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Photography Question 
Tammy Hudson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/28/2006

1st Wedding- Questions

Hello All,

I have been asked to do several weddings and I have always said no until now.It is just to big a deal to risk messing up. I will be shooting a wedding in 1 year. The only reason I agreed to so it is they would have no photographer other wise. I want to be very honest and upfront with them. I have told them it is a very important day and to hire a pro if pictures are at all important to them. They have seen my photos and understand that I have never done a wedding. The groom doesn't want to do posed shots and wants candids. The bride wants one "good shot" of herself with the groom. It will be a small outdoor wedding. I have been studing every thing I can find and will follow a pro on a wedding shoot or two before then.I have 2 cameras,
lenses, and flashes for both. I will not be charging them, they can order photos if they want. What else should I be doing?

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9/9/2007 10:56:28 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Although I've shot a number of weddings, I've still advised BP newbies to decline to shoot weddings. It's the last, great place to break friendships.

That being said, I agreed to shoot the wedding of the son of friends - with the proviso that they fully understand I'm not a professional wedding photographer. That being said . . .

I've usually tried to take the classic photos, although I've never gone to the brides home to shoot the "getting ready images." I get to the church early to scout locations; I try to learn where in the sanctuary there are good vantage points. I try to check out natural lighting opportunities, especially if the minister doesn't open the door to all photography.

Obviously, I shoot the architectural shot of the church and, if possible, the arrival of the Bride.

Once the ceremony begins, I take a picture of each of the mothers of the Bride and Groom [it's probably OK if you miss the FOG because, traditionally, he's the most useless part of the whole thing anyway,] the ring bearer, the bridesmaids, and Bride and FOB in the processional. If possible I roam the church to get whatver images I can, trying, especially, to get the placement of the rings on third fingers, the first kiss, etc. Then I try for, at least, a shot of the B&G in the recessional. Finally, I try for formals of the wedding party at the altar.

Then, it's off to the recpetionj. Here's where you can truly take those candids. In one wedding I did, I took a candid portrait of almost everyone attending - surprisingly, the bride really appreciated this. Obviously, I tried for the Grand Entry, the first dance, dances with FOB-MOG/FOG-MOB,the cake feeding, the garter toss and, a group shot at each table.

But for me it was the walk-around and shooting the candids that produced the most smiles - wedding party as well as guests.

Most of my weddings were shot with film. One gig - I shot 8 36-exposure rolls, about 250 images. But now, with digital, I really believe a photogrpaher must be choosey - otherwise it's just to easy to take many, many pictures in the hopes of getting some good ones. That involves too much time after the reception [editing, et al.]

In fact, with the upcoming wedding I may shoot, I'm planning to provide a DVD only, with essentially no editing. I plan to suggest that the B&G view the images and make a reasonable selection of what they consider the best for editing. I don't have the time or inclination edit all the images that I might take. And, unless the price is right, I'm not going to spend a lot of time and effort making prints.

But, remember, I'm no pro - this is not my livelihood.

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9/10/2007 12:05:04 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  john made a very good point about shooting digital.someone just a while back had shot a wedding and was still sorting through 1,500 photos and thought the couple was impatient because they they hadn't provided any photos after 6 weeks.2 weeks should be plenty of time to produce something.
don't forget to ask them about the in-laws and out-laws?also,check with the best man to see if any tricks are in the works.just remember,you know nothing..

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9/10/2007 8:19:36 PM

Tammy Hudson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/28/2006
  Thank you both for your help and good advice. I thought closer to time for the wedding I would ask them to see if there are certain photos that their parents would be disappointed not to have.

I agree that a good turn around time is very important. I covered a national convention this year and worked hard to have a good turn around time for their images. It took me about a week and a half to edit and mail out their disk with about 1200 images.I thought I would most likely have the wedding images ready for them to view when they returned from their honeymoon. I know after my wedding I really wanted to see the photos as quickly as I could.

I told the bride I would do engagement photos for them this Oct. (a year before the wedding). I thought it would give us a chance to work together before the big day and if they were unhappy with me it would give them time to find someone else. I want to make sure we are all on the same page. I hope I am taking the right approach to this. Thank you again for your help.


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9/10/2007 9:53:17 PM

Pat Wimpee   Hey Tammy, I'd recommend doing alot of practice taking pictures of people in out door settings in bright sun or shade. You need to be able to quickly decide what settings to switch to when pointing in the sun vs shade.
Weddings move so fast, there is no time to hesitate and stop to think about things. You just need to react.
The more you practice, the faster you'll react.
Practice and have fun.

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9/11/2007 6:41:17 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  do not take a job in afternoon light.wait a minute,was that even mentioned?ah well.
your gallery indicates you like to center things tammy,careful?
best of luck,sam

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9/11/2007 9:09:57 PM

Tammy Hudson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/28/2006
  Almost ready for "I Do"
Almost ready for "I Do"
© Tammy Hudson
Nikon D50 Digital ...
Thank you all for your advice and help. As I am sure you all are aware that sometimes plans change. I will no longer be shooting the wedding next October. I received a call yesterday, and they deceided they didn't want to wait to get married. They went to town hall and got married yesterday evening. They wanted me to get photos, so I had about 2 hours notice. It was a very quick cerimony lasting about 3 or 4 minutes in the city meeting room.
I took a few shots and the groom did pose for the 2 shots he had agreed to. It was pouring rain and they had to have their pictures done inside the building. They will have a reception next month to celebrate their marriage that they want me to take pictures at. They are a sweet couple and I hope I did a good job for them with all things considered. I didn't get a chance to ask about using their photos since things happpened so fast, so for now I will only upload a photo of the flowers. Thank you again for your help and if you have extra advice for the reception next month be sure and send it!

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9/15/2007 5:40:21 AM

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