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Photographer
Tim Little Photography
Posts: 11,592
Wilmington, Delaware, US


I found this to be an interesting an educational read. It has links to amazing and depressing examples of wedding photography. I post this as a tribute to the real wedding photographers of MM. I studied with a real wedding pro for a year before shooting my first wedding. I did it with the full understanding of the wedding party of my training and background. Many think that a wedding is a great way to make a buck. Here is to the true pros. Please post your favorite wedding photos if you like!


http://blogs.dexknows.com/weddings/2012 … hy-harder/
Jan 04 13 11:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Murvelous
Posts: 54
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


you pay peanuts you get monkeys
Jan 04 13 11:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 18,093
Albany, New York, US


Despite what MANY on MM here think, wedding photography is often more about the photographer being the "right fit" for the wedding party (or the person tasked w/ the hiring) than it is about the actual content that's produced.
Jan 04 13 11:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


I completely disagree. It's not harder than I think. Because I already think it's the most difficult project/job I could ever attempt...and the least appealing (other than financially).

That's the reason I don't ever do them. The risk/reward is off-the-chart skewed to the "risk" side for me and I have this recurring nightmare of Brides chasing after me with their mother-in-laws screaming for my testicles.
Jan 04 13 11:29 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 10,242
Santa Ana, California, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:
I completely disagree. It's not harder than I think. Because I already think it's the most difficult project/job I could ever attempt...and the least appealing (other than financially).

That's the reason I don't ever do them. The risk/reward is off-the-chart skewed to the "risk" side for me and I have this recurring nightmare of Brides chasing after me with their mother-in-laws screaming for my testicles.

I was about to write this and then I didn't have to because there it is above ^^^

Jan 04 13 11:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bob Helm Photography
Posts: 18,208
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:
I completely disagree. It's not harder than I think. Because I already think it's the most difficult project/job I could ever attempt...and the least appealing (other than financially).

That's the reason I don't ever do them. The risk/reward is off-the-chart skewed to the "risk" side for me and I have this recurring nightmare of Brides chasing after me with their mother-in-laws screaming for my testicles.

+1000, did them, would not do another.

Jan 04 13 11:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,554
Salem, Oregon, US


weddings are hard. really hard. you have to know your gear (and have the right gear and lots of it). you have to think on your feet. you have to be good with the couple and with the guests.

at our last wedding while i was conducting the formals one of the guests said "i'm glad i'm not the photographer" i guess i made it look hard smile

i think the people who shoot them for $400 are nuts.

that said i usually enjoy the reception. it's the stuff at the church that's hardest.
Jan 04 13 12:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sand Angel Photography
Posts: 569
Phoenix, Arizona, US


I think they are kind of fun. Yes, they are stressful, but it's just like shooting any other event. Spray and pray! Ok, not really. There is an art to it. lol.

Although the days of doing it for $400 are long gone. It's impossible to break even with that and if Uncle Bob wants to do it for that, more power to him.
Jan 04 13 12:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sand Angel Photography
Posts: 569
Phoenix, Arizona, US


And the OP's article was just a marketing piece to discourage the bride from hiring Uncle Bob. Any decent portrait photographer here should know enough about their cameras and lights to do a wedding.
Jan 04 13 12:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JBerman Photography
Posts: 1,113
New York, New York, US


I've done it as a second shooter - working on candid shots.
I would sooner eat glass than pose a wedding party.
Jan 04 13 12:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nicholas Fischer
Posts: 41
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


I did my first wedding back in July. I had about a month notice and talked to the bride for the first time the day of the wedding, I had using my sister-in-law which was her sister having the wedding as a go between(both woman are a little hard to talk to for more then 20 mins at a time anyways.

Thankfully the wedding was small enough for me to handle, there was a lot of miscommunication but at the end of the night and after go through the photos I really enjoyed it. Yeah I made a few mistakes but I got all the main shots. I think doing a wedding made me sharper and more focused to get those once in a lifetime shots.

