Being asked to shoot a wedding when you aren't a wedding photographer

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I think you might be giving me a little too much credit lol.
 

manaheim

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You obviously know what is at stake. If you fall on your ass, I won't feel responsible in any way. Yes, I am pushing you to do it, but I think you have an above average chance of doing at least "OK", and I think "OK" is not bad for your first time.
I think you're smart enough to make your own decision after considering everything that has been said in this thread.

You could do much worse than just 'OK'. After this, you may decide that you never want to shoot another wedding again. You may also decide that it is definitely what you want to do. There's only one way to find out...

Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

Yes, certainly all the best luck to you.
 

brian_f2.8

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Several ways you could go about this

1 - say no thank you, i appreciate the offer

2 - shoot a wedding before hand if you can with someone who is established and learn how to do this

3 - say yes - its the only way you will grow and learn. who knows what comes out of it. let them know what you can and can't do. let them
know this is your first. WHAT ARE THEIR EXPECTATIONS?
 

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I think you might be giving me a little too much credit lol.

And I think you may be selling yourself short.

If you do this, I don't see you falling on your ass. I'm sure some things will not go the way you'd like them to - but that is sort of to be expected on your first time. There will be a learning curve, there's no doubt about that.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be the right choice for you at this time. I can see good arguments for both sides. Sure, it's new and scary - but you have to do new and scary things sometimes in order to grow. The fact that you're questioning it means that you know the risks - it's not something to take lightly. If you do it, I think you'll come out on top though.

If you decline, nobody will blame you. If you do it, give it everything you have.
 
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Several ways you could go about this

1 - say no thank you, i appreciate the offer

2 - shoot a wedding before hand if you can with someone who is established and learn how to do this

3 - say yes - its the only way you will grow and learn. who knows what comes out of it. let them know what you can and can't do. let them
know this is your first. WHAT ARE THEIR EXPECTATIONS?

I plan on finding that this week.
 
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I think you might be giving me a little too much credit lol.

And I think you may be selling yourself short.

If you do this, I don't see you falling on your ass. I'm sure some things will not go the way you'd like them to - but that is sort of to be expected on your first time. There will be a learning curve, there's no doubt about that.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be the right choice for you at this time. I can see good arguments for both sides. Sure, it's new and scary - but you have to do new and scary things sometimes in order to grow. The fact that you're questioning it means that you know the risks - it's not something to take lightly. If you do it, I think you'll come out on top though.

If you decline, nobody will blame you. If you do it, give it everything you have.

You are my voice of reason, Josh. :D
 

12sndsgood

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To many question marks to really say wether you should do it or not. If it were me the whole wifes boss would likley cause me to walk away. just on that fact alone. i'd ask them there budget and who have they looked at so far, see where the wedding is at and the basic information. how much time is there until the wedding? if you have a month, walk away. if you have 4-5 months, that is a lot of time to plan for the day, if its something you'r just going to wing it, walk away. If you know it's a one shot deal and everything is on your shoulders and you can still feel confident then that say's something about yourself. Make sure you go in planning. Reason why i'm not just telling you to go and run away is because I was in your shoes last december when friends of mine asked me the same thing and I ended up taking the job, shooting the wedding an have walked the same path. I was problaby the most serious person at there wedding, because i knew i wasn't going to let myself screwup there day, and because I took charge of things and planned things out so the chances of me failing were as little as possible. if you want to know the planning involved just head down to yoru local libary or book store, I have seen several books that lay out step by step the planning, processing and what's needed step by step. that was my first step the day after telling them I would do it. shooting a wedding isn't something you can just show up and expect things to go your way. you need to plan them out well ahead of time. and plan in contingincis when things go wrong (and they will).

If your a planner who has the dedication to take the time and run the wedding from start to finish and can take good photos under pressure take a chance. if you have no idea how you will reacct under pressure and don't feel like taking the time to plan in advance turn them down.

