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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #1
cpam.pix
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Default How do I know when...

...I'm ready to shoot a wedding?

I've been asked twice in the last 2 weeks...I'd really like to shoot as a second to get experience.

Does anyone ever feel ready for the first one?

Reminds me of a song from A Chorus Line..." then we did it again and i forgot to be scared"
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #2
snakeman55
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Default Re: How do I know when...

It really has as much to do with your personality as anything.

You have to A. Have decent enough gear, B. Have a decent knowledge/comfortability with basics like exposure and composition, and C. have a personality that allows you to go with the flow, recognize important moments and interactions and also direct people when needed.

I was talked into my first wedding. I did it for free and at the time of agreeing to it all I had was a 30D/kit lens and 430 and a 100 Macro. By the time the wedding came, I'd read a lot, and picked up another camera and some other stuff, but honestly I could have done a decent job with what I had. The people were ecstatic and I booked several more.

You should be nervous. If you're not nervous at all, you're probably not taking it seriously enough and if you're too nervous you might not have the stomach for this work.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #3
scorpio_e
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Default Re: How do I know when...

I felt ready for my first wedding.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: How do I know when...

My first wedding was horrible. REALLY horrible. Mainly because I didn’t know how to use my dSLR well enough yet (I had it only for a couple months)

The three important things you need to know.

1. Have decent gear
2. Know how to use your gear
3. Have a good eye

Wedding photography requires experience. It’s a shoot you cannot re-do.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #5
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Default Re: How do I know when...

Our first is tomorrow. We'll let you know!
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #6
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Default Re: How do I know when...

You know, I thought I was ready for my first wedding. I'd been shooting for a while, had all the basic gear I needed (2 cameras, 4 lenses, 2 flashes, lots of batteries, lots of cards), I had insurance, I had a lawyer write up contracts, etc. I was set!

Yeah... not so much. My first wedding? Extremely religious ceremony... in Spanish. I had neither the right clothing (I was required to wear a skirt/dress as per the religion) nor was I told the wedding would be in Spanish. I was told about the clothing ahead of time and was able to run out and get something, but it was an expense I wasn't expecting. And then the ceremony started and I had no clue what was happening! I'd been to weddings and knew how ceremonies went but since this one was a religion I was not familiar with I was completely lost. It turned out great (the pictures anyway), but, yeah. SO wasn't ready for that!

But had it been a normal ceremony in a normal church? So would have been ready!
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #7
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Default Re: How do I know when...

When you're ready to be humbled by your limitations. It doesn't matter how many L lenses you have or how many great landscapes or family/friend photos you have or how many people tell you you're a great photographer and you can do it. weddings are a totally new game. Don't let this turn you off having a go, all accomplished wedding photographers started from the same place.

PS Don't accept any money or very little for your first ?? many weddings.
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #8
johneo
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Default Re: How do I know when...

Only you will know!
My first wedding, I was asked by my wife's neice to shoot her wedding. I thought I did a pretty good job with excuses as to why I shouldn't shoot it but she really wanted me to, so I did!
My experience! I missed the entire wedding ... in that, for the entire day, the only part I enjoyed was when I sat down and had dinner with my wife and family and even then, I was totally focused on what the Bride, Groom and wedding party were doing.
It was a GREAT experience being the photographer at a wedding in that ALL else was not even a part of the day and I was TOTALLY focused on getting the best shots of any and all that was going on. Even got shots of my son and daughter-in-law dancing and don't even remember shooting them.

My wife recently told me that I am not allowed to shoot any more family or friends weddings because her day kinda sucked being there alone.

I REALLY like doing weddings but you really need to be committed to your "job" at hand. You are NOT a guest, you are part of the working crew of the wedding ... same as the caterer, band or anyone else involved with providing their services for the event.
I was in my own world that day as well as the other weddings I have done. So far, I guess I have done alright! Everyone likes what I have shot ... My wifes neice's house looks like a photo gallery of my wedding photos of her wedding!

