Why be a wedding photographer?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by hassy501, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Why do [you] want to be a wedding photographer ?
     
  2. "Wedding Photography" is short for a Wedding Photography Business.
    Let's break that down:
    Wedding : People are dressed up, looking their best and that takes care of a lot of the glamour factor i nthe photogrpahs. And people are (generally) having a good time. Undeneath that it is a highly stressful event in a several dimensions (emotional, financial, family) for all of the principals involved, even if some of it is good stress. And the photographer essentially has one chance to get a whole lot of things right over a prolonged period of time - and a whole lot of chances to get a whole lot of things wrong.
    Photography: The fun part. As long as you can get the photos right, your gear doesn't fail you (or more likely you don't get sloppy and find yourself dealing with user error later -which often gets blamed on the gear) and deal with the conflicting needs of the various parties.
    Business: Most people seem to forget that last word in the full description. While important to you the photography may actually be the least important aspect of what you do as a wedding photographer. You have to continuously do an awful lot of marketing and sales work (and the selling job continues after the actual photography is done), and client "hand holding", personell management, as well as the other aspects of efficiently and profitably running a business.
    I supect most people decide to do it because they realize they can't sing well enough to get that gig.
     
  3. No, I think the real question is, "Why does anyone who actually knows what's involved still want to be a wedding photographer?"

    I certainly don't. It's far too stressful! There are just too many posts here that go something like, "The mother in law of my insane, non-paying bride customer is camped in my front yard with her cousin Ruprecht, who is a photographer, and who she wants to have me wrestle or knife-fight to the death as a way to settle the issue of whether my PJ style shots should be legal or not considering I had the nerve to charge $500 a measely 12 hours of work."
     
  4. Why wouldn't you want to be a wedding photographer, it's a dream job. And, it's really easy to make tons of money. Heck, all wedding photographers do is walk around a wedding and snap a few shots. A sub-$500 Rebel with an 18-55 lens takes great pictures and all you have to do is set it on the green square. When you need flash, one pops right out of the camera. After the wedding, all you have to do it pop that 4gb card right into the computer and shazam, beautiful photos. Next you burn 'em onto cd, give them to the bride and cash the check. Or, if you want to make even more money, you post the photos on the web and instantly sell tons of reprints. What could be easier?
    Getting business is easy too. All you have to do is tell a friend or two you have a DSLR and you want to shoot weddings. The next thing you know, your phone is ringing constantly with brides who want to hire you even though you charge crazy, exorbitant, obscene amounts of money.
    If you offer albums, you can even make more easy money. Go to Mypublisher, upload a couple photos, click the mouse a few times and boom, instant album and more huge profits.
    All those commercials on TV that talk about work from home with testimonials like, "I make $30,000 per month part-time," have nothing on wedding photographers. The people in those commercials have to work part-time while wedding photographers only have to work 6 or 8 hours a week. The rest of the time all they do is roll around on a pile of cash by the pool at their 25,000sf mansion while having their butlers bring them Crystal in between polishing the Ferrari and the Maybach.
    On this bulletin board, all the "pseudo" pros that post things about contracts, marketing, equipment and dealing with the business of photography are just a bunch of whiners. The "real" pros know wedding photography is the easiest job in the world. The secret is getting out, that's why everyone wants to be a wedding photographer.
     
  5. Uggghhh, Charlie Brown, come kick this ball !
     
  6. I'm interested because I can be a weekend warrior and people are in a good mood.
    If you think brides and their families are a picky try dealing with interior designers, which I have done in the past.
    It also seems like an opportunity because some of our competitors are not that good, and I think the affluent market is under-served.
     
  7. It really depends on one's motivation.

    I do it so that I can buy more beer este gear. I don't want to do it for profit because by then it will become a job.

    I just love taking pictures. And by me not treating it as job means I can be very selective thus I can avoid the wedding-horror-stories that we see a lot in this forums.
     
