Wedding Questions

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by WDodd, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Alright I have been reading endlessly but still a few questions remain...I recently shadowed a wedding photographer that I know to get a real feel for what it is all about and really pick his brain about how this whole deal works. I will probably shadow him again and take some shots to test my skills.

    But all that aside I have been thinking a lot about how I can get this business going when I am ready.

    How do I build my portfolio and get people to want me to shoot their wedding? In other words how did everyone else here get their start.

    Currently I shoot a Rebel XT, 28-135 IS, 18-55, 75-300, 50mm f/1.8. I know I have like 3 of Canon's 4 cheapest lenses but can I get by with this glass? I also have a 430EX. I would be able to use a digital rebel as a backup camera and would pick up another flash probably a 580EX and use the 430 on the backup camera. My question: Will this setup get my by to start? I don't see why it wouldn't but maybe you guys/gals can.

    I appreciate all the responses.
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First off YOU NEED A SECOND BODY!!!!!!!. Whatever you do, do not go out and sell yourself as a pro and show up at a wedding and have your only camera body crap out on you right in the middle of the ceremony while the birde is walking down the aisle with her father. I see no reason why you cannot get by with what you have if your camera has a full sized sensor a 50 is the perfect focal length to learn with. Personally in most of my career as a wedding photographer with medium format I shot only with 75mm wich is the "normal lens for 645 and I did alot of excellen work if I do say so myself.
     
  3. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Sorry I forgot to mention that I have 2 extra bodies. A film body as a third backup probably and a digital rebel. I would love to purchase a 40D by early next year.
     
  4. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    Fortunately when I started into wedding photography(still am starting), a few of my friends were getting married. And to develop a portfolio, I had to do a lot of free shoots in exchange for being able to use their pictures in my portfolio. Shadowing another photographer is always a great idea and can be a valuable learning experience. I have yet to be the only photographer at the actual wedding so far, just in case my pictures turned out horrible. Done plenty of engagements and bridals and they are a different animal. The 50 f/1.8 is a great starting point, but I'd certainly look into faster zooms. You'll need them. There's a lot of competition out there, so try to separate yourself from the rest of the pack with creative photos and a creative way to present them.
     
  5. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    He doesn't have a full frame sensor...it's a 1.6 on the XTi.

    But anyways...I will agree with having a backup body...as well as at least 2 lenses that will do well in low light conditions. In case you didn't notice the first time, churches are the worst possible place to take pictures...there's absolutely no light...and if there is...it's usually crappy...and mixed...

    I say shadow as long as you can without making him angry, and then try it out.
     
  6. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Personally I would upgrade the body so your performance in low light situations are better at least grain wise. Perhaps rent or borrow a 5D prior to an event and rent it that day as well - it is amazing how much difference is there.

    Second shoot more, I would say at least half a dozen times if you can before shooting solo (and yes I am being a hypocrite as I shot 3 as a second shooter prior to my 'solo' except, it was my cousins and no money exchanged hands)

    Once you have some weddings under your belt, it is amazing the couples that will start flocking to you, usulaly they just want your services for cheap cheap cheap so choose your clients wisely or else it will just be one big pain after the other.
     
  7. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Q&A-threads should not go into the Portraits and Weddings GALLERY, that's what the General Shop Talk is there for, even if you want to have questions on WEDDINGS answered, ok? ;)
     
  8. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Sorry :(
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    I agree that it would be helpful to shadow a pro as many times as you can. If you ask nicely, they may let you shoot and use those shots for your portfolio.

    Another option, might be for you to attend weddings of families and friends and get shots there (if the hired pro is OK with that).

    I got a lot of my practice and some of my portfolio shots doing just that. I would offer to shoot all the things that the hired pro didn't. Usually they only hired the pro to shoot the ceremony and formals, and I shot the rest. Of course, it didn't hurt that I married into a large Ukrainian farming family...they usually have about 5 large weddings every year.

    Another option to build up your portfolio would be to just fake it...by that I mean to get a couple dressed up as if for a wedding and make some beautiful images. You could rent a wedding dress or buy a used one. Hire a model or ask the prettiest girl you know to model for you. An instructor of mine said that he had a student who shot his whole starting portfolio in his garage in one day, with a hired model and a few different backdrops.

    Also, when choosing your portfolio....less is sometimes more. 10 fantastic images is better than 15 images with 5 that are not as good as the others.

    Once you have a portfolio...get the word out. Tell all your friends and family etc. Somebody will know someone who is getting married and all it takes is a little word of mouth. Once you start to get some bookings, do a good job and the word of mouth will start to spread. A website will also help, as people will be able to see your work, without having to make an appointment.

    For some people, that is enough to keep them busy. You might need to do a little more advertising to get the word out. There are plenty of good ideas so look around.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    Oh ya...you will need (well, really really want) to get some better glass.
     
  11. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Honestly I have to tell you though if you intend on shooting weddings professionally you need to invest some real money. The first time I got into wedding photography I started from scratch I got a loan and made the purchases I needed to make. I bought 2 medium format cameras 2 professional strobes (Metz 60-CT 1+4) plus bracket, bag, etc.... al in all my investment was $5200 and I spent quite alot more after that I got a tripod and various small stuff. I know gear does not make you a professional photographer but if you get into charging people $1000+ for shooting their wedings and you don't have the gear to back that up you are doing your clients a disserveice. When I got into digital I also started from scratch because I did not have any pro 35mm gear my inital investment was $3500 and I have to say I did not spend nearly enough (you can see in my sig what I got). The one thing you have to remember is when you go to shoot a wedding you do not want uncle Phil the enthusiast to have better gear than you, the guy who is charging $1000+ to be there that just causes instant doubt.
     
  12. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh yeah and to answer your original question about how people got into shooting weddings. For me I went to school for photography (a 2 year program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh) I had also worked for several newspapers and done tons of freelance work. When my wife's sister got married I kind of trailed the photographer a little. When he had some downtime we got to talking and he told me to bring a portfolio to his studio and we could talk. I went to him he liked my work and said (and this is the important part to you) "when you have the right gear I will ihire you" this meant a full system and a full backup and nothing less. So after that the rest is history and I have been shooting wedding for 6-7 years now. The main problem with working for these other people is getting access to your own work so you can have a portfolio to show to people.
     

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