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Archive 2016 · How to be a wedding photographer?
  
 
jmraso
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · How to be a wedding photographer?


DO NOT start at all with your final "name photography" until you get consistent professional results.


Oct 11, 2016 at 07:50 PM
LeeSimms
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · How to be a wedding photographer?


After you select the items for your kit, volunteer to shoot non-profit events with speakers on a Tannoy, and a mix of indoor and outdoor events. While the participant aren't dressed as well a wedding, it gives you a sense of the fast changing pace of a paid event. Once you can deliver coverage without issue, then nail down some portrait accomplishments. Now, you're ready to tackle a wedding.


Oct 11, 2016 at 09:39 PM
elkhornsun
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · How to be a wedding photographer?


The dumbest thing people do is decide that they want extra income and to pay for new camera equipment and then to start doing wedding photography. I have worked professionally doing wedding photography and family portraits and commercial and product photography and wedding photography is by far the most demanding in terms of technical skill and stamina and by far the most expensive.

I can buy one camera and one zoom lens and one monolight and a couple of reflectors and for under $5,000 I can be in the portraiture business or shooting seniors or T&I. For my wedding photography I take to each wedding:

14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 105mm f/2, 16mm f/2.8 fisheye
3 cameras - D750, D500, D810
3 pro Nikon speedlights
Quantum Qflash kit with battery pack and transceivers
Umbrella and light stand and monopod to use as light pole by my assistant
quick leveling tripod
Custom Brackets flash bracket

Total investment of $20,000

With weddings the cardinal rule is that no retakes are possible and so no excuses if you miss shots because of either equipment problems or your lack of experience and technical expertise. Be kind to yourself and be thoughtful of brides on one of the most important days of their lives and don't go in as a rank amateur with hobby level equipment and expectations of practicing on your clients. It is not cool.

Learn to use your equipment and to work with people and posing and lighting with portraiture. Many wedding photographers can't pose or light people worth a crap and make lame excuses that they prefer to shoot PJ which is rubbish.

There is also the aspect of processing the images shot to make prints as compared to the software and skills needed to produce professional quality wedding albums. One can do shoot and burn as a wedding photographer but that is really cheating your clients as you are not giving them a complete product.



Oct 12, 2016 at 09:10 PM
glort
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · How to be a wedding photographer?


elkhornsun wrote:
The dumbest thing people do is decide that they want extra income and to pay for new camera equipment and then to start doing wedding photography.


I think that applies to any photography really.
I see probably more people doing sports and T&I complaining about not being able to make any money to cover cost of gear. They charge ludicrously low prices thinking that is the answer to some sort of success and then whine about their lack of returns.

Weddings as you point out though have a lot more of the " unrepeatable" factor involved and also a lot more investment on the part of the client. Also a hell of a lot more emotional attachment to the pics especially if they are sub standard.
A poor T&I pic is passed off as next years hopefully will be better. No matter how many times they get married, they always want each and every set of wedding pics to be their idea of perfect.


Many wedding photographers can't pose or light people worth a crap and make lame excuses that they prefer to shoot PJ which is rubbish.

Agreed.
I went to a seminar hosted by my favourite legend of Photography probably close to 30 years ago and that was exactly what he said. He challenged any of these "Modern" shooters to demonstrate proper lighting and posing for just one simple portrait and of course no one was game. Probably 3/4 of the room of a couple of hundred shooters, many on professional association committees who did what he was talking about were sitting right there and no one said boo because they knew he was right.

His style was as old fashioned and traditional as could be and everyone knew, there wasn't a bride or woman alive that would not Love to be photographed in the classically beautiful and elegant style he did. He took a light, a backdrop he painted himself and his camera and tripod.
Nothing complicated or over the top but he knew and was at one with posing and lighting that made for stunningly beautiful pics every shooter would be bloody happy to do.
If they could, they would. I wish I could do 10% of what that legend did.

There is also the aspect of processing the images shot to make prints as compared to the software and skills needed to produce professional quality wedding albums. One can do shoot and burn as a wedding photographer but that is really cheating your clients as you are not giving them a complete product.


