I Did My First Wedding....A Few Pics

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by steve_elms, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Hi all! I just did my first wedding this past weekend and wow, did I ever learn a lot! The event was spread over about 12 hours, so it was a long day.....A few things I learned:

    1. More memory cards!!! I had 8 gig and it was not enough (thankfully I brought my laptop to offload the images)
    2. Check for permits! We got kicked out of one of the photo spots because we apparently needed a permit to shoot there
    3. Get more comfy shoes
    4. Take more pictures of group shots (ie 3 or 4 in a row) as it seemed there was always one person with their eyes shut
    5. I need to take more time positioning people and props (ie bouquet) to minimize harsh lighting and improper placement.

    Anyways, here's a few of the pics...Any critisisms are welcome (I know I have lots to learn):
  2. Nice captures on the expressions of the bride & groom.
    The cake is very nice, but looks a bit post-processed in its vibrancy. Maybe it's my monitor?
    For next time, fill flash or a reflector would have been a good idea on a lot of the outdoor portratis. The faces are kind of dark, and you really see the mixed natural lighting (harsh) in that shot where she's grabbing his tie. Did you have anyone assisting you (e.g. a person who could hold a reflector or slave flash)?
    Did you want to add "bring sunscreen" to your list?
    Congratulations on the gig, and keep going!
  3. Nice job! looks like you may need some work on lighting but hey, don't we all? lol.
    I've gotten booted out of more shooting areas than I can count. I tend to walk a bit on the wild side when I see a place that looks perfect for a shoot!
    Keep it up!
  4. Thanks Jennifer,
    One other thing I really need to do is calibrate my monitor. The pics look ok saturation wise on mine at home, but when I viewed them from my work computer they did appear too heavy on the saturation and vibrance.

    I did use fill flash for the outdoor shots but I didnt seem to get it right...I used a diffusion dome and dialed down to about -2 (I guess I need more flash....would not using the diffusion dome be best?)
    I did not have an assistant (although I can now see the benefits of having one!)
    Thanks again for the comments!
  5. Yup I totally agree about the lighting Betty...practice practice practice!!! I'm still figuring out how to effectively use my flash (SB900)....
  6. Steve--I believe this kind of thread is not allowed. Read the info under "About This Forum" on the page where the list of threads is shown, on the lower right of the screen. You need to post only one image and then provide a link to the rest.
    I agree about the saturation--the people are way too orange. About fill flash--outside your on camera flash will struggle against bright sun as it is, but then if you add a diffusion dome, you are cutting its power even more. In effect, it is as if you weren't getting any fill on images where subject distance is greater than maybe 6-8 feet, but it varies with the focal length of lens used. A diffusion dome does nothing outside besides cut power and take a tiny bit of specular highlights down--hardly worth the cost in power cut. It's best to just use the flash with the head direct. For some of the shots, a better, shadier place would have meant you didn't have to use flash so blatantly.
    Softening on the one soft focus shot is overdone, IMHO, and is that post work on the ocean horizon on the one where they are sitting on the log? Also seems heavy handed if so.
  7. Looks to me like the images are on the reddish-side, may have been due in part to some underexposure. The closeup of the bride could have been improved by using a longer lens and cleaning the image up in post with PS. I've attached a quick before and after for you. Good luck......
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The 5 points you make are indicative of "a first" and I think as such and from the images you posted you should be pleased. I am very glad you had a laptop - but I suggest you do not that again, it is treading very dangerously IMO.
    Consider addressing these points also:

    Lighting: Agree lack of / control of fill light (if that's one's choice) especially "on the log" and "under the tree".

    Composition: Centre centric.

    Camera Mode: Av Mode, mostly?
    Set at Av = F/2.8 all the time?
    Is shallow DoF capture necessary in all cases?
    Is the Plane of Focus correct in all cases?

    Cropping / Framing: Hands and Feet - either in or out . . . but not chopped at the fingers and toes.

    Framing: Beyond the Subjects - background - should horizons etc be straight or not?
    And should they decapitate?
    On the other hand in, [Davis2009-082.jpg], the lead of the architectural structure (camera top left) to the face of the Groom is good framing IMO.
    But the F2.8 renders the faces OoF which is kinda a waste – or at least a contradiction in the composition; as the shallow DoF choice implies the hands are target of focus the compositional focus?

