asked to do photos for wedding

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chuck_fry|1, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Hello all, I was asked to take photos for a wedding, As of right now i only have a d50, lens include nikon 18-55 kit, 55-200 kit, 50 f1.8, AF-180 f2.8 D, tamron 180mm macro 1:1, sb-600, Manfrotto tripod. I told the person that asked that i could take pics but could not promise anything and they said they are fine with that. Question is do you think i can get some decent pics with the equipment i have? I know a d50 thats all i have right now, gonna upgrade been waiting for nikon announcement of new bodys. I have taken some pretty decent pics with the d50 but feel like under pressure to get good pics for wedding. any comments appreciated.
     
  2. Yes, the D50 can produce excellent pictures just like every other Nikon DSLR camera. The equipment is not the issue - what is your experience taking wedding photos? If you don't have any, you should pass unless you are shooting as a 2nd shooter.
     
  3. You can shoot a wedding with just an on-camera flash and a normal prime lens. It's been done for decades. The question is how good a job you can do with whatever gear you have.
    If you're going to do this, the most important thing to do is talk with the bride and her family to make sure everyone's expectations are in line. You need to understand what she expects, and if you're an amateur let me tell you that your average bride's expectations may include a number of things you've never considered. They also need to understand that while you'll do your best, there may be some shots that simply don't happen or don't come out, and in exchange for getting free photos they're agreeing to accept whatever you produce, regardless of quality.
    Play this wrong and you can lose a friendship here. Play it right and it might make for a good wedding gift. If she screams about "once in a lifetime event ruined by the photography" then you failed to come to an appropriate agreement up-front.
    Since you're asking specifically about gear, I'll say to stick with what you have because you're famiilar with it. Know what it can do, know what it can't do, and make adjustments as necessary.
     
  4. No problem with the gear, definitely. I just did a complete wedding on a D70 and produced a book on Blurb as the outcome. (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1450915) But the main issue is whether you have enough experience and feel comfortable doing it - I completely agree with Elliot on that one. Are we just talking portraits, or are jou going to make a "documentary" record of the entire wedding, including the ceremony and the party afterwards ?? That also makes a significant difference. Look at your past record of taking pictures in the style and circumstances that the couple wish for - then decide whether you feel confident and comfortable doing it.

    If not, just enjoy the wedding as a guest and get plastered instead :)

    Soeren
    00WzOG-265591584.jpg
     
  5. told the person that asked that i could take pics but could not promise anything and they said they are fine with that... ...but feel like under pressure to get good pics​
    Its not a answer to your equipment question but worthy of consideration nevertheless... Good equipment is not the be all and end all and technique, practice, knowledge and solo experience are factors as well. Considering that people's representations are not always consistent with their subsequent reactions and the pressure you feel, maybe you should get out of this now before more pressure to take on this commitment can be put on you. Also, there is merit in obtaining equipment for your needs and on your schedule, not for some one off specialized event.
    I'm sure some equipment related responses will follow.
     
  6. John said it better than I've seen it said in a long time....
    If you haven't done a wedding before and value the friendship of the couple - the best thing to do is to tell to hire a professional.
    I just had a couple that called over the 4th of July holiday - they were getting married (2nd time for both) on July 17 and had a "friend" of theirs that was going to do the photos and suddenly he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to make it to the wedding or not... I agreed to do the shoot at a reduced rate since 1) I had the date open and 2) it was far less formal than any other wedding I've shot recently. Long story short - they are now very glad they hired me to do it for them. The "friend" did make it - but he wanted to enjoy himself - which he did - and they got great photos and memories of the day.
    Dave
     
  7. @Soeren - Great book, I feel like I was at the wedding myself!
     
  8. Lightweight gear is very important. If you can, leave everything behind now and start running away.
    The first time I got married a friend took the photos. Suffice to say, this was the end of the friendship - before we'd even seen the photos.
    I'm about to get married for the second time. Lesson learned. I'm hiring a professional wedding photographer.
     
  9. Thanks to all of you for your responses, Im going to give this a shot, One more question, would it be best to shoot raw? I can do pp and then send to be printed.
     
  10. A backup body is essential. Borrow, rent, or steal another Nikon DSLR to act as a backup .
     
  11. Do you have a plan for *what if* your D50 decides to take a rest during the wedding?
    Do you have a second speedlight? Do you have a extra camera battery (or two?)
    Going to shoot a wedding with one each equipment item is taking a risk. The wedding cannot be halted while you go in search of a camera body, speedlight, battery, etc.
     
  12. I personally WOULD NOT DO THIS.
    This event is a once-in-a-lifetime thing (hopefully anyway) and the bride will not be satisfied with anything less than the best. That is the way women are and that is not going to change. The equipment really is secondary with respect to the total lack of experience in taking on a responsibility like this. Also there is a serious lack of planning for contingencies and it is always the "what-if's" that will get you. They need to hire a professional. You could shoot second but as the main photographer you are asking for a trainwreck. Way too many people think they have a DSLR so they must be a "photographer" right? Nope...
    Out of respect for the couple you should immediately decline gracefully explaining why. The friendship will survive and you will live to shoot another day without carrying the baggage of knowing you screwed up recording a wedding.
     