  8. given the choice between IT - which I have done for 25 years, and wedding photography which I've been doing for 5 years, I'd pick wedding photography anyday.
    There is no more stress involved in weddings than there is in dealing with corporate fools
    You are in charge of what you deliver - no one else can blame you for their mistakes and vice versa
    You don't have to sit in an office for 8 hours dealing with fools
    You are trying to provide something to a client that they want - unlike in an office where you are dealing with corporate fools
    did i mention corporate fools?
    seriously, your clients are (usually) on the happiest day of their lives, the difficulties can be worked out if you know what you are doing, and if you are any good at business you can be successful and don't have to rely on anyone else
    Now - why would you NOT want to be a photographer? Maybe brides in US are generally less nice than the ones we get in dear old Blighty (thats the UK if you didn't know)
     
  9. Because it seems like a fun and easy way to earn mad money to buy more toys with. After finding out it isn't fun and easy, the serious, talented. and 'born to it' will stick it out.
     
  10. I don't want to be just wedding photographer, I am a photographer and I love what I do, I like portraits, I like nature photography, I like macro photography. I love art, I love painting and for me photography it's a painting in a short time.
     
  11. Being a wedding photographer is a gift, anbd to be able to share the with other, to help capture there day si all the motivation I need. ( Still waiting for the bags of cash to starl rolling in)
     
  12. I do it because I was pursuaded into it. If I could have my choice, it would be sports photography. I view that as more fun without the drama of bridezillas and uncle bobs.
     
  13. "And, it's really easy to make tons of money."
    "Getting business is easy too. All you have to do is tell a friend or two you have a DSLR and you want to shoot weddings."
    Two horrible statements. No one should get into any job, because it makes lots of money. That's an insult to many of us (myself included) who do it for the love of photography and it's all we do.
    Also, having a DSLR doesn't make you a photographer (I'm not going to get into that convo), but again it cuts into the pros and there's a lot of really bad wedding photography out there. No wonder there's always a ton of "HELP! I messed up!" posts here...
    End of Rant...
    I do it, because capturing the moment—whether it be weddings or PJ-work (I staff at a newspaper full-time) is my way of understanding life. The emotion captured in a still moment can help me see the world in the most real sense possible and no two days on the job are the same. God knows I don't do it for the money...
     
  14. Nic: I think you need to change the oil on your sarcasm/satire detector!
     
  15. Matt, I imagine someone will post those statements because they truly believe them. So I'm ahead of the curve..
     
  16. Reason 1: Love to photograph people.
    Reason 2: Fun non stop party, and every one is pleased to be there.
    Reason 3: It brings joy to others in a wonderful way and for years to come.
     
  17. Oooh, and for the excellent income... not.
     
  18. Nic - I know Josh very well. He is a passionate photographer and very talented. Matt was correct. Josh was being sarcastic. Not serious.
    I'm sorry for you George. You seem to have a hard time with timing, and now bridzillas. Perhaps it's your market area? Can't figure it out. Personally, I adore 99 percent of my brides. Many have become friends. My job is to help them stay calm and make sure things go smoothly.
    I've done commercial and wedding photography. I'll take an emotional bride over a corporate type any day. Plus you have so much more creative freedom with a wedding. And, you don't need a stylist - it's all there. The beauty, the natural emotions, the setting, everything.
     
  19. Mary, would I be remiss in saying that all of your weddings are at the Ritz ? Not all brides are bridezillas, but i've had my share. I guess that comes with being in the business for so long.
    Burnout ? Probably.
    Money is decent. I have high standards and I'm way too picky with my images. I spend way too much time on editing and post production. I just can't release images until they are perfect, in my eyes.
    And that really cuts into my profitability timewise. I love being the "owner" and 90 percent of the time the rewards overshadow the negatives.
    Just how long can one continue to shoot weddings without losing "it" ? Not the skills but the inspiration ?
     
  20. The origianl post was "why does everyone want to be a wedding photographer?" Why was it changed?
     
  21. You really have to enjoy weddings to be a wedding photographer. Everything else is just what you make of it.
    Weddings are hard work, but give you a lot of opportunity to express yourself. You also should really like people. That job won't be effective for you if you don't.
    Lou
     
  22. Nic, I don't know Josh and I knew he was being sarcastic. Lighten up!
     
  23. I have just recently picked up a camera for some serious photography, ( I guess you would call me a pro wanna be) but I have dealt with weddings for 12 years in a reception hall as a host. I do not know why anyone would want to undergo the torture of working with crazy brides and their families. Notice I say brides and not grooms, (in 12 years I think I had one groom complain about something, and i think it was about the selection of beer.) Never the less, the wedding day for the bride is an excuse to be mean, tormenting, and torturous. With all that I had to endure with catering to these crazy brides, I swore I would never shoot a wedding. I have not so far. No plans in the near future.
     
