After the ad of one wedding studio came up, I decided to check out their work, what kind of photos are they making, selling, and basically how "good" is it.
I was led to believe (by myself, I think) that wedding photography in 2012. is something borderline superpro level, and I've never ever even tried to touch it, and I've said to myself that there are 99,999% chances I won't ever agree on shooting a wedding, simply because I didn't feel up to par with the skills I have...
Turns out...wedding photography is mainly shill service. Basically it boils down to "let's make couple of very funny and quirky shots, few artsy farts (b&w preferably) and lets boost the lights in Lightroom, go for the borderline HDR look and call it a day.
Looking at the Facebook comments on those shots, all I read is "wowwww, amazing, ohh" etc.
So what I've come to realize, wedding photographers are just hustlers. Nothing wrong with that, but I must say I'm somewhat disappointed. Disappointed I never tried to hustle someone out of his $ for mediocre job, and also for holding them to such high standards. I've seen one studio that makes really REALLY epic stuff, their wedding movies are movies, but that's one studio. Others I've seen are just so average...or I'm conceded and think too high of myself. Don't know.
But just wanted to put this out there.
With respect - you don't really know what you are talking about. You have a right to your opinion, and believe me you are right when you say there are a lot of very bad photographers around. But to generalise in that way is an insult to a lot of professional photographers. Almost every photographer out there has had a go at shooting weddings - either as a favour to a friend (which is fine), or because they really want to be a professional photographer and have found that nobody will pay them meaningful amounts to do any other sort of photography. It's often those photographers who are the problem, especially now that the technical barriers to photography have largely been removed.
Couples looking to hire a photographer usually have zero experience of finding such a person, and are lured by false promises and glitzy websites offering low prices to undercut the opposition. I can only speak of the UK, but there seems to be a race to the bottom with prices. And you are quite right about the faint praise on Facebook etc - give a newbie some words of encouragement and they think they are David Bailey!
If you want to jump into professional wedding photography with all the other 'hustlers' - go ahead. If you keep your prices down you will easily part fools with their money - if that gives you satisfaction.
A typical wedding for me involves perhaps 30 hours of work. I may have a plain bride, a wet day, a not-so-glamorous location, and it might be dark and cold (yes, this is England). Yet I am expected to still produce good pictures. My aim is that should a prospective couple come to see me about their wedding, I could show them any wedding I have shot in the last year and be confident that it would represent the current standard of my work - not just my best pictures. That is what is involved in being a professional photographer, forget whether you are full or part-time, or get paid for it or not.
A wedding is a fabulous event to photograph - If you like photographing people. Every week is a different cast, different locations, different weather. Only the unimaginative would ever get bored. If you love meeting and photographing people, and want to get paid for doing it - then wedding photography is a great job!
Oh, and by the way, I don't consider myself a great photographer. But I have photographed around 500 weddings over 15 years, and as I don't advertise they all came through word of mouth, so I must be getting it half right.