DPChallenge: A Digital Photography Contest You are not logged in. (log in or register
 

DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Wedding Photogs - you have my deepest respect.
Pages:  
Showing posts 1 - 22 of 22, (reverse)
AuthorThread
03/09/2008 12:54:51 AM · #1
I just finished shooting a wedding for a friend. The bride is a neighbor and my wife's best friend and tennis partner. This being a 2nd wedding for both the bride and groom, the event was small and at the groom's house. They were not planning on having a photographer, but about 2 weeks ago, my wife tells me that she and the bride had decided that, if I could take some photos, it would be great. I was happy to help out, but very concerned about doing a good job.

Today's the day - Yesterday we had 3 inches of rain. Today, the sky is clear, but we are having 30 mph winds with gusts to 40. The event, naturally, is outside. They want to do photos outside before the ceremony, so we start looking for a site where the background is good and the ground isn't a puddle. With the wind, the use of reflectors and the like was going to be difficult, if not impossible. We find an acceptable location, so I get ready and we wait for some of the participants to arrive. And we wait... And we wait.. When they finally do arrive, the wedding itself is delayed by about 30 minutes, so any photos are going to have to be taken very quickly. The sun had begun to go down, so the perfect spot we had found was now too dark, and all other spots were too wet. We move inside to the living room, with little time to set up lights or plan. Photos are taken, and we then switch to the ceremony.

The ceremony, as it turns out, takes place on one side of a swimming pool with the guests standing on the other side. My one "good" lens which I had planned to use is a 50mm, which can't get close enough from that range. I switch to a zoom I had in my bag and do as best I can.

The rest of the evening goes ok - mingling, shooting candids, etc. All in all, I shoot around 230 shots, which I am now going through and processing.

What I learned:

1) I already knew it, but my equipment isn't up to par for this work. I had decided to rent for the occasion, but the bride and wife didn't want me to do it (If I wasn't shooting, there was not going to be a photographer, so "whatever I got would be better than nothing"). Next time, if there is one, I really have to have better glass.

2) Be prepared for every contingency. I was scrambling to deal with the site changes, and can't give my self very high marks for some of the shots. 30 minutes more preparation time on my part would've made a huge difference.

3) Carry spare batteries and cards on your person. I had plenty, but had to go back to the camera bag to get them. I missed a couple of shots I wanted when the flash went dead and I had to retrieve them.

4) I am not mentally ready for this, nor are my skills. The fear of screwing up such a big occasion for a friend terrified me. Portrait sessions can be re-shot. Weddings, you have to get them right on the first try. I was happy to help out a friend, but the pressure isn't something I crave.

To all of you who do this for a living, you have my deepest respect. If I did this on a regular basis, I would be a basket case.

03/09/2008 03:45:25 AM · #2
Every wedding is different. Some go smoothly...others don't...but each one is soooooo different to the next. That I can guarantee. I usually go with set photos in mind...usually to suit the couple and their personalities....but you will always have at least one surprise...and you generally have to be a jack of all trades...and round up slack workers in other areas. By not doing so will not only disrupt the day/night for the couple...but delay your work too and throw your lighting and drunk guests into further disarray.

Weddings are stressful...yes. But they can be so rewarding.

I have had weddings wear I have arranged to have a couple of ponies join the ceremony...or dogs being adopted during the signing of the registry. I have gone up in cherry pickers, climbed on top of barbecue shelters and stood up on the console of the car and out through the sun roof and been driven across dam walls at 100kmh. Each one is different....but treat it as a new experience for you.
03/09/2008 04:22:21 AM · #3
Hiya Sam,

Being mentally ready is the first major hurdle. It took me 35+ years of snapshots to get there.

It never really hit me till this recently, how much I really want to shoot a wedding, as they are eye candy for anyone loving to capture emotions & life's moments. Sure I like a pretty sunset, but sure enough, tomorrow there will be another, and then another and so on. Freezing a moment in time of a person and their emotions, to me, is what I want to capture most of all. They are gone in a second and will never be again. To hand those small moments back to them to hold on to forever is amazing. Shooting thousands of candids on the sly has been fun, but to be doing it now because I'm supposed to do it, just knocked down the walls containing the words "I CAN'T", and turned then in to "I CAN".

