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pbromaghin
01-02-2013, 04:20 PM
I always told myself I would never shoot a wedding. I don't need Bridezilla doing a meltdown because great uncle Harvey wasn't in any picture.

And I certainly don't need this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLK0TbVY6Ik

Having read thread after thread on the trials and tribulations of wedding photographers, I went ahead and did it anyway. Yup, I've become the guy you all hate, the guy in the next cube with a camera who does it for free.

We've known each other for 15 years, sat right next to him for 4. I helped him through his really ugly divorce. When he first asked I told him no way I could do it - it scared the hell out of me. Anyway, it was a middle-aged couple, the second time around for both. They've been together about a year, were engaged for about a month, and tied the knot in her parents basement with about 20 really close friends and relatives; so low key that they weren't going to hire anybody, so I didn't take food out of any baby's mouth.

Before the ceremony I metered the key parts of the room and got ready to shoot. It was southwest exposure with plenty of light bouncing around. Then, 5 minutes before the ceremony the clouds rolled in so, in a near panic I re-metered all of them. I shot 3 rolls of Portra 35mm (1 400 with available light and 2 160 with flash), Portra 400 and Tmax 400 in 120 in the Mamiya C33. I had hoped to shoot some 160 on the Mamiya with flash, but things started moving too fast and I decided I didn't trust myself yet with manual flash settings. Even so, I was nervous enough when shooting the Mamiya that I accidentally reloaded with B&W instead of color.

Anyway, this ain't anything I plan on doing again any time soon. As easy of an introduction as this was, I don't need the stress. God bless you who can do it regularly.

benjiboy
03-28-2013, 08:41 AM
I have done weddings in the past, but I avoid them like the plague these days because see no point of putting myself in the firing line unnecesserily, because I don't need the money or the stress.

Jeff Kubach
03-28-2013, 09:05 AM
Thta was funny about the wedding fight!

Jeff

Peter Simpson
03-28-2013, 12:26 PM
Heh. I feel your pain, pbromaghin.

Our very close friends (our kids went through school together and we vacation together) have invited us to their son's wedding this summer. They have told (well, asked, reallly, but in a way that wasn't really a request) me I am going to be the photographer. I have told them they really should consider hiring a professional. Really. Really. As in: it would be a much better idea, and we would all be much happier. No dice.

They're not going for it. I risk our friendship if I do not show up with camera. I think part of it is the money, but the other part is that their son is somewhat shy and does not want the photographer to be someone he doesn't know. So, I've been reading, will be checking out the venue, have purchased some stuff (a second identical strobe, flash bracket, extra batteries and cards) and will be there, doing my best. They have said that will be fine, they're not going to ask me for professional quality work, just something better than a collection of iPhone shots. My backup is an F3, because I don't have two D700s. My backup backup is a Canon S90. My loving wife has offered to help organize shots and carry gear.

Sometimes, you just can't say no. Wish me luck.

pbromaghin
03-28-2013, 12:36 PM
Well, it came out alright. There was a strange focusing problem with the Mamiya, but the 35mm saved the day. All the family portraits with the 80mm from about 15-20 feet were out of focus. It appears to have focused 2-3 feet in front of what I saw in the ground glass. Closer in, the focus was very good. This was not something that could have been found by chimping on one of those little screens. The bride was intent on getting digital files to share so I had all the Portra lab-scanned and scanned the good B&W negs myself. I printed 11x14 and 13x19 B&W of the happy couple that turned out really nice, and some color 8x10s.

benjiboy
03-28-2013, 03:29 PM
Heh. I feel your pain, pbromaghin.

Our very close friends (our kids went through school together and we vacation together) have invited us to their son's wedding this summer. They have told (well, asked, reallly, but in a way that wasn't really a request) me I am going to be the photographer. I have told them they really should consider hiring a professional. Really. Really. As in: it would be a much better idea, and we would all be much happier. No dice.

They're not going for it. I risk our friendship if I do not show up with camera. I think part of it is the money, but the other part is that their son is somewhat shy and does not want the photographer to be someone he doesn't know. So, I've been reading, will be checking out the venue, have purchased some stuff (a second identical strobe, flash bracket, extra batteries and cards) and will be there, doing my best. They have said that will be fine, they're not going to ask me for professional quality work, just something better than a collection of iPhone shots. My backup is an F3, because I don't have two D700s. My backup backup is a Canon S90. My loving wife has offered to help organize shots and carry gear.

