Shooting at my own wedding

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by midan_smith, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. So, im planning on getting married soonish, i wonder if people have any thoughts on shooting their own weddings! For starters, my brother and dad have a pair of D80's between them with a few lenses and i can lend them some more useful lenses, and they both do plenty of casual and macro photography, and my father-in-law-to-be also used to do some semi-pro portrait photography, and i have a spare D80 i can lend him.. i can let one of them use my D700 and SB600. Furthermore, i will get them all to shoot in RAW, give me the results and i can happily do whatever postprocessing i feel like. So thats the plan. I think spelling out when i want specific shots taken should be easy enough ("see that beam of light! the camera, NOW!!!"), and i can even orchestrate a couple of shots.. i will set up all the cameras in advance to an auto ISO level which isnt too noisy with fastish glass, and my 3 chaps should be able to get some nice shots.
    Has anyone tried this? our wedding will be small scale and to a fairly low budget, so i dont intend to hire a pro, the only other thing would be that i have never shot a wedding myself, im a studio guy mostly, so i imagine we would have to be well organised with the group shots etc so as not to miss anything. The good thing is that the venue and church know us well and should be very obliging with letting shots be taken pretty much any time :) Personally, i would love to be able to shoot it, but being the groom and all, i think that might not get my first day of married life off to the best of starts!
  2. Poor brother and Dad. Big highlight of your life and they are now wedding vendors. :(
    Will you have other family members parking the cars?
  3. What would you tell a potential client who proposed the exact same approach? I think you (and I) know the answer.
  4. Richard,
    I'm not sure what the question is here. Is it, should you ask your father and brother to photograph your wedding? Is it, should you yourself be paying attention to photography on your wedding day? Is it something else?
    My first thought is, whatever the question may be, perhaps you should start by asking your bride-to-be about this. She might have an opinion.
    My second thought is, I would never ask anybody to photograph a wedding who had any other part whatsoever to play in it. That is, not if I cared much about the photos. My wife and I got married on a shoestring and she asked her brother to take photos. It made sense at the time. He was an avid amateur photographer, then as now. Unfortunately, he was also a terrific guy who was involved in helping with other aspects of the wedding of his only sister—he and his wife catered the reception, etc. Anyway, bottom line is, we didn't end up with too many photos from our wedding. I would assume that your brother and father will have other pressures on them that day.
    Now, it's your wedding and of course you can do what you like. Perhaps you can make it work. But this is one of those situations where the only advice any of us who are NOT in your shoes can give you is, don't do it!
  5. ah, my brother and dad will be delighted to have something practical to do, especially my dad, if anything the problem would be keeping him away from the camera, and trying to get him into a single picture. I wont be standing behind them with a whip, as long as we get a few shots i am quite relaxed. And we probably will have family members helping with cars and stuff, it is going to be that type of small scale wedding where people help out, which is very much what our families are into anyway.
    If i had a potential client tell me that they had a friend who would do it for free - which i know is common enough, then i politely wish them all the best and dont lose any sleep over it. In this case im not saying it to negociate a lower price, the 'potential client' is a pro photographer, and the three guys have excellent eyes for it, and know how to use the equipment. Sure, if i had a substantial budget, i would get the best pro whos work i know that i could afford. In this case i have confidence in the quality of the shooting, and i will be doing my own PP work, so i am not worried about getting mediocre results, i am just interested in strategy and possible tactics with the resources i have mentioned.
  6. Will, your story confirmed my thoughts that i wont get a great many shots from people too close to proceedings, the only redeeming thing is that i have 3 people at it, and that should help a bit. Im not picking this option because i think its a brilliant idea that beats hiring a pro, its just that my budget for this is exactly £0! :)
  7. Well the risk is that you won't end up with much in the way of decent pictures of the wedding right? If that is what happens, will you accept that? If so, it seems doable. I know that when I've tried to take pictures at a company event (I'm an amateur LANDSCAPE photographer) the results have been red-eye, poor flash performance, a reluctance to approach people, and of course not taking pictures while I myself was eating, talking, or was otherwise participating in the party. The result was a bunch of pictures that kinda sorta document the party with a couple that look reasonably good. But by no means would I call it competent.
    You might do better with a whole bunch of single use cameras. I don't know maybe it will all work out.
  8. Bad idea, if you are really interested in photographs of your wedding. Also, why would want to do that to your bride?
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There seem to be two things people are saying to think about. One is whether the person/people will be involved in other activities when they are shooting. Second is what you value out of it.
    My father shot my wedding. We had a small wedding, I think 45 guests. We aren't the types to hang up 100 photos or pass around an album. I wanted one nice photo of us together in the wedding location (a very interesting historic house) and that's what we have out in our home. I have a pile of other photos, perfectly fine, that we haven't looked at since the day we got them. We wouldn't put any more than that out.