The near 15-hour day was brutal, but the results were so worth it, especially for the experience.
For me, being able to produce something like this, is a huge reward:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/653250.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/653250.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

It is hard work, mentally & physically - rarely had any time to sit, let alone relax the brain.

The wear & tear on the equipment can be tough too. Only mishap for the whole day was when one of the kids came zinging by on the dance floor, on those rollerblade shoes and whack - one Canon off-camera flash cord snapped the head and came from together to apart. Luckily I caught the 580EXII before it hit the floor. Ouch!

I can't wait to do the next one and abuse this old body again.
03/09/2008 05:00:47 AM · #4
Originally posted by Brad:


I can't wait to do the next one and abuse this old body again.


YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...............let's see you abuse your old body more....the world can take it....I think!!!!!
03/09/2008 09:03:00 AM · #5
Originally posted by Brad:

as they are eye candy for anyone loving to capture emotions & life's moments. Sure I like a pretty sunset, but sure enough, tomorrow there will be another, and then another and so on. Freezing a moment in time of a person and their emotions, to me, is what I want to capture most of all. They are gone in a second and will never be again. To hand those small moments back to them to hold on to forever is amazing. Shooting thousands of candids on the sly has been fun, but to be doing it now because I'm supposed to do it, just knocked down the walls containing the words "I CAN'T", and turned then in to "I CAN".


Beautiful post guy.

I just got back from doing my third and I'm glad to say that it was better than the previous one.

I didn't do perfectly and there are still plenty of shots that I would definitely call 'snapshots' (specifically of the guests at the dinner reception), but I would say that a couple of things made the difference between feeling disappointed and being happy with what I did.

#1 is a bit like what you said. Spend the time beforehand to make sure you are ready to deal with the "I can't" vs "I can" equation. Practice and think beforehand what you want to get and what is going to happen, so you can be in the right place at the right time.

#2 be realistic with self.

#3 enjoy the triumphs.

#4 set aside time to get the right amount of sleep afterwards... heh.
:)

Nobody, I hope that the Bride and Groom were happy with what you were able to do. It sounds like you aren't. Remember, you have a lot more experience than they do with photography, so don't let them convince you that you didn't do well enough. You did what was asked of you, and whether the end result was up to snuff of not, it is probably better than many others would have done - especially for the price... :)
03/09/2008 09:58:25 AM · #6
Sam, I have 3 weddings in the next 4 weeks. One is small & local, one is large and high end and one is destination (San Destin). Wanna tag along as a second? Its much less pressure and you can enjoy the process a bit more when there isn't quite so much riding on it. Great way to get into the "comfort zone" of wedding work.

You're welcome to join me. I think you have my number, PM me if you don't. :)
03/09/2008 01:49:23 PM · #7
Thanks everyone.

I just sent a few PM's to you for critiques. For now, I am keeping them in my workshop, as I hadn't talked to the bride & groom about posting them anywhere.
03/09/2008 02:14:29 PM · #8
Brad I'm so happy to hear you say you can't wait for the next one. Hehehehe Fasten you seat belt because we have four more coming up.
03/09/2008 02:30:03 PM · #9
I love weddings. Yeah, they are a bit stressful, but can be so much fun. My last one, I got to hang out of the side of a car taking pics as the bride and groom went down the road on the back of a fire truck.

Remember to have fun with it, and the stress won't get to ya.
03/09/2008 06:18:40 PM · #10
yeah i would say weddings are a crazy mix between stress and adrenaline... even looking at the pictures afterwards I get nervous!! :)
03/10/2008 11:14:19 AM · #11
Originally posted by Nobody:


What I learned:

1) I already knew it, but my equipment isn't up to par for this work. I had decided to rent for the occasion, but the bride and wife didn't want me to do it (If I wasn't shooting, there was not going to be a photographer, so "whatever I got would be better than nothing"). Next time, if there is one, I really have to have better glass.

