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Thread: Ok, anyone heard of a newbie main wedding photographer?

  1. #1

    Default Ok, anyone heard of a newbie main wedding photographer?

    Thats going to be me soon. After readin Joho's thread, I figured I should ask some of the experts here for some help too.

    The deal is this, I have been asked to shoot a good friend's wedding, as the main photographer. Its all fine and dandy, except that I have not done it before. Yep, not even as a backup photog. I guess you can say I am a virgin in the purest sense in this aspect. Now lets not go into the rationale of this decision made by my friend, but since she has the confidence in me (whether misplaced or not it doesn't really matter now), I reckon I should try my very best to do a decent job.

    Now, what I would like to know from some of the more experienced guys here, is what are the things to expect as a main photographer? What are the things I should prepare before the actual day? And on the day, what are the things I should watch out for?

    Guess there are 1001 questions that I would like to ask, but I think I will just let you guys take over for now

  2. #2
    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    Hi Gremlin

    there are some questions you need to keep in mind.

    Why is your friend asking you to be the main photographer despite your lack of experience (I assume you have been honest in revealing your lack of experience ot him) Is it

    1)lack of funds as your friend cannot afford a photographer
    If this is the case then it is strictly up to you whether you wanna do him the favor since you are no longer a guest but a volunteer helping out. Better work out developing costs and what you are expected to do in terms of covering the table shots, candids etc etc. Even if your friend cant afford a photographer, he should at least give you a red packet. There is no free lunch in my books.

    2)genuinely like the shots you have done and wans you to do it.
    If this is the case, take caution before agreeing. Every photographer approaches his subject differenet and a good landscaper is not a good portrait artist. It would be wise to educate your friend a bit regarding this aspect

    I would seriously recommend you ask your friend to hire someone with real experience and a reasonable portfolio to be the main photographer and you chip in as a backup. You are suppose to be a guest and enjoying the wedding not working your butt off taking pictures.

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    1) Charge all your battries
    2) Prepare enough storage
    3) Prepare a 17-35, 28-135mm lens

    That should kick you off, you might want to capture the bride's makeup session early in the morning before the groom is there to pick her up. So I don't know who's going to cover the bridegroom's side.

    This is the headache part because you have to shoot inside and outside when the bridegroom comes to fetch the bride, other things I think as you go with the procession flow, you'll snap as you go. You should be able to do it

  4. #4

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    First, lower the bride's expectations and over-perform if you are going to remain as the main photog. And hope that the relatives can appreciate the level of craft your photos exhibit.

    If the relatives are "traditionalists", then they expect to see certain ceremonial moments recorded. Discuss with your friend.

    Go with the flow, get your friend to relax on the big day, and help her capture the memories!

  5. #5

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    I am an optimist. But you should not do this assignment.

    Wedding photos are for keeps.

    She and the husbando will tell you "it's OK" and "we trust you" and "just do your stuff" and "we really liked your zoo/children/party photos you have taken".

    But what Always happens is that the moment the photos are delivered, the first question is "who tooks these" and "why is it like this"

    You may think that even if they just pay for film and developing, it will be OK, but experience has taught me that in any occasions, where money change hands, there will always be expectations. And they will always over-expect.

    But if you still want to go into this, then my last advise is: Be prepared to lost them as a friend.

    Sounds serious? you bet it is. Because this is serious stuff, and people, especially friends, family and relatives get upset very easily when their faces turn out less than pleasing (usually through no fault of yours, hehehe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    3) Prepare a 17-35, 28-135mm lens
    actually, from my experience for typical Chinese weddings, you need a 24mm equivalent lens to cover the table shots comfortably. 17-35 might be a bit overkill unless you using DSLR with FLM.

    also, a higher ISO might be preferable - i use ISO 800 film or setting as a norm, unless it's a day shoot or it's really bright (which is usually not the case - most restaurants and hotel ballrooms are fairly dim to keep the lohmantic atmosphere...).

    hope that helps...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitybix
    I am an optimist. But you should not do this assignment.

    Wedding photos are for keeps.

    She and the husbando will tell you "it's OK" and "we trust you" and "just do your stuff" and "we really liked your zoo/children/party photos you have taken".

    But what Always happens is that the moment the photos are delivered, the first question is "who tooks these" and "why is it like this"

    You may think that even if they just pay for film and developing, it will be OK, but experience has taught me that in any occasions, where money change hands, there will always be expectations. And they will always over-expect.

    But if you still want to go into this, then my last advise is: Be prepared to lost them as a friend.

