Thoughts on how to photograph a wedding

Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' ItPosts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
edited August 18, 2009 in Weddings
I’ve seen an increasing number of threads that start out with variants of the question, “I’m going to be photographing my first wedding. What gear should I have?” To help, I’ve put together the following in an attempt to provide a one-stop shopping experience. I am nobody's wedding photography expert and I would love to see others chip in with suggestions for improvements. If others will help in this fashion, I’ll update this text as appropriate.

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You have been shooting for a year or two (or maybe more) but you're not a professional A friend has asked you to photograph their/his/her wedding. You’re probably thinking to yourself, "Now what do I do?" The following is a list of things to think about. I'm not about to say you need to do this or that to be successful, this is just some ideas and thoughts I have. I hope this helps.

Preparation
  • Do you have a contract? Why do you need a contract? Verbal agreements are great between friends, except when you're talking about a once in a lifetime event and it is imperative that all concerned have a clear understanding of who is going to be doing what and when each thing is going to be done. The contract need not be all formal and everything, but it should be detailed and complete. It should reflect the understanding of all concerned. The following is a short list of some things that need to be discussed and agreed upon. Then write it down so there is no confusion later.
    • Are you going to be delivering prints? Are you sure your friend understands this?
    • What happens when your camera fails, for whatever reason?
    • What happens when you loose a memory card?
    • Bad exposures?
  • Query the B&G - do they have a (very short) list of "gotta have" shots - like Uncle Joe who none have seen in 20 years or Great-Granma Betty who is suffering a terminal illness and may not be here next year or a list of the family portraits they would like to have made. Wedding photography is a service industry and we must do what we can to keep the client(s) happy. But, Do no encourage them to choreograph your shooting for the day.
  • Know your equipment. Can you make all adjustments in the dark? If not, practice ‘cause weddings and, especially, receptions can be like shooting in a cave.
  • Understand the components of exposure (hmmm – aperture, shutter speed, ISO :D) and how they interact.
  • Understand flash and how it interacts with ambient light. How do you mix flash and ambient light? How do you appropriately flash your subject and not have the background go black on you – the “face in a cave” problem.
  • Practice lighting/flashing two people; one in white and one in black. It's a challenge and not something you want to try to fix in post.
  • Plan to shoot RAW (or RAW + JPG). Lots of reasons to do this. The simplest one is that it gives you 16x more data with which to correct exposure and color errors.
  • Have you visited the wedding location? How about the reception location. If you’ve never taken a picture in one or the other, take your camera along and take some test shots. Oh, and try to be there at the time of year and day the event is scheduled.
  • Talk to the officiate. Discuss photographic restrictions with him/her. Some will not allow flash. Some will not allow photography during the ceremony. In that case, have him/her define the start and end of the ceremony. This will help you understand the rules so you don’t break them.
  • Talk to the management at the reception location to be sure you don’t violate any of their policies. Are you going to be required to have liability insurance? If you are shooting as a friend, probably not. But, if you are shooting in a professional capacity (regardless of whether you are being paid or not), you may be required to prove that the reception venue is not being put at risk.
  • Meet with the bride and groom shortly (less than a week) before the day to discuss schedule and plans. This will better prepare you to be in the right place at the right time.
  • On the day before the wedding, clean your gear. Clean you sensor. Prep (format) your memory cards. Get all your gear in one place. Check it against the list of needed equipment to be sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
  • Synchronize the clocks in your cameras. Canon has a utility that you load on your PC/Mac that will interface with most or all of the functions of the camera. You can use this utility to update the camera clock to match that of your computer. Repeat with each camera. Now, the clocks on all your cameras are synchronized. Doing this makes it very easy to sort the photos from your cameras by the date/time the image was captured.

