Asked to do a wedding as a favour to Bride

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by markst33, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Hi there, I have been asked to do the wedding of my wifes friend by the bride
    as a favour as they are pretty broke. Of course I said yes (how could I not)
    but I have never done a wedding before. Its in July here in Ireland so God only
    knows what the weather is going to be like.

    Anyway I am hoping that some of the more experienced members of PN will provide
    me with some tips, suggestions and examples of problems they encountered and
    how they resolved them.

    The equipment I have is a Nikon D50 with the standard 18-55mm and a Nikkor 50mm
    1.8.

    I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous at the thoughts of doing my
    first wedding but I am trying to approach it as a challenge too so any and all
    help no matter how small would be greatly appreciated.

    Bring it on !!!!!
     
  2. Something that might help others give you relevant advice is to also list your prior photography experience. Landscape? Portraits? Sports? Snapshots of family?

    In meantime, there are books and websites on wedding photo techniques. They will be helpful. Use Google. Use your local library.

    OK, I took a quick look at your Workspace. Family snaps and landscapes. It's a decent start.

    Read books on wedding photography. Emulate what they do / say, as it's most likely to be tried and true. Attend a wedding ahead of time so you can observe what that photographer does (as far as how they direct the subjects).

    Some may say not to even get involved, but if the couple is nearly broke, you're probably the only photo opp they have. Do your best to do a good job.

    I'm sure others will give
     
  3. .... additional, and mabye better, advice.
     
  4. Also go practice, I'm sure there are a few weddings coming up in your area, won't hurt to go shoot a few for fun.
     
  5. http://www.photo.net/learn/wedding/

    I'd also suggest these places:

    Check out Strobist and Planet Neil for some discussions of flash photography and techniques you might want to work on. Joe Demb's site is oriented around using his products but also is informational.

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/

    http://planetneil.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/

    http://www.dembflashproducts.com/

    This is a bit round about way of suggesting you may want to look into an external flash. Use of diffusers and flash brackets is something you may want to look into as well. Bouncing and/or diffusing the flash spreads the light and the power and may mean you need to consider a more powerful flash.

    Besides "controlling" the light, these techniques help control red-eye, and untoward shadows. I'd suggest thinking about a good external flash, at a minimum. After some practice, then consider if you want to add a diffuser and/or bracket.

    The advantage you have at this point is time! Work on some of these techniques/technical issues and practice. Draft friends and family as models. Or dummies, stuffed toys, discarded wig stands, or mannequin heads, etc.

    What you want to be able to do is use what you have well. Adding more and more equipment will add to the complexity and your learning curves.

    There's a lot of similarity to herding cats in doing this. You might want to recruit some helpers.
     
  6. Weddings are predictable, choreographed ritualistic events with only a few wrinkles. I don't find them all that hard to shoot, but that comfort level has come with practice of 30,000+ images over two years in all sorts of situations.

    It's not that hard to understand and grasp the issue of fill flash (or bouncing flash indoors), but in the heat of the moment you need second nature experince from repetition to get the best image possible.

    Practice in real life situations. A few times around the house or outdoors on your kids wont prepare you...

    See if anyone has a company Christmas Party, birthdays, etc... attend fairs, political events. Indoors and outdoor practice, practice, practice with your flash. Shoot one or two events per week in different lighting situations.

    Since you mentioned weather, I'm assuming it's outdoors. That could be your dream event or worst nightmare depending upon the time of the day and the weather.

    I wouldn't sweat it too much, if you apply yourself in the coming months.
     
  7. Spend every evening looking at the web seeing what other people do.

    Somebody mentioned "I'm sure there are a few weddings coming up in your area, won't hurt
    to go shoot a few for fun" - please don't just turn up and get in the way of somebody who's
    trying to do it professionally!
     
  8. I would suggest you see some wedding magazines and try to do some of the poses, you
    might be surprised of the ones you can do yourself after some practice...
     
  9. I have to second what John said. *DO NOT* start showing up to random weddings and photographing them!

    Practice around the house. See if you can get a hold of backups for your camera, lenses, and flash - a failure on the big day will leave you high and dry. Also be prepared to lose a friend if something goes grossly wrong. People get a little weird about things like this.
     
  10. In addition to technique and equipment, have a written agreement with the bride, even if you're doing the shoot at no charge. What happens if you're sick? Lose the images? Miss some important shots? What do you plan to deliver? Who will own the copyright? These are just a few things to consider. Having a written understanding up front will avoid problems later.
     
  11. I was asked the same favor, but luckily the couple can afford a pro photographer. I'm only a second shooter and I'm far more comfortable with that.
     
