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Old Jan 24, 2004, 2:01 AM   #5
eric s
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
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You have missed my point in my posts. Did you really read that link that I posted? Including the links in those posts to previous questions like this? I'll say some of it over again, and see if I can't make it clearer. Now, my comments apply to weddings. Social events are another matter. Schools... well, that can be as important as a wedding to a degree (once-in-a-lifetime event) or it can be a school play or sporting event. I don't know what type you mean.)
  • It's about reliability. Both yours and the equipment.
  • Large, very sharp, no distortion, no noise, picture. There is a reason some people shoot weddings with medium format or 6-by-7 equipment. Medium format blows away your 3800 (and my 10D.) Some argue the 1Ds ($7,300) matches it... they might be right.
  • It's about getting the picture the first time.
  • It's about not getting in the way of the ceremony while you work.
  • It's about perfect flash exposures, using multiple flashes if necessary.
  • It's about getting the picture in low light, with light filtering through stain glass windows. And you only get one shot.
  • It's about having several metering modes and knowing how to use them (what situations require which, and how you'll have to adjust the camera because it will still be off by a 1/2 stop.)
  • It's about not saying "oops, the camera battery is low, let me put in another one." Because this is their day.
Your camera MUST work. You are taking pictures of an event that will (hopefully) only happen once in two people's life time. You have to take it very seriously. Your memory card can't go on the fritz and get corrupted. Your flash must work, because you are holding up how many people? Hundreds? And you're interfering with their day. Making it worse.

You must have backup equipment... for everything. You must know how to get to the location of the wedding... and that means driving your route the day before to make sure you know how long it will take.

Many cameras take good pictures, but they should not be relied upon to take wedding pictures. This is a different class of work. My Mazda sedan gets me to work. It's a fine car. But if I my profession was to deliver packages I wouldn't drive it. I'd drive something where reliability was paramount. I'd drive something that was comfortable enough I could sit in it for many hours every day. I'd be looking for a different class of car that something that just gets me to work and back.

I've heard many people (much better photographers than I, some who did wedding for a living in the past) who say that wedding photography is the second hardest type of photography to do (photojournalism/war correspondent is the hardest.)

If you do wedding for a living, you will learn every feature of your camera. You will know when to use them. You will have to, because to get the best results you owe it to your clients to do your best (including using your equipment to it's best potential.) And you can expect that the other photographers in your area will and they will steal business from you because of it (skill being equal.)

What you will post will not be good enough to rate it's usability for a wedding. They won't be big enough. It will show your skill, which certainly matters... and matters more than the equipment to a degree. But the best race car driver in the world will not compete in my Mazda. Because they certainly will not win in it.

Many might have started with cheap equipment... I don't know. But I can say that I wouldn't hire them. But I also wouldn't hire a person with a good camera and no skill. I'd look at their portfolio (which will be stacked with only their best, so if I'm not blown away they are in trouble) and I'll call references. Several. But if the person says they are using a Nikon 5700 (no slouch of a camera) I would have to be truly blown away and stunned by their work.... because there will be shots at the wedding that they won't get because of that camera.

Please, go to a forum with professional wedding photographers and read their discussions. See what it's about, understand the issues they face. I gave links to several in that other thread. I know people who absolutely hate their wedding photos. They don't display them, they hide them. They never want to talk about them or the wedding. Because their photographer did a bad job. Do you want to risk cause people that much pain?

Ok, it's 2am here, so I'm going to bed. But I'll loose sleep to write this up... to make sure you understand what I'm trying to say.

Eric

ps. To respond to your 2nd to last paragraph... I wouldn't say what you say I'd say. If you said "I have 1 thousand dollars, what should I buy to start a wedding/event photography business" I'll tell you to get a loan. Event photography, maybe. I wouldn't say "buy X and you will get wedding great pictures."

When people around here say "you'll get great pictures" they are being polite. People are usually very enthusiastic about their new camera they just spend "$,$$$" on. We're a nice bunch, so we encourage them. There is a world of difference between great pictures and great wedding pictures. I have taken a few pictures that I would consider great, but I wouldn't do wedding photography with my camera & lenses.

The way people start cheap is they buy a 35-mm film camera. Good film cameras are much cheaper than a DSLR. And then, eventually, you upgrade to a digital. Then you save on film costs, but pay more for the body and more on post-processing ('cause you're doing it yourself.)
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