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06-12-2018, 03:25 AM   #1
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Wedding Photography advice

My cousin is getting married, and I'm kind of pushing to shoot it. This would be my first wedding shot, and I have a pretty decent portfolio of a lot of different kinds of shots (except for nudes. My woman refuses that one, but that's beside the point), so I know I can do portraits. However I have a few questions for those of you who have shot weddings.

1.) Pricing. How much do I charge? This is family, so I don't want to cause any familial drama, but at the same time I don't want to do it for free. Ideally, It would be cheaper than hiring someone else, but seeing as my cousin has friends that are getting married hopefully this could open the door for other opportunities, ya dig?

2.) Services. What kind of services should I offer? Other than the obvious "take pictures of her wedding, the guests, etc." Is photoshopping one of these things? Do I load all the photos on a flash-drive (or DVD) for their future usage? Is there anything I'm missing?

3.) Shots. What kind of shots do I go for? I've got three cameras (K7, K3, and K1000) with a variety of different lenses of varying focal lengths and speeds. Do I storm the altar and shoot up close? Do I hang out in the back and shoot with a long lens? Is it safe to assume that the guests are equally photograph-able?

If I've missed anything please bring this up. I would love to shoot weddings so I can fuel my lens addiction, and this would be a good step in the right direction.

Cheers!

06-12-2018, 03:59 AM - 3 Likes   #2
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Get sick! make up an excuse! don't do it! you'll regret it for the rest of your life!
06-12-2018, 04:00 AM - 1 Like   #3
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are you sure you want to attend a family reunion in the future as the guy whose photos didn't turn out right?

I urge you to reconsider unless you are a very experienced photographer and have the correct equipment ( which is probably more than just a good cameras. lenses, flashes, etc, etc, etc, and so forth and so on )
06-12-2018, 04:22 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Yep....sound advice in above comments . Do Not Do It !!…...but if you do (& I think you will), at the very least have a back up working in tandem with you. As to what to shoot....it frightens me that you are asking this (see earlier comments!!), have a chat with bride & groom & parents to ascertain what they are expecting. Research wedding photographers and check out their images.

and the first advice still stands....Do NOT Do It.

06-12-2018, 04:32 AM   #5
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The memories of their whole day rest in your ability to get it right. Here are some tips that might help.

Wedding Photography Tips – ExposureGuide.com
06-12-2018, 04:37 AM   #6
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I shot a wedding recently for some friends. I have no desire to be a wedding photographer but agreed to it on the basis they did not want a professional shoot, just someone they knew who they could be comfortable around to document the day without all the posing and posturing. Even so it was one of the most stressful things I have done in my life!

Whilst they didn't want to be posed like models I sent them this list so they could be clear about what shots they'd like me to try to get https://www.hitched.co.uk/files/downloads/hitched-wedding-photo-checklist.pdf You could check this out to get some ideas about shots on the day.

I took two bodies (K-3II and K-50) and a few lenses but the Sigma 30mm Art and Pentax 16-85 were almost exclusively used. Also flash. I used flash a lot for fill (outdoors) and slow sync (indoor stuff). I paid a lot of attention to indoor flash, dragging the shutter, etc to get the ambience right.

Everything was shot in RAW and put through Adobe Lightroom afterwards for minor adjustments and cropping. That's about as far as the post processing went. I have given them the option of more filtered looks and B&W conversions should they wish.

Do I hang out in the back and shoot with a long lens?

I would say pretty much yes. As I said I used my 16-85 a lot and that gave me enough distance that I wasn't freaking people out by sticking a camera in their faces. My stealthy antics were spoken of later so I guess I dis at least one thing right! I made sure I was especially out of the way during the vows too. Also whilst I think guests have an expectation that they'll be photographed on the day you soon get a feel for who does and doesn't want to be heavily featured!
06-12-2018, 04:50 AM - 5 Likes   #7
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My daughter was married recently, and we hired one of the top guys. He frequently travels interstate and even overseas to shoot weddings.

I consider myself to be a pretty knowledgable amateur photographer, and I have some seriously good kit, but watching him at work was a revelation. He was invisible during the wedding ceremony and the reception. We just got on with enjoying the day. The results arrived a couple of days ago, and they are stunning.

In your position, I would certainly NOT be offering my services unless they are strapped for cash and are asking you to do it as a favour. If you want to charge a meaningful fee you'd better be on top of your game. It's NOT about the gear, and using this as an excuse to "fuel your lens addiction" is totally not the right attitude.

You should already know the answers to the questions you asked in the last paragraph. Look up the portfolios of some local wedding pros. See what they do. Here's a hint - if they ever want to work again, they don't storm the altar.
06-12-2018, 05:18 AM - 4 Likes   #8
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My rule #1 never hire family for anything. You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. With that being said they should hire a professional to photograph the wedding. You can then shoot the wedding at no cost to get some experience with no pressure on getting it right. Or better yet don't shoot the wedding at all and enjoy the day with your family.

