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my first wedding session
I am shooting my first wedding this weekend. I've done other weddings for friends and family before, but I have never charged anyone money. I've been online and to the bookstores to do a little research, mainly to get pose ideas. (I have never been married myself). I read somewhere that I should write up a contract and have the couple sign it, but it seems a little late for that since the wedding is Saturday, and it's already Thursday..

Any tips or suggestions that you might have would be greatly appreciated. I am a professional portrait photographer, but I've only been in the field a couple of years, so I'm still new to it all. Right now, I work for a portrait studio in the mall, but I'm trying to branch out on my own..

I own a Fujifilm s7000, but I'm also borrowing a Nikon D70 to do the wedding. The D70 has been a little difficult for me to figure out, but I've been practicing with it a lot. It seems to get real grainy/noisy in low light situations. I have only the two cameras and a tripod, no lighting equipment or anything else..

As they are my first paying wedding couple, I am not charging very much. I plan on giving them a few prints (like 12 of the best shots) and a CD with all the shots (after I've done a quick edit on them)..

Your responses, questions, and comments are welcome.Thanks..

Comments (9)

Wrote the following for another person who was talking about shooting a wedding.i realize there are many pros who are wedding phtographers, so ignore this..

Many yrs ago I shot 2 weddings; one for a friend and one for my brother in law. afterwards I made myself a promise that I have kept: NEVER AGAIN.if you must-.

-do your research. there are plenty of web sites available. find out what scenes EXACTLY to shoot and what to shoot it with. make yourself a list of expected shots and take it with you. make it in order of the shots..

-for the bride and groom, especially the bride, this is their day. the once in a lifetime event. you cannot look at this as just another day for to take pictures and have fun with a hobby. weddings are extremely serious business and the pressure is on the photographer to DELIVER. there are no excuses for poor or not gotten shots at a wedding for the photographer..

-check out the church and check out the reception hall. this means go to them. can you use flash in the church? ASK the minister without fail before the ceremony starts, preferably when you check out the church. are you supposed to be at the brides home BEFORE everything on wedding day for pictures? which pictures,of who, are they going to be there,who tells them to be there? I was for one of my weddings. my day started at 5:00am and I didn't leave the reception till past 2:00am. it was almost 24hrs on my feet.

At wedding and reception, pop or water only. you will be the soberest one there. your job is to produce pictures nothing else. what shots are needed at every place? of who are the shots at everyplace needed? where are these people? you are going to tell/ask anyone that you need after the ceremony to remain? if you do not ask them, who is?.

-get a external flash, as big as you can buy. also brackets,cables, more batteries(if flash takes extra), any other needed accesories. you do have more than one camera battery, right? and charger? do you need a12volt charger as well???-again. read. research so you know everything about taking wedding pics.-after reading. do you need any more lenses? what kind, what size, what fstop?.

- memory cards. do you have enough gb? if no, buy major brands only. do not take a chance on any great deals on memory cards. if you have el chepo cards do not use them, replace them. in all respects this is when you go with the best and most dependable equipment you can find.- consider a backup dslr. if you do not have one-buy, rent, borrow..

-you mentioned setting up your tripod and taking many pics with it. do you absolutely have permission of the priest/vicar to use a tripod at that location. do not assume. also the same question about flash in the church..

-find some way to talk the couple into using a wedding pro. this couple may not be your friends AFTER the wedding.try this web site-.

[URL is in our block list, either at the request of the site or due to spam]...ing-photo-tips-for-amateurs.htmlalso try this. it is a pdf file, 79 pages.http://www.aljacobs.com/NEW%20WEDDING.pdf.

You should read the following web site. very interesting.http://tips.romanzolin.com/articles/article006.php.

Where do wedding photographers learn their trade???.

By being an assistant to a PRO wedding photographer. do it without fee if you have to but get the experience.- and very lastly. THE VERY VERY BEST OF LUCK. you will need it..

Gary.

Another reply-.

At the wedding I was referring to I was in the house with the brides and all the bridesmaids at 7:40am, having arrived 10min earlier. at the reception I was shooting till about 2am when the bride/groom finally left. that ended up at just under 18hrs shooting. when I did this it was with film, not digital..

Though I have been asked, the one thing I learned was never again. the 2 weddings were done gratis, no fee, that was the wedding present..

If you want to do more weddings I suggest glen johnson's book "digital wedding photography". not cheap, but well worth it. I have read it, and my conclusion is anybody who reads the book will never do a wedding. he simply tells what you have to do to photograph a wedding...

Comment #1

By the way, I have been married for 37yrs, and have been shooting with a slr/dslr for 37yrs as well...

Comment #2

Adnerb wrote:.

I am shooting my first wedding this weekend. I've done other weddingsfor friends and family before, but I have never charged anyone money.I've been online and to the bookstores to do a little research,mainly to get pose ideas. (I have never been married myself). I readsomewhere that I should write up a contract and have the couple signit, but it seems a little late for that since the wedding isSaturday, and it's already Thursday..

