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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Your First Wedding: Pride, Pitfalls, Panics?
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05/19/2008 10:20:31 AM · #26
If you do rent gear, especially a flash, make sure you know exactly how it works with your other gear and have time to practice. ETTL-2 is not as simple as sticking it on your camera and start pressing the shutter. The flash will behave differently in different camera modes.

05/20/2008 09:35:58 PM · #27
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

If you do rent gear, especially a flash, make sure you know exactly how it works with your other gear and have time to practice. ETTL-2 is not as simple as sticking it on your camera and start pressing the shutter. The flash will behave differently in different camera modes.


Well said spaz.

If you rent a lens, check out a 10-22 and a 30mm f/1.4 by sigma.

If it rains (indoors) and you want to do a group shot, you're going to kick yourself that you don't have the ability to go wide. Yeah, some of the effects you can get with a lens like that are a bit goofy, but better to have a goofy big-head shot of the B&G where they fill the frame than to have a shot like every other shot with the VCR or kitchen in the background. In a house, the 50mm might even be a bit long, so the 30 might be really handy.
05/22/2008 10:56:14 AM · #28
yeah....looks like the costs are adding up for something I'm doing for free. Keep in mind that I'm spring for a $500 ticket to Cali, got a rental car to get there, plus time editing and then sending it off to get it published.....all with only a months notice. Renting an extra lens may not be a feasible option at this time. For any wide shots I'd probably just use the kit lens and expect Photoshop to be my best friend. I don't really anticipate many group shots, especially since no one knows it's actually going to be a wedding. The good news is that I know that I probably won't be using the 70-300mm unless i'm trying to get a close up of the ring (which would probably be after the actual cermony).

I'll probably get a couple of extra CF cards. My main concern is going to be knowing where to stand. I guess I'll have to figure that out once I get there or if I get a rehersal. haha...i can't even tell you if they plan on being inside or outside (hopefully outside). It's in california...so it never rains in southern california right? Lets hope so.

Okay sorry I hijacked the thread....back to actual subject....thank you guys (and gals) for your help.
05/22/2008 04:35:16 PM · #29
Where to stand has several considerations - lighting (back lighting, windows can cause flare, can lights in the ceiling, spot lights, the sun outdoors, etc), back ground (ugly, distracting, etc), view - can you see what you want (bride mostly). Can you move to get back of church shots as well as face shots during the ceremony (from the side indoors, more freedom outdoors). As you mentioned, rain. So...will you be shooting in the rain? Are you prepared for that? I mean, your gear. Ruin a camera or lens or flash and it becomes a very expensive lesson.
Yeah, if it's pouring they'll move it inside, but every bride I know will chance it outside and will want outside formals - and it may start to sprinkle. Or they'll be under a tree or porch and you, the photog, will be in the rain or under a dripping umbrella. They don't care about your gear or your problems - they only want pics.
So it is raining, a dark day on top of being inside..inside where? One popular place here has the back up of a 1780's barn...and it's darker than it sounds as there are NO WINDOWS. Two doors and they're small, and some 30 watt bulbs. It's too dark to shoot in without flash, and flash may no always be allowed, and if it is, you have to watch for shadows. Got a slow lens? Go home. Don't waste your time.
Every wedding has some challenges - the goal of the photog is to overcome them on the fly and make art. If you can do that everytime, then you can make the big bucks.
05/22/2008 04:49:53 PM · #30
Anthony - where to stand also has MUCH to do with what will be allowed in that venue. EVERY wedding you should approach the minister/reverend/priest/whatevah and ask 1)may I use flash during the ceremony and 2)are there places you would rather me not be during the ceremony.

If he says don't use flash and don't move from xxx location, that's what you do. If he says "just don't be disruptive" go anywhere you want, but keep in mind the family and guests trying to watch the ceremony.


05/22/2008 10:33:18 PM · #31
albc. Shooting a wedding for free usually is a very expensive proposition for the photog.

I spent more than a grand US getting gear ready for my first freebie. (2 flashes, lens, battery, card). It also cost me nearly a hundred bucks in transit costs. I got nothing for my troubles. That's why it was a gift. I had to adjust my own way of thinking about it because of this. I got a lot for my troubles.