    Camera Mode: choice of Av mode = F/2.8 - is vignette always suitable or not?
    Also I would like to comment more on your point 5. . . Posing / control of Posing
    I do not agree (in the first instance) that you "need to take more time positioning people and props (i.e. bouquet) to minimize harsh lighting and improper placement." . . .
    Rather I think you need to have a strategy about the procedure.
    There is a difference.
    Just as one starting thought: look at all the images where there is an internal connectivity displayed by the Subject's hands doing something and then look at the images where the hands are not doing anything . . . just drooping . . .
    Other views on this will be gained by looking at, or getting books on Traditional Portrait Posing Techniques . . . and (if we can get over the B&W Stiff Starch Glossy images and Birdsnest’s Hairstyles) . . . adapting the Principles of Dual and Group Portrait Posing to suit each Bridal couple and situation in 2009.
    OK that's taken up my coffee break, now I gotta get back to work, what I mean is I really hope this is useful to you . . .
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, also note what David did in postproduction where her makeup had run and coagulated.
    The Bride's eyes, near / below her tear-ducts . . . Details . . . details . . . very important especially for the CU of the Bride.
    Gotta fly . . the whips are cracking to get me back to work.
  10. Overall some nice stuff. A few gentle critiques. Shot 6 and second from last, the angle of elbow is too extreme in both, let the arms drop and extend down more. Shot 8 with bride on right and guys on left, needs more story telling. Maybe have the guys look toward bride and have her rotated more toward them some, also her feet are not comfortable, I can tell from her shoulder angle. In general, for starters, have bride keep weight on rear foot and push front foot foward so that it wants to just protrude from dress line. All this, of course, can be modified many ways in due time. Also don't cut off the elbows like in that shot. Hands and arms take lots of practice, look at all the really big fashion mags and study the hands and arms carefully, look at the angle of feet and hips, especially the women. Again, overall nice. I also agree you need more fill flash, not quite enough, maybe just do some practicing alone with a friend.
  11. Excellent feedback from everyone, thank you so much. All your points are valid and I will make my best efforts to make my second shoot better than the first!
    Just as an aside, the bride had little diamond-like stones glued in each corner of her eye. I wanted to capture those (perhaps a Japanese tradition???)....but they weren't coagulated tear ducts ;)
    And I really appreciate the feedback regarding the hands/feet etc. I will be more cognizant of that going forward!
  12. "Just as an aside, the bride had little diamond-like stones glued in each corner of her eye. I wanted to capture those (perhaps a Japanese tradition???)....but they weren't coagulated tear ducts"

    Too funny....I lived in Japan for a couple of years (many years ago) and I don't think it's any sort of a tradition, maybe it's similar to the "glitter-thing" that was all the craze a few years back here in the States. Had you used a longer lens you could have come in tighter yet to prevent them from looking like icky tear ducts. Best wishes..........
    BTW, thanks for taking the time to thank everyone for their feedback and contribution....I'm amazed at how often it goes unappreciated and/or ignored entirely.
  13. It isn't a Japanese tradition to put decorative stones there, but painting the inner eyelid area is a tradition. This is a modern adaptation of that, perhaps.
  14. i should have just asked lol! It was interesting looking nonetheless
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Oh, also note what David did in postproduction where her makeup had run and coagulated."
    Withdrawn . . . oops my boo-boo!

    Well colleagues, just chuck me in the jumbo wash then the cold rinse cycle and hang me out to dry: it is 9 degrees Cel. here today; that should fix my little red wagon and knock all the assumptions out of me. . .

    In all honesty I was going to mention this in my post and I decided not to 'cause I thought it was picking nits, considering the points I had already contributed . . . and when I saw David's alternative image I had to make a comment.

    Thank you for making the point so graciously, Steve.

