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The Victoria Photography Meetup Group Message Board › Guidance Needed!!

Guidance Needed!!

Matt F.
user 69718662
Victoria, BC
Post #: 5
Hi all,

I have had two friends recently approach me about being their wedding photographer...

I have no experience in this area and have stressed to them that they should go with a pro, but they both insisted they would like me to do their photos, partially due to the fact they think I'll do a good job, and partly because I can provide the service at a cheap rate.

I have a little experience with photoshoots, but I realize that a wedding is a far greater challenge than engagement photos or maternity shots.... dauntingly so, in fact. I have been reading tips online and have visited hundreds of wedding photog sites for inspiration, so I'm trying to do my research, but I could mostly use some hands on work.

I have read on numerous boards that asking a wedding photographer if you can assist them is a good way to get some experience "in the field" so I guess I'm asking if anyone on this board does weddings, and if so, is there any chance I could tag along? If not, any advice would be greatly appreciated... other than "tell them to get a pro".

Thanks so much for your time.

Matt
Alan
user 4699985
Victoria, BC
Post #: 85
Hi Matt,
My advice? Don't do it...
The closer you are to these friends, the less you should be their "official" photographer. First, if they are your friends, you want to be able to celebrate with them rather than worrying about light and posing. Second, regardless of what they say, if the photos are not what your friends are expecting, you may lose face and possibly your friendship with the couple.

I would volunteer to bring my camera and take some shots, possibly even some poses if you feel comfortable. I would encourage other guests to take photos as well. I would not charge anything unless you know what you are doing.

Look for students or other aspiring photographers who want to build their portfolio, they will work fairly inexpensively, and they will have no emotional attachment to the couple.

I have done a few weddings and they are very stressful. I have also refused to be "the" photographer at friends' (or relative's) weddings.

My .02 (soon to be rounded up to .05...)
Matt F.
user 69718662
Victoria, BC
Post #: 6
Thanks Alan,

Not doing it seems to be the sentiment I'm getting from most people. Fortunately neither of them are very close friends, acquaintances really but they have specifically asked me to do them. It seems kind of rude to me to tell them no, even though I get why I would. I actually think I can do a decent job,, decent as key word, not professional! It's more the experience I'm looking for. I have done paid photoshoots and every client has been satisfied and referred ne so I know how have the capability, I really need some more work at it. I can deal with the stress, both couples are extremely easy going and I have expressed and expressed that they need to get a pro, or high end amateur, but to no avail. And I do in fact, want to do it, i enjoy shooting as a guest and would like to be able to shoot as a "living" weddings included.

But again, I understand the reasoning behind refusing to do it.
Carl
Czarl
Victoria, BC
Post #: 93
Is there an opportunity to meetup with them and do a per-shoot event (engagement)? Perhaps, go to the sites they want to the photos done and see how well you do?
James X.
user 22524651
Victoria, BC
Post #: 13
Haha. I would follow Allan's suggestion. It would be very awkward if they found the photos less than what they expect, especially between friends.

ps: I shoot wedding as well, and I'm good and affordable...
Marcia and Mike Ne...
wolfnowl
Victoria, BC
Post #: 474
You should listen to this: http://av.adobe.com/r...­

Mike.
Matt F.
user 69718662
Victoria, BC
Post #: 7
Carl, that's actually something that I had suggested to them, just awaiting a reply... it's a great suggestion.

James, I actually sent them both your website address to check out. I've seen your work, it's really nice and the prices are very good. I've actually been viewing your site for some ideas.

Mike, thanks for the link. I gave it a real quick listen, but will sit down tonight and give it a real good go of it.

Thanks for the suggestions, any other pointers will help out
A former member
Post #: 101
There's a lot of pressure your first wedding, let alone your first wedding for people you are connected to in someway (whether through work, friends, etc).

IMHO If you haven't done any, even as a shadow to another photographer, I would say no. Simple as that. You don't need to go into details and if they don't like it, well that's not really your problem now is it :) There are a lot of great wedding photographers on the Island and a number of them have really great pricing or can adjust as needed (taking out certain things, etc) so if it's budget, there are options.

I've been asked to do photoshoots for friends and friends-of-friends, even family, plenty of times since I stopped doing portraits. I COULD do it and I could do it dirt cheap since it's not my main income or anything but instead I tell them I don't offer that anymore and send them a list of recommendations; leave it at that. Some people get annoyed because you could do it "for cheaper/free" but people get over it.

I would work on getting experience under someone else before accepting or considering accepting a full gig, even if you have a few months to prepare. You could help another photographer and realize how much you hate it..then what? You've committed to someone's wedding as their main photographer and you'll spend the rest of the time leading up to the wedding dreading it and putting off prep work, and in the end probably not put your full attention to the details and disappoint both them and you. :)
Matt F.
user 69718662
Victoria, BC
Post #: 8
Thanks again for the replies, Natalie, I appreciate the input!

I will be doing the shoots, despite the advice I have heard and have passed on the couples. If either of them were wanting pro shots, they would have gone that way. The friendship awkwardness is not a concern to me as they are acquaintances only and approached me after seeing my shots. I had a pro do my wedding photos after hearing this same advice and the shots were awful. We spent a couple grand on it and we have 3 photos framed as side photos. The rest came from a family friend who is good with a camera and knows how to capture the moment. I would have paid her that same money that I gave the well known, oft referred pro that we had.

I was hoping to get some advice on how to do a better job, with the awkward situation I am in. Like I said, I have done shoots before, I know light, I know aperture etc. I am capable of getting a decent shot of someone but there are things you can't learn from google, sometimes a more personal approach is what's needed most. I have looked up things like finding a "shot list", carrying two cameras, group shots, getting both sides of the family, blah blah. All really excellent tips.

I have 6 months before the first one and a few lessons lined up to better work on lighting and portaiture. I want to do them, I just want to do them as well as a person in my position can. That's why I posted this.

It's a hard enough position to be in without constantly being told not to do it. I know the consequences but I also know and have read from very well established photogs that they had to start with their first wedding at some point. Some apprenticed, others went cold turkey right in. I would love an opportunity to join someone like James to get an idea of what is ahead of me, so I will keep trying to get in contact with someone.

Again, thanks for the time spent adding your opinions, it's appreciated! Even the naysayers!!
Alan
user 4699985
Victoria, BC
Post #: 86
I think I started this off pretty negatively. For that I apologize.

If you are determined to go through with it, I would ask the couple what shots they want. Talk them out of images you aren't comfortable with, suggest ideas you would be good at. I would also encourage other guests to take photos as well, they can be your backup in case you forget to set autofocus or something...

In terms of money, I would not undercharge either. This is a lot of work and stress. While you can't charge pro rates, you need more than just a bottle of wine ...

Good luck
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