I got experience.
I got to have a better kit!
I got to learn a new lens.
I got to learn new flashes.
I got images to add to my portfolio.
I got reputation.

My second freebie also benefited me in a similar way, but I didn't need to fork out the grand... because I already had the kit. I was given 15 bucks for transportation. It cost me more than that in batteries.

But I got more experience.
I got more images to add to my portfolio.
I got more reputation.

My third freebie also cost me nothing to build kit.... there's a pattern here.

extra gear will always cost ya, but in the end, you get to keep the gear, so it kinda works out. And there's always someone who has something going on (not always a wedding) that would like a freebie done for whatever reason... Sometimes it's a good reason. (I like to take pics of the performance competitions at my school - 7 events in the last two months of school - and present a full size A4 print as a grad present as a form of kindness to people that I sometimes have never met... It makes me feel good and it uses the same stuff as I needed to get for wedding gear)

On the other hand, the real gift is the effort. They will never understand the amount of effort that goes into making good pics (or heck, making a bunch of crappy pics...), but does that really matter for a gift? I guess that depends on how much you value friendship and how much you value cash.

Spend the money and get the stuff you need. Rent the stuff you can't really afford. And do it right. If you don't, you'll regret it.
05/23/2008 03:50:35 PM · #32
I'd probably have panicked if I'd been shooting this wedding ... ;-)
05/23/2008 04:14:04 PM · #33
I walked into a room full of naked bridesmaids.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35357/orig/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_213791.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35357/orig/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_213791.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

*Lesson learned = have your camera ready before you walk through the door.
05/23/2008 04:16:58 PM · #34
lol too funny Strikeslip!

My first wedding was one I was suppposed to be second shooter for, but the main photog couldn't make it. So I showed up alone and no one had told the bride. I had to break it to her (we'd never met) and she burst into tears. She cried for 30 minutes with me standing there like a total tool.

The day went better after that and they're still some of my favorite photos. Now, my 2nd wedding was a total nightmare, but that's another story.

Message edited by author 2008-05-23 16:17:33.
05/23/2008 09:37:04 PM · #35
This will be the gods honest truth. 3 Years ago, I did my first wedding. It was the greatest feeling in the world. Now, I do not feel the same. It's sucked all the emotion out of me, making me not want to do photography. I haven't gone out to shoot for personal things in about a year, and it makes me incredibly sad.

I've made the ultimate decision that after this year's weddings I will no longer be doing weddings.

A bit of advice. Don't let it consume you. Always have backup equipment. Always carry aabout 15-20 gb of memory. Backup backup backup.
05/23/2008 10:08:21 PM · #36
Never will I shoot a wedding for free where the mom has a camera and does not know how to use it but how to get everyone to look her way as I am trying to pose them.
05/23/2008 10:40:44 PM · #37
Originally posted by GeneralE:

I'd probably have panicked if I'd been shooting this wedding ... ;-)


They're amazing shots, sobering.
05/25/2008 06:13:07 AM · #38
My first wedding was 3 years ago. I only had one camera body the 20D. Half way through the service Error 99 appeared and the camera froze. After a mild heart attack and removal of batteries etc I managed to get it going again. As it has been said many times in this thread. Always have a second camera available !!

My last wedding :-
One thing that you have not mentioned here is fitness.I am not super fit but I can carry a heavy camera bag and move at speed etc.
I did a wedding about 2 weeks ago,the service and the reception were at the same location. However there was a lot of walking around and carrying gear etc. My daughter was supposed to be my assistant but could not make it.
In the morning it was overcast but as soon as the ball started rolling the sun came out and it was HOT.

As a precaution against looking sweaty and uncomfortable I wore a t-shirt under my polo shirt as an absorber. This was later removed and it did work ;-)

gear....
Batteries and memory cards lots of
2 dslr bodies
lenses 10-22, 24-70 (2.8),70-200 (2.8)
2 flash units 580ex 1 & 2
Water!
A very helpful member of the party who was given a list for the group shots
Using a fun but assertive manner.
Have a chat with the B&G as you are taking the shots....the groom usually get very bored with being photographed over and over.
98% of the shots were in manual including the flash.
I do a bit of chimping just in case things have moved on camera....as they have done in the past.

