"Wedding Photography looks easy enough"....

Started Feb 2, 2010 | Discussions
PenguinPhotoCo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,284
Anyone can make art, you see...

Anyone can make art. And that's part of the problem - noobie makes a few nice pics and feels that's all there is to it.

The real art is doing it week after week, year after year, and getting paid for doing it.

I've had several LONG discussions this week with bridal prospects - I suspect the backlash of f'd up weddings is about to occur, based on what they're asking and some of what they're saying about other photogs.

Or at least I hope so!

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If I knew how to take a good picture I'd do it every time.

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Photo Scholar Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: "Wedding Photography looks easy enough"....

I don't shoot weddings... but if I did.

I would ask the bride to consider how long she plans to married, 50 years or 5years.

If she is planning on throwing away the photos in 5 years it might be smart to go with the cheapest photog you can find. If you want to capture the moment and have photos that you will cherish for a lifetime you might want to research your photographer and find out what makes him think he/she is a professional. Just because someone owns a camera, even a very nice very expensive one, that doesn't make them a professional photographer.

You get what you pay for.

Carbonite Dreams Regular Member • Posts: 284
First Post here

I'd like to agree with you, but I can't really. As others have stated here, there's really nothing to be done about it. As the price of DSLRs continues to drop, it's just bound to be that those with the gear will get their wedding photography feet wet.

In fact, I'm one of those people. Granted, my first wedding I had 2 camera bodies and 4 lenses; but the point is that everyone starts somewhere. A long time ago (back when the dinosaurs were still alive) you had to be a newbie rookie too. I'm sure that you were probably an apprentice or something for many years, and you had to probably sit in a darkroom for a couple weeks afterward making the prints, and maybe you had to walk uphill both ways to the wedding and back in the snow... well you see where I'm going with this. I mean just imagine if you were just beginning your photography career right now in this digital world. It would be so tempting to try wedding photography. And face it, just about any camera today beats what the pros were using even just a few years ago... so it really isn't about equipment. You can't blame the guy for having a D80, by yesterday's standards that's an awesome camera. The D3 is a great camera today, but in 10 years the bride might be wondering how come her sister has 3D prints and she doesn't. Technology changes.

I think that the guy deserves a chance to see what it's like. If he's not taking it seriously, then I agree with previous posters who say that the B&G deserve what they get.

I myself take it seriously. That's part of the problem. I recognize that I'm responsible for the great reveal 2 weeks after the wedding when they come back from their honeymoon and expect to see a CD that delights them and suprises them, to have prints from a quality lab or archival printer that pop out at them and make them smile, and for them to be so happy they want to add in a tip because what I asked for just doesn't seem like enough. But that's the problem, I want them to be stunned by my work and I feel the pressure so much that it has come to the point where I am suffering from a panic attack the entire time that I'm shooting the wedding. I'm so personally involved and feel that there's so much at stake, that my body feels weak and my chest is pounding, I have nausea and I feel clenched inside the whole time. It's no longer fun because I take it too seriously.

I know I'd be the better photographer, but it sure wouldn't matter about his D80. I picked a guy that had a D100 for our wedding. I did it on purpose too. And I'd do it again. Equipment means nothing. Our wedding was outside and I needed someone who understood how to handle direct sunlight and not blowout the highlights. My photographer knew how to expose properly; almost no one else in our price range could do that. So we chose him.

OP tonymp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,781
Re: First Post here

Carbonite Dreams wrote:

I'd like to agree with you, but I can't really. As others have stated here, there's really nothing to be done about it. As the price of DSLRs continues to drop, it's just bound to be that those with the gear will get their wedding photography feet wet.

In fact, I'm one of those people. Granted, my first wedding I had 2 camera bodies and 4 lenses; but the point is that everyone starts somewhere. A long time ago (back when the dinosaurs were still alive) you had to be a newbie rookie too. I'm sure that you were probably an apprentice or something for many years, and you had to probably sit in a darkroom for a couple weeks afterward making the prints, and maybe you had to walk uphill both ways to the wedding and back in the snow... well you see where I'm going with this. I mean just imagine if you were just beginning your photography career right now in this digital world. It would be so tempting to try wedding photography. And face it, just about any camera today beats what the pros were using even just a few years ago... so it really isn't about equipment. You can't blame the guy for having a D80, by yesterday's standards that's an awesome camera. The D3 is a great camera today, but in 10 years the bride might be wondering how come her sister has 3D prints and she doesn't. Technology changes.

