Advice needed for NOOB wedding Photog

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Bresine, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Bresine

    Bresine TPF Noob!

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    Hello, first off I want to say I have read the "TIPS for WEDDING PHOTOG" thread in full...what great information!

    I am in process of beginning my venture into wedding photography and I have a few questions which I would welcome any/all thoughts and advice.

    1. Ive read that having the proper equipment such as a few different lens's is essential. I currently have a 18-55mm Nikor kit lens. I plan on purchasing a 17-200mm and/or 17-55mm lens. Can you suggest what lens would be absolutely essential to shooting typical wedding settings? Also Ive read that owning a good portrait lens may be essential?

    2. Would you suggest offering to shoot friends weddings for free to build a solid portfolio to show to potential clients? How big or small is a respectable portfolio to show to clients?

    3. How is the best way to coordinate the photography time with the bride/groom and wedding party? Ive read the consulting with the bride and groom at least twice before the bid day is advised to get a better understanding on their requests and style?

    4. How is the post editing process done? What is most important in the editing process before showing the customers the finished product?

    5. Is it recommended to visit the venue prior to the wedding day to snap a few photos to get an understanding of the lighting, background, etc?

    6. Prices and packages are different from photographer to photographer. How do I come up with a reasonable price that will be competitive with other photographers in the area?

    7. In the event that some wedding photographs do not turn out as expected, what is the best way to accomodate the customer?....granted they will be pissed of course, but how to you approach such a mistake without ruining your reputation?

    I fully realize that wedding photography is not something to just dive into. Trusting someone with capturing your most important day is a big responsibility and I do not want to promise something that I can not deliver with quality. I plan on doing many free shoots for friends and such over the next few months to hone my skills, editing and portfolio. Only when I am confident that I can deliver a quality service to the customer will I begin making attempts to turn my hobby into a business. Thank you all very much for all your valuable information and I appreciate your understanding in my "noobie' questions. Thanks again everyone!
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    1) You're thinking in the whole wrong class of gear; you need to be considering wide aperture (small f number) and constant aperture zooms as well as prime lenses. A 24-70mm f2.8 is the staple wedding zoom used by many wedding photographers. The wide aperture allows you to shoot well even in dimmer lighting conditions, whilst the constant max aperture means that it remanis at f2.8 from 24mm to 70mm. The cheaper zooms will have things like f4-5.6 so as the zoom changes the aperture changes, which you do not want.

    2) Best way to get the portfolio is to not shoot weddings for free but to find a local photographer and ask to ghost/second shoot for them. You will need to work on your photography so that you can present to them 10-15 of your very best portrait and similar works to show your level of skill and to prove that you are serious. This way you can shoot, experiment and make a total mess of things without harming anyone - if you shoot weddings for free and messup its your neck on the line and your friends wedding ruined (in part).

    3) You need to consult with them as much as is needed to ensure that you both understand what is needed and expected. I can't go into more specific detail here.

    4) The editing processes done are the ones you need to do to produce the images that fit your style of shooting that you present to them in your wedding portfolio and that they have paid you to produce for them. If that seems like a vague answer its a sign that you need to not only hone and work on your editing method and workflow, but also to work on developing your own style of working.

    5) This is essential to do - don't just visit the site, attened the rehersals as well. Also speak with the organisers and the church (or place of occasion) owners regarding the use of elements such as flash as well as where you are allowed to stand etc... A lot of this is very key as it will greatly affect how you operate on the day.

    6) Can't say much here save that you need to sit down and work out your full expenses and work time (including editing time) as well as tax and other considerations. Someone posted a neat online calculator that could give an estimation on pricing based on key inputs and outputs.

    7) Professionaly. Take every precaution to ensure that things do not go this way (weddings are one area where you can and will be sued over poor performance). Backup gear on the day, backup of the photos, safe storage; ensuring that you get the key shots on the day - preparation and planning before hand. Heck even chances like rehersals and other events are key moments where you can capture some good shots with slightly more time (like the ring part). I know some photographers even do some staged shots just after the main ceremoney (or before the wedding day) of key posed events so that they capture them just right.


    You are asking a lot of basic questions - which is good because you are thinking and asking first before jumping into things. However I feel that (and this is without seeing your work) that you need to up you game. You need to learn and research this a lot more before you jump much deeper. I also feel that you do need to ghost a few weddings to get experience. This is highly important because it gives you a taster of the day; a chance to make mistakes; a chance to talk to a working pro as well as the ability to see if it really is for you without having invested too heavily in things (since setting up a viable busisness takes a lot more than camera gear and photographic skills).
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gciFoEbOA8]YouTube - jaws clip: "You're going to need a bigger boat"[/ame]
     
  4. BuZzZeRkEr

    BuZzZeRkEr TPF Noob!

