Best. Think about that word for a moment. Go ahead… I’ll wait.
Ok. Being the best means the pinnacle, the Top Dog, the Big Cheese, Numero Uno. No one can touch you, everyone in your industry falls to the ground kneeling at your mere presence and customers fight their way to ring your doorbell, hoping you will answer.
Sooo, maybe it’s not quite like that.
Still, the idea of being the best is popular, especially in Wedding Photography. Just do a Google search for something like “Best Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer”, and you find a few people inferring they’re the best, claiming they’re “voted” the best, or just outright saying they are the Sh@%! On top of all that you’ll find these compiled lists of “The Definitive list of the Best Wedding Photographers in Tampa”. Seriously?
First, and let me be clear on this, I don’t claim to be the “Best” at anything except maybe being a husband to Derica. Sure, between us, we have far more experience than anyone in Tampa Bay, or probably Florida for that matter, when it comes to weddings. That comes from shooting nearly THREE THOUSAND of them. Still, that doesn’t make us the best. Derica has won literally hundreds of awards for photography, and was named THREE TIMES the “Photographer of the Year” in the Melbourne, Florida area. Brian has again… hundreds of awards, articles, published works, and named a total of FIVE TIMES the “Photographer of the Year” in the Tampa Bay area and Sarasota. Brian has also been named “Top 10” in Florida THREE TIMES, and… last but not least, “Top 200 in the World” TWICE by the Professional Photographers of America. Oh, they both have images in the Professional Photographers of America PERMANENT LOAN COLLECTION too…. these are the “benchmark” for what photographers aspire to create. Brian was even asked to fly to Ohio for the Professional Photographers STATE Convention where he gave a 3 hour talk on his experiences as a wedding photographer to a room of about 300 Professional Wedding Photographers! Still, we won’t claim to be the best.
Oh, who gave us these titles? Good Question! Actual professional organizations with real reputations based on raising the bar for Professional Photography. Things like: Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association, Bay Professional Photographers Association, Florida Professional Photographers, and Professional Photographers of America.
Why not you ask?
It’s all very subjective. I don’t want anyone to hire us just because of some words on a page, or because I say we’re the best. I want people to come, look at what we offer, and decide for themselves. The best to you may be different from someone else’s idea of “The Best”.
See? It’s all really silly to go out and say you’re the Top Dog, when really… no one is, we’re all just squirrels trying to get a nut. Next time you see someone claiming they were “Voted as the Best Wedding Photographer in Tampa Bay”, ask them who voted. I’m betting it wasn’t brides. Maybe they bought a plaque or something… who knows?
After all, isn’t it the Brides and Grooms whose opinions matter most?
Sure, Weddingwire loves to give out awards like “Bride’s Choice” and “Rated for 20xx”. Those aren’t awards, they’re marketing gimmicks. Weddingwire, the Knot, etc. ad nauseum are just BIG Advertising agencies looking to make a buck. They make those bucks by Vendors paying them to give them “awards”. Weddingwire even claims that it’s something like only the top 3% of vendors receive these things. Really? Every Tom, Dick and Harry has one…. so… does that mean that ALL 3% of the TOP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS live in TAMPA BAY? Heh… that would be pretty amazing, but, it’s just not true.
Where am I going with this? Oh, just look around a bit, really dig into websites. Google search your prospective photographer. If they’re really an Industry Leader, it will show through loud and clear. If they’re just making claims or living off Weddingwire’s “no-wards”, that’ll show too.
I’ve found in many things that those that scream the loudest about how great they are, actually have the least to say.
My two cents for a Friday!