  13. I actually was put into this position quite a while back and I have only the best professional gear to work with. I still declined because I have never shot a wedding and do not want the responsibility of failing to live up to unrealistic expectations. I prefer to enjoy photography, not try to do something I know very well I am not adequately prepared to do. Now if I could get in with a very experienced professional photographer to shoot second and assist in all the preaparation so that I could learn the correct way to approach a serious event like a wedding, then I would be all over that. Until that happens I refuse to take on a wedding.
     
  14. You should ask this over in the wedding forum, they're all "experts". Personally I would advise against this unless you have at least assisted another shooter at several weddings.
    "Flattering people with a camera", is something that must be learned. Turn people the wrong way, and you add weight to their frames. Place an even slightly over weight bride in the wrong part of the frame (closer than her groom), and she'll appear enormous. Hint: there isn't a woman on the planet that wants to look heavier than she is.
    I apprenticed with an old school wedding shooter 30 years ago. He told me some sage advice that I like to kick at would be wedding shooters: "there's more that can wrong, than can go right in wedding photography". He also said "if the baker, caterer or DJ screw up, it will be forgotten over time".
    If the photographer screws up it is never forgotten. They have an album of lousy pictures to remind them.
     
  15. I have shot weddings twice for friends (long ago when I was young).
    I'm not a wedding guy, and I would never do it again unless I decided to be... especially for a good friend.
     
  16. If this is to be an indoor wedding, the truth no one seems to want to tell is you don't have the lenses for that kind of low light shooting. It comes down to lenses. Not sure if the church will even allow flash, either. Most don't during the ceremony. Camera is the least of your worries here. I guess if the photos don't come out, they can do the wedding all over again. Right?
    Kent in SD
     
  17. I would echo the other comments, I was asked five years ago to shoot a friends wedding, and I recommended they hire a professional. Am glad I did that too, I was able to attend the wedding as a guest and brought along my Nikon D70 and had a great time taking candids and being a spectator. I took a photo of the ceremony and the bride decided that was one of her favorite photos. It was my first shoot with the D70, and I made the mistake of only shooting JPGs, but was able to get some good results after some simple processing. Here's the photo the bride liked:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. you will just do fine with the D50. it's a very capable camera. but you need a better lens. at least get the tamron 17-50mm or the sigma 18-50mm. they are both f/2.8 --- something that is almost a must for weddings. the kit lenses will work in good light indoors and out, the sb-600 helping out as you lose light. the kit 55-200mm will do just fine. outdoors, it is actually a good portrait lens.
    there are places and times wherein friends will ask friends to do these things. they have their reasons: they have their trust in friends; they are not in a position to hire a professional; they are not picky; they will not have a glamorous and lavish wedding; what's more important to them is the celebration and 4x5 picks are okay; etc.
    as long as you are sure that your friends will not sue you (that includes their parents and sponsors), go for it. BUT you need a second body. borrow one from a friend. one lens on each body. you need extra batteries and memory cards. PRACTICE in the church or wherever it's going to held. PRACTICE switching the SB-600 between cameras. this will be hard and needs practice. you have to know the sequence of events in the wedding. ATTEND THE REHEARSAL and practice there.
    this might not be an encouragement because many will say i'm sending you on a suicide mission. but i started getting paid shooting weddings with a D70 and the 18-70 kit lens. i also used the 70-210 af-d on the second D70 borrowed from my brother.
    of course i have experience shooting weddings in my film days. you have to have the courage to start somewhere. if after practicing during the rehearsal you feel uncomfortable, then don't do it. otherwise, go for it. good luck.
     
  19. All of the above is good advice. A backup rig is certainly a good idea. Even an older film camera would be cool, if that's what's available (bring several rolls). Some of the very experienced wedding photographers here may scare you off, but I'd say do your homework, visit the location in advance, and enjoy. If the bride and groom aren't expecting more than you can deliver, it should be fine. Use your judgment. If they want magazine quality images, and you know you can't provide those, simply let them know.
     
  20. One other bit of advice - if you are determined to do the shoot - go down to your local Barnes & Noble or whatever bookstore and pick up a book on wedding photography or at least spend several hours over coffee while you study it there. That way you will at least have an idea of the basic images you should try to capture. The only way I would try this cold is if my friend was unable to hire a pro and it was either my pictures or none.
     
  21. I'm also going to echo an earlier sentiment that you should spend some time on the 'wedding & social' forum, there's a lot of advice there both on suitable equipment for the event & many other considerations and helpful advice for taking on a wedding.
     
