Doing Weddings

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    • #133439
      Aaron Geis

      I’ve been a pro photographer for quite awhile now and ever since my first year in business I’ve been asked to photograph weddings for friends and clients.

      Weddings are not my specialty but I usually say that I’d be willing to help out if they feel like my shooting style would meet their requirements.

      Even back in the days of film I was a ‘shoot n’ share’ wedding photographer – meaning I would hand over full usage rights so they could do whatever they wanted with the shots.

      Partly because I didn’t want to spend time on large print orders and partly because I feel that weddings are a special category.

      Holding back rights and charging steep prices (required to make it worth spending my time on) for prints didn’t feel right to me for weddings.

      I sell limited usage rights on commercial photographs for a number of reasons, some to do with creating a sliding scale for my work based on the size of the client.

      And I completely understand why professional wedding photographers hold onto rights and make half of their profits from print and album sales.

      It allows them to set a competitive base price and still make a good living from the clients that have deeper pockets.

      As digital cameras and social media have come into our lives it seems like the wedding photography market has shifted and more pro’s are offering full buyout as standard because many customers aren’t interested in making prints, they just want to share on Facebook as soon as possible.

      If you’re getting a bit of a reputation as a good photographer it probably won’t be long until someone asks you to photograph their wedding.

      There are a few good blogs out there that give lots of detailed information for dedicated wedding photographers but I thought I might share a few quick tips here.

      First, be clear that you are an artist that will provide your impression of their wedding – not a robot that will photograph just like someone whose work they saw on the internet.

      Second, preplan what you will be doing. Not every last shot of course, but a general battle plan like – I’ll start with a wide to set the scene, then go to a normal for grab shots, then a tele-zoom for the ceremony and bridals, ect.

      Third, be very aware of your camera settings and check your shots frequently by looking at the histograms. Especially remember to reset the ISO when transitioning from inside to outside and back again.

      Fourth, get savvy with flash. There are times when you really need the flash to stop subject movement or balance with a strong backlight. I’ve never been much of a small flash guy but weddings are one time they really come into play. A bit of kit that I picked up recently and really like is the Yongnuo 560 III with a built in radio slave and it’s corresponding transmitter. I hold one in my hand with a small Rogue Flashbender on it and in large rooms I’ll set up another in a softbox to add some broad backlighting.

      Below is a shot from a simple registry wedding that really illustrates the need for having a flash handy.
      I had no choice but to shoot into the strong window light and getting a balanced exposure required some fill flash.

      I held the flash out at arm’s length pointing to the high ceiling with the Flashbender pushing some of the light forward.

      Not the greatest shot in the world but without the flash I would have had a real problem getting anything useable.

      If you want to do ‘shoot n’ share’ wedding photography check out the PASS system for display and transfer, pretty slick and there’s a free trial option.

      Registry Wedding by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #133441
      The Falx

      Well ive been asked and the answer is always the same……….no but ill cover the candids!! 🙂

      If I had to make a living photographing weddings then I would consider becoming a farmer..hold on I am a farmer…………:)

      The Bride

      _DSC3798.JPG by Duncan Stewart on Light Stalking


      _DSC3513.JPG by Duncan Stewart on Light Stalking


    • #133445
      Aaron Geis

      @falx Also a good policy, the pressure is immense (no do overs). Thanks for reading!

      Bride tug-of-war by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #133447
      The Falx

      LOL^^^ ROFLMAO!!…..seriously I would think of cloning out the pineapple……orrrrrrrrr….clone out everything else leaving said fruit!! 🙂

      notice you had a gooda sky as I got

    • #133512
      Aaron Geis

      I’m curious about ROFLMAO, I’m not 100% ‘au fait’ with texting shorthand. (momentarily forgot about the existence of Google, got it, thanks.)

      The pineapple is being used as the pass line so it’s part of the story.

    • #133598
      Aaron Geis

      @falx Your comment reminded me of what should have been my fifth recommendation – whenever possible have a competent second shooter.

      Mostly to get a second angle on the important events of the day but also as a back up if something was to go horribly wrong.

      I’ve only started doing that recently but I will always try to bring a shooting assistant on any weddings I do in the future.

