Formals

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by elsaspet, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,055
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Dallas
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    How many of you are still doing these? I hate them to death. I never get orders for them. (Prolly cause I hate them to death and it shows)
    I just got so sick of seeing the bride and groom trying to cram everyone they ever met into one humongous group shot that a fisheye couldn't even capture. Everyone's face was the size of a needle pin head, and even when I tried to zoom in at a zillion percent, I couldn't tell if eyes were opened or closed.
    That was it for me. I mean, besides the recession, procession, these are the least ordered shots bar none. (for me anyway)
    So then, when I had meetings, I started to "pitch" against it, calling it old school and soforth, and really hammering it in how much reception time they are going to miss by calling up group shots of every second cousin twice removed. Yeah, I have no problem with the immediate family and the full wedding party, but it gets to be ridiculous.
    I'm happy to say, some of the ladies today, once you explain it to them, don't even want these stupid shots. It's not like they are gonna hang it over their fireplace or anything.
    Am I alone in this? How many of you get orders off of these shots. Am I missing the boat because I loathe this part of weddings?
     
  2. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,405
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    We do them, but we very much de-emphasize them. About 5 weeks out from the date I email the bride a couple of different 'worksheets' to help us organize the timeline. They're 'live' pdf documents that get automatically emailed back to us, and they explain that we usually do this certain (short) list of portraits, and we'd be happy to do any others they want, but just be aware that it's going to extend the portrait photography timeline considerably, etc. Some brides ask for tons, some don't ask for any. :shrug: When we're shooting 1800 frames a wedding, a couple dozen more doesn't affect me much one way or another. :D
     
  3. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,405
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Also, to add on to my earlier thoughts...

    When we started, we pushed hard that we had primarily a photjournalist style, mostly I think because that's just the current trend (no offense to pure pj shooters), but with some of the discussions I've had lately with other photogs and with Kelly about our business direction, we're starting to market more as no particular style, or if anything documentarian...I don't want us to be limited by a 'code' or anything. I've seen some pj shooters who were so narrow minded that they had in their contracts that they would under no circumstances do any posed photography. I'm certainly not knocking the pj style of wedding photography, in fact I love it. I just think that if you limit yourself like that you're going to miss some spectactular photos. Some of the others Kel and I got of that bride were 'lightly' posed, and are some of the best wedding photos we've ever taken. If we were a pure pj style, they never would have happened.

    To circle back to your original point though...the uber-traditional 'stand here, hands together left-over-right, smile, -click-. Yeah those suck hard.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I can't see a big group shot being a big seller. Maybe a nice addition to the album but probably not worth the effort it would take to get everyone into the shot. To be really special, it would have to be a special circumstance. Like if the wedding was in a remote location and these were the family & guests that made the effort to get there. Stuff like that.

    As for traditional posed formals...they seem to be the shots that get reproduced the most. A formal shot of the B&G gets sent to a lot of the family. The parents get a shot of them with the couple...or it's the "Bride's side" and "Groom's side" shots that get printed and given to parents & grandparents. The shot of the wedding party all together is often a favorite of the couple and/or bride's maids & groom's men. Individual couple shots of the wedding party are often popular as gifts. Or shots of the bride and each of her maids individually.

    I'm mostly going from what I've seen of family weddings...of which there have been many. (My wife has a big Ukrainian family)

    I do think that the more creative shots, like the stuff we so often see from you, Cindy, is much better than the standard "stand here" shots. Creative shots like that are treasured by the couple but as for being enlarged, printed and displayed...it seems the family formal is seen much more often. I think this will change over time...things can still be a little 'old school' around here...especially in a Ukrainian farming family.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    While I hated doing them, I think at least a limited set of formals is a good idea: Wedding party, B&G, B&G + B parents, B&G + G parents, repeat with grandparents. Six formals isn't bad as a base. The rest depends on the couple.

    I've only done a few weddings myself, but I liked to use a 6x7 for the formals. Three exposures of each of six poses goes on two rolls (might do three rolls worth), then I'm off with my SLR. I made it very clear that my style centered on candids. If they wanted a long list of formals, they were better off going with someone else.
     
  6. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If you don't do them I flat guarantee that within five weddings some one will be calling you unprofessional. Unfortunately the bride and her family expect certain things, even if they don't want to pay for them.

    I know I had more brides and groomes concerned about their wedding party shots than anything else. Got to have my picture made with my posse' whatever that it. This after they swore they could care less while we were doing the interview.

    Leave aunt hilda from washington out, and you will hear about it guaranteed. It don't matter that you have no idea who aunt hilda is, and that it was never discussed before.

    I would have loved to go to a wedding just once and not have something pop up from the mouth of a bride's maid. "Hey Picture man ain't you gonna do a shot of the bride with all our flowers on her train?"

    "Why of course I am woman who is NOT paying me. You set it up and I will squeeze it off."

    I sure as heck didn't spend much time at it though.

    Somebody push me off this soapbox please.
     
  7. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    (shoves mysteryscribe, steals soapbox, uses it to stand on whilst doing formal portraits at weddings)
     
  8. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I used to swear i was going to take a three step ladder rather than take my shoes off to stand in a pew for those on stage shots.... Instead i bought the same dollar amount worth of new socks lol...
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    I'm still doing 'em. Like Mike says, we print these the most.

    I'll venture a GUESS why. IN MY AREA (rural/suburbia), most of the area "weekend warriors" have pushed the PJ style. The problem is they're not so good at it. They lack any solid background in posing and lighting, so they profess that PJ is the way to go, and then deliver little more than snapshots.

    Recently, a couple of brides told me they feel the trend is returning to the formal sytle. This took me by surprise since I'm in the Midwest and it takes several years for ANY trend to filter here from the coasts.

    Anyway, I still shoot formals and they DO end up above the fireplace.

    I feel it's my job to do them. THAT'S what I DO. That's what separates me from all the guests with the Rebels.

    Pete
     
  10. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    ....excellent point...

    We justified going 35mm by saying we can shoot more than just formals. Back a million years ago, formals was about all you got. When we went with the more versitle 35mm format we could shoot candids out the wazoo but every album included the formals as the basics.

    I hear a lot about the photo journalism style and from what I have seen they are inspired snapshots a lot of the time. Nobody I know ever hung a picture of the bride doing the electric slide over the fireplace.
     
  11. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,405
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    The way I see it the problem...well not really problem, but maybe 'drawback' is a better word to a pj style is that you still almost always need a great location and very photogenic bride/groom with time on their own to have worthwhile shots. Otherwise it's as mysteryscribe said...lots of the electric slide.
     
  12. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Messages:
    8,345
    Likes Received:
    68
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I too have no problems with the immediate groups. But the never-ending extended family sessions can become boring.

    If you dislike it that much, consider hiring a second shooter who has experience in studio portraiture. Let him/her take care of it. Of course, they will be using your CF cards. I have seen traditional photographers who 'freelance' for several studios at a time.
     

Share This Page