  22. Since I've had good luck shooting weddings as gifts for family and friends, I'll play the contrarian role and say "Go for it." But I always warn folks that I'd only shoot candids and I'm weak at formal posing and lighting. So far, so good. They're happy with the photos and I'm happy to have learned that I'm not cut out to be a wedding pro. If it's not fun for me, I won't do it. So far it's been fun.
    For tutorials and tips on weddings, posing, etc., you should search the archives of the wedding and beginner forums. Also, check the Planet Neil site. There are also some pretty good free illustrated tutorials online that cover lighting basics.
    http://ny.webphotoschool.com/
    http://www.studiolighting.net/
    As for equipment...
    • D50 - That's fine. Be sure you have a spare battery, media cards, etc.
    • You should have some sort of backup camera, if only a reliable P&S. I usually include at least one film camera as a backup, but I'm a dinosaur.
    • 18-55 kit - Versatile focal range and good enough within its limitations. A little slow on the long end. Be sure your flash will handle reliable exposures at f/5.6-f/8 indoors out to 20 feet away.
    • 55-200 kit - Personally I can't see much use for a slowpoke variable aperture tele-zoom for weddings or indoor events. Leave it at home.
    • 50 f1.8 - Excellent for available light. Be sure you're comfortable with quick, no-fumble lens changes if you plan to swap between the 18-55 zoom and the 50/1.8. If you're the type to fret over dust or scuff marks on your equipment, this ain't for you. Stick with the 18-55 zoom.
    • AF-180 f2.8 D - Excellent choice for photographing the altar ceremony from a distance if the church policy restricts flash or noise. Check first. And you'll probably want to set up a tripod or monopod in advance for using this lens. Or scout out a column, wall or door frame with a clear view of the altar - if all else fails you can lean against it for support.
    • Tamron 180mm macro 1:1 - Redundant, leave it at home.
    • SB-600 - A must. Practice now. A lot. Borrow two patient volunteers, one wearing a white shirt, the other wearing a black shirt. Stage your practice session in a space with comparable walls and ceilings to the church or wedding venue. It won't help to practice in a space with 8' white ceilings and nearby white walls if the venue turns out to have a 12' dark wood ceiling, walls too far away for bouncing and, worst of all... the dreaded metal halide industrial lights or a mixture of fluorescent and halogen.
    • Manfrotto tripod - Bring it.
    Practice now with your TTL flash technique. Figure out well in advance whether to use a diffuser, bounce or other technique. If you use a diffuser, figure out whether to aim it straight ahead (my preference) or combine it with bounce (personally I think it robs too much light). If you use a diffuser, it'll only be useful out to 20', tops. Beyond 15'-20' you should probably remove the diffuser and use the flash "naked".
    Figure out now whether you can handhold steadily enough to manage slow sync flash without significant motion blur from camera shake. If you want to balance ambient light indoors with flash you'll probably need to shoot at 1/15th-1/30th sec shutter speeds. Find out now whether you can handle that (I can't always handhold reliably below 1/125th).
    Figure out now whether you can shoot at ISO 200, 400 or will need to crank it up to 1600. If you need the speed, go for it. But if you have to shoot at 1600 plan on fretting later over the noise (usually nothing that a good noise reduction program can't fix).
     
  23. Reading this and similar threads you would think that getting a good set of photographs was the main reason people got married with everything else being a side issue.
     
  24. Good point, Steve. On the other hand, considering the extreme narcissism of the online self portrait generation, that might be the main incentive. "Well, the marriage only lasted 5 weeks but, damn, I looked good!"
     
  25. Chuck,
    I was asked to do the wedding of one of my best friends in the film days. I had the gear, I had intermediate photography skills, and I accepted, since I did not want to let him down.
    I was able to shoot some decent pictures of them and their guests, but during that day I realized that I made a mistake for accepting the challenge. Why?
    • I realized that there was no margin of error.
    • I really, really wanted to give them some beautiful shots, worth remembering, which caused me a lot of pressure.
    • Pressure, is rarely a good thing while making pictures, unless you completely comfortable with it and know every, and I mean every detail, set up, custom setting of the camera.
    • Probably the worst thing, however very personal, as a wedding photographer you may very well not know most of the guests attending the wedding. And, those guests don't know you, other then you being the photographer. I was not. I was one of the grooms life long friends taking pictures. So I have not enjoyed that day at all. It is supposed to be a joyful occasion for everyone. If you cannot relax, or don't feel comfortable shoving people aside the whole day long, simply to get a shot, then don't do it.
    If you go ahead, bring plenty of fresh batteries for the flash, back up batteries for the body, and charger, and plenty of memory cards. RAW is nice if you have the time to post process, JPEG will get you plenty of frames on the card and will not clog up your buffer. The latter will save those once in a lifetime shots.
     