    • #133659
      The Falx

      Oh wow….I would be happy been called second shooter….!! 🙂 🙂

      Aaron there are two main types of shooters….1 making a living 2 for fun……………I am certainly in the 2nd category………..although keeping some respect for the former

      Short story….down my local printer a few weeks ago…..Damon(obviously my printer..and pretty good artist) introduces me to a customer having some family prints executed….very well taken,white background good composition…altogether pretty reasonable job…so….get into conversation and soon realise that he specialises in one aspect of photography..very well….for a living,but that’s it……hates the job and wouldn’t touch a camera outside of………………me I just have fun…and sometimes a massive amount of enjoyment and fulfilment… the kids cant totally ignore me AD as ive spread my lowly legacy around the net!! 🙂

    • #133729
      tom dinning

      What’s with the rope thing? Are they trying to get the groom into the ceremony? Or maybe its Duncan, ’cause he’s been asked to be the prime shooter at the wedding.
      If you do a good job regularly there’s some cash in the job but personally I wouldn’t touch another one with a chair, revolver and whip. When I was young and stupid and greedy it was easy to accept. I just needed to feed the kids. Now that the kids have left home I ‘tell people I’m on assignment in Beirut on that day.
      There is always the relatives, of course, who know you’re not on the front line of some revolution. In fact they wait until you have accepted the invitation before asking. There’s the sob story on how much it costs and they can’t get anyone as good as me and they know they can trust me and I have a really good camera. Grrrrr.
      So. I am faced with a choice. Do the deed and suffer or be part of the ceremony and put up with drunk relatives, giving speeches, acting as the stringer ’cause my wife, the mother of the bride, told me to take my camera just in case the ‘real’ photographer doesn’t know what he’s doing or gets busy trying one on the bridesmaid or best man, and having to hang around until I can find someone to drive me home because I got really pissed, which is the best way to get through a wedding. Did I mention the lousy music and the irritating MC who thinks he’s funnier than me.
      So I do the deed, right. I’m a nice bloke, right.
      Never again. The bride, my very own grand daughter, child of my daughter, turns up a week before the wedding with a collection of photos she cut out of the mags.
      “Can you do this shot, and can you make me look like this and can we have shots taken here, here and here, and……. the list goes on.
      Standard response. “Fuck off. I’ll do it my way or not at all.”
      “But its my wedding and you’re my grand dad and you’d do anything for me.”
      “Read my lips”
      She got her photos. I got cut out of the xmas shopping list.
      I have told all other relatives I am away fighting Polar bears for the next hundred years.

      20110724_2666.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

    • #133755
      Aaron Geis

      Tom, the last part sounds like the type of horror story that photographers tell each other around the campfire – resulting in a sleepless night.

      I’m struggling to reconcile being ‘a nice bloke’ with telling your granddaughter to ‘eff off’.

      Maybe it’s a cultural thing.

    • #133838
      The Falx

      More likely keeping me from the bar until after the free hour is up!!!

      ^^wots with rope thing^^ I always thought marriage was the coming together for unity and harmony…..and when the brides side lose she aint gonaa let you forget it…..EVER!!! :{

      Noticed three ladies all married each other the other day… theres space for the imagination…a lot of circular comes to mind

      like your above image…very forward thinking…..leave plenty of space between them to ease cutting in half around divorce time

    • #133881
      Michael Lloyd

      @faix Farming is a lot of work. Until this year (weird weather and my real job kept from planting) I planted a 150′ x 150′ garden. By no means is that farming in the truest sense of the word but I think that it gives me some insight into what it must be like to farm for a living, albeit at a very small level. It’s very satisfying. I uses a small tractor to till and create rows but I plant by hand. Seeders are too unreliable. Everything is done “organic” so bug removal is by hand or I over plant. Watering is by hand to conserve water and control weeds. My first large garden, planted a number of years ago, made use of drip irrigation. I may go back to that. Anyway… I think farming is a lot of work but it seems to me to be a very satisfying occupation.

      I shot a wedding for a friend of the family last year. No charge for engagement, bridals, and wedding. I conned a friend into helping me :o) and she’s still a friend so I broke even there. The bride and groom live about an hours drive from here so there was travel time, fuel, etc expended for the “free” wedding. Based on hours worked I think we would have earned about $3.00 per hour each if we had charged the “going rate” for entry level wedding photographers around hear ($500.00 is on the upper end of the going rate. Some people charge as little as $100.00) I gave them all of the files (not counting the things that “the camera” screwed up :o) I used flash and reflectors extensively. I even gave them a time lapse of the wedding. It was an outdoor event so I set a camera up, aimed it at the chairs and let it run on an intervalometer for the entire ceremony. In hindsight I should’ve located the camera differently but they liked it.

      I learned a very valuable lesson last year. Weddings photographers, assuming that they do a good job, earn every dime that they work for. There is a need for the “low end pricing” that entry level wedding photographers charge. But weddings are a ton of work and it doesn’t take long before the beginning wedding photographer figures out that his/her $500.00 wedding fee isn’t putting food on the table. I put 34 hours into shooting a fairly simple wedding. My friend did more than that. The ceremony and reception was a full 18 hour day. Then there is image culling, editing, and uploading so they could download and print what they wanted. If a friend asked me to shoot their wedding I probably would. I like the pace and the pressure of the moment. But I won’t actively seek that kind of work :o)

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