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09-01-2011, 08:11 PM   #1
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Uncle Bob vs. A Professional Wedding Photographer

Interesting article.....


09-01-2011, 09:50 PM   #2
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Im doing a friends wedding in April, 1st one - feel pretty much in between uncle Bob and Pro

Will be planning out shots, making sure I have duplicate focal lengths and equipment, and will go over expectations of everything in advance so pretty sure wont fall into Uncle Bob territory
09-01-2011, 09:56 PM   #3
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Interesting and true
09-01-2011, 10:04 PM   #4
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I thought the article would show something like having Bob and the professional both attend the same wedding and show their results... That article wasn't nearly as interesting as my imagination I guess.

09-01-2011, 10:06 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Funny... I have thousands in equipement... have or have in the past owned many great lenses... I took 10k images last year... I can often get that instant shoot... I understand the flow of a wedding... I understand the tech side of photography... but still I would never want to do a job where I could only bill $1k - $5k for hours and hours of work and still likely have a client who is 'thinking of something different'

I may live and sleep photography but I pay for with my accounting firm...

And as an accountant... how can anyone in a business continually upgrade to the newest and greatest tech... that does not sound like a working photog... sounds like a bankrupt business... so if anyone does want to become a pro photog... don't take you business advise from that article go see a professional accountant... we would be happy to tell you why having $10k's of equipm't and computer software will likely mean you pay no taxes (ie you will make no money!)

Last edited by icywarm; 09-02-2011 at 03:36 PM.
09-01-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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I've shot a couple of events for a charity I support. A really close friend, I took some shots at her wedding which was very low key, small and intimate. They actually came out very nice. She didn't have money for a photographer at all though and they didn't expect much so there was no pressure. I am glad I had the experience, but I don't consider myself in any way qualified to take on a huge formal wedding and I honestly doubt I will ever want to.

In the studio you can always re-shoot. Me, I like to get it right the first time, but still, there is that option if you totally screw up. With weddings and the like, one shot is all you get. You're constantly under pressure while you are shooting. You have to deal with frayed tempers and bossy people who think they know better than you do how to direct the shoot. You have people getting in the way. Your equipment is more at risk in terms of accidents and no matter how well you shoot or how much post processing you do, there will always be some people who are never satisfied with what they will get and who will sit there and quibble endlessly with you over and over again about what they are entitled to get for the money you agreed on.

Some of them, they won't even pay you fully anyway. They'll do everything they can to wiggle out of that contract they signed while still getting as many free pictures as they can. My one teacher shoots weddings and he's very good at it, but he was very blunt about the aggravations and the risks of taking wedding jobs. As good as he is he's constantly having to remind people that a contract is a contract and that he doesn't just do weddings for fun, that certain fees are due upon shooting and the rest upon delivery of the photos. Still, if you could see the file cabinets of unclaimed photos he has it would make you laugh. There are people who totally balk at paying upon delivery who will try to get you to bill them and who will never pay you once they have some of the photos in hand. (To be scanned and prints made at home, of course.) That's why he no longer does it why he insists upon being paid up front before they get anything from him.

He shows them a slideshow of their photos. When they tell him which shots they want, he gets paid for the shoot. He then hands over a disk with those photos and/or makes prints as requested. If there is more due then he gets that before he hands over the prints. From what I've seen something like 9 out of 10 couples now, they don't want him to make the prints. They're happy with Walmart apparently, and prefer to just pay him for the shoot and the disk. Wedding albums? They don't sell well here from what he says.

I can't speak for every place, obviously, but here? People are truly cheap minded when it comes to paying the wedding photographer and about ordering any real prints. My teacher still makes some good money at it, but not what he used to, he says.The wedding jobs are a lot fewer since "Uncle Bob" got himself a DSLR....
09-01-2011, 10:39 PM   #7
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My wedding was photographed by my wife's uncle back in 1972 so I have a a little personal experience. He used a Yashica TLR shooting 120 film. We got 20 pictures. They were pretty good but not very many so I don't think he had a lot of keepers. He took a lot more than 20 shots. The only shots we ever saw were the posed "smile for the camera" shots. We have hardly any reception shots so they probably weren't keepers.
09-01-2011, 10:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I've shot a couple of events for a charity I support. A really close friend, I took some shots at her wedding which was very low key, small and intimate. They actually came out very nice. She didn't have money for a photographer at all though and they didn't expect much so there was no pressure. I am glad I had the experience, but I don't consider myself in any way qualified to take on a huge formal wedding and I honestly doubt I will ever want to.

In the studio you can always re-shoot. Me, I like to get it right the first time, but still, there is that option if you totally screw up. With weddings and the like, one shot is all you get. You're constantly under pressure while you are shooting. You have to deal with frayed tempers and bossy people who think they know better than you do how to direct the shoot. You have people getting in the way. Your equipment is more at risk in terms of accidents and no matter how well you shoot or how much post processing you do, there will always be some people who are never satisfied with what they will get and who will sit there and quibble endlessly with you over and over again about what they are entitled to get for the money you agreed on.

