What is the best way to...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by navy2001, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. navy2001

    navy2001 TPF Noob!

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    I haven't been to a wedding in 6 years (former military and not too many friends in the area) and I've only been able to attempt to take pictures at parties, banquets, and other special events (many of them for my much younger brother and sister -- 6 and 11 respectively). I'm 27 years old. I love taking photos and have been working off and in with still and video cameras since 6th grade (my film pics have been better than my digital pics) and I am trying to decide between photographing special events and weddings or being the event/wedding planner. What a choice!

    How do I get about getting experience shooting weddings knowing that I still need to find a job to support myself (finishing second bachelor's degree in December). Should I get a job at one of those places at the mall or something that shoots portriats so I have that experience, or what?

    Also, I am about to take a 3 session class at the community college just on wedding photography. I was shooting these parties with a high-end consumer digital, but had low-light issues and such. I now have a 35mm SLR with a couple of lenses and external flash to use tomorrow for my 11 year old sister's graduation.

    I hope I've given you enough suggestions to give me suggestions. If you need more info, let me know.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I suggest trying to find a working pro photographer and asking to apprentice for them. It might mean working for free for a while...or even just carrying their gear for them...but the experience can be worth it's weight in gold. Weddings can be some of the most stressful things to shoot. Completely different from working at the mall (which I wouldn't really recommend).

    Taking courses is always a good idea, that should give you some direction and hopefully some good contacts as well.

    Nothing wrong with using film. 35mm is still better than most digital cameras. If you do want to move to digital, a Digital SLR is the way to go. Much, much better than a digi-cam.
     
  3. navy2001

    navy2001 TPF Noob!

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    Does that mean schleping in my free time? Because I was serious about the job thing. I don't have a job except working as a student assistant at the school library. When the December semester ends, and if I'm not enrolled in another program (like a master's program) then I need a full-time job.
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I gotta tell you while shooting at a mall "portrait" place will give you some experience shooting people it will not in any way prepare you for the difficulty of shooting a wedding. The only way to prepare yourself for shooting a wedding is to do what mike said and tail someone.
     
  5. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

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    yeah what mike said.

    i would rather shoot weddings than baby portraits at a mall anyday! my sister-in-law keeps telling me to go check out this one photo place in the mall for when i'm not shooting weddings. no interest to me.
     
  6. navy2001

    navy2001 TPF Noob!

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    If I wanted to add portraits to my repertiore, then would a place at the mall be a bad place to start?

    Maybe it's a creativity thing, but I get the impression that posters in this forum despise the mall studios.

    I could be wrong, but could that be a way to get to learn that aspect and use someone else's equipment?

    Like I said, I could be wrong.
     
  7. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    I think for me, the problem with working at a mall/sears/walmart type of photo studio is that I don't think I would learn a whole lot about the type of photography that I would want to get good at. I think I could work really hard at getting posing down, but I'm not sure they really give you a lot of leeway with experimenting with that sort of thing. Also, I'm pretty sure everything is pretty automatic and set up and not too much in the photographer's control. They don't care about hiring people with experience with photography either so that leads me to believe even more that everything is fairly automated.

    If I were you, I'd try to find a more upscale portrait studio to work at. I think those positions are probably a lot harder to find, but in the end would be more worth your time.
     
  8. navy2001

    navy2001 TPF Noob!

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    So, if you shouldn't shoot a wedding until you have experience, can some please define that experience because there's no such thing as a practice wedding? How do you practice? Shouldn't I keep shooting special events as well? And then how do I practice the portrait shooting? Best book recommendation?

    I need more concrete answers than I've been able to find. Even my wedding photography class last night was half full of men who had shot a few weddings and thought they knew everything and distracted from the rest of the class (it was way out of order!), but more on that later.
     
  9. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    If you want to get into wedding photography I would check out the wedding section on the forum. This is what I want to get into eventually but from everything I've read there is a lot that goes into it to be really good. Without getting into all the specifics I would just say this, that a true pro wedding photog will tell you that you need to shadow someone doing weddings. This is probably the only way you are going to learn whats going on without crashing and burning on your first wedding. Wedding memories are too important to screw up thats why its going to be a long long long time and a lot of learning/practice before I ever attempt one.
     
  10. navy2001

    navy2001 TPF Noob!

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    This thread was originally posted in the wedding section of the forum, but for some reason, was moved over here. As I said before, I am taking a short wedding photography class (9 hours total) and for the last 6 hours we'll be shooting a model and then a bride and groom. My instructor started out by shooting a friends wedding, and not shadowing. Also, from what was said in the first class, those who are already shooting weddings haven't shadowed anyone either.

    I think asking for opinions might have been a mistake because there are so many different ideas and none of them take into account the situation I have tried to explain that I have. Ego aside, I have trouble shadowing anyone because I don't want to be in the way and I'll feel like there's something they're doing that I could do better (this is usually an organizational or assertiveness aspect of something). For example, even though my instructor has been in business for 30 years and teaching other photography classes as well and charges $250/hour, he was 30 minutes late to class for no reason, disorganized in his method of handing out information sheets, and had no agenda for running the class so the first class was just a free-for-all where you shouted out your question and he would answer it. He didn't know how to stay on topic, so, consequently, one of my more important concerns, equipment (which was supposed to be addressed according to the course overview) didn't happen. And it didn't help that I was one of only two people with a film SLR. There were a lot of gear snobs in the class and many more who lacked the basic understanding of running a business (separate topic). I thought I was going to get more out of that first day, but I didn't. I'm just glad that next week we'll actually be shooting.
     

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