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  1. #11
    cjbecker's Avatar
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    I am right there with you. I have shot one wedding on my own (it was actually the guy I normally assist for) and have been the second shooter for 5-6 weddings. But I still donít have the confidence to take one on myself. I am going to feel this way until I actually take one on. It is being scared of the unknown. So once I have all the gear and backups I am going to start talking them on.

  2. #12
    cjbecker's Avatar
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    Well i just got my first official wedding. The date is yet to be set. But im exited. Hopefull i can shoot it 100% film.

  3. #13
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    The tradesman magazine in which my advert appears begain distribution yesterday. It goes to about 3,000 homes in my area and it takes them about 3 days to complete distribution. 24 hours after mine landed through the door, not a sausage. Not one phone call or e-mail :-( I hope I am just being impatient.

    CJBecker - congrats to you. Do you need a second shooter? :-) ;-)
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  4. #14
    rphenning's Avatar
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    it will probably take a bit of time I would think, but I have no experience with this sort of thing. Pretty cool, good luck!

  5. #15
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Some sparse thought, I understand I am possibly suggesting things that you have already made, or thought, or considered.

    If you are unemployed and with plenty of free time, I would propose myself as assistant to a photographer pretty much away, but not too much away, from my area. He would be confident that, once your apprenticeship is over, you are not going to cover his area, but you will be able to act as a referral for each other, and as a backup for each other in case of illness, accident, "double booking" etc.

    I would never do a marriage as main photographer with only two marriages on my shoulder "as a friend". When you do things for free, and for a friend, they are bound to be good. It's not that your friends want to flatter you, it is really that expectations are totally different. I am no wedding photographer, but I suspect the mother of the bride, the bride etc. will have a totally different attitude toward you, your pictures, your time, your availability etc. than your friends.

    Rather than "wedding" photographer I would sell myself as "ceremony" photographer. How many people are going to marry in your neighbourhood of 3000 households in the next few months? On the other hand, somebody might look for a photographer for a birthday, a first communion, a confirmation, a baptism, a graduation, the opening of a shop, the presentation of a book, etc.

    Besides, a graduation or a birthday are less stressing than a marriage.

    I would have 3 cameras: one for colour, one for B&W, and one as a backup. If a camera fails, the backup one can replace the B&W or the colour one and your work goes on undisturbed. The third one is to be left in your car etc. provided it is not too far away. You also need a backup flash, and backup of anything that you may need (backup glasses if you are a glass wearer, for instance).

    Most of all, you need a backup photographer. What if you are ill the day of the marriage?

    I did not attend many marriages, but I never saw a marriage with a photographer without an assistant. OK the last marriage I saw was in december 2003. Old same Hasselblad 500c, two Metz torches, photographer & assistant.

    You should also prepare a contract where you lay down clearly what the clients will have, and what they will not have. Contracts change enormously, some photographers give copyright, some retain it, some photographers give the negatives, some retain them, you have to specify how many large format images are you going to print, how much is for each extra print. Your clients might have totally different expectations and would give for granted the opposite of what you give for granted. As far as I remember having read, photographer account to print sales to relatives and friends for around one half of the revenue.

    An insurance for professional damages would not be a bad idea at all. People can get very angry if you screw their wedding photographic service. Your contract should also try to foresee problems. This business can be risky.

    Also I would begin following fora by wedding photographers (not that I knew any, but I suppose there are a few around).

    If you have spare time, I would just go around assisting to wedding ceremonies, to see what the photographer does at every moment of the ceremony. Study the mass carefully, see when the photographer can use a flash, when cannot, when he's not supposed to take any picture at all. Study also the way the photographer deal with the couple, when on the parents, the friends etc. "Steal the skill with your eyes".

    Make friend with your local priest. Ask him what a wedding photographer must do, what he must not do. Wedding photographers often have to have a nulla osta from the priest in my country, priests don't like having photographers who are invasive, disturb the sacred character of the ceremony, attract attention, divert attention, flash around as if they were to a party. Make your your priest knows you understand his needs.

    Well, good luck. You believe in marriage, so you definitely must be an optimist

    Fabrizio

    PS If there are people of other religion in your area, study their marriages, their equivalent of baptism, first communion etc. Make yourself known to the local rabbi/pastor/imam/etc. Let them your telephone number, some couple might ask their priest if he knows a wedding photographer.

    Have more than one formal dress, of course, unless everybody is informally dressed. Perspirate professionalism...
    Last edited by Diapositivo; 01-28-2011 at 07:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  6. #16
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    Rather than "wedding" photographer I would sell myself as "ceremony" photographer. How many people are going to marry in your neighbourhood of 3000 households in the next few months? On the other hand, somebody might look for a photographer for a birthday, a first communion, a confirmation, a baptism, a graduation, the opening of a shop, the presentation of a book, etc.
    - good idea.