I think that the guy deserves a chance to see what it's like. If he's not taking it seriously, then I agree with previous posters who say that the B&G deserve what they get.

I myself take it seriously. That's part of the problem. I recognize that I'm responsible for the great reveal 2 weeks after the wedding when they come back from their honeymoon and expect to see a CD that delights them and suprises them, to have prints from a quality lab or archival printer that pop out at them and make them smile, and for them to be so happy they want to add in a tip because what I asked for just doesn't seem like enough. But that's the problem, I want them to be stunned by my work and I feel the pressure so much that it has come to the point where I am suffering from a panic attack the entire time that I'm shooting the wedding. I'm so personally involved and feel that there's so much at stake, that my body feels weak and my chest is pounding, I have nausea and I feel clenched inside the whole time. It's no longer fun because I take it too seriously.

I know I'd be the better photographer, but it sure wouldn't matter about his D80. I picked a guy that had a D100 for our wedding. I did it on purpose too. And I'd do it again. Equipment means nothing. Our wedding was outside and I needed someone who understood how to handle direct sunlight and not blowout the highlights. My photographer knew how to expose properly; almost no one else in our price range could do that. So we chose him.

Don't get me wrong... cameras and fancy top end equipment is not all that's required to shoot a wedding...one can have the best gear out there but knowing how and when to use it is equally important and I know guys who turn out excellent work with very modest DSLR equpment ( neither Canon or Nikon) and they do fine.

A D80 + a couple of modest lenses while certainly not ideal, in the right hands is still probably adequate for many situations at a push, especially if conditions are favourable so I'm not knocking the camera the guy was going to use but, if they aren't ideal conditions or the single camera he has breaks down, then there are serious problems.

I took along 5 bodies and 10 lenses...obvious overkill and uneccessay one would say..however, 2 bodies were MF plus 4 llenses as, I left it open as to whether I shot with film or with digital and in the end chose digital. The rest were duplicate bodies and lenses...as the temperature was - 2 to -3 or so outside, I left one body and lens in the church ready set up so as not to get any misting when I came from outside into the the church after shooting the pre ceremony shots, so that was my reasoning for taking extra kit rather that just worry over breakdowns. Misting is not a problem during the summer months in Britain but, it's something else to think about and plan for in winter.

We all have or had to start somewhere as no one starts out at the top, or very rarely and I'm quite sure some very successful wedding photographers who visit this forum will admit to being somewhat under-equipped when they first set out and I also recognise that it's not just about equipment alone but, there has to be a minimum level at which to begin with, in order to produce results under possible extreme conditions.

We all try to save money in many ways if we can get away with it and I suppose some couples who are very short of money will do the same by selecting a cheaper photographer for their wedding... but even if he was cheap, he should still have sufficient equipment to make sure the job is done to at least his or her level of ability!

There's a guy who lives in the next town to mine about 12 miles away and he shoots weddings on a part time basis..he only uses a D70 plus D50 as backup (plus good glass) and he charges a very nominal fee ( and I mean CHEAP) but he does it simply because he loves it and not for the money! I suspect any B&G on a tight budget who choose him will be delighted with the results as I've seen his work!

His work is excellent and I've even passed work on to him myself as he takes it seriously and doesn't see it as a way to make "easy money" so, simply because someone works cheaply, it doesn't automatically mean their work should be or is rubbish but guys like the one who contacted me are completely different and it's those who cause the problems.
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Smudger79 Contributing Member • Posts: 933
Re: "Wedding Photography looks easy enough"....

Photo Scholar wrote:

I don't shoot weddings... but if I did.

I would ask the bride to consider how long she plans to married, 50 years or 5years.

