Wedding Photography done a little differently

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by thebunce, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Please help - My Partner and I are getting married in Fiji on the 5th January. Since it's on an Island (not mainland Fiji) we can't really afford a good Wedding Photographer. A friend of mine who is a professional photographer (but not attending) suggested we buy 3 or 4 digital camera's and elect some of our friends to be our photographers for the day.
    The Question: What digital camera's to use? Obviously we want to keep our costs down, the reason for having all the camera's the same is so that the colours, image res etc are all similar.
  2. I bet you there are some great photographers on here that would jump at the chance to photograph your wedding if you pay for their flight :)
  3. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. What's your budget for the cameras, lenses, flashes, memory etc.? Also, with the amount of wedding paparazzi out there, some of your friends in attendance might have digital cameras already. Have you contacted any potential volunteers already? I'd personally ask any 'candidates' first before you buy 3-4 cameras - might be cheaper flying a pro photographer in instead. Most of us Northerners would love to fly to Fiji during the midst of winter. ;-)
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "A friend of mine who is a professional photographer (but not attending) suggested we buy 3 or 4 digital [cameras] and elect some of our friends to be our photographers for the day."
    I firstly suggest asking your friend who suggested the idea, and also ask about what lenses and should they use Flash or not, also.
    I secondly suggest asking the Potential Photographers first and get that all squared away - as it seems to me the people whom you ask to be the 3 or 4 photographers for the day would likely be chosen primarily because the have some Photographic skills and experience - no? . . . Ergo . . . it is very likely they will have a camera or two already - no?
    Unless of course you were going to give them the cameras as a gift for being the Photographers for the day, is that what you mean?
  5. To have a dream wedding in a beautiful location and NOT have a pro photographer to document it would be so sad. If you don't hire a pro as a minimum I would rent pro quality equipment. I would designate your most trusted friend and 1 week prior to the event, rent him a DSLR with a pro lens and a pro flash. Have them experiment with auto settings in preparation of the wedding date. Even a P&S photographer can get ok pictures with better gear. Good luck v/r Buffdr
  6. Hi Chris - Can you give me a call or send me an email? Or feel free to check out my work at info is on the site.
    I think I have a great proposal for you :)
    cheers - Conrad
  7. yah, i'm not exactly sure if letting the guests shoot is a good idea.. besides, for price of 4 dslr you could probably pay for flight for a good photographer from the US ( or local ) to go..
    i'll go if you pay for my flight..heck i got enough mileage points that i might even be able to fly for free....msg me if you want to look at my portfolio. we can work something out
  8. Can your resort help you? I'm sure they know someone who is already there...?
  9. Chris,
    What other equipment did your friend recommend? Buying a digital camera isn't difficult but if you guys are doing something funky (jumping or something) P&S might not be able to capture it... so we are talking SLRs. Cheapest SLR with a kit lens (18-55) is about $500 (I'm not B&H so don't have a price list, just ball-park figures). Add a flash to it, since in the evening pop-up flash will be useless (like spitting into the ocean) thats another $200. So you're looking at about $700/camera and a 8gig memory card - another $20USD. Getting "FEW" of those, lets say 2,3 you're looking at 2100+tax = around $2500 (again, ball park, since you do need second batteries per camera - another 20 for 3rd party battery).
    Now, I understand about the cost, but PLEASE remember this and I tell that to my clients and my students. Wedding photography isn't about just taking pictures; the next morning: flowers are dead, music is gone, food is spoiled, all you have left is each other and your memories thus wedding photographer is there to facilitate your affair and to allow you to enjoy it for the rest of your lives. Granted $ is an issue, I don't know anyone who has it easy but get some who'll be there specifically to capture the event. Either contact the resort, or get someone to fly out there.
    good luck
  10. I serious question on how professional your friend is to suggest such a thing.
  11. I'll shoot it for a flight! anything to escape Canada in the dead of winter! :eek:)
    drop me a line if you're interested, and check my site out... it's in my profile.
  12. Wow! That's some advice. Most resorts have professional photographers on staff for just such occasions. If that is not the case, perhaps there is a local budding photographer who would shoot the event just for the experience and use of images in a portfolio. Ask the concierge. Buying a bunch of equipment for guests to use just seems like a waste of money. As many have said, heck, I'll shoot it for a flight and hotel.
  13. If you go into it knowing that you're not going to get traditional or professional wedding pictures, then I think it's a great idea. I would go one step further and maybe get a camera (if cost is an issue, you can try disposable film cameras) for each table with a note asking the guests to snap away. Obviously, you're not going to get pro-level composition, lighting, framing, but you will get a completely different record of your wedding and your guests that may be just as cherished. It just depends on what kind of pictures you want.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I didn't read any mention of a "Resort" - though well may they being married at a resort.
    I only read mention of one of the Islands of Fiji but not the main Island - Viti Levu- rather Islands such as: Malolo, Mana, Tokini et al . . . my guess is there will likely be no staff Photographer - and perhaps local Photographers will be short in number also.
  15. I would do it if you paid for the flight :)
