Frustration - Timing at weddings

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by hassy501, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. When you show up to a venue for your wedding job, and you see the potential for some dynamite photos fading away
    due to outside sources not under your control, do you get frustrated ? I certainly did last night...........i had
    a beautiful country club setting, huge beautiful hilly backdrop for the ceremony, expectations for the post shots
    running starts late because the violinist is late (bride
    didn't want to start with out her, she never showed), minister turned a "15 minute" ceremony into a 35 minute
    ceremony " Sorry about that, is there a plan B now that the sun has gone down"................."uh no, you can't
    change mother nature"...............

    All of the post photos have black backgrounds.........nothing I could do about it....even with shooting at 1/8
    speed.......totally frustrated in knowing what was supposed to be some beautiful environmental post images
    turned into nightime outdoor shots...........

    Sure the couple couple could have started the wedding an hour earlier...........should have................but
    man, talk about frustration.............I ended up getting some decent "clubhouse in the background" stuff with
    the couple........but nothing like the green lush rolling hillsides with lake images I had hoped
  2. Any chance of revisiting the site and shooting some more material so you can doctor up a couple of composites? I know, it's a big project that runs the risk of looking cheesy no matter what you do - but it might be worth a try.
  3. Oh yeah - couple had an outdoor wedding in a park last year. Some guy, wasn't part of the wedding, just happened to be there and decided to play photographer.

    My contract has stipulations in it about not being responsible for Mother Nature, late-starts, requirements/demands of ministers, other guests shooting, etc. But when someone that has no connection to the wedding shows up, at a public venue, you have to think on your feet.
  4. Hi George,

    I am not a pro yet, but I understand your feeling. But in US (maybe anywhere) after covering several wedding as a
    second photog, I found out that its always late about 30 minutes or more. I thought a pro should have plan B or C
    when they go to a wedding. This is why they pay pro photographer, to find/stage/create a good images out of
    nothing if
    they need to.

    Maybe with more time/cost from client you can take the picture, the next day.
  5. Yup. It's a real shame when that happens but it does. I always try to plan a spot of time to grab the bride/groom (or both if they see each other before) with that type of venue. If it cannot be done, well that's life as unfortunate as it is.
  6. I know what that feels like. Last month I was shooting at a gorgeous location - I knew there was a long sweeping old red brick wall in the grounds. I had visions of placing the bride off to camera left and creating a wide and striking panorama. I like walls and I had dreamed about this one. And on the day, we found a tatty yellow skip parked right in front of it! I nearly cried.
  7. I had a wedding a couple of years ago wherein the b&g had scheduled a horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds of the reception venue. We left the church in plenty of time to get everything done, but the b&g's limo arrived half-an-hour late. They insisted on the carriage ride and the result was not only 30 minutes less time with the bridal party, but watching perfect afternoon illumination turn into pre-evening gloom as the horse went clippety-clop around the grounds. Nothing to be done about it, then or now.<p><p>
  8. George M,

    I feel your pain. Last week I had a wedding at a beautiful vineyards with a lighted pond, bridge and windmill.
    The bride was to arrive in a horse drawn carriage around the pond. I had visions of some awesome shots before,
    during and after. However, one hour prior to the wedding, it poured down raining with no end in sight. The
    Bride cried for 45 minutes straight. I tried to console her and get her to calm down so that I could get a few
    getting ready shot. The guest had all moved inside and many of them stated that they were not going to sit in
    the rain. The Bride stated that she was going to get married outdoors and she was going to ride the horse drawn
    carriage around the pond. Shortly before the wedding was to start, the rain slowed down and the Bride cheered
    up. The wedding planner was able to move the guest back outdoors, with a little pleading. The overcast skies
    took away the little bit of available light we had to capture this event as I have dreamed. The Bride did arrive
    in style, however, the photos are what they are. I did post a few photos on my BLOG if anyone wants to see what
    I had to shoot through. As you can see, the wind was blowing very bad, half the Bridesmaids, one of my
    photographers, and the videographer were in the rain the entire ceremony. To make this a happy ending, the
    reception was great, the D.J. had the guest on the dance floor, and we were able to capture the happy couple
    partying all night. Oh by the way, Six cases of wine will make any wedding pleasurable for the guest, no
    matter the circumstance.