  26. Whoa!
    the bride will not be satisfied with anything less than the best. That is the way women are and that is not going to change.​
    Gross generalisation.
    Quality of your work is certainly something to be aware of, and some people (men and women) who say beforehand 'it does not matter' do change their minds when they actually see the photos. But I would wager that many people enjoy guest's photos as much as a professional's and they hire professionals for a guarantee factor. The problem is, of course, you don't know until it is too late which camp they fall into.
    But it all depends on two things: how desparate are they to get quality photographs? Maybe I was lucky in that my bride shared the same view as me: good pictures are nice but we were not going to break the bank to get them (how often have we looked at them in 10 eyears?), and if a good photographer cost too much we would rather rely on friend's photos than get a sub-par professional. Maybe they feel the same way.
    And secondly: will you be the only shooter? Is there a professional there and they are asking for back-up? Have they asked other attendees to do the same?
    One thing I am not sure about is who are the B&G. Are they friends of yours? Friends of friends? Friends of a relative? Acquanitances? And do you want to enjoy the day as well? Are you being paid?
    Arther has some good points. My thinking would be that if they are very good friends and I feel confident I know they ony want a record of the day with no high expectationsI may do it (though I would need some serious convincing to act as sole photographer). If they are friends of friends then a poor result can put a strain on your mutual friend (I would certainly avoid that situation). If they are friends of a relative, then that is often easier to handle. But in both of the last two you need to understand that the mutual acquantiance has told them.
    As for he gear - there has been a heap of good advice about back-ups, additional gear and seeing the venue beforehand.
     
  27. Soeren Engelbrecht [​IMG], Aug 02, 2010; 05:02 p.m. No problem with the gear, definitely.​
    Really? Did I miss the second body in that list somewhere?
     
  28. Well, Dave, Chuck's original post read: "Question is do you think i can get some decent pics with the equipment i have?", and my answer to that would still be "yes". Organizing everything in a sort-of-professional manner would obviously require back-up gear, but that was not the point of my answer. I still think the the main consideration for Chuck should be the mental one.

    Soeren
     
  29. Chuck - "I told the person that asked that i could take pics but could not promise anything and they said they are fine with that."
    Get that in writing. I mean a contract, specifying your lack of expertise and that the Bride understands that her wedding pictures are a crapshoot, and that she is fine with that. This is risky (non) business, and it is going to cost you in terms of a back-up outfit, which you will have to rent or buy. You have gotten a lot of sage advice already, so I'll stop with this.
     
  30. Honestly the equipment you have is well beyond the expectations of most people who ask to have their wedding taken (particularly of the "beggars can't be choosers" type).
    I agree though that ideally you have a backup body.
     
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Equipment matters; today, a D50 or D70 is not what I would prefer to shoot a wedding with now in 2010, but as it has been demonstrated, you can get good results with those. The bigger problem is the photographer's skills, both in terms of picture taking and his/her ability to deal with people.
    The important part is to set the expectations right. Some people are picky and demanding; some brides are happy with mediocre or even just outright bad pictures. Since the bride and groom understand that the OP is a beginner for wedding photography, as long as they have the right expectations (e.g. you have no backup equipment and in case someone knocks your camera onto the floor and breaks it that day, there could be no pictures at all), it can work out ok.
     
  32. OK, I admit I read only the first few responses as they are the typical "you are going to fail and you should get a professional". Really, these people don't know the person who is asking you to take photos and assume the worst.
    I was asked by a cousin to shoot her wedding and I'm glad I took her up on it. The equipment I have is OK but minimal (D300, Tammy 17-50, Nissin flash, borrowed 80-200) and I have done a few weddings in the past as a second shooter. I felt up to the task and I think it went pretty well.
    If you know the person and they genuinely want your assistance after seeing your work, go for it. If you are not confident, try and assist someone else's wedding before the big day and borrow a second camera body if possible.
     
  33. Take David's advice. Personally, I avoid weddings at all costs. They will expect professional results and be disappointed by anything less, no matter how many times they say, "It's okay with us if you can't guarantee anything."
     
  34. Chuck -
    Reading through your response - it sounds like you're set on doing this... So here's my advice....
    1. Do as others have suggested and buy, beg, borrow, rent backup camera (Nikon D50 or similar - if it's not a D50 - then get it as early as possible - because while all Nikons are similar there are some unique things with each and you don't want to be learning a camera at the wedding.)
    2. Shoot in RAW. Get enough memory cards to allow you to do this... D50 uses SD cards - correct? - so make sure you have plenty. Since D50 uses SD cards - I'd recommend that your back-up camera use them also - that way you're not fumbling.
    3. Shooting in RAW gives you some lattitude but it is not a miracle - you still need to be close in camera.
    4. Talk the church / venue before the wedding and find out what is and isn't allowed as far as photography. Some churches don't allow flash photos except at certain points of the ceremony, Others may place restrictions on photographers and where you can and can't be. Those will influence your lens decision.
    5. Fast lenses are a must have - the 17-50 Tamron is a good choice as is the 80-200 nikon... the 200mm comes in handy for ceremony photos when you can't get close
    6. Get a defuser for the flash - a Gary Fong or something similar.
    7. Follow the Boy Scout motto - Be Prepared.
    Dave
     
  35. I know you've got your heart set on this, but I've got to be honest: I'd bow out of this one. I know the temptation is to give it a whirl, but if you bomb (and that's entirely possible, through no fault of your own) you're going to have to own that. Maybe the bride won't mind, but maybe she will. You don't want that cloud hanging over your head.
     