  16. Is it just me? Sorry but I think this is a really bad idea.
    First it is a terrible wast to put so much into a fine wedding and skimp on the one and only service that will server as your permanent record of it.
    Second, the cameras you buy don't matter at all if you're going to have guests shoot for you. You're going to get snapshots either way, not photographs. Buying a bunch of expensive cameras and putting them in P mode for the guests will make no difference at all. You should just save your money and let the guests use their own cameras which they will be familiar with.
    Obviously the best solution is to hire a pro. And no, I wouldn't do this job gratis for the price of the ticket. If i want to go to Fiji, I'll book a vacation there, not a job. Sure it's a nice perk to be there for a paying job, but not a reason to do a job for free. Now if I were a personal friend of the wedding party that's another story.
    In short, I'd say pony up and hire a pro, or just let the GWCs do it with there own gear. Remember you get what you pay for. Do some more searching here on Wedding photo horror stories before you decide. But the middle ground you are looking into, I believe is just a waste.
  17. Chris:
    This isn't a unique idea. Used to be done with disposable cameras left on tables. If you believe that Shakespearean literature could eventually be created by hundreds of monkeys randomly pounding on typewriters, then I see no problem with going this route. :)
    If it were my wedding, I would be wary of people willing to do it for free for just the cost of a "free vacation." But that's just me. While you don't always get everything you pay for, you usually never get more value than you paid.
  18. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. You need witnesses, but you don't have to have a photographer! I see nothing wrong at all with trying to enjoy the day without distractions. You don't have to have photos to have wonderful memories that will stay with you forever. And you will get photos without asking anybody's help at all. This being the 21st century, some of your guests (perhaps MOST of your guests) will bring cameras with them without being asked. They will take photos without being asked. All you do need to ask is that they share their best results with you, which they'll be happy to do. Nothing wrong with this approach.
    BUT, if you WANT photos and if you care about having consistent, competent coverage of the events of the day, then I'm araid I'm generally in agreement with Bob O'Sullivan's points.
    Having four or five guests take photos MIGHT work out okay - I can't 100% guarantee that it will fail. But the odds are against it. People with a fair bit of experience and talent as photographers find that shooting their first weddings is a major challenge - and these photographers go to their first weddings prepared to shoot, spend the whole wedding thinking about nothing but shooting, and have the time afterwards to process the shots. Handing the job to guests who have not prepared, aren't necessarily serious photographers, and probably aren't going to regard this as a job but simply as something to do now and then while they're mainly there as guests, well, that's a not a very high percentage way to get good photographs. You will get some photographs, for sure. A couple of them might even be good. But if you've got an algebra problem to solve, you'll be better off asking a single high school student for help rather than asking a dozen fourth graders, even bright ones.
    And even if all your friends ARE professional photographers, well, that raises another problem: coordination. Most of us don't like to be competing with other photographers and we have clauses in our contracts stipulating that we are the only pro at the wedding.
    Let me say again: I can't guarantee that the idea will turn out to be a disaster. You might get lucky. But if you care about having good photos, then it's certainly very risky. One of the main reasons to hire an experienced pro is that an experienced pro will be reliable. We aren't all photographic geniuses, but with experience comes competence and reliability.
    I don't quite agree with Bob O. when he says that you get what you pay for. This is not always true. I too would be willing to waive my fee and take the job if you simply paid my expenses (air fare, hotel, meals). You've had several other offers. Those of us who would be willing to do this would do it not because we're desperate or less than excellent, but because we would really like to add a destination wedding in a very beautiful place to our portfolios. And we'll bring our own equipment! If you can't afford to pay a pro's airfare, then I think you'd be better off trying to find a single friend and giving them the sole responsibility for the entire wedding.
    But again, I do agree with Bob O. that, if you feel adventurous and decide to take your friend's advice, it probably doesn't matter much what cameras you get. You might as well buy $100 worth of disposable film cameras. Lower your expectations, and you may be happy with the results. But do give some thought to how the wedding will be covered. If you leave it to your guest photographers to work without coordination, you might find that nobody at all shot certain important moments because they were all expecting somebody else to do it.
    Good luck.
    p.s. I've been there and done that, except that I didn't do it in Fiji. When my wife and I were married in 1975, in our college chapel, we had $0 budgeted for photography, so my brother-in-law brought his camera and took photos. A couple rolls of film were lost aftwards, and we have nothing at all other than a handful of snapshots, mainly of my wife's family, since those were the people my brother-in-law knew. No photos in the chapel, no photos of my wife in her dress at all, very few photos of our college friends, etc. Even then my brother-in-law had a pretty good camera and enjoyed taking pictures. The photos themselves are okay, as far as they go. They just don't go very far and it's not a bad reflection on him. Wedding photography is not easy.
  19. I'd do it for free, if you pay for my flight--I live in the Philippines. :)
  20. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Is it just me? Sorry but I think this is a really bad idea."