  12. Reading and study is fine, but it all means nothing if it isn't second nature. Practice alot.
     
  13. Sit and talk with the Bride & Groom. Let them know that you are not an experienced wedding photographer and that you need to know what pictures they would like taken. List out the family shots, these are pretty easy. List out wedding party shots, these are easy. List out the special Bride & Groom shots. Maybe sit with the Bride and review some other photographer's web sites and get ideas. Then take you list and plan out how exactly to do each shot. Then take your list with you on the wedding day and cross them off as you do them.
     
  14. Tell them not to expect anything and hope for the best. Much the same as asking someone who never baked a cake before to do that particular honour. Or a caterer who has never done such an event and so on.

    If they just want someone to record the joyous occasion with whatever the results happen to be, then they will be happy.

    I know of others who had relatives shoot photos, compiled the best and were very happy with the results simply because this was the happiest day of their lives and NOTHING would make it otherwize. So what if Grandma was out of focus, some shots were crooked and Uncle Jim had a goofy smile? This is their family and that's what they see. Cousin Bob isn't a magazine model so why should he look like one now?

    Then there are those who paid tens of thousands of dollars and would sue the photographer because one or two shots were not exactly right.

    It's not just that you get what you pay for, but what you really want and will cherish. Too much of wedding photography from what I am reading on this website is based on perfection, the 'must have' shots and so on and not focusing on the people. I even read about some clients who would not hire a photographer because they took pictures of shoes!

    Seems far too materialistic. You cannot capture or present the perfect moment on film if that is not what is coming from within the person. Even the homeliest bride will exude a radiant, happy glow a good photographer can capture on a point-and-shoot 35mm disposable camera standing on his head in a rainstorm with one hand tied behind his back.

    What is my point? Do your best. If they really appreciate and need your services and your work comes from the heart, it will show, and they will love it no matter how experienced you are.
     
  15. Nuf said already...1)I hope they are a goodlooking couple, those photo's are by default easier to look at. 2) I also hope it's a small wedding, that will be less stressful on you. 3) Get a 2nd camera for that day and put something long on it. 4) Make a list of required shots and cross them off when done. 5) Get your own assistant (to hold that umbrella no doubt) 6) and for goodness sake, check if your shots are in focus on your LCD panel. Nothing is more aggravating then to mess up the basics. 7) Shoot RAW (more shots can be saved when not perfectly exposed. 8)....the list goes on an on..

    Maybe you are a natural. Go for it, in Ireland they are surely not as sue-happy as here in the states, besides they are your (wife's) friends and they are broke, therefore they can't be that demanding since they must know you've never done a wedding before and you are doing them a favor.

    Good luck and post some of the results!!!

    Herma

    Good luck.
     
  16. Thanks all for your input comments and suggestions. Just to point out, they are well aware that I am not a professional and that this is my first wedding so they are not expecting magazine type shots.

    But you have all given me valuable advice, tips and pointers so thatnks one and all
     
  17. Of course I said yes (how could I not)...

    Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, make an "O" shape with your lips, and say "no". If you do a lot of weddings, this is a skill you should master immediately.

    On the other paw, if you have committed, and there's no way to back out, I strongly advise you to find a friend who also has a DLSR to back you up. You might make a mistake, but the chances of two people making the same mistake at the same time are greatly reduced (unless of course you start copying each others settings).

    Later,

    Paulsky
     
  18. Nobody said it yet (I searched). Get a contract laying everything out. You might say, "hey, I'm doing it for free." That's exactly why you one a contract. It spells everything out for you and the bride.

    Stuff like:
    What happens when things go bad.
    Who owns the copyright.
    What time everything starts.
    What pictures are taken.
    How long you have to get the product (pictures) to the bride.
    Who has final say over things (you, the bride, the bride's mother).
    ect.
     
  19. you are going to do fine. the fact that you are starting asking questions 6 months ahead is a
    good sign.
     
  20. In addition to the great suggestions above, why don't you visit the site where the wedding is to take place .. Irish churches . . and take some preliminary practice shots .. or visit other public places known for wedding pictures in your area . . in my neck of the woods, these is a huge public park with excellent backgrounds where the limos line up during the peak wedding months and the wedding party poses for pictures .. be a fly on the wall and tag along on the sideline and watch how the pro's work the group and pose .. that along with reading is a useful experience .. and, if there is a wedding photog in your area .. see if you can help/learn on a wedding or two ... careful observation and study on your part and you'll see some mistakes the pro's make that you'll want to avoid.

    PS: You need more than one camera; and you need to understand using flash under pressure ... you have plenty of time to sort out the technical issues, assemble equipment and practice .. if you do your homework, your 1st wedding will seem like routine .. do a good job and you'll be getting referrals before too long .. but don't over-sell your talent .. be upfront and tell the couple of your experience level .. determine minimum expectations and then wow 'em with a few unique shots. Good luck.
     

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