  36. I would decline for all of the reasons already mentioned. Why ask a dentist to perform brain surgery? All doctors are not trained to do the same things.
    Go to the Gallery tab at the top of this website. . Click on it and then select Weddings. This will give you a chance to see what wedding photographers are taking these days. And you can ask yourself if you can take these kind of pictures without breaking stride.
    Joe Smith
     
  37. It's not brain surgery it taking some photos at a wedding. Thousands of people the world over every week end take some photos at a friends wedding as a favor. Some of those friends may well be proffesional wedding photographers but you can bet that a large number are for from that. As long as the B&G and the friend, relative or complete stranger taking the photos knows and understands that the results may well be a long way from professional results and they are not promissing spectacular results then there should not be any problem. We are talking about mature adult people not children.
    If the quality of the photography is that impotant to the couple then they should hire a photographer that shoots the kind of style and quality that they like. If they can't afford that or don't want to spend the money then they have top accept something less that is just the way life is. After all not everyone can afford a brand new car, some people can't even afford a car at all even if it was given to them.
     
  38. Chuck,
    Dave's and Lex's responses are very relevant. In addition, you will need the latest Canon flash that provides auto everything plus a Stofen Omni-Bounce. Use the Omni-Bounce for shots within several feet, take it off for longer shots and bounce off a white ceiling if possible, or use straight on. Watch out for contrasty lighting, in the church with big windows and outside -cloudy wedding days are a blessing. If a really bright day, find outside church steps in the shade or under trees, in a garden, etc for group shots. For posed shots, esp with available light, the 50 f1.8 lens will be great. For action/moving shots, use the 18-55 zoom. Make sure you have extra batteries for everything, an extra body is good -even a film body will work. Before hand, let the wedding party know you are the photographer and ask them to pose/smile/look at you when you are taking their picture. Ask couples walking down the aisle to pause just momentarily, smile and look at you when they see you are going to take their picture. Ditto for the Bride and her father (or whoever is walking her in). Get them organized, ask the bride and groom if a sibling from each side can group together all the relatives and friends they want in the pictures after the ceremony so that you don't have to go running after them. Don't be serious about it, everybody, including the photographer, needs to be happy/friendly/jovial.
    Good Luck. Who knows, you might enjoy it!
     
  39. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Folks, I don't think we can provide a "one size fits all" answer to this question. Yes, I am well aware that some friendship has been strained by a non-professional-wedding-photographer friends taking the job upon request from the couple and end up doing a poor job. However, in some situations the couple simply cannot afford a pro and would rather just have some images; that is better than no images at all.
    As I said earlier, it all depends on the specific situation and the expectations from the couple. As long as the couple are well aware that they probably won't get very high-quality images, that will probably be ok.
    When I was in my 20's and lots of my friends were getting married, I shot a few weddings for friends. I was not the same photographer as I am now, but I managed to do a decent job then; some friends were happier with my results than some others.
    One suggestion is to attend the rehearsal; I still do as much as I can today. At the rehearsal you get to meet people and figure out who is who (father and mother of the bride, brides mates ...); you'll also get an idea what will happen during the ceremony. I find that very helpful.
     
  40. You need to find out what size wedding this is going to be. That will tell you a lot about what the expectations are.... if its some friends that are having a wedding in their parents back yard and is very low end budget wise... well that is something you might pull off... IF on the other hand they are spending big on the wedding then you will likely fall short of what they expect. That's the first step.
    The second thing to remember is even if you don't charge them anything to do this, the results are going to influence what people say about you... if you have no desire to be a photographer or maintain a friendship with her or her spouse, then go for it... otherwise be prepared for 1. Bad mouthing of your work regardless of how lower her expectations are, because even if she says nothing you can guarantee that her mom and friends looking at the pictures have not been put on notice that your not a pro and their expectations shouldn't be high... they will compare it to what they last saw in an issue of Brides Magazine... your name will be mud if you don't deliver no matter how low the expectations were.
    Frankly I would not recommend you do this at all...
    IF on the other hand you do decide to do it... get an understanding of the shots she wants. go to the rehearsal if they are having it in the same church, and take some test shots... but understand the colors she is wearing will be different, but you might find some issues that you need to deal with such as reflective surfaces, very bright lights from windows or lack of light... Also make sure you take a spare fully charged battery... and 1 final thing to consider, you only have 1 camera and no lens that will give you all the shots you are likely to want, that means you will change lenses at least once... you are at risk of dust every time you change lenses and you might not know it until it is too late, I once had a D50 I used on a vacation once.. sometime during the trip I changed lenses and got a dust speck not noticeable on the rear screen but a real pain on all the shots when I downloaded them later... so try to limit your lens changing.
    Also having use a D50 in the past, don't expect very good results at higher ISOs... when you are shooting in lower light in a building the noise at even 400 will be noticeable.
     