I learned so much about my self and what I can do the next time around and my next wedding is in July of this year. So was it hard, well it was a little stressful, but fun and I can't wait to do it again. But if there was one thing with the next wedding that has been hard, its dealing with the bride and her thousands of ideas and her going a little mental and me trying reassuring her I have all the photography stuff planned out.
Jan 04 13 12:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leon Bailey
Posts: 523
Orlando, Florida, US


Wedding photography isn't hard if you know what you are doing. It's the carrying equipment, dealing with people, getting the right shots, and when down time is there keeping yourself busy. It can be stressful because you don't want to get anything wrong, but it's also very satisfying when you get great shots and please the bride and groom.

With that said, I prefer wedding videography. lol.
Jan 04 13 12:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Connor Photography
Posts: 6,544
Elkton, Maryland, US


Tim Little Photography wrote:
I found this to be an interesting an educational read. It has links to amazing and depressing examples of wedding photography. I post this as a tribute to the real wedding photographers of MM. I studied with a real wedding pro for a year before shooting my first wedding. I did it with the full understanding of the wedding party of my training and background. Many think that a wedding is a great way to make a buck. Here is to the true pros. Please post your favorite wedding photos if you like!


http://blogs.dexknows.com/weddings/2012 … hy-harder/

I have never thought wedding photography is easy.  Walking on water is easier.

Jan 04 13 12:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herb Way
Posts: 1,484
Black Mountain, North Carolina, US


I did my first wedding in 1971 (how many of you were born then? smile ) while I was a full time college student. The couple were fellow students, so they weren't very demanding. My fee for the entire package was $150.00 and I made a decent profit.

I've heard fellow wedding photographers accurately describe the wedding photography business as the "satin jungle." It's no joke, a tremendous amount of responsibility and a lot of stress. Many a hot shot fashion/glamour photographer has been eaten alive on a wedding. You have to be a people person and often swallow hard, grit your teeth, and smile in the face of rudeness and borderline abuse from the (often intoxicated, stoned, or wired) people that you're trying to serve. Additionally, when dealing with brides, you're often faced with the task of trying to turn an ugly duckling into a swan. 

Digital has made much of the technical part of wedding photography easier, but it has also done a lot of damage to the business as most prospective clients now think that it should be cheap because it's "easy" and out of pocket expenses are often less. Fortunately, I can now afford to be more selective and accept only the bookings that I really want at the price that I want to be paid and tell the cheapskates and crazies to go scratch. The whores out there who shoot for peanuts are destroying the profession.

http://www.herbwayphoto.com

Edit: In my humble opinion, based on reading their profiles, I think many of the MM models have worse attitudes than the worst of the bridezillas that I've dealt with.
Jan 04 13 12:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJ_In_Atlanta
Posts: 12,803
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Sand Angel Photography wrote:
And the OP's article was just a marketing piece to discourage the bride from hiring Uncle Bob. Any decent portrait photographer here should know enough about their cameras and lights to do a wedding.

If anyone thinks knowing their camera and lights is enough to "do a wedding" then I hope to god some poor couple doesn't let them shoot their wedding.

I spent years in school and out of it learning how to create images and I would never shoot a wedding without working as an assistant for many many weddings first

Jan 04 13 01:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herb Way
Posts: 1,484
Black Mountain, North Carolina, US


AJScalzitti wrote:

If anyone thinks knowing their camera and lights is enough to "do a wedding" then I hope to god some poor couple doesn't let them shoot their wedding.

AMEN!!!

Jan 04 13 01:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
S-a-P
Posts: 232
New York, New York, US


I'd like to think that the photos from that article were taken by photographers who replied & agreed to craigslist ads seeking an "experienced" photographer asking for coverage from 8am to midnight for $300 and want to know which model of camera will be used.  Or maybe they traded free modeling time...