  10. Well, the price is right. I say, know the risks and know what to expect. Then do the best you can. If you are going to lend out your D700, make sure the photographer knows how to set ISO and exposure compensation. Post processing can't do everything, you know. Be careful handing the flash to someone unfamiliar, too. Best way to use flash is on TTL with ceiling-bounce. This is an easy-cheesy no-nonsense setup that I think most people can use successfully without much training.
  11. The only risk that I'm aware of when doing this is that they forget to enjoy the day. If they're good with doing it and your future wife is good with it - then go for it.
  12. im more than happy with a few nice shots, and i will do some shots with my fiancee looking gorgeous in her dress in the couple of hours we have between the wedding and reception start - this will be important to her. I think i will put the flash on one of the D80's to bounce, and let the D700 shoot at max3200ISO - the church has plenty of light happily.. so i can definately get some great shots of the bride in her dress, and as jeff says, i just want a few group shots, a couple in the service, and then the 3 shooters can take as many or as few as they like of the rest of the day, again like jeff's its going to be a small wedding with only 30 people or so, very cosy..
  13. it seems to me you already made up your mind about what you want to do by the time you posted this. might as well go to CL and get one of those persons that's willing to shoot for free... what you have to got to loose.
  14. Hey, if you don't have the cash, you do what you can.
    When I got married I was flat broke after restoring my money-pit home ... finished just in time to hold the wedding there. I traded a painting to a commercial photographer I knew ... who never shot a wedding ... but did some nice formal shots. I loaded up my trusty old Leica, and whenever I could, shot some B&W candids ... other friends shot here and there. They gave me the negs and I processed prints later. I found a beautiful album on sale at a Hallmark store and filled it with prints, notes and mementos. My wife sits with a glass of wine and looks at it a couple of times a year.
    Looking at my wedding photos that I now shoot for others, my wife does whimsically wish we had someone dedicated like that taking photos for us.
    But, when you don't have the cash, you do what you can.
  15. As Marc says, you do what you can. I'm not about to argue with that.
    But I will caution you about one thing though. And it's not the quality of the photography. The real thing to think about is the quality of your wedding.
    My brother got married last year and asked whether I'd do the photography. I advised him that I could be a photographer, or be his brother, but I'd struggle to be both. In fact it was even harder as I was also best man, so add in the complexity of delivering the best man's toast and photographing it the same time. The photography didn't suffer - it was covered in depth, and made a nice album. But I have no memory of his wedding except through the viewfinder. I spent little time with our parents, less time with his friends, and had no time to get to know his new family. I was at his wedding. I photographed his wedding. But I was absent in every way that was important.
    With that experience, I can tell you that if I were the one getting married there is no way I would spend even the briefest moment considering photography. And I wouldn't ask anyone who was important to me to worry about it either; you risk diluting both their experience and your own.
    Instead I would hire someone I trusted to take care of all that for me.
  16. My father took most of the photos at our wedding, I processed and printed the B&W films that he shot and the color films went to a lab. A photographer friend took a few photos at the small reception we had at our apartment and at some point I took some photos too. There is not much you can do if you don't have the money. I enjoy looking at the photos from time to time and at some point I will print a few new 8x10 prints. Much more important for us are the photos I have taken of our children growing up those for us are the real important memories.
  17. Well, i had already made up my mind when i posted, my question was intended to be more looking to see if there were any tips/extra ideas based around my plan, on the basis that i dont shoot weddings, useful things i might not think of. I appreciate the concern here that the bride and i end up with poor quality shots from our special day, but i think what i am planning reduces that risk to being pretty low, and i can certainly make sure that the shots that i take of the bride will be good. She is more than happy with the plan, and we dont really have much choice, so we are trying to make the best of it.
  18. Neil, that is an excellent point, i will take it to heart and make sure everyone knows that its not about the shots. In the intervening time i will keep my eye out for someone i might be able to swap favours with. Thanks for the advice guys :)
  19. How soon is "getting married soonish"? Still enough time left to go on a Cup Rahmen diet to save up some money for photography? Any fellow photographers you can trade with, any special skills you have (plumbing, painting, car repairs ...) so you can barter with somebody you know? I know I'd happily shoot a wedding in exchange for proper pipes throughout the entire house. ;-)
  20. Here's my thoughts, and they go much in line with the other who agree that you do what you can. Since both fathers and a brother are willing to help in that regard, let them. If your father-in-law-to-be has some knowlege of posing and lighting, sounds like he's the one for the formals. With the three of them shooting there should be plenty of opportunity for them to get pix of the others.
    You should concentrate on being the groom. My experience, four weddings where I was taking photos and in the wedding party as well. It was an interesting experience and most of them came out ok, but much like Neil's experience, I would have like to have spent more time being father-of-the-bride or father-of the-groom.