    George J
  9. I use to worry about everything. Not anymore and i'm much better off this way. I'm hired to observe and capture and am at complete peace with capturing what ever nature throws at me. I've seen beautiful days get destroyed with violent storms.....ok with me, hate it for the couple. I only stress out now over things i should have maybe done that was within my control and didn't....and how my body feels after a 12 hour day :)
  10. I've had at least three weddings in my recent past where the bride had some fantasy about getting married at dusk, with the sun rapidly disappearing over the horizon. By the time I got to shoot them, it was pitch dark, with no great background for formals. The last one I did a month ago, I was fortunate enough to have strobes/shoot-thru umbrellas on stands with wireless triggers, which really saved the day from being a total washout. I was able to do all the groups and formals, balancing the ambient lights from the tall gazebo as a backdrop, and lighting with the strobes. I got good results, but the venue is beside a beautiful lake, and I ordinarily get some wonderful scenic shots there with the wedding party and the couple by themselves.

    My issue there was that this setup severely limited what I could do creatively with the bride and groom shots.

    On another wedding, I was in pitch darkness, trying to shoot dark skinned people in brown suits and dresses under an oak tree outdoors. My only saving grace there was a Lightsphere with some spotlights provided by a lighting crew. Ugh.

    From here on out, I plan to give serious counsel to my clients, to educate them about the pitfalls of a dusk ceremony, and what to expect from the photos as a result if they proceed with the notion.
  11. Happens a lot, and like Michael, I quit worrying about what I can't control and concentrate on what I CAN do with what I'm dealt, and what I CAN control. Otherwise, the frustration just eats at you, which can affect your dealings with the couple. Also, I mention the pitfalls whenever I know the couple plans for a dusk wedding. Sometimes, I get results, and sometimes, I don't. Some people just can't let go of their particular vision of their plans, thinking they can impose their will on situations which are just not controllable.
  12. Nadine, that is what i TRY to do with my clients, but a lot of times, the venue has THEIR wedding time with no chance for changing's the venues "written in stone" policy........weddings at 11, 2 and 4........"We don't change those times for anyone".............duhhhhhhhh........

    Had the minister stuck to his stated ceremony time ( I asked him prior to the ceremony) we would have had 15 minutes of sweet light to take advantage of.........

    As for plan "B", maybe if I had 50 10,000 watt stadium lights to illuminate the hillsides that might have worked.........

    Oh well.........that's life.........
  13. The bit of advice I had gotten from my wedding photographer when I got married a couple of years ago and certainly sounds good is to shot as many of the formals before the wedding as possible. Sure the light might not be the best, but if you are having a late afternoon or evening wedding anyway, you probably have plenty of time in the day to do formal pictures. You also don't have to rely on the ceremony ending on time or anything of the sort. That and from a B&G perspective, I wouldn't want my guests waiting around an hour or so or having to quickly try to cram in the formals before arriving at the reception. After my wedding ceremony we did about 10 minutes of formals with the WHOLE family and both sides, a couple of quick couple shots in the church as well and then off to the reception. We managed to squeeze in almost 2 hours of formals earlier in the day at the reception site with the immediate family and wedding party. The weather was a bit harsh earlier in the day, but the fall foliage was perfect at the country club. There was an amazing sunset that evening that probably would have made amazing pictures, but by the time we were able to get to the reception the sun was already down and the light was almost faded and the church was not in a scenic location.
  14. Yes, I also sometimes suggest that the couple do their couples only photos before the ceremony, but some people are stuck to the idea of not seeing each other before. You can only suggest...
  15. 2 hours of formals ??? god that is way too formals last no longer than 30 minutes.....max.......i too do the pre formals and romantics from time to time....depends on the clients........but in a traditional setting, the after ceremony formals last no more than 30 minutes.............what can you do in two hours ?? Way too long.
  16. Hey George;

    I had the same issue a while back. It was such a beautiful garden and I was excited to take some formals and B&G shots. Well, the wedding started late, very late. By the time it was done, there was no light at all. The groom got mad at me because we did not get pics of them at the garden where they got married.
  17. With experience you learn to "go with the flow" and make the best out of the cards that you're delt. Playing out the "coulda, woulda, shoulda" stuff is the real source of frustration.
  18. I learned very early on never to assume anything about the day, the weather, the venue or almost anything else tied to the wedding. One wedding took place in Jersey, but the bride wanted to get the girls getting into the Rolls Royce limo - which broke down in front of her house in Brooklyn. Between trying to dodge traffic jams in NYC while trying to beat out the limo driver back to Jersey and then find a place to park at the church made for a hectic early part of the day. Another was on a horse farm in rural NJ - no tent - but chairs were set up for the ceremony outdoors near a stable, very picturesque. Ten minutes before the ceremony, the clouds opened up. Everything - and I mean EVERYTHING was shuffled inside a rather smallish adjacent farmhouse, very little light or room to maneuver - we practically lived in the kitchen for the duration and used small stools to get shots over the heads of guests. Funny now, not then. Its always a challenge in one way or another, but that's what keeps it interesting - at least for me. --Rich
  19. George,