I think some shooters are way too wrapped up in making pretty pictures for THEMSELVES and don't give the clients the true and proper service they would undoubtedly appreciate.
My opinion is that a lot of shooters make excuses as to how the modern generation is and what they want which is convenient to what they want rather than fact.

I will never understand how shooters put so much effort and time and Soul really into producing the best possible pics they can and then hand them over just as digital files, sometimes even to the point of just having the clients download them. I wonder how many of those pics are printed out on the colour photocopier at work an shown around or always viewed on nothing more than a phone or an ipad.

The end reproduction just seems so much less than the effort and heart put into creating the images in the first place.

And of course there is my old chestnut of business skills.
Every single aspect of wedding work seems to be examined but I can't recall ever seeing a thread about what business skills are important or where to learn them or anything of that nature. We talk about the best camera bag and if this lens has better performance when analysed by scientific equipment and credit card processing and what shoes to wear but I never see the fundamental skill involved being discussed or people recognising the significance of it.

There are many problems wrongly attributed to the industry specifically rather than the root cause of people's lack of basic business principals which would go a long way in combating the problems people have with not being able to make any money, bring in sufficient clients etc.

Anyone starting out in this ( or any other game) would give themselves a HUGE advantage over competitors ( even established ones) and a far better chance of a profitable and long term business by simply spending some time learning basic business skills.
It will help them with pricing, getting clients in the door, booking those clients building their brand and maximising their returns for their efforts.

What Few people get through their heads or want to acknowledge is that being a photographer for hire is not about photography, it's about BUSINESS.

For people starting out looking for the magic Bullet, I'll guarantee there is none that gives them a greater chance of success than learning the fundamentals of marketing, sales and advertising.



Oct 13, 2016 at 12:59 AM
taran
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · How to be a wedding photographer?


Please come back in 3 years and tell us how it went. Seriously, and I know this sounds pessimistic, but the questions you are asking indicate to me you are at least 10 years away from a profit. That's not a bad thing, just be prepared for a slog.

Wedding photography is one of the hardest professions in the world, and its the only profession I know where everyone who has a cell phone camera (read everyone in the world) thinks they are an expert.



Oct 17, 2016 at 06:29 PM
taran
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · How to be a wedding photographer?


glort wrote:
I will never understand how shooters put so much effort and time and Soul really into producing the best possible pics they can and then hand them over just as digital files, sometimes even to the point of just having the clients download them. I wonder how many of those pics are printed out on the colour photocopier at work an shown around or always viewed on nothing more than a phone or an ipad.

The end reproduction just seems so much less than the effort and heart put into creating the images in the first place.


I haven't met a single couple in the last 10 years, under 30, who wanted prints. If your idea is to reformulate your clients desires to your own strengths, i.e. push them towards prints, you are already in trouble as a photog.

Not to say I don't disagree with you, but unless your photos look good on light emissive displays (phones, tablets) as well as in print, you will be facing competition that just caters to these clients.

My photos sometimes look better on a retina iPad than they do in print, and I am a Bruce Frasier disciple with many epson seminars, and over a decade of experience printing fine art shows for museums and other photographers.

I love prints, but the kids live mobile lives.



Oct 17, 2016 at 06:38 PM
elkhornsun
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · How to be a wedding photographer?


I believe that 99% of people taking on wedding photography would be smart to start with portrait photography as the risk and the investment and the skill level and especially the stamina is trivial compared to shooting weddings. No one starts off going fishing for marlins with a $700,000 boat and this how I view wedding photography.

Photographing engagement sessions for couples or seniors or doing family portraits at their home or favorite outdoor location is a good way to earn extra income and develop ones skills with lighting and with posing and in working with a wide range of people. It is also great for repeat business over time from a pool of clients.

The PPA is a great organization that provides a great deal of valuable information on how to generate income from photography and how to develop one's skill level. Their publication is the best single magazine for a pro photographer or someone aspiring to become one.



Oct 17, 2016 at 10:00 PM
 

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glort
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · How to be a wedding photographer?


taran wrote:
I haven't met a single couple in the last 10 years, under 30, who wanted prints.


I can only say the culture you come from or the clients you are in contact with are very different to mine.

I took a booking on Sunday for a wedding October next year.
They were offered the digital files as their budget was clearly limited but they asked about and album and took one for $500 more than the digital only price. They are both 23.

