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Thread started 06 Feb 2014 (Thursday) 04:36
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Only person in the family with an DSLR, how do I say NO to do a family member wedding

 
OneDeep
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216 posts
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Indiana
Feb 06, 2014 04:36 |  #1

Title says it all. I'm the only in the family that have a DSLR and my soon to be cousin in law already hinting for me to do her wedding in Dec. I been portfolio building and I know I do not want to do Weddings! How can I politely say no?. I do not have the right equipment with camera or lens, no second camera.

I don't want to waste months learning with a local and shooting as a second photographer if this not something I want to do. She have been letting me use her kids as my subjects for my portfolio but I do not want to do her wedding when she probably won't have a official wedding photographer. She haven't asked me yet to my face but my family is telling me she already hinting towards it. I don't want to have her hate me either.

This site made me learn that weddings is something to take serious, you only get one chance and I knew that it's too much work and you need tons of experience. I respect all the wedding photographers :)


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Thorrulz
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The Land of the "Go Big Red!"
Feb 06, 2014 04:51 |  #2

Let me ask first what type of gear you have? Unless you have a specific type of lens shooting a wedding will be challenging no matter what type of body you own. That could be an easy out but if you don't feel comfortable shooting a once in a lifetime event "hopefully" for her just be honest and tell her so.

I shot sports, family and senior photography for 6 years before doing my first wedding and it was still nerve wracking to say the least. Good luck and remember to be sincere in your talk with her and hopefully she will be understanding in your decision.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Feb 06, 2014 05:05 |  #3

A plain and simple "No".


Peter

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Brupikk
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Feb 06, 2014 05:26 |  #4

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Lastblackdog
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Feb 06, 2014 05:27 as a reply to memoriesoftomorrow's post |  #5

Preemptive strike.

Get in there first by telling her that, while you wouldn't have the skills or equipment to take her "official" wedding photos, you would love the opportunity to record the less formal moments.

Emphaise to her the importance of getting this occasion captured by a professional and that if she settles for a well meaning amateur like yourself she will regret it later.

Explain that wedding photography is as much about crowd control and direction as it is about taking a nice picture.

Explain that because you understand what is involved (to some degree) you would be very stressed if you took responsibility for producing the official album.

Part of the problem we have as photographers trying to improve is that we are more aware than the average person is of what constitutes a good photo. Your work is probably the best she has ever seen and can't imagine anyone else doing better.

Good luck. After all, managing expectations is a key skill of a wedding photographer :p

Michael


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JJD.Photography
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Feb 06, 2014 08:03 as a reply to Lastblackdog's post |  #6

I simply say, "Sorry, I don't have enough experience to shoot a wedding."
I've been asked to shoot a few weddings. I just don't like shooting people, even if that is where the money is!


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marcheseg
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Feb 06, 2014 08:22 as a reply to JJD.Photography's post |  #7

I am an amature photographer also with a DSLR with many lenses. I went to my neices wedding and took many photos (I was not the official photographer) The pictures that I showed my neice she loved. Her brother, my nephew, saw them and said that he wanted me to shoot his wedding. Like you, I do not want to. So I told him the truth. I do not have a second camera and the correct lenses to shoot a wedding and I cannot shoot a wedding without a second camera. Plus I do not have the experience to be an official wedding photographer. At that point he accepted the fact that I cannot do it.
I explained to him that you have 1 shot at this, If I screwed up, now what?
I repeated again.....Pay the professional ! Honesty is the best policy so it doesn't come back to bite you in the a$$.


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nathancarter
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Joined Dec 2010
Feb 06, 2014 08:27 |  #8

Send her an estimate for $10,000, with a family discount marking it down to only $7500.


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CMfromIL
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Feb 06, 2014 08:33 |  #9

Lastblackdog wrote in post #16667517external link
Preemptive strike.

Get in there first by telling her that, while you wouldn't have the skills or equipment to take her "official" wedding photos, you would love the opportunity to record the less formal moments.


NO

I've had some friends and relatives ask. I always say the same thing. I'm flattered that you asked, however I do NOT shoot weddings. And leave it at that.

If pressed (as I have been) I simply say that I value the friendship/family relationship too much and would rather not get involved on a business transaction. The potential for causing hurt feelings is high and it's not something I will do.