Unfortunately, many prospective couples don't hold the photographer in as high regard as many of the other wedding vendors.  There isn't as much of a brag factor about hiring a photographer as their is for wedding dress designers/shops, venues, florists, or even bakers.  After the party, the photographs are one of the few things that continue to (potentially) be enjoyed after the wedding.
Jan 04 13 01:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


AJScalzitti wrote:
If anyone thinks knowing their camera and lights is enough to "do a wedding" then I hope to god some poor couple doesn't let them shoot their wedding.

I spent years in school and out of it learning how to create images and I would never shoot a wedding without working as an assistant for many many weddings first

+1.

If I had to choose a primary, lone skill for wedding photography success it would be more along the lines of a PhD in Behavioral Psychology than any mastery of equipment lol

Jan 04 13 01:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


Herb Way wrote:
Edit: In my humble opinion, based on reading their profiles, I think many of the MM models have worse attitudes than the worst of the bridezillas that I've dealt with.

I'll take a 100 "Pay me and I MUST receive ALL raw images at the time of the shoot" models over just one unhappy bride.

Jan 04 13 01:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dhp
Posts: 111
San Francisco, California, US


It's not easy, but it's not rocket science either. "Shooting a wedding" to me is a lot easier than "running a wedding photography business." But I also love shooting weddings--so that definitely makes it easier.
Jan 04 13 01:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dhp
Posts: 111
San Francisco, California, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:

+1.

If I had to choose a primary, lone skill for wedding photography success it would be more along the lines of a PhD in Behavioral Psychology than any mastery of equipment lol

This is pretty accurate. It takes a lot of getting along well with your clients and managing expectations and people to get the job done well.

Jan 04 13 01:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mike Hemming
Posts: 358
Easton, Maryland, US


I have done 2 non relative weddings
One couple was getting married in hot air balloon.
I couldnt resist.
The other wanted me to photograph the "wedding night"
after seeing the bride to be, I could not resist.

After those 2 my wedding photogaphy career was over.
Jan 04 13 01:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kelvin Hammond
Posts: 17,359
Billings, Montana, US


I've taken hundreds. They are no more difficult then any other job. They just have a longer duration then most.

There are technically no differences between a bride or a model... you light them, pose them, and shoot them.

The only challenge is that you don't get to pick where you're going to shoot, so you gotta know you're shit... but that's the same shit you should know if you're shooting anything else.

But yeah, it's a bit harder then shooting portraits at Walmart...
Jan 04 13 01:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
S-a-P
Posts: 232
New York, New York, US


Mike Hemming wrote:
The other wanted me to photograph the "wedding night"
after seeing the bride to be, I could not resist.

...um, what?

Jan 04 13 01:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJ_In_Atlanta
Posts: 12,803
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:
+1.

If I had to choose a primary, lone skill for wedding photography success it would be more along the lines of a PhD in Behavioral Psychology than any mastery of equipment lol

dhp wrote:
It's not easy, but it's not rocket science either. "Shooting a wedding" to me is a lot easier than "running a wedding photography business." But I also love shooting weddings--so that definitely makes it easier.

Exactly, it's not about technical and as dhp mentioned you need to actual enjoy weddings; all kinds of weddings, there is a big difference between the different faiths as well.

I personally have been to catholic, Jewish, and Indian weddings and can only imangine what others must be like.

Jan 04 13 01:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Paulsvegasphotography
Posts: 13
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:

I'll take a 100 "Pay me and I MUST receive ALL raw images at the time of the shoot" models over just one unhappy bride.

I second that one!

My first paid wedding happened in the late 70's on film during my senior year of High School. My main camera battery died just before the ceremony started (electronic shutter). I was able to shoot the pre-wedding things. But as soon as the bride was at the alter nothing. I did bring a backup camera but something was malfunctioning with the shutter and only one in five shots turn out. Something I found out after I processed the film.

So talk about a unhappy bride! I ending up giving her all the pictures that worked for free. It was a year (and a  new camera) before I would take on another wedding.