  24. Interesting to hear from a different wedding vendor and their actual experience with brides. Thank you for the insight Tom.
    SP, I originally posted "Why does everyone want to be a wedding photographer". The title was ameded by the moderators. Why, I don't know. It sure changed the meaning of what I was trying to get across.
    Once again, why does EVERYONE want to be a wedding photographer ? My take on it is that they think it's an easy way to make some easy money. Little do they know.
    I guess if one maintains a low end business model it's easy, but if you want to make the big bucks it takes a lot of work and sacrifice of personal time. The photography part is just a small percentage of the actual profession.
     
  25. If you're getting a steady stream of bridezillas it's time to go in for some serious therapy to figure out why so many of these people are drawn to you...
     
  26. Can't shake the habit --addicted for 30 years ....just comes natural after all this time .
    " takes great pictures and all you have to do is set it on the green square" And so easy ;-)
     
  27. I do this "part time" as a weekend warrior. It's fun, pays some of the bills, and I meet some really great people I would not have met just being a hardware engineer.
    Being a part-timer I can pick and choose between my couples, taking only the jobs that I want to do with the people that really click with me. So far I've had clients who chose me for me (style and personality), and not because I provide a better bang for the buck. It makes things easier for the wedding planning and post wedding work for the both of us.
    You have to love wedding photography. You have to be a people-person, charming, sociable, and able to bring the best out of your subject. You have to be able to diplomatically handle difficult situations and make everyone feel like they're coming out winning.
    I would not want to make it a full-time business at this point though. I like being able to choose my clients for best fit.
     
  28. It's the money for me!
     
  29. I am amused at how many people suddenly want to be wedding shooters after they buy a DSLR, don't they realize they're endeavoring in of the most difficult photographic challenges there is? They need to learn about composition, lighting, exposure, all in a short period of time - it takes YEARS for most of us to get proficient enough to even want to tackle weddings.
    I have shot about 150 or so of these blessed events, all with Canon film SLR's, I have yet to be approached to shoot a wedding since I bought my D80 system. I probably will decline to shoot digital simply because I only have the one body and one Nikon flash.
    Another beef is the time factor - any wedding shooter worth his/her salt would use RAW files. I estimated it would take about 15 hours to process NEF's to workable JPEG's. I'd have to actually ask more for shooting digital than for film due to this time constraint. In my neck of the woods, people are too cheap to want to spend the money, sadly, and Uncle Bill ends up taking the phtoos with his PS compact. Oh well.
     
  30. I have no ambition to be a profesional wedding photographer, if I wanted to make easy moneyat the prices they charge in the UK I would rather be a profesional plumber.
     
  31. Why do I ?
    because I am a candid people photographer for hire, and there are a lot of people at a wedding. It provides me with a purpose I love and the pay that I need.
    Bridezilla's or Drama Queens provide fodder for even more interesting people photos ... I'm not in it just for Walt Disney or Hallmark shots ... I like all of it.
    I like Uncle Bob ... I show him how to use his camera at most every wedding, and usually get another wedding from someone he knows because he thinks I'm a genius ... LOL!
    I do a lot of Commercial photography ... it's a lot easier than weddings because I bother to find out about the company by visiting their website ... then play back their mission statement in the photos while treating their executives like they were geniuses ... so I get more easy work where the assistants do all the heavy lifting.
    Why does everyone want to be one?
    Because Canon made a camera that let's them think they are ... which is encouraged by their TV commercials.
     
  32. Should have read "Canon and Nikon made a camera that let's them think they are"
     
  33. why should i think to became weeding photographer ? just because you can earn more money?
    Is this the only reason while you can became a photgrapher like James Nachtwey or Reza deghati or others who are trying to change the world using thier photos , show us the things that we dont want to see or we fogot to see ,
     
  34. Dear Ronald
    I dont think that wedding photography is most difficult photographic challenges
    Which one is more challening , photogrpahy in the middle of war , or in africa , afghanistan or other places like these ?
    Which one is more challenging? to take photos of a wedding that all you need is to know the techniques and post processing or taking photos that have some meanign , felling and make you think ?
     