Have fun and enjoy the day.

Message edited by author 2008-05-26 04:17:03.
05/25/2008 06:34:02 AM · #39
Two weeks before my first wedding (was filling in for my sister) I tore my calf muscle realy badly. I couldn't walk for the two weeks and the day of the wedding was the first day that I wasn't on crutches. The bride and groom was very accommodating of my injury and fortunately my mum helped me carry my gear around. I ended up being back on crutches the next day again as I overdid it. I had to drive 4 1/2 hours to get there and the same back. All I can say is thank heavens that the bride and groom were good about it and cruise control on the car so the trip there and home was bearable. Sometimes the best laid plans.................
05/29/2008 03:12:46 PM · #40
NPR's Talk of the Nation is currently airing an interview with wedding photographer Claire Lewis, author of the recent book Exposed ... Audio for the story should be posted online about 6pm EDT ...
06/05/2008 10:19:05 AM · #41
I've shot 3 weddings to date. My first in September of 07. The bride was a close friend and wasn't going to have a photographer because they just couldn't afford it. Their entire wedding budget was under $1500. I had a few months to prepare as I was booked in March 07.

The wedding was at 3pm in the afternoon, high sun. Since the wedding was going to be outside I was able to go to the site and see what the sun would be like and to practice.

When the actual wedding day came everything went off without a hitch. They were very satisfied with their photos.

The second and third wedding I was booked only 2 weeks before the wedding. Both went fairly well, the 3rd wedding my batteries died on me and my spares were dead too....even though they had been in the charger all night....the charger died on me.....so I charge check all my batteries 2-3 days before an event now.
06/05/2008 10:51:33 AM · #42
I have never done a wedding, and shudder at the thought. But I did do a Trash the Dress on Saturday.

My only advice

SPORTS SUNSCREEN

6 hours in the sun and I was burnt and sore and got sick.

So even if you live somewhere where it is not as hot and sunny, still wear sunscreen and get the Sports one as it will not sweat off into your eyes and make you not see anything.
06/05/2008 06:20:40 PM · #43
Now that I have time to write something I will... My first wedding... well it was interesting to say the least 2nd married for to 50 year olds... they did the ceremony with a Pastor that looked and dressed like Jesus (cloth robes, sandles, and all), they had a bagpiper pipe them into this church which was one service away from shutting down so there was nothing in ther for decorations at all... They had called me bacsue I was cheap (at the time) and I acted the most confident of all the people they had enquired of (appearantly my acting skills are good). I had a horrible time getting my exposures right as the church was generally dark but with the doors open had areas of blinding light... I did somehow get through it all though.

The reception was just as interesting the bride and groom changed into hawiian shirts and her into this "great" skirt and "lovely" frilly white cowboy boots... lighting was just as horrid, but I'm a quick learner so I handle it...

in the end the b&g bought exactly 1 4x6 of every picture (300 or so) which is where I learned that a) I need to charge more for my 4x6's and b) show fewer photos... :)

gladly I've gotten much better since then ( I consider those photo's crap compared to what I've learned to do since then), and this years weddings are going to be so much better you might not recongnize them as mine from what I did last year :)...

well that's my story :)
06/17/2008 01:30:16 PM · #44
Okay now I can add my first wedding story.

My first wedding was this weekend and it was of one of my best friends wedding. It was a surprise wedding as in most of the guest thought it was a baby shower. I knew it was a wedding, but I didn't know i was the best man. So i had to be best man slash photographer. After going over the set up the day of the wedding because there was no real walk through. I asked dad to keep one area open for me so that I can shoot using only one lens and not have to constanstly switch and miss some of the action.