I know in a digital world it's a little easier but you still have to deal with the clients.

Jan 04 13 02:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
S-a-P
Posts: 232
New York, New York, US


Paulsvegasphotography wrote:
My first paid wedding happened in the late 70's on film during my senior year of High School.

Well, to be fair, the bride really gambled big (and lost) hiring a high school student to photograph her wedding.  The blame for it not working out is more on her than you.  How high could she have set her expectations?  She relied on a young, amateur, student who had never photographed a wedding (and it was pre-digital, before someone could someone could go full auto or shoot trial & error). 


Not your fault, good story though.

Jan 04 13 02:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sand Angel Photography
Posts: 569
Phoenix, Arizona, US


AJScalzitti wrote:
If anyone thinks knowing their camera and lights is enough to "do a wedding" then I hope to god some poor couple doesn't let them shoot their wedding.

It's not "enough" but you should have the basic posing, lighting, and technical skills by then. The camera shouldn't be the part that scares you. lol.

I'm a preacher's kid so I've been to more weddings than I can count. They're all pretty much the same.

Jan 04 13 03:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhotoPower
Posts: 1,366
Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada


I'm not keen about shooting weddings, but have some photo-journalism experience and equipment and just received a summer wedding request from a dancer I've worked with several times with in the past. The wedding is on the coast, with a huge tent, and a cast of wonderfully creative people from the entertainment field, so I think I want to do the shoot. I figure me and related gear is worth $30 per hour. Two Canon 7d's, a batch of lenses, and laptop. Shooting to start the day before the actual wedding. What do you think???
Jan 04 13 03:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJ_In_Atlanta
Posts: 12,803
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Sand Angel Photography wrote:
It's not "enough" but you should have the basic posing, lighting, and technical skills by then. The camera shouldn't be the part that scares you. lol.

I'm a preacher's kid so I've been to more weddings than I can count. They're all pretty much the same.

The http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.pngpart is wanting to spend every weekend keeping two moms and a bride happy.  Anyone who wants to do that must be a bit nuts

Jan 04 13 03:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sand Angel Photography
Posts: 569
Phoenix, Arizona, US


AJScalzitti wrote:
The http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.pngpart is wanting to spend every weekend keeping two moms and a bride happy.  Anyone who wants to do that must be a bit nuts

They're usually too busy fighting with each other and that's why Canon made a 70-200mm zoom lens...to keep a safe distance and it's heavy enough to defend myself. lol.

Jan 04 13 03:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herb Way
Posts: 1,484
Black Mountain, North Carolina, US


PhotoPower wrote:
I'm not keen about shooting weddings, but have some photo-journalism experience and equipment and just received a summer wedding request from a dancer I've worked with several times with in the past. The wedding is on the coast, with a huge tent, and a cast of wonderfully creative people from the entertainment field, so I think I want to do the shoot. I figure me and related gear is worth $30 per hour. Two Canon 7d's, a batch of lenses, and laptop. Shooting to start the day before the actual wedding. What do you think???

Have fun. For a wedding where the couple want only digital files, I base my fee on paying myself a minimum of $100 to $150 per hour plus mileage and tolls if the travel is extensive.

You're ripe for the picking by the bottom feeders on Craigslist.

Jan 04 13 03:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Frances Jewel
Posts: 9,149
Dayton, Ohio, US


I shoot family/NB photography and was contacted by a dear friend who was in hysterics and in a bind. Her photographer went AWOL and her wedding was in three days! She asked, I agreed, it was the most stressful day of shooting in my life! I was glad I could help out a friend, but I will NOT be making that anything I pursue in the future! lol

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/mariellenking/Blackweb.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/mariellenking/Black81.jpg
Jan 04 13 03:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
tonyfromsyracuse
Posts: 374
Syracuse, New York, US


its harder than you think? I've always assumed it was hard.

quite frankly given all the judge judy lawuits with photographers getting sued.
I've never took pictures at a wedding, but they seme like a logistical,and lighting nightmare.
Jan 04 13 03:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


Frances Jewel wrote:
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/mariellenking/Black81.jpg

My first impression of this (other than it's a very good shot) was "we know which one of these manicures isn't going home alone tonight."

