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Thread: Wedding help...

  1. #1

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    Wedding help...

    Any recommendations for building up to weddings without the option for second shooting. (Photography here is largely set up by international "Agencies") and without getting a full time job with the company, I simply can't be there. I think most photographers are pulled off craigslist for local weddings from what i can find... So how do you prepare for the workload, without being able to test the waters? Offer them an SD card with all of the pictures for free, or something along that line? I'm not really doing it for money, I just really like taking pictures...

  2. #2
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    I’d ask you (in no specific order of importance):

    • What experience do you have?
    • What gear do you have?
    • What can you reasonably deliver?
    • What contacts do you have?
    • Who do you know who is getting married?
    • What time do you have? (You work for the USA Coast Guard –can you COMMIT to a Wedding coverage?)


    Maybe get some experience with FAMILY PORTRAITS, or similar first?

    No pressure of time or making the shot, in ‘one shot’. With Portraiture you get a second attempt, if necessary.

    WW

  3. #3

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    Re: Wedding help...

    My kit, I think is the main issue... I have A Canon 6D, and XTi. With a 50mm 1.8 (just to try a prime) An EF 75-300, An EF-s 50-250is, (and the kit 18-55). And I'm either ordering the 24-70, or 24-105mm (Please mention if you have a better recommendation, or necessary kit additions) I'll have to order a new tripod as mine was taken from a car... (my back up hates my 6d's weight) No flash for the 6d though... Experience is mainly shooting favors, one boy scout article, some various pictures for the ship, the rest is personal entertainment. I can be timely and efficient as far as my job with the ship, so long as I have a date. I have one friend recently married, who would like me to shoot them at various locations, just him and his bride and another wedding coming up in a few months, he won't be hiring a photographer due to monetary constraints (very young couple), and I was debating offering to do it for free, if he pays for the prints, or just give him cd's or possibly an sd card...
    Thanks for the questions, It is a tonne to think about.

  4. #4
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    There are a couple of points with your kit, but that’s not the main element for you to consider.


    But let’s discuss the kit, first of all . . . just two points for starters:

    • 24 -70/2.8 or 24 -105/4 is a silly choice as the main working zoom lens for a Wedding Photographer using an APS-C Camera – neither is wide enough.
    • You need FLASH (you need at least two, if you are asking for money) – realistically you need back up for everything.


    ***

    Doing gigs for free is a double edged sword. It’s good because you get experience: it’s bad because you tend to get a name as a “beginner” and it might be difficult to break that ceiling of: “He does it for free”.

    I know Guam – haven’t been there for a while, but I do know it. IF you are thinking about working in a close-nit society (i.e. mainly USA people with whom you work or know second or third hand), then ‘breaking the ceiling’ might apply to you . . . How big is the pie you are attempting to crack is a question you need to consider.

    On the other hand you might just like the idea of gaining a truck load of experience, in which case so long as your expenses are covered you’ll be happy . . . I’d suggest you think on that and whether or not you really WANT to be “professional” (i.e. “in business”).

    Have a look at this

    It’s past midnight here and I need to sleep. Maybe we’ll chat later and after you have digested these points and thought about things from a different angle.

    WW

  5. #5

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    Re: Wedding help...

    I would mainly be using the 24-105 on the 6D FF, sorry to throw in the xti... and yes i would like to chat soon if you are available...

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    BELAY my last. . .

    That was my error. I misread “6D” for "60D"
    Disregard my comments about those two lenses.
    All the remainder of my previous commentary stands.
    Sorry for any inconvenience casued

    Chat later.

    WW

  7. #7

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    Re: Wedding help...

    The infographic was solid!

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    Yeah, it's communicative: it gets the point across.
    Glad it was helpful.

    OUT

    WW

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    Re: Wedding help...

    Belay? I smell salt haha Prior sailor?

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    Re: Wedding help...

    Quote Originally Posted by bowneracing99 View Post
    Any recommendations for building up to weddings without the option for second shooting. ..............................I think most photographers are pulled off craigslist for local weddings from what i can find...