Equipment
  • Backups cameras are key. They are crucial. It's easy to find horror stories about photographers who arrive at a wedding with three cameras and two of them fail. Because they were prepared, the were still able to photograph the wedding with their third-string camera. Don't be the friend who shows up with just one camera and have it fail. If you need to, rent one. If you rent, test it before you show up with it - this means rent for a week, not for a weekend.
  • Backup lenses are also important. The aperture in a lens is a moving part (actually, series of parts). Moving parts are a possible point of failure. Try to ensure that you have a backup of all useful focal lengths – just in case. The backup can be in the form of a couple of prime lenses.
  • How are you fixed for batteries? Do you have TWICE the number of cells you expect to need? Flashes can really chew through them. Don't just think about flash batteries though. Your camera also runs on batteries. Do you have at least one backup battery for each camera?
  • Fast glass is best. Weddings and receptions tend to be dark affairs. If you have faster glass, your flash batteries will last longer.
  • Memory. Do you have TWICE the amount of memory you think you will need. Who knows, things could get real exciting and you want to be able to capture it all without having to pace yourself or worry about running out of memory.
  • Gaffer's tape - not the whole roll. Just a couple or three yards of 2" tape wrapped around a large perscription bottle (the bottle can double has a holder of AA batteries).
  • Keep a roll of duct tape in the car. If you can't fix it with duct tape, it can't be fixed.
  • Corn Starch - Johnson & Johnson sell small (and large) bottles of corn starch baby powder. Get the corn starch, not talcum powder. Corn starch can be used to each the chaffing, cover make-up on the gown, all kinds of goodness there.

Taking care of you
Photographing a wedding is hard work and takes a toll on you body. What you wear and bring with you can help reduce the impact:
  • Critically important is your choice in shoe. You will be one your feet nearly 100% of the time, for the entire event/day. Get shoes that support your feet and that will be comfortable. These won't be cheap. Pay the bucks - it's a great investment and will go a long way toward increasing your enjoyment of your work.
  • The ultimate in photojournalistic style would be for people to say, after the event, that they don't remember seeing the photographer. When working in air conditioned environments or during the cooler months, wear dark clothing if you can. But, when it get's warmer, dark clothing outside is probably not a winning solution - wear something light colored that will breath.
  • Some say, "Wear a tux." Other's say, "Be comfortable." I'm going to suggest you wear what you can to blend in as much as possible. How much do you blend in if you're wearing a tux and laying on the floor for the angle?
  • Water - can't stress this enough. You will be working so hard that you will forget to drink water. Then, half way through the reception it'll hit you like running into a brick wall. Drink lots of water. Drink it often. Believe me, you won't have to worry about needing to run to the restroom. All that water will come out in your respiration and perspiration.
  • High-calorie, low-sugar, low-volume foods are the ticket. You need to maintain your energy level without suffering a sugar spike and the resulting sugar crash. Eating too much volume will simple slow you down as you'll be carrying around an unwanted extra pound or two.

The Rehearsal
  • Go to the rehearsal. If at all possible you need to be there. Don't even consider skipping it.
  • You've already done a wedding there before. So what. It's a different bride and a different wedding. Each wedding is different from all the others. The wedding may not come off exactly as planned and practiced, but it's the best approximation you have - use it.
  • Introduce yourself to the officiant. Ask him about his/her house rules. You really, really want to understand these rules. Don't break the rules.
  • Take a camera with you with a FOV similar to what you will be using on The Day. Take test shots. Review these shots the night before.
  • Plan your movements. Plan where you will be for the "required" shots.
  • This rehearsal is for you as well as for the bride and groom. Use it.

On the Day
  • Leave for the first part of the gig early. For example, give yourself time to make alternate transportation arrangement should you primary mode fail you.
  • If you can, re-visit the venues ahead of time to be sure that things haven’t changed. If they have changed, this provides you the opportunity to adapt without the pressure of doing so in front of your clients.
  • Verify your cameras are set to generate RAW files.
  • Have fun – your clients can tell if you don’t enjoy yourself and this could impact the quality of the photos you make.
  • Don’t’ recycle memory. All your cards should be formatted at the start of the day. Use the card once then put it somewhere you won’t confuse it with an empty card. Two pockets work well. Put empty cards in one pocket and full cards in another.
  • Don’t delete photos. Once they are taken, keep them. Deleting data from a card is just one more opportunity for the file system on the card to become corrupted. Should the file system be corrupted, you will probably still be able to get the photos off the card (at home, and later), but it tends to cause stress and you don’t need that.
  • Follow the bride. Fully 90% of the day revolves around her (yes, grooms are people too but it’s the bride’s day).
  • Photograph the interactions between people.
  • If you see something happen and missed it, wait a minute. Chances are good that it will happen again.
  • No “drive-by” sniping. When you see something, photograph it. Then wait for the follow-through. Chances are good that something just (or more) interesting will happen. And, it’s that second (or third) shot that will really be “the story.”
  • Don’t Experiment. At least not on a “required” shot. If you want to experiment on an “artistic” shot, do so, but not to the exclusion of getting the needed photographs.
  • The wedding and reception are not the place to “try this and pray.” If you are not sure of your skills, practice before hand. Learn how things work when it doesn’t count.
  • If you plan to leave before the bride and groom, approach them before you start packing up your kit and ask them if there’s anything else you can do for them, anything they hadn’t thought of before but would like photographed. Review for yourself the list of “would like to have” photographs to see if there are any missing that you can get.
  • If you can, have two copies of each photograph before you leave at the end of the gig. Maybe download to a laptop or a portable harddrive. Maybe burn them to a series of DVDs. This will help ensure that at least one copy of each photo gets home with you.
  • Chimp - everytime the light changes, make a test shot or two to be sure you have your exposure right.