  41. There has been plenty of good advice shared already in this thread, the best of which I've seen (other than having a backup body even if it's a p/s) is to GET IT IN WRITING! Always use a contract even for free shoots for friends, exactly explaining everyone's expectations and limitations. This could save you lots of heartache later.
    As for your gear, cameras don't make pictures, they are just tools that photographers use to make pictures, carry as little gear as possible (preferably a couple of lenses on different bodies (rent one if you have to) and know all the ins and outs of the gear you're using. There will be alot going on in a short time frame and you will have to respond quickly. Shoot Raw and get your workflow down beforehand.
    I have done exactly what you've been asked to do three times, the first time I would consider the results horrid, the bride and groom thought they were great. The second time I thought the pictures were OK, the bride and groom loved them. (Both these were shot with the first Canon Rebel XT). The third (shot with a 5d mk II, L lenses, and speedlights on flash brackets, as well as 6 more years experience behind the camera) I think are awesome, some of my best work yet,(considering it was an outdoor wedding at noon!) and the bride is grateful for my help, but not over the top excited about the images. Granted she's just seen proof size raw conversions and not trendy edits and b/w's, I'm sure she'll come around!
    Talk to your bride and look at pro wedding photos, get a list of shots they want captured beforehand. Practice Practice Practice, and be brave, nothing ventured nothing gained, you have to start somewhere. (if this happens to be an outdoor second wedding for both parties your odds of success increase significantly!)
    Concentrate more on capturing good images than on the gear you need to carry, and Good Luck!
     
  42. you will need the latest Canon flash that provides auto everything plus a Stofen Omni-Bounce​
    May I humbly suggest a Nikon flash for this particular occasion?
     
  43. THE OP SAID: I told the person that asked that i could take pics but could not promise anything and they said they are fine with that.​
    Not good enough my friend. The problem is that we don't believe that and neither should you. Here is one thing you should do. Make the Bride and Groom and perhaps their parents sign the following statement:
    We understand that __your name___ is willing to shoot pictures of our wedding. We understand that he is doing it for free solely as a favor to us. We understand that he is NOT a professional photographer and has never photographed a wedding before. We understand that he encouraged us in the strongest of terms to hire a professional wedding photographer but we decline to do that. We understand that he makes no guarantee of results and that he is not representing to us that he knows the first thing about wedding photography. Knowing all of this we still ask him to photograph our wedding as a favor to us.

    This is not meant to be a legal document but rather a statement of understanding so that you are sure the B&G are completely in line with what you are thinking. Now you notice that I put in there that you are doing this for free. Don't even think of charging for the first wedding you shoot. If you do you could be heading for a train wreck of the first order.
    You said you were going to do it so I suppose that debate is over. Now do what Lex said particularly the part about practicing with some patient models in the actual venue.
    If you insist on receiving money for this gig (which would be the height of stupidity) then use it to hire an experienced second shooter and hope to hell he gets your behind out of trouble.
     
  44. Just a bit of advice, if you're not already thinking about this, to get everything in writing and make a contract that you're not responsible and .... it's up to you to make this contract good as it can be.
    I recommended to friend who did wedding for a friend and I highly suggested to get contract, even if he was doing for free. So, long story short, he didn't make contract, and bite him in his ars... big time.
    He did good job in my opinion, he is good photographer, but made mistake not having contract.
    On next wedding for another friend, he got one of mine contracts re-designed and everything was ok.
    So, he told me he will never do a favor again to someone without contract, at least just stating he is doing voluntary work and can't be sued for whatever reason, etc...
    I think with our equipment, you can be and can make good photos, but if you don't have contract even for this "FREE" work, something may get wrong.
    Also, talk to them to have a few minutes before wedding to take a few nice pictures "for engagement" session, and also arrange with them for "just in case" and "if something..." so you can re-take pictures to help them out.
    You will be looking like a hero with this and cover yourself for "just in case" and "if something...".
    When I do shot for free, if I don't make written contract, I always make verbal telling them same thing that would be in contract, just to cover myself.
    Just my $.02 on this matter.
     
  45. This is not meant to be a legal document but rather a statement of understanding​
    Translation: Its a legal document.
     
