Whoa!! I'm shooting a wedding in 2 weeks!

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Carol, May 31, 2011.

  1. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    A relative of mine is getting married soon, and asked me last minute to be her photog. No money in it for me....but this will be my first wedding as a photog so this is a very very very big deal. Plus its family so I will never hear the end of it if the photos don't look good...LOL.

    I'm psyched, but whoa! Practially no time to plan.

    Wedding is going to be at a relative's house... low-key, low-budget, but with a lot of down home country charm.



    I need a lens....ideas...inspiration....Heeellllp! Any suggestions?
     
  2. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    50 cal should take care of it!


    :D
     
  3. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Advice:
    Off camera flash
    2nd body
    2 spare batteries for bodies
    Verify all batteries for bodies and flash are freshly charged
    18-200mm F3.5-5.6 all purpose lens as backup.
    50mm F1.4 for low light all-purpose work
    28-135 F2 for mid-range zooms.
    2 media cards per body + 2 spare. - format all before you start.

    See also http://www.digital-photography-scho...aphy-stepping-into-wedding-photography-part-2 (It's nikon oriented, but easy translation to Canon, etc)

    Also, save the drinking until after the wedding.

    :D
     
  4. LuckyKBoxer

    LuckyKBoxer Master Black Belt

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    I am not a photographer, so my advice might be a little odd or unwanted... sorry if it is.
    But please do yourself a huge favor and work out all the details of what you are going to do for them ahead of time. I have seen a couple wedding where family members did the photos and there was not clear communication as to expectations before hand, and after the fact was to late to repair the "damage" and there was hard feelings from both sides for a long time. Also from my own personal experience with my wedding photographer who did a great job but I wish was a little more organized in regards to what types of family shots we wanted... the shots of the event and the non set up shots were awesome, I could not have been happier, but we spent alot of time trying to organize what family members were going to be in different shots... we had so much going on we did not think of that before hand, and our photographer never mentioned that at the time.. 8 years later and that is the only regret in the function of our wedding was that we did not have the different group shots we wanted listed ahead of time to save us alot of time.

    good luck
     
  5. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Not odd or unwanted! In fact...you and I are thinking alike. When I acknowledged that I could be their photographer for the wedding, they wrote back and said "What do I have to do?" I advised them to think about what shots they wanted, and when I arrived down there, we would meet with the family and get a plan together as to what the families would like as well.

    That is an EXCELLENT idea about organizing group shots in advance. The family has a lot going on outside of this wedding, I don't know if they have thought much about it either.
     
  6. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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  7. Mark Jordan

    Mark Jordan Blue Belt

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    If you are confident your skills, have some business cards ready.
     
  8. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    I'm not a photographer so I don't have any advice in that regard but wanted to congratulations! It is an awesome opportunity for you, family or not. :) :) :)
     
  9. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    And extra batteries, too. More than you think.

    It's a huge challenge; the best wedding photographers I've seen manage to be unobtrusive, but present for everything.

    And... remember, some things can be restaged (like slipping the rings on) to get a perfect shot without disrupting the ceremony!

    One more thought -- Allow yourself sufficient time for processing the photos. Do it quickly, but not rushed. That may mean taking a day or two off from work to get it done. (I made the mistake once of letting a friend do something for me, and it had to fit into his paid schedule... so my "favor" took much longer than I liked.) My gut feeling? You should have the processed photos ready within a week or two, definitely no more than a month. I liked what our wedding photographer did; we got a CD of all the pictures, so we could print what we wanted rather than a ready made album. Even if you plan on putting a printed album together, I'd recommend that. She also gave us an open waiver for using & printing the photos.
     
  10. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    One more idea... Especially since you're family. Get pics at the rehearsal. That'll also give you a bit of a dry run. And you might catch some pretty special moments. For example, the bridesmaids at my wedding did some silly walks down the aisle at the rehearsal... A few pictures or videos of that would have been great to have.

    And another thing just occurred to me. Not so much as a substitute for the still shots, and (as will be clear momentarily!) not during anything you want still shots of -- but most digital cameras in my experience also do limited video. If you can switch quickly, or just keep an inexpensive point & shoot for this, you might be able to grab some fun, short video shots at various moments.
     
  11. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    • Weddings do not get do-overs. You get the shots or you do not. Warning.
    • Cameras, lenses, and memory cards fail. Have backups and have them ready.
    • Be at the rehearsal and figure out where you will position yourself for the shots.
    • Have a shot list.
    • Have an assistant / second shooter. Even a person with a good quality digicam is good.
    • Meet with the cleric and find out what the rules are. Some prohibit flash, etc.
    • Exposure is important, because at weddings, people wear black and white. Two extremes of exposure that challenge the ability of digital media to pick it up without muddying up the blacks or blowing out the whites. In the days of film, wedding photographers shot low-contrast film for that reason; digital is less forgiving. Exposure needs to be dead-on.
    • Bride becomes Bridezilla on the wedding day. It just happens. Be prepared to have a good friend or family member become an unreasonable b*tch.
    • Don't ask, tell. People will NOT line up for the shots the bride wants on the shot list unless you TELL them to line up and do it now. They will mill around and ignore you unless you put some command authority in your voice. By the way, women have an advantage here; most guests won't object to being ordered around by a woman. Fact of life.
    • Reliable car / backup vehicle / alternate means to get to the church.
    • The church is typically not available forever, and the guests will vanish when the bride and groom depart for the reception; get your shot list done before then or you won't get them.
    • Remember who you are and why you are there. You are not a guest, you are working. Do your job. No food, no drink, no chit-chat with others. If you're hungry or thirsty, see to it on the fly, while you do your work.