After the event
  • As soon as you get home backup the photos to yet a third device. Don’t review or delete anything until you have this backup accomplished.
  • If you can’t get to sleep right away (weddings tend to get me very keyed up), have some fun and review your photos.
  • Now, go to bed and get some rest.

The Day After
  • After a good night’s sleep – now’s the time to jump into the photos, reviewing, sorting, selecting, and editing.
  • Have fun.

Something added from Post #18
Be a Professional Have you ever wondered why you should hire a professional wedding photographer and pay the price? Consider the simple fact that a wedding is a once in a lifetime photographic opportunity. Since the wedding cannot be restaged on the following day the photographer has to know exactly what they are doing to capture the moment in the first place. What does a professional wedding photographer bring to the table?
  • The professional brings experience, lots of photo related knowledge, an artistic eye and is well trained to photograph weddings and has done so for any number of years.
  • The professional knows the various wedding situations and cannot be confused by whatever may or may not occur on the wedding day and can effectively handle the stress of the days events.
  • The professional brings plenty of backup photographic equipment and brings the correct photographic tools for the wedding. This is very important.
  • The professional is comfortable with the chosen equipment and knowledgeable about the controls because of previous testing.
  • The professional spends money on reliable equipment and has made the commitment to quality. Three thousand dollars just for lenses is often thought of as a good start.
  • The professional photographer offers options to the bride and groom. These options include, price, package, album.
  • The professional photographer can accommodate style preference requests that include; formal weddings, photo-journalistic weddings, backdrop portraits or a combination of outdoor portraits and engagement photo sessions.
  • The professional is efficient, does not fumble with the equipment and does not waste anyone's time on the wedding day.
  • The professional always delivers and the results are better than expected.

Comments

  • joshhuntnmjoshhuntnm Las Cruces, NM Posts: 1,798Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 6, 2008
    Thank you so much for this thorough help! I also took the liberty to copy your list of pics from your web site (hope that is OK) to my bride.

    Let's talk about batteries, both for flash and the camera itself. I have two for camera. Is that enough? The Flash uses double As. I assume 2 or 3 sets of batteries for the flash?
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 6, 2008
    joshhuntnm wrote:
    Thank you so much for this thorough help! I also took the liberty to copy your list of pics from your web site (hope that is OK) to my bride.

    Let's talk about batteries, both for flash and the camera itself. I have two for camera. Is that enough? The Flash uses double As. I assume 2 or 3 sets of batteries for the flash?
    Just to keep things under control, I would like to limit posts here to comments/suggestions for the first post.

    See response in your thread...
  • davidweaverdavidweaver Too busy to customize Posts: 681Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 12, 2008
    Scott,
    This is a most excellent and very comprehensive list. It actually works well for lots of event photography.

    For the On the Day section I would add:
    There is no down time. When you find a few seconds reconfirm
    battery charges on devices, if you think you can go for a few more shots before changing batteries then now is the time to swap them out.
    Focus. Did you bump that focus to manual when you reached for that camera? Confirm shots for focus as often as possible.
    Exposure. Know how to read a histogram in a dark cave and in an open field at noon.
    Keep your hands clean. When handling 2 or three cameras you will touch the lenses. Verify the lenses are clean. Keep a microfiber cloth with you. Wash and dry your hands often.