I see the desire for prints very strongly in the younger generation.
My daughter loves her polaroid camera even though she has 3 Digicams of her own plus can use whatever of mine she like. She and her friends love getting the terrible little postage stamp prints even though I am against that.

She is always printing pics and having a printer that will print from phones, there is barely a fortnight goes by where a friend doesn't drop by and she is printing pics for them.

I also see great excitement when I take my photobooth to their 21sts and other partys and they learn the thing gives them prints rather than them having to download them and they get even more excited when they see I do double the regular size booth prints.

I'm not for a second saying they aren't Digitally engrossed with pics on their phone etc, I am just saying that where I am and the kids I come into contact with every day love prints and that love seems in my weekly experience to be growing rather than diminishing.
I'll fully concede, that does surprise me.

They love prints but still love getting pics on their phones etc. It's just what I come into contact with isn't all digitally one sided at all.

I booked the booth this weekend and the girl was given a choice of files only or have the thing print at a higher hiring cost. She took that latter without a seconds thought. She knew that was what she wanted. Maybe it could be argued this is a different thing which it is but I think the chances are if she wants a book of pics for her 21st, In another 10 years or so when she hits the runway in the church, she will still have an inherent desire for Prints.

A few months back I did a T&I shoot. Reading here about the number of people doing digital downloads for that I saw some cost and time savings so put that to a group of parents. I think I nearly lost the job at the suggestion alone! No way did they want Digital files. I offered them as an option on the price list and got exactly ZERO sales.
No, the parents in the main are over 30 but I think that had little to do with anything.
That said, the seniour teams are all in the 20-30 age bracket and not one of them bought files either even when they only wanted the team shot with all their mates.

They see prints as something more secure for the future to hold memories they know they want to look back on.

I offer digital files OR prints for all my clients and markets because I am not so stupid or biased as to try and heard paying clients into what I want only. It's more than clear to me however the digital option in many cases is a financial rather than an ideal preference.

They ALWAYS want the digital files but the desire for prints and albums in the wedding market is still very much there where I am doing business and in a number of other markets as well.



Oct 18, 2016 at 02:29 AM
heikoM
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · How to be a wedding photographer?


Some good advice here already.


I you really want to take it seriously:


Get a camera, I suggest Nikon D750 and a 50/1.8G or 1.4G. That´s all, nothing more.

Learn the pure basics like shutter, aperture and ISO. Learn light (!) and composition. You will find cheap books and free youtube tutorials for this. Forget the local photo club.

Then the most important thing: SHOOT every day. I mean it. You need to shoot. Does not matter what. Photograph your wife, your kids, make some flowers on the table look good. Dokument the life of your family. Take one day at home and document it as good as you can. Shoot at midday in the sun and in candle light inside.

Look at your images and try to see what worked and what didn´t. Try to get some feedback from photographers you like.

REPEAT!


If you do that for a year (no shortcuts here) you have nearly everything you need to become a good wedding photographer. OK, add some flash skills (no rocket science after all, just training).

Upgrade your gear to a second body and some primes (eg 35 and 85 1.8). Shoot your first few weddings unpaid and you will see, it´s a piece of cake after your training. Voilá!


heiko



Oct 18, 2016 at 07:04 AM
glort
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · How to be a wedding photographer?


heikoM wrote:
Learn the pure basics like shutter, aperture and ISO.


You sound as old as I am Heiko!
I'm sure at least 50% of shooters that have come into the game in the last 5 years would barely know what a shutter speed, aperture, ASA or their relationship was.
I have to conceede, with everything being automated to the point of nose blowing and butt wiping, I'm not all together sure how important it is these days.
Everyone wants the camera to do everything. Not sure how many people still very use the manual function of a camera.

Forget the local photo club.

Couldn't agree more here. Never come across a camera club person that didn't have an anal, pedantic mentality and was never happy with anything.
Hmm, maybe that would be a good place for someone interested in wedding work after all??

You need to shoot. Does not matter what.

This i'm not so sure about.
Personally I think you need a goal to aim for or you don't really know where you are at.
When I wanted to learn Commercial photography I used to pick a picture out of a magazine and try and replicate it. That frosty glass of cold beer was NOT nearly as easy and straightforward as it looked. Of course that was back in teh days of film but you could still see a lot just in camera and knew how close you were.

