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Wedding photographer?

Discussion in 'Formal Portraits and Weddings' started by LindaZ, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I've been in the Atlantic Beach for two days, and I've already been asked to do a Wedding. :eek:  :Curved:

    My landlord's friends are getting married apparently and they have a low budget.

    part of her email

    "They are on a very tight budget so I do not think they have hired a photographer. But they intend to have a party during the day as well as the ceremony, reception, party all at their house they rented on the Ocean. I think there will be about 40 – 50 people total. If you have the desire at all you could consider going to the “party during the day, take pictures of the families there playing at the beach, and of coarse pictures at the wedding and reception and have all the pictures purchased a-la-cart and I could run this by the bride if you are interested. IF you and bride want to do this we have an email list that you would be able to use after the party to send all folks from the event to your site to order pictures direct. I know I would order some!"

    Would you do it, knowing you are not familiar with Wedding photography?....or weddings in general for that matter, as I got married in a court hallway.
  2. If you're confident with your work, then I would say go for it. They've paid nothing up front, so there's little risk on their part, especially if they weren't planning for a photographer anyway.
  3. mam8368

    mam8368 Guest

    wedding photographer

    Wedding photographers spend years perfecting their craft, but what are you planning on offering the couple? Do you know what the clients want? What "style" of photography are you going to offer? Traditional? Journalistic? Combo? Proofs, album, book, rights to all images? In my opinion, you MUST be up front and honest with the couple. Let them know that you are NOT a wedding photographer, but you'll be happy to accept the challenge. Do not promise the couple ANYTHING. It is best to under promise and over deliver than the other way around. If you are not comfortable with the whole idea, do not accept the job. This type of photography is best left to the professionals who have the experience, skills and knowledge of weddings. If you are still up to the challenge, I would strongly recommend you do as much practice and researce as possible BEFORE the weddding date. It's one thing to set your digital camera on "auto" and get some decent shots, but would you want YOUR wedding photos to be "decent"? Wedding photography, in my opinion, involves high levels of creativity and knowledge of the workflow of the day. You must be ready at any/all times to anticipate the moment(s) before and as they happen. I don't mean to discourage you in any way. I just want you to realize that a wedding (well done) is no walk in the park. It can be a very complex and challenging job for any inexperienced photographer. Best of luck with your decision. If you do decide to take up the challenge, I wish you the best as well and I look forward to viewing some of the work samples right here in the cafe'!!!!
  4. If they aren't happy with the product, your reputation will be trashed......that's a high risk being brand new to an area. Weddings are a time of very high stress and extremely illogical behavior (on both the bride's part and her mother's part). Things that normal people wouldn't be upset over, bridal parties freak out about.

    If you pull it off, it'll be the best advertising you ever wanted. If they're going to be irrational idiots and complain about minutae and freak out about things......you could be digging out of a deep hole.
  5. kwork


    Jun 8, 2006
    It appears as if the bridal couple doesn't have unreachable expectations. If they are willing to buy a-la-cart, I say go for it. You do people shots already and do a fine job. My only concerns would revolve around lighting if the party continues into the night. I attended a wedding a couple weeks ago and the pro had a wireless strobe he was bouncing off the inside of the tent, which to the naked eye appeared to work well, but after looking at his online gallery, most of his night shots were terribly underexposed.
    Will there be a wedding rehearsal? If so, ask if you can attend it so you can make notes about the flow and where you need to be to get the shots you want.

    There's plenty of threads here with wedding shots that you can browse to get an idea of the most popular shots. Make a list of those shots to replicate during your assignment and you should be fine.

    Like Gretchen said, if you pull it off, it'll be a great way to jumpstart your business down here. Do it and post up your results.
  6. Linda, you are talented enough that you should be able to do this... whether you should is another question. Many people are on budgets these days, I realize that. We were on a budget when we got married. But still, people should expect to pay for a service. My first two weddings were for church friends, young couples paying out of pocket themselves. They came to me asking for my service. I had to tell them I would do it cheaper than a regular photographer, but I still had to charge a decent amount. No matter if you're doing it for a favor or not, it is still a TON of time/work. As my part of the gift to them, I gave them full DVD's of all the final pictures, because they are also personal friends.
    My take on it is this... if you're going to to them a favor, do it for free (nothing worse than doing a wedding for $50 or $200 or something really cheap, b/c that's nothing more than the couple trying to take advantage of you and their situation and no one is going to be happy). But doing such a huge favor is really reserved for family/closest life friends! The other option is to charge a reasonable amount, but still enough that you will be happy with it, and approach it as any other business proposition. This is what I would recommend seeing as you don't know these people personally. Find out the average cost of a wedding photog in your area, and take off a certain percentage (i cut the cost in half for my two weddings). Present this to them as your best offer... if they take it, sign the papers and good to go. If they don't want it, walk away without feeling bad, knowing that all they want is a "freebie" and that never works out well unless you are close to the people involved and give it willingly of yourself.
    Sorry for being so longwinded! :smile: Let us know what is decided.
  7. 130meow


    Apr 22, 2008
    Toronto, ON
    I have always admired your pictures, Linda... and personally I think you will do a good job!! but wedding photography is an entirely new genre of photography that needs a lot of practice to do well... it's not just taking the picture... it's also about things like working with people, positioning yourself so that you get thee shots you want without getting in the way of others... etc... it's just very hectic and stressful but rewarding.