    On the battery and memory side of things I would keep 3x what you think you need for strobes and cameras. Swapping that last charged camera battery between bodies is NOT fun (I know) and you are suppose to have fun.

    For Preparation I would add getting a list of the shots that the bride and groom and mothers in law want then make a copy of this for the day of event and laminate it using cheap adhesive laminate sheets. I wear it like a press badge, The names of the bride groom and parents are also listed as I'm terrible with names. Do not write it on a piece of paper and fold it up and put it in your soon to be sweaty pants. It won't unfold well when you need it and the ink will have run too.

    I cannot stress how important it is to see the venue in a light that will be similar to shooting. If you take strobes and stands then set them up and test if possible. If it is the day before the event I have been able to leave small squares of gaffers tape on the floor so I can sight the stands in a jiffy. Remove them after you are done. If you cant leave tape marks then write down where they go. Keep this with your shot list.

    For Equipment I would add gaffers tape (not duct tape) to your bag. Don't bring the whole giant roll. Spin a couple yards off on an old prescription bottle. A wider bottle can hold 4 AA batteries too. When you need it tear it halfway across so you get 4 yards of 1" to use instead of 2 yards of 2" tape. I'm sure there is a thread about the wonderful uses of gaffers tape somewhere.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,967Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 18, 2008
    Great list!

    In addition, at the rehearsal I take a camera and flash, usually a backup camera with a similar FOV lens to what I will actually use for the wedding, and I take photos at the church. This is a rehearsal opportunity for me as well as the participants, so I also note on paper my "stations", where I need to be and when I need to be there.

    It's also a way to plan my movements and path during the wedding.

    I take photos from the likely positions and review those photos after the rehearsal. It's amazing how things you don't see at first show up in the rehearsal images like:

    That stained glass window behind everyone during the processional that will be fully lit during the time of the wedding.

    The wall that didn't look "that" shiny and reflective before.

    The angle that looked good during the rehearsal has really distracting stuff in the background.

    etc.

    While all of this is especially important at a new venue, it's an important tune-up even if you've been to the site often.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • davidweaverdavidweaver Too busy to customize Posts: 681Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 21, 2008
    Bingo. It is VERY IMPORTANT go over skills and conditions. I've had 3 weddings cancel on me this year for 'economic reasons'. One is ever a friend! So I have almost 7 weeks between wedding gigs.

    Since I only do a few wedding a year I have to remember everything from scratch. I go over equipment and list for a few hours before I go off to a rehersal and again before I go off to the wedding.

    Thanks Ziggy!!!!!clap.gifclapclap.gifclap


    ziggy53 wrote:
    ...

    While all of this is especially important at a new venue, it's an important tune-up even if you've been to the site often.
  • f-riderf-rider Image Junky Posts: 86Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 31, 2008
    Wow. I just clicked the link below your sig, Scott, and found this list. Superb !
    Thanks. clap.gif
    --Doug
  • picturegirlpicturegirl Major grins Posts: 245Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 31, 2008
    I would like to add:

    Bring an assitant! Even if there just there to carry a bag, extra camera or for morale support. My assistants do not take photos but help me with poses, running for batteries, following me with a second camera, etc... My assistants have even helped people get ready, pin boutonnières, cordinate the walk down the aisle.

    Must have list from the bride. I usually ask my brides what photographs can not be missed, that way I can make sure there isn't something extra special to them I dont miss. Most of the time they have already seen my work and know what to expect and tell me to do my thing, but I always ask.


    I'm always surprised at how much people look to the photographers on how certain traditional wedding day things should go. They know you have been around a lot of weddings so they expect you to know , it does come with time but a little research on your wedding traditions wouldn't hurt.
  • ChatKatChatKat flash frozen photographer Posts: 1,359Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 31, 2008
    I Must have list from the bride. I usually ask my brides what photographs can not be missed, that way I can make sure there isn't something extra special to them I dont miss. Most of the time they have already seen my work and know what to expect and tell me to do my thing, but I always ask.