    I feel your pain and like others have said, I don't stress about things that are out of my control. What I do is tell the bride that any delays will limit our time later. This came up this summer for a beach wedding with the reception overlooking sunset on the bay. They wanted formals on the beach, then shots of the wedding party and the two of them as the sun set over the bay (I'm on the east coast). The bride held the ceremony up by about 45 minutes, then they did a receiving line that wasn't planned, then she spent twenty minutes picking the birdseed out of her hair! At every stage, I was letting her know about the schedule. We blasted through the formals on the beach because they didn't want to cut any of them out. By the time we got to the country club, the sun had set but was still lighting the sky up. We couldn't get to the best location quickly enough but got down by the water and managed to get some nice photos of the two of them. It was August and they were sweaty, which was accentuated by the flash, but they were happy with them.

    They were disappointed that we didn't get as many as they wanted (and so was I), but they later thanked me for getting all the formals at the beach done so quickly and at least getting some shots later. She even commented that I warned her that we were losing light, but she was in such a daze from everything going on that she wasn't thinking clearly. OK, maybe she had a little too much champagne before the ceremony too.

    As for the dusk weddings, I have one location overlooking the bay that is popular for sunset weddings and I always counsel the couple about the timing. While the sun setting during the ceremony is beautiful, it will be dark for the formals- their call.

  20. Most clients don't have the foggiest idea about sunsets or lighting. We do our best to educate them and sometimes it works....other times their only concern is "We don't want to start too early, Grandma won't make in on time" or "We don't want to (fill in the blank) because (fill in the blank)...........we do what we do and move on...........

    My frustration comes from knowing my capabilities and all of the sweet images I could have given the client, but not being able to provide's a personal frustration........not directed at the client or anyone else......It's like Tom Brady knowing that if he was in the game he would be burning up the field...but with a bum knee he can't.......and his frustration sets in....................
  21. "Tom Brady knowing that if he was in the game he would be burning up the field...but with a bum knee he can't.......and his frustration sets in...................."

    George, please. If you think Tom Brady is frustrated, what do you call the thousands of people who took him in the top 3 in football fantasy leagues? Jeez, you've pinched a nerve there, brother! ;-)
  22. I'd consider a long-exposure night shot from the distance where people are reduced to blurs and the background is exposed. It'll be atmospheric, at least.
  23. Have I ever.....I was shooting a wedding on an island off the coast of Maine, and right around sunset the whole wedding party is catching the ferry back to the mainland. An absolutely amazing sunset in the background, quaint looking pier, lobster boats, ocean, the scene was perfect. Only problem is-the bride is completely sloshed, so I can't really direct her for any photos, and any shots with her looking at the camera don't really work. I got a few shots from behind with her dress, and a couple not horrible candids, but it definitely felt like the scenery was wasted.

    Most of the time, there is only so much you can do to control the situation. In hindsight, I could have been a little more pushy with the drunken bride, and gotten her and her husband to lean on a post, look off at the sunset, and some other poses, but it didn't happen that way.
  24. "I could have been a little more pushy with the drunken bride..." and ended up in the ocean?
  25. With outdoor wedding ceremonies I advise couples to not have it timed for 1 hour before sunset as delays do happen more often than not. If you have advance notice it is seldom a problem to move the ceremony start time up an hour.

    It is also misleading to use your eyes to determine whether it is possible to take a picture. I have twice had to do post ceremony shots of the B&G in what would be considered darkness, but just used a tripod and long exposure times, cranked up the ISO setting, and used off camera fill flash, and the images were quite acceptable and ultimately made it into their albums.
  26. Experience dictates during those knows what will and won't work........
  27. Hey George - Please stop with the ..................... dots ;-) A comma or one dot is requested.
  28. I second Mary's request. An ellipsis should have three dots ... get it? And it's best to use ellipses

    As Mary said, a comma will work (most of the time), although one dot would simply be a period -- which
    would work too in most cases.
  29. If the B&G do not allow 2 hours beforehand -- the delay / low-lighting that may be presented > falls into their hands. Our venues are very strict with timing. There is no "overtime" > lights out. We suggest the B&G consult the Farmer's Almanac and to be sure there is no less than 45 minutes, after their ceremony, of a quality of light ( not dusk ) Always give the B&G the choice for making the decision of their day > if they make the mistake, after you have presented the trials & tribulations of experience, it's in their hands...your exonerated.
  30. I use this to determine sunrise/sunset.

    Can e mail to clients but I inform them and it works for me.

    Hope it may help you.
  31. This is silly,as it is a question I would expect from an "Uncle Charlie or Bob" not from a seasoned wedding pro.

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