Wedding photography advice seeked

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Bluepoole, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. Bluepoole

    Bluepoole TPF Noob!

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    Hi all

    I'm photographing my first wedding on Saturday. Although I'm so excited about it, I'm obviously very nervous as well.

    Any "last minute/final advice" you guys can offer me? Like how to calm the nerves, what loopholes/problems to look out for, or any other tips?
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Scout the venue(s), know where the parking is, know how long it takes to get from 'A' to 'B' to 'C' and so on. If it's a church wedding, find out what the rules are about the use of flash and photography in general. Check the weather, ensure that you have a good spot for the formals and an alternate. Talk to the couple together and find out what they want in terms of style and an end-product. Make sure you have your contract signed and everyone understands clearly what the terms are. Clean and double-check your gear the night before, ensure you have LOTS of memory and flash batteries.

    Don't. Be. Nervous!!
     
  3. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    charge your batteries.. i've heard too many horror stories of people who thought their battery was fully charged, got to the wedding, and the battery died..

    good luck. don't try anything new.. stick to what you know.. these photos are some of the most important photos your going to take.. don't screw em up!
     
  4. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    It sounds like a no-brainer to remind you of things that seem so obvious, like always have a few memory cards and batteries on hand... but it's amazing how easy it is to forget the obvious things in the chaos of the day. Thus:

    -make sure all batteries are fully charged
    -keep a few cards on hand and know how close you are to filling, so you can switch during a moment of downtime, instead of filling during a critical moment
    -know where you need to be at any given time (and how long it takes to get there), which is another great reason to scout out the locations you will be visiting before the day, if you havent already.
    -hopefully you have a shot list, containing the must have shots and more specific shots requested by the B&G (if not, find some online, and talk to the B&G to get their input)
    -get plenty of sleep the night before

    EDIT: How could I forget... SHOOT RAW (assuming you have adequate memory)

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  5. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Have you ever shot a wedding as a second shooter before? Is this your first wedding every, like you've never helped out in the past?

    If that's the case, there's little advice we can give you other than I hope you have a good contract to protect you.

    Here's a recent example of how things can go bad even with family.

    ModelMayhem.com - My Wedding Photography Law Suit... help?

    Here's a fun read:

    Robert Young's Wedding Photography Blog

    So, if you're going into this without a contract you're VERY exposed. Wedding photography is the profession that is most often sued. It's all too common.

    My advice:

    1) Get an ironclad contract.
    2) Get insurance to cover you should you be sued anyway.

    Being a novice you're probably going to botch a number of key shots. You will be wide open to legal action if the client (family or not) is unhappy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you will have a lot of problems, there are no fast lenses in your line up
     
  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If i were the photographer on MM i would delete every image on the internet and hard drive
     
  8. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Yup, me too.
     
  9. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    I third that? :scratch:
     
  10. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    wow tharmsen, that was quite the read.. some people are so ungrateful for the things we do for them.I do favors for friends all the time... with the understanding always being that they will order photos from me.. and they always have.. i don't think I would ever do any kind of wedding (favor or not) without some kind of written agreement so everything is understood.. my first 2 weddings I did were without contracts.. but I have one now..
     
  11. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Well, it's more or less a commentary about the wedding photography business in general.

    You're dealing with one of the most emotional events in a persons life. You have the entire family there, and they all have an opinion. Not only that, you're one of the few outsiders at the event and EVERYONE is looking to you for guidance. On my first wedding I was surprised how much depends on the wedding photographer. It's not just about the pictures, the photog is a wedding organizer - shuffling people from place to place, reminding them of obligations, carrying spare accessories for the bride, even getting in the middle of disputes to help resolve them. You have to put on a happy face, be calm cool and collective even though you might be frazzled yourself. They think you're the pro who's been to countless weddings before.

    In the middle of all that, if you deliver crap pictures they will eat you alive. It almost immediately goes to threats of legal action. It doesn't matter how friendly and understanding the bride and groom may seem before the event, afterwards things can and often will change - especially if you have to explain why you missed a key shot, or a key shot is poorly lit, out of focus or improperly framed.

    You're going to get grilled, and if you're lucky you'll get out of it by offering a refund. Unfortunately that doesn't always cut it because it's not like they can reshoot their wedding. They're going to want damages (depending on your state - this may or may not be an issue).

    I've heard horror stories like the one I've linked to above where even though things weren't litigated friendships were lost and family members were disowned over a crappy set of pictures.

    As for advice on what to do? If you have to ask, you're no where ready enough for the toughest photography gig out there. I can't tell you how to be in 3 places at once. I can't tell you how to know when to get into position for the ring exchange. I can't tell you where to be at to get those special moments. I can't tell you how to have the right setting at the right time to capture that special moment that just happens in a blink of an eye. In wedding photography you better be DAMN good with a camera. You can't say to the bride while she's walking down the isle "hold it... ok, one more time... just one more... ok, I think I got it, you can go now". You have a split second to get the key shots and you better not be fumbling with your ISO, shutter and aperture settings when that moment arrives.

    Oh well, so many people make this mistake... I wish I could say it was funny but often times it's not because it ends in litigation.
     
  12. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    To the OP:

    Do you have a shot list?

    Have you met with the bride and groom and gotten all the particulars on the family? What shots they want? Are there divorced/remarried family members? Who doesn't want to be photographed with what other family member (uncle Bob hates uncle Bill)?

    Do you have a itinerary for the day?

    Do you have plan for getting the bride and bridesmaids shots and getting the groom and groomsman shots?

    Have you met with the wedding planner / organizer and discussed with them how and when you plan to do your formal shots? Are they on board and is it built into the schedule?

    Do you have portable studio gear for doing formal shots?

    Have you ever shot a group of people using only a 430EX flash?

    Have you used your 430EX as a fill flash outdoors?

    I could go on...
     

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