  35. For the record, my post was sarcatic. But for sarcasm to work it needs underlying truth. I do believe that photography (not just wedding photography) is viewed as a "glam" job. Many who haven't experienced what a wedding photographer does over the course of a year, do not realize that actual picture taking is only a small percentage of the overall scope of the career. While those who do it full-time know the majority of time is spent on post-processing, organization, order fulfilment, marketing, bookeeping, learning and business practices.
    Technology (not just digital) has allowed more people to make better images. With the advent of digital and advanced metering, auto-focus, TTL flash metering, computers, etc. people with little or no photographic training can go out and buy a camera for a realatively small amount of money and take pictures that are better then they've ever taken before. Another factor with digital photography, is that the instantaniousness of it and the lack of film and processing costs have non-photographers taking a lot more photos. The more photos you take the more likely you'll get a great shot. I've noticed this in this years crop of Christmas cards with pictures of my friends kids on them. Some of them are very good and the photos weren't shot by pros or with pro equipment.
    I think some of the posters on here that want to get into wedding photography start exploring the idea of being a pro wedding photographer for a variety of reasons. Some may be unhappy in their current situation due to financial reasons, boredom, work schedule or a combination of factors. And some, legitimately love photography and/or love weddings.
    Those of us whose career is wedding photography have paid our dues. Whether it was through assisting or working free or whatever, pros have somehow figured it out. When I started doing professional photography there was no internet. You learned by asking other pros and doing. Along the way you learned whether or not you like wedding photography. Now, with sites like this, it's so much easier to get info and the questions are out in the open. This forum has a concentrated dose of potential future wedding photographers and because of the concentration, it looks like everyone with a DSLR wants to be a wedding photographer. When it comes to being a pro (paid) photographer, the market for wedding photography is the broadest of all the disciplines of photography and with that comes the easiest entry in to pro photography. With pro photography, as with most careers, there will always be people coming and going out of it. You're just not likely to see a thread on here, "How to get out of wedding photography?"
     
  36. Pooria,
    I believe that photographs taken at a wedding display (hopefully) a part of someones life that they want to remember, and with some hard work and talent, do it in a way the transfers some meaning, feeling and makes you pause to think.

    The war photographers are not the only ones who can convey such things through their imagery, they just have a more dramatic and disturbing subject matter. That makes weddings all the more challenging since for you to produce such impactful work, there has to be more careful attention in order to "find" those moments, perspectives, emotions and so forth.

    I know that JN has produced some stunning work, but so have those who shoot wedding and are at the top of their field. Which is more challenging depends on what you are thrown to shoot. I would argue you have to look a lot harder during a wedding to get the shots that convey deep impact upon the viewer...
     
  37. 1. I already like photography, so why not get paid to do what I love?
    2. Weddings are on the weekends, so I can keep my day job.
    3. Fast-paced, fun and challenging.
    4. My toys pay for themselves.
    5. Capturing moments that people will cherish for the rest of their lives.
    6. A great venue for getting candids. People act like you're not even there.
    7. Making the client happy.
    8. Good outlet for artistic expression.
    9. Good break from the tedium of everyday life.
    10. One word: Bridesmaids.
     
  38. Nikon has Ashton Kucher popping around at a wedding in their commercial. If I had a guy like that at a wedding I was doing, I'd be having a talk with the B&G......... He trys to make is look like fun and games. NOT
     
  39. bms

    bms

    To answer the (rephrased) question - I DO NOT want to be a pro wedding photographer.
    However, looking at it from the outside, and reading about what people make shooting weddings and how much they work for it (that is Pros, not people just snap away JPGs, burn a CD and are done), anybody who is in it for the money may need their fincancial bearings readjusted. Many people here take awsome pictures. I doubt many people make 6 figures easily from photography (I may be wrong.....)

    I've noticed this in this years crop of Christmas cards with pictures of my friends kids on them. Some of them are very good and the photos weren't shot by pros or with pro equipment.
    We are definitely not getting the same Xmas cards :) But I agree - the sheer number of photos taken will increase the chance of getting a keeper. I am guilty as charged. But everytime I take a film camera to my eye, I actually pause and think before I take a shot. That may not be the best in Weddings... :). There are plenty of people with sophisticated cameras around, to me the "yield" of many "auto everything" amateur shooters seems to be below par. For myself, I may get better pictures with a DSLR in the end, but the denominator is much larger. So overall, average picture "quality" (however you may want to measure it) may actually decrease.
     
