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What camera for a wedding?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by InfoH, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Your cavalier attitude may well be OK for the friends with 'no money' but did you miss that the OP intended trying to make a business out of it?

    That turns it into a completely different game.

  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    In all honesty, I'm astonished, absolutely astonished that it's not very considerably much MORE negative. It should be, as a reality check for the OP who has suggested that it's just a matter of finding the right camera to be able to become a wedding pro.

    I'm sorry, but if you have to ask that sort of question, you're just not ready to get out there and potentially ruin someone's big day.
  3. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more.

    There a huge difference between a guest who owns a camera taking a few photos, and the principle photographer (whether professional or amateur) taking the definitive set of photos.
  4. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    This thread is no more negative than most of the others on the subject.

    Lest anyone should forget, wedding photography is about much more than just capturing the images. You need to manage large numbers of people, many of whom won't want to be managed. You have also to arrange the people you want in each shot, without offending any one, keep the attention of children and possibly compete with the bar for the attention of all concerned. Then there is the need to contend with the dress sense of guests wearing clashing colours and the environment that may not be conducive to what you are doing or intending to do.

    If you happen to be a guest as well you will need to keep up with all the conversation too and probably find time to eat and drink. All this before your camera has even come out of the bag.

    Having taken the photographs you need to get them edited and printed to a very high standard as quickly as possible and certainly before the end of the honeymoon. Then the work starts to make copies for everyone who wants them. As you aren't a professional they won't expect to pay.

    The OP hasn't even chosen the camera yet! In this case the best camera really is someone elses.
  5. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    You forgot something.

    You have to do all of that under any circumstance. Rain, hail, snow sunshine, wind - whatever. You have to deliver the goods when your camera breaks, gets stolen, knocked off its tripod (you do have a tripod don't you?)

    You have to deliver detail in a white dress and dark suit in bright sunshine. You have to balance flash and ambient light. Deal with negro and caucasian skins, retaining flattering detail in both.

    You need to be prepared to make amends when you srew up (how expensive is that ??) and screw up you almost certainly will at some time.

    And on and on and on.Yes [clarkson] how hard can it be[/clarkson] ?

  6. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Ah, I did miss the making money bit, and that is something rather different!

    However for Cavalier I would substitute Pragmatic, you do what you can with limited resources. If the choice is no photographer or our OP then let him have a go!

    Should he cut his teeth with a few freebies, and, assuming average intelligence, there's no reason why he shouldn't up his game, buy some better kit, and turn pro. It's not exactly brain surgery.
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Is that all I forgot Mick?:D

    The last wedding I did was a few years back, I must be looking at it with the old rose tinted specs! I do remember that, at the time, I didn't want to have anything to do with another wedding it was too much like hard work.
  8. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    OK, but the understanding has to be there from all parties that no results are guaranteed.

    No, it's not, but if the question had been "what insurance do I need?" it would've boded better for the future.
  10. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Some of those are painful to read. :)

    The main letter in AP covered a wedding problem as well. Poor reader's Canon failed on the day of his son's wedding but a nice guy at Jessops helped out with a 7D loaner. :)
  11. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Nope, there's more.

    Like many others I used to look on wedding photographers as the bottom of the ladder/heap/pile/etc (!:rolleyes::eek:) but after some experience I realise it's great training for: war photography, fashion photography, hard news photography, features photography, PR photography, portrait photography, car photography and, lastly, advertising photography.

    If you can calm an irate mother of the Bride you should be able to handle art directors who are in a strop until they've taken a cup of tea and a Polaroid. ;):)
  12. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    We haven't even begun to discuss the mechanics of running a business. Publlic liability, income tax, VAT maybe, keeping the books, providing accounts to the authorities and so on. It's not brain surgery so I needn't continue. ;)

  13. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Are you implying that if it was brain surgery you would continue?

    A full course ...

    ...with qualifying exams?

    For free? Here?

    OK. I'm game. Let's go. :p:D
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    it has been nice to see a different (slightly) discourse on this thread.

    Main Question: Almost any camera these days. It is knowing how to use it that counts.

    Weddings were generally in the past shot with a 6x6 and 80 mm lens. When I got into medium format my local lab was still base business wedding processing on film for the dynamic range. White+black+sun=digital panic

    Moral Responsibility: for friends - screw up and this hurts them deeply. How thick is yr skin?

    Professional: Well that defines it. Poor job = no living + hurt customers

    w/o indenmity insurance beware- you take payment for delivery then deliver a quality product or suffer

    I would never, ever, ever do a wedding where I was solely responsible for the outcome. I just have not got the bossy gene. Even in my day to day photography some awkard sod always gets in the way of a good picture.
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Agreed. (Apart from the grumblers. :rolleyes:)

    All pro photography is not about taking pictures. It is about solving problems. In the same way, assisting in professional photography is 1. about solving problems for the photographer you are working for, and 2. not causing problems for the photographer you are working for! :)

    This is as true for wedding photography as any other genre.

    (It can be argued that all (amateur & pro) photography is about solving problems and that may be one reason why photography can be a very therapeutic leisure activity taking one away from stresses of work and living to be occupied and solve even very basic problems: is the camera position right? is the framing of what I wish to record poor, good, perfect, etc.? ...)