Yeah, you could shoot that same beer without trying to emulate anything but then you just tend to say that looks good and that's it. By actually trying to copy something, I learned a lot about lighting especially and what i had to do to get the desired effect. Million ways to do it wrong, far less to get it the same.

I would suggesting picking styles and looks the shooter wanted and start learning how to do those then move on from there.


Upgrade your gear to a second body and some primes (eg 35 and 85 1.8). Shoot your first few weddings unpaid and you will see, it´s a piece of cake after your training. Voilá!


And bear in mind, no matter how many weddings you do, no matter how many times you stand there in the middle of one and say " Is this for real or am I on candid camera?" You'll never see it all and there will always be something else to amaze you no matter how convinced it was impossible to surprise you with anything that happened at a wedding again.



Oct 18, 2016 at 02:37 PM
Jefzor
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · How to be a wedding photographer?


The ability to predict a beautiful candid moment and react in the blink of an eye is the most important skill (move to the right place, maybe adjust settings on the fly and focus in under 2 seconds). Practice with a fixed lens (35 or 50mm ) for a couple of months, and focus on spontaneous people photo's. Family gatherings are the perfect target practice.


Oct 18, 2016 at 07:16 PM
KSgal
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · How to be a wedding photographer?


itsmeavi wrote:
Any suggestions for gear please.


Yes, as stated learning photography, lighting, posing, white balance, exposure, post processing, etc.. is not something that can be done in one workshop, or in one class. Learning to troubleshoot and work around problems that crop up is not for the faint of heart with weddings.

Being second or just a pack assistant to another wedding photographer is a great idea.

Gear suggestions.. really, honest and true.. get any body that has good AF on all the points it has and a 50mm 1.8 (stm version if canon) (or ONE midrange zoom) and then GO Practice. Why? because you don't know what you like, or what your style will be, or if weddings are even your cup of tea yet. Start good, but cheap and as you learn and grow you'll figure out what you should buy for the results you have in mind. You can learn everything it takes, and learn how to get around limitations with just a body and a 50mm - and will be a much better photographer for it.

At some point, you'll want to add some lighting gear, flash, light stand, triggers, and go off camera if you are really serious about this. Do everything on the cheap, within limits - don't bother with the constant light set ups.. start with flash, read everything you can get your hands on on the internet.. and after you practice post those pictures and ask for critique!

If you can't stand to be critiqued, then you will probably never grow.

Then you can start investing in the gear you will need for the results you want to produce, and you'll know what is important to you in the body you need. I shot on a canon 50D for 6-7 years before I finally started hitting situations where the sensor (not enough ISO) was limiting me and I moved, after much research, to my next body. But boy did I learn a TON on that camera.. and I didn't have to ask others or post for suggestions when I got the next body as I already knew what I wanted, and what my needs were. (body + lens.. upgraded lenses, then upgraded body - a good path to take)

Best of luck, and remember to have fun chasing that rabbit down the endless photography hole!

p...s... learning the business side is a must do as well.. how to sell, how to manage expectations.. *sigh* that is the skill set I'm working on now.



Oct 18, 2016 at 10:22 PM
Ziffl3
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · How to be a wedding photographer?


Jefzor wrote:
The ability to predict a beautiful candid moment and react in the blink of an eye is the most important skill (move to the right place, maybe adjust settings on the fly and focus in under 2 seconds). Practice with a fixed lens (35 or 50mm ) for a couple of months, and focus on spontaneous people photo's. Family gatherings are the perfect target practice.


This is more of a long term goal.
Some shooters have this type of skill when coming into shooting weddings.
Many learn as they shoot weddings.

So while important, not the be all-be all skill need to start shooting weddings.

-Mark




Oct 18, 2016 at 11:05 PM
heikoM
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · How to be a wedding photographer?


Ziffl3 wrote:
This is more of a long term goal.
Some shooters have this type of skill when coming into shooting weddings.
Many learn as they shoot weddings.

So while important, not the be all-be all skill need to start shooting weddings.

-Mark




And some very successful photographers still have no clue about it...


heiko



Oct 19, 2016 at 06:35 AM
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