  16. Steve: re: Hands...
    Just tell yourself to "move hands higher" ... generally it's Very Helpful in most situations to move the hands higher which disallows them just hanging to the side where they have no "involvement" in the pose. "High Hands" can lead to artful and creative posing.
    Hand(s)s can be to the cheeks (those on the face and those in the hip area), shoulder, waist, forearm and so on ... once you get the concept of watching the hand placement a lot of the other things will happen for you. Heck, get them up into the air in Celebration for a fun shot! Every shot does not have to be a winner but if your posing creates smiles and laughs then the next shot may very well be the winner.
    You will then "see" the different body placements possible ... the first thing I instruct a couple on in the engagement session is "high hands" ... I'll actually say it a few times and you can see them "get it" and then you start working the body positions. If you look at your favorite photographers you'll generally see hands are high in the frame. No ridgid rules here but a general item that is a good starting place.
  17. Steve,
    In my opinion, your images are way too soft in general. I see where you might want that look here and there, but this appears out of focus. I'm not sure if you're hand holding where you should have tripod, using too large an aperature or what.....-Aimee
  18. As we say in the south, dang good photos !!! be careful on closeups, do photo at a wide angle, will distort face. Also slightly turn the face to prevent the straight on photos. Watch exposures, Looks like you had plenty of time to shoot at various locations. I always run out of time to get those special shots.
    Good for a 1st wedding, seen work of veterans that is not this good,,,
  19. Again, thanks for the comments and feedback everyone. I think the "sharpness" is off on these pics as the ones Ive attached here have been resized to a very small size (30KB) for the purpose of posting on the net. The actual photo's are much clearer / crisper when viewed at actual size (although I do agree with the soft focussed shots and the fact that my aperture could have been upped a bit).
    The feedback about the hands and positioning is great and I plan on spending more time learning that part for sure.
  20. Steve - Please next time upload just one or two images in one file and put the rest in your PN folder. Thanks - Moderator.
  21. I cannot believe the first thing you guys do is wade straight in and edit out clearly decorative objects. Nice work.
  22. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I can believe it. It was an honest mistake. We humans make those, from time to time: even very experienced Professionals with a keen eye and lots of flying hours up behind a camera slip up on occasions. . . I think the error was acknowledged, and very quickly, no?

    What I don’t understand is unsolicited arrogance on a “Professional” Forum, it lowers the tone, IMO.

    "Let him without fault cast the first stone” . . . etc

  23. Mostly soft focus, underexposed and over saturated. It is the over saturated part that really puts me off. Schilling got the skin tones bang on in his redo.
  24. "I cannot believe the first thing you guys do is wade straight in and edit out clearly decorative objects." -Paul

    Actually, the first thing I did was comment on the exposure and suggest a longer lens. In PS, I added some sharpening, upped the mid-tones to help correct the skin, and eliminated a couple of actual minor blemishes, and then worked on what appeared to be problematic tear ducts. Had they been "clearly decorative objects" there wouldn't have been any need to work on them.
    BTW, although I did suggest a longer lens perhaps I should have explained why. Steve, on your full frame camera, a lens in the 100mm plus area will help compress facial features, for most women and men it will give a more flattering rendering for head shots and extreme closeups.
  25. next time someone says you need a permit to photo somewhere ask them for a permit that allows them to kick you out. nice job on these. weddings are fun to shoot. they keep you on your toes!
  26. stp


    I did my first wedding a few weeks ago, and based on my experience, I think you did a great job. Regarding permits, I just said I'm a non-pro friend of the bride and groom (which was true), and that's all it took. I had excellent results with a diffuser on my flash outdoors (major mistake was this was the first time I had tried it; in fact, it was the first time in about 20 years that I had used a flash. Fortunately, it turned out well). Major mistake was using ISO 100 indoors; I didn't realize I could have gotten 3 more stops, and that would have made a HUGE difference. I learned a lot. Much different than shooting landscapes -- landscapes don't move and they don't blink.
  27. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    " . . . a lens in the 100mm plus area will help compress facial features, . . . '

    for one example, on that particular shot, a 135F/2 lens loaded (instead of your 24-70 zoom I guess?) and step back two steps: you could pull F/2 @ 1/500s at ISO1250, and have about the same framing. You whould be able to pull that SS comfortably, Hand Held.

    . . . landscapes don't move and they don't blink." made me laugh.

  28. Sorry about not following the posting rules...I'll make sure that doesnt happen again.
    Do you guys use tripods a lot when shooting weddings? I didnt use mine at all as I found I was moving around too much. Perhaps that would help with the soft focus issue. I also need more practice shooting in manual mode. All of those shots were in Aperture Priority mode.
    And yes I totally agree about the saturation. I really need to calibrate my monitor because on my home screen (where I did my editing) they do not appear nearly as saturated as they do on my work computer...
  29. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Do you guys use tripods a lot when shooting weddings?"

