An Update on Brides Magazine's Insistence That Pros Shoot Canon or Nikon

An Update on Brides Magazine's Insistence That Pros Shoot Canon or Nikon

You may have read a recent article in which Brides magazine suggested that its readers only choose wedding photographers who shoot Canon or Nikon. The photographer who was quoted as saying that has received quite a bit of backlash, so I reached out to her for her side of the story.

Tiffani Matsuura was the photographer interviewed for this article. I had checked out her work and was sufficiently impressed to be surprised that an obviously competent photographer had made such a statement, and after some chats with a colleague, I reached out to her for her side of the story, particularly since Brides had updated their article without editorial comment, leaving the nature of the entire chain of events in question. Lastly, Matsuura has been the victim of a large amount of vitriol in recent days, and whether the criticism is unfounded or not, I know Internet-bullying can often take on a life of its own.

Brides approached Matsuura with an article proposition: providing couples a guide for choosing a photographer. In response to the question "Besides the quality and style of photographs, what else should brides be thinking about?", Matsuura proposed a series of more detailed questions, one of which was: "What type of equipment do you use?" In addition to the proposed questions, Matsuura offered hypothetical answers that a photographer might give a client in an effort to further illustrate the type of interactions a couple might expect with a potential photographer. These hypothetical answers included the controversial assertion that professionals use either Canon or Nikon cameras.

I spoke with Matsuura personally, and she was very adamant that this answer did not represent her feelings on the matter and was simply meant as a hypothetical illustrative response for the writer, one that was never supposed to be published, but was due to an apparent miscommunication. When she saw that it had been published, she immediately emailed the magazine and asked that the quote be changed to:

Your photographer should know their equipment. Canon and Nikon are the most readily used cameras, but there are many other well-known professional cameras out there. Whatever your photographer does choose, it's good to make sure that he/she is well versed in their equipment.

However, this was changed simply to: 

Ideally, your photographer would use the most readily available professional camera.

In fairness, Matsuura mentioned that this was her first interview, and while giving a potentially controversial (even if hypothetical) answer may or may not have been the best decision, she does insist that that answer was, in fact, not representative of her views. She has received a large volume of harassing messages in the last few days, and given that, I felt it was only right to give her a platform to voice her side of the story. If anything, it's a good lesson for all of us to be careful in what we say, particularly in situations where we may be readily quoted. 

An inquiry for more information from Brides and the writer on their side of the story was not returned. 


Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Love FS. Great articles. But can you PLEASE STOP 'reaching out' to people and just 'contact' them - the way we all used to before gibberish replaced plain English.

"Contact" is a neutral term purely meaning to initiate communication. "Reach out" is a phrasal verb that carries the implication of initiating contact with the pretense of being helpful. I meant it the way I said it.

And that is how you operationalize :)

I'll leave this one alone now. But have you checked the meaning of the word 'pretense'?

Sure. I used it under this definition:

"a claim of having a particular quality, ability, condition, etc."

If you're implying I used the definition that says "an act or appearance that looks real but is false," well, that's not the only definition (also, the term "false pretenses" would then make no sense). I'll leave this one alone now too. I'd rather focus on the content of this article, which I would be happy to hear your comments on.

>> I meant it the way I said it.

No, you didn't. If you literally "reach out" to someone then you're trying to physically touch them. You're using a dull, unnecessary, cliched metaphor without even realizing that you are doing so.

If the matter is teaching a client to identify traps by knowing wrong answers to "what equipment you use", none of the 3 versions (the original and the two quoted here) are really helpful.

How would a bride with likely little knowledge or experience ( who the article seems aimed at) have the faintest clue as to how to tell how well the photographer knows his or her equipment? Several of the things in the article from the magazine left me wondering on what basis the bride was to know what they were looking at.

Thanks for the followup...yes the internet bullying thing can go way too far (Jasmine Star, etc). I don't think anything the "photographer" was saying reaches the level required for a lynching but she should have known better. "Brides" should have known better too as I'm very sure some of the work featured in their publications were shot with a variety on cameras 'NOT" starting with C or N in the name.

It's part of a larger issue with our industry...we just are not doing ourselves any favours with this kind of nonsense.

Yeah, for me, the issue is more with editorial control. For a magazine of that size, someone should have said "this isn't right; something is off here" and investigated further before the article was released, and the entire issue would have been obviated.