  21. Leave the camera at home. Marriage is tough enough as is, and the last thing you want to do is anger your bride on your wedding day. If you do, she will never, never let you forget it. Congratulations!
  22. If the father of the bride, father of the groom, and the groom's brother are all taking shots, who's gonna be in the pics? *grin*
  23. I was being light hearted above, best wishes for your wedding. :)
  24. There's an old saying - a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. The same applies here. Do what you'd advise someone else to do...hire a good photographer, enjoy your wedding day and trust the photos to a pro.
  25. The question really has two prongs: does he want to take some pictures at his own wedding, and does he want to tell the REAL shooters what to do? I took pictures AT my wedding, but not OF my wedding, as we had a pro shoot it. I gave my Digital Rebel to a friend to take some casual shots I would late play around with, but she did not get in the way of the photographer. In casual moments, I also took some art shots myself, which I will post later, but all in good fun. I think you can do it, but the key is to not interfere with the person whose JOB it is to shoot the pictures. And, you posed the question to the wrong crows: photographers who are starving because of resourceful, or cheap, people like yourself who are literally taking food from their hungry lips. Anyway, good luck.
  26. Is this a joke? Anyway, regardless if this is a joke or not, my answer is no. It's an interesting idea, but a crazy one to say the least; IMHO.
  27. Richard,
    It is your wedding, and your idea, so do what you will. I will, however, say that I really think this is a bad idea for all concerned.
    Best with whatever you decide, and congratulations for the upcoming wedding.
  28. As long as they know how to use a camera properly you might get a few decent shots. I wasn't so lucky with my plan for my last wedding, sure I am a good photographer....BUT in the wrong hands even my camera can make really bad pictures.
  29. I photographed my brother's wedding. It's a lot of work, much more than I expected (I'm not a pro-photographer).
    If your Dad and brother are going to do a good job, they're going to have to be ready for various shots: when your bride throws the bouquet , the cake, the first dance, etc. They won't be able to enjoy the wedding.
    Your Dad may like to take photos, but if he is a guest, he can take them when he wants to take them. He doesn't have to be somewhere at a particular time and location.
  30. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Is this a joke? Anyway, regardless if this is a joke or not, my answer is no. It's an interesting idea, but a crazy one to say the least; IMHO.​
    I'm going to try this again.

    There's an assumption in these kinds of statements that everyone wants the same kind of wedding (I'll leave aside the cost issue which others have addressed.)
    When we got married, we knew everyone at the wedding. Everyone. Well one exception, the person who was supposed to marry us was ill and and sent his son, but there wasn't any way around that. The band leader was someone my wife had known since she was a teen, and we knew his band. My best man owns a winery and handled the wine, food, and service, with people I knew. The photographer was my father. My wife and her best friend did the flower arrangements. We viewed our wedding as a special, private, intimate occasion. If I had been close friends with a wedding photographer at the time, I would have asked them. But I wasn't. I didn't want the kind of wedding that Bob thinks I should have had, and neither did my wife. We wanted a private, intimate wedding. That was far more important to us than having a professional photographer that we didn't know.
    I don't get why people can't understand that there are different approaches to weddings and some of them don't involve having a photographer nobody knows. It's not a joke, it's a personal decision that was incredibly important to us when we made our wedding plans. Bob would have been a serious problem for us at our wedding. He would have been completely out of place.
  31. If I Iever get married I think I will carry a small, slim point-and-shoot and photograph the event during the proceedings, along with a hired gun. I think that would offer a unique supplementary perspective that is NEVER seen in wedding albums. I am not going to offer any of my own advice; there are plenty of people here who are smarter and more talented than I when it comes to wedding photography (and probably most other things). I wish you and the soon-to-be-Mrs the best. Enjoy your wedding, and make sure all your guests have an opportunity to do the same!
    Take care and good luck!
    Michael J Hoffman
  32. I agree with Jeff. When I got married 27 years ago, we had an old high school and college friend of mine, plus my soon-to-be brother-in-law take photos. Neither was a pro photographer, though one had an art degree and had a vague idea how to focus a camera. He also owned a camera, which was an important consideration. The wedding was small, quite informal, outdoors in a park. We ended up with a somewhat disproportionate number of images of the kids of one of the two photographers, and some odd artsy photos of my wife's feet (taken by the photographer with the art degree), but also a lot of pictures of people that we (and they) cared about having a good time at our special day. We didn't do any group shots, no ring shots, no bouquet-tossing shots, no cliche shots of any sort, and you know what? we really liked the images we got. If we'd been looking for traditional wedding photography, we would have been sorely disappointed, but as it was, the pictures were just as quirky as our wedding, and we wouldn't have had it any other way. So to the OP, if you want "pro-looking" photos, you should probably listen to the warnings people are giving you here. But if you're willing to expand your horizons a bit, I say go for it.