They stop asking after that.

Similarly, when my wife and I were getting married years ago she asked me (my wife) if we could use her cousin for the announcements and invitations. I told her that we will NEVER use family for business for those type of '1 time' things. If something went wrong we would see her at every family gathering and it could spoil the relationship. It's just not worth it.


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mikeinctown
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Joined May 2012
Cleveland, Ohio
Feb 06, 2014 08:36 |  #10

First, don't approach your cousin and tell her no until she asks you. She may not need or want you to do the job to begin with and it may just be other relatives hoping that you will help or offer up help. If you assume she wants you to and she really doesn't, then you look like an ass and she may be upset with you for just assuming that she needs you. once you are officially asked, then just say you can't because you don't have the right equipment nor the experience.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Feb 06, 2014 08:38 as a reply to mikeinctown's post |  #11

send her a link to this thread.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Formerly he's gone before apostrophe-gate | Not in gear database: Canon 70-210 3.5-4.5, Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

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PhotosGuy
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Feb 06, 2014 08:40 |  #12

Good reasons above to just say "No."

OneDeep wrote in post #16667479external link
I'm the only in the family that have a DSLR...

And just because you're equipped with "Wedding tackle"external link, they don't insist on inviting you to the wedding night, right? ; )


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i_am_cdn
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Canada
Feb 06, 2014 09:51 |  #13

I get asked all the time to do Weddings, and I simply hate them, I did a couple years ago as favors, and it was evident that it was not something I ever wanted to do again.

Here is what I tell people (family / friends) when they hint at shooting a wedding.

1) Thanks for thinking of me, but, honestly wedding photography is an art, and one that I have not spent enough time learning to properly cover your wonderful event and do it justice. These are photos you will want to keep and cherish for a lifetime so choosing a professional wedding photographer is a far better option than having me do it.

or if I am going to be at the event as a guest

2) Look this is a very special day for you, and I want to be there to celebrate that day with you. I can't shoot your wedding an also enjoy the day and time with you and all our family if I am behind a camera, and running around trying to capture it for you.


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OneDeep
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
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Indiana
Feb 06, 2014 11:48 |  #14

Thanks everyone. I just have to say No in a gentle way, for her to understand. I won't bring up the subject until she officially asks me. I'd rather be a guest than be stressed on trying to shoot.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Feb 06, 2014 11:50 |  #15

A very close friend asked me to photograph his wedding as the only photographer. I said, "No, I will not be your wedding photographer."

A month or two later, his fiance asked me if I would do it. I again said, "No", quite firmly. I said I did not want the responsibility, and had no interest in being a wedding photographer.

Well, the wedding day comes, and guess what? They had no photographer. Big wedding. 200+ guests. No photographer had been hired. They knew I would have a camera with me, so they just planned on me doing it even though I had said "no".

Well, I told them that I would take some pictures, but would not be responsible for anything. In other words, don't expect much of anything, and don't keep asking me to shoot various groupings of people in posed positions - you know, the "let's do the bride with her parents now", and "Ok, now we want all of the groom's family in a shot". I would not shoot any of that crap. I did agree to shoot anything I felt like shooting, but made it clear that they were not to direct me as to what images they wanted to be shot.

The whole thing was difficult because I was the best man, and therefore had no way of shooting the ceremony itself. They didn't care about that.

So, What I basically did was to shoot a bunch of candids at the reception. Funny stuff like waiting 'till somebody would pick at their nose and then take the pic at that moment. Or I would wait 'till somebody would burst out laughing and take a shot of them with their mouth wide open in contorted laughter. I just did what I wanted, and shot what I felt like shooting. And it took me about 3 months to get the photos to them (burnt onto a CD).

Surprisingly, they were thrilled! They really enjoyed the pics. A couple bitty old ladies - aunts or something - shot the ceremony from the front pew with their little point and shoot cameras, so they already had those types of static, formal shots.

So, I guess the advice I have, based on my experience, is to be firm and insist on doing only what you feel like doing. Don't go trying to be a good Samaritan unless it's what you feel like doing. But be sure to put your camera in the car when you drive to the wedding, just in case.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

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Only person in the family with an DSLR, how do I say NO to do a family member wedding
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