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Thread: How do you all do it?

  1. #1
    Member mabmy's Avatar
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    Default How do you all do it?

    Hi, first of all, let me clarify that i am in no way a professional nor wants to make a living out of photography. I took up this hobby because i love taking pictures for memory keep sake and also to document some beauties in nature. Unfortunately, for others who do not understand my passion, they think that owning more than one big camera and having lots of lenses means you are a professional and starts making assumptions that you can shoot weddings with class.

    Through out this one year of owning a cam, i have unfortunately shot a few weddings reluctantly. Friends, cousins, friend of friends, etc.. Despite not being very eager to do all this, i still took up the job just because they said "oh its ok, no need so nice. Just record our moments can already." I charge them cheap. $500 or less for one day coverage producing 350 photos or not lesser then 250 shots. Sometimes inclusive of bridal shots. Although i hate the job, i gave my best, maybe its because of my pride as someone who likes to take picture. I spent hours selecting photos, post process it and gave them the final soft copy for them to print and they are always happy with the results that i produce. I always suggest to other potential clients that there are more experienced and professional photographers out there who can do a fantastic job but they decline saying that its too expensive and too troublesome to look around. I even recommended to them to have a look at fantastic portfolios from the wedding sub forum in CS, but they still persist that i shoot since i have a cam anyway and i charge cheap. The only reason i charge cheap is because i always have this fear of being unable to deliver.

    I honestly from the bottom of my heart, have alot of respect for professional wedding photographers, and by professionals, i mean people who do this for a living, their bread and butter, a day job. How do you tolerate unreasonable couples? How do you tolerate people who happens to be able to afford a dslr and are stealing all the good spots from you. People who are so call holding better equipments, holding a mamiya or leica, glaring at you and giving you sneers that you are a wannabe when all you are doing is what you have been paid for? There was once i was even locked out of the wedding couple's room whom are my friend who paid for my services, by the groom's overzealous relatives who are also having professional looking equipments, thus missing out on some of the good moments. The best part is yet to come, when i delivered my work, i am not bragging, forgive me if i sound like i do, but the wedded couple actually think my shots are more way classy and beautiful then what those two have taken. They printed my shots and show it to everyone who compliments my work but both of them and a few others who just happens not to have a favourable view of me using a 4/3 system, passed a remark "oh its photoshopped, that's why nice. "How do all of you tolerate all this nonsense?

    I have not even included others whom looks at me with those eyes and showing off that they have more knowledge than me and speaking loudly to their friends or passing remarks to family members on my technical skills like how i should have posed the couple or where i should have stand to have a better angle, should off the flash etc.. Making me look unprofessional or just another guy with a camera which i admit i am in that situation. I'm sorry if my ranting is boring but i just want to end this by saying i have absolute respect for people in this industry for what you are doing because its never an easy job. Really curious just how do you all do it. Salute!
    Your pictures speaks for you, not your camera.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    i am not a pro also. so far only assisted one indian wedding. so u should be more experienced then me

    i think u should feel confident of your own works. if u got all the technicalities and composition correct. dun care what others says. they are not your client. as long as your fren (your client) is satisfied with the shots, why care about what the rest says? Some may like your works, some dun. You can't pleased the whole world!

    So be confident!

    high end equipments dun always equate to good shots. although it can improve your photo's quality (sharpness, contrast etc).

    know how to say (got theory) but dun know how to shoot (no practical) is another thing also.

    one thing u need to know... if your fren or client officiated you are the official main photographer, you will need to tell them to tell their frens not to block you from taking your shots. this is to be fair to you (you need to do your job) and them (they have paid you, regardless small amount or big amount of money for you to do your job). this is one advice i got from reading from those pro wedding photographers.
    Last edited by sinned79; 3rd January 2011 at 06:04 PM.