2) Be prepared for every contingency. I was scrambling to deal with the site changes, and can't give my self very high marks for some of the shots. 30 minutes more preparation time on my part would've made a huge difference.

3) Carry spare batteries and cards on your person. I had plenty, but had to go back to the camera bag to get them. I missed a couple of shots I wanted when the flash went dead and I had to retrieve them.

4) I am not mentally ready for this, nor are my skills. The fear of screwing up such a big occasion for a friend terrified me. Portrait sessions can be re-shot. Weddings, you have to get them right on the first try. I was happy to help out a friend, but the pressure isn't something I crave.

To all of you who do this for a living, you have my deepest respect. If I did this on a regular basis, I would be a basket case.


You've confirmed my experiences and what I tell people that want to shoot weddings - and so many tell me I'm an elitist or trying to discourage them, etc.

1. Gear matters. Now you understand. It's also the easiest thing to correct - Visa is accepted everywhere. Particularly if you are a pro there is no excuse to compromise your ability to get an image beacuse you're too cheap to buuy teh right equipment. Ask your accountant, car repair place or your local hospital - you want them to have the latest and greatest, right? Do you want you tax man to use a computer, calculator or abacus?

2. weddings are unscripted and anything can happen. Experience counts in being able to deal with anything that comes up and still be able to deliver the images you promised, er, the bride expects. You gotta be flexible, creative, and resourceful. Rarely does a wedding (for the photog anyway) work out as planned.

3. Lowepro, thinktank and others make a belt system. It's wonderful at weddings. An assistant is also invaluable - someone to run and fetch, see if the groom is ready, etc. You can't have too much memory, too many batteries or too much preperation. I had one wedding last year where I went thru 6 sets of AA's in my flash...normally I use 2. No idea what happened. Normally 1 camera batt will get me thru a day, but one wedding I killed 3. No idea why. I now bring nearly 30Gb of flash to a wedding, and keep it in two different places, not all in one card wallet.

4. Confidence matters - the ablility to know you won't screw up a shot (technically speaking) is paramount (no camera shake, proper DOF, proper exposure, WB, focus, etc). Being able to change settings on the fly, change lenses (and remember the 85 1.8 isn't IS, but the 70-200 is, but to turn that off in a tripod...) all the while remaining personable, entertaining, in charge and being able to pose and light and at times deal with PITA family members.

But all that is what keeps wedding photogs coming back for more. That stress/adreneline rush isn't there for portraits or stock or landscapes. It's never boring!

Message edited by author 2008-03-10 11:16:50.
03/10/2008 11:48:13 AM · #12
[quote=Prof_Fate) But all that is what keeps wedding photogs coming back for more. That stress/adreneline rush isn't there for portraits or stock or landscapes. It's never boring! [/quote]

Amen to that!
Plus, what other job provides you with cake and champagne every weekend. :-)
03/10/2008 01:20:57 PM · #13
I've photographed many weddings and events, and I've even done some wedding planning. It's true that not everything goes as planned and anything can happen. Being prepared mentally is very helpful. Just keep in mind that this is a beautiful occasion that you are getting the opportunity to witness, and that each photo you take (in RAW) is one you can edit and enhance to show your artwork in the form you think is most beautifully befitting a wedding. Focus is key (mentally and with your camera).

I try not to shoot weddings alone, as it's hard to be in 2 places at once; but, on occasion, it must be done due to budget or preference of the couple.

It's very rewarding and it gets easier and easier the more you do it, same is true for anything you are passionate about. You will learn new skills, come up with new ideas, and learn about new hurdles each time you shoot a wedding (such as yellow lighting is your enemy, but can be dealt with by using a good flash and lightbox, as well as a different white balance temp). RAW is your friend, and good lenses are essential. Glad you were able to help out your family friend, and I am sure she will greatly appreciate it no matter what!

For your next wedding, consider putting an ad up for a wedding photo assistant (pay him/her just to shoot, not edit) and make sure they have their own camera. Some will do this for free if they are a student, others will work for photo lessons and lighting lessons. That's how I started!