    Do you want to get into this business? If so and if you charge too little or don't charge anything, it might be tough to raise your prices in the future. Also it will be great if the couple has another photog... it will ease the pressure on you!
  8. Seeing as you just arrived, I would not do it. This has nothing to do with your talent, I think you have more then enough talent to handle this, but its for someone relatively close to you being your landlord. It's not the kind of work you normally do, and by that I don't mean that's why you shouldn't do it, but when you want to try wedding photography, it should be on your terms, a job you choose to do; I realize the nature of the business isn't always like that, you can't always choose your assignments. The ramifications of the clients not liking the end result could come back to you in the form of endless comments from your landlord and as someone else mentioned a tarnished reputation when you are just trying to build it up in a new area. Just my opinion.

  9. I've done this for 30 years,Everybody is on a tight Budget,Photographs are the last thing on there mind,and you will be the last person paid.What they want from you is a 12 hr. day that you will not be paid for,and then we may or may not buy pictures.I'm sorry but my day is worth something. the promise of a print order could make you $5 or $5,000.Plus this could make for a bad relationship with your Landlord. I would respectfully run from this. I know you do good work,but Wedding Photography is not for everyone.
  10. Dr A

    Dr A

    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    Right, but what is it worth to have some wedding photos in your gallery so that the next time someone wants you to do a wedding, you can show them what to expect? Remember how you did it here? Sessions for free, then people buy prints and word spreads next thing you know you had more business than you could handle. The bottom line is that everybody has to start somewhere. You don't know these people. It's not like they're your relatives that you have to see every Christmas dinner and then think about how you f-ed their wedding pics. If you do a bad job, the worst that happens is they forget they ever knew you, but you still have one more wedding than you had before.
  11. I'm not sure Linda wants to do Weddings.There is a lot of Business to this,and this is where most people fail.I'd suggest that if she wants to do this,
    Become a paid,or unpaid second for a established Wedding photographer.
  12. Linda...

    Remember the saying:

    "No good deed goes unpunished."

    I would tend to agree with all that said 'No". If it were with someone NOT associated with your landlord.. maybe. In this case, however, I would decline.
  13. I also agree on not mixing business with landlord. A few other thoughts:

    a) Never do work for free like this (or minimal cost).....you'll set a tone/expectation re: your work and fight it all the rest of your career. If you do this once, you'll get regular begging, and who wants that??

    b) For portfolio building as a Wedding photographer, the typical idea is to be a second shooter (or assistant) and learn the ropes and develop your portfolio in that fashion. You don't need this to PB.

    I dunno.....the whole thing sits poorly with me, too many potential problems.
  14. I wouldn't do this. Just politely explain that while you are a portrait photographer, you have no experience with wedding photography and couldn't do their special day the justice it deserves. People with low expectactions often turn around and complain that the free photos you took are no good or are too expensive to purchase. The relationship with your landlord is just icing on the cake.

    I've turned down two wedding offers like this. Both women were nurses who work for me. I was certainly flattered when they pleaded with me to shoot their weddings. I declined in the end because I was not comfortable with what could happen in our professional relationship if they were unhappy. In the end I gave them both an engagement photo session as wedding gifts.
  15. I just did the same thing for close friends of mine who are getting married the end of Oct. They managed to find someone to do the wedding for them that fit their budget, it just took a little searching. I don't mind doing some low pressure engagment shots for them, but I don't have the experience or the gear (or the desire:rolleyes: ) to shoot a wedding, even if it is a "get married in a park and have a nice dinner and go home" kind of wedding, I know my limits.:cool: 
  16. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I sure did asked my question in the right forum - I was tempted but after all the wise words and felling my own hesitation, I will decline the wedding shoot.

    It's not really want I want to get into, I'm happy with my niche of babies,toddlers,kids and students. I told her I would be more than happy to shoot their future baby. lol

    Thank you all, very much.
  17. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    My landlord may also become my mortage lender, which also is a friend of my real estate agent, who also happens to be my next door neighbor. LOL

    So yes, I better play my cards smart around here.
  18. No kidding!!! :tongue: I can picture you charging for the wedding, or something not going right, and suddenly your mortgage bill is doubled or something! :eek:  :biggrin:
  19. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    I think you take amazing pictures Linda, but there is a lot of good advice on here. I LOVE the idea of maybe offering them an engagement shot - a la carte - you'd get additional pictures for your portfolio/build some relationships locally in your new area but without the potential issues of a wedding - good luck!
  20. Dr A

    Dr A

    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA

    Let me play Devi's advocate here. What is the first thing a lot of people who are planning a wedding? Buy a house? Get a mortgage? So, if you do a good job, which you could, you'd have an "in" with someone who probably talks to a lot of soon-to-be newlyweds and can recommend you. Much like you knew someone who knew a lot of young mothers here in State College ;-) Then you'd be set, word will spread, your work will become a timeless classic. You can do their wedding, their kids, their kids weddings, etc. Pretty soon, you'll be like Scott Bourne charging $25,000 per wedding!
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