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?
Last edited by silveror0; 03-31-2013 at 02:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
“We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.
We are monkeys with money and guns.”
― Tom Waits
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
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
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...
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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.
Originally Posted by StoneNYC
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.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Originally Posted by noacronym
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 ...
Last edited by pmller; 04-01-2013 at 01:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
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.