    Yes, but usually only for the formals, especially. Or for long shots from the rear of the Church, sometimes.

    I use a monopod more extensively throughout the day. Though I am reasonably confident of pulling the slower shutter speeds with a good keeper rate Hand Held, a monopod is my best friend, and for other reasons, too: Uncle Bob usually doesn't have one. . .
    But compared to some other Photographers, I shoot many images at slower shutter speeds, especially later during the Wedding: so you should take that into consideration when reading my answer.

    "I also need more practice shooting in manual mode."
    I use M most often. "Av" is not "wrong". I think you need to understand how to control "Av" better, as well as mastering "M". These are two distinctly different tasks.

    "All of those shots were in Aperture Priority mode."
    Yes, I thought so, thank you for confirming that. My reason for making that point earlier was for you to ask yourself: Was Av mode selected to Av = F/2.8 necessary all the time?"

  30. I think you did a real good job for your first wedding. I think the images look great for shooting in such harse lighting.
  31. Thank you :) I've played with them a bit more and toned down the saturation to make them a bit less orange / red in colour. I also applied a bit of sharpening and fill flash to brighten the pictures that appeared to dark....I think they look a bit better now. Thanks again for all the input!
  32. I think everything looks pretty good for a first wedding shoot. Mine will be in 2 weeks, and I am slightly terrified. A lot of good constructive criticism in here too.
  33. I'd say you did well for your first wedding, the photos are creative, fun and engaging.
  34. If these are your best you'll need to think a lot and hard about improving your exposure, composition, color balance, framing, capturing the moment and post before even thinking about doing another wedding.
    Sorry to be blunt, but these are amateur pictures at best.
  35. Like I admitted, I have lots to learn.
  36. Hey Susanne, go easy, you too were there once remember?
    Apparantly you're a wedding photographer but have no web presence which means you can come and say exactly what you like without the comments linking to your identity.
  37. Susanne needs to read about Grumpies. Good example.
    I think for his first job he did a good job.
  38. Susanne, you neither offered specific critiques of any particular picture, nor gave any concrete suggestions for how to improve things. Basically, all you did was say, "These pics suck. Be better."
    If that's your best, you'll need to think a lot and hard about giving people constructive criticism. Sorry to be blunt, but those were amateur suggestions at best.
  39. Steve, from one amateur to another just trying to learn, I think your images are fantastic. Easily on par with some of the local, non-big-name photographers' work I've seen from friends and family members' weddings.
    I especially like your shot of the cake... I think the short DOF lends itself well, as the most interesting part is the boquet on top anyway. :)
    I also like the perspective and framing of the picture after it, although a bit soft I think in a way it adds charm.
    In the infamous coagulated diamond pic, I think I would have chosen a smaller aperture (at least 5.6, maybe 8) to get more of her facial features in sharp focus. Otherwise, great idea. It must have made the shoot fun and easy, what with having such a beautiful subject!
  40. great job - for first or tenth wedding.
  41. I use a tripod sometimes, but like William W., mostly for formals and some ceremonies. A lot of wedding photographers do not use tripods or monopods at all, now, and truly, they can get in your way when trying to follow action, or anytime, actually. So I wouldn't look at them as a reasonable alternative for hand shake, etc. 'all the time', and of course, a tripod will not help with motion blur if the shutter speed alone does not freeze motion (assuming that is what you want to do). Better to understand what shutter speeds can stop what motion, and what shutter speeds one can get away with combined with the focal lengths used.
    As for Aperture Priority--it seems to be the crutch of choice among intermmediate photographers. You realize that outside in bright sunlight, with your flash on, even though you have a low ISO, setting your aperture to f2.8 is going to get you a lot of overexposed images. Setting High Speed Sync will overcome this, but then your flash power is cut rather dramatically, in many cases, so you need to stay close to your subjects. Setting a wide aperture in aperture priority and shooting in bright sun with flash is a fairly common thing, apparently, with the result being a lot of people wondering why everything is overexposed, and/or there isn't enough fill flash.
    Has someone pointed you to the planetneil.com articles about using on camera flash yet?
  42. Hi, Steve. Nice job on your first try. One thing I noticed is the horizon on the second picture. At first the picture just looks like the couple is leaning against the rocks. But check out the water in the background. The water isn't level, so I'd fix that. Otherwise, good work for your first try!
  43. Steve, I once read somewhere to always take three pictures in a row when doing group shots, for that very reason that you mentioned, that someone invariably will have their eyes closed in the first one. Also, by the third picture, everyone is a little more relaxed.
  44. hus