    Probably not just you, but it being a good idea or not was not the question, as I understood it.

    The question was quite clear: "The Question: What digital camera's to use?" with all due respect for all the advice and opinion, not many have addressed that question.

  21. I hope chris isnt waiting for an answer, because he still hasnt got any. Try 3 canon powershot A 1000s.
  22. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    . . . well eric, I disagree . . . Chris has not answered my question yet, the answer to it would sway my advice . . . also Powershots are a good idea, IMO.
  23. The question was quite clear: "The Question: What digital camera's to use?" with all due respect for all the advice and opinion, not many have addressed that question.​
    I think if you buy all Canon, the pictures will look great. Don't get Nikon, however, because all the pictures will suck.
    How about this advice? Buy a bunch of Panasonic XYZ's and your pictures will turn out great! Or get 3 of the new Olympus ABC's and they will solve all your problems! But stay away from the Sony QRS's, because they will ruin all your pictures.
    The reason nobody jumped on the horn at first to recommend which camera is because IT DOESN'T MATTER. The OP is suggesting that a handful of inexperienced photographers be given unfamiliar cameras at random and asked to shoot pictures. The camera has not yet been made that can guarantee quality photography under these conditions.
    You might as well ask what brand of typewriter the monkeys were using when they wrote Shakespeare's last play.
    Can I ask a question? How are you getting to Fiji without any money left over for a photographer? Obviously, it was more important to be in Fiji than the photos, so it doesn't matter. Just get whatever, it won't make a difference. You might as well use $5 Fuji Quicksnaps with ISO 200 print film.
  24. Chris, I would go along with the Canon Powershot idea. They're relatively inexpensive and the learning curve with them is not that steep. I am a bit bemused by your idea, though. I'm assuming you wouldnt ask your friends to do the cooking for your wedding; why then are you asking them to do your wedding pictures? A couple of years ago I shot a quinceanera for a friend of the family and he was a bit nonplussed when I asked for the same fee the cook got. I pointed out to him that his daughter would only turn 15 once and that this would be the record of her big day, something that she could look back on for the rest of her life (in this case, almost literally-I did the outdoors shots on Kodachrome). All of the food the cook was preparing would literally be flushed down the toilet two days after the party was over. Forty years from now no one is going to care what the menu was; they will want to see the pictures. Do you really want to show your friends a lot of hit and miss shots and then have to explain that you had a bright idea that sounded good at the time?
  25. PLEASE....don't give this responsibility to friends. Its not fair. Fiji has many professional photographers who could do a professional job and they are used to traveling out to the islands to do their work.
    Get a pro to do justice to your big day and don't make a common mistake by skimping.
  26. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I think if you buy all Canon, the pictures will look great. Don't get Nikon, however, because all the pictures will suck."
    I agree :)
  27. Either pay for the tickets for one of these photographers or get 20 or 30 disposable film camera's (B&H Photo still has them) and 1 Canon T1i kit as a wedding present for your selves (you WILL have more things to photograph after the wedding!). Don't forget the extra batteries and memory cards.
  28. The question was quite clear: "The Question: What digital camera's to use?"

