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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:58 PM   #11
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If you should decide to do the wedding after all the warnings you're getting here, I would highly recommend you consider having backup gear for everything that could have a catastrophic failure and cause you to come to a screaching halt. Camera body, flash, and an extra CF card or twowould at the top of my list. And as was pointed out in a previous post plenty of batteries.

Do a Google search for "wedding photography studios" or similiar. Browse through the wedding galleries of the photographers to get a sense of various styles photographers have.

Get some good books on beginning wedding photography. Amazon.com has a good selection with user reviews.

Be very upfront about your capabilities with the couple that wants you to shoot the wedding. And be honest with yourself about the same.

Anything can happen... I ended up once not only photographing a wedding, but also got roped into doing the announcements of the cake cutting, garter toss, and toast. Don't remember the details why it happened that way, but it wasn't fun or easy. Oh, and then there was the wedding reception that almost went the route of a food fight between parents of the couple.

Good luck if you do it...


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Old Apr 12, 2005, 5:01 PM   #12
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Going the unofficial route is great. I thought about mentioning that myself.

Not only is there very little pressure.... if you get just one great picture they'll remember it for years to come.

The other problem with being a wedding photographer is that you really aren't part of the wedding. You are there, but you aren't really involved in it and you won't enjoy it. If you're just taking pictures for fun you can always stop and just enjoy the cake cutting. It is supposed to be a joyous occasion after all.

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Old Apr 12, 2005, 8:38 PM   #13
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My son talked me into doing their wedding pictures 3 yrs ago. Back then all I could afford was a G3 and a 420EX flash. The stress level was unbelieveable! The pictures did come out nice and I ended up with 107 good pics from rehearsal dinner thru reception. Trust me when I tell you that this is something that I will NEVER do again-period!!!! Go to the wedding with your wife and let someone else take the stress (and the pics). Gerry
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 10:14 PM   #14
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First, I have already decided to let them know that I consulted some professionals (you guys... *wink* ) and that I was advised I was in over my head.

Secondly, I will say that I was encouraged to try the engagement photos since they are a different animal than the wedding functions.

Third, I do have some friends at my church that do wedding photography. At least they've done a few weddings. Perhaps if I recommend them, they will talk with the soon to be married couple and hit it off. Then perhaps I can be an unofficial photographer at the precedings, and get some awesome shots for them. The "semi" professional couple (the girl I went to college with before they got married) use Rebel film cameras. So I'd be the only digital camera there to cover the events. A plus and minus perhaps? =o) Anyways... I'll talk with them tomorrow.

Thanks again everyone!! Keep the tips coming!

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Old Apr 13, 2005, 1:51 AM   #15
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Ya I would do it as a backup, I did my cousin wedding only if he provided me a backup for the important shots becuase I didnt want to screw it up, well I was dead on, and the backup well wasnt, and on top of that the people with standard digital cameras and one time use cameras botched it too.

The thing was and not to sound racist but my cosuin bride has very dark skin tones and so with the low light conditions if your exposure wasnt dead on you lost deatails in her facal features and thats what made it so hard for the standard digital camera. Where is the SLR style cameras have the edge. I had taken test shots of her in a white top with a lacy overcoat and my cousin is a dark black suit in the rehersal with the same lighting style that was to be used for the wedding. so I knew what my settings had to be for the black tuxes and white dress.

Where my backup didnt attend the rehersal he was clueless and brough a 28-105mm canon lens I think thats what he said and his shots were blured or to dark to matter.

Weddings are easy if you know what you are doing and have you manual controls and exposures down to a perfect sicence, otherwise I would say only go as a backup or have a backup.

Hence why I only do wedding photos for people who have no other way to get photos done than me becuase I only charge to cover my costs on gear(batteris and single tme use stuff like rental equipment) and time off my normal job and then use the photos and cd slide shows to make a little profit to pay off my gear until I have mastered wedding photography and have all the proper tools and backups of them incase of a failure.
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Old Apr 13, 2005, 11:03 AM   #16
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If he does it as "unofficial" I presume that means the couple will have a pro for the real photo album.

How would the pro feel about a "wannabe" using the pro's skills in organising the groups etc?

A lot of pros use blockers so that guests can't get any useful photos.

Having the bride and groom agreeing is one thing but getting a pro to play along might be more difficult.
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Old Apr 13, 2005, 12:05 PM   #17
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tlmiller10, I'm glad to hear that you passed on being the primary for the wedding. Talk with your friends at church. Maybe you can borrow a good lens for the engagement event (and get suggestions. As many as you can! Heck, see if you can tag along as a "backup" to one of their events. Even for a little while.) Paul(UK) brings up a good point I'll comment on below.

VictorEM83, don't worry. You're not being rasist. Photographing an extreme of light and dark (Being dresses & tuxes or light and dark skin) is very hard. With film, the photographer could specifically choose a film that has lower detail but wider dynamic range to help out in specific situations. You can't with digital. And digital has a smaller dynamic range and is less forgiving on blown hilights. You were exactly right to say what you did.

Paul(UK) has a very good point. Here is what I've read about this (note, not experienced, just read.) Some photographers, like you suggest, will be very picky about not letting people shot at the same time as they do (I agree with them on this one.) Others will not let you shoot at the same setup (or specific setups) that they arrange. This, to me, is going a bit too far. If they don't believe they can do a better job than an amature, even with the same general poses, then they need to get better. They should be able to elicit better facial expressions, better posture,... than a non-pro. Even shooting right after a pro, with the same gear, I would expect the pro to do better than me.

But the reality is that some pros do what you say... actively prevent others from photographing their set shots. While I can't exactly blame them (one good shot from a guest could cost them lots of money in reprints) I think they also need to get better or charge more up front.

tlmiller10 should definitely contact the pro (maybe ahead of time) and talk with him/her about it. Say the wedding party asked him to shoot and he wanted to make sure that he didn't do something that would get in his way. If approached properly, the pro might take it better. And if you say explicitly that the bride/groom asked him to do it... that gives you more weight/power that someone who just walks up and starts shooting.

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Old Apr 13, 2005, 3:09 PM   #18
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I went to a friend's place for easter and took my 20D with 70-200m F4 L to take some shots with, just for fun. Of course everyone was "wow! awesome camera!", and when i downloaded the shots to his PC and he saw some of them I could tell he was disappointed.

It was around 3 pm on a sunny day, I told him those conditions weren't exactly the best for taking pictures in. Most the shots seemed a little over exposed and lacked contrast, which I expected from the histogram and lighting I was shooting in. Also I found that since his LCD wasn't calibrated and was set pretty bright that was the main cause of the pictures looking over exposed.

When I got home I found it wasn't all that bad and with normal post processing I was able to produce some pretty good pictures from that day.

I think people's expectations when they see DSLR cameras is Ansel Adams in every click of the shutter.
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Old Apr 13, 2005, 3:31 PM   #19
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We hired a professional photographer for our wedding. My brother-in-law with a Canon D60 followed the guy around taking the same pictures as the guytook. So basically,we got two copies of each shot. Some were better, some were not. You may want to try that to get your feet wet.
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