Jan 04 13 03:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
S-a-P
Posts: 232
New York, New York, US


PhotoPower wrote:
I'm not keen about shooting weddings, but have some photo-journalism experience and equipment and just received a summer wedding request from a dancer I've worked with several times with in the past. The wedding is on the coast, with a huge tent, and a cast of wonderfully creative people from the entertainment field, so I think I want to do the shoot. I figure me and related gear is worth $30 per hour. Two Canon 7d's, a batch of lenses, and laptop. Shooting to start the day before the actual wedding. What do you think???

$30 an hour?  I think you're getting screwed.  Are you prorating all the time you may put in before, during and after the wedding (from coordinating to post and everything in between) or are you only getting $30 an hour for shooting time?


If it's the former, you're still getting screwed.  If it's the latter, you are contributing to part of the reason why it is difficult for wedding & event photographers to charge a decent rate to make a living.  Please don't shoot for free or near free.

Jan 04 13 03:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Frances Jewel
Posts: 9,149
Dayton, Ohio, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:

My first impression of this (other than it's a very good shot) was "we know which one of these manicures isn't going home alone tonight."

Thanks you and yes, she is quite the popular girl wink

Jan 04 13 03:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herb Way
Posts: 1,484
Black Mountain, North Carolina, US


S-a-P wrote:

$30 an hour?  I think you're getting screwed.  Are you prorating all the time you may put in before, during and after the wedding (from coordinating to post and everything in between) or are you only getting $30 an hour for shooting time?

If it's the former, you're still getting screwed.  If it's the latter, you are contributing to part of the reason why it is difficult for wedding & event photographers to charge a decent rate to make a living.  Please don't shoot for free or near free.

I agree. Photographers shouldn't encourage clients to feel that they're doing us a favor by letting us work for them for practically nothing. They'll never consider us to be worth more than we think we're worth. I've had clients whine about price, but I've never had one suggest that they should pay more than I've asked.

Jan 04 13 03:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dhp
Posts: 111
San Francisco, California, US


PhotoPower wrote:
I'm not keen about shooting weddings, but have some photo-journalism experience and equipment and just received a summer wedding request from a dancer I've worked with several times with in the past. The wedding is on the coast, with a huge tent, and a cast of wonderfully creative people from the entertainment field, so I think I want to do the shoot. I figure me and related gear is worth $30 per hour. Two Canon 7d's, a batch of lenses, and laptop. Shooting to start the day before the actual wedding. What do you think???

Wedding photography is more than just shooting. It's client management, logistical coordination, communication with other vendors, time management, working in the fly with delayed schedules, missing people, lighting nightmare scenarios, terrible spaces some people might choose for getting ready etc.

If you feel like that's something you really want to take on go for it. But make sure yo do as much research between now and then and find out what the bride is hoping for in terms of a product.

As far as how much to charge I think it's fine to charge very little. I started with the $500 weddings but I now start at $4k. My clients are not the same as your clients. If you find that you like and are good at it you can command a higher price point. But starting out? Be realistic. I will say if you end up shooting at 30/hr and its a bad experience it is likely one you will never repeat.

I'd say two main goals for you if you want to move forward are:
1) Estabkish client full client expectations
2) meet or exceed those expectations

Oh and make a contract.

Jan 04 13 03:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,541
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Mike Hemming wrote:
I have done 2 non relative weddings
One couple was getting married in hot air balloon.
I couldnt resist.
The other wanted me to photograph the "wedding night"
after seeing the bride to be, I could not resist.

After those 2 my wedding photogaphy career was over.

wedding night????? pics or this never happened

Jan 04 13 07:51 pm  Link  Quote 
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