    They can make their list - but - only for formals. And I will not be the person to check off shots taken the list. I don't know the people at the wedding and my job is to make images and tell the story of the day. I ask them to assign someone to bring me the people on the list and keep track of the shots. I don't want the liability of tracking down Uncle Joe and then missing out on something else that tells the story of the day. Of course I want to see the list as well because too many brides are unrealistic.
    Kathy Rappaport
    Flash Frozen Photography, Inc.
    http://flashfrozenphotography.com
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 31, 2008
    ChatKat wrote:
    They can make their list - but - only for formals. And I will not be the person to check off shots taken the list. I don't know the people at the wedding and my job is to make images and tell the story of the day. I ask them to assign someone to bring me the people on the list and keep track of the shots. I don't want the liability of tracking down Uncle Joe and then missing out on something else that tells the story of the day. Of course I want to see the list as well because too many brides are unrealistic.
    If I'm handed a list of "required shots" during the initial interviews but before a contract has been signed and determine that they are hard over for that list, I quietly suggest that we are not a good match. I'm about telling the story of the day, not making sure I get satisfy some list of "required" photos. But, if the list is of portraits to be made, I suggest they prioritize the list as there is usually less time than required to get through the list.

    If, after the contract has been signed, I'm handed a list of shots that need to be captured during the day, I just remind them of the discussions that were held prior to the contract signing. I look at it, but don't promise anything. Usually, such a list is nothing much more than the "standard" shots anyway.

    When reading the list, I let them know that I'll try - but no promises. In fact, my contract specifically states that the fluid nature of the wedding day makes it impossible to guarantee that the "standard" moments will be captured. I do my best and have so far not failed to get it all in, but the contract is there just in case. But trying to satisfy some list of shots would make that nearly impossible and, like Kathy, I'm not interested in risking the story just for an arbitrary shot.
  • SwartzySwartzy Right Brained Scientist Posts: 3,293Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 31, 2008
    If I'm handed a list of "required shots" during the initial interviews but before a contract has been signed and determine that they are hard over for that list, I quietly suggest that we are not a good match. I'm about telling the story of the day, not making sure I get satisfy some list of "required" photos. But, if the list is of portraits to be made, I suggest they prioritize the list as there is usually less time than required to get through the list.

    If, after the contract has been signed, I'm handed a list of shots that need to be captured during the day, I just remind them of the discussions that were held prior to the contract signing. I look at it, but don't promise anything. Usually, such a list is nothing much more than the "standard" shots anyway.

    When reading the list, I let them know that I'll try - but no promises. In fact, my contract specifically states that the fluid nature of the wedding day makes it impossible to guarantee that the "standard" moments will be captured. I do my best and have so far not failed to get it all in, but the contract is there just in case. But trying to satisfy some list of shots would make that nearly impossible and, like Kathy, I'm not interested in risking the story just for an arbitrary shot.

    And....along those lines, I'm fairly adamant (in a very nice way) stressing to B&G that they need to delegate the formals as far as who is there when, that I nor another shooter could possibly round up family members. The "list" is discussed in great length ahead of time as to what to expect as far as time frames, availability, etc. Making sure they understand how vital it is to communicate with all who will be in those shots, that one or two others coordinate, getting them there on time. As far as the other "list" shots, those too are discussed and how the flow of the day is captured, resulting in what they want in the first place.

    Detail shots (rings, flowers, dress, shoes, etc.) are part of those "required" shots and make sure we get them anyway..just like exchange of rings, parents greeting, first kiss and so on. So often, a B&G have pre-concieved notions of what they "think" they want and try to steer your photography with "must have lists", only to realize (and this is our job to convey at our initial meeting) that we will give them much more. Covering those aspects up front and then a few times before the actual day will put their minds at ease and not be bent on "following a list".

    Weddings have an element of a service business and what we always strive to achieve is putting the client at ease. They have enough to stress out about....their wedding photographs should not be one of them...that's our job.
    Swartzy:
    NAPP Member | Canon Shooter
    Weddings/Portraits and anything else that catches my eye.
    www.daveswartz.com
    Model Mayhem site http://www.modelmayhem.com/686552
  • picturegirlpicturegirl Major grins Posts: 245Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 31, 2008
    I would like to add:



    Must have list from the bride. I usually ask my brides what photographs can not be missed, that way I can make sure there isn't something extra special to them I dont miss. Most of the time they have already seen my work and know what to expect and tell me to do my thing, but I always ask.

