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Luxowell May 28, 2005 6:05 PM

OK, so i am a pretty good amature photographer. Have a decent camera (canon rebel xt), and know the concepts of a good shot. The problem comes when my friend calls me crying because she despises the pro they hired and now wants me to be their photographer. I'm having problems finding any sites that list what type of shot should be taked (bride...groom...bride and groom...rings...etc). Anyone know of any? Also any tips from people who have taken shots at a wedding as the photographer would help. Like I said, I've really been using cameras for a while, but this is a new one for me.


BillDrew May 28, 2005 9:31 PM

The only solution to that situation is to run away to a ashram in India and never come back. An Orthodox monastery on a very isolated island would also work.

My wife has been roped into three weddings and I have gone along as an assitant. Put my foot down after the third one - no fun at all. A very long, high tension day.

atlantagreg May 28, 2005 9:48 PM

I know you're seeking answers and it's frustrating, but honest to god Billdrew is right. Run. Run now, run fast, and do not look back or thou shalt turn into a pillar of film canisters.


I have only done one wedding. N E V E R again. We're talking about a guy here who does his own site on digicams. Owns a 10D and the right lenses and flash units and all that jazz who knows pretty much what he's doing... and no amount of money would make me do a wedding again.

Here's what you have to understand - usually unless the groom is anal as heck, he doesn't really give a rat's butt so long as some decent pics come out and the bride is happy. However, to the bride, this is THE DAY she has been thinking about since she was oh, maybe 12 years old!

This is not the time or place for someone to do a "trial and error" shoot. Trust me, at a time like this until you learn the ropes from EXPERIENCE (not "how to" sites), there will be more errors than trials, too. The bride will expect some top-notch shots. These will be photos she expects to be able to look at when she's 95 years old and the husband is long dead... ANY flaws and she will see them.Take into account too, that there will always be the very uh.. "large" brides maid who gets angry because you don't make her look like a supermodel, and the mother in law who says "your camera" makes her look old.

She will be disappointed, and yes, perhaps a little mad if you say no, but the potential for her to be VERY mad or to even lose a friend is greater when it comes to doing a friend's wedding. Have I scared the heck out of you yet? Gooooood. Now run.

Luxowell May 28, 2005 10:03 PM


well, its pretty much two of my best friends (my wife is actually a bridesmaid, i was going to be in it, but ducked out for family members and to film it for them), and they are the most laid back people I know in the world... so i should only want to kill myself when its over vs. killing myself mid shoot.

I'm gonna explain that I'm going to steal 2 umbrella lights from work, bring my camera and tripod, and after that, what they get is what they get.

eric s May 28, 2005 10:55 PM


Really, you have absolutely no idea of what you're getting into.

Please, please, please.... saving me the trouble of writing on this topic again and just search this site on the word "wedding". The search box is at the top of every page. Make sure you search every forum, as some times I answer this in the Canon forum as well.

Not only do I list some sites that answer your questions (that is the carrot) you'll also see all the reasons why wedding photography is probably the hardest type of photography in existence except war correspondent (that is the stick.)

Come back here and post when you're read those posts and we can talk more.

The umbrella and lights will do you almost no good. The tripod will do you very little good. You won't have time to use them. You can't hold up the event to fumble with lights. This day is all about the bride and groom. You'll get to do some set shots, but they can't wait 15 while you set up.

See the number of posts I've done? That is a big number. I have talked to many wedding photographers, some are my friends. I sell my photos. I've spent more on photo gear than many have on their cars. I take this seriously. Here is my advice: Catch "food poisoning" and be unavailable for the wedding. If you have to, really get it. Sure, throwing up a lot isn't fun... but it's a better way to spend your time than shooting a wedding and as a bonus you'll have more fun.


ps. By the way, atlantagreg is exactly right. You're shots have to be perfect as you are taking pictures of an event that most consider the most important day in their lives, second only to the birth of their first child. Think about that, and the pressure that comes with it.

rob_strain May 29, 2005 2:27 AM

Luxowell wrote:

...she despises the pro they hired and now wants me to be their photographer.
That shows right there that she cares more about the pictures than she lets you know. And like most people who see someone with a DSLR,which is assume that you are a pro, you must be, you have a big expensive camera. We all know what happens when you assume... Let's say you do the wedding, and get every shot but one, you are a dead man. You have just ruined the day for the bride. I have been asked to do weddings, and have always declined because I don't need that kind of pressure and stress.

Steven R May 29, 2005 3:47 PM

Hi Luxowell: I only want to EMPHASIZE that Bill, Greg, Eric, and Rob are 100% correct!!!! Everything they said is so true.

You can't win. Several years ago I was in the same situation, and all it took was justone wedding, done as a favor, to say NEVER AGAIN!!

The shots; yes, they were actually good photos. But the bride will not be pleased. Eithershe thinks you made her nose look too big, or the diamond didn't "sparkle enough, or Aunt Agnes looked funny, etc, etc.

Let me offer 2 suggestions:(1) Re-read the guysexcellent advice above; (2) offer instead to take your video camera, and supplement her official prints with your video footage, taken as a spectator during the wedding.(Add a few still shotsthat you can snap when she's posing for the real wedding photographer). She'll be grateful for your added material, and you won't have to bear the burden of the pro. That has worked for me several times. Leave the photos to a wedding photographer.

Good luck, and shame on you if you don't listen to allthe above guys.

Steven R.

PTB Stalker May 29, 2005 4:18 PM

I`ve done the wedding picthing for friendsa time or two, and I agree completely with all the other posters. It is a no win situation for you. Try to find a pro for your friends. Offer your service as kind of a"back up extra pitcher taker". If a pro is found in time, stay out of the pro`sway! If you can`t escape from the task, at least go to the rehearsel and practice as much as you can there. Good luck to you!

atlantagreg May 29, 2005 7:57 PM

mmmm I'm suddenly hearing the theme songs for every horror movie in my head...


Luxowell May 31, 2005 1:12 AM

ok, i'm now scared sh*$less!

damn... i mean, the poor guys have no money to begin with... the pro was going to do it cheaply as a favor to the brides dad (they know each other), but the guy was such a jerk she said no.

damn damn damn....

aww to hell with it... i'm gonna take them with every warning in the book given.

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