how to politely decline shooting a wedding

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kellylindseyphotography, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    my cousin is getting married. my whole family thinks i'm a built in photographer. i told my mother to please PLeASE reiterate that I don't have the desire or the skill to shoot weddings. WHy do people think that just becasue you have a camera and like photography that you want to shoot their wedding for them for free?

    I feel like no matter what I say, I'm stuck. My cousin isn't hiring a photographer at all, they are getting hitched ASAP for some reason and didn't really plan much of anything. They don't have money for a photographer and everyone in my family has this in their mind that "oh, kelly will be there, don't worry. she'll get shots for you" :grumpy:
     
  2. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    Sounds like they aren't expecting much. Tell them they can have all the pictures you were going to take anyway. It politely says, "This is not wedding photography, it is pictures from your wedding." Tell them to try to find a cheap wedding photographer thought, because it takes way more equipment than they realize which you don't have. Whether or not you realistically have the equipment doesn't matter.
     
  3. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    'I am not a wedding photographer. I cannot take the pictures that I think should come out better. Some photographers might take pictures and give you the film for a reduced rate. Yatta. Yatta. Yatta.'
     
  4. Sandspur

    Sandspur TPF Noob!

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    Say "No thanks. It's not my style ... and I would be very bad at it!"

    If you are ever going to really be a pro - and you already ARE! - you must learn to turn down those jobs that do not suit your skills, equipment and interests.

    I know - this is always a touchy subject. We've all probably had to deal with it more than once. But stand your ground. What if you DO shoot it? And what if - your pictures are lousy?

    It doesn't matter what people say now. They'll tell you it's okay; that they just want you to do a few "snaps." But, believe me ... in the back of their minds they're thinking lots and lots of extremely high quality pictures - like they see in Modern Bride mag or some-such. and the slick leather bound album, and the full length bridal portrait over the fireplace, and a slide show on CD ... with Music!

    And all, of course, for nothing!

    I'm sure practically everyone else in the family will have a little camera with them. Let all of them take the damn pictures!
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with Sandspur.

    I've been in that position a few times. Just say that shooting a wedding is beyond your skill set and admit that the results would be less than any bride's expectation.

    No matter what they say now.... the bride's expectation is always and I mean always sky high.
     
  6. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    I totally agree. My mom thinks it would be a "great wedding present" and that I'll look very selfish declining. Since I'm the "photographer in the family".. I'm an amateur, and I shoot children. Soooo far from being a wedding photographer.

    They again used the "well, just take what you can! I'm sure it will be great" :( I'm considering leaving my camera at home completely and saying I forgot it on accident.
     
  7. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Well, would you bring your camera anyways? If so all they want are those shots, there probably not expecting magic.
     
  8. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    haha...yeah I would leave the camera at home, tell them you arent a wedding photographer, and leave it at that. I know its hard when it comes to family. My sister things that I am just going to take pictures of her kids for the rest of their childhood for free. I told her right NOW I am not charging because I need practice, and in the future I will be charging (granted I would give her a discount since she IS my sister) but I dont think she got it.

    She also took one of my pictures off my blog, and used it on HER blog without asking. She told me later, and she did say that I took it and linked my blog to the article (which I guess was OK) but I dont want her to just think she can take whatever pictures she wants off my website and blog!!!

    OK...sorry...got off subject there. Family issues are just touchy. :)
     
  9. im_trying11

    im_trying11 TPF Noob!

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    you should take the shots but tell them they are not goin to be what they expect
     
  10. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    I was going to shoot some, considering I will get better shots than the few p&s's that will be there.. but I just don't want them to have those super high expectations that I am the "official" wedding photographer.

    I told my mom this in an email:
    "Please don't say I will be their wedding photographer, it is not a job I am equipped to handle. I will do the best I have with the resources I have but I do not have the skill to do wedding photography."

    I feel bad.. I don't want them to think I'm being stingy or anything. Just that I'm not qualified.
     
  11. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    Of course, the camera never leaves the side.

    I know first hand what it is like to be placed in this position, and it just plain sucks, but family is family, and that fact is difficult to get around. If you had a brother who was a plumber, who would be the first one you called if you had a leaky problem at 8:30 on a Friday night?? You are the particular talent in the family at someone else's last minute.
    If they had hired a photographer, I can almost guarantee that you would have been there with the camera, probably doing candids anyway...right?

    Instead of looking at it with dread, talk to the bride & groom, make sure they know that these are not going to be $5000 shots, and then get your chin up in the air and challenge yourself. From looking at some of your work, (which I really like, BTW), I think you may be surprised at what you will come up with. It seems like you have a good eye and imagination. There are more than a few wedding photographers who developed a "candid" style to wedding photography as opposed to the crusty formal shots.
     
  12. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    Phranquey is right.

    Just talk to them about it, but take some pics anyways. They will be grateful.
     

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