Where are all the wedding photographers?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by philm, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. philm

    philm Member

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    Hello all, hope I caught the attention of the correct photographers.
    After having done many "hey you are a photographer, can you shoot my wedding" shoots I am giving serious consideration to entering that market.
    In my area (New Jersey) most wedding photographers are one man or woman shows. So frankly there are not a lot of options in working for somebody else in an apprenticeship type relationship. So I am well equipped, I use Mamiya RZ67 Pro II cameras. In studio work I use White Lightenings monolights.
    My questions are simple, are there any wedding photographers in the NJ area who'd like to take on an apprentice? In lieu of that are there any wedding photographers who could offer some insight on lighting equipment for the wedding. I see so many variations of on and off camera lights being used. I see many handle Metz strobes mounted on a huge stroboframe over the camera, this usually seems to be mounted to a hassleblad. So my biggest confusion is about the on camera lighting. Is there an industry standard?

    thanks for any input or advice.
     
  2. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Well, I have been out of the wedding business for a number of years, but when I did that, I shot between 300 and 400 weddings...so here goes:

    I don't think there is an 'industry standard' for branding of on-camera lighting - but to be effective you should consider the following: even lighting over slightly larger area than the lens field of view, powerful enough to give a quide number of 160 with 160 speed film at full power for large groups in big churches and halls, then you get a guide number of 110 at half power for most of the work (conserves battery charge) and at half power should have a re-cycle time of under 3 seconds. Brackets are somewhat of a challenge - the best place for the light for candid weddings is in line directly above the camera lens approx 12 to 18 inches above. This throws the shadows down behind the subjects more or less out of sight. You can add roundness to the lighting by using a sidelight assistant (adds to your cost, though) triggerred by a radio slave.

    Wedding photography is a specialized business and there are some things to learn besides photography - contracts, liability, etc. You will need to find a supplier for wedding albums at wholesale prices (usually 50% of retail to the wedding client). You will also need to consider this - contracts can say you are not responsible for unforeseen equipment failures, etc, but courts have held that this does not exempt the photographer from negligence. If you do not carry a spare camera, spare light, extra batteries, synch cords, etc, you will be judged as negligent if there is an equipment failure on the job.

    Pretty much every major city has some studios that are 'wedding mills' - that is they hire 'weekend' photographers to handle some weddings during the busy season. A run through yellow pages can help idendity these - the best opportunity to get a look at the process. You can offer to work as a sidelight assistant on a couple of weddings to get your feet wet.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Bob
     
  3. dmr

    dmr Member

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    A number of wedding photographers hang out at www.photography-forum.org

    It's a UK site, but there are some Statesiders there too. :smile:

    Wedding photography is something I don't think I would *ever* touch!
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Chicken!!!!

    LOL

    :tongue:
     
  5. DKT

    DKT Member

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  6. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Unfortunately, many wedding photographers have switched to digital. Also, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) (I am a member) is made up largely of wedding, school, and portrait photographers. It may be worth joining and to receive their magazine.

    Good Luck and welcome to APUG.

    Rich
     
  7. dmr

    dmr Member

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    {cluck cluck cluck!} :smile:

    Ever hear the term "bridezilla"? :smile:
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Heck with hearing it, I have experianced it more than once over the last 20 years!

    LOL

    :D
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I shot around 500 weddings in the 80s using a Metz 60 CTs or something like that. Initially I shot by myself using a couple of Hasselblads. Later I hired an assistant and had them work at about a 45 degree angle from me and trained them to be 15-20 feet away and carry a portable strobe at one stop brighter to create a mainlight while the on camera strobe was the fill.

    Now with better faster film a lot can be done without strobes and shot with 35mm for run and gun stuff. Since it will only be printed to 8x10 it works fine. The stuff that will be printed larger shoot with your 645.

    If you can't find someone to hire you, crash a few weddings and watch what other people use. Get their business cards and check out their work afterwards and see if you like their lighting.

    Michael
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Ok, so heres me- self important big gun cinematographer, -big gun photographer, 20+ years in the biz, blady baldy blah (in my market, don't get me wrong).

    A friend ask me to shoot his wedding, I didn't really want to, but it makes a good wedding present, so I agree.

    It turned out to be amongst the most challenging work I have ever done.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2006
  11. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    That's why we called it combat photography.


    Michael
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    God, no help, no coordination, no idea who anyone is, S**T where'd they go? I'm in the way, need to move over there, fast! sorry ma'am about your toe, oh, and I better not screw this up, because I will never get all these people back together for a reshoot. Not an option. BTW that bride better look like she has been dreaming she would look, since about age four.

    Weddings.

    No pressure there.
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Yep Jay, you just about covered, as far as the bride goes...

    Then throw in a couple of mother in laws and you can really have a party!!!!

    LOL

    :D

    Dave
     
  14. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Right Dave, and then throw in all the family and friends who are complaining that you are taking the bride and groom and the rest of the bridal party away from all the activities. Sheesh, not something that I have enjoyed when I did the several that I have photographed. :rolleyes:

    Rich
     
  15. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Amen, Jay. You walked into the same surprise I did.

    I've been shooting theatre and dance for 4 years now -- next to no light (and what little light there is ends up super hot or weird colors), people moving all over, shooting over/around/sometimes under audience members, etc. In MN Fringe, we don't even get the luxury of shooting during rehearsals -- it's live fire during performance. And I like to think I'm a fair hand at it.

    Having said that, weddings are all the above, squared and cubed. Awful light to work with, who knows who is where, tough angles, and once the reception hits watch out for the drunks.

    Although for PITA and sheer frustration, I'll match some of my fussier actors with a Bridezilla/Momzilla anyday. :D
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't even get me started on actors......(unless you are an actor, in which case I apologize for the comment..... ok? I'm sorry..... yes, very sorry....and I fired some people.... Yes.... him too....and your new celery is out here... nice and crisp.... we fired that crafty girl who brought the earlier celery out warm too....will you please come out of your trailer now?)
     
  17. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    The RZ is not a very good wedding photography camera--just too heavy when you add the grip and the flash. The only mamiya's I have ever seen being used by wedding photographers are C330 TLRs since you could observe the couple as you took the picture and make sure they didn't blink. The downside of a C330 is reload is manual--no backs.

    The RZ is a great studio camera. I would suggest a 6x6 if you want film or a Canon 5D for digital. Used Hassy system with the right lenses are now very low priced, about $2,500 for a good setup.
     
  18. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Interesting that you would say that, I shoot a few weddings a year, I use 35mm for the ceremony (F3/MD4, Metz 60 CT1), RB67 for all (and all and all) the formals (RB67 with stuio lighting running off a 12V battery and inverter) and D*%^&#% for the candids.

    erie
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Also, go to wedding shows. Check at a local wedding shop for dates/times/locations. These are a fascinating forum for comparing wedding photographer styles, products, and prices. Some of the photographers will also talk equipment if asked... but don't be too shocked to hear that most are not shooting film anymore.

    Also, while at these shows... check out the cake vendors.. they sometimes bring samples. :D