How did you become a wedding photographer?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by AlexisRhea, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. AlexisRhea

    AlexisRhea TPF Noob!

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    We've all heard (and maybe had this happen) when a family member or friend wants a friend to photograph their wedding. Well.... its happening to me right now. I'd love to have the experience to see if maybe I would like to pursue (or run away from! :lol: ) this avenue. The thing is, when I ask people I meet for tips, etc, everyone freaks out and proclaims the couple MUST hire a pro. We all know that is just doesn't always work this way- no matter how much evidence you produce to try and change people's minds. What I want to know, is how did YOU get started in wedding photography. If it doesn't happen as an "accident"- taking photos for a friend, then a friend-of-a-friend, how does it happen? I have no idea if I will love or hate (or both) shooting weddings. But I would like to try and see what happens. (of course I'd rather not be the lone photographer!)
    Tell me your stories and possible suggestions of getting a REAL idea! :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I used to just bring my camera to wedding and I took some nice shots. Later, I would get asked to either shoot the whole wedding or shoot parts of it. I declined being the primary photographer at the time because I didn't have the equipment or experience...I did, however, offer to shoot just about everything except what the pro would shoot (ceremony & formals).

    I did this for a couple years and then decided that I wanted to be able to be the primary photographer, so I bought a 2nd digital body and some better equipment (lenses & flashes etc.).

    I do know that many people get started by just shooting for people who don't (or can't) hire a pro. It's usually for friends of family. This can be dicey...what do you do if things don't work out...or if something goes wrong? I'm not saying it can't or even shouldn't be done...but it can be a recipe for disaster.
     
  3. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pretty much the same story. Had a friend who really wanted me to do it, even though I was quite nervous about doing so. After weeks of being harassed, I relented and did it. Everything came out well I think and they were extremely pleased. I did extensive research before hand and knew what to expect. I went to the rehearsal and knew what would happen and when.

    I did a second one a few months later. This one was referred to me by a co-worker who had seen my work. The couple saw my web site and was willing to pursue it since their professional bailed on them at the last month. This time I was much less nervous, and nothing went as planned as far as their timing. I still came out with some good work and they too were pleased.

    I have a third one scheduled now for October which will be a "civil war theme" wedding which should be interesting. This one is for a co-worker. I have less anxiety about this one as well, w/ the exception of a little anxious about trying to do poses from the era. We'll see, I'm sure it will be fine.

    So yes, I think if you are sure of your skills and your friends are comfortable w/ your ability, it should be fine. You must realize the potential pitfalls of having a loss of a friend if things go really sour. Please, please, please have back up equipment though. Stupid things can and do happen. The first wedding I did, I had like 5 sets of batteries for my primary camera, and just before the ceremony, I began switching to a fresh set, only to find that several sets weren't working for some reason, despite being freshly charged. Just be prepared like a boyscout.
     
  4. three_eyed_otter

    three_eyed_otter TPF Noob!

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  5. AlexisRhea

    AlexisRhea TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I go in and read and view often! I can't say how much I have learned already! :) I love seeing people's work and hearing about their experiences.
    I just wanted to hear how everyone has gotten into this.
     
  6. AlexisRhea

    AlexisRhea TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike- I'd much prefer to do this using your method! Just start out slow and pick up on things the pro may not have time for,etc. Unfortunately I am not in that position this time. I'm reading everything I can though ahead of time and practicing so I can be as prepared as possible. Thanks for responding!

    Johnboy2978- That civil war wedding sounds neat! Please share your photos after! And Yay for you researching poses from that time period!
    Thanks for sharing your story. I have been scouring this forum and plan to be as over-prepared as possible! I already have back up batteries and memory cards. My sis-in-law SWEARS that she doesn't care (yeah, I know, they all say that) She's even fine if people just use the disposables. *yikes* Its a small wedding (10 people including me! lol) So... a lot less pressure, but I still want to approach it as professionally as possible. The checklists and tips in the wedding/portrait forum are SOOO helpful.
    Thanks again for sharing your story and insights. :)
     
  7. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I graduated from the Art Institutute of Pittasburgh and after that I had worked for several weekly newspapers here in Pittsburgh. I attended my Sister In Laws wedding and while I was there I was shooting along side the official photographer and started to talk to him he told me if i bought the gear I could come to work for him. Well $5200 and 2 complete medium format systems later I went to work for him. He told me I would shoot alongside him for alot of weddings, many different denominations and locations. Well I went with him on 2 weddings and he called me the next week and asked me to shoot a wedding for him as an emergency and I should just bring my shot list and hope for the best. Well I shot for him for 5 years and never did get any more training besides reviewing each wedding with him when the pictures came back.
     
  8. Tolyk

    Tolyk TPF Noob!

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    Uh, do you still have a copy of that shot list? :D
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's a shot list in the professional portrait / wedding subforum in the sticky.

    I service the cheap clients. They get told what to expect in advance when they pay only 1/5th of a professional service, and this is exactly what I deliver. I did my aunts wedding, and a friends wedding when I got back, then a guy who I go rock climbing with asked me if I could do his friends wedding. Oh it also helps that I know a photographer who hates doing them and just palms the work off my direction. But then what I do is slightly different from what the proper "Wedding Photographers" do.
     
  10. PatriK-b

    PatriK-b TPF Noob!

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    We have the same 'problem' :D
    An ex-coworker, a good friend, just asked me. I has no money for official photographer, so I will be primary. :pale:
    It will happen within a month, and my stress level indicator is already in red zone. I'm collecting now as much tips as possible. Thank you all.
     
  11. Tolyk

    Tolyk TPF Noob!

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    God, how did I miss that.. I browsed through that subforum extensively before doing my first wedding. Doh
     
  12. Snyder

    Snyder TPF Noob!

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    I HATE wedding photography but its pay good and I ONLY do it if I need some extra money.
     

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