If she is planning on throwing away the photos in 5 years it might be smart to go with the cheapest photog you can find. If you want to capture the moment and have photos that you will cherish for a lifetime you might want to research your photographer and find out what makes him think he/she is a professional. Just because someone owns a camera, even a very nice very expensive one, that doesn't make them a professional photographer.

You get what you pay for.

Very true.

Although it doesn't mean that you can't get photos to cherish for the rest of your life from a £500 tog.

If the bride and groom are happy with the standard of the photographs from the cheap photographer, then why bother spending the extra £2500?

Smudger79 Contributing Member • Posts: 933
Re: First Post here

It seems to be all about handling expectation from the clients.

If you show the clients your portfolio and they are happy with your standard of work, it shouldn't matter to them, or to anyone else how many bodies, lenses or lights the photographer has. As long as the Bride and Groom receive photographs to the standard that was agreed by the portfolio or initial meeting, they won't care what equipment you've got.

If they receive photographs to the level of their expectation, then everyone is happy and it's been a good deal.

This also works both ways, I could be charging £3000 and taking £500 "value shots" - if the client is happy to pay £3000 for my mediocre shots, who am I to stop them!?

Of course charging £3000 for mediocre shots is not a great business model, but you catch my drift!

As long as the clients requirements and expectations are met, it doesn't matter what the price is.

That's the way I see it anyway.

jeff9329 Senior Member • Posts: 1,229
Re: First Post here +1/agree

Wedding photography has fundamentally changed with the digital age and is still in a process of rapid evolution. Film photography was exactly the same for the last 50 years at least, stagnant technology wise, and required a mix of science and art to develop and produce good prints that was well beyond the ability or interest of most all consumers. Those days are totally gone. There is only going to be more and more advanced and serious digital photographers in the future. Competition reduces average prices. We will only see a continual gradual erosion of fees for photography services and a consequence of fewer pros in the future.

Carbonite Dreams wrote:

I'd like to agree with you, but I can't really. As others have stated here, there's really nothing to be done about it. As the price of DSLRs continues to drop, it's just bound to be that those with the gear will get their wedding photography feet wet.

In fact, I'm one of those people. Granted, my first wedding I had 2 camera bodies and 4 lenses; but the point is that everyone starts somewhere. A long time ago (back when the dinosaurs were still alive) you had to be a newbie rookie too. I'm sure that you were probably an apprentice or something for many years, and you had to probably sit in a darkroom for a couple weeks afterward making the prints, and maybe you had to walk uphill both ways to the wedding and back in the snow... well you see where I'm going with this. I mean just imagine if you were just beginning your photography career right now in this digital world. It would be so tempting to try wedding photography. And face it, just about any camera today beats what the pros were using even just a few years ago... so it really isn't about equipment. You can't blame the guy for having a D80, by yesterday's standards that's an awesome camera. The D3 is a great camera today, but in 10 years the bride might be wondering how come her sister has 3D prints and she doesn't. Technology changes.

I think that the guy deserves a chance to see what it's like. If he's not taking it seriously, then I agree with previous posters who say that the B&G deserve what they get.

I myself take it seriously. That's part of the problem. I recognize that I'm responsible for the great reveal 2 weeks after the wedding when they come back from their honeymoon and expect to see a CD that delights them and suprises them, to have prints from a quality lab or archival printer that pop out at them and make them smile, and for them to be so happy they want to add in a tip because what I asked for just doesn't seem like enough. But that's the problem, I want them to be stunned by my work and I feel the pressure so much that it has come to the point where I am suffering from a panic attack the entire time that I'm shooting the wedding. I'm so personally involved and feel that there's so much at stake, that my body feels weak and my chest is pounding, I have nausea and I feel clenched inside the whole time. It's no longer fun because I take it too seriously.

I know I'd be the better photographer, but it sure wouldn't matter about his D80. I picked a guy that had a D100 for our wedding. I did it on purpose too. And I'd do it again. Equipment means nothing. Our wedding was outside and I needed someone who understood how to handle direct sunlight and not blowout the highlights. My photographer knew how to expose properly; almost no one else in our price range could do that. So we chose him.