    Good luck, have fun! Shooting weddings is the hardest work I think I ever did. I don't do it anymore.
     
  12. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    These are at odds -- but not really. Some parts cannot be restaged. You can't duplicate the look on the groom's face as the bride comes to the top of the aisle, for example. You can't restage that. But I'll use the rings as an example. During the ceremony, you'll capture them exchanging the rings from a distance. Later, you can "restage" a close up of them slipping the rings on. Keep the background in mind (do it in the same place; nothing more obvious than the restage being over a wooden pew, and the far shot being at the white tile around the altar...), but you can duplicate that particular moment. You get the idea. There are things you can't miss... and things you can set up later (or before). Pose shots of the readers at the lectern, maybe, so that you don't have to worry about them when you're focusing on the bridal party during the ceremony.

    An interesting article on this here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  13. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I was actually thinking of horror stories I have read about photographers who don't show up for one reason or another, memory cards that fail, cameras that are stolen, film canisters lost, and so on.

    The laws are different in the US than they are in the UK. In the UK, wedding photographers failing to do their jobs have been legally forced to fly the wedding guests back in, pay for the entire event to be restaged, everything, just so it can be shot correctly. Not so in the USA.

    For horror stories, use Google News and search for 'wedding photographer sued' or 'wedding photographer arrested' or 'wedding photographer' and 'fraud'. You'd be amazed.

    And one last thing - shooting weddings for friends strains the bonds of friendship. If the relationship is not strong, it may not survive.

    If I shoot for a family member or friend, we have to agree ahead of time that they are engaging me NOT because I am the family photographer, but because they don't have another choice (perhaps due to budget). They are getting my best effort, but I am not a professional photographer and they get what they get. If they look over the album later and feel shortchanged, they got what they paid for. If they think they're doing me a favor by engaging me, or that hiring me is a family obligation, it's not. They should hire a wedding photographer if they can; I will not object, hold a grudge, or complain. I'd rather be there as a guest anyway. Do not hire me because we are buddies. Bad idea. If I were studying dentistry in my spare time, would you have me do your root canal?
     
  14. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    I have an insurance rider that covers this should it be needed.

    Also, at my wedding I was a Groomzilla. LOL :D


    Carol, if you don't have insurance yet, get it before hand.
    I can not stress this enough.
     
  15. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Great points, Bill. I especially like your last paragraph. I'm not a photographer except under some particular circumstances. But I hang out with some... ;)

    I do enjoy woodworking and cabinetry. Occasionally, people ask me to do things for them. I may steal your provisions there on the rare occasions I agree. (Time and lack of a real shop limit me.)
     
  16. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    For those getting into the business, one must include insurance for sure. Equipment (theft), performance (lawsuits for non-performance), and liability (guest trips over your lights or tripod). Photographers forget these all the time.

    However, that gets into another issue entirely which has bugged me for a long time. Photography is a business. 80% business, 20% photography. You can be a crap photographer and make a really good living at photography. You can be an incredible photographer and fail miserably in business. Photographers often don't get that. It's all back office and front office; the actual photography far less important. Which flash to use? More like which billing software to use. Which lens is best? More like which advertising agency can get you the most bang for the buck.
     
  17. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    I don't know WTF to do for expectations. I can't lay the hammer down. It is my niece who is getting married...she just got engaged a few weeks ago. She has been activated and wants to get married before she has to deploy, and both sets of parents are in full support of the relationship, and the idea of them getting married right away. (No, she isn't pregnant).

    My niece is only 20. She could care less about a professional, she just wants to get settled with her husband before the Army sends her away. If I wasn't there to do it, she'd just have her friends snap digis. My sister sees only the good, she thinks any photograph is something I turn to gold.

    Its been hot as hell....100 degrees. Wedding is at 6pm on a Thursday, in my sister's front yard. I don't even know who is going to be there. Small southern town, they put invitations in the church bulletin, some folks may RSVP, some may simply show up.
     
  18. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Back in the day when I was an aspiring photographer I had shot a few weddings myself. My favorite was being the photographer for an African American couple... I was the only white guy there... best thing was I didn't feel at all out of place and everyone treated me the same and that was a good feeling... back in the day.

    One of my favorite things to do at weddings was the "formal wedding kiss" after the nuptials and cake and bla bla bla... I gotten the couple together and instructed them to kiss each other like they meant it and to hold it til I got the shot that I wanted... once they started, I break off and start chatting with one of the other guests about how wunnerful wedding are and how romantic and bla bla... the couple still held the kiss but were waiting for me to take the shot... if they looked like they were going to break it then I admonished them "hey, what did I say?... alright hold it... hold it... hold it... (for about at least 30 more seconds)" then take the shot... by then the couple were trying hard not to break up laughing... t'was fun.

    Good luck on your first shoot. Remember plan out your shots, make sure of the focus and more importantly take your time. Think about how you'd want YOUR wedding pictures to turn out. Your niece will appreciate it much later.

    :asian:
     
  19. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    It's digital, you're going to "snap" hundreds if not thousands of photo's. Combine that with the fact that you have a clue, and you have a computer program at home, you should be good to go.
     
  20. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Tell that to my mom :rolleyes:123
     

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