Sometimes, you just can't say no. Wish me luck.
I've had several wedding invitations in the post in recent years and after I have accepted the invite the people call me up on the phone as if as an afterthought and ask me to do the wedding, because I think when they find out how much a pro. would cost it scares them shitless, and there's no limit to how far some people will go to take advantage of their so called "friends", and get things on the cheap, so I don't even go to weddings any more.

hdeyong
03-30-2013, 12:56 AM
About 35 years ago, a friend of mine was getting married and simply could not afford a pro. It was either me, or other guests pooling what they took with their Instamatics. I studied our own wedding pictures, did the shoot, (which completely killed any fun I was ever going to have), and they turned out really good. I've been asked ten times since, and have said "not a chance".
I'm with Benjiboy, I don't need the stress and I don't need the money.
I think today, you'd end up with a lot of pictures of the backs of peoples' hands, holding up their I-Phones right in front of you, to make sure they got that important picture they wanted. Their rudeness at times is startling.

pbromaghin
03-31-2013, 01:39 AM
You know? The expectations thing is what really bothers me. They want a whole bunch of digital files, quality be damned, to send to their friends. I want to give them a couple of really fabulous prints that can hang on their walls, their children's walls, their grand-children's walls, and their great-grandchildren's walls. Silver, imbedded in the paper, not ink splashed on top. And certainly not some damned silicon crystals flipped positively or negatively charged.

I have a picture of my grandmother as a child, from 1895 or so, and I love it. I am the youngest of my generation and I don't know who to give it to because, after me, there will be nobody alive who remembers what a wonderful woman she was, nobody who remembers her voice without her false teeth, how she stood at the stove, how she stacked the lefse over the back of the chair to cool. It makes me cry to think about it.

hdeyong
03-31-2013, 01:50 AM
Very very nicely said, especially the memories of your grandmother.

benjiboy
03-31-2013, 09:33 AM
It's a chasening thought that in Britain two thirds of marriages end in divorce, it could be another lucrative revenue stream to shoot divorces too ;)

silveror0
03-31-2013, 11:56 AM
It's a chasening thought that in Britain two thirds of marriages end in divorce, it could be another lucrative revenue stream to shoot divorces too ;)

Good one! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

silveror0
03-31-2013, 01:39 PM
I've done only two weddings, both as a non-pro. I will NEVER NEVER NEVER do it again.

The first was at the "request" of the Scottish bachelor whose apartment was next door to mine, back in the mid-'60s. Didn't know enough to ask pertinent questions or say "No way." The event turned out to be in a small house with wall-to-wall people, couldn't even get close to the couple for photos (b/w). Had to hold Hasselblad w/ flash bracket up high at arm's length and hope for the best - it was a disaster. Divorce also happened not long after (not related to my effort).

The second was just a bit later in the late-60's. A very long story, so I'll just outline it in bullet form:
- Boss asked me if I'd "get some photos" at a wedding - just as a friend.
- I said OK, but only if I could do available light work in black and white, w/o flash in the church, and you'd have to pay the cost of my film/chemicals/paper etc. (really dumb!). Thinking my work would only be supplemental to the pro photographer, as a friend.
- Then the other shoe dropped. The event is to take place in a remote town in central Oregon (I'm in Seattle area), but no problem "you can ride along with us for the whole weekend."
- I pack up my two Leica M3's, lots of Tri-X, and lots of lenses.
- We arrive at an old farm house on a sheep ranch in the middle of nowhere.
- The wife of the house uses it as a "half way house" to take in young single women who need help; the bride-to-be is one of those women; she's marrying a 21-year-old Marine who will be in his dress blues and she in her wedding gown at the church.
- Friday night rehearsal at the church, very dark, lots of good photos.
- Saturday morning at the house: Wife of house asks if I'd do a portrait of the bride in her gown ... house is very old / dark interior / no lighting available ... find a place with north window light / take full length mirror off wall to use for fill lighting ... fine picture, except bride has big zit in middle of forehead from nerves.
- Off to the church for the wedding ... ask boss when the pro will arrive ... "pro? what pro?" OMG!!!
- Take lotsa pictures. Altar shots from back of church in center of main isle / long lens / 1/8-sec shutter on tripod.
- Man at end of pew next to me scowls every time shutter speaks ... buzzzzzzz-click. His problem / not mine.
- Next, group pictures near altar, lotsa light, OK.
- Wife of house asks for bride portrait print to give to her local newspaper for the announcement; told her I need to work on it some.
- Back at home, develop film and print the best 175 4x5 proofs on Focomat Ic (a godsend) to mail to wife of house for her selections, withhold bride portrait with zit.
- Back at work, talking to Norwegian co-worker about zit problem, he has a friend who does retouching professionally but would need a 4x5 negative to retouch the zit.
- Made 8x10 print of 35mm negative ... take print to my friend to copy with his Linhof and make a negative for retoucher.
- Retoucher does her thing - nice work.
- Take retouched neg back to Linhof friend to get 8x10 print to send to wife of house ... mailed it to her.
- She sends back a copy of the newspaper announcement (bravo, looks great), along with a LONG list of requested prints to send to her friends around the world.
- Work Saturdays and Sundays in the darkroom for six months making all her prints. She's very happy now, and goes to Japan to visit friends, contracts a disease that is fatal and dies soon after.
- Then I'm told that the Marine was running laps at Camp Pendleton (CA) with a 70-pound full pack to keep in shape prior to his discharge ... has heart attack and dies on the spot.
- Couple years later, boss tries to fix me up with the bride! Can you guess my response?

NOW, do you see where I'm coming from with wedding photography?

Mainecoonmaniac
03-31-2013, 03:07 PM
I used to do them. Once you've dealt with Bridezilla, you'll think twice. I'm also ashamed that I was part of the Wedding Industrial Complex.

