A few Wedding Photography Questions...

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by AprilRamone, May 17, 2006.

  1. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,
    I am meeting an old friend of mine from high school this Thursday evening to go over the wedding photography contract and the shot list. What other sort of things do you go over at a meeting with a wedding client? I am also going to ask her to find out about any restrictions her officiator might have and where it will be held so that I can go check out the lighting beforehand.
    Also, I was looking through the shot list and I know that it's good to get some shots before the ceremony starts to cut down on the amount of time it takes to do all of the posed shots between the ceremony and reception. I'm curious about when you do all the bridal shots of just the bride alone. Is there enough time to do those sort of shots before the ceremony? It just seems like it might make the bride uncomfortable to have her do a bunch of posed by herself shots with the bridal party and family looking on.
    Maybe I'm asking for a generic schedule/timeframe of what you professional wedding photographers do. Can anyone walk me through what their typical wedding day is like? I'm giving this old friend a deal, but I really want to be as professional as possible with this.
    Thanks in advance for any help!
    -April
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    So you want the trade secrets all compressed into a single post here huh?? :)

    Erm... well, there's a lot to cover.

    The pre-wedding consultancy and selection meeting usually is centred around one thing: money and what they get for it. Assuming you've shown them your portfolio and they're happy with your work, then you need to work out:

    What they get for their money - 100 x 7x5" in an album, 10 x 8x10", reprints at $30 per 7x5" that kind of thing. Usually most photographers offer Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum packages which have costs stepped from say $750 through to $4000 and the difference is in the number of supplied shots and the cost of the reprints.

    When that's decided and the fee is agreed, you type up what they're gonna get as a contract and get their money/deposit.

    Then you may or may not have a pre-wedding day with the bride and or groom to get some decent portraits. I call this the "insurance" day, cos if you f up the big day's formals, then you've at least got something for everyone to buy.

    Then, on the day itself, the photographer (quite often the assistant actually) will normally knock off a few candids of the bride having her hair/makeup done, and everyone standing round looking nervous. The assistant will normally do some snipe shots at the church/venue of the guests arriving. The main photog usually sets up for the car at this point.

    The big moment starts with the car arriving.

    EDIT: This is where your camera bleeps and says low battery. Then you smugly take out your backup body to be greeted with a low battery warning. Just as you've lost the colour from your face and rebooted the camera three times.... it'll start working again. It will only start working in the presence of a third, fully operational compact, which you're just starting to think about using.

    In the car, getting out the car and generally ruining the video man's shots...

    Then there's the going in the church bit and the meeting greeting and smiling. Then you get a cigarette break and a chat with the driver in the car park.

    At the end of the service, before the leaving the church thing, there's the indoor ring/book signing/handholding. Under UK law, you're not actually allowed to take pictures of the actual real signing. It's better to pose it anyway. It's usually at this point I have a row with the vicar about what and where I can take pictures.

    After the service, there's the tossing of the confetti and posey thing. This is where the serious work starts and you have to be a director. Get the MEN, NOW, THE MEN HERE... that kind of thing. The louder and more confident you are at this stage, and the less crap you take from Uncle "Interfering sod" Henry, the better it will go. Stepladders are handy at this point.

    Then, it's usually off to the reception for more candids. Most pros I've watched have then gone off and left the assistant at the party. The assistant normally gets very drunk far too quickly, but if he's been trained well, he will still be able to take pictures!! ;)

    Then, the pro comes back to the party with a contact sheet / book of prints and more cunningly an order sheet. The drunken assistant is then used to ply people for trade, which, normally in the UK everyone's drunk... they order loads of pictures.

    If you've played your cards right then usually the driver of the limo will take your drunken assistant home. ;)

    Rob
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Figure out what they want for coverage. It could be everything from the bride having breakfast to B&G leaving the reception....or it could be as little as just formals (or ceremony and formals).

    Be sure to discuss the time table for the day. Try to schedule as much time as possible for the formal shots because it will inevitably be held up and then take longer than you (or they) think.

    Ask about different group shots they want. Any special relatives that they want? Any people that will not want to be in the same picture together (divorced parents etc.)?