    When I say MUST HAVE list I mean things like Uncle Joe that the Bride or Groom has not seen in twenty years, etc... I do not know who Uncle Joe is or that they have not seen them in twenty years so I need them to tell me that. I would not know Unlce Joe from Uncle Bob, if I have that on my list then we can make sure we get him, it would be a terrible feeling to have your bride tell you after the wedding that there were many family members missed. If it is discussed prior to the wedding it is very easy to take care of the day of the wedding. It is always discussed prior to the wedding day that another family member will be in charge of getting all the necessary family members together for the photos. All the other typical things are NOT included on that list, the bride and groom will hire you based on your previous work and usually understand what they have seen is what they will get.

    I am there to make my clients happy and will do whatever it takes to make sure I get everything photographed that may have a lot of meaning to them. It is their day after all, so why not help them remember their special day by capturing the things that are important to them.
  • Moogle PepperMoogle Pepper Big picture in the sky Posts: 2,944Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 4, 2008
    Do you find bringing your strobes cumbersome? Do most receptions follow directly AFTER the wedding? If so, how do you pack your strobes and light stands fast enough after taking the shots of the bride and groom going through the tossing of feathers to their car and then head off to the reception to get there in time?
    Food & Culture.
    www.tednghiem.com
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 4, 2008
    Do you find bringing your strobes cumbersome? Do most receptions follow directly AFTER the wedding? If so, how do you pack your strobes and light stands fast enough after taking the shots of the bride and groom going through the tossing of feathers to their car and then head off to the reception to get there in time?
    Reception timing - so far, the receptions I've worked have been within an hour or two of the wedding, so timing is an issue.

    What I like to do, if I'm going to run strobes at the reception (and I usually do any more) is go to the reception venue before the wedding and set up the lighting. If they disappear and/or get damaged, that's what insurance is for.:D

    For the portraits: If they are inside, I have a pair of Sunpak 622 potato mashers I use on light-weight stands. Matched with a couple of large shoot-through umbrellas, I get pretty successful lighting.

    Outdoors - I usually just use on 580EX triggered by a PW. For a lightstand, I use a voice-activated, self-powered, carbon-based lightstand (my assistant). This provides a huge opportunity to fine-tune the power of the flash by moving it closer or further from the subject. Since the flash is, for all practical purposed, a point source of light, the distance thing making hard shadows is a wash. Of course, the other light source outside is the sun. Position everything correctly and it seems to work well.

    On my next out-door wedding portrait session, I'm giving serious consideration to using my G9. Testing has shown that, in manual mode and using PocketWizards, I can achieve a shutter speed of 1/1250. This will allow me to use much wider apertures and, thus, greatly reduce the competition between my strobes and the sun. That 1/1250 is just a touch more than 2 stops faster then the 1/250 x-sycn shutter speed of my Canon 30D cameras. The stobist has demonstrated (here) that, if you hard-wire the connection between the G9 and the strobe and you fire the strobe at 1/4 power, you can get a shutter speed of 1/2000 (hmmmm, that's 3 stops!). I'm just going to have to build me one of those connectors sometime between now and my next outdoor wedding.
  • Jeff_MiloJeff_Milo Major grins Posts: 327Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 4, 2008
    Here are a few other thoughts.

    I like to shoot in bursts of 3 to 5 shots. Photojournalistically I want the maximum expression with each keeper if you have a few of each to choose from chances are you will get it.

    Chimp. don't be affraid to look at the shots you've taken just pick the appropriate time to view them so you don't miss anything.

    Remeber you are the paid help even if your a friend of the B&G, make sure you don't block the guests view durring the ceremony. Shoot and move (or duck). Don't just stand in the center isle.

    Crowd Control. everyone brings a camera to a wedding and they all want to get the same shot you are trying to get, expecially for formals. Don't fight them (again remember they are the B&G's guests and relatives), work with them by setting ground rules. I normally talk to the crowd before the first formal and explain....... ok folks, let me set the shot up take a few and then I will give you all a few seconds to snap yours, OK. just please wait until I have finished. If your cordial and have some fun with them they will stay out of your way.