    So how do you prepare for the workload, without being able to test the waters? Offer them an SD card with all of the pictures for free, or something along that line?

    I'm not really doing it for money, I just really like taking pictures...
    "without testing the waters........" , you just like taking pictures?

    If you're going to get paid - then , you must give your clients not just a "free SD" card, but a professional package.

    The best you can give. Their wedding is one of the most important moment of their lives.

    Google wedding websites and get ideas. Then, try them out/hands-on. Maybe, best if you do some practice weddings - without pay. Preferably, weddings of your relatives or friends first.

    If I recall, pros clearly line-up what they will give their clients. A DVD ( stills and video) and a wedding album with prints/hard copies of the wedding.

    More research and hands-on practice till you feel you can give your clients their expectations from you.

    Back-read wedding threads here on our CiC forum. They contain technical advice/tips from the gurus and pros.

    HTH

    Good luck.

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    Yes.
    I crewed on a Beneteau, for several years.
    We raced once / twice a week and big stuff, around Christmas time.
    Port Headsail Trimmer & Kite Hand.

    Just thought “Belay” would raise a smile your end, considering you are familiar with (bigger) boats.

    ***

    Back to Weddings and specifically you gear list:

    Note again that I wrote that the GEAR is NOT the most important matter – but it is important.

    The most important matter is where your head is at and the understanding that, at times during the day, you only get ONE SHOT.
    And to do that there are a combination of elements on which you must draw, some of which are:

    • People Management
    • Finesse
    • Intuition
    • Prediction
    • Personality
    • Technical Skills (photography) – without thinking about it.



    Much of this comes from: Experience. But “experience” comes in many guises, and as you mentioned “without the option for second shooting” that was one of the reasons why I suggested Family Portraits).

    ***

    Gear talk:

    400D:


    The XTi – (400D) is a good camera, but the age tells at the High ISO end. We have a 400D. It will be useful for you as a back-up camera, initially.

    The 400DS is not “suitable” for a “Professional” W&P Photographer as an ongoing back-up camera, mainly because of the possibility of a “No Flash Ceremony in a dark Church”.

    The 400D is capable of ISO1600 and with DPP or Lightroom the noise at ISO1600, cleans up fine (when shooting RAW) – but the point I am making is – if you are to make this journey, then at a certain point in it, you will need a different and more modern second camera.

    Even WITHOUT any nose reduction at all, the 400D does OK for available light shooting:
    Wedding help...
    EOS400D + EF 35/2 Available Light at ISO1600 no noise reduction

    And the enlargement:
    Wedding help...


    The trick is to NOT underexpose.
    So initially a 400D will be good for you to have as a standby camera.

    6D:
    I haven’t used a 6D, but from all reports, for all your purposes it is good gear. Enough said.


    Lenses:
    I advocate thinking along the lines of “My Main Working Lens”.

    This is where it gets interesting, because I’ll now suggest that you don’t think about lenses at all, but take a blank sheet of paper and set out the COMPLETE KIT that you want and list each item as linked to “TASKS to PERFORM”.

    In this list, you must consider SYSTEM REDUNDANCY.

    The FIRST STEP to this list of your COMPLETE KIT is to choose what the configuration will be of the CAMERA FORMATS. I am assuming that you will have AT LEAST – TWO (2) camera bodies.

    This exercise is to be FLUID – so many sheets of paper, is a good idea – do NOT use a pencil and eraser, keep all the drafts.

    This exercise does NOT consider budget – it is simply an exercise in you getting down on paper what the kit is you need / want to do the job and it doesn’t matter that you have never done the job: you have a brain, use it.

    Typically, your first draft might appear something like this:
    Wedding help...

    This is what I suggest you do first up, regarding the kit.

    I suggest you do NOT buy anything until you have worked through a few of these pages and sought input and feedback from various sources and looked at your “final kit”, from various angles.

    You should also start thinking about the individual applications of parts of the kit and parts of a Wedding Coverage or the different types of Weddings and one of your pages might look like this:
    Wedding help...

