first off, let me say right up front that I am not planning to be a wedding photographer, except for friends and family. There was a time that I knew a dozen pro's, at my own wedding I had eight in attendance, and I got about 10 gazillion negatives to sort through for our prints- the only thing I had to pay for, and that didn't cost me much cause I was working in a professional color lab at the time.
Having had that much exposure to the business, i know full well what it takes, and frankly I aint got it