EDIT: Be forewarned ... If you do a wedding, KNOW what you are in for! Check out the church or whereever the ceremony is held,talk with the minister of the persone performing the ceremony. Check out the reception hall and talk to the people running the reception well ahead of time. I was a second shooter for a wedding my nephew was shooting. He did not check ahead and when we arrived at the church, the Priest told us, minutes before the bride walked down the aisle, "NO flash photos in the church!". My nephew went into panic mode. I calmed him down, got out my faster lenses and got the shots inside the pretty dark church. He's out of the wedding photo stuff now!
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Last edited by johneo : 5th of May 2012 (Sat) at 11:21.
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #9
bnlearle
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Default Re: How do I know when...

I wasn't "ready" but a friend's photographer bailed out the day before, I had a film camera, 30 rolls of film, and said, "sure!" when they asked if I could fill in last minute.

If you're wanting to make money, you have to be WAYYYYY more prepared. But if you're shooting for a friend who won't have anything better and you aren't charging money, go for it.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #10
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Default Re: How do I know when...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bnlearle View Post
I wasn't "ready" but a friend's photographer bailed out the day before, I had a film camera, 30 rolls of film, and said, "sure!" when they asked if I could fill in last minute.
This is EXACTLY how I would like it to happen!

I'm ready to be the last-minute fill-in guy...who without, the couple would get nothing. If I could survive that experience with photos that I was proud of, I'd know I'd be comfortable doing it for real.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #11
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Default Re: How do I know when...

I was ready...but I still made a few dumb mistakes and was genuinely surprised by how quickly things go.

I was nervous and as snakeman55 said; I took it as a good sign that I wasn't complacent.

If you can drive your camera, have a backup system, and manage the expectations of the 'client' (irrespective of whether you're getting paid or not) you will do OK.

Just this week there's been threads asking "should I use AF-Servo at a wedding this weekend?" and "can I recover images if I did a full shoot without a CF card?"...IMO these people aren't ready, but again, provided they managed expectations, there shouldn't be too much fallout and they will learn valuable lessons for next time.

My best advice for a first timer is GO AND ASSESS THE VENUE BEFORE THE DAY.
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Old 7th of May 2012 (Mon)   #12
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Default Re: How do I know when...

Scared of what Please... it's easy !! Wedding photography is easier than anything else in the world, everyone can do it. Even if you have your first DSLR you should try, go for it, wedding photography is easy and not require any work. It's fun

After few years as a main/first photographer I'm scared to death before every single wedding, no matter if this is a beach ceremony for 1 hour or wedding for 300 people. I'm always going thru all my "checklists" I'm always trying to be double ready for every single situation.... It is a huge responsibility, and soon as you realize how big responsibility it is, it means you ready to work as a main/first photographer. I'm always scared, I always talk to my wife about what should I take care of first, talk about game plan, talk about settings, etc, etc...... Soon as you realize how big responsibility and powers is in your hands you can start planning your first wedding as a first photographer.... and never try to play smart ass and the guy who knows everything and is best photographer in the world.... #1 rule: Respect your customers thats the only way to gain their trust.... without trust you don't have customers.... GOOD LUCK to all new first/main photographer! have a good Histogram !
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Old 7th of May 2012 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: How do I know when...

I'd say you're ready as soon as you're confident that you're not going to mess up.

Shooting as a second would be helpful first would be helpful.
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Old 7th of May 2012 (Mon)   #14
cpam.pix
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Default Re: How do I know when...

I got good news...the second wedding that I was asked about isn't until a year from now.
That's plenty of time to take advantage of learning opportunities by shooting second.

I'm going to sit down with the bride to learn about her expectations...and if she wants something closer to budget than fairy tale, I'll probably make the leap.
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Old 8th of May 2012 (Tue)   #15
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Default Re: How do I know when...

when you do one, and don't receive death threats, you're ready for more...
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