Some of them, they won't even pay you fully anyway. They'll do everything they can to wiggle out of that contract they signed while still getting as many free pictures as they can. My one teacher shoots weddings and he's very good at it, but he was very blunt about the aggravations and the risks of taking wedding jobs. As good as he is he's constantly having to remind people that a contract is a contract and that he doesn't just do weddings for fun, that certain fees are due upon shooting and the rest upon delivery of the photos. Still, if you could see the file cabinets of unclaimed photos he has it would make you laugh. There are people who totally balk at paying upon delivery who will try to get you to bill them and who will never pay you once they have some of the photos in hand. (To be scanned and prints made at home, of course.) That's why he no longer does it why he insists upon being paid up front before they get anything from him.

He shows them a slideshow of their photos. When they tell him which shots they want, he gets paid for the shoot. He then hands over a disk with those photos and/or makes prints as requested. If there is more due then he gets that before he hands over the prints. From what I've seen something like 9 out of 10 couples now, they don't want him to make the prints. They're happy with Walmart apparently, and prefer to just pay him for the shoot and the disk. Wedding albums? They don't sell well here from what he says.

I can't speak for every place, obviously, but here? People are truly cheap minded when it comes to paying the wedding photographer and about ordering any real prints. My teacher still makes some good money at it, but not what he used to, he says.The wedding jobs are a lot fewer since "Uncle Bob" got himself a DSLR....
Additionally, not everyone has the same eye for wedding photography, and end up thinking "Uncle Bob" does just as well when it isn't anywhere near close artistically and technically.

09-02-2011, 12:49 AM   #9
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Thankfully, with the recent spreading of Internet for everyday and everyone use, people are getting used again to what a good photographer can produce, compared to Uncle Bob...
At least that's how I felt it this season (I made some weddings to pay for my annual gear addiction)...

I think 2000-2010 were really bad years for wedding photogs, as digital really gave everyone the feeling they could instantly be the next HCB...
09-02-2011, 01:33 AM   #10
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Inexperienced with weddings, I shot one wedding, disastrously. I was worse than Uncle Bob. Never ever again. Hint: Never shoot your boss' daughter's wedding.

My own wedding was shot by my father, but he was a semi-pro; I'd about grown up in his little darkroom. He used a Minolta Autocord TLR and two SRT-101 SLRs.

My daughter's wedding was shot by a friend of bride+groom who specialized in raves. The formal masque event in a Gothic hall was not a rave. The photos sucked.

There's an alternative to pros and Uncle Bob: Pass out cheap cameras to the guests, collect them later. Then you can't blame any one person for the cruddy shots.

Last edited by RioRico; 09-02-2011 at 09:26 PM.
09-02-2011, 07:26 PM   #11
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There are a lot of things I agree with in this article, but there's a few things that seemed to be self-serving also. $10k+ of equipment does not make a good photographer. $1000s in computer and PP equipment does not make a good PP'ing setup or even experience. Each couple needs to decide for themselves what they want and what they can afford...it's really that simple....then make the best of what they have.

The other piece, however, is practice does make perfect. Being a wedding guest does not make a good wedding photographer (although I will admit there is an extremely small subset of photographers who do have a natural eye...note the word small). Contracts and insurance are always good ideas. Knowing what the wedding couple wants along with how/when to get that shot is essential and again has a need for experience both as a photographer and a businessperson. What people forget in these situations is the wedding couple want a service and a product delivered. This is an emotional situation for them due to the situation. Those two things mean anyone who jumps up to volunteer without having photographed a wedding previously should do so VERY cautiously.
09-03-2011, 04:13 AM   #12
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I think its very professionally biased point of view. Even exaggerated and photographer centric. Article compares two extreme cases. I wouldn't be too surprised that it's a writeup by some photographer just to promote his business.
Anyone who considers hiring multi thousand priced photographer for a wedding can definitely afford it and wouldn't give much thought to such question.

In real life the choice could arise if there is some family member who really has photography as a serious hobby or even profession, between A LITTLE pricier photographer from outside. Not between simple vacation photographer with expensive gear versus top of the line professional.
And if we look at this choice there wouldn't be that much difference in the final outcome. And it would be even less noticeable to someone not in photography.

If someone decides on "uncle bob", then in most cases no professional photography is expected or considered at all. He's seen as any other wedding guest who happens to take his camera with him.

It's nice to have good wedding photos, but there are a lot more important things in weddings besides the photographs, then some photographers might think. It's not a photo-shoot but a wedding after all. For a family event like this, many might find good video even better.
09-03-2011, 08:04 AM   #13
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I've seen working pros who are total failures at wedding photography (and sometimes photography in general. The only reason some of these people get work is because they have, over half a dozen jobs, managed to put a half decent book together using the spray and pray method of shooting.
I've seen some Uncle Bob types who should be shooting weddings professionally because they are good with people, and have a good eye for wedding photographs.
In a nutshell, that article is biased (the Society of Professional Wedding Photographers might have something to sell you), and doesn't really look all that deeply beyond self serving rhetoric.
09-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #14
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Averages up to 10,000 shots per week?

If they shoot 40 hours per week, that's a bit over 35 shots per hour. Certainly a believable hourly figure....but not for every damned hour of the week.

When does the 10,000/week pro sit down to cull and process?
09-03-2011, 09:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
When does the 10,000/week pro sit down to cull and process?
That's for the staff to do. Probably offshore contractors. Doesn't every pro have an editing pool on retainer?
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