Well I didn't know when the bride was coming out becausee they were late. They said 3:30...at 3:30 she was still in her regular clothes outside with guests. The mom's boyfriend just so happened to be a 4th photographer for movie sets and has his camera (which completely trumped mine) and he was taking alot of photos. The Groom's brother in law had is video camera and wants to be a videographer so he was trying to video tape it. So when you get 3 cameramen and none of the communicating...you realize the type of clusterf**k you get. Prime example....the brother in law thought it would be a good idea to get behind the pastor and film over his shoulder.....which put him in ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS!!! so as me and the other photographer are trying to wave him off...the pastor is looking at us and moving side to side trying to figure out if we are talking to him!!!

I asked the father during the rehearsal to keep one spot open for me....well not only were the guest standing in that spot....but so was the father! They were going to have a list of people they wanted in the photos....no list ever presented itself. Also for the group photos....as you can imagine with 2 photographers and 1 videographer...hardly any of the photos has everyone looking at the same camera. Just to add more to it....if you are the best man and the photographer...how do get yourself into the shots with the bride groom best man and maid of honor.....hint it's impossible!!! Not at a wedding. Self portraits just don't work.

You know I got away with only taking about 200 photos?? why you ask? Because it wasn't a traditional wedding and it was so un organized...you didn't have to the regular cermonial photos. And the couple was so shocked themselves that they didn't really want to stand there and do all the different family, friends, alone, etc photos. So I have limited stuff to work with.

All in all it was a good experience. I like the whole thing, but I don't think i have the right equipment to do as good a job as i want to. I may hold off on doing those until i get better equipment....well we'll see on the outcome of the edited photos and book first. No more bestman/photographer positions though...it's one or the other. I missed the best mans toast.....well because i was giving the toast and couldn't photograph myself.
06/17/2008 01:43:06 PM · #45
Originally posted by albc28:

Okay now I can add my first wedding story.

You know I got away with only taking about 200 photos?? why you ask? Because it wasn't a traditional wedding and it was so un organized...you didn't have to the regular cermonial photos. And the couple was so shocked themselves that they didn't really want to stand there and do all the different family, friends, alone, etc photos. So I have limited stuff to work with.


Welcome to the world of weddings! Anything can happen and sometimes does. My wedding saturday had a no-show for a DJ - yep, no music. That can ruin a reception - they cut the cake and did their dance to an Ipod - and nothing else. They still paid for a full day of coverage, pre paid for an album - I can't exactly leave the last third empty now can I? And it's pretty typical people looking everywhere in formals - PS to the rescue! Just take enough shots that you can piece together something if need be.

BTW, how does one do a 'surprise wedding'? Were the B&G in on it and the surprise was for the guests?
06/17/2008 01:55:46 PM · #46
yeah...the bride and groom had everyone there for a baby shower....and sprung a wedding on them in the process!!! the parents knew...I knew and the maid of honor knew. It was done in someone's back yard. And yeah the whole thing was done to a computer playlist of music....

OH man...I almost forgot some good stuff that happened too. The pastor forgot his bible and his wife was bringing...but she was stuck in traffic. So the pastor just (and yes these are his words)..."winged it". He didn't really do the vows right but hardly any one noticed. He also kept his Bluetooth in his ear the entire time. The was truly a Murphy's Law wedding!!!!

As for taking enough photos to piece together...I couldn't keep everyone still long enough to do that. Keep in mind i was competing with another photographer and a videographer!!!
06/22/2008 01:15:25 PM · #47
My first wedding was yesterday, and the trouble was fairly predictable, in hindsight:

For more than a year I've been buying equipment when I could afford it, and I had absolutely everyting: backup camera, tons of memory, lights, the perfect lenses, etc. ... except one little thing: I only had one flash unit.

Who wants to guess what ended up breaking before the reception?
06/22/2008 05:23:26 PM · #48
Ah, my first wedding. I was incredibly lucky and shot as the back up guy. I used my Mamiya 645 with two backs. The film was 120 or 220 either one I could use and so could the main guy with his Mamiya 67. He shot most of the grab stuff while I did most of the formal shots.

The wedding was at THE church in town and the minister told us before hand that he would stop the ceremony if he heard a camera during that time and of course it was my job to shoot the ceremony from the balcony. I did it by pre aiming, locking up the mirror and sitting in a pew feigning disinterest with a long cable release.

LOL, I haven't thought about that for a while. BTW, it turned out OK.
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