And if you are really considering wether to shoot there wedding or not. stop telling them your mediocre or not good. put an idea in someones head your photos are **** and they will eventually believe that. and that might be stuck in there head when there looking over your photos. Don't lie about your experience. but I wouldn't talk bad about your photos.
 

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Just shoot the wedding. You've around long enough to know when these types of threads pop up the original poster is secretly hoping they'll get all kinds of "you can do it" replies. If you didn't think you could do it then you wouldn't have started the thread. Shoot the wedding, have a contract and post the results.
 

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I'm new here but I just had to respond to this. I used to work at a florist where my manager kept mistaking my event coordinator certificate for my photography interests and would tell people I was a wedding photographer lol. As a coordinator I understand the question you're asking and I have to say step one would be what someone else said early on. Is it a venue? If it's not someones back yard you will very likely HAVE to have insurance. I would find that out initially and then how much. This answer alone may make you decide it's not worth it. I'm in no way saying you shouldn't but it may just make it clear that it's not worth it this time. If it's not much, sometimes it's not, then you can move on to worrying about other things. Also some venues won't allow outside photographers. In my city the botanical garden requires certain photographers to pay yearly dues to be their 'select' photographers. If you aren't the select few there is a hefty fee to shoot there. Crappy? Yes, but that's just how it is. The business aspect always seems to get in the way of creativity. When getting your info from the family, find out who the other vendors are. Introduce yourself beforehand if you can. I doubt they will have a planner but if they have someone coordinating by all means make them you best friend! Try to get an extremely detailed itinerary. They may try to be laid back with you since you already said they are making out like it's not a big deal but on that day emotions will be high and you won't get any questions answered then. So be heavy handed with them to make sure you know how the entire day will play out beforehand. And by all means, get some sort of contract, casual or not! Have you watched Judge Judy??? I know its more from the planner side but I hope this helps a little at least.
 

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A couple of things to consider...

First, the biggest red flag I saw in your original post was that you felt you needed to scout the venue. I understand why you wrote that. Heck, I've probably given that same advice on this forum...but that is usually to somebody who just got their camera and thinks their new DSLR with kit lens is going to cut it. They scout it, figure out they can't take a picture in those conditions, and we never hear from them again.

I won't say that scouting a venue is a complete waste of time, but the thing about photographing weddings is they are all hard. Either you have the skills and equipment to do it or you don't. As far as scouting, you won't know what the light setup is going to be until you get there. The DJ is probably going to bring lights, the venue might set them up, but rarely are the lights going to be the same from one day to the next. You have to walk into the room, figure out where the shots will work from and where they won't. You also need to figure out where all the 'core' shots are going to be...cake cutting, toasts, etc. And you have to know where you need to be to get those shots and make sure you get there before it's announced and a guest has taken your spot. Now, most of that is for the reception.

For the actual wedding, I shoot with two other photographers so that we don't have to move around and can still capture any angles we need. You probably won't have that luxary, so you will already be limited. As far as knowing what the rules are, well, you won't know that until the day of when you meet with the officiant and he tells you where you can be, when you can use your flash, and how he feels about you moving around.

What makes wedding photography difficult is that it is not easy to prepare for. None of us can tell you what it's going to be like when you show up, where to stand, what the rules are going to be, what equipment you need, etc. You have to be able to walk in and know it...You also need to have the gear and backups to do it. It's not something that can be explained on an online forum. It's something that comes with experience from shooting in a lot of really crappy situtations.

All that being said, it doesn't sound like you have talked money with them, yet. My guess, you are over-thinking this and when you find out they want to pay you about $200 and it's going to be about 40 hours of work, you'll decide it's not worth it.

Either way, good luck to you. I won't be one of the ones that says you shouldn't do it...sounds like you are putting a lot of thought into and asking good questions. The one thing I would caution you on, though, is that when a 'client' doesn't want to spend a lot on photography, doesn't care about the person's experience, and just wants 'some photos', it makes it a lot more difficult for you as the photographer. You have to realize that how much they value photography leading up to the wedding will directly correlate to how much they value the photos when they are at the wedding, and trust me, the clients cooperation and enthusiasm for what you are doing makes a huge difference in what you will be able to produce.
 