    Also ontop of the above note, with the availability of DSLR's to everyone don't be supprised or embarrased if you dont have the best camera there. Someone is bound to have the latest and greatest equipment. I Just smile, and say wow thats a really nice camera when they show me their 1D Mark III while I shoot with my 30D's remember there is a reason the B&G are paying you!
    Jeff Milo
    MILOStudios


    www.milophotostudios.com
  • nikusnikus Beginner grinner Posts: 8Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited September 4, 2008
    Also take a look at this:
    http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Wedding101-page1.html

    I found this to be very helpful :)

    -Steven.
  • geospatial_junkiegeospatial_junkie Livin' In 3/4 Time Posts: 707Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 15, 2008
    I’ve seen an increasing number of threads that start out with variants of the question, “I’m going to be photographing my first wedding. What gear should I have?”

    Maybe if someone is asking this question, they should think long and hard about their expertise in photographing a wedding. eek7.gif

    I would direct anybody even thinking of photographing weddings to read this (its a free lengthy PDF):

    The New Photographers Handbook: Bridezilla

    Its become a cult classic and although humerous... it is full of valuable and sage advice.

    I like the posting as it is very informative. Nice job!
    "They've done studies you know. Sixty-percent of the time, it works every time."

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  • ExposeTheMomentExposeTheMoment Major grins Posts: 271Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 19, 2008
    Why Hire A Pro
    Why Hire A Professional Wedding Photographer and What is a Professional.

    Have you ever wondered why you should hire a professional wedding photographer and pay the price? Consider the simple fact that a wedding is a once in a lifetime photographic opportunity. Since the wedding cannot be restaged on the following day the photographer has to know exactly what they are doing to capture the moment in the first place.

    What does a professional wedding photographer bring to the table?

    The wedding professional brings experience, lots of photo related knowledge, an artistic eye and is well trained to photograph weddings and has done so for any number of years.

    The wedding pro knows the various wedding situations and cannot be confused by whatever may or may not occur on the wedding day and can effectively handle the stress of the days events.

    The wedding pro brings plenty of backup photographic equipment and brings the correct photographic tools for the wedding. This is very important.

    The wedding pro is comfortable with the chosen equipment and knowledgeable about the controls because of previous testing.

    The wedding pro spends money on reliable equipment and has made the commitment to quality. The pro easily brings $3,000 worth of lenses to a wedding. You can double or triple that amount for the cameras.

    The professional wedding photographer offers options to the bride and groom. These options include, price, package, album.

    A professional wedding photographer can accommodate style preference requests that include; formal weddings, photo-journalistic weddings, backdrop portraits or a combination of outdoor portraits and engagement photo sessions.

    The wedding pro is efficient, does not fumble with the equipment and does not waste anyone's time on the wedding day.

    The wedding pro always delivers and the results are better than expected.
    Gary Harfield
    Owner/Photographer
    Expose The Moment

    Had a list of gear, now its to long, so lets say I have 2 bags and 15,000 worth of stuff.
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 19, 2008
    Thanks Gary, I've added your thoughts ... after a slight format edit. These are good and carry my point quite well.
  • lisarhinehartlisarhinehart Major grins Posts: 279Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 26, 2009
    well done
    Scott,
    Great work here! Thanks for all your time and effort. Very thorough! --Lisa
    Lisa
    My Website
  • chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Major grins NetherlandsPosts: 769Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 18, 2009
    Next time someone asks me to photograph their wedding I am going to say NO! If they ask me again I am going to explain that the wedding album is worth spending money on - they will hopefully be looking at it for years and years. If they want to economise, do it on the limo, the cake, the honeymoon, even the dress - but not the wedding album.

    Fine to wander a friend's wedding and take some shots - some may even make their way into the album - but the overall responsibility should be with the wedding photo professional. All these posts explain why.

    If they ask a third time and they are friends then I have to say yes, probably. By then they should know the risk they are taking when one of the guests spills champers on my 40D, my backup camera turns out to be in the back of the car at the critical moment, or the super duper f2.8 70-200 bought specially for the occasion overheats with an electrical fault. Third time NO imho. I want to stay friends and keep my reputation in the neighbourhood, I don't want to be the guy with the expensive camera who everybody points at and whispers "remember when he took photos at the wedding, and what happened. They were so disappointed ..."
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 18, 2009
    Adding others' thoughts
    It's been a while and some folks have added some thoughts to the mix. So, I updated the first post.
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