    Sounds serious? you bet it is. Because this is serious stuff, and people, especially friends, family and relatives get upset very easily when their faces turn out less than pleasing (usually through no fault of yours, hehehe)
    actually, i agree with fruitybix. it's dangerous to do weddings when you have no experience, even if it's "just for frens". weddings are one-in-a-lifetime you know (usually)...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin
    Now, what I would like to know from some of the more experienced guys here, is what are the things to expect as a main photographer?
    You definitely need good luck. And LOTS of it.

    And seriously, I hope that you STILL have her as your good friend after this.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    actually, from my experience for typical Chinese weddings, you need a 24mm equivalent lens to cover the table shots comfortably. 17-35 might be a bit overkill unless you using DSLR with FLM.

    also, a higher ISO might be preferable - i use ISO 800 film or setting as a norm, unless it's a day shoot or it's really bright (which is usually not the case - most restaurants and hotel ballrooms are fairly dim to keep the lohmantic atmosphere...).

    hope that helps...

    Hi Larry,

    wondering if u shooting at lower iso but then using the bounce will do any good anot?

    coz i was shooting tmax 100 with flash and when i tried to print, i noted the shadows behind both of them esp when they were on stage talking :S

    (heng i just shoot for fun).

  10. #10

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    So, the question is, is your friend as magnanimous as you are? Is your friend independently-minded enough not to be swayed by some relative's comments?

    My first main photog assignment was for a cousin a few years back. I used a friend's setup along with last-minute technical instructions on bounce-flash. I still have relatives...

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    actually, from my experience for typical Chinese weddings, you need a 24mm equivalent lens to cover the table shots comfortably. 17-35 might be a bit overkill unless you using DSLR with FLM.
    If I don't remember wrongly he's using DSLR, so with the 1.6, a 17mm is equivalent to about 27.2mm. that's why I suggested such a lens. Using a 28 will be too 'narrow' 28 x 1.6 = 44.8mm.

    Actually I think that gremlin can do this wedding event, since it's a on the move and snap as you go kind of shoot, people generally are more interested in the sequence of the shoot, ie, wedding toast, cutting of cake, paying respects to elders etc. Frankly, none of them will go and ask why my face like that, why my wife so ugly, just need to make sure the exposure is correct, shots are nicely sequenced with a story, the couple probably won't have much to complain.

    Note however that during the wedding dinner, you'll be getting posed shots, so these are very important, these are the ones you must capture nicely. Kissing moments, cake cutting, pouring champagne, entering into the ballroom, think these 4?

    Just my 0.02c

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    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin
    Now lets not go into the rationale of this decision made by my friend, but since she has the confidence in me (whether misplaced or not it doesn't really matter now), I reckon I should try my very best to do a decent job.
    Yes try your best. IMHO do find out their expectations... do they have samples of wedding photography styles they like?

    Do they want table to table shot if it is a wedding dinner?

    Different kind of ceremony (malay, indian, church, chinese etc) have different 'special moments' to capture.

    Maybe you can visit the venue (home, hotels etc) before wedding day to know the 'best' spot for your style as well as the lighting condition.

    And do ask for permission to post some shots here for us to view

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    In my initial post, I questioned the friends motives for asking gremlin to shoot. Fruitybix and Larry accurately pointed out the catches involved in such arrangements of "doing a favor"

    Espn, it is not a simple question of whether you think Gremlin is capable or not. It is what Gremlin's friend and his friend's friends and family members expect of Gremlin that is paramount. Gremlin might even hail from Magnum and capture Pulitzer Photo essays for the wedding but if the couple don like it, they don like it, PERIOD.

    As for making exposure correct, it is not as easy as you made it out to be. I am sure from your ROM experiences you have learnt those lessons the hard way.

    PS Gremlin if you are going to be the ONLY photographer, I suggest u get urself a backup body and flash unit. The last thing u wanna happen is ur gear giving up on your. I have witnessed two cameras giving up during wedding dinners so I know this is a possibility, however remote it may seem. Also prepare a bounce card for the table shots.


    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    Actually I think that gremlin can do this wedding event, since it's a on the move and snap as you go kind of shoot, people generally are more interested in the sequence of the shoot, ie, wedding toast, cutting of cake, paying respects to elders etc. Frankly, none of them will go and ask why my face like that, why my wife so ugly, just need to make sure the exposure is correct, shots are nicely sequenced with a story, the couple probably won't have much to complain.