    Unless the freinds have some sort of photographic skills above the average person, it may be best to get point and shoot cameras in order to save money because the results will be about the same even with more expensive cameras. Extra money can be spent on memory cards so that lots and lots of images can be taken and then sorted through later to find the keepers.
    If the freinds do have some particular skills, it may be prudent to have them use their own cameras since are likely to know how to operate them as opposed to some new camera handed to them in the midst of a destination wedding.
  29. I have a simple Sony Cybershot with a zeiss lens that I take on excursions where I don't want to work and it is a pretty darn good camera might look into that. :)
  30. Hire someone, anyone with some wedding photography experience. I see hundreds of people with their powershots and mini DSLR's getting in the wedding photographers way, diverting the focus of people who are being posed and creating very chaotic/uncreative situations. Furthermore, the cameras are not made to make decisions beyond metering for middle gray and will under/overexpose in too many situations.
    A decent wedding photographer shoud be able to give you not only quality photos but express the creative and emotional parts of your wedding day.
    David Myles Photography
  31. I saw a post on a blog where the couple supplied lots of cameras- polaroids, film cameras, and some digital and got nice results. I think you could get better results with film if you don't know someone who could process the digitals properly... Maybe plan your own posed images though :)
  32. If it were my wedding, I would be wary of people willing to do it for free for just the cost of a "free vacation." But that's just me. While you don't always get everything you pay for, you usually never get more value than you paid.
    @ Eric Merrill - Eric, you are obviously hanging out with the wrong photographers if you think that a free vacation means you will get bad photos! :)
  33. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    . . . I just wonder where Chris is . . . there are some questions unanswered.
  34. I think Chris is already in Fiji! Not 1 single response from him...
  35. Pretty much all of the digital point & shoot cameras out there will work. Unless your friends are experienced photographers (in which case they would already have cameras) anything more complicated will be hard for your friends to learn to use, and will cost a fortune.
    The Canon G11 is a great camera but pricey. I've played around with various Canon and Nikon P&S cameras over the years and honestly they all seem pretty much the same.
    Getting film cameras is also an option, film can be more forgiving BUT you'll have to deal with getting in processed, and scanned if you want to post the photos online, etc., and that can be a large expense.
    Along with pretty much everyone else on this site, I would be willing to do it if you just cover the travel expenses from Philadelphia. Not because it's a 'free vacation' but because it's an opportunity to shoot a wedding in a beautiful location and it would be a great addition to my portfolio. I'm an experienced documentary photographer with lots of overseas shooting experience.
  36. Firstly thanks to all for your advice and comments, secondly sorry for the delay in my response - I've been away on business.

    I've taken on board all comments and as a result we've decided to hire a pro photographer. In the end we feel that we are not prepared to risk what is of course our special day and only get one or two photo's. Looking back on this special day will help keep the memories alive for ever.

    At this stage we are still looking for a Photographer - we are a little dubious in paying for somebody's flights for obvious reasons. We have approached the friend whose idea prompted this thread and he is hopefully coming back to us. He's a great photographer but not a Wedding photographer (commercial, real life etc) although he has done several in the past.

    But again, thanks for all your comments. Will update once we have made a decision.


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