  3. #3
    Member mabmy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by sinned79 View Post
    one thing u need to know... if your fren or client officiated you are the official main photographer, you will need to tell them to tell their frens not to block you from taking your shots. this is to be fair to you (you need to do your job) and them (they have paid you, regardless small amount or big amount of money for you to do your job). this is one advice i got from reading from those pro wedding photographers.
    Well its really not that easy, i don't want to be mistaken for being rude. I shot a chinese friend's wedding previously and when i politely asked one the guest not to stand close next to me, he glared in such a way that makes me feel very uncomfortable. He even started to block most of my view and snap the couple with his cam throughout the whole wedding. I could say that he almost had every shot i had in mind. He then made a comment to the groom just as i was about to thank the groom for the day, that the way i journal the day is quite lousy and start showing his shots to the groom on his cam which i never get to see. I am really impressed.
    Your pictures speaks for you, not your camera.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mabmy View Post
    Well its really not that easy, i don't want to be mistaken for being rude. I shot a chinese friend's wedding previously and when i politely asked one the guest not to stand close next to me, he glared in such a way that makes me feel very uncomfortable. He even started to block most of my view and snap the couple with his cam throughout the whole wedding. I could say that he almost had every shot i had in mind. He then made a comment to the groom just as i was about to thank the groom for the day, that the way i journal the day is quite lousy and start showing his shots to the groom on his cam which i never get to see. I am really impressed.
    ok, this one like you say, it's hard to handle (since i got no experience in this), let's see the pros here how they handle this situation. I want to learn also in case i face the same situation in future.

  5. #5
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mabmy View Post
    Well its really not that easy, i don't want to be mistaken for being rude. I shot a chinese friend's wedding previously and when i politely asked one the guest not to stand close next to me, he glared in such a way that makes me feel very uncomfortable. He even started to block most of my view and snap the couple with his cam throughout the whole wedding. I could say that he almost had every shot i had in mind. He then made a comment to the groom just as i was about to thank the groom for the day, that the way i journal the day is quite lousy and start showing his shots to the groom on his cam which i never get to see. I am really impressed.
    lets say there are certain ethics that i, and most ppl who have shot long enough will follow.

    1: we never insult the event photographer. no matter what happens, ppl still doing for a livelihood. we dun wanna break ppl rice bowl due to some comments, like the guy ur talking abt here. its unprofessional. u can tell the photographer what is lacking, what he might improve, fine. u dun go out tell other ppl say this photographer sucks.

    2: never snatch the position of the paid photographer, unless he really gonna miss that shot. i have seen enough to know of idiots who keeps getting into photogrpher view, or idiots who just dunno how to move. i mean, as a hobbist, wanna shoot wedding fine. dun kajiao the professional what.

    3: regarding ur confidence, relax a bit. i used to have this over competitiveness/ sourgrapes attitude (dun mind my phrasing). i'm used to covering sch events, and i know of other juniors (im jc student), who are richer adn they carry big gears.u have to understand that ppl are getting richer, dslrs cheaper. but that doesnt mean everyone can "see" what u see. the couple hired u cause u got talent, cause of ur photos, ur post processing. etc. be confident!

    as a working pro, if u face this kind of ppl, just ignore. let ur photos do the talking. at most u dun have that client in the future. if u still do, congrats, earn their money pls. if dun, look for other clients. there isnt any way u can get around this, but just be confident in what u do..

    i'm not a working professional, jsut a hobbist who er... shld have seen enough...
    Last edited by allenleonhart; 3rd January 2011 at 06:04 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    People with bigger gears or deeper pockets tend to have this idea that with the expensive gears they have, they'll get way better results. Don't get too upset about this... Just lay the photographs on the table i'm pretty sure having deep pockets don't necessarily means having good photos

  7. #7
    Member tainted's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Don't mind me if I got some of the facts wrong because I skimmed through the entire thread.
    But so far the impression that I'm getting from this is that,
    You're trying your best to document the wedding despite some people who deliberately or unknowingly blocked some of your angles AND you're not really taking much action to solve the situation. ( Thats not trying your best now isn't it?)
    Remember that you're the official photographer for that day regardless of how much you're paid.
    Remember that you have every right to every angle.
    I feel that you're being too passive by letting people push you around and you're letting yourself be intimidated by people who think that they can get the better of you just because they have better equipment.
    Be more assertive!
    Don't sound scared or apologetic when you're excusing yourself to get that better angle or shot.
    Always be confident of yourself no matter how much you're quaking and trembling inside.
    Or you can always do what my friend does when people are abit uncooperative.
    " Excuse me, sorry please let me through, official photographer coming through! "
    Most of the time they should let you through
    and if they don't then look for another more creative angle I suppose

  8. #8

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Some of these amateur jokers even block the videographers. There was a serious complaint by the VG in which the relative GWC was always telling my VG friend where shd he stand etc. What he does not know is that my VG friend has > 20 yrs exp and > 2000 weddings.