Anyhow, good luck to you! Please share your photos if you are willing :)
Arie
03/10/2008 02:05:56 PM · #14
Originally posted by debitipton:


Plus, what other job provides you with cake and champagne every weekend. :-)


Armenian weddings are great. They usually have a table just for the photographer, videographers, dj, etc, with a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label and chilled Grey Goose, plus the huge 12 course meal that they bring throughout the reception. The reception itself can sometimes last 6 hours, but less stressful when it's so spread out like that.
03/10/2008 03:21:35 PM · #15
Hi Guys
Long time away but getting back now. OK big news for me. I just completed my first Wedding this past weekend, Had a great time even though it could have been very trying.

Story behind this was that i have been asked to do wedings but never felt i was ready and always refused. After getting to know my camera and lens i was asked last year to shoot on March 8th 2008 and i said yes. In my head i was more than ready and felt i knew what to expect.

Story of the day was this:-
No home shots (Nice one!)
Weather was bad so no arrival at the church, everybody was running for cover.
Inside church. Had a to hour window to set up the right light levels also working with a Wong Lightdome on a SB600 flash
All shots in the church were great,
moved to hotel after weather turned nice and then got some ext shots. Most of these were great. few duffers.
Also a few lovely set up shots that came out great.

All in all we did ok for a first time. so much so the happy couple were delighted and we are going into business as a husband and wife team, taking our non delight at our wedding and turning this into a good day for other couples on there day.

much respect to others. Very much fun had on the day but the hardest i have worked on a single day for years. Would do it again tomorrow :-)
03/10/2008 03:35:19 PM · #16
Originally posted by Brookied:


Weather was bad so no arrival at the church, everybody was running for cover.


Maybe its just me, but that sounds like the perfect photo op... if you're quick enough on the draw. Must be the outdoor sports shooter in me...
03/11/2008 07:30:39 AM · #17
no chance,
lots of ladies spending lots of money on hair and make up getting shot avoiding the rain. this makes for v unhappy ladies.
03/11/2008 07:47:03 AM · #18
Yeah I did a wedding once upon a time, it was my brother's and they're guy had pulled out suddenly so I had a 30 minute flight to prepare. The shots came out alright but nothign to set the world on fire. I think i was just out of my depth honestly and I didn't know where to start back then. It would be something i'd be willing to do but i think a lot of it is a confidence issue- in yourself, your ability and your equipment; and the more you prepare/cover eventualities the smoother I think it will be for everyone.

If I ever do one again, which i'm sure I will, i'll set out a list of shots before hand then make sure I get them but for all those guys that think it's just "point and click", they have no idea what it's all about and are missing the point. For people that do this week in, week out, I have nothing but respect because the post-capture work that needs to happen is immense too.

On the flipside, I know of plenty of photogs who call themselves "wedding photographers" and they suck so bad. I'd honestly feel ashamed of myself taking people's money and not giving them the best service and pictures on what is a very very very important day in their lives.

In summary: people think it's easy- it aint.
03/11/2008 08:54:01 AM · #19
tell ys what, my best mate had a photog who was the just appaling. I paid him for the day, My best mate(Groom) though paid in full before a shot was taken????? mistake there and my alamr bells would be ringing if i had knew this.

turns up on the day and states he wil be giving 72 shots of there day.. ok i thought he looks the part. working on film though.... fine i think until i ask him how many rolls he has?
2 rolls of 36!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He brought with him 2 rolls of 36. no margin for error at all... NONE!!!!!!!!!

He was rude.
The photos which i saw a week later were awful. NO post edits at all.
the worst of all was shots were he used full flash and bonced shadows on walls the size of a house. c
as he was paid in full before hand they could not be asked to get any money back??