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Just shoot the wedding. You've around long enough to know when these types of threads pop up the original poster is secretly hoping they'll get all kinds of "you can do it" replies. If you didn't think you could do it then you wouldn't have started the thread. Shoot the wedding, have a contract and post the results.

I gotta say, I've truly never stepped foot in the wedding forum ever. But, like I said before - validation is not the intent of the thread. I can get plenty of that from my wife lol (maybe not lol).
I don't know if I can or can't do it, but since this woman has persisted that I consider doing it, I'm considering it.
 

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I am a bit baffled as to why nobody's willing to whip down a quick list of the core shots for you (for example), but they'll write 100s of words on why you shouldn't do it.

I don't know what they are either, I suggest you get googlin' though,
 
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To many question marks to really say wether you should do it or not. If it were me the whole wifes boss would likley cause me to walk away. just on that fact alone. i'd ask them there budget and who have they looked at so far, see where the wedding is at and the basic information. how much time is there until the wedding? if you have a month, walk away.
3 months exactly from today. 50 people attending. Bridal party consists of 3 people. I know the venue (married at the same place). The whole wife's boss thing is a non-factor.

if
you have 4-5 months, that is a lot of time to plan for the day, if its something you'r just going to wing it, walk away. If you know it's a one shot deal and everything is on your shoulders and you can still feel confident then that say's something about yourself. Make sure you go in planning. Reason why i'm not just telling you to go and run away is because I was in your shoes last december when friends of mine asked me the same thing and I ended up taking the job, shooting the wedding an have walked the same path. I was problaby the most serious person at there wedding, because i knew i wasn't going to let myself screwup there day, and because I took charge of things and planned things out so the chances of me failing were as little as possible. if you want to know the planning involved just head down to yoru local libary or book store, I have seen several books that lay out step by step the planning, processing and what's needed step by step. that was my first step the day after telling them I would do it. shooting a wedding isn't something you can just show up and expect things to go your way. you need to plan them out well ahead of time. and plan in contingincis when things go wrong (and they will).

No winging it for me. This week I'm taking my time to research the intricacies of what's needed and expenses before I even give her a response.

If your a planner who has the dedication to take the time and run the wedding from start to finish and can take good photos under pressure take a chance. if you have no idea how you will reacct under pressure and don't feel like taking the time to plan in advance turn them down.
Roger.

And if you are really considering wether to shoot there wedding or not. stop telling them your mediocre or not good. put an idea in someones head your photos are **** and they will eventually believe that. and that might be stuck in there head when there looking over your photos. Don't lie about your experience. but I wouldn't talk bad about your photos.
I didn't tell them that my photos were mediocre or not good. I told you guys that lol. They told me they like my photos.
 

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I am a bit baffled as to why nobody's willing to whip down a quick list of the core shots for you (for example), but they'll write 100s of words on why you shouldn't do it.

I don't know what they are either, I suggest you get googlin' though,

Because there is no such thing as a 'core list'. It varies by the couple. Some want a table shot of everybody there. Some want formals. Some want candids. Some want a mixture.

As far as what most everybody wants, I'll give it a shot...

Getting ready:
Makeup
Shoes
Dress
Jewelery
Bouteneirs
Pinning
Adjusting the tie
General getting ready stuff

Formals:
Bride
Groom
Bride and Groom
Bride and Bridesmaids
Bride and Matron of Honor
Bride and Groomsmen
Groom and Bridesmaids
Groom and Groomsmen
Groom and Best Man
Bride and Mother
Bride and Mother/Father
Bride and Mother/Father/Siblings
Bride and Grandparents
Groom and Mother
Groom and Mother/Father
Groom and Mother/Father/Siblings
Groom and Grandparents
Complete wedding party
Bride/Groom w/ Grandparents
Bride/Groom w/ Parents
*Any other ones they specifically request...long lost cousin, whatever, and any of the above either split out or combined.