  40. It seems to me that there are two camps of wedding shooters. Those who do it part time and love it. They have regular jobs so the income from weddings is not a necessity.
    Then there are those who do it full time, work their asses off and make a living from it. by choice or by chance.
    If I had to do it all over again, I would not get into weddings. The time involved in shooting the job, editing, creating albums and products provided far outreach the income for the AVERAGE shooter.
    The top tier shooters who do make a great living are the exception more than the rule in this profession.
    Just like any other profession there are the top enders and the rest of the crowd.
     
  41. The original topic of this thread was " Why does everyone want to be a wedding photographer".
    NOT "why do YOU want to be a wedding photographer".
    The emphasis was supposed to be on the publics eagerness to think that anyone can be a wedding photographer.
     
  42. I think that George and I are the only two that find this whole thing odd.
     
  43. Don't upset the Gods.
     
  44. George, the sentance "Why does everyone want to be a wedding photographer" could be read two ways.
    "WHY does everyone want to be a wedding photographer". Or it could be Why does EVERYONE want to be a wedding photographer"... which means something else entirely.
    Since I didn't think someone would start a contensious thread - I certainly picked the former.
    This is a forum for Weddiing Photographers, therefore, most people who post here want to be a wedding photographer. So the question - Why do YOU want to be a wedding photographer euqals everyone here. Title stands as is.
    Please note that this is not the wedding photography complaint chat forum .
    Let's be constructive. Maybe the true title might have been....
    "Can anyone be a wedding photographer?" Or, "why do so many newcomers want to be a wedding photographer?"
    As to saying I must do weddings at the Ritz.. I have done one there. Didn't like it. They give you a vendor rules sheet. They wanted me to wear a suit. Not on your life. I climb walls and lay on the ground etc.. I am dressed appropriately and told them so. They allowed me to dress as I wished but although I've often stayed at the Ritz, I was not thrilled with working there.
    Mostly I do historic mansions and I've done lots of Vermont Inns. I never had burnout in the 17 years I did weddings. I'm sorry you are experiencing that. There are things you can do to eliminate burn out. Why not start a constructive thread asking how wedding photographers avoid burnout?
     
  45. I love life.
    I love people.
    My enthusiasm rubs off to the people that meet me.
    I'm just a salesman with a camera in my hand.
     
  46. I've done it, but stopped doing it a long time ago. Weddings are a comparatively easy way to break into photography because there's lots of work to be had, thanks to the fact that a very high percentage of brides hire a photographer and there's a constant new crop of brides every year. And it's mostly weekend business so someone with a day job can do it on the side. Once you get a few weddings under your belt, the basic list of photos is essentially the same wedding after wedding. So once you get good at that list of a 2-3 dozen shots, you can sell what is basically the same picture over and over again for years by just putting different people in front of the camera. (Yes, creativity and growth and experimentation are important to you as a photographer, but the bread and butter shots are largely the same.) I wish I had done more weddings when I was young and single and had nothing better to do on the weekends and the energy to both be creative and to put up with all the bridezilla situations. Now that I'm grown up with a family and no spare time the weekend work no longer fits into my life.
     