I have waited a long time for last weekend. I took a year in learning, planning visiting the location and church. Much reading and really took my time over what was needed in the day. All i would offer to any potential wedding photog would be this. PLAN every thing and then re plan and plan again. You will never be too prepared, If you do half the battle is won. the rest is getting your head straight for the pressure.
03/11/2008 09:02:31 AM · #20
Originally posted by Brookied:

no chance,
lots of ladies spending lots of money on hair and make up getting shot avoiding the rain. this makes for v unhappy ladies.


Depends on what your style of photography is. Are you a PJ? Then you shoot it. You shoot everything that happens, as it happens. The more pure you are the less you interact with the subject - just like a photojournalist.

the other extreme is the old school classical photographer where every shot is posed, set up, perhaps even specially lit.

The challenge of being a successful photographer is to shoot what the CLIENT wants, even if they can't tell you what that is. So shoot everything, and sometimes the same thing in different ways/angles/lighting, etc.

I've found out that you have no idea what's in the bride's mind. "Why didn't you take a shot of the rings in a flower?" or "Why didn't you take a shot of all the flowers on my trane?" and when you attempt to explain "because you wouldn't take the ring off..." or "I never do that - it's not my style, and you never asked on the wedding day even thought I said 'anything else' 15 times!". Most brides are pretty easy to get along with, but every once in a while you get someone that has certain things in mind that "every photographer does that!" - they make an assumption, and you get in trouble, just as you made an assumption they didn't want pics of them running in the rain.

Take the pic. If they don't like it they won't buy it (a print, put in the album, etc). No biggie. The biggie is "Why didn't you get a shot of us running in the rain?"
03/11/2008 09:20:53 AM · #21
Originally posted by Tez:

for all those guys that think it's just "point and click", they have no idea what it's all about and are missing the point.
In summary: people think it's easy- it aint.


You are so right. I have shot 3 weddings and absolutely loved doing it. But they were not easy. The day after each wedding I was sore from head to toe from all the walking, bending, squatting, etc. to get just the right angle.

Originally posted by Brookied:

no chance,
lots of ladies spending lots of money on hair and make up getting shot avoiding the rain. this makes for v unhappy ladies.


This would have been one of the fun shots....provided you had the necessary rain protection for your gear. You wouldn't have to stop them....just set up quick and shoot to catch the commotion of them running from the car to the building. You may only be able to get one shot from it but it is part of the day.
03/11/2008 04:03:28 PM · #22
I have many weddings booked for this year. And the one thing that riles me is the wedding becomes something that the couple didn't want....with everyone else taking control and wanting this and wanting that. So much so it becomes totally different to what the couple are really about. With that in mind, a couple of weeks ago I had one of my brides on my doorstep paying for her photography in full, months before her wedding is due. She said she was upset because the wedding plans were going array and becoming a total nightmare. It was becoming something she didn't want. Nothing new I thought. So I told her about some of the weddings I had done. The details of the weird but wonderful additions to the day. I showed her some photos....I knew what the couple were like and encouraged her to really think about what THEY wanted and to take control and just do it.

She rang me yesterday. She is so excited. They cancelled everything except the photography and redesigned the entire day to have a new venue for the reception and organised for the groomsmen to arrive at the reception on motorbikes with the plans to do monos and burnouts up and down the drive in front of everyone. And then all the girls (bride included) to ride in on horseback. The restaurant is now a Marqee on a property with all the trimmings. I am so proud of her and they are ecstatic. And I am over the moon with the photo possibilities.

So, not only are you to photograph the wedding...but be a bit of an adviser in other areas. I have lost count of how many times couples ring me for contacts of other wedding companies.

The important thing is to listen and get to know your client. It is THEIR day afterall!!
Pages:  
Current Server Time: 03/29/2020 08:36:17 AM

Please log in or register to post to the forums.


Home - Challenges - Community - League - Photos - Cameras - Lenses - Learn - Prints! - Help - Terms of Use - Privacy - Top ^
DPChallenge, and website content and design, Copyright © 2001-2020 Challenging Technologies, LLC.
All digital photo copyrights belong to the photographers and may not be used without permission.
Proudly hosted by Sargasso Networks. Current Server Time: 03/29/2020 08:36:17 AM EDT.