  9. #9
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Some of these amateur jokers even block the videographers. There was a serious complaint by the VG in which the relative GWC was always telling my VG friend where shd he stand etc. What he does not know is that my VG friend has > 20 yrs exp and > 2000 weddings.
    hmm... i know where u are coming from... i thought it was unspoken rule, never block vg?

  10. #10

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Seems to me, TS is just too nice, and has been clearly being taken advantage of by his "friends".

    I simply say no to anyone who asked me to shoot anything I really do not want to shoot. If pressed, it's $5K a day, and that only covers photography and limited post processing.

    For $5K, I can bend my rules a bit. As far as, if I truly worth that much, well, my time is worth that much, I really dont care if the "client" thinks it is worth it or not. The key is, I DONT WANT TO SHOOT weddings and events and anything that does not involved a beautiful model in outfits of my choosing
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  11. #11
    Member mabmy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Hi all, that's quite the response. Alleonheart bro, i wouldn't call those list 1 & 2 an unspoken rule, i call it common sense. I just fail to see what is it that makes them behaves in such a way. If i were to attend a wedding, i always leave my cam at home, enjoy the food and atmosphere and leave before dessert. Everyone is right, i have very little confidence, not being timid, but i just don't want to get into people's bad book. Tainted bro, I did try my best but what can i do when even a 10 years old is holding a dslr and running around blocking my view, standing at my spot and even tell me to "hurry up" When the parent of the kid told the kid not to disturb kong kong working, the kid even snapped back at them! 2100 bro, i get what you mean, i've seen it happen too. When i was shooting at one wedding, got these 2 people keep moving around wanting to take every unique angle blocking me and the the videographer. I am surprised the vg just stop recording, approach the groom and say that he's leaving! What a brave fellow! Dp maybe you are right about me being nice to them.. i just find it hard to say no especially when they keep saying that we are friends and they are on a budget, they could not find a pg for their actual day and stuff like that, i am just soft hearted towards them.
    Your pictures speaks for you, not your camera.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Tainted is a lady~

    Quote Originally Posted by mabmy View Post
    Hi all, that's quite the response. Alleonheart bro, i wouldn't call those list 1 & 2 an unspoken rule, i call it common sense. I just fail to see what is it that makes them behaves in such a way. If i were to attend a wedding, i always leave my cam at home, enjoy the food and atmosphere and leave before dessert. Everyone is right, i have very little confidence, not being timid, but i just don't want to get into people's bad book. Tainted bro, I did try my best but what can i do when even a 10 years old is holding a dslr and running around blocking my view, standing at my spot and even tell me to "hurry up" When the parent of the kid told the kid not to disturb kong kong working, the kid even snapped back at them! 2100 bro, i get what you mean, i've seen it happen too. When i was shooting at one wedding, got these 2 people keep moving around wanting to take every unique angle blocking me and the the videographer. I am surprised the vg just stop recording, approach the groom and say that he's leaving! What a brave fellow! Dp maybe you are right about me being nice to them.. i just find it hard to say no especially when they keep saying that we are friends and they are on a budget, they could not find a pg for their actual day and stuff like that, i am just soft hearted towards them.
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  13. #13
    Moderator Clown's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    mabmy, what you have described is a textbook example of what happens on the shallow end (low budget) of the pool of the wedding market, not just a simple problem of 'how do you tolerate'.

    it's basically a vicious cycle borne out of 2 main issues. first is client not respecting the photographer's profession and role in the wedding ceremony, and second is the lack of self respect and confidence on the photographer's part that allows himself to be exploited by clients who, as mentioned, fail to recognise the importance of a professional wedding photographer.

    photographer lacks self confidence > charge low rates to get clients > end up getting budget clients who does not care about pictures > client probably also got friends and relatives who has big cameras to come help capture 'more angles' for safety > end up obstructing photographer's work > photographer ends up with mediocre images > photographer's confidence diminishes > repeat.

    the brutal truth - you know those folks who skulk around coffee shops and hawker centres selling tissue papers? if you continue to charge crappy prices, you'll become just like them, forever ignored, deemed expendable - merely a service of convenience.

    the solution for you is simply to take a step back and consider if you should stop this 'service' altogether. you're cheapening yourself and at the same time stripping away your confidence in photography.

    established pros in this industry learnt this lesson via baptism of fire. most of them started out the same way you did, shooting for a small fee. those who discovered they had a talent for photography eventually had to make a decision to go full time or risk having their creativity and passion compromised by the vicious cycle i mentioned.
    i'm sure you know the names of a few of them. do PM them and seek their advice if you're keen on knowing what lies ahead on this particular path. =)
    sigh.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    I just say things in my perspective.