    Very nice indeed for the first time. Just be careful with the exposure. I know it can be quite tricky to phohorgraph the bride and groom next to each other. You can decrease the exposure by one 1 or 2 stops. You have a great eye though which is more important I think. We can talk about the techniques and stuff but if we don't have a creative eye what's the point? Thanks for sharing.
  45. For the first wedding you have done a nice job.... you have also learned a lot and there is quite a bit of advise..... just keep practicing
  46. I did a wedding with a pro a few weeks back and just kind of watched him work. I noticed he tilted the camera a lot and I liked the effect myself. Having said that I don't think it works well on shots where there is a visible horizon line (ie the water in the second shot as pointed out). Again, chalk it up to a lesson learned! I'm really benefiting from the comments and discussion here, thank you once again.
  47. Susanne, based strictly on the contrast between your unhelpful, unnecessary arrogance and Steve's general attitude throughout his various postings, I'd pick him to do my wedding any day of the week. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's the know-it-all attitude that so many photographers seem to have. Why is it that this particular hobby/profession seems to bring out the worst in some people? In any case, you, my dear, seriously need to review the Disney show "Bambi" and listen very carefully to the advice given a certain little rabbit named Thumper by his mother...

    Steve, I think you did a great job, and the only critique I'd be able to contribute beyond the lighting and saturation critiques already mentioned in this thread would be to mention the cake: the bokeh looks funny, almost like it was a motion blur instead of a true DOF bokeh. Anyway, keep up the good work!
  48. Actually, now that I look at it more, I think the reason my eye caught on the bokeh was that curtain with the lines on it in the upper left corner of the pic. Just the way the thing is draped causes the blurred lines to look like motion blur, and it distracts my eye a bit from what is otherwise quite a nice shot.
  49. Yes it does look blurry eh? I did a psuedo-hdr effect on it just to try to make the cake "pop" a bit.
    (oh and thanks for stickin up for me everyone lol)! I fully expect and appreciate critisizms. I wouldn't post pics for people to view if I didn't think I was going to get some negative feedback. "Constructive" critisizms are always beneficial as far as I'm concerned.
  50. "based strictly on ........... Steve's general attitude throughout his various postings, I'd pick him to do my wedding any day of the week." -Chris

