Photographing the Wedding of an immediate family member

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by chuasam, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Does having emotional ties to the subject help or hinder one's ability to capture good photographs?

    Long Story:
    My parents and brother have talked me and my GF into helping out and photographing my brother's wedding later this year. Hiring a pro Wedding Photographer wasn't in the budget as the couple could not afford to hire one.

    We are both professional photographers but she's an equestrian/sports photographer and I'm a headshot/portrait photographer. We have both shot weddings in the past before deciding that it wasn't for us.

    Are there any potential pitfalls when photographing the wedding of an immediate family member. Contracts? Problems of being too close to the subject? We have other relatives (uncles and aunts) who are retired Commercial and pro-amateur hobbyists and a well noted Bird Photographer (hahah). So that'll take care of the shots which my GF and I have to be in.

    Just wanting to see if anyone here has any experience having to photograph an immediate family member. I'm probably going to encourage all my relatives to bring their cameras too so that we can be part of the festivities too.


     
  2. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well I would NEVER do it!!

    Here are several things that could/will happen.

    -You will not be included in any of the family photos. (You cant count on the others unless they are photographing the whole thing.)
    -Being too close to the subject you can loose objectivity. For example When people post photos of their children on the forum they often cant see how bad the photo is because it has their precious child in it.


    But perhaps the biggest thing that can be problematic is that is you screw up and don't do a good job, or even if they just happen to not like the photos. This will mess with your personal relationship with them forever.

    Thanksgiving dinner just might become extremely awkward in your family for years to come.
     
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  3. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well hiring a pro might just be a great wedding present for your brother.

    Tbh, I might do a wedding for a relation, but no way for an immediate relation such as a brother.
     
  4. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I personally think its sad that your brother and parents would ask you to photograph the wedding.

    Its kinda like saying we care more about some photos then having my brother as a guest at the wedding.

    If you choose to be the photographer you will NOT be able to enjoy the event like you would just being there as a brother.
     
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  5. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Let me put it this way. I would start the letter this way if I were you......


    Dear Abby,

    A couple of months ago my parents and my brother "Bill" asked me to photograph my brothers wedding since he and his fiancee did not budget for a photographer and I do photography, although not wedding photography. To make a long story short..........(You can take it from here)
     
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  6. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm doing it...but I am the current Passive Aggressive World Champ. My dad was a commercial photographer in the 1970s. I'll be handing him a backup camera and he won't be able to resist using it. I'm not spending money hiring a pro for him; if he doesn't think it's important enough to hire a pro, it's obvious he doesn't care that much about the pictures. My dad also had his own brother (who was a medical photographer at the time) shoot his wedding *LOL* the photos SUCKED ballz. It's the family tradition.

    LightGuru is right about losing objectivity so my GF is doing most of the shots and I'll be photographing the relatives. I'm also emotionally detached so I should be able to get the shots right. There are many high level photographers in the extended family that I can count myself being in the shot. I'm counting on there being a LOT of cameras visible in the images as a memory. I'm subversive like that.

    I did not choose to be the photographer; they used family obligations to convince me. I can't afford to hire a pro - I spent that money on a fricking nice suit so that noone would mistake me for the hired photographer.
     
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  7. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Don't let others gilt you into doing things.

    You chose to be the photographer.
     
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  8. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    Have everyone wear a bird hat, and hand the camera to the bird Photographer. S/he knows how to get birds in interesting poses so all should come out great !! Just expect them to be shooting at 14 fps ...

    :)
     
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  9. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like a family tradition. :aiwebs_016:
     
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  10. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is why I do not shoot any weddings at all, ever! I didn't even bring a camera at all to my sisters wedding.
     
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  11. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've done sports and events; I took pictures of my nephews sports. That I was glad to do and had fun with it. But, a wedding...??

    If there are other various photographers running about the extended family, why not share the wealth? so to speak, share the responsibilities. You can't as the brother be in photos and take the photos - offer to do what you feel like you can do, see who else might be able to take some of the photos, etc. Figure out who can take pictures of what part of the wedding and reception. I wouldn't have this all on your shoulders.

    As far as having an emotional connection to someone helping or hindering taking photos, I don't know, seems like it's do-able. I just found taking photos of my nephews sports I could focus mostly on getting shots of him instead of taking photos of sponsor whatever thingies at games for marketing purposes etc., so I suppose it's a different way of taking photos. It was somewhat freeing to take photos of my nephews sports just for fun and my family (mostly my parents! lol) were happy to have the pictures just to enjoy.

    I can handle the pressure of getting the shot, catching the moment, shooting hockey, because I love it and have a clue what I'm doing. The pressure of photographing a wedding?? no no no no no! lol
     
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  12. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Actually, he uses a D500 with a 500mm f/4 so this should be interesting.
    My GF's primary lens is a 300mm f/2.8 VR II so that'll be a blast too.
    My favoured lens is my 105mm f/1.4

    Honestly though, I'm not really stressed. My GF is a really good photographer (and I'm in no way biased). She did their engagement shoot while we were all on vacation in Bali (and that's how this all started).
    If we ever get married we'd probably shoot our own wedding.
     
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