    First of all, don't do it if you don't feel like it. I love wedding but I don't want to do too many...so I would not advertise and also charge at a rate that I know only a handful clients would pay and use my service.

    The issue about offering the service before you are ready is you will have client dictate what they want and you really don't want to do that.

    With my photography, I tell my client what I do and they will have to like my work to book my service. I don't shoot how my clients thought they want, as I can't be someone else. So it is either my way or I don't take the job.

    As with relative and friends, I don't normally do their wedding unless they can treat me like a photographer. So I deal with them like I deal with any of my clients. That is to ensure you prepare the clients as well as possible so they understand and respect you as a photographer.

    I do prepare my couple by telling them the potential issues such as situation that you mentioned. I don't fight with guest or their friend nor threaten by their action. However, perhaps I have not done enuf wedding I don't have any issue so far in Singapore. Perhaps I am not doing budget wedding so to speak.

    If they block your way, you just need to find another angle as there are many angle to cover the event. If it is a formal group shot, let people finish then step in and do the shots.

    A lot of time, your gesture and demeanor will be judge by guest so make sure you are happy to be on the job.

    So far, most of the weddings I cover, the sister or some guest would tell me that it is great for having me on the wedding... I do smile even I am behind my camera when no one see me, I am happy to be at the event, and that's important.

    Just relax, have fun and concentrate on your work and mingle with the crowd often is important. I do go and talk to the friends and family who uses big camera... Just a friendly chat and come out with a compromise action if have to but do not compete with them.

    Last but not least, if you charge people any money to do the shoot, make sure you deliver what you promise.

    You can be nice and get things done.

    In Photography, only do things that you like to do but don't feel that you "have" to do it because of money. Once you only do things that you want to do, then your work will improve and with the right marketing and advertising, the money will come naturally. People mint question this, but this is what I do and I enjoy my work as I only do things the way I like it and luckily I have almost all of my clients agree with me.

    Regards,

    Hart

  15. #15
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mabmy View Post
    Hi all, that's quite the response. Alleonheart bro, i wouldn't call those list 1 & 2 an unspoken rule, i call it common sense. I just fail to see what is it that makes them behaves in such a way. If i were to attend a wedding, i always leave my cam at home, enjoy the food and atmosphere and leave before dessert. Everyone is right, i have very little confidence, not being timid, but i just don't want to get into people's bad book. Tainted bro, I did try my best but what can i do when even a 10 years old is holding a dslr and running around blocking my view, standing at my spot and even tell me to "hurry up" When the parent of the kid told the kid not to disturb kong kong working, the kid even snapped back at them! 2100 bro, i get what you mean, i've seen it happen too. When i was shooting at one wedding, got these 2 people keep moving around wanting to take every unique angle blocking me and the the videographer. I am surprised the vg just stop recording, approach the groom and say that he's leaving! What a brave fellow! Dp maybe you are right about me being nice to them.. i just find it hard to say no especially when they keep saying that we are friends and they are on a budget, they could not find a pg for their actual day and stuff like that, i am just soft hearted towards them.
    The videographer is doing the right thing, there is not way to edit out the scenes that has two (______________) jumping up and down and running around. and also can't just deliver the footage like that to his customers and tell them this is their "friends"' fault.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  16. #16

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    A general comment about the "low end" of the wedding market. These couple who prey on their friends to shoot their wedding, are infact demanding an extra fat wedding gift. Normally, we pay how much? $80, $100, masx, $200? Even the cheapest wedding photographers, we are talking about $300-$500.

    What a racket! Highway robbery disguised as a wedding invitation and demand additional services to be rendered.