  46. If you feel that you need some sort of document to absolve you of liability for offering a gift - your services, free of charge, to take some snapshots - it's time to reconsider that gift. Take up a collection from the families and friends to hire a wedding pro. Let the pro worry about contracts and liability.
    Some of you folks sure can make a simple thing complicated. I've photographed the occasional wedding, birth, anniversary, party and other events for family or friends since I was 13 years old (yup, my first was around 1970 with my Miranda Sensorex and Tri-X), always as gifts, always with the spoken understanding that I'm just taking snapshots when the alternative is no photos at all to document the event. My snaps are usually competent but nothing special unless I get lucky. And so far nobody has been dissatisfied with the photos I gave 'em, let alone implied that I should have hired a lawyer to draw up a contract, secure liability insurance and protect my heirs and assigns from indemnity ad nauseum, etc., forthwith and forever...
    If you feel like you need that stuff, don't do it. But only you know your own family and friends. I know some folks I wouldn't do this for because they're persnickety and they can afford to hire a pro.
     
  47. "Some of you folks sure can make a simple thing complicated. I've photographed the occasional wedding, birth, anniversary, party and other events for family or friends since I was 13 years old (yup, my first was around 1970 with my Miranda Sensorex and Tri-X), always as gifts, always with the spoken understanding that I'm just taking snapshots when the alternative is no photos at all to document the event. My snaps are usually competent but nothing special unless I get lucky. And so far nobody has been dissatisfied with the photos I gave 'em, let alone implied that I should have hired a lawyer to draw up a contract, secure liability insurance and protect my heirs and assigns from indemnity ad nauseum, etc., forthwith and forever...
    If you feel like you need that stuff, don't do it. But only you know your own family and friends. I know some folks I wouldn't do this for because they're persnickety and they can afford to hire a pro."​
    lex,
    words well put!
     
  48. Chuck,
    Gave in 3 times to friends. Worked out decently three times, not pro results but certainly some decent memories. You are doing one thing very right: set the expectation. That is the main thing. Be clear and honest up front.
    I second completely what Lex said. And all those who say you need a second body (and batteries, and spare memory cards, and a back-up lens). Gear-wise, get a flash (SB600 or better).
    The whole experience of shooting a full day (as only shooter, but having 2 shooters in Europe is highly uncommon) is that is is exhausting, a lot of work and not something I'll ever want to do full time (not my cup of tea by far). But editing the RAWs afterwards was quite a joy of revisiting the day. It's a pretty cool gift to give to friends.
     
  49. My experience to date encompasses a mere 4 weddings for friends and relatives. Key points (in no particular order):
    1. Get that flash above the body with a flash bracket (use a cable too - D50 does not support D600 wirelessly) - very important for portrait orientation
    2. Tamron 17-50 had far too slow AF even on the D300 - 18-70 was far better and managed to impress a diehard Canon shooter
    3. Shoot RAW + Basic JPG and convert in Nikon Capture NX (good batch processing)
    4. Get more memory cards than you need - D50 will not support >2gb cards SDHC cards (I find card changing a real pain)
    5. D50 has good battery life - one spare should be sufficient
    6. Practice with the flash a lot - indoor, outdoor, fill-in, bounced etc.
    7. Carry a microfibre cloth - you are bound to get finger marks on the lenses / filters
    8. Definitely have access to a spare something - I used a film camera at first plus loads of print film
    9. Spare flash essential - and a diffuser (stofen or similar) (or look up A Better Bounce Card)
    10. Practice with camera settings - D50 has more done through menus than the D90 / D300 which makes it slower.
    11. Avoid auto ISO - you can yet some unfortunate results. Keep it to 200 ISO for max dynamic range, but push to ISO 800 if you have to (e.g. no flash allowed)
    12. Use Aperture Priority, but consider Programme mode when using flash
    13. Use Matrix metering - good on D50, dubious on D80, good on D300
    14. Take spare flash batteries (several sets) - decent quality alkalines fine for flash, but NiMH also OK
    15. Make sure they pay you something - each camera click costs you money, as do consumables etc. - even if you only cover costs
    16. Agree a style with your client. Have a list of must have shots (as agreed with client) and keep track of what you've taken
    17. Use the Best Man to help organise groups - and organise group shots logically to minimise people movement.
    18. Smile a lot and engage your subjects - appropriate jokes / one liners are useful too
    19. Get a monopod - useful for taking weight of camera / bracket / flash - & get low for full length shots (camera height around 42-48 inches) - Tripod OK outside, but difficult inside
    20. Eat a big breakfast / lunch - you never know when you'll have time to eat (& have a few bottles of water to hand)
    Hope this helps!!
     
  50. I like Dundas' statement of understanding. If this is a close friend you don't need it. If you are doing this as a favor to an acquaintance I think it is good for the talking points.
    Even if you do have them sign a form like this, fairness requires that you tell them that stuff. You have to admit that your best advice would be for them to hire a professional. So make sure they hear it time and again.
     