    I will consider that but the problem with those kind of events these days is the whole "Everyone is a photographer" concept. In other words, ever event I go to these days of that nature, there is at least one person there with a DSLR who thinks he's a pro. I find that inevidtably, these days, people rely on those friends to provide photographic coverage of their event. Still might be an idea though.

    Contracts - done it. Checked it.

    Insurance - got it (and have had it for two years for my other pro work). Checked it covers professional damages.

    Backups - not got them all yet, but in the process of doing so. If and when I actually secure a booking, I'll make sure I have it. Considering 2 x F100's as backups to accompany my F5. Have just bought an off-camera flash shoe too. Might look a 2nd SB-800 as you suggest.

    Though I've only shot a few weddings, don't be under the illusion that I've just woke up and thought "I know, I'll do that". I've spent a lot of time buying\loaning and reading wedding books, have toured probably hundreds of wedding photographer websites and spoke (often via PM or whatever) with many. I have treated this endeavor with the professionalim it respects and would not embark on it if I had doubts that I could do it. I'm just not sure about having the confidence to do it due to the many things that could go wrong, thus this thread was started.
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  7. #17
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    You speak of backups. Consider backup photographers as well because you never know.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  8. #18
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Hi

    I'm in a bit of a moral dilemma.

    I've photographed two weddings for friends in the past 18 months or so. The first went OK and the second went very well as a result of learning from my mistakes at the first.
    That is perfectly normal. The learning curve is steepest in the first few weddings.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    The clients of the second wedding were thrilled with my pictures, and even several APUG folk said the majority were very good photos (though one has to take into account pleasantries).
    The only thing that counts is the clients.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    I used my Nikon F5, Fuji films and SB-800 flash.
    I don't care how reliable these tools are, they aren't indestructable, having a (preferably matching) backup camera and strobe is important if you are going to do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    I am very keen to publish a small advert in a local circular that gets posted in the houses in and around my area with the hope that I might get one or two "real" clients but not so many that I am unable to deal with it.
    If you get too many jobs you are not charging enough or being picky enough about the jobs you take.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    I am confident that I am creative, personable, approachable, professional, adaptable, courteous, thorough and I have a true belief in marriage myself. My business is already setup (accounts, website etc) and have a good mix of quality lenses but I don't do that much professional work.
    Having the business setup is great.

    Having a well defined product is of paramount importance; exactly what does the bride get?

    And yes, I really do mean "exactly".

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    What I am getting at is that I feel I could be a good wedding photographer, but I feel stupid to think that with two weddings under my belt and having never worked alongside a full time wedding photographer, I could actually do it "for real, with real clients". But then when I think about reasons as to why not, I don't actually come up with many, other than light extremes and rain, neither of which I have much experience of dealing with. But it worries me so much as to the consequences if I get it wrong.
    Weddings are, at least for me, just the perfect setup for a long series of staged "environmental" portraits. Everyone is normally dressed well and expecting to be photographed. It's not a tough world to work in.

    At weddings, you just photograph more people, in more setups, than you do in other situations.

    I find that once I "get in the groove" it's just a matter of remembering to look around and keep up with the plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    I don't know what to do. Should I go for it, or should I not? Have any of you been in this position or did you all graduate from arts college and\or have experience as a second shooter before you went out on your own?
    I did one assisting job, no arts college, just went for it.

    Since you like the idea of it, go for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    (PS - I have asked a couple of local photographers about assiting them, but I got either no reply or an indirect no).

    Ted
    They don't want the competition.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." AnaÔs Nin

  9. #19
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Might look a 2nd SB-800 as you suggest.
    If you need to get a second flash quickly, I have an SB-600 which I was planning to sell. If you want to borrow it I could post it to you to try out on a sort of sale or return basis.

    It was going to be sent to Ffordes with some other stuff which they are going to sell for me but if you want to borrow it, let me know.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Have just bought an off-camera flash shoe too.

    Is that the SC-28A lead? I have a Nissin version of that spare too!


    Steve.
    Last edited by Steve Smith; 01-29-2011 at 09:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  10. #20

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    I don't shoot weddings, but do have a suggestion for you in terms of adverts; most churches have a bulletin of some kind, and they sell low-cost adverts in those, and they are VERY worth pursuing. The local people/church members really do read those, and the fact that you have a business size ad in it will usually mean that you are somewhat "local" and they like to support local companies most of the time. Getting to know the ministers at a few different churches can be good for a few different reasons. For one, the minister then knows you or has met you one-on-one and can suggest you as a photographer - don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. The other aspect of getting known by a minister/church is that it's usually "just a few" weddings each year, so you won't be flooded by requests, but you will get requests. Part of getting to know the church members/minister, can include shooting some photos for an event they are having sometime during the year as well.

    Just some thoughts.
    Tim Flynn

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