Should I do weddings...and how?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by XcaliburGirl, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. XcaliburGirl

    XcaliburGirl TPF Noob!

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    Hi folks,
    I've been thinking about trying my hand at wedding photography. I love the whole mood of weddings and the opportunity for beautiful shots.
    I've heard that being an apprentice/assistant is a good approach. But I'm wondering if I need to take photography classes, education, etc. before I even think of contacting a photographer.
    What would be the best way to go about it? It seems presumtuous to just go right out and offer myself when I really have no professional or wedding experience.
    Am I being realistic? Or am I just in an overly optimistic hurry to quit my painfully non-creative, 8 to 5 job?
     
  2. ksmattfish

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

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    I can't get an idea of your skill level from your post. What kind of gear are you familiar with?

    It can't hurt to try to get a job as an assistant. If they tell you to get more experience, then go take a class. I think it would be easier to learn the job with some education or at least self teaching, but I also think that you'd learn more from a photography job than a class.

    Weddings are hard work, and there are lot's of other skills besides photography that come in handy. Often the key to being a good assistant is smoothing out the rough edges as the photographer worries about the equipment.
     
  3. XcaliburGirl

    XcaliburGirl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks.

    I guess I really am a beginner...I have a Canon Digital Rebel and I'm loving the manual controls. I've been getting books out of the library mostly and learning by trial and error.

    I don't know, maybe I need to start with something a little easier.

    Suggestions would be great.
     
  4. ksmattfish

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

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    Take a good Adobe Photoshop class and keep practicing. I'm a big film-geek, but digital is allows you to take lots more pics, and I think that's the best learning tool there is.

    Talk to your local wedding photogs. Practice at your family and friends' weddings.
     
  5. Sterling_Sinner

    Sterling_Sinner TPF Noob!

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    You could take some shots at a party of some sort, getting used to the crowd, the equipment, and using the camera. I imagine you'd learn a lot from shooting a few parties. Being an assistant wouldn't hurt in the least either. Getting the advice from someone who's experienced would look great on your resume along with a good portfolio.
    Basically just get out there, get similar experience, ask around, and persevere. Wedding photography is serious stuff. People who employ wedding photographers put a lot of pressure on the photographer because it's an important day. So I suggest doing some similar things before stepping up to the big jobs.
    Good luck
     
  6. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just a tip, if you want to do weddings, volunteer or get hired with another photographer that does them for the first few times. This way youll know what your suppose to do. INstead of being there and not a clue waht to do.

    Keep in mind this is a couples very special day, and you dont want to mess it up, and if you do, it may be hard to get work elsewhere as well. :0).
     
  7. seanarmenta

    seanarmenta TPF Noob!

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    i don't shoot weddings for one reason -- you can't re-shoot it. :)

    it's too stressful -- you feel like you have to be at 10 places at once because you don't want to miss anything. this is why wedding shooters have 2 or 3 assistants/second shooters.

    but for those who can handle it on their own -- kudos to them :)

    sean
     
  8. ksmattfish

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

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    I agree. I'm still shooting them; the money is too good to turn down. But my dream is to get enough portrait biz that I can stop doing actual weddings ( I could still do engagement and bridal portraits).
     
  9. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How much do you get paid for a wedding photography job? Like the range to get paid, the range for expenses, and what you usually give them for prints. :0).
     
  10. Redsand187

    Redsand187 TPF Noob!

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    I was kindly forced into doing wedding. Now, I'm young, and really had no real photography experience before this, I do Wedding and Anniversary DVD's, as sort of a hobby/side business. I know sounds crazy, it was my God Parents daughter's wedding, and they thought that I could do it.

    Well, I found another wedding and asked the photographer if he minded me following him around, as I was supposed to shoot a wedding on my own soon. I spend some time chatting with him. He told me, there isn't any real secret, you just have to know how to use your camera effectively, have an idea what type of poses they want, have backup equipment, and "take a shitload of pictures." :D

    Afterwards, I got to see his pictures, and compared his to mine. There really wasn't much difference. I was suprised.

    His advice, seemed pretty straight forward, but it was true. If you know how to use your camera you are going to get a shot that looks decent. If you know how to pose people you are going to get a good shot, if you take 300+ pictures, you are going to get at the very minimum, a hand full of amazing shots.

    So, the big day came I armed myself with 20 or so rolls of film, and my camera. It was an outdoor wedding up in a mountain resort that sat on a river. So, I found about 5 different backdrops for the group shots. And did another 5 or so for just the bride. Plus, one right on the riverbank with her father. And a handfull afterwards of the bride and groom together. I took about 150-200 shots total of posed pictures.

    During the ceremony was a little stressful, as not only was I doing the photography, I had 3 digital video cameras filming, one of which, I had a helper running, one was to stay put, and the thrid, I had to watch out of the corner of my eye, to make sure I had a decent shot, just in case. But, I managed about 3-5 shots per group walking down the isle. This is where a second camera a helper, and 36 shot rolls would be very helpfull or at least in this wedding. There were 7 attendants for each the bride and the groom, on top of the parents, grand parents, step parents, flower girl and ring bearer. Then of course there was the bride, groom and minister.

    I also did some pictures at the reception mostly the toast and cake cutting, and left the majority up to the other guests, as I still had video cameras running.

    When I left, I had 3 shots left on my last roll of film. As you can image, there was more pictures then you would know what do with, and there were still poses that we had forgot, or ran out of time for. But there were tons of great ones. They ended up with and album of nearly 100 photos. They had great shots of every group. They were happy as was I.

    The more professional you look and sound, the more cooperation you will get. That is key in getting pictures. It also helps to get the cordinator and best man or in this case an outstanding usher to help get people organized.

    I have since done a handfull of weddings for people. I do it mostly as a favor for those who can't afford to pay big bucks for a bonified pro. I enjoy doing it. I wouldn't expect people to pay me too much, right now. However, if you are seeking to make a business out of this, I'd imagine you'd want somewhere between 15 and 30 under your belt with an assortment of photos to show your customers.

    What I've done is charge a dollar a photo, for 4x6's only, then enlargements and such are up to them to figure out what they want. Then I send them to my prefered lab. That way they are paying the true cost. A dollar a photo works well, as I figure 3 bucks a roll for film, and about 10 bucks to develope it. So I make about $10 per roll. Or somewhere between 100 and 150 bucks to shoot the wedding. This is pretty effective, they get 300 pictures for 300 bucks. And spend around 100-150 on enlargements and reprints. They have spent less then 500 bucks for their wedding photos.

    Most pro's I've looked at charge at minimum 1000 dollars, for half the pictures I take, and very little finished photos. I'd say the average package with a decent number of prints goes in the neighbor hood of 1700-2000 dollars, with 3000 not being uncommon.
     

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