Ceremony:
Approach
First look
Nuptuals
Speeches/songs
Ring Exchange
Unity candle/sand
Close up shot
Pull back shot
Announcement
Recessional

Reception:
Arrival
Entrance
Toasts
First dance
Father/Daughter Dance
Mother/Son Dance
Cake cutting
Boquet toss
Garter toss
Dancing
Candids
Possibly table shots
Exit

Details:
Rings
Bouquet
Table settings
Food
Flowers
Decorations

Pull Back shots:
Overall church; outside and inside
Overall venue, preferably empty and set up
Overall venue with dancing

That list should cover most clients, but as always, it needs to be discussed with the client to make sure any special shots are considered and that you aren't wasting time on shots they don't want.
 
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A couple of things to consider...

First, the biggest red flag I saw in your original post was that you felt you needed to scout the venue. I understand why you wrote that. Heck, I've probably given that same advice on this forum...but that is usually to somebody who just got their camera and thinks their new DSLR with kit lens is going to cut it. They scout it, figure out they can't take a picture in those conditions, and we never hear from them again.

Well, I figured since I plan on getting back up gear, if it was a dark environment I would pick up a FF camera. If it were extremely well lit, I'd just stick with a second D7000 since I know it.
But now I know where it is, and it's in the morning in May and in a very well lit environment.

I won't say that scouting a venue is a complete waste of time, but the thing about photographing weddings is they are all hard. Either you have the skills and equipment to do it or you don't. As far as scouting, you won't know what the light setup is going to be until you get there. The DJ is probably going to bring lights, the venue might set them up, but rarely are the lights going to be the same from one day to the next. You have to walk into the room, figure out where the shots will work from and where they won't. You also need to figure out where all the 'core' shots are going to be...cake cutting, toasts, etc. And you have to know where you need to be to get those shots and make sure you get there before it's announced and a guest has taken your spot. Now, most of that is for the reception.
Roger.

For the actual wedding, I shoot with two other photographers so that we don't have to move around and can still capture any angles we need. You probably won't have that luxary, so you will already be limited. As far as knowing what the rules are, well, you won't know that until the day of when you meet with the officiant and he tells you where you can be, when you can use your flash, and how he feels about you moving around.
The wedding is at the reception luckily, so I'll be able to coordinate everything at once with the staff.

What makes wedding photography difficult is that it is not easy to prepare for. None of us can tell you what it's going to be like when you show up, where to stand, what the rules are going to be, what equipment you need, etc. You have to be able to walk in and know it...You also need to have the gear and backups to do it. It's not something that can be explained on an online forum. It's something that comes with experience from shooting in a lot of really crappy situtations.
I'll keep this in mind and bring this up to the bride.

All that being said, it doesn't sound like you have talked money with them, yet. My guess, you are over-thinking this and when you find out they want to pay you about $200 and it's going to be about 40 hours of work, you'll decide it's not worth it.

Haha bingo. I'm going to find out tomorrow hopefully what their budget is.

Either way, good luck to you. I won't be one of the ones that says you shouldn't do it...sounds like you are putting a lot of thought into and asking good questions. The one thing I would caution you on, though, is that when a 'client' doesn't want to spend a lot on photography, doesn't care about the person's experience, and just wants 'some photos', it makes it a lot more difficult for you as the photographer. You have to realize that how much they value photography leading up to the wedding will directly correlate to how much they value the photos when they are at the wedding, and trust me, the clients cooperation and enthusiasm for what you are doing makes a huge difference in what you will be able to produce.
This is a very good point, and I would have to communicate this with the bride if in fact I do shoot it.

Thanks, Kerbouchard. I appreciate the help.
 
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