    The next step will be to PRIORITIZE the elements of the kit. Then the next step is to make a TIME LINE for purchase of the kit’s parts.

    And don’t think that you are making final choices, because you are not.

    What you are doing however is making the BEST choice at this point in time for the Final Kit, inevitably there will be changes, but if, after PRIORITIZATION, a major effort is put into confirming how those “most useful” parts of the kit will be employed by you, it will be very unlikely that you will have made a mistake in buying these initial kit parts.

    WW

  12. #12

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    Re: Wedding help...

    Hi Tyler,

    Have a look here:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/for...s/weddings.htm

    As a starting point for supplemental reading.

    My advice to budding wedding photographers is "don't do it until you have the knowledge, equipment, and experience". It's a damn tough environment where you're morally and ethically (not to mention probably legally) obliged to "deliver the goods" in a fast-paced environment that requires expert handing of equipment in the crappy low-light of churches (where flash is often forbidden) to formals outside in harsh mid-day sun - always under a time pressure (when they run late guess who's time budget gets cut) (and they ALWAYS run late) ... and add to that you having to deal with people who are often on their way to becoming intoxicated and/or don't want their photo taken -- and competing with Uncle Joe and Aunty Sara with their P&S cameras.

    And that's just for starters.

  13. #13

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    Re: Wedding help...

    I really like the worksheet idea, I fight that argument in my head daily on amazon, not wide enough, too much zoom for apsc, and so forth.

    Now one thing i came to was that i cannot seem to make up my mind as to what to do with the spare camera. It is noticeably lesser quality when printed. So I was wondering, until I back up my 6d with a nicer camera, do I strictly use it as a back-up? Or have the cameras set up for scenarios (the best camera is the one you have on you right?) Say a zoom on the Xti, and a fast 35 on the 6d? So i can switch between the close, more portrait based pictures, and the wide, dancing, conversational, and group type shots? I'm worried half the shots will look a little sheepish compared to the 6d pics.

    The first wedding, the free sd (he may of said cd) was the clients idea just to have pictures, he is having a very cheap wedding as not everyone can make it to the small one, a larger is being held in Florida. The first one is more or less a favor to a co-worker/friend, but i still want to be proud to put my name on the work!

    And thanks to Colin for the references, you are very informative, as always! (Cool shots with the RC'S!)

    And yes, I cracked a huge grin when BELAY came across the screen, I love the water, so I tend to really overuse all the sailing jargon...

    I really don't want my friend to have to get his wedding pictures this way!

    Wedding help...

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    Re: Wedding help...


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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    Quote Originally Posted by bowneracing99 View Post
    Now one thing i came to was that i cannot seem to make up my mind as to what to do with the spare camera. It is noticeably lesser quality when printed. So I was wondering, until I back up my 6d with a nicer camera, do I strictly use it as a back-up? Or have the cameras set up for scenarios (the best camera is the one you have on you right?) Say a zoom on the Xti, and a fast 35 on the 6d? So i can switch between the close, more portrait based pictures, and the wide, dancing, conversational, and group type shots? I'm worried half the shots will look a little sheepish compared to the 6d pics.
    IF you are referring here, to my “worksheet” method – then I believe that your head in not in the right space.

    You should NOT be discussing a 6D and an XTi on your worksheet at all – that is UNLESS that is the “FINAL KIT” that you believe you should have.

    I think what you are doing, is taking the gear that you have now and ADAPTING IT. That’s NOT what I am suggesting you should do.

    Make sense?

    ***

    (We can discuss the gear you have now and how you might work with a 6D and an XTi as you kit - as a separate question: I would prefer to do that. But in this answer I am addressing only your Opening Post and the follow up on that. If you proceed it is very likely you will be doing a few Weddings with a 6D and an XTi, so, if we continue our conversation that question will be addressed but ATM we have a PROCEDURE in place, and I am sure that following a PROCEDURE will be of benefit).