    Indeed, Steve seems to exemplify what this forum can actually be all about. Posting some work, asking for feedback.....which he is not only open to, but he also expresses a genuine appreciation for constructive criticism. Which is likely why this thread has had a great deal of participation. Truly, the primary value for a pro to take the time to review and write a thoughtful contribution is to assist in the development of a younger shooter, unless that effort is appreciated, the value of the effort is virtually nil. I've seen some nearby threads asking for a critique where the poster not only lacked any narrative of appreciation for the feedback, they completely ignored the comments of thoughtful posters altogether.
  51. Let me elaborate (I think this is frequently said on this forum in some way or the other):
    Weddings are not practice sessions.
    If you do go and shoot a wedding as a first shooter, you should be able to pull it off with both feet running . Either you should feel 100% capable that you will do a good job by yourself and deliver a result which is technically (and hopefully also artistically) at an industry standard or should second shoot with a pro to pick up all the essentials you need before going solo.
    I think it is irresponsible (and arrogant) to go for a *12 HOUR* wedding on your first gig, deliver the results you did and ask for critique. There is enough information on this forum and elsewhere to have allowed you to prepare better than you did.
    I just don't think it makes sense to critique the presented work on an image-by-image level.
    [Btw. I chose the first path. My first was a 1-1/2 hour civil ceremony and I even today have some of those images in my portfolio. I've expanded my technique in the past few years (with equipment upgrades helping me) but all the skills necessary to take images in the gamut of situations which presented themselves on that day were already in place.]
  52. Let me ask you this. Is it "arrogant" and "irresponsible" to do a 12 hour wedding when I have fully informed the bride and groom of my level of experience, and told then that they were my first ever wedding? The price I charged was about 1/3 of the going rate in my area. I fully understand that price doesn't matter and that the bride and groom deserve to be totally happy with the shots of their wedding. Having said that, when I got married I CHOSE to spend a bit more money and go with a photographer that had a proven track record. This couple was more than willing to grant me the opportunity to shoot their wedding, and realized they were likely not going to get the quality of a seasoned pro like yourself.
    I was confident that I could do a good job. I have spent time with a local pro and I have done lots of research on this and other forums. I posted my pictures knowing full well that I would take critisims. I willingly and wantingly accept those as I believe that is how one learns. Having said that, there is not much learning value in a reply basically simply stating that my pictures sucked and I was "arrogant" and not prepared. I think it comes down to basic people skills in that when giving critisisms, it's always a good thing to at least point out one thing that the person maybe did right. To each their own, but in all due respect, I found your reply to be "arrogant". I am envious that you were able to go into your first wedding shoot being 100 % confident in all that you did. That is an admirable quality.
  53. Steve,
    Perfect and respectful reply in pointing out the circumstances of the paid gig.
    I bet you haven't got the balls to point us to your professional work....
  54. Seriously Susanne, simmer down. I thought the images were very nice and had I been the client I would have been very pleased ! There are many amazing photographers out there and I am pretty sure I will never ever reach their level; I guess that means I should just put my camera down huh.
  55. While Susanne offers some valid points, I don't see Steve as an arrogant newcomer.....I have seen several others that qualify for the title though here on the forum. If it were up to me, I'd like to see everyone go through some form of apprenticeship before they take on the sole responsibility of shooting a wedding. I'd also like to see some people get some actual studio experience before they open up their own studio.....
    My standing suggestions for newcomers:
    Becoming a professional photographer is not a matter of practice…..it’s a craftsmanship which requires training, knowledge, and skill. If you're serious about the profession I would suggest that you find a mentor, 2nd shoot/assist an established pro for awhile, network with local photographers, join a pro organization like WPPI and/or PPA and practice applying the techniques as much as possible. Also, Suggest that you invest in Steve Sint's book on wedding photography for now (you can find it at amazon.com). Excellent real-world wedding coverages can be studied via DVDs from: http://www.photovisionvideo.com/store/CTGY/DVD/
  56. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    If these are your best you need to . . . I didn't read anywhere that the images posted were the 13 best. In fact The Photographer only used the word "best" twice:

    “I guess I need more flash....would not using the diffusion dome be best?”
    “Excellent feedback from everyone, thank you so much. All your points are valid and I will make my best efforts to make my second shoot better than the first!”

    Whilst we might assume that the images are considered "Reasonable" to "OK" to "Good" by the Photographer: my initial interpretation was that the 13 images represented a spread of type; and a range of conditions experienced by the Photographer. My impression is that this was to facilitate a broad critique. In this regard the request for the critique was well planned, and professionally executed, and throughout the responses the same level of professionalism has been exhibited by Steve.

    Any Professional exchange requires, actually deserves, etiquette. That works both ways. Forums which are kept in perpetuity tend to allow judgments to be made both from isolated comments and also from the amalgam of one’s repeat performances. It seems to me, a business person being unnecessarily, and proactively aggressive or unhelpful in a public forum is akin to driving aggressively or inconsiderately, with bright advertizing placards on the side of one’s car. It seems to me also likely that upon reading forums like this one, judgments are made: not only by one’s peers; but also by one’s clients, both present & potential.

  57. For your first wedding shoot you did really well!
    Just need to adjust some of the lighting and softness mostly.
  58. Considering he tough shots on the beach, Not bad !
  59. "I think it is irresponsible (and arrogant) to go for a *12 HOUR* wedding on your first gig, deliver the results you did and ask for critique. There is enough information on this forum and elsewhere to have allowed you to prepare better than you did."
    Susanne, I've seen Pros do worse work than the many photos he posted here. Where do you post your work? Even samples? I agree taking on a 12 hour job seems a little much for a first timer.
  60. I had a job booked before this one that was a 3 hour job (which I was much more comfortable with). Then I got a call from the other people about 3 weeks before their wedding so it was a last-minute thing. The actual shoot wasn't 12 hours (I was given about a 4 hour break in the middle). I thought the pace would be good because we had LOTS of time between the ceremony (15 minutes at City Hall) and the reception (which was about 8 hours later). I figured this would be good for me as the pace would be very relaxed and I could take my time with it.
    I did the 3 hour wedding this past Friday but now I'm affraid to post the pics and ask for feedback lol! But I did take as much as I could learn from this post and the suggestions provided, and applied it and I think it did help a ton, so thank you once again :)
  61. Folks, I believe Steve responded quite well to Suzanne's post, so why not leave it at that? Steve--I, for one, would like to see your newest work.
  62. stp