Joe P Doyle Regular Member • Posts: 428
Cream Floats

Great post,

differentiate yourself in all you do and how your charge, back it up with quality images, have confidence in yourself, broaden your demographics, look to inspire even your competition, word of mouth travels in all circles, raise your prices and your client base, improve on the clients you attract.

Work less earn more

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Joe
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Photography simple is'nt it??

jeff9329 Senior Member • Posts: 1,229
Re: Cream Floats - Poop floats sometimes

Do less and charge more, you cant attract bees with vinegar, etc., etc.

Joe P Doyle wrote:

Great post,

differentiate yourself in all you do and how your charge, back it up with quality images, have confidence in yourself, broaden your demographics, look to inspire even your competition, word of mouth travels in all circles, raise your prices and your client base, improve on the clients you attract.

Work less earn more

Joe P Doyle Regular Member • Posts: 428
Re: Cream Floats - Poop floats sometimes

Lol it works for MP's
your work is the honey

jeff9329 wrote:
Do less and charge more, you cant attract bees with vinegar, etc., etc.

Joe P Doyle wrote:

Great post,

differentiate yourself in all you do and how your charge, back it up with quality images, have confidence in yourself, broaden your demographics, look to inspire even your competition, word of mouth travels in all circles, raise your prices and your client base, improve on the clients you attract.

Work less earn more

-- hide signature --

Joe
http://www.pbase.com/joed
Photography simple is'nt it??

Photo Scholar Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: "Wedding Photography looks easy enough"....

I completely agree with you. Some photographers have more expenses than others. Some are supporting a full studio and others are not and that cost, or lack of, gets passed on. What I was trying to say (and did not do a great job at it) was I wouldn't apologize to a potential customer for my pricing structure. I lay out what I have to offer and what I bring to the table in both experience and equipment, try to educate them a little as to what to look for in quality, and let them make their decision. There are customers for every price range, even for Uncle Harold's kid who is willing to do it for free because he just got a new camera and has a dream of being a photographer.

On another note:

I have the utmost respect for anyone who shoots weddings for a living. I shot a few weddings when I was younger and just didn't like it. There is a lot of stress. If I miss a shot on the field or doing a portrait their is usually a chance to take another one. If you mess up a wedding shot there are no do overs.

Plus I can't dealt with Prima Dona Brides. One told me she didn't like my photo's they made her look fat. It had nothing to do with the extra 150 lbs she was caring around with her.

For those who have the patience and can handle the stress I take my hat off to you.

eos-mk2-craig Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Talk to Vicar

Man - if the minister tells me no flash - I can live with that. BUT if he tells me no moving around then I say - will you be telling the clients then, or should I ? That usually gets them back onside real quick - they have to remember ITS NOT THEIR WEDDING - ITS THE CLIENTS

Craig
East Coast Photography AU
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Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: "Wedding Photography looks easy enough"....

The market has become a bit flooded with have a go heroes as such. But whatever anyone thinks, there is nothing you can do about it.

If the client wants the "cheapest option", and does not really care about anything else, then that's why the market exists for el cheapo photographers.

Onto gear, well obviously top end stuff is nice, but not required in many cases. Though I'd suggest a fast prime maybe a 50mm for the guy with the D80

It is essential to have back up stuff, esp bodies, I'd take 2 digital and a few film bodies as well, batteries etc, all this is common sense really.

I can understand the "cheaper rates" than well established studio shooters, obviously new folks don't have the portfolio of work they would need to get top rates, but there are limits to how silly you can go price wise. That IMO does not help matters.

But if they want cheap, leave them at it. I price for coverage and time, that way you can still meet the budget needs of some couples, who don't want full day coverage. I'd pass on the CD only stuff, no interest..so they pay more for prints, but I need to see them, it's part of the service..

In the long term, I think you lose nothing by ignoring the super cheapo market, and the weekend warrior rates seem to cover that nicely! I'm a general photographer myself, I do some wedding work, but I price myself at decent levels, I'm not silly cheap, nor as expensive as the old hands who are long established, mid point.

Anything less, even for less experienced wedding shooters, well you are only screwing yourself..and working for next to nothing.

