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Thread: Wedding Photos..Help!

  1. #1
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    Wedding Photos..Help!

    Hi Everyone

    I am a keen photographer and currently studying it part time. However my friend has asked me to photograph her wedding. She knows my skill level (not professional) but want to save money and want natural snap shots.

    I've not said yes yet as I'm still pretty scared as it's a big responsibility but I'd be grateful for ANY tips anyone can give me...

    Thanks

    Natalie

  2. #2

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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by nataliepini View Post
    Hi Everyone

    I am a keen photographer and currently studying it part time. However my friend has asked me to photograph her wedding. She knows my skill level (not professional) but want to save money and want natural snap shots.

    I've not said yes yet as I'm still pretty scared as it's a big responsibility but I'd be grateful for ANY tips anyone can give me...

    Thanks

    Natalie
    Hi Natalie,

    In all seriousness, by advice is to simply not do it unless ...

    - you're throughly conversant with all of the techniques needed to shoot in extremely difficult situations (eg low-light; harsh light)

    - you've got good skills in controlling groups of people, many who may be well on the way to being drunk and/or don't want to co-operate

    - you're used to dealing with pesky guests content on distracting your subjects with their own P&S photography

    - You have all of the necessary equipment and backup equipment including flash / remote triggers / appropriate lenses / spare bodies

    And that's just for starters. It is scary - and it is a HUGE responsibility - and you don't get a 2nd chance to redo it. Many claim to "appreciate that the photographer isn't a professional", but then again, these same people often assume (having looked at a lot of wedding photography) that "modern cameras do all the work for you" - and the moment you end up with back lighting and no flash - or dappled light on subjects under a tree - or harsh sunlight making them squint - or contrasty light (eg dark inside but bright light shining through door or window in the field of view) - then an inexperienced photographer is in SERIOUS trouble.

    In my opinion, wedding photography is the single most difficult form of photography to do well. Many say I'm pretty good with a camera - and I even provide consultation services to other wedding photographers - but I have no desire what-so-ever to shoot a wedding. I just don't need that kind of stress in my life.

    Many enthusiastic amatuers throw themselves into the deep end of wedding photography ... and sink.

    Hope this helps - I really do! (and sorry!)

  3. #3
    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Could not have put it better.

    Dave

  4. #4
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Don't be sorry! This is the kind of advice I need! Having non photographers around me thinking it's a great idea, it's good the hear the realistic side of it from others who know what they are doing!

    Think I may have to turn this one down, I'm definitely not confident enough yet.

    Thanks for the advice guys

    x

  5. #5

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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    i went on a wedding shoot with my mate, and all the above are so true, he let me take photos for expierence and wow was it hard, chopping and chageing setting iso up pretty high border line of no return, it was an expirence ill never forgot and not wanna do again if im honest, but you might go there and get everything right on the day and get wonderful shots

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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    A good way to lose a friend. Heed the advise.

  7. #7

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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    I've done it. Twice and now a third on the way (honest it gets easier).
    I prepared by getting loads of books and magazine articles on the subject.
    Made a list of the important shots (walking down the aisle, exchange rings, first kiss and so on).
    It was VERY stressful. I am very conversant with the camera settings (Sony A350) and I wouldn't have done it otherwise (although I was using a second back-up camera different make to my own (Canon 7D), but I had time to practice using it).

    As above from Colin UNLESS you are good at handling stess AND very conversant with the camera, don't try.
    I am not so good with people, but I had several situations scripted so I was prepared for at least some eventualities. But none turned up.

    As to your native ability, be brutally honest with yourself, you may surprise yourself and be better than you think.
    My own wedding (2007) photographer (pro) did a poor job at best, very dated style. Group shots and the main shots only, nothing unexpected. Now my wife wants shots like I've done for other people. The work I've done for the weddings have resulted in several people commenting that they wish that THEIR photographer had done as good a job.
    So, some pros are crap and some amateurs are great (I'm in the middle). Don't sell yourself short - BUT it is stressful. And some people (as previously mentioned by Andrew) there is the possibility of loosing a friend. BUT also a possibility of strengthening the friendship.

    Perhaps as a backup you can get another colleague to back you up. Arrange who shoots what leaving the other to gallivant around taking the special unexpected moments.

    Graham

  8. #8

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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by nataliepini View Post
    I am a keen photographer and currently studying it part time.