    Like Steve, I fully informed the B&G that my photography centers on landscapes and that the 3 weddings I've done were done long ago and as a second to a professional. Nevertheless, they apparently valued my landscape skills and my friendship more than hiring a professional wedding photographer. While I missed a few important shots, I would say that my effort was successful. At the end of the day, I would have been more successful if this had been my 3rd or 4th wedding. Again, I can identify with Steve's experience, I think he did a good job, and I too have benefitted from the constructive advice most folks have offered to Steve in this thread.
  63. Steve,
    I thought your photos were very nice for your first shoot. My only suggestion (which has already been pointed out..) is to work on your colors being over saturated (skin tones) and more aware of DOF and aperature selected. Otherwise, nice work and composition in my opinion!
  64. Nice job Steve,
    I think i nearly messed myself on my first solo wedding, not because I didn't think I could do it, but when it's your first time, it's your first time.
    Second shooting is good and all, and well worth the investment as far as skills etc. go, but there is no way that it will fully prepare to be the big dog for the first time.
    It looks like you have some really nice shots there and as the bride and groom were fully aware of the situation I think they will be thrilled with the results.
    Don't be afraid to put images up for comment, for the most part the information you will receive is worth the cost putting up with a few "arrogant" posters.
  65. Thanks again. I just got an email from the bride and groom and her family and they were very pleased with the results. At the end of the day, that is really all that matters right?
  66. Exactly Steve. If your bride and groom are pleased, the Peanut Gallery doesn't matter.
    If you want some inspiration (instead of negativity) check out Jasmine Star's blog. She has only been doing this for 2 years and has succeeded in ways most photogs only DREAM about. It certainly can inspire anyone new to work hard, dream big, sharpen their skills, and believe it can be done.
  67. "....the bride and groom and her family and they were very pleased with the results. At the end of the day, that is really all that matters right?" -Steve
    Honestly, No, that's really not all that really matters. While customer satisfaction is important, doing a good job based on: your own standards, industry standards, and the standards of your peers is very important. There will come a day when you'll have a bride that isn't happy, regardless of having done a good job....would that mean that you did a poor job? Also, you'll often have a B/G that just doesn't understand/appreciate good photography and they may not be able to appreciate a professional job from a Johnny-come-lately-wanabe type of job. Professional-level work takes experience, training, and skill and bottom-line, you have to pay your dues before you "earn" the privilege of calling yourself a professional photographer.
  68. I hope you are not insinuating that I am referring to myself as a "professional", as I have never proclaimed to be such. I agree that becoming a "professional" takes time, training and skill. I disagree however that the hapiness of the bride and groom is not of paramount importance. Who sets the "industry standards" and "peer standards" that you speak of? Is there some sort of tangible benchmark that I need to be striving to? I look at a Picasso and personally think it isn't one bit good. Is photography not an artform which is thereby completely subjective? To say that the bride and groom dont understand good photography is like telling someone they are wrong because they do not like Italian food. Having said that I am in complete agreement that I need to learn much more. I personally think it comes down to expectations. Like I stated previously, I fully informed the bride and groom of my skill level. It is well within their power (and I actually suggested) to shop around and see what they like. From what they told me, based on the price and the way I interacted with them and their family, they were very happy. They praised me for my professionalism thoughout my dealings with them and did in-fact like the photographs. Are there photographers out there that could have done better? Absolutley without a doubt, and I hope that after perfecting the artform, I can call myself a "professional" and produce photographs that meet the industry and peer standards. For me, at this early stage in my skill development, hearing that the bride and groom were happy with their photographs was exactly what I wanted to hear.
  69. Sorry I just re-read my thread and hope it didnt come across as rude. It certainly was not my intent... just engaging in a discussion and thats all :)
  70. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting philosophical direction this thread now takes.
    My opinion is what is of "paramount importance" depends on the subject doing the evaluation; their position at the time of evaluation; and what the object of discussion actually is, which is being discussed.
    If the object being discussed is the resultant Wedding Prints, (as here) and the subject discussing them is the Bride, then what is of Paramount Importance is her happiness with those prints.
    On the other hand, if the discussion of the Wedding Prints is amongst peers, then what is of Paramount Importance is a general agreement of "quality" displayed by: technical excellence, art, style, range of capture, securing the moment . . . etc the list goes on
    So that might seem as I am fence sitting, and having a bet each way, but there is more:
    If the subject doing the discussing is oneself, and the object being discussed is the Whole Wedding Coverage, including selling, planning, preparing, executing and postproduction, then what is of Paramount Importance is quite simply being able to answer YES to two questions:
    . was it the absolute best I could do under those particular set of circumstances?
    . was it better than what I could have done under the same circumstances, if the wedding were last month?
    So what is ultimately of Parmount Importantnce is an amalgam of lots of minor "Paramount Importances" - some of which I have not mentioned.
    But I think those last two questions, have the most weight when evaluating.
  71. "I disagree however that the happiness of the bride and groom is not of paramount importance. Who sets the "industry standards" and "peer standards" that you speak of?" -Steve

