Becoming a wedding photographer

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Rox-off, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Rox-off

    Rox-off Guest

    Those of you who do this sort of thing for a living...

    How did you get into it? Did you just decide to take the risk and do one,
    or did you serve some kind of "apprenticeship"?

    The reason I ask is because there seems to be a lot of money in this game.
    I am amazed at the prices charged by certain locals in relation to the
    amount of effort that they put in.

    Prices are obviously very different around the world, but for instance a
    local photographer can charge anything up to R10k (about US$1,500) and
    only provide in the region of 180 prints, including a few A5 and A4
    enlargements. The cost of shooting that one job on 35mm, which is what
    they all seem to be using, is probably less than R1k, including a Henzo

    If you do three or four of those a month you're making more money than I
    can make in an entire month of sales of my regular business! And with far
    less stress and overheads!
    Rox-off, Jul 15, 2005
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  2. Rox-off

    Mark² Guest

    Less stress???

    What's less stressful about having one chance to capture a
    once-in-a-lifetime day...with stressed out mothers, fathers...grumpy
    brides...up-staging bride's maids...and etc.?

    Sounds rather stressful to me...
    Mark², Jul 15, 2005
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  3. Most professional photographs consider weddings the bottom of the pit
    when it comes to desirable work. That is why it seems to be so well paid.
    Most charge a lot because they don't want to do it. Trust me it is a pain.
    It is a pain most professionals would like to be able to avoid but it is
    money and that is what any profession is about.
    Joseph Meehan, Jul 15, 2005
  4. Rox-off

    Rox-off Guest

    I hear you, but try the stresses of owning your own business and going
    through the inevitable "quiet" periods that the building industry is
    famous for! Sales slow down but the overheads don't go away!

    We're not having a very good month right now and doing the odd wedding
    every month at the prices I mentioned could cause me to re-think my
    primary source of income!
    Rox-off, Jul 15, 2005
  5. Rox-off

    Paul Bielec Guest

    It is expensive.
    I was lucky that I got married in a small town, not in Montreal. so I
    paid only 600 CAD. The was 3 years ago. All most important pictures were
    taken in medium format. In addition, he took few 35 mm rolls. And he
    gave me all negatifs.
    But in Montreal, I've heard it costs around 2000$.
    BTW I'm wondering how you get into this too. At some weddings, the
    photog has an assistant and this is something I'd like to try.
    Paul Bielec, Jul 15, 2005
  6. Rox-off

    Skip M Guest

    Where did you get the idea that it's less stress????? You have to meet
    with the client, sell them on not only your skill as a photographer, but
    your artistic outlook, ability to make their budget constricted wedding look
    like something the Royals went into debt for, and charm their socks off.
    Then, you have to go to the rehearsal, deal with the crabby dad who's
    getting socked for all this money and can't understand why Cousin Jimmy, who
    just finished his first year of photography, can't do this and save some
    change, deal with an old school Irish priest who threatens to throw the
    photographers out of his church if they violate "his rules" but steadfastly
    refuses to reveal just what those rules are, find out that there's a stand
    of flowers and a video cam tripod between the happy couple and the ideal
    spot for you to get "the shot."
    Then, the wedding day. The bride arrives 40 minutes late for the "before
    pictures," the groom arrives 10 minutes before that, half in the bag,
    because the sleeve fell of the rented tux, you now have 10 minutes before
    the ceremony to shoot the (separate, because they "don't want to see each
    other before") two of them and get the wonderful, fairy tale image of the
    bride. Then the ceremony, congratulations, family pictures of a clan that
    can run as many as 75 "immediate" family members, the reception, Aunt Mabel
    singing her rendition of "Love Will Keep Us Together." And you only get one
    shot at it, no do overs.
    Then, you go back, d/l the images to the computer, post process, endure
    several calls from the bride, asking when you will have her images done,
    meet with the couple to present your artistic gem, sell them on an album,
    take several more phone calls from the bride, changing the order for the
    images, yet more, asking when their prints and album will be done, all the
    time shooting two more weddings, with all the attendant gerfluffle and
    enduring phone calls from those brides, while calling prospective clients to
    set up interviews, collect deposits, and get wedding details.
    Yeah, there's no stress...
    Skip M, Jul 15, 2005
  7. Rox-off

    Skip M Guest

    Despite my above post, we do enjoy what we do, and started the business to
    overcome the inevitable slow down in the plant/nursery business. And it
    does provide a very nice, welcome, side income.
    We jumped into it feet first, but most of the people I know doing it started
    by assisting other wedding photographers.
    Skip M, Jul 15, 2005
  8. Rox-off

    Skip M Guest

    Here in SoCal, the general run is between $1000 and $3000, and up.
    Skip M, Jul 15, 2005
  9. Rox-off

    Tom Hudson Guest

    I've recently been asked by a friend to cover their wedding next year,
    so that's one way.
    Tom Hudson, Jul 15, 2005
  10. Rox-off

    Paul Bielec Guest

    I wouldn't feel confident to do that. Would be a good excuse to get that
    flash I want though.
    I did weddings for family and friends but just as a backup to the
    official photographer or for reception shots.
    Paul Bielec, Jul 15, 2005
  11. Rox-off

    Owamanga Guest

    Have you known them for long?