    You want to do it as a money making venture? Pocket money or full time? Great exposure.
    However my friend has asked me to photograph her wedding. She knows my skill level (not professional)...
    and THAT (not pro) means very little unfortunately. Some terrible pros out there.

    but want to save money and want natural snap shots.
    So a photojournalistic approach. A more modern approach that an older pro may not feel comfortable with - could be an advantage for you. PLUS as she is a friend you may understand her better and therefore get the shots which mean more to her.
    I've not said yes yet as I'm still pretty scared as it's a big responsibility but I'd be grateful for ANY tips anyone can give me...
    Natalie
    I've tried with the last couple of posts to give a more balanced view.
    All the best whichever way you go.
    YOU may be able to act the second photographer and hence gain some valuable experience.
    Graham

  9. #9
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    I echo Damien and Graham. You should shadow someone else on a few shoots before you commit yourself. It's not as easy as it looks. Offer to carry equipment for a pro to see how it's done, there's a lot to think about and plan and, as others have pointed out, you don't get a chance to re-shoot.

  10. #10
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Hi Natalie,

    If you want to celebrate the wedding then don't do it.
    All your attention will be to make good pictures, meaning while the other guests are having lots of fun, you are busy to catch the right moments.
    Your friend should be aware of this as well, but it is something that is overlooked lots of times.
    I do weddings on regular base and I like doing it. But when I come home I'm finished. It's hard work and no time for having a chat and drinking coffee.
    I don't complain, the people pay me to do my job.
    you however, are a friend, and you should celebrate with all other friends.
    Of course you could ask the photographer that does the job, to join and see if you can learn from him/her.

    Enjoy the wedding!

  11. #11
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hansm View Post
    If you want to celebrate the wedding then don't do it.
    All your attention will be to make good pictures, meaning while the other guests are having lots of fun, you are busy to catch the right moments.
    Great advice... I made a great mistake and shot my first daughters wedding, At that time, I was short of cash and the wedding bills were mounting at an alarming rate. I was making money shooting weddings so I thought, why not shoot my daughter's wedding?

    Well, I'll tell you why not! I couldn't share this moment with my wife and I really feel that I missed out on a lot of important moments. In retrospect, I should have shot someone else's wedding and used the money to pay for a photographer for my daughter's celebration.

    You think I would have learned my lesson. When the younger daughter got married, I didn't want to shoot her wedding but she cajoled me into doing it. "After all you shot my sister's wedding, why not mine?"

    What was even worse was that this was a very formal wedding and the groom's family was quite well off. My wife demanded that I wear a tuxedo like the rest of the wedding party.

    LET ME TELL YOU! A tuxedo is absolutely the worst thing short of a skin diver's wet suit in which to shoot a wedding.

    And to make things worse, the pictures came out great (patting myself on my back) but the marriage ended in divorce two years later when my daughter realized that their family fnances were going up her hubby's nose. My daughter and my wife threw out the albums and my negatives. The didn't even want me to use them as examples to show prospective clients.

    I haven't shot a wedding in years and would balk at shooting one now! I learned a lot about handling families who were stressed out when I shot my weddings but, they became unenjoyable for me. Especially my last one in which there was a fair amount of alcohol consumed by both sides. The cake smash shot (which I always hated but some couples damanded) turned rather serious and the entire reception ended up in a drunken brawl. I was glad to get my equipment out in one piece.

    It kind of reminded me of this youtube video...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDg8cbX-fpA

  12. #12
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by nataliepini View Post
    my friend has asked me to photograph her wedding. She knows my skill level (not professional) but want to save money and want natural snap shots.
    One great concern I have when reading these posts - and I have read many: is that I KNOW and I BELIEVE that the friend certainly believes that she wants to save money.
    But on the other hand I KNOW that it is almost certain that the Friend could not, without a lot of research, even begin to describe what she really wants apropos the Photography for her Wedding Day.
    And I also KNOW that if a deal is done between the OP and the Friend tomorrow, then the Friend will very likely do ZERO research into what it is she actually does want as her Wedding Album.

    My advice to the OP is:
    You need to be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that your Friend knows and can also convey to you exactly the meaning of "natural snap shots".
    You need to be absolutely confident that you can come close to suppling that.
    You need to know that if you fall short in what you supply that you will still have a friendship.


    WW

  13. #13
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    Re: Wedding Photos..Help!

    Hi, you also need Professional Indemnity Insurance, even though you are not a professional if anything goes wrong, or anyone gets injured because of what you asked them to do you can bet your bottom dollar your friendship will quickly evaporate.

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