    Actually I didn't write what I wrote to attack you and I didn't think you'd take what I had written defensively....but I was wrong. Try slowing down, and re-read what I said. I didn't say that satisfying the B/G wasn't important,... it is. But you'll find after shooting hundreds of weddings that it's more important to please yourself and the standards that you've set at that point. I've shot many weddings where the B/G couldn't be happier, but I had a better sense of just how good my performance was. It's nice that they like the pics, but they're not pros....(most of the time but now and then I'll shoot for a peer). I'll also take a job once in awhile for a friend who owns his own studio.....he's been self-supporting, has his own retail space and his own staff and he's been in the business for over 30 years. Pleasing him gives me a much better sense of personal satisfaction than simply pleasing the B/G (which happens 97% of the time anyway). Who sets the industry standards? Well, that would be the industry.....which is why I suggest joining PPA and/or WPPI, once you do, enter a print competition and brace yourself for "professional" standards. I also suggest that you network with local pros. There you develop "real professional relationships" and you can seek their feedback. Once you've established your own peer network, then you'll understand what is meant by "peer standards". Good luck.
  72. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "But you'll find after shooting hundreds of weddings that it's more important to please yourself and the standards that you've set at that point."

    Hah! David why did I even bother putting my fingers to the keyboard with those two questions of mine - we must have been reading each other's notes for this essay question, and we were writing the answers simultaneously!


  73. "Is photography not an artform which is thereby completely subjective?" -Steve

    No, it's actually a craft first that may or may not also be an artform..........
    WW, it's not the first time we've been on the same page :)
  74. Haha this is getting deep! David, I did not take your post as a personal attack. I thought it may have appeared that way after I re-read my reply. I appologize if that's how my response appeared.
  75. From another perspective--it is a common thing for new wedding photographers to claim that the clients were ecstatic and to use the 'that's all that matters' statement as a security and comfort blanket (after having taken a lot of critiques). I'm not saying you are doing this. I'm saying it is not uncommon. The clients' satisfaction and happiness is, of course, extremely important--near, if not on top, the heap. It just isn't the only thing and shouldn't be used as a crutch.
  76. I agree with that statement. I truly hope that as the years go by, my experience allows me to grow and become much better at what I do. And I agree that this will be as a result of contacts and relationships made with peers, associations, practice and general experience.
  77. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "it is a common thing for new wedding photographers to claim that the clients were ecstatic and to use the 'that's all that matters' statement as a security and comfort blanket (after having taken a lot of critiques)"
    Yes, agreed.
    As we are exploring this point . . . another aspect to this:
    If the Photographer begins to believes that the Clients' feedback (accumulative over a few jobs), is: "the yardstick": then when Client number XX happens to be grumpy or cantankerous or whatever, that can become an insurmountable problem for the Practitioner who is solely focused on Client satisfaction, and up to that point has been fed from it.
    This is akin, but different, to to David's Comment "There will come a day when you'll have a bride that isn't happy, regardless of having done a good job....would that mean that you did a poor job?"

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