My first wedding

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by eclipse13, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. eclipse13

    eclipse13 TPF Noob!

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    My girlfriends room mate just got engaged and she wants me to take the photos at the wedding. She knows my skill level, and says that they aren't going to pay for a photographer, so she won't be worried if my photos aren't perfect. Still, I don't want to disappoint. So do you have any experience, recommendations, equipment suggestions, etc?

    I know I will need a checklist for the formal shots and reception shots, but I also need some idea for shots while they are getting ready. The wedding isn't until October, so I have some time to study up. Thanks is advance for any help.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    First of all, I would put together some form of contract or agreement. Even if you do this for no money (which I don't recommend), there should be some sort of signed agreement so that there is something to fall back on, if things go awry. It should detail what you are expected to do and what you expect from them...etc.

    I can understand that not everyone can afford the cost of wedding photography, but really...they are not going to pay for it? Would they say the same about the dress? The flowers? The catering?

    I've heard enough stories to say that just because they pay you nothing, does not mean that they will expect very little. Also, because they have paid you nothing, you would likely get very little respect from them during the wedding...which makes the job of shooting it...a lot tougher.
    I've found that a big part of getting good photos, is being in charge of the situation, getting and keeping their attention. This is a lot easier when they know that they paid you a bunch of money and nothing to the other 20 people standing about with their little digi-cams. If they aren't paying you, there is a less motivation for them to give you the opportunity to get great shots.
    I'll stop that rant...for now. :er:

    As for actually shooting the wedding. Go with what you know. The probably asked you for some reason, so I would assume that you have some skills.
    It's important to be prepared and ready to deal with problems that might pop up.
    For example, backup equipment would be a requirement. You can't just say "sorry" if your camera or flash stops working during the wedding.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  4. errant_star

    errant_star TPF Noob!

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    FWIW ... I'm with Big Mike on this one. I did a favour to my husbands cousin who was getting married and had foregone the cost the of the photographer. About a week before the wedding I volunteered to take my camera to grab some pictures for them. I had never actually met them or seen the venue, I just offered to help out. I let them know my skill level and that I was not a pro by any stretch of the imagination and they agreed and seemed fine with it.

    The wedding was in January and was an evening wedding in a dimly lit church which did not allow flash. They did not give me any time to take pictures pre wedding. Before the refreshments were served at the reception venue I was given space against a dirty, blank wall to take "formals".

    After the fact when I gave them the pictures (which I paid to have printed out of pocket) I had, I got a nasty email basically ripping me a new "one" for the missed shots, the backgrounds, etc. I very politely reminded them I had no prep time, was not given charge of the situation, and was UNPAID! However they replied back again with more nastiness and we have not spoken to them for 4 years.

    So I would definately have something in writing if you choose to go ahead and do it. Make sure you are all clear on what the expectations are in advance. If you're not pro chances are you don't have back-up equipment, make sure they know this. Make sure they allow you control in posing, placements, and direction of the photography (something I didn't make clear and the couple basically steam-rolled right over me).

    I hope you don't have an experience like mine, just make sure that you have yourself covered for the worst case scenario! :biggrin:
     
  5. eclipse13

    eclipse13 TPF Noob!

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    Well from the conversations we have had, it seems as if she is going to treat me like a regular photographer. We have already talked about doing most of the formal shots ahead of time, and then just the ones that include the bride and the groom afterward. I am going to show her a list that I have of the usual shots and see what she does and doesn't want.

    I have a back up body and shoe flash lined up, lets just hope I don't destroy my glass on site.


    What exactly do you guys think that I should have in writing?
     
  6. jols

    jols TPF Noob!

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    in writing something like.

    name and address of bride and groom

    contact numbers

    date and time of wedding

    place of wedding

    place of reception

    price [if applicable]

    number of prints you guarantee [if you think 100, tell them 50 to be on the safe side]

    then the important one.

    in the unlikely event that you will not be able to photograph the wedding due to illness or being in hospital you have no liability than to return any money that has already been paid to you.
    there is no back up photographer.


    i have this in my contract and although some of the peeps on here think I'm crazy not having a back up i have had no problem with people signing it.

    people like people to be honest.

    most togs say they will try there hardest to get another tog but this is still not guaranteed.

    hope this helps ​
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Clearly no one in this situation has any respect for photography. And that is bad. They are asking for thousands of dollars worth of work for free. Photographers do not randomly charge for their work. When you pay 5 grand you more often then not get amazing photos of a very important day in their lives. Tell them to skimp on the cake or the wedding dresses or the dj. Photography of the event will out last everything. Practice up and make them pay.

    Of course they have no money and of course you need the experience. Fact of the matter is bs like this hurts the very sensitive industry of photography. Basically you are promoting **** work.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. jols

    jols TPF Noob!

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    chill out

    its a friend doing a friend a favour, and he wants to do it.

    please give encouragement
     
  9. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah chill out...

    Until of course something happens and the only camera you have breaks or you miss that important shot of Mom and uncle Phil together for the first time in 20 years or whatever and the anger and/or lawsuits start to fly. But I guess chill out it's just photography people charge thousands for this just because they can and it has nothing to do with skill or training or talent or anything like that.
     
  10. jols

    jols TPF Noob!

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    but he is not charging thousands is he. or did i miss something?
     
  11. eclipse13

    eclipse13 TPF Noob!

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    I really don't understand how some of this is helping me. They are both recent college graduates, and she is an elementary school teacher. They are skimping on almost everything. The 'DJ' consists of an ipod connected to some of the groom's band's audio equipment, the 'catering' consists of a mutual friends dad catching all of the fish and cooking it himself (he is a comercial fisherman), the cake is being made for free by the bride's aunt. The only things that they are really paying full price for are the venue and the dress. If I don't do this, they will not have a photographer, plain and simple. I am doing this to help them out, and hopefully gain some expierience.

    I am taking all of your warnings seriously, but at the same time, I am doing this regardless of what you tell me. I want all of the help I can get, but the decision has already been made.

    I am planing on doing as much research and learning as I can until then, I will have a backup camera, hot shoe flash, and batteries in case of an accident.

    Big Mike, errant star, and Jols, I really do appreciate your input. As for everone else, your negativity isn't helping me in any way. I have known these people for a while now and I have made it very clear to them that I am not comfortable with charging them, and that there is a reason for that.
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Chill out? Encouragement? Why? I have seen this tired scenario play out and chances are that no one will be happy. That effects me because I make my living off of photography. There is a place for lower priced photography. And I am fine with that. Problem is more and more I hear nightmares from clients that hired a photographer that was inexperienced. I should never have to hear that. Ever. PM with further thoughts on this subject.

    Why don't the couple save their pennies and have a proper wedding? Have you considered assisting a wedding photographer?

    Love & Bass
     

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