StoneNYC
03-31-2013, 03:31 PM
You know? The expectations thing is what really bothers me. They want a whole bunch of digital files, quality be damned, to send to their friends. I want to give them a couple of really fabulous prints that can hang on their walls, their children's walls, their grand-children's walls, and their great-grandchildren's walls. Silver, imbedded in the paper, not ink splashed on top. And certainly not some damned silicon crystals flipped positively or negatively charged.

I have a picture of my grandmother as a child, from 1895 or so, and I love it. I am the youngest of my generation and I don't know who to give it to because, after me, there will be nobody alive who remembers what a wonderful woman she was, nobody who remembers her voice without her false teeth, how she stood at the stove, how she stacked the lefse over the back of the chair to cool. It makes me cry to think about it.

The thing you have to realize is ... it's not about what YOU want and what YOU think is good when it comes to weddings, it's what the bride wants. If she wants all digital files, and you've agreed to shoot it, you have to give them what they want, that's the game, you can try and steer them in your artistic direction, but ultimately it's about their wants not your own, so scan away my friend, because all they want is pictures for Facebook :)

StoneNYC
03-31-2013, 03:40 PM
I do about 2-5 weddings a year, not sure why I bother, it's stressful, I don't shoot them on film that would be insanity and anyone who does still is a fool, not because I don't think film is great, it is, but the expectations are different, they want a week turn around, can you imagine having to develop all those rolls, and print all of it, within a week! insane. Not for the kinds of images and fast paced nature of the new kinds of weddings that are out there, heck I barely catch all of the important moments on digital. no one waits anymore, there's no hey lets announce this and let the photographer get into position.... it's simply go go go.

My ONLY horror story with weddings was the last one I did. I get there and they didn't have the money... being the nice guy that I am I didn't walk away (many professional wedding photographers actually leave if they don't get paid and refuse to do the wedding, which I now understand why). But I stayed, they paid me most of it a week later but withheld $300 they didn't quite have yet... now they say they don't want to give me the money because I missed 2 key shots that were SOO important to them, but were not taken because I asked multiple times for the best man and maid of honor to gather the people and that never happened, that's not my fault, and the sun went down, the wedding started 3 hours behind schedule and I still managed to get all the other shots done.

Sometimes it's just not worth it... I can't decide whether at this point to just give them the photos and be done with it... it's been over 6 MONTHS and they haven't paid the $300 ...

Every other experience has been good but that one bad one and bam... makes you feel shitty...

eddie
03-31-2013, 03:46 PM
... I don't shoot them on film that would be insanity and anyone who does still is a fool...

You need to read your posts before hitting the reply button. There are people who still shoot weddings on film (I'm asked at least once, or twice, a month), and I sincerely doubt they'd appreciate being called fools.

MattKing
03-31-2013, 03:57 PM
I used to enjoy weddings.

I'd shoot them on film (120 and square format). My clients would pay 1/2 up front, with the other 1/2 due with the instructions as to what was to be included in the package price album.

I'd shoot about 8-10 rolls of 12 exposure 120 for most weddings.

I had my lab develop and do 5" x 5" proofs.

I would take the proofs, label them with roll and negative numbers and edit out any obvious culls. I would then deliver them to the newly married couple along with instructions about what I needed to make up the album they had agreed to buy, as well as order sheets for extra enlargements which could easily be shared with friends and relatives.

Typically, the newly married couple would have the proofs in hand about two weeks after the wedding.

For an extra fee they were entitled to buy all or some of the proofs. My lab did a great job on the proofs, so they would often sell.

My albums were expandable. I frequently had people decide afterwards to buy more enlargements and expand the size of the album.

Once people decided (with my help) which photos were to be included in their album, I would usually have the completed album back to them in 2-3 weeks.

I never discouraged other people at the wedding from taking their own photos. I frequently saw their results. I still sold extra prints, at a decent profit.

pmller
04-01-2013, 12:04 PM
What they NEED is about 24 conventional black and white 8 x 10's in a standard conventional album, that the photos will last the rest of their lives and their great grandchildren's lives, on and on. That's what they need. All this color stuff, Facebook stuff an all the rest is garbage that is here today-gone tomorrow.


And then there is what everyone involved thinks they need, what people with any kind of influence on those who are involved tell them they need, what the want and propably a whole lot of other things. But then again: In some way the only difference to lets say commercial photography seems be that those people have hired photographers before while most people don't get married often enough (not that I would advocate a constant stream of divorces followed by marriage just for the photographers sake) to gain that kind of experience ;)

/Forum didn't like me there. Hope the post looks as it should now ...

ScarletBrown
11-22-2013, 03:46 AM
All depends on your interest and hobbies. If you are interested to capture wedding pictures then No one can stop you. I am also a good wedding photographer because i like it wedding shoots. I like wedding poses.

J.Marks
11-22-2013, 06:04 AM
After two complete nightmare weddings, my comment is NNNOOOO!!!. So now when I'm asked I look them straight in the eye and say "Don't do digital and my price is $25,000. They look elsewhere thank goodness.