You Guys Intimidate Me: Another Wedding Topic

crystle

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I've been going through threads and studying to learn the more technical aspects of photography. I personally am big on application, sometimes I really just don't get it until I put it to use. So I put up an ad offering myself as a second shooter free of charge. I geared my wording towards other photographers that would not mind me tagging along and learning on the way. Needless to say I got zero responses from photographers, womp, but I was approached by brides to be. People that cant afford to hire a photographer and was asking if I could shoot their wedding. My immediate reaction "Are you smoking crack?! Not me by myself." I've read more than enough threads of where the overwhelming response is a big "DON'T DO IT" and the responsibility scares the mess out of me. The problem is that I can be a bit of a bleeding heart. When I was married I couldn't afford anyone and do you know how many pictures I enjoy looking at from my wedding; zilch. Do you ever come across these moments in your craft that you know its not a good idea, but you feel compelled to be compassionate to their situations? Is there room in photography where something is better than nothing?
 

cgipson1

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I've been going through threads and studying to learn the more technical aspects of photography. I personally am big on application, sometimes I really just don't get it until I put it to use. So I put up an ad offering myself as a second shooter free of charge. I geared my wording towards other photographers that would not mind me tagging along and learning on the way. Needless to say I got zero responses from photographers, womp, but I was approached by brides to be. People that cant afford to hire a photographer and was asking if I could shoot their wedding. My immediate reaction "Are you smoking crack?! Not me by myself." I've read more than enough threads of where the overwhelming response is a big "DON'T DO IT" and the responsibility scares the mess out of me. The problem is that I can be a bit of a bleeding heart. When I was married I couldn't afford anyone and do you know how many pictures I enjoy looking at from my wedding; zilch. Do you ever come across these moments in your craft that you know its not a good idea, but you feel compelled to be compassionate to their situations? Is there room in photography where something is better than nothing?

Do you think that the Bridezilla's ever feel compelled to be compassionate when they are suing a incompetent photographer for failure to produce adequate images?
 

480sparky

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How could they sue me if I'm doing it for free?

Anyone can sue anyone else for anything. Remember, you live in the US.

I flat-out refuse to do commission work. Period. Won't do it. Not no way, not no how. And not for all the tea in China, all the oil in Texas, or all the money in the world.
 

Derrel

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Yes, there is a LOT of room in photography where "something" is vastly better than "nothing". A lot of people just want a few decent, sharp, clear images of their wedding. The vast majority of wedding photos are pretty thin on artistry, since so many wedding shooters are self-taught, and have very little idea of how to properly pose, where to put the camera, or how to utilize light. Most "photographers" today are just technicians who know how to focus a shot, and how to process an image into a print file or a screen JPEG.

A contract that protects you against accidents, bad photos, or a client who is not happy with the work would be a good precautionary measure. A lawyer from your state could probably draw up such a contract for you for a reasonable fee.

But, again, yes, there's a wide range of wedding photography that is being sold these days...from pretty basic, almost awful stuff, all the way to high-end shooters selling $25,000 packages that are of the highest quality in all respects.
 

tirediron

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...Is there room in photography where something is better than nothing?
Absolutely! I'm one of the very vocal "Don't tackle weddings if you don't know what you're doing" members here, BUT, I also recognize that there are many people out there who cannot affort $5000, $2000, or even $500 for wedding photography, and if you want to shoot those to gain experience and help the couple, that's great, BUT.. a word or two of caution in your shell-like ear: PROTECT yourself. Draft up a contract and have it reviewed by a competent lawyer. Even though you may be doing it for nothing, ensure that you have a signed document which states clearly that you are NOT a professional, and that you are doing this ONLY to help the bride and groom and what you give them is what they get and that's ALL they get. No promises, no guarentees, etc, etc... You only have to search about two seconds on line to find thousands of 'bridezilla vs. photographer' stories (and by stories, I usually mean lawsuits). You will find that in almost all the cases where it went the photographer's way, he had a professionally drafted contract.

As far as second-shooting, don't e-mail, don't text, don't telephone (except to ask for an appointment), TALK FACE TO FACE! Go around, knock on doors, visit other photographers, don't be afraid to start off as an intern (Read: gear schlepper, floor-sweeper and lens cleaner). If I were to hire a second/assistant, there's ZERO chance that I would from an e-mail, but if you take the trouble to visit me, show me a portfolio, and explain what you want to do, there's a MUCH better chance...
 

runnah

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Personally I'd rather face the scorn of a million internet photographers than a single angry bride.
 