    ...what a shame..

    (okay, a little unfair, maybe you are a pro and know what you are

    But seriously, this is happening more and more now it seems. When I
    got married, a MF camera was a mandatory requirement. Since, I've been
    suckered into shooting a wedding on 35mm. I just threw rolls and rolls
    at the problem, and it turns out I didn't screw it up too much.
    Luckily for me less than 20 people were involved, half of them
    rednecks from the mountains - so it made for some interesting shots.

    Now, another friend of mine who just picked up a D70 last month,
    doesn't even fully understand aperture vs shutter speed, and can't
    even process a RAW file will be shooting a wedding for $800 USD next

    Owamanga, Jul 15, 2005
  12. Rox-off

    Tom Hudson Guest

    There's a year until this one, I think I'm about as ready now as I'll
    ever be prior to doing it, and with a year to go I think I'll be fine.
    If I get the opportunity to do a practice on another wedding before that
    I'll definitely take it though <:)
    The biggest problem I face is that I don't have any backup equipment
    right now - I'm intending to get spares over the next year though.
    Whatever happens I won't do it unless I've got backup equipment.

    I had my first nursery shoot a couple of weeks ago (photos to sell to
    the parents). It didn't go as well as I'd hoped but I know what I did
    wrong, I've learned a lot from it and next time the opportunity arises
    I'll do better.

    Tom Hudson, Jul 15, 2005
  13. Rox-off

    Tom Hudson Guest

    I'm not a pro, at least in the sense that it's not my source of income.
    I've got a lot of learning to do photography-wise (I got my first camera
    a little over 3 years ago), but I'm okay and people like my stuff, which
    is a good start.

    I've got a website with a lot of my older stuff on if you're curious.
    The following isn't a plea for non-harsh judgement, feel free - merely
    fore-warning - the site is mostly a family album type thing that I
    started sticking other stuff on, and mostly I haven't deleted anything
    I've posted on there since I first got a camera.
    I haven't got around to posting some of my latest stuff so I'll try and
    do that later tonight if I find the time.

    I should really get around to cleaning it up, getting rid of the chaff.
    2 month's practice with it before the day? Ouch, I've had my latest
    camera a few months and I feel like I'm just starting to get to grips
    with it.
    I gave up on RAW, I've come to the conclusion it doesn't suit my way of
    working. It's the long processing times, I'd rather just take my chances
    with jpg and try to get it right in-camera.
    Tom Hudson, Jul 15, 2005
  14. Rox-off

    Matt Clara Guest

    I don't do it for a living, but I shoot several weddings every summer. I've
    already shot three this summer, and one more coming up. As for the prices
    you quote, I know wedding photographers here who charge US $5000 for their
    most "complete" package. I think they're mostly ripping people off, but
    some of them are indeed very good.

    I got into it when a friend of my wife said, "It's you or it's nobody." I
    shot their wedding for free, and only messed it up a little.

    You can't charge full price for your first wedding, and it is hard,
    stressful work.

    Gotta go, wife's bitchin' at me! ;-)
    Matt Clara, Jul 15, 2005
  15. Rox-off

    Owamanga Guest

    Kids *before* the wedding? ...How modern!

    There doesn't appear to be any problems with the equipment...

    Owamanga, Jul 15, 2005
  16. Rox-off

    Paul Bielec Guest

    Nice. They'll have wedding photos they'll never forget.
    Paul Bielec, Jul 15, 2005
  17. Rox-off

    Paul Bielec Guest

    I wouldn't even want to do it for money. Not at the beginning at least.
    Just for fun of taking pictures and to learn. Being able to take
    pictures of a crowd without anybody asking why I'm doing it.
    Since, I'd be shooting digital, wouldn't cost me anything and I could
    get paid a little for the pictures that make it to the client. If I'd
    eventually make some money out of it, I'd use it for new gear.
    Paul Bielec, Jul 15, 2005
  18. Rox-off

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Wedding photographers seem to get sued a bit more often than other
    professionals. Check into liability insurance.
    Gordon Moat, Jul 15, 2005
  19. Rox-off

    Gordon Moat Guest


    Wuv . . . twue wuv . . . is what bwings us here toogether . . . . . . . . .

    Glad to see you are enjoying yourselves. ;-)

    Ever thought of doing a bloopers, or humorous out takes sampler?
    Gordon Moat, Jul 15, 2005
  20. Yes. I don't do this for a living, but I don't think that it would be as
    easy as Rox-off seems to think. You would have to worry about several
    things, and part of your success would depend on the work of others, and
    that (from my own experience) isn't much fun. As a matter of fact, anytime
    you have to deal with the general public, you are in a stressful
    environment. Several amateurs are going to be asking you for the impossible,
    or for something that you know from your own experience they won't like when
    they get it. You will have to sell them after the fact on what they may have
    already decided they won't like, and they are going to blame you for
    anything, regardless of who's fault it really is. I am glad that I am
    retired, and don't have to make a living dealing with these kinds of
    situations. Many years ago, when I had a paper route, I found out that I
    didn't want to have to deal with the public in my chosen occupation. That
    was a very good decision on my part. (one of the few good ones)
    William Graham, Jul 15, 2005
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