Wedding Photography

Started Apr 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
ARShutterbug
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Check your contract
In reply to Canon30D_Canon30D, Apr 10, 2012

Not only do you sound unprepared, you're asking for trouble later. I learned the hard way never to allow myself to be volunteered to provide "free" photography for relatives. The word eventually gets out that you work for free, and suddenly you can get flooded with demands for more free work, to be delivered immediately on-demand. We want you to come here, go there, make us prints, e-mail us files, and so on. When one relative gets upset because you didn't work fast enough, or didn't show up, it snaps back and you start getting angry e-mails and phone calls from other relatives. Even when you do try to keep them happy, you may also notice that you no longer get any "thank yous" back. They take your work without a word, as if it's your obligation to work for free, and then come back for more. Your time, equipment expenditures, and risk has a cost, so bill appropriately.

If they don't want to pay, show up as a guest under no obligation to deliver anything. If you get something good, okay. If you don't, you don't want any extra liabilities as a result of missing something. Don't add stress for yourself. There's a big difference between "snaps" and wedding photography. When you think that you're going to get "snaps" for yourself, that's lazy and easy. When you have a contract to deliver specific compositions and it's your responsibility to arrange scenes, you incur a legal liability if you fail to deliver. This liability can range from financial to family disputes. If you still insist on doing this for free, make sure that you have a written contract that stipulates how you are not being paid and will deliver a product under no additional obligations.

If you're asking about equipment, you're doing it wrong. I wouldn't even bother with a flash. If the lights are good, okay. If not, you get what you get. Set up the 70-200 somewhere discrete and have fun. If you see a good group shot, okay. If not, don't bother trying to arrange anything. You are not prepared with the lighting, reflectors, backdrops, assistants, and so on, and you don't know how much cooperation you're going to get from the family members to be posed and the point-and-shooting guests who may block your view.

Think carefully about missed opportunities as well. If you think you're not good enough to do more than freebie "snaps" for relatives, you're not going to go far. If you see a wedding request as an opportunity to do a good job and make money, you may find a source of revenue. You have to decide for yourself how good you are, how much money you're willing to invest in appropriate camera gear, how much risk you're willing to take, and how much money you can expect to make as a result of taking on that risk. Just make sure that the expectations of all involved parties are clearly stated in a written contract to be agreed to before the event.

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