time someone told me that I would die a little inside of disappointment.

Also, 90% of them charged fees that would not provide a viable income. It was really hard to compete against all that. And I learned I’m not a natural salesman, and that really worked against me. Most of the truly successful wedding photographers are salespeople first and photographers second. Many other photographers feel these same pains too.

My Passion For Street And Art Photography

Originally what attracted me to photography was the artistic aspect of it. Street and travel photos, the photos that made mundane things look interesting. I am hugely influenced by photographers like William Eggleston, Gordon Parks, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, and Vivian Maier. Deep in my soul, I felt a longing to make those types of photographs. I also fell in love with medium format analog photography. During my off days, I would go on walks on photographing the city around me. I immensely enjoyed that. But I didn’t make any money from it. On my homepage, you can see a few of the photography series I have made.

Weddings paid really well, they supported my art photography habit. I applied the style of photography I loved to my weddings, primarily focusing on candid photos. My formal portraits were never stellar but people loved my candids. My clients generally hired me because of their preference for candid and authentic moments over formal portraits. Some didn’t want formal portraits done at all, I had to convince a couple of them they will at least appreciate the family ones later and should get some.

Time To Quit

I gradually became less and less interested in shooting weddings. After 5 years as a wedding photographer, I pretty much stopped trying to promote it. By the time the COVID-19 lockdowns started, my wedding photography business had wound down. To support myself, I also worked as a web developer and designer, which I learned so I could have a website for my wedding photography. That ended up taking off much faster than my photography business did. I’m now an app designer and make way more money than I ever did as a wedding photographer.

A part of me still loved occasionally photographing weddings. I didn’t want to fully let it go, I thought it would be a great ongoing side gig. But then COVID happened and all my shoots were canceled.

In 2020 I only photographed 2 weddings and in 2021, there was only one. I saw that as time, time to make a change. It was time to just let it fully go and let another wedding photographer take the weddings I would have shot. On top of that, my passion for photography had totally moved in a different direction.

As a result, in May of this year, after wrestling with it for two months, I’ve decided to completely quit wedding photography and event photography too. Because of this, a few weeks ago I put my Canon camera gear for shooting weddings and events online and sold it all. I had two Canon bodies, 5 Canon L series lenses, a mobile studio, and many other minor items. I was actually really relieved to see it all go, I was fully ready to move on.

Buying A Leica And Pursuing Art Photography

With the money from my Canon gear, I bought a Leica M (Typ 262) and a 28mm Elmarit lens. It was crazy going from a couple of suitcases of camera gear to a single camera and lens. I was a little short of being able to buy another lens. A 50mm Summicron, which I plan on buying a few months from now. This camera has reinspired my love for the art of photography. I just love picking it up and shooting with it. I see why people love rangefinders. It’s simple, light, and discrete, perfect for street and travel photography.

Leica M (Typ 262) with a 28mm Leica Elmarit lens
Leica M (Typ 262) with a 28mm Leica Elmarit lens

From now on my posts will be primarily photos from my Leica or my analog film cameras: a medium format Hasselblad 500C/M and a 35mm Nikon FM2. I’m really excited about this new journey and about sharing it all on here. I also hope to eventually publish a couple of photobooks and get some photos in local galleries.

Highlights Of My Wedding Photography

Even though I have bid farewell to wedding photography, I’ll never forget the amazing journey it was and all the great memories of the incredible people and families I met. Here are some highlights from my wedding shoots:

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