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    LOL Kundalini.

    This post is probably going to be moved to a correct room, however, before it does I'd like to say Overread has some pretty good advice.

    If you want to do professional wedding photography, the D3000 is an ok start (as a 2nd or 3rd backup), but next thing I'd probably do is go to the piggy bank and get out about lets say at least $25,000 and get to know photoshop/lightroom like it's your soulmate....knowing post production is half the battle.

    Good luck ;)
     
  5. ~W~

    ~W~ TPF Noob!

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    The only two bits of advice I can give you; #1 you are not ready to even think about weddings: #2 learn how to photograph people. I have looked at the images you have posted so far; people are lot harder then landscapes; and weddings are a lot harder then portraits.

    Sorry, learn how to walk before you try running as it can hurt when (not if) you fall over ;)
     
  6. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    This man knows whats up
     
  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I looked at your Flickr site and i'm sorry but you are light years away from be able to shoot weddings
    You will need 2 bodies that will work in very low light, fast prime lenses for in the church shooting at iso3200, 28-70F2.8, 70-200F2.8 for group shots and candid, probably 2 top spec flashes
     
  8. Bresine2010

    Bresine2010 TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone, Im the OP but had to re-register for some reason. Anyways, I appreciate your candid and honest advice. Couple things I wanted to mention:

    1. I fully realize I am not prepared, nor ready to shoot weddings...never said I was.
    2. My work is not comprised on my flickr page, in fact I dont even use that page anymore. I have much more work in which I mainly shoot landscapes and things outdoors, but I would like to venture into portraits and weddings, obviously in due time.
    3. JAWS reference...I dont get...but I guess thats why your laughing at me :( which is unfortunate. If your not here to help..then why are you here?
    4. $25,000 for photo editing software, etc. I am hoping this was a joke also that I didnt get...I dont care how good a photographer anyone is...if you spend that much on photo editing software...you better be bringing in 4x that amount to justify it. Just my opinion.
    5. I do not plan on shooting weddings until I shadow at least 5 or 6 photographers. After consulting with them to see my mistakes and such, and when I have all the proper equipment and knowledge will I then begin to attempt to shoot weddings when Im confident I can do it. Im not stupid folks!..I wouldnt ruin someones most important day on my high hopes and the "auto" mode on my camera!
    6. Please dont judge my ability by the photos Ive uploaded on this forum or flickr. I have not updated any photos on here of flickr in a very long time and Ive learned alot since taking those photos.
    7. Photography is 100% subjective. If you say its not, then your only lying to yourself. I understand that more knowledge and experience will make a better photographer and results...but lets be honest...you dont neccessarily need 20 years of experience to shoot quality photographs.
    8. Ive been to 4 weddings this past year. I have taken hundreds of photos at each wedding. Afterwards I made it a point to compare them with the "professional" photographers photos. Some were clearly better quality and much betten composed than mine. However the other ones I did not see much difference in the composition and quality compared to mine. Obviously Im not saying Im ready to shoot weddings, but I wasnt blown away by the so called pro photographer that shot my friends wedding.

    Anyways, thanks for everyones advice. I apologize if my questions were somewhat amateaurish but Im simply looking for sound advice, not to be made fun of becaue your a "pro" and Im not...so thanks to those that took me seriously. Thanks and I apprecaite any further advice and tips.
     
  9. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dear friend :)
    if you don't want to end up like [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js7RzcdDcMs]YouTube - Judge Joe Brown - Cheap wedding photographer[/ame]
    I strongly suggest #1 assisting/working with wedding photog, #2 learning photography and only then MAYBE trying to get more into it.
    Based on your Qs, you have no clue what to do and will turn lovely passionate day for B&G into a nightmare.
     
  10. Bresine2010

    Bresine2010 TPF Noob!

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    Wow. thanks for more needless and not helpful answers. Guess im too stupid to do wedding photography after all. Thanks to everyone for helping me clear that up.
     
  11. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Good luck with that...
     
  12. scorpio_e

    scorpio_e TPF Noob!

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    I love this. $1300 and they were still rookies. Go tos show you what happens when you do not have a solid background.
     

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