  47. I don't really know. Like the Accidental Tourist I became the Accidental Wedding Photographer. I had retired from a forty-one year career in aviation both military and civil. After I retired I got on with a newspaper accidentally which led to my doing a wedding at the last minute accidentally because the hired photographer was reputed to be stoned. One wedding led to another with actually no conscious choice to enter another career after having pursued one that got quite stressful on occasion; both corporately and in the air. They say flying airplanes is hours and hours of boredom interspersed with moments of stark terror. Well, doing weddings is a little like that. As I stumbled along and my business grew I began to have a few of those moments of cold sweat; however the consequences, of course, were not as severe as winding up in a smoking hole in the ground somewhere. I found the boredom at weddings came in the sometimes eight hours I spent at the dressing, wedding and reception sites. Once they started eating things got slow. Also boring was sorting four or five hundred prints for albums. The stark terror was in fear of screwing it all up or when I dropped my 70-200 2.8L on a concrete sidewalk; or when I screwed up a contract and cost myself a few hundred bucks, or when I shot a roll of film at the wrong aperture and had to recover what I lost by being honest about my screw-up. I started all of this at the age of 64. At the age of 71 with weddings still on the books I decided I had had enough. Having said all of that, I love photography and I really loved recording those moments with some lovely, happy faces when my brides got their albums. I liked doing newspaper pictures as well and seeing my mediocre pictures in print especially sports. It's a real fascination with me to this day. But doing weddings alone is hard work and I had retired at least three times out of my previous career and I think I was smart enough to get out of aviation on top of my game. I can't say I got out weddings on top of my game but I was still being successful. I actually liked the work. Why? I guess producing a product that was truly appreciated (most of the time), getting to know some wonderful people ( and a few that were so hungover they could hardly say the vows let alone smile) and staying occupied late in life were the positives that kept me in it for seven years. I never, ever, in my wildest imaginings, thought I would retire to be, of all things for a pilot, a wedding photographer.
     
  48. I was assisting commercial photographers on jobs that ranged from corporate publications to advertising and I really enjoyed the level of professionalism and superlative craftsmanship that I was immersed in. After my daughter was bon with a serious heart defect, I could no longer freelance during the week because I could not promise dates without leaving my daughter alone through her regular procedures and hospitalization. I had been shooting weddings regularly, but after her birth i started shooting two to three every weekend to try to keep up my income.
    I still miss the commercial work and I am getting back into it, but there are some unique things about wedding photography that are attractive.
    1. The results are personally important to the client on an emotional level. Not true of commercial work.
    2. The artistic direction is completely mine to control rather than following the dictates of an art director.
    3. There are commercial clients with smaller budgets than an average wedding client.
    4. If you want to get portraits that are full of emotion and humanity this is a perfect opportunity.
    There are unattractive things as well. It is physically exhausting. Drunk people can be incredibly rude and disrespectful. People who are not familiar with professional photography have no appreciation for the technical challenges. One photographer on this forum described weddings as herding cats. I think that about sums it up. With all my commercial experience I probably shot 100 weddings before I had the crowd control part down pat. After that, and only after that could I bring my photography up to a level that I could be proud of.
    I would caution anyone who thinks it would be a fun way to pay for their toys to think twice. This is hard work and you have to be driven to be visually creative to take satisfaction in it.
     
  49. John - Very well said (1 through 4) - My sentiments exactly! I guess I've been pretty luck and have only had one wedding where there was a drinking problem. It was the groom ;-) Party had to break up early because of it.
     
  50. The 6 figures migrated from our studio ~ in the late 90's ---- just a lot of competition out there in our market. Also the new photographers seem to be willing to edit free, for hours, after a shoot. I also believe > many B&G are just not that particular about their final product....especially if they can save some money. Maybe volume is more of importance, these days. <p>
    My aspirations / art, as a wedddng photographer, started to change with the digital world. As more clients requested digital ....more demands on what was expected with the medium > at my expense. One reason we still offer film at a discount. Until the "new kids' on the block ( & our markets economics ) force me to retire ...I will continue to deliver my experiences/talent for fine coverages.
     
  51. CJ, you hit it on the head. The digital age has created a whole new host of unerealistic expectations by clients.
    "free disc" ?
    "Oh just push a button and edit my fat out"
    "Can you take out my one aunt, for free"
    "Will you be taking 5000 images with your four photographers for my four hour wedding ?"
    Cut throat ecnomics has created low ball shooters who offer the world for peanuts. They fail to understand the relationship between their work and profit. And clients don't understand the difference between professional photography and amature photography.
    Our profession been devalued so much just as so many other professions have been in the U.S. A glutton of cheap labor will do that to any profession.
     
  52. When cut throat economics raises it's head --I simply hand them the card from the camera. They can always return when they can afford editing ..or find someone cheaper to labor the deed. Just like todays photographers have the choice to choose any lab ...a consumer can take their car for repair ~ to the garage they have the budget for.
     
  53. CJ, what is your opinion, given this economy, of providing cheap low end coverage and making money from QUANTITY bookings vs. fewer higher end weddings ?
     