    Note however that during the wedding dinner, you'll be getting posed shots, so these are very important, these are the ones you must capture nicely. Kissing moments, cake cutting, pouring champagne, entering into the ballroom, think these 4?

    Just my 0.02c
    Last edited by sebastiansong; 2nd September 2003 at 04:44 PM.

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    Hi Gremlin...

    The lens is good... Thanks a lot.

    I did my first wedding a couple of months ago too... Was probably more confident given that i had attended a wedding photography course a few months back. There would definately be first time jitters ... Mainly on whether the pictures would actually come out nice (or even whether they would come out at all)... Whether or not the angle is good.... whether it is nice.

    A few pointers made me felt more comfortable (though there would always still be doubts)...

    1) Know your equipment: I was taught to use M, f5.6, tv 1/60; iso 400, 800... FEL always if can, bounce always if can... if not use direct. The important thing that i was taught is if you're confident, bounce. If not, use direct... At least you'd end up with an image (it could have been better .... but...)

    Initially i really wondered how it would work out... Plus, i had not shot in M (always Av) before. Until of late then i really understood how the different parts combine; But the morale is ... the setting works. I know it most if not all of the time... So it know it will work again if i use it. Choose a setting that you know that you're confident with... and use it. Deviate only if in extraordinary situations... Cuz time is the essence.

    2) Always bring spare camera: Too many stories on cameras failing... You'd never know.

    3) Be careful on the use of flash (especially direct) with digital: Your dynamic range is much smaller than film and hence run the risk of blowing out your picture.

    Last but not least:
    4) Run ... don't walk... Always anticipate; control the wedding couple (e.g. ask them to wait for you before they go into the house)...

    Hope this helps. Sorry if i was too longwinded.

    Tert

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    I am definitely not new to wedding photography. I say just do it for the sake of gaining the experience. This will give you a good indication of whether your skills and experience suits this type of photography.

  16. #16

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    First off, thanks very much to all those who have given me the pointers. No tert, you are not longwinded at all. I was hoping to read more posts like yours.

    To others who have expressed concern about the "catches" surrounding this shoot, I thank you for that too. I have no illusion about taking Pulitzer prize winning shots on that day, heck, even decent ones too, and I have long conveyed this fact to my friend as well. It is her (and her hubby's) understanding of this matter, coupled with their willingness to still ask me to shoot, that made me decide to go for it.

    As for her reasoning, motives, whatever behind this decision, I have already mentioned in my first post that I do not want to discuss into that. Frankly, I am not interested in knowing that as well. It is my intention to shoot the best I can, and present to her the pictures as my wedding gift to her.

    So having cleared that up, I will surely appreciate more advises and insights from you guys.

  17. #17

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    Dun worry, u can do it There is always a first time Try reading up some wedding photography books, although most of them apply to western style weddings but still they will offers good pointers to take note off

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie123
    Dun worry, u can do it There is always a first time
    just remember those important moments.. best if u can get a run down on what's gonna take place n be prepared when the time comes.. if u using digital cam get a huge mem card n fire off as many shot as possible.. rem for low ceiling try use bounced flash.. if ceiling too high no choice use direct.. i recommend a wide angle zoom lens, dun waste time change lens then miss the shot.. all the best bro u can do it.. if last min balls shrink i'm sure got some people should b willing to help u here from CS

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin
    Thats going to be me soon. After readin Joho's thread, I figured I should ask some of the experts here for some help too.

    The deal is this, I have been asked to shoot a good friend's wedding, as the main photographer. Its all fine and dandy, except that I have not done it before. Yep, not even as a backup photog. I guess you can say I am a virgin in the purest sense in this aspect. Now lets not go into the rationale of this decision made by my friend, but since she has the confidence in me (whether misplaced or not it doesn't really matter now), I reckon I should try my very best to do a decent job.
    walau .... man you sure got GUT!

    last time i couldn't sleep for 1 week, mi was just the back-up guy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tert
    1) Know your equipment: I was taught to use M, f5.6, tv 1/60; iso 400, 800... FEL always if can, bounce always if can... if not use direct. The important thing that i was taught is if you're confident, bounce. If not, use direct... At least you'd end up with an image (it could have been better .... but...)
    oh that's about the settings i typically use as well, but i mostly bounce my flash unless it's a long shot.

    gremlin, another thing you might wanna note is to use RAW format if you're not sure. at lease you can still salvage somewhat from RAW if the WB or EV is off. borrow more storage cards if you need.

    lastly, good luck!!!

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