    Once, a couple asked me to shoot their wedding. I knew they can, if they want to and therefore I don't want to chance it, afford my $5K photography fee. So I told them, I only shoot nudes. That shut them up

    Btw, I used to shoot weddings, film days and long time ago.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    The videographer is doing the right thing, there is not way to edit out the scenes that has two (______________) jumping up and down and running around. and also can't just deliver the footage like that to his customers and tell them this is their "friends"' fault.
    goodness, me just kana this on saturday. During the vow, rings, and kissing moment guest photographers came crowding around. And sunday dinner march in was practically led by guest photographers.
    BTW not low end market.

  18. #18
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    goodness, me just kana this on saturday. During the vow, rings, and kissing moment guest photographers came crowding around. And sunday dinner march in was practically led by guest photographers.
    BTW not low end market.
    har! celebrities' weddings, paparazzi more than the guests......
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  19. #19

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mabmy View Post
    I have not even included others whom looks at me with those eyes and showing off that they have more knowledge than me and speaking loudly to their friends or passing remarks to family members on my technical skills like how i should have posed the couple or where i should have stand to have a better angle, should off the flash etc..

    I'm sorry if my ranting is boring but i just want to end this by saying i have absolute respect for people in this industry for what you are doing because its never an easy job. Really curious just how do you all do it. Salute!
    I got a chance to go through your first post one more time in detail, and trying to understand it all.

    (1) First para, it is probably not widespread, but I MUST SAY that it is more and more common the people in the 20s or perhaps even 30s nowadays (those who have worked a couple of years, marriageable age, DINK type of "yappies", use phrases like "you have great taste", "lifestyle"....etc.
    Well of course I not expert lah....but I tend to see quite a lot of young people as in the bros/sis nowadays in such age groups. Probably helped with social sites/ESN comms. This happens in many other areas, pedi/mani biz, interior design for that contemporary lifestyle look, etc.... I'm not mentioning lux segment like horology or stuff like bags/shoes coz those usually they are at the lowest end of the food-chain as too many rich people in the boutiques.

    Just 3 months ago, we were shooting at T3 "outdoors", when a sister (brandishing a luxury handbag Chanel) was commenting that I should shoot more pictures for the bride/groom because it was still a good 40 minutes from the 1330h which was my end time. This is even though we have already spent a good 45 minutes there shooting and stopping by at about 6-7 locations at the venue, plus we started the day at 0530h. Geeezuz!
    PS. The sister later took MRT with me, but we in different carriages. I WILL never take her wedding. (She grabbed the bouquet)

    Seriously, out of the nearly 1000 sisters I have seen, really 5% or so is the "GF/wife I would aim for" type. (anyway I am past that stage).

    Last time, parents aim to save up 800K for retirement....if got chances to invest during a downturn they do it. Now youngsters with good qualifications they earn a lot more, but spend on that 100k Civic as they think the COE will rise further. Mid 35 to 40s aim for at least a BMW 3er preferable 5er since that'd be bigger + more face. During 2009 crisis can only afford to play 50k in the markets because could not afford more.

    (2) 2nd para. Thanks!

  20. #20

    Default Re: How do you all do it?

    Actually I'm not sure what the real problems are that you are encountering. Maybe it's becos your post is messy and all the points are jumbled up.

    What you've experienced as I see has little to do with what paid photographers do. You got shut away presumably cos of jealous relatives. But I suppose that is a one off experience?

    You also mentioned that people look at you and think just cos you have high end gear, you must be a professional. That's common and it's stereotyped view. Nothing wrong also. What you can control, is not to let those comments overwhelm you. Just smile and laugh it off, and then tell them perhaps humbly you're just an enthusiast.

    As for the case of not liking weddings but still doing it, well, that's pretty much your choice. If weddings are a put off (yes I know how it can be, waking up at unearthly times, all the running around with sweaty shirts, etc), then maybe you should have rejected your friends and relatives in the first place?

    Now, as a paid photographer, things are different for him or her. They are the official photographers. They are paid by the couple. Who has the right to stop them from photographing?

    As for your shots being accused of photoshopped, sorry can't help much here. If you think your shots are nice even without editing, then perhaps you just got to tell them so. I don't see any issue here also. And I don't think paid photographers face this as an issue. The couples sign him on cos they like his photos.

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