    If you chose to do wedding photography (the OP did not have a suitable camera and was initially proposing to cover a wedding for a friend before moving on to thinking about doing more as a part-time occupation) then you have to make a start somewhere. We all did, back whenever! ;) Every wedding photographer that has lived has had to do their first wedding ... :eek:

    It was easier and cheaper, in my view, to make that start in the film era and for the wedding sector, film still remains viable - especially for the part-timer who may not have time available for full post-production - if you have access to a good lab {could be via the mail, but ideally nearby where you can call in and get to know the operatives} and it is likely to stay in business for a few years.

    New complications are aesthetic changes that mean providing 'coverage' now means a whole lot more. Various fashion changes have arisen in wedding photography from 'trash the dress' through to 'no groups, fashion or protrait shoot' and documentary, 'on-the hoof'/fly-on-the-wall journalistic style all the way back to the old traditional 'set points' coverage.

    Some of these require extra investment in equipment and personnel - not to be undertaken lightly, especially at the present time. One approach is to only seek business that suits your way of working - some top wedding photographers built very successful businesses that way, managing to gently turn away the work they did not want to do while concentrating on assigments where they could maximise their creative approach for the benefit of the client.

    For the OP, to become a self-set-up operator, he will need 2 cameras, lenses and flashes (or the means of reliably borrowing - ideally a matching 'set' - equivalent to his own) plus cards plus laptop or PC. Output will depend on the para above. That leads to another modern complication: extra choices, such as on-line lab, own printer, CD 'rights attached' output, photobook style album, etc.

    It strikes me that to start doing weddings digitally on your own requires several thousand pounds worth of investment from scratch. Using film can more than halve that initial investment.

    But, BUT either way, some competence with equipment and technique (to the point where it becomes second nature, almost unthinking) will be essential.

    As I posted elsewhere, it might be a wise move for the OP to contact a local wedding pro and ask to see if they will let him accompany the photographer on a couple of jobs. It may help if the photographer has a big enough operation to run 'stringers' at peak season: he/she may be more open to a potential new competitor if they can be trained up to work as one of his/her stringers for the following year.

    There is a lot to said for apprenticeships.:)
  16. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about this since this thread started.

    My initial view was much the same as everyone else which was "if you have to ask these questions, then stay well clear and get someone to do it who will do a decent job".


    Then I got thinking about my own wedding back in 1989. A mate of mine from my cricket club was a keenish photographer (he worked in the Boots film lab), and he offered to shoot it.

    Looking back through the album just now he seems to be using an Oly slr with a big flash fitted. (at the time I had no interest or knowledge of photography).

    A the time we were delighted with his pics. And looking through them again now They are a good record of the event.

    But with my now keen photographer's eye. They are not great photos. Wonky horizons, dubious framing in some cases, poor balancing of the ambient and flash (when used), Ones where the ambient has caused big dynamic range issues that i'd have balanced with a flash if i were shooting them now, all look to be at f8 or smaller, so the backgrounds are painfully in focus....

    Look at this one (the only one I've scanned)


    He's shot from a bit too high making us look a bit stumpy (I'm actually 6'1"), a step or two to the right would have lost the distracting blown sky, it's all just a tad over exposed, and the depth of field is way to deep. Being really picky a slight rim light behind and camera left would have lifted me out of the background as well.

    I could go on....

    But the point is I was pleased with them at the time, and still think they do their job.

    I think wedding shooting is all about setting expectations. If the couple want a set of high quality, well lit, "arty" images to go on their wall. Then they need a pro, and a good one.

    If they are happy with the sort of quality I got all those years ago, then any of us here could do it. And I bet that even that is probably higher quality than most need. So the OP with his brand new dSLR would probably meet a lot of people's needs.

    As long as it was all agreed up front.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  17. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

  18. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Let's pause for a moment and consider a possible situation.

    You are about to get married and need a photographer. Somehow you find Mr OP and along he comes to your house.

    What are some of the first questions you ask?

    Here are a couple of likely ones:

    1. Can you give me the names of a couple of referees?
    2. Can I see your portfolio?

    In both cases Mr OP (assuming he is honest) has to say that he's never done a wedding before. If he's dishonest then he deserves all that's coming to him.

    As an experienced photographer yourself you might go on to ask more technical questions.

    Now, especially Phil who as usual, has penned some wise words, tell me honestly are you going to risk your hard earned cash on someone with a zero track record?

    Yes it's true that everyone has to do a first wedding but one might hope that would be as an assistant or at least as a back up. In any event one might hope that the person behind the camera might know something about photography. Maybe I'm maligning him but the OP seemed, to me, to have more or less zero knowledge.

    I am NOT talking here about doing a favour for a mate I'm talking about acting as a pro and charging real money.

    Now, like Phil, I'll tell the story of my own wedding photos.

    My friend and I were 'luminaries' of the University Photo Club and reckoned to know what we were doing. We kept in touch after University and when I got married my friend was deputed to do the photos. He agreed on the basis that he would expose the film but I would develop and print it. This was all to be done in mono

    Now, for those with no film processing experience, it's necessary to explain that we all had our favourite methods of dealing with a film. Some would overexpose and underdevelop and some would do the opposite. Either way could give excellent results and our method became ingrained. In a sense we had forgotten that we were doing something non-standard.

    Now you have all guessed what's coming.

    He overexposed and, had he developed the film, would have underdeveloped. My technique was to underexpose and over develop. The wedding film (there was only one) therefore got overexposed and overdeveloped. The negs remain unprintable to this day and we have no wedding pictures.

    SWMBO, after 45 years, is just getting over it.

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  19. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    I think that article is relevant to a lot of thread and I wonder which photographer ran over his own camera bag?
  20. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I've never run over my camera gear but I have run over my fly-fishing kit.


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