OP
crystle

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Very helpful. My naivity would have never brought to a conclusion of getting a contracted drafted up. My train of thought takes me to "how could they be mad?" lol Incompetent may be a little bit mislabeling. I am very meticulous about not misrepresenting myself with people. For me to be incompetent the bar would have to be raised on the expected and presented skill level. If I only had shots from a disposable camera and told the bride that I only use disposable cameras then the output could only be as such.
 

tirediron

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Very helpful. My naivity would have never brought to a conclusion of getting a contracted drafted up. My train of thought takes me to "how could they be mad?" lol Incompetent may be a little bit mislabeling. I am very meticulous about not misrepresenting myself with people. For me to be incompetent the bar would have to be raised on the expected and presented skill level. If I only had shots from a disposable camera and told the bride that I only use disposable cameras then the output could only be as such.
The problem is, many people (and not to stereotype but brides and mothers of brides seem to be the worst, generally the guys go, "Hey look a picture of me chugging a beer... cool!") when preparing for a wedding tend to be under a lot of stress and say whatever they need to get things moving, such as, "Sure, that's fine, any pictures will be great!", but three months later when everythings over and the honeymoon glow has died down, and she's not happy with the pictures... Lookout! There is also the type of person who wants everything for nothing, or next to nothing, and expects a $10,000 wedding photography set from a Craig's List beginner... the contract will cost you a couple of hundred dollars to get drafted, but if you wave that under the nose of the couple's lawyer when he calls to advise that Mr & Mrs 'X' are seeking $10,000 in emotional damages, he will probably look at it and go back to them and say, 'Sorry, no case".
 

DGMPhotography

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You'll want to stay clear of bridezillas. From backwash.com - "Bridezillas are fairly easy to spot. They are usually clad in white, and wearing some sort of ring on their left hand. Their voices are either guttural growls or high, piercing shrieks and their language is usually laced with an interesting combination of profanity. They are usually seen approaching their prey (i.e. someone who has pissed them off) in a quick stride. Their eyes are the eyes of Death itself. They are usually armed with long, yet very well groomed nails, and a bouquet of flowers that can be considered a weapon in a court of law."

Good luck!
 
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Overread

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It's also important to note that people who have very little money to start with are often the most keen at not only getting the most possible for the smallest cost; but also at chasing down every last possible penny. With all the "no win no fee" legal groups around it doesn't take much for a friend of the bride* to say something like "gosh those photos are terrible you really should go sue".

In addition to the contract I would also be very forward and clear with a printed portfolio of your work to show your quality and the standard to which you can work (that means you don't include the one or two utterly great shots you have that are above your average talent - it means you include only the talent that you can produce repeatedly). This is very important as it lets you further show both up front and, if things are contested, at a later date the quality of product that you promised to deliver. Alongside a contract it makes a powerful case for yourself to defend with.

Also needless to say if you can't deliver your normal you need to document the day to show why - because there will always be limits and situations that go beyond yours by the environment - document it so that if contested you can back up your stance on the day in question clearly.











*or random group of people on a photography forum ;)
 

masquerad101

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I've been going through threads and studying to learn the more technical aspects of photography. I personally am big on application, sometimes I really just don't get it until I put it to use. So I put up an ad offering myself as a second shooter free of charge. I geared my wording towards other photographers that would not mind me tagging along and learning on the way. Needless to say I got zero responses from photographers, womp, but I was approached by brides to be. People that cant afford to hire a photographer and was asking if I could shoot their wedding. My immediate reaction "Are you smoking crack?! Not me by myself." I've read more than enough threads of where the overwhelming response is a big "DON'T DO IT" and the responsibility scares the mess out of me. The problem is that I can be a bit of a bleeding heart. When I was married I couldn't afford anyone and do you know how many pictures I enjoy looking at from my wedding; zilch. Do you ever come across these moments in your craft that you know its not a good idea, but you feel compelled to be compassionate to their situations? Is there room in photography where something is better than nothing?

I can totaly sympathise with you. I love photography I really do and I often wonder what direction to take and will I ever actually make any money from my images? (not that that really matters) I have been doing landscape photography for around 7 years and I thought to myself (after hearing my friends say how good I am a photographer)...(if only they new :D) why shouldnt I have my sclice of the pie? So I advertised on gumtree as an ameture photographer seeking experiance. In my add I said "weddings,christenings and any other special moment captured for free! Thinking I wouldnt get much of a response I got a call for a young girl studying fashion desing who wanted a photographer to do a fashion shoot for her for her final exam! I didnt want to do the shoot as I saw no real gains for me but I felt sorry for her as she was stressed about her final exam and didnt know what to do, So I brought my then girlfriend (now wife) along as my assistant :mrgreen: but as I entered the room GULP! The pressure of the situation got to me and for the whole shoot I was a stressed mess. All I could think about was what If she fails her exams because the photos are not up to scratch...It will be my fault! The girl passed her exam and she now works in a supermarket lol so all that stress was for nothing ( I know that you are probably thinking get to the point) My point is I realised that for me photography was not only a way for me to explore my creative and artistic side but its also how I relax and get away from the stress of life so I made a contious decision which is to never let my passion/hobby take me to a place where I will be stressed out and made to feel under pressure no matter how sorry I feel for the person. I always take into considerationn weather or not I will be of much help or not. Dont get me wrong wedding photography can be big bucks but its stressy...really stressy and it is my personal oppinion that in photography something is never better than nothing! Infact the very art of photography contradicts the phrase something is better than nothing because we spend hours and hours taking and editing and re-editing our photos, You see as photographers we are by nature perfectionists so settleing for second bes is not an option and if you dont produce the goods at these weddings you will only add more stress to to an already overstressed situation. Thats just my oppinion though you might well find that wedding photography is your thing and you could actually benifit from the pressure, Thats the other end of the spectrum.
 
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