I think the mentality is you have to start somewhere, so buy a DSLR and kit lens..off you go, they've got a point, and you won't get top rates, but you should at least have back up stuff, that's a must. Some people care about their work, some don't..it's the last category that bothers me most.

OP tonymp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,781
Re: Talk to Vicar

eos-mk2-craig wrote:

Man - if the minister tells me no flash - I can live with that. BUT if he tells me no moving around then I say - will you be telling the clients then, or should I ? That usually gets them back onside real quick - they have to remember ITS NOT THEIR WEDDING - ITS THE CLIENTS

Craig
East Coast Photography AU

Surprisingly, it's quite common policy for the vicar/minister to stipulate "no moving around" during the service as well as no flash...at least, here in the UK it's common. That's why most wedding photographers have a caveat/clause in the contract stating they are not responsible for this! It protects them from possibly disappointed couples complaining later.

Very few churches allow allow photographic freedom. Civil ceremonies are far more relaxed about flash and moving around!

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jjlad Senior Member • Posts: 1,955
Re: Talk to Vicar

tonymp wrote:

eos-mk2-craig wrote:

Man - if the minister tells me no flash - I can live with that. BUT if he tells me no moving around then I say - will you be telling the clients then, or should I ? That usually gets them back onside real quick - they have to remember ITS NOT THEIR WEDDING - ITS THE CLIENTS

Craig
East Coast Photography AU

Surprisingly, it's quite common policy for the vicar/minister to stipulate "no moving around" during the service as well as no flash...at least, here in the UK it's common. That's why most wedding photographers have a caveat/clause in the contract stating they are not responsible for this! It protects them from possibly disappointed couples complaining later.

Very few churches allow allow photographic freedom. Civil ceremonies are far more relaxed about flash and moving around!

At the risk of getting slammed here I'll mention I'm one of the 'new and cheap' photographers shooting 'some' weddings ...simply because I want to. By cheap I don't mean I gave it away as it more than covered the time and effort ..but people do have to start somewhere. I'd estimate my price at about 40% of full time pros and my market to be couples who probably wouldn't have otherwise engaged a photographer.

I had canvassed a bunch of churches ...actually visited them seeking permission to take some test shots in an around the church to help me learn how to shoot weddings. Not one minister turned me down.

I explained that my equipment at least, really needed flash support in low light.

Not one minister objected to my using flash (vivitar 285 on bracket or further off camera)

I asked if they would mind me roving around during the cerimony to get better angles and capture faciial expression ...and again ..no problem other than two who just cautioned that it would be important I didn't 'get in the way'. They agreed that if that were to happen they could give me a 'signal' ..no not the finger.

I ended up shooting mostly flash and from whereever I wanted. I have to think some of it depends on involving the pastors beforehand and hopefully getting them on side. Doesn't hurt to mention you'd like to include him or her in as many shots as possible too.

Please take that for what it's worth.

Cheers,
jj
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eos-mk2-craig Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Talk to Vicar

No slamming here jjlad - everyone has their price point.

as my email address would have indicated I'm from Australia and been shooting weddings for over 14 years professionally, I have only on 1 occassion had a minister say no flash and no walking up onto alter area (which I wouldn't anyways) until directed to do so. Problem was he failed to tell the congregation no flash, and in a dark church (back in film days) I was close to stuffed.

I quickly learnt to speak up and ask. The next time at this same church and was directed no flash, I politely asked why, the answer surprised me.... "because it takes away from the ceremony all the flashes going off"... when I explained that I would probably only shoot about 20 shots with flash (I was a little better prepared this time) then pointed out that there was about 30 - 40 people out there with cameras with flash units and if they all took 10 shots each that would be 300 - 400 flashes from the people who were NOT getting paid to do a job, he quickly agreed that I was free to shoot what ever I liked and then directed the congregation to not use flash as there was a professional present to take all the official photographs - best bit of advertising by the lord I've ever had

As porfessionals ( getting paid to do the job) you have to learn to ask and speak your mind and remember we are all getting paid (yes you too Ministers) to do a job on the day - as I said before - ITS THE CLIENTS DAY NOT OURS

Craig
East Coast Photography
http://www.eastcoastphotography.com.au

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