    ***

    On the GENERAL question of how to use camera bodies there are two main methods I have seen employed:
    One WORKING camera – remainder as back up
    Two WORKING Cameras – remainder as back up

    For Weddings and mostly all events, including Sports, I use “two working cameras”: I always have, even Weddings we used to shoot on Medium Format. So for the majority or all of the day I will tote two cameras on my person.

    There are pros and cons for each. You will, I am sure already have begun thinking about the pros and cons – the biggest “pro” for two working cameras is there is a second camera at the fingertips – “immediate redundancy” – but that is NOT as necessary as it can be portrayed. If the kit bag is close by, then having another camera slung is NOT really any spectacular advantage if the first rig fails. The exceptions are for critical shots in “time” – what I mean is - for shots that will be known to happen at a determined point of time and cannot be easily recreated: The Processional; The Kiss: The Recessional . . etc. At these times it is my opinion, that there is NO EXCUSE for a PRO not having two cameras slung and ready to shoot.

    So, one of the first thoughts for your BLANK sheet of paper is to choose to work with two or one camera on your person – but don’t give too much thought to that – firstly I suggest you think about the CAMERA FORMATS in your “Ideal Kit”. Assuming you use Canon, you need to think about and choose if you want to have: APS-C; APS-H or 135 Format Cameras - OR – a combination of two or three.

    There are again pros and cons: I guess that you are thinking about them now . . .

    For Weddings I use a Dual Format Kit; APS-C and 135 Format (135 Format is commonly known as “Full Frame”).
    When we cut over our studio to “All Digital”, I purposely chose Dual Format Digital Camera Kits the main reason being such that I could leverage having FEWER lenses in each kit. You might see this as an advantage or you might not. We, and others can discuss if you wish.

    If you want to follow my initial advice (about the worksheet) – then you do need to start with a BLANK sheet of paper and get the notion of what gear you own at the moment out of your head.

    WW

    Good shot.

  16. #16

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    Re: Wedding help...

    Ok, so after consideration of not limiting the camera's to what I own, with a couple re-runs of the "drill", I came up with this basic set at work today... None of the lenses I have made it (The vignetting on the 75-300 is terrible), the xti is out, replaced with a 5dIII, bare minimum lenses are; a 24-70, 85mm prime(for the actual predetermined bride/groom
    portraiture), and a 70-200L. A little better that time? I think I like the idea of the 6d as the secondary camera, performance is admirable. I wouldn't feel guilty selling anything taken from it, and no matter how I look at it, I cannot justify the 1d for myself...

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    Re: Wedding help...

    Quote Originally Posted by bowneracing99 View Post
    without being able to test the waters?
    Will you ever learn to swim if you never go into the water?

    See if any Photographer needs an assistant or Candidman. Find people who cannot afford a Photographer with "all the kit you need". Those guys charge. Tell prospective clients you are an amateur eager to learn, be honest.

    The 6D should do it if you add a good flash and a 24-105mm lens.

    All you need is a passion, love for people and belief in yourself and your ability. If I can do it YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
    DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU YOU CANNOT - I AM TELLING YOU, YOU CAN.

    JUST DO IT!!!!! Tyler if that is what you want to do, pursue your dream and never have regrets that you did not do it whilst you had a chance to do it.

    Go for it!

  18. #18
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Wedding help...

    OK good.

    Confirming that you want a two camera, 135 Format Kit, and the Second Camera is essentially a Back-Up – i.e. you’ll generally e using ONE Working Camera. That will be a 5D MkIII and a 6D will be your second camera

    Apropos lenses: I will assume for various reasons that the 24 – 70 is the Priority of the three mentioned (i.e.I assume that if you can only buy ONE lens now that the 24 – 70 will be the most useful to buy)
    Which one? The F/2.8 MkII or the F/4 IS?

    Next- look a Redundancy – If your 5DMkII is creamed – you’ve got a 6D – BUT- if your 24 to 70 is creamed, the 85 and the 70 to 200 are useless to continue to shoot the WHOLE Wedding.

    Just three example answers to get you started, there are many answers, any answer you give is suitable - (“that’s unlikely to happen and I will keep the XTi with the 18 to 55 Kit lens in case it does” – “I’ll get a fast 35 or a fast 50” – “that’s unlikely I don’t want to consider that element for the level at which I want to do this, cameras are more likely to fail than lenses”).