    Location of the formal shots? Could be in the same place as the ceremony or might be an hour away. Location might need to be reserved or rented...or maybe it's a first come first serve and you will need someone there to chase off other weddings before you get there.

    Make sure that they tell you what they want, and put that in writing if you can. This might avoid any hard feelings afterwards.
     
  4. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    Spoken like a true pro!
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I was going to say "looks like Rob has done a fair bit of assisting"...but that might get me in trouble :lol:
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Yep... I have done all of the above!! :lmao:

    I have also saved numerous professional photographers from being ritualistically and slowly murdered by the parents of the couple as they have COMPLETELY stuffed the pictures. Those are usually the photographers who spend half the day criticising my camera/technique/age/ability/profession/choice of car/general presence/etc :lol:

    Rob
     
  7. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I will also point out that there is NO excuse for taking less than three tested and familiar bodies with you. And a spare, unopened set of batteries for the same. I also won't do a wedding without a fully manual film camera present.

    For a "normal" reasonable rate wedding from me, I'm going to hire two 1Ds MKII, one with a 28-70 2.8, the other with a 70-200 2.8. I'm going to use my 20D with a 20mm f1.8 prime or 20mm f2.8 prime. I'm also going to have a Nikkormat and Yashicamat in my bag... It's happened (the battery thing) EVERY time I've been at a wedding. Every cameras has a soul and weddings are the torture of that soul.

    I'll also have an assistant. I can always blame them if a shot looks blurry! :)

    Rob
     
  8. bitteraspects

    bitteraspects TPF Noob!

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    BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH:lmao::hail:
     
  9. snownow

    snownow TPF Noob!

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    Rob that is the most helpful tips i have ever seen.... well done
     
  10. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    It depends on the type of wedding photography, because there are several: editorial, photojournalistic, formal, and traditional.
    Some weddings I shoot formals. Some not. On the some not, I assure the bride I will go for the Bussink way of shooting formals, which is the natural groupings of folks. I get more and more brides going this way.
    When I have to shoot formals (which I hate with a dreaded passion), I ask for the bride to draw up a shot list. That way the monkey is off my back. You can pair people up a thousand ways, and I don't have time to guess how they want it done. I have 30 minutes for formals (my timeline) and I don't want to screw around. I don't know who cousin Peggy and Aunt Judy are, so I make sure that a family member has the shot list. I make the family remember responsible for calling up the members of each shot. Once everyone is there, I arrange them, but prefer to leave them how they group for the most part. It seems most natural that way. If Uncle Tom and brother Joe have already scooted to the reception, NOT MY PROBLEM, because I have put the bride and friend in charge of the groups.
    In my experience, or at least the kind of brides that are drawn to me, don't want a lot of formals (thank God!).
    Now back to your question because I wandered. Let's suppose this person thinks they want formals:
    1. I ask when the bride is getting ready and get there then.
    2. The groom usually gets there an hour early. (Lucky guy). I ask him to get there an hour and a half early. I take 30 minutes to shoot him and his group.
    3. The bride will take anywhere from 1-5 hours to prepare. I make sure she gives me 30 minutes for her and her group. In the meantime, I sequester the groom and his party.
    During this time, if she is a traditional bride, I shoot out her, her party, her and each member of the party, she and her parents together, she and her parents by themselves, she and the ringbearer, and she and the flower girls. She and her grandparents. I do the same with the groom.
    That way, after the wedding, I can blow through the bride and groom with both parents, the entire wedding party, and the grandparents, and the officiant. Viola....done. Minimal time wasted.
    Hope this helps.
    Cindy
     
  11. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for your advice everyone:) Now I'm even more nervous, but that's a good thing. I suppose your answers are why I'm not marketing myself as a wedding photographer for the most part. I'll be sure to go over all of this stuff that you guys mentioned when we meet tomorrow. Thank god we've already discussed and agreed about what exactly she'll recieve and how much it will cost. She's actually already looked over the contract, we're just meeting to talk about what exactly she wants in terms of who's in the pictures.
    -April
     

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