""Brides" should have known better too"

I disagree. When someone goes to a mechanic he expects fair service and advice with now expectation from the customer to know mechanical maintenance.

Same for an accountant, plumber, lawyer, etc...

Photography is a service industry and it's the photographers job to help educate clients and turn down clients with unreasonable expectation (only Nikon gear for example). The same would be true of a client asking an accountant for some "creative book keeping" or that a mechanic only use Snap-On tools...

"Brides" as in the MAGAZINE not an actual BRIDE...

Ha. Well, yes, true. My bad!!!

Gave me a good chuckle, ...well played sir!

Matsuura's original answer makes sense: "Know your equipment." Yet Bride magazine is not what she said. But Bride magazine, since they don't report news (even celebrity news), does not have to follow journalistic integrity like an entertainment magazine, such as People.
But changing a quote from an interview to something totally different is just wrong on many levels.

I honestly can't believe this turned into the story it did. Talk about feigned outrage...

I'm curious about the method used by Mr. Cooke in his "inquiry" to reach Brides Magazine. Was it one email? A Twitter DM? A phone call to the reporter?

Given that Matsuura is calling into question the reporting and the magazine itself changed the story online, I'm surprised Brides didn't avail itself of the opportunity to either stand by its story or confirm Matsuura's account.

Mr. Cooke wrote an interesting story, but it feels incomplete. I'd be happy to read an update with a response from the magazine, should it choose to do so. As a former journalist, a single "inquiry" does not seem like enough of an effort given the accusation leveled by Ms. Matsuura.

An email to the PR address listed on their website, which was returned as undeliverable, an email to the editors of the magazine, and an email to the writer of the article, all with a timeline listed for publication and a very clear summary of the synopsis that Matsuura had given me. I ended up lengthening the timeline to give them more time to respond because of the holiday. I did my best to track down the writer, who appears to be freelance and does not have an official email with the magazine or a readily available phone number. Her Twitter account did not allow me to DM her, and I found no profile on Facebook. Believe me, I did my best to find both sides.

Glad to hear that, Alex. I got the impression from the line, "An inquiry for more information ..." that you had made a single inquiry. Sounds like you did the work, which I appreciate. Should have said "Several inquiries ..." ;)

Very valid point. :)

Ok we may not like her opinion on brands, that's cool, however this is worrying:

"She has received a large volume of harassing messages in the last few days..."

People need to grow up... is it really needed to go full mental and write her angry/harassing emails???

I'm not a pro at all but I know one thing and that is that 99,9% of all people who aren't into photography know little or nothing at all about gear related items. And lots of people that own cameras hardly know what aperture is or what it does, what iso is or what is does, and if the size of the sensor is meaningful or not.
So giving advice about equipment is really stupid. It is like asking a mecanic what brand of spanners he uses and not going to his garage because you prefer another brand of spanners.
Clients should look at the photographer's work and if they are properly impressed by it and they like to have him or her around, they should hire him or her.

Well in all fairness, I'd bet at least 90% of pro wedding photographers actually do use Canon or Nikon systems. If this is true then she's pretty much right on in saying "professionals use Canon/Nikon".

What's a Nikon? ;)

I don't get why this is so controversial. There are only two professional camera brands and she named them. If you want to take pictures of flowers or sunsets, sure, there's other options. But ALMOST everyone getting paid to make pictures of people is shooting Canon or Nikon. There's a reason for that.

Zero chance I would let anyone I know hire a photographer not using Canon or Nikon gear. And it isn't because other cameras aren't capable. It's because WTF uses a Sony or Panasonic?

The Phase One shooters probably take issue with this.

And the Mamiya shooters.

And the Fuji shooters.

And the Sony shooters.

Too many pros aren't about the end quality but about avoiding risks and getting the bills paid.
If the client is satisfied, it is just good enough.
Newer and more advanced options aren't selected because they have to spend time getting to know how to use the more advanced equipment.
Too many pros are biased towards the well known and proven.
Canon and Nikon are well known and have proved themselves but they are not exactly at the cutting edge of technology. They are a generation behind the rest. But they are reliable and can be trusted.

I'm not a pro at all, just an amateur. But you just have to look at lots of portfolios of pros just to wonder how it is possible that they get paid for their jobs. Of course, there are brilliant pros out there, but also too many that are really worse than lots of amateurs.