Portraits at a wedding instead of a Photo booth?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by twmeyer, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. I've been making portraits at corporate events for many years, mostly fundraiser and holiday parties. A few years ago a wedding photographer friend asked me to handle the group portraits at a wedding he was shooting, so that he would be free to do what he does best, a more photo-journalistic approach.

    That turned into actually setting up a small studio near the reception and making portraits all night.

    I really enjoyed it, and have decided to market this service to the wedding photographers who generally don't seem too happy about the current photo booth craze.

    In addition to actually making deliberate and beautiful portraits at these significant gatherings (no feather boas, silly hats or cliche'd signage to wave), I'm giving the raw files to the primary photographer for them to post in their galleries and sell as prints... something they don't seem to be getting from photo booth operators. More sales for them, less post for me.

    Here's a blog post I just wrote about it, I'd like to know what you wedding photographs think about this concept.

    Thanks... t
  2. This is nothing new and has been going on for years. Photo both generally is cheaper which is why you may see more photo booths.
  3. Seems like a great idea. Photo booths are fun and can capture wonderful spontaneity, but not necessarily the best way to get flattering photos. It's hard to beat the work of a skilled portrait photographer who understands how to light and pose people quickly to get good results.
  4. "Photo both generally is cheaper"... and you get what you pay for.

    I'm not looking to scrape the bottom of the wedding business barrel. You can also hire people to hand over a CD of jpgs right from the camera, for not much money. Even so, good photographers still manage to get hired. I'll aim high.

    And I know I'm not inventing this idea, but it seems like it's time for a backlash against the corrosive effect of the photo booth, especially at a wedding. The modern day photo booth seems like something invented by a sly blackmailer. I know the institution of (hetero) marriage has taken a hit recently, but I'll definitely be marketing to this new demographic that seems more impressed by its significance, as equality sweeps the nation. A lasting partnership has always been valued in that segment of society, even when it had to be hidden... maybe because it had to be hidden.

    The last job I did, at a significant event attended by educated, sophisticated collectors of fine art photography, a surprising number of people felt it was an occasion to act stupid when the camera turned to them, even older people who were completely sober. I gently divested them of that inclination. It certainly wasn't like that even 5 or 7 years ago. The first event I ever did like this was in 1987 using that Polaroid 600se. No one (apparently) felt an urge to act drunk then... even the drunk people. Perhaps they would pretend to be excessively sexy, or reveal their sense of self-importance, or feign shyness... but not act deliberately stupid.

    (Thanks Lex)... t
  5. Good Luck Tom in your venture. I hope you make money. I would much rather do that than shoot weddings but for now shooting the weddings pays the bills.
  6. As a side note, that's an interesting observation about camera consciousness and behavior, Tom. I've noticed the same thing over the years. People are so much more camera conscious now it's increasingly unusual to find someone being natural. So many people act like there's a hidden camera documenting their lives for a reality show, so they're always posing. At the least they're behaving like actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves for the camera.
  7. Hi Tom, I'm not a wedding photographer, although I did a moderate number of them in my younger days (circa 1970). I think you're playing with fire if you don't want to become one yourself. My "read" of you as a photographer is that once you start doing this at weddings, a number of people will decide that they want YOU as THEIR (upcoming) wedding photographer, and then what will you do? That's how I see it going for you, so just be prepared. Best wishes.
  8. I have less than zero interest in becoming a full blown wedding photographer.

    While it's great fun making pictures at a wedding (I have worked as a second shooter and a portrait specialist for years), the potentially year long contact with multiple and highly emotional clients (for the same wedding) in a dramatic and unrepeatable scenario, combine to make wedding photography one of the least appealing ways I can think of to make money with a camera. It's even less appealing to spend 10-12 hours on my feet in a day chasing bridesmaids and groomsmen around churches and hotels while carrying two 7-9 lb camera rigs. It's a job for younger people than I...

    A better use of my skills and temperament is to make 200 portraits in a 4 hour evening (one every 60 seconds, or less), and be done with the job. I can be very cheerful and charming under such circumstances, and ready/willing/able to party/be civil thereafter.

    Just the amount of post-production, extended meetings and sales work required by a typical wedding (not to mention 30 to 50 every year) would inspire in me a desire to get a less stressful job making pumpkin spice skinny lattes with whipped cream at Starbucks, where at least I would get medical insurance.

    If I were going to be a wedding photographer, I'd have done it 30 years ago. I learned long ago how to say "No, thank you. But I know a guy..."
  9. I just noticed the size of that woman's phone... t
  10. "It's even less appealing to spend 10-12 hours on my feet in a day chasing bridesmaids and groomsmen around churches and hotels while carrying two 7-9 lb camera rigs. It's a job for younger people than I..."
    I've been at it for over 30 years -- Photographing was only job. Way too many weddings and "backdrop-setups" at Corporate events... through the decades.
    But I carry one camera/one lens for a 4 hour day these days... and offer the card right from my camera if need be. Trying to retire. But I still get the occasional call .
    Narrowed it down to second marriages only and max 30 guest. Really don't like post work ( unless I get paid by the hour ) Shoot full RAW and LRG Jpeg = give them the card -- if they want manipulations - return the card with $$ for CS work. Perfect wedding to me ;-)
    Let the younger ones learn their craft and toil ..... Our B&G are all "destination" weddings --- never meet with them before or after //\\​
  11. So I'll guess that's not a recent picture?

  12. Its not what other wedding photographers think, its what the client wants. Photo-booth are in so, sadly, everyone wants them.

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