scoring your first wedding shoot!

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by bellaPictures, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. bellaPictures

    bellaPictures TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,
    im new to this site and so glad i found it. Well ive been doing photography for about 5 yrs now, and have been doing a few wedding for family members, but the thing is that i never kept copies of them because i didnt want to spend money printing doubles just in case it didnt turn out nice.
    To my suprise, they turned out excellent and i dont have any to show because i have given them as a gift.

    I would like to know how everyone scored their first wedding (besides doing favours for family/friends) and actually got some money for it....thanks so much

    looking forward to hearing from you all
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You'll need examples. Maybe you can borrow the negs back, and make some prints?

    I also started out doing weddings for friends and family. Pretty soon I was getting asked by co-workers and friends of friends. I put together a book of wedding photos, and set up a website, and the phone started ringing.
     
  3. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    I had a similar experience so what I did was go back to the couple and scanned in the prints to put together a small website. I had shot as the reception photographer for several family & friends and a few years later opened my own studio. I started out by offering a discount with the clients understanding that I was new to weddings. From there referrals have been my biggest source of shoots. Good luck!
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I'm just in the stage of doing the friends & family's weddings. When I was shooting film, I always had the images scanned to CD at the time of developing/printing. Then I made copies of the digital files for me to keep and gave the couple both the prints and the CDs. Now I'm digital so it's easy to keep a copy of the images.

    I'm sure that if you ask your friends & family to borrow the negatives to make prints, the will oblige. Hopefully, the will be supportive of your endeavor to become a professional and maybe they would be flattered that you want to use their pictures as advertising.
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sounds similar....we did our first one as a wedding gift for friends. Then some other friends asked, and we were happy to oblige while trying different things and developing a style. Then a co-worker was suddenly ready to pay, so we covered our costs and came out a couple hundred ahead. :lol: It swelled from there, and we went along for years never having to chum up clients, till we steadily got a little tired of doing them for various reasons - and we're out of that business now. :)

    The last one we did was for family who had hired an expensive "pro" in Long Island, but asked us to get some candids. We hadn't done one in a couple years so, just for fun, we decided to shoot all B&W, and went whole hog from the beginning to ending of the day. We made 3 proof books, for both sets of parents and the B&G and sent them to them a month later. We also made a couple 8x10s and I handcolored them, again, for fun. They were thrilled with the results. :)

    The "pro" made them wait 6 months for their proofs, and they were astonishingly poor in quality. We were so glad to have done what we did, since the couple loved them and had little else from their big day, as it turned out.
     
  6. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    6 months for proofs :shock: I would be livid if I was their client. We guarantee all proofs to be up on the website within 4-6 weeks of the wedding (I shoot for 4!) and then they order the proofs they want and from there we do the album. The last bride I worked with told me her friend didn't get her proofs for a year, and her album a few years after that!
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    They could be divorced by then! :lol: Yep, it's crazy, isn't it? She charged them a fortune, too! Actually it might have been closer to 8-9 months, since I seem to recall a conversation with them when they'd been married 6 months and they made the comment about how they regarded our work as their "real" wedding photos at that point, since they still had nothing.

    You gotta wonder about people who overextend themselves like that.
     
  8. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    A YEAR........ and I was worried that i have been hand printing my shots and it has taken me a week to do half so far.

    By the way, as far as the thread goes, I did my first wedding a week ago, and may have another lined up for Oct. I wasn't really intending to get into weddings, but it was pretty painless, so I may pursue it a little more.
     
  9. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    Same stage here! :)
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "Scored?" Ya mean how did I get the job? I was just a kid... 15 I think. Thankfully I lived in a very small town at the time and didn't need to drive. I'm not sure how I got the first one. Like I say, SMALL town... word gets around quickly. I'm not too proud of some of those very early weddings. In fact, I think I shot the first one on 35mm.

    BTW... we deliver proofs two weeks after the wedding. At that time, I require payment in full for our smallest package. That way, I don't care if they never come back (some don't).
     
  11. bellaPictures

    bellaPictures TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for your info...i will try and get some of the negs back and reprint them...and will put them in an album to show others as well.

    Im just afraid that because i havent done many wedding outside family/friends, they might be put off by that, and think im not experienced enough and expect it to be done really cheap??

    For my own wedding, i had to wait 6 months for my proofs as well, i thought that was the normal waiting period.

    To get more variety in my pictures, i want to be able to take photos of other weddings but im not sure how to go about asking people to let me take it when they dont know me. I cant just turn up to some church and if there happen to be a wedding there, i just snap away, thats not allowed is it? I hope you all get what im trying to say here. Can someone please tell me how to go about this...thanks
     
  12. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    I started doing friends and family. Shot on 35mm with my trusty Minolta 3xi and an on camera Quantary flash. They weren't great but they were a start. I continued shooting friends and family weddings even if I wasn't the "official" photographer just to get the practice. There were a few weddings that I got shots the photographer either missed or in one case, I ended up finishing the reception because the photographer bailed. :confused: At any rate, I came away with enough nice shots to put a portfolio together. It didn't matter if the wedding shots were of friends or family. My work spoke for itself. So, when I got my portfolio seen, it was fairly easy to get paying jobs. I "marketed" my wedding work as something beyond the run of the mill wedding shots since I strived to capture the spirit of the couple. The cover shot in my portfolio was of a bride and groom posing nicely in a gazebo, looking at each other with big smiles and their tongues out. It doesn't work for every client but it's gotten me more than one job where the bride wanted her shots to be more personal. Once I could justify the expense of medium format, I invested in a nice Bronica set up. Even though I shoot most things digitally, I still stand by my Bronica and good ole fashioned film for weddings.

    The biggest thing that helped get my work seen by (paying) brides was an "alliance" that I made with a wedding coordinator. She helped me get my first big paying gig and introduced me to a busy florist and DJ that had worked together in the past. We exchanged a stack of business cards and passed them out for each other. I don't take on a lot of work but still shoot weddings for family and friends. Only now, instead of making all the jobs gratis, I charge for most but have a sliding scale for payment. Close family & good friends = cost of D&P. My work is my gift to them, most friends = $300 plus D&P, casual friends = $500 plus D&P. I give the option of shooting 35mm, digital or medium format but strongly push the medium format. It's more costly for the D&P but there's nothing in the world that looks like medium format. It's got a feel that you have to see to believe. :mrgreen: Anyone else pays full rates and I deliver proofs anywhere between a few days to 3 weeks.
     

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