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Old August 18th, 2003, 07:33 PM   #1
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Shooting my first wedding! TIPS PLEASE!!

Hey everyone, I havent been on these forums for a while...so busy with other things...anyway...

Someone contacted me regarding doing some photography for thier wedding. I told them I would be glad to do it, and they have seen some of my photos and they like my work. I have yet to figure out how much I should charge, being that, this is my first wedding and my equipment isnt that good (cybershot 707). Although, I can produce some decent prints if i take them to the developers and get them chemically processed.

Im not too good of a friend with the guy, being that, i just met him a little while ago. I am willing to charge him a good price, and take it as experience, althought, i would like to be compensated for my labor efforts. I will probably charge him a seperate price for the prints.

Any tips for me!? as far as how much I should charge them? Anything i should do to prepair for the wedding? picture packages? damn...i need alot of help here. I will be taking the pictures to a local photo shop where they can pull the images off a disk after i have touched them up and burned them onto a cd...

any help would be greatly appreciated!!! thanks!!!!!!
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Old August 19th, 2003, 06:51 AM   #2
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Look at lots of wedding albums, borrow friends, relatives etc. Make a list of the shots you need to get and check them off as you get them. Take extra batteries and smart sticks. Shot with another camera, even if it's film, so if something happens to the digital files, you'll still have something from the event. Get all the posed shots after the ceremony, but before the reception. Take control, tell people what to do, or it'll take forever. The sooner you're done, the sooner they can get to the reception.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 09:52 PM   #3
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I just shot a wedding and as much as I like digital, I used two film cameras instead. The recycle time on a film camera is still better than most digitals (that I can afford) and getting that "right" picture is important in a wedding. Posed photos can easily be shot digital, because you can take your time and make sure you got what you wanted. But during the wedding you can't just call "do over", so it's important to be able to take lots of shots quickly.

As to what to charge, well, we can't really discuss that here. That could be misconstrued as price-fixing...
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 01:37 PM   #4
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Hi John...

Almost all of the wedding photographers in Honolulu are shooting digitally, using cameras such as the Kodak 760 or the Fuji S2 Pro SLR.

Not sure what the prices are, but I've heard them range from below $1000 to well above $2000. Use a spreadsheet to figure out what your expenses would be, including equipment rentals, processing/printing, and album materials. Then figure out how much to charge for your time. At the very least you shouldn't be losing money on the job.

I've done a few and stopped doing them as I'm not geared up for that sort of business. But here are a few things to keep in mind:

-- Find out what the client expects as a final product. If they're looking for portrait-quality formal shots, then you'll have to arrange for lighting equipment and an assistant. Also, find out how they want the photos assembled. They might want just a simple album or one of those leather-bound, gold-edged albums with their name embossed on the front. If it's an album, then call Keely Luke Photographie as she's the distributor for Art Leather in Honolulu.

-- Make sure you get a written agreement as to what you will be shooting and what they'll receive in the end. I did a wedding once where the bride's sister wanted photos of the bridal couple with every individual present. I didn't have a written agreement for specific shots, so there was no arguing the point. I was a little annoyed at the volume of shooting, but mostly I felt bad for the bridal couple who weren't allowed to relax after the ceremony for the two hours it took to do this. Luckily I had lots of film and charged accordingly. Mostly, it was a good example of how one person can reduce the celebratory atmosphere of a wedding. In my opinion, the bridal couple should be enjoying the day with friends and family. It's not a day-long photo opportunity.

This is where shooting like a photojournalist helps a lot. The photographer captures events as they happen, rather than directing events for the camera. There are a lot of wedding photographers who simply can't do that.

-- Show them some samples of your work so that they know what to expect. Photographers' styles can vary widely and some may not like the way it's lighted or composed.

-- Check out the locations in advance so that you're not caught by surprise regarding camera position or lighting. Some cameras do well in low light. Many don't. Take some test shots just in case so that you can make the necessary arrangements for the wedding day.

-- If you do get an assistant, train them so that they can actually reduce your workload. You should be able to say "put that light there" without having to tell them how. One photographer I know actually staged mock weddings just so the crew would know what to do during a real one. If you use a slave strobe, you'll need a radio slave. Wired slaves are trip hazards. Conventional flash-sync slaves are useless to you with everyone else's flash going off.

-- Don't forget that since you can post-process your images digitally that you're no longer constrained to having one image on a sheet. You can combine them in layouts, with some text if necessary, and have any color for a background. The layouts can even have a "magazine" look to them.

-- Lastly, dress appropriately. I used to wear slacks, dress shoes, a long-sleeved shirt and a tie. Eugene Kam (a local pro) dresses formally. It's a bit much for tropical weather but it lends credibility to you as a professional photographer. Of course, fainting from heat exhaustion makes it harder to finish the assignment. But you'll be admired for your steadfast attitude! :-)

Dean Sensui
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Old August 25th, 2003, 01:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for all your tips! Dean, I can always count on you for in-depth replies. lol...ill be sure to keep these in mind! Hopefully all goes well...:)

Thanks again...
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