  33. pro photographer 6 hrs coveage with album $6000
    cl photographer with disk $750
    making it to 5 year wedding anniversary to look at the album from the pro photographer---priceless
  34. You asked for opinions... here's mine.
    20 years ago I was lucky enough to have a wonderful woman call me her husband.
    Our wedding was quite simple. We were both in the military. Therefore, my best man was a friend that I have, unfortunately, lost contact with. Her bridesmaid was the wife of my best man. Their daughter was our flower girl. The catering was performed by some friends. The cake was a wedding gift from a person who used to make wedding cakes. The pastor was an Air Force chaplain. The wedding reception DJ was another co-worker. The video was simply two cameras on tri-pods. And the photographers were a couple of co-workers that were kind enough to take some pictures.
    Did we get the $6,000 wedding photography package? Nope, what we did end up with were lasting memories of the day, with pictures taken by people that we were honored to call friends.
    If this is what you and your bride to be wish to do, then go for it.
    I will caution you - don't 'hire' an amateur with hopes of professional results.
  35. Thanks for the advice guys, i guess what we will miss out on will be some of the posed formal shots, but in the end as with Robert's wedding, its just about being with people we really like. Also, thanks for all the well-wishing!
  36. les


    If you have monies - get a pro. If you don't - there is nothing wrong with having some family members doing the shooting - provided that there is some time left for them to actually enjoy the event.
  37. I agree with Jeff. I don't think the OP's idea is crazy, in fact I find it quite attractive in a geeky way :)
  38. He says it's a low budget wedding.
    Obviosuly you know those involved and already know what is going to work.
    Why are you even asking? Just do it.
  39. We didn't bother hiring a pro either and got some great shots. We had fun with it - ours was a small, fairly informal gathering. We never really got 'the big formal shot' with everyone in it. If that matters to you, I would suggest you plan for it before the day itself.
    Also, we asked all the guests to send us any of their shots that they liked. This elicited some natural, unposed and often very amusing and endearing shots that someone unknown to the group never would have been able to get.
  40. First, good luck on your wedding! Second, a word of caution not for you but for your brother. I did the same thing for some of my best friends. I told them I would photograph their wedding years ago, so when they did, I flew to Italy with my fiancee - who officiated - and shot it. It was a wonderful experience but I am not sure I would do it again. First, it was a lot more stressful than I imagined. It was all completely self-induced; the couple were wonderful. However, I feel like i should have been better prepared and could have done a much better job. Second, as someone above noted, I feel like I missed a really important event in my friend's lives. I was so busy working that I saw nothing and really don't remember very much.
    So, just something to keep in mind. Since you are going to do this, i would stress that you really go over things in advance. Sit down with them and a few beers and really plan out some shots. Talk about composition (full body or half, face filling frame or back off a bit), what group shots you want, as much detail as you can. If they have a good idea what to do going in, it will really relieve the stress on them.
  41. thanks again for the suggestions, im glad to see that this has worked out well for some folks!
  42. I would be tempted, but you risk making the bride mad. I'm sure the bride will want your undivided attention.
  43. It sounds like a good plan, especially if the budget is tight. Worst cast scenario is you have to get the wedding party back together again for a party, make them dress in in their wedding outfits and you or a pro shoot some new shots.
    Best case scenario, everyone is relaxed because they know the photographer(s) and you get some great candid shots that you'll love forever.
    You may not get the cliche shots, the ring in hands, the overly posed bride etc, but personally those gag me, to tell you the truth.
    So go for it. Also, you might consider asking others to share their informal shots. You'll end up with many great pics to choose from.
  44. Isn't there a pro that you know whom you could "hire" as your lead photographer in exchange for a trade of services, at least for your ceremony and formal portraits? For instance, they give you two hours of wedding day coverage, and you give them some sort of two-hour portrait session? Then at least your ceremony could be handled by a pro, and your family members would not have so much pressure to perform as vendors during the wedding, and could just snap off shots as honorary "second shooters"?
    My husband and I were married this past December, and this is how we were able to maintain high-end photography for our small yet formal and elegant wedding despite having to nearly cut our wedding budget in half midway through planning due to the rotten economy. Between our engagement photos and wedding day shots, we ended up with a combined effort by 4 pro photographers (one who came half way across the country for us -- she did it in exchange for the trip to Southern California!) and we ended up with over 4000 RAW images that I got to process myself. It took me over 3 weeks to do it, but it did finally get done and the edits were done the way I'd wanted them done.
    Now if I could just get around to finishing my wedding album design, we'd be alright! ;)

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