06-12-2018, 05:25 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve_k Quote
My rule #1 never hire family for anything. You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. With that being said they should hire a professional to photograph the wedding. You can then shoot the wedding at no cost to get some experience with no pressure on getting it right. Or better yet don't shoot the wedding at all and enjoy the day with your family.
...we have a saying in Italy... "I parenti sono come le scarpe... pił sono stretti e pił ti fanno male"
"Relatives are like shoes... the closer (tighter) they are, the more they hurt you"
06-12-2018, 05:55 AM   #10
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I shoot a few weddings a year. So I don't consider myself a big, well known, sought after, high end wedding photographer by any means! But, I do have some experience. last month I had a Friday all day wedding and then an all day wedding very next day. That was an exhausting weekend. But it is fun and rewarding and I love shooting weddings. I do not have permission to share full galleries, even though I did get a model release signed, so I guess I could??? but if you want to check out some of the shots from my last 2 weddings you can click on my facebook link in my signature.

So, here goes.....
QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
1.) Pricing. How much do I charge? This is family, so I don't want to cause any familial drama, but at the same time I don't want to do it for free. Ideally, It would be cheaper than hiring someone else, but seeing as my cousin has friends that are getting married hopefully this could open the door for other opportunities, ya dig?
This is a tough one to answer depending on your area. I can't charge as much as people in big cities... LA, NY etc... I'd never get any work. I'd look around and see what other wedding photographers in your area charge and go from there. I did attend many wedding work shops before I started and remember from one, being told to raise your price by a couple hundred dollars, every 3 weddings that you shoot until you get to the price you want to charge.

QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
2.) Services. What kind of services should I offer? Other than the obvious "take pictures of her wedding, the guests, etc." Is photoshopping one of these things? Do I load all the photos on a flash-drive (or DVD) for their future usage? Is there anything I'm missing?
Early on I used to make a proof book with 300+ photos and put it together for every bride. Now, I find most brides just want the digital files. So, I use Pixieset or Pass and put together an online gallery with all p hotos. I share only with the BRide and bride's Mom. but I make sure to stress they can send link to anyone and everyone they know. The more it gets passed around, the more chance someone who is looking for a photographer will see and possibly hit me up! And then I make either a dvd or a USB flash drive with all photos for bride. I recently found some really great, white, worn wood, 8 GB USB flash drives on amazon. my little round sticker logo fits and looks great on them. I was very pleased with how they looked and was excited to give them to my latest brides.

QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
3.) Shots. What kind of shots do I go for? I've got three cameras (K7, K3, and K1000) with a variety of different lenses of varying focal lengths and speeds. Do I storm the altar and shoot up close? Do I hang out in the back and shoot with a long lens? Is it safe to assume that the guests are equally photograph-able?


My last 2 weddings, I used my K-5 and my K-3ii (I brought my K-10 as a just in case) I used mostly my 50-135, my 35 mm and my 50 mm lens. During ceremony, I use my 50-135. I try to stay hidden as much as possible. Then crop in a bit in post processing if I didn't get as physically close as I wanted. as far as guests, I always try to photograph the parents during the ceremony, look for emotion! Look for guests who are teared up, or kids who are bored and goofing around. I try to tell my brides before hand, I like to shoot the day as it unfolds before me, instead of setting up shots all day long. I mean, Obviously, set up the formals, the bridal party etc... but as far as reception, I like to keep hidden so people don't even know I am there and I can capture the day as it happens, capture the emotion, the fun etc....

Not sure that helped at all, but if you have any other questions please feel free. I know a lot of people tell you to stay away from weddings and/or weddings for family. But I honestly think it's a great place to start. AND.... you gotta start somewhere!! Good luck to you!

Last edited by BethC; 06-12-2018 at 06:00 AM.
06-12-2018, 05:57 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I have years of shooting corporate events but only a few weddings. Managed efficiently, corporate events are very controlled - you can also bring in a lot of lighting or have the AV company align lighting to help with the shoot. Weddings are different entirely. Too many unpredictable variables. Too many humans that may be unpredictable.

Shooting weddings requires practice (lots of it), patience, fast glass, a second shooter, practice working with the second shooter and more. It would be best to learn the flow and process as a lighting assistant, alternate shooter or second shooter - working for an experienced wedding photographer. Inexperience is a formidable titan to wrestle with.
06-12-2018, 06:20 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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If money for the couple is tight, I would ask if they would accept a donation toward the cost of well seasoned professional wedding photographer as a wedding present before I would try to photograph the wedding
06-12-2018, 06:21 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I have shot two weddings as the main photographer with my wife, one ages ago using a K-1000 and a little more recently using an *ist DS2. Both came out fairly well, but both were quick weddings that were on a minimum or zero budget. We also did not get paid, but gave the photos/negs/files to the couples. I did play 2nd fiddle to a pro at my sister in laws wedding using my high end se up of a Superprgram with motor drive, a 35-105 f3.5 lens and an AF-280 flash. I shoot that one in B&W for something different. I made sure to stay out of the way of the pro. I would never take money for a wedding, it is very stressful shoot and if you miss key photos it can be a disaster. Playing the number two to a pro may be a good way to get your feet wet.


Jim Fellows
06-12-2018, 06:28 AM   #14
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I have a bone-chilling memory of I wedding I went to... there were two photographers, and while the rings were exchanged one was behind the altar changing lenses, and the other wasn't in position. That couple didn't get a picture of the rings exchange nor of the kiss...
06-12-2018, 07:02 AM   #15
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My first thought when I saw the title of the thread was ,DON'T DO IT!!
But that's pretty much covered by other comments above.
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