    Good – so where we get to is more progressed than when you began and you wrote that you wanted to get a 24 to 70 or a 24 to 105: but you have decided that a 24 to 70 is a better choice (but which 24 to 70?) and also have decided that you will be working to replace the XTi with a 5D MkIII. And you've decided that you want a Prime for Special Portraiture and also a 70 to 200 zoom (Which One?) At a quick glance - that might not seem like a lot of progress for all the effort, but truly it is.

    Just a point on the 85 and Bridal Portraiture – consider seriously how much more can an 85 Prime do that a 24 to 70/2.8 cannot do. I assume you a after Shallow DoF – if so then have a read of this as food for thought:

    My post #9, the Second Half where I compare DoF between the two fast Primes.
    Sure there will be MORE difference between F/2.8 (if you choose the F/2.8 zoom) and F/1.8 or F/1.2 (of the Prime) but for mostly all Bridal Portraiture, F/2.8 can be utilized to get the adequate Shallow DoF necessary.

    I am not steering you away from using fast Primes: I just want you to understand in PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS what “extras” they will provide to you above and beyond what you can achieve with very fast zooms (F/2.8) when those zooms are used on high quality 135 Format Camera Bodies.

    Are you comfortable proceeding, using this process?

    If so then you have to:
    • choose which 24 to 70
    • choose which 70 to 200
    • think about lens redundancy
    • think a bit on pirmes, generally



    WW

  19. #19

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    Re: Wedding help...

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Will you ever learn to swim if you never go into the water?
    Then again, if you weren't a strong swimmer would you start off by jumping from a helicopter in the middle of a large lake?

    I think undertaking wedding photography (mostly on a paid/professional basis) is fine - if - the photographer has the knowledge, experience, and equipment - but all too often we get folks coming along who own only a single camera (and often an entry level one at that) - a couple of lenses (one of which is often a kit lens) - never used a flash - no experience with low-light photography - no experience in posing and managing groups of people - an all of a sudden they have to do all of this under extreme pressure.

    On the flip side, the B&G have no idea how hard it is either ... they think "why spend $2500 on a photographer when it's the fancy modern cameras doing all the work".

    I'm afraid to say that almost every time the results rest somewhere between "train wreck" and "mediocre at best" (if they're lucky).

    And with no chance of a re-shoot, they've blown a once-in-a-lifetime event for the B&G.

  20. #20
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    Re: Wedding help...

    I will add that despite possibly not charging them, they will think nothing of suing you if you make a mess of their big day. Good way to lose friends.

    This talk of equipment....unless you are 110% familiar with your camera(s) and lenses being an extension of your hand, again beware. You will have more than enough to think about, without adding to your overload. Unless you have used the kit for quite a few months under pressure situations you are putting yourself up to get shot down.

    I guess you feel a bit sorry for the couple as they cant afford a "proper job". That should not be the basis for you rushing out to buy some new kit and putting yourself forward.

    Finally, the idea of a second shooter is good as it lifts some of the pressure on you. Ideally you as the second shooter to someone experienced. It also means that a second set of equipment is available, without you needing to rush out and spend a fortune, then be unfamiliar with it.

    If you really want to get into this field, are a very proficient photographer, are organised and confident, and are prepared for the gruellingly long days and are very competent at processing the shots afterwards (loads of PP to get the best and quickly), then go ahead. But I will never forget the local semi pro (weekender) who shot my first wedding. Need not say more. One up side of getting divorced (?!) was that I had a second chance many years later, and picked the very best photographer and blew a large hole ('000s) in the budget, having judged the photographer from his output and reputation beforehand. I had mates who were more than competent and I allowed one to cover 'the casuals' in conjunction with the Pro and his assistant but really wanted and got that little bit more. Even then, I picked some locations and poses that because my Pro was talking the same language, he adopted, and still feature in his publicity half a dozen years later. And we are still on very very good terms.

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