The worst thing (for you!) is that they might not pay..

Any tips or suggestions that you might have would be greatlyappreciated. I am a professional portrait photographer, but I've onlybeen in the field a couple of years, so I'm still new to it all.Right now, I work for a portrait studio in the mall, but I'm tryingto branch out on my own..

Quite... VERY different work..

I own a Fujifilm s7000, but I'm also borrowing a Nikon D70 to do thewedding. The D70 has been a little difficult for me to figure out,but I've been practicing with it a lot. It seems to get realgrainy/noisy in low light situations. I have only the two cameras anda tripod, no lighting equipment or anything else..

You won't like this .

The tripod is mostly useless at a wedding. Sometimes worse than useless. Most of the time, actually..

The cameras. You have to really know/feel them. You know, like driving a car..

The lighting. You haven't mentioned the lens on the Nikon; no matter the lens, weddings are MOSTLY flash jobs. With the onboard flash, the common result is the rabbit-in-the-flashlight look. It's worse with the kit lens, of course..

As they are my first paying wedding couple, I am not charging verymuch. I plan on giving them a few prints (like 12 of the best shots)and a CD with all the shots (after I've done a quick edit on them)..

Your responses, questions, and comments are welcome..

I guess it's too late for the "don't do it" advice..

You said you did shoot at some weddings. That's a good thing. Look before hand at those pictures and think how to improve them..

The fact you find the D70 a bit difficult is not a good sign. Try to get REALLY familiar with the camera. Scout the church and restaurant, etc. See what works and what does not..

An external flash would be extremely welcome - if you know how to use it. So, if you feel you can learn until then how to use the external flash, how to bounce, how to fill in, etc, that would be a big help. However, it's better to learn the camera and don't get an external flash, than using them both badly..

Two final pieces of advice: 1. cover your behind. And 2, try not to ruin their wedding images, for most people it's one in a lifetime event..

Good luck!.

/d/n.

Thanks..

Comment #3

Get a flash!!! The SB-800 is the standard, but an SB-600 will do. Get several GB of CF cards and shoot RAW...

Comment #4

Hi,.

Thank you each for your comments. devnull, everything you said was exactly true! the tripod was useless (although it did make me look and feel more professional to have it there). The D70 did not cooperate at first, so I used my back-up camera until I had a few minutes to setup aside and figure out what the problem was. The back-up camera produced far inferior images, but helped me to keep my cool and to keep shooting despite the technical malfunction. Greg Nut, I did not have the time/money to purchase a flash like you recommended, (i can see where it would have been extremely helpful) but I will certainly do that before the next wedding that I shoot. Thank you GaryDeM for your suggestions as well, very much appreciated...

Comment #5

GaryDeM wrote:.

-for the bride and groom, especially the bride, this is their day.the once in a lifetime event. you cannot look at this as just anotherday for to take pictures and have fun with a hobby. weddings areextremely serious business and the pressure is on the photographer toDELIVER. there are no excuses for poor or not gotten shots at awedding for the photographer..

Let's accept that this is an exaggeration. Plenty of couples don't consider the photos to be a life-and-death issue. I've been at weddings with no professional photographers, and a good time was had by all. The couple was happy to have whatever photos Uncle Bobs and Aunt Marys took..

It seems to me that this couple have willingly hired an inexpensive, inexperienced photographer. I they saw it as a "once in a lifetime event" that is "extremely serious business" from a photography standpoint, I would suspect they'd have hired someone else...

Comment #6

This thread, called 'weddings 101', would appear to be ideal for you to look at!.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1014&message=27710623.

Best wishesMike..

Comment #7

You really should read Glen Johnson's book "Digital WEdding Photography" before you flat out state that bride and grooms, especially brides, view the their wedding day as just another day. GJ takes his whole first chapter and again and again tells of the importance to the couple this day is, and how the photographer ism uder terrific preasure to deliver the pics with absolutely no excuses..

In this particular wedding that the op did there are several reasons that choose not to use a pro. not the least of which coulkd be money. also the size of the wedding. also a desire to keep it low key. or XXX..

BUT I would say that if the op or any other photog later tells them that there is no pics because of XXX, they will most definately not be happy. weddings are a one shot deal, circumstances never to be repeated. the photog has to deliver the goods on that day, period. if you do not understand this, you should not be shooting weddings..

In any event do not under estimate the desire and need of the wedding couple to have proper pics of the day. besides which the courts have a lot of sessions because of wedding pics not being delivered how and when promised with the proper quality. and if you think friendship or being related will stop a session in a court if the photog does not deliver the wedding shots, are you in for unpleasant suprise..

I recall my weddings that I shot:pressure packed, tense nervous situations that I had to deliver. this was made even worse by my relationship to the weddings couples. this why I never did any more, though I was asked. to me photography is a fun hobby, not the opening event to an ulcer...

Comment #8

Alright, out with it! Let's see those pics!JonGive me something to shoot..

Comment #9

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