Be prepared! Having a camera does not...

zitro_joeJune 13, 2010

...make you a good wedding photographer.

I am no pro, do I want to be- YES! However, I do not make my living off photography.

Many of us want to help others that cannot afford the "pro" prices. We step in offering our help at a decent-to-low price. That was the way I started. When you are offering your services, be prepared!

Why I bring this up. This afternoon, my younger cousin was was married. I knew that he was having a friend do the photos. This is not the first time this has happened at a wedding I was attending. At my sisters wedding the photog (friend doing a favor) FORGOT HER BATTERIES. I lent her mine. Another cousin had a wedding and the photog only used the camera in Auto, no flash. Didn't know how to pose people. My Aunt asked me to step in , I even ended up showing the photog how to use her camera.

Okay, back to the wedding from today. I brought my stuff because my brother asked me to take some family photos of them later this week- sure thing. While packing my supplies for my brother, I had a voice tell me that this photog for this wedding would be unprepared. Not knowing, what she/he would be shooting with, I brought several items from the three brands I own. Good thing. She ended needing to use my extra batteries, SDHC cards and one of my lenses that opened up wide enough for the dark light. I made her sign a letter stating she was responsible for anything that broke. I put the price of each item and she kinda freaked at the total. I asked if she was getting paid and she said yes...oh boy.

If you plan to do a wedding; things about this:

Bring extra of everything. Cards, batteries (buy good, reliable batteries) Its a wedding, that means something will go wrong. Be prepared.

When doing this for the first few times, work for free. This is a learning situation. Ask them to pay for batteries and that is about it. Make sure that bride/groom know this. Attending the rehearsal so you know what you are getting into, the cues and timing for "must have" moments . Study angles, lighting, white balance and colors. You are a novice to this type of photography, that's why you are offering it pro bono. The value of the learning experience will surpass the cost of doing it free. I did my first three free. Family is always free.

Have a helper. You just wont understand how advantageous this is until it is too late.

Study poses, make a list - MAKE A LIST- and be directive. The bride/ groom are counting on you for good picture of this special day.

You come first when it comes to taking the pictures, they can pose for other people later. You are there to do a job and other cameras flashing/people looking the wrong direction at other cameras messes with your job. This is where the helper can be handy.

I am not trying to discourage anyone from doing this, in fact I am saying "DO IT!" You just need to realize the importance and the severity of what you are getting into. Taking bad photos on such an important day can be very disappointing to all parties involved.


I saw this on another site, some more good info to think about.

A good photographer is on a learning life experience. Study off camera lighting, On camera lighting, Natural lighting, Posing people and posing groups of people like the wedding party, The wedding photographer needs to shoot in the widest of conditions.

We need to go from a dark church that has photography restrictions that a friend photographer may never even know about till its to late like the day of the wedding.

Or we may be shooting a wedding on the beach in super bright sunlight shooting on into sunset into the dark and then going into a low lit reception.

A wedding photographer needs to know when to use flash and when not to use flash or when to bounce the flash or use a off camera flash. All things a friend photographer will have no clue how to do.

You need extra battery's and lots of them, good quality lens not kit lens that come with camera kits.

A good wedding photographer will know how to pose everyone for the group family and bridal photos after the wedding and will know how to light up the photos to look their best. Shooting large groups is not a easy thing to get right.

He or she will also know how to then pose the bride and groom into romantic poses and know how to let the bride and groom be themselves for a more candid style of photo.

Then on to the reception the photographer many times will coordinate with the DJ so the photographer knows what is coming up next and is on top of everything at all times.

Many photographers bring in supplemental lighting to the reception as off camera lighting.

Lets talk about camera lens.

The average friend photographer will be shooting with a Canon digital rebel or a Nikon D40, D50 or D60 The cameras can take good photos but the kit lens are not very good for wedding

The kit lens that come with all the lower priced cameras are beginner lens and none of them are good for wedding use. None of them are what is called a low light lens and the image quality of the lower priced lens or kit lens are very poor.

Good quality lens cost a lot many times more then the camera body.

A wedding photographer will or should have lens that are good in low light and be able to go to F4 or even 2.8 or 1.4 consistent at any zoom setting.


Here is a photo from today taken by my 5 yr old. My son and a few of his cousins.

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Joe,...good you came to the rescue!

I'm sure, a "real photographer" has everything needed
for good quality pictures, including back up cameras etc.
that's why you pay good money,... don't trust your friends.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 12:06PM
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You're so right. I've seen similar situations . . . people trying to save money by having a friend do the pictures. Why these friends think they are qualified to shoot a wedding, I have no idea.

Years ago when I was working for a newspaper one of my co-workers asked me to do her wedding photography. I said I would do the candids if she got someone else to do the posed pictures. She didn't, and I didn't. I was relieved, to tell you the truth.

Your five-year-old is off to a good start!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:00PM
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Oh no, friends helping is a good thing. The point is to do prep work. Just having a camera is not enough. During the wedding is not the time to realize that you are not prepared. But...that is why pros charge the big $$$ - there are definately pros that should not be.

It not that friends are not qualified to do weddings, I think all have the best intentions. If you really want to do this and do it right - then do it right. Learn, buy the right equipment.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 9:41PM
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Here is a nice page to offer some help.

Here is a link that might be useful: here you go

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:15PM
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