  54. I love people. I love photography. Of just about all types. I enjoy being a silent observer, capturing moments that are often so fleeting and seldom repeated. I love telling a story through my lens that will endure throughout a couple's lives and hopefuly for generations thereafter. Oh, and I get paid to do it, so why not? :)
     
  55. Well shucks, I suppose I have the right to report my own experiences with the wedding photography business. I did weddings for a number of years... 1988-93. And, I made quite a bit of money doing it. But, I found that wedding photography was a frustrating and tiring task. My biggest problems were:
    1. Children. Some folks think that a wedding is a time to let their kids run amok. Like moths to a flame, the unsupervised kids would invariably find my equipment cases and setups. I've had lights and tripids knocked over, and cake smeared hands rubbed over cameras (including lens). I had more than one run-in with parents who felt offended that I had to ask them to keep their kids away from the equipment.
    2. Runways. The bride would want altar returns of certain people, but it was hard to get them all together at one place. Finally locate Subject A, only to find that he/she had run off to find Subject B. Subject B would finally show up, but now we're missing Subject A. Time was critical since the altar photos had to be done between the service and reception... a real problem if the reception was located in a geographically separate location. I finally added a clause to the contract that I couldn't photograph what wasn't there. That didn't help improve matters, but did cover my butt.
    3. Snappers. Yep, other people with cameras. Despite what the contract said, they were always there getting in the way, trying to change the pose to suit them, and telling me to hold the group until they got their photos. I gave up on slave flashes early in the game because the Snappers were always triggering them with their $19 K-Mart pocket cameras, ruining my shot because the flash hadn't recharged, and just as bad... producing their own good photos thanks to my careful modeling of the lighting.
    4. Helpers. "Wait, don't go yet... you just HAVE to get a shot of Myrtle... we've never seen her so drunk". I would be working against the clock with my own list, and would usually be battling wedding guests who thought they were my supervisor. The number of bosses I had was in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed at receptions where alcohol was present. Sometimes, they would set up their own shots then run me down to "take the picture".
    5. Bad Blooders. Yep, always some skeltons in the closet that the photographer didn't know about. Want to include Mom and Dad in an altar shot with the bride? Oh! I didn't know they hated each other and won't stand together... especially with the new spouse a few feet away, chewing screws and spitting nails. That "daughter"? Well, why didn't someone tell me that there's been a paternity dispute going on for years? Innocently, I was responsible for some conflicts, especially considering that weddings often bring together people who hate each other in the first place.
    No photography job left me so exhausted as weddings, and after 5 years I gave it up. I had about $10,000 in cameras, lens and equipment, sold it all and never looked back... until now. :) Just the same, everyone's mileage is different. If it's your "thang".... I say go for it!
     
  56. George Martinez
    CJ, what is your opinion, given this economy, of providing cheap low end coverage and making money from QUANTITY bookings vs. fewer higher end weddings ?
    One way we compete :: is hand them the unprocessed film or a few 2/4 gig cards ...and they process themselves. Also shave the hours. We can take a 6 hour ~ $3k wedding coverage ...go to 4 hours and hand over the media @ the end of the day for $1800.00. Its mainly the CS editing time that the B&G can not afford...if it saves us time ~ we can pass on the discount. Let them purchase only what they can afford or begin losing weddings in this economy.
    I also shoot a style that is conducive to our package. Very little PJ and everything is hand metered/ manual exposure. We expose a greycard /color chart on the first shot of the film ..so their lab of choice > has no questions.
     
  57. How many people get thankyou cards on a regular basis for their work?
    How many jobs involve clients that are more like friends than clients?
    How many jobs involve working amongst perhaps a hundred people who are on a high and thoroughly enjoying themselves, with the clients themselves that are at one of the best and most happy points of their lives?
    How many people are excited to go to work?
    If you find it stressful and difficult, you're in the wrong job.
     
  58. It is only stressful if you and your clients have not time-lined the day out. And you maybe have not "scoped" out the venue ..know exactly what the light/background will be for that given day > of the series of photos that will take place in each arena. Do your homework and coordinate the days schedule for you & the B&G~!
     
  59. Do you get paid for the homework C Jo?
     
  60. MARC {{ Wish I did :) I organize the whole day -- ^ lot of work ^ But after 20+years at the same venues > can do it in my sleep. Somehow :: I wish I could "semi-retire" and just be a second-shooter.......
     

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