Wedding Photo Advice

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by asegreti, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. asegreti

    asegreti Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have been asked to photograph someones wedding, which is not really my thing. I would like to help out, but I'm a bit apprehensive because I have never done this sort of thing before. Does anyone have any advice?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Deus

    Deus Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    Wrexham, Wal
    Shooter:
    35mm
    get to know the place.
    Get to know the schedule.
    Make sure you have all the stuff you MIGHT need depenmding on light at a particular moment and stuff.
    Get a skivvie to help you.
    Charge stupid price.
    hth!
    :wink:
     
  3. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Several years ago I was a wedding photographer and made some money. I was pretty good at the artistic and technical side so my work was quite acceptable. I don't do it anymore. Why?

    If the bride does not like you or she does but you annoy/irritate her on her wedding day, she will hate your photos. It doesn't matter how good they are. I'm not a great people person so I struggled with the bride relationship.

    So if you must shoot the wedding, make sure the bride is happy with you. The groom is pretty much irrelevant. All of the portraits must feature the bride and everyone else is just furniture.

    When shooting candids at the reception, shoot only family or very best friends. Shoot the cake cutting, toasts, money dance, bride dancing with father. If you see some schmoe dancing with a bimbo and nobody knows who they are but they're making quite a scene... don't take the shot. I guarantee you that later, nobody will buy a print.

    Shooting a wedding with no experience is something I'd never ever do. I assisted another photographer for a couple of years before doing one on my own. There are a lot of ways to screw up and miss important pictures.
     
  4. asegreti

    asegreti Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is what I was thinking. I'm not that great of a people person either and I don't think I like weddings that much...SO......I think I am going to decline the offer. I just see too much going wrong or getting annoying.
     
  5. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been doing some to build up that portfolio. I do a lot of "other" events (fundraisers, grand openings, ground breakings, etc). Not rewarding in the artistic sense, but they are challenging. Making an event look fun when there are 50 people there is challenging. I do it to support my personal photographic habits.

    Weddings I do on a selective basis, and I agree with ScwhinnP, focus on the bride, always keep moving about to follow her and who she interacts with.
    The post ceremony stuff you should advise the bride to have the groupings she wants prior to so they can be assembled and ready.

    I do think the groom shots with best men are important too.
    I also take table shots of the family and some friends as I have learned they want to remember those that came. I even ask where they are from, if traveled a long way, good to get them.

    Just treat it as an event and relieve the pressure somewhat everyone puts on these.

    Have back up cameras, flashes, batteries and easy/quick access to whatever you need.

    Go for it, no biggie.
     
  6. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,439
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How much lead time do you have? If it's in the next couple of weeks... you're better off NOT taking the gig.

    Wedding photography can be (is) a very stressful job and if you're not 100% prepared, the results suffer.
     
  7. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If I was getting married today, I'd choose a photographer who made his mistakes on someone elses wedding and had no portfolio building left to do. Is it fair to ask the couple getting married to pay for your education?
     
  8. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,075
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi

    I did my first weddings without get paid for it, they only had to pay my films and processing costs and not more and they where good friends of mine and still are so I did also read a book about it and I worked always with at least 2 cameras and 2 flashes. So good luck, but don't do it if you don't like it sounds dangerous to me!
     
  9. asegreti

    asegreti Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wouldn't be getting paid for it, nor do I want money for it. I would pay for my own film and everything...the person wants someone who is not going to be taking "traditional" wedding photos. I have showed them samples of my work also...but I am not going to do it. I'm sure other opportunities will arise.
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,985
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If the idea does not excite you then pass on it. Doing weddings can be very stressful to the uninitiated and in your case a no win situation. You aren't getting paid and if they don't like the pictures you get the blame.

    Weddings are a (supposed to be) once in a lifetime event. Your friends should find someone to do it that is experienced.

    I promise you it will not be worth the headaches and they will still be your friends.


    Just an opinion,


    Michael
     
  11. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well Schwinn, you are assuming some things...One, as yet, I haven't made any major mistakes. Will I? No doubt, but they will happen no matter who, what, where or when. To everyone. Being as prepared as possible for whatever can happen is key.

    Second, I didn't "ask" anyone to pay for my wedding photo education. These have been friends and acquaintances who asked me, knowing I do not specialize in weddings nor want to. They were "bargain" shoots (IMO), and all (only six last year) turned out very well. So far, I have been fortunate.

    Since they asked asegreti, I'm going to assume they have some knowledge of of his ability.

    If it's something you want to get into eventually, you have to start somewhere-those that specialize in this did. Price accordingly. If you don't have the equipment to meet their needs, then bow out. If you do it, be up front with your experience, know what their expectations are, how long they want coverage, and so forth. If they are friends, realize you are there to work, not party.

    I carry two shooting cameras (long and short zooms) with flash attachments, and two back ups with one extra flash. I have found I shoot twice as many images for a wedding as you would for other events for the same time frame. And, leave a half hour earlier (to get there) than you think you have to leave.

    Talk to them about your apprehension, if you still are unsure then I would say no. You can offer to shoot "second unit" for cost (or free) and cover the stuff the pros won't bother with (candids, etc). You can then shoot and watch the main shooter(s) to see how they handle it.
     
  12. Gustavo_Castilla

    Gustavo_Castilla Member

    Messages:
    890
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    Bryan Texas
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hi I did weddings for about 4 years and I must say
    I am NOT DOING THAT again
    Having said that watch the time and do your formals first I know bride and groom dont want to see each other before the ceremony .....
    So try to make sure you get the wedding party before otherwise you will never do and make bridzilla's dress look it is best ,
    carefull with the mens black tux (not good for photos but what can you do)
    ask the to put one hand in the small gap (rental tux) on top of pockets and dont let groups of 2 or more show the hand behind the person next to them (put on hand on the other persons small of the back (but) other wise it looks like some one is hidden behind them and ask the ladies to do the ballet feet as in one pointing tour you and the other a bit behind It helps posture
    well hope this helps
     
  13. lensworker

    lensworker Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Asegreti -

    Good call, declining to shoot the wedding. If you are not 100% totally comfortable with doing it, don't let yourself get talked into it (this applies to all types of photography). There are NO second chances when photographing a wedding, no "do-overs!"

    I have photographed weddings in the past - it took 5 or 6 before I was comfortable with them. The first 3 were sheer terror! I got good results and happy couples, but I don't do them any more; I think I saw it as a challenge initially, and when I proved to myself that I was capable, I decided to move on to other types of image making.

    It is SO much more work and stress than non-photographers can imagine, and it is a HUGE responsibility, too. It takes commitment and dedication to be able to make wedding photos that are aestetically pleasing and are more than just record shots; IMO, the couple and families deserve much more than "wedding day mug shots."

    Wedding photography is something that a person must truly want to do and enjoy doing - it's about more than the money, or helping a friend save money on wedding costs.
     
  14. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,605
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I put myself through college doing weddings (in the 70's). Ignorance is bliss, because I didn't know any better about the dangers. I never carried a back-up anything, for instance. My Mamiya TLR and Honeywell strobe never let me down ...

    But I was amazed at the reactions to the photos. I produced adequately exposed, focused, and framed pictures: good, but not great. The response was always either: "These are the greatest pictures we've ever seen!" or "These are the worst pictures we've ever seen!" And, of course, the pictures were neither. Fortunately, I got the first reaction much more often.

    While I don't disagree with Schwinn's statement about the bride, my experience was that it was the bride's mother!!! :rolleyes:

    Cheers y'all.

    David