  51. I think with our equipment, you can be and can make good photos, but if you don't have contract even for this "FREE" work, something may get wrong.​
    If you are working for free then it is not a contract as a contract details an exchange of product or service for consideration. i.e payment.
    You could write up an agreement but as Lex says:
    If you feel that you need some sort of document to absolve you of liability for offering a gift - your services, free of charge, to take some snapshots - it's time to reconsider that gift.​
    None of the other guests at the wedding will have contracts or agreements and some of those will probably also give photos as gifts. I'm surprised no one has suggested the importance of liability insurance so far!
     
  52. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Do you need liability insurance if you are merely a guest at a wedding taking some pictures (but not getting paid for that work), or perhaps not even taking pictures? Potentially, you could just be standing inside a church or restaurant (not taking pictures); somehow someone may trip over you foot and fall, hit his/her head on the floor and die. By all means that is not a likely scenario but can potentially happen.
    I agree with Lex: this discussion is getting unnecessarily complicated. If there are indeed so many concerns, the OP might as well decline the whole thing.
     
  53. I used to get into these conversations with friends all the time when we initially explored the concept of shooting a wedding. Most successful businesses appear to get out, get the job done, and they seem to manage liability if they can, and if the risk is substantial enough to cause financial damage.
    If there is a history of fatal injuries and accidents surrounding the photographer, then I would assume liability insurance would be a wise choice.
    Chances are, that Chuck was asked by a friend or friendly acquaintance who ultimately invited him to the wedding on the contingency that he will attempt to take photographs, with the understanding that there is no promise of any product or output. I'd suggest getting all the equipment you can together. Keep it somewhere secure and accessible at the wedding. Keep your most useable lens on the camera along side the flash, with a bunch of goodies in your pocket. Think ahead, but don't freak out. Then simply go to the wedding - as your equipment is adequate - crash the event, and have a great time shooting!
    Heck - if you're worried about equipment, throw a point and shoot in your pocket in the event of any disasters. =0)
     
  54. A good friend, knowing that I was into photography as a hobby, asked me to photograph his wedding. Having done lots of reading on the pitfalls of wedding photography plus looking at some really good photos of weddings on the internet, I told him that he would get snapshots; that's all I was capable of. I told him that if he wanted nice photos he should hire a pro. He said they only wanted a record; snapshots were okay. Anyway, I used his request as an excuse to buy ReallyRightStuff's flash extension for my SB900. Then I bought Nikon's extension cord. I already had RRS's L brackets for both cameras (D300, D700) plus a 70-200 2.8 and a 17-35 2.8. (After taking Neil van Niekerk's flash workshop a year ago, I understood the importance of pro lenses which I did not own at the time.) So this wedding was already costing me over $200 for additional gear, but I had another wedding request coming up for next year, so I was able to rationalize the purchase. (More about that in a moment.)
    I can tell you that even though this was a relatively informal and small wedding held in the community room of a condo, the pressure I felt was so intense that despite the air conditioning and a short-sleeved shirt, my wife had to wipe the sweat running down my face with a towel, like a nurse aiding a surgeon during surgery. So I did not enjoy myself at all and I only got three keepers (my evaluation), even though they demanded all the shots. (Of course, I deleted the out-of-focus and otherwise impossibly crappy shots.) Bride and groom declared themselves happy with the shots (they also had a few taken by another guest) and that ended that.
    Now I've been told by my wife that I must fly down to Colombia next February to photograph the wedding of my stepson and his Colombian bride. They have already been married here in the U.S. at City Hall, but she wants a church wedding with her Colombian relatives present. From what she says, there will be a priest but no actual church. It will all take place outdoors. I gave them the same warning as I had given my friend, but since they have little money and since they were happy with some shots I took of them for a calendar, I can't get out of it. This one is even worse because now I have to worry about being robbed of my equipment. Of course, it will stay packed away until the wedding and afterwards, but it can't be left in the hotel room and I will have to wear it in a backpack when going out for meals. I know that Colombia is much improved as far as crime, but I'm hardly going to walk around with two Nikons as I did without fear in Thailand and Vietnam.
    My point is that unless your motive is to broaden your experience of photography or you need an excuse to buy equipment, wedding photography can be a nightmare, at least for a perfectionist like myself.
     
  55. I have read the whole post and no one seems to have mentioned the thing that scares me most about wedding photography - what do I do with the flimsy bits of silicon when they are all full up ? As someone gradually entering the wedding pro market I am absolutely paranoid about what to do with memory cards when they start to fill up. A 2GB CF will give me about 80 images - so that is the whole ceremony on one card if I fill it up and I would rather have many smaller capacity cards rather than a few higher capacity ones just in case. For your own peace of mind you may want to have a way of backing up your photographs then and there. It is all very well getting the keepers you know you are capable of getting but safely handling the data is another adventure.
    If you decide to do it - keep it simple. Only do it of they give you a reasonable list of definite shots. Also, make sure you make it worth your while - get the time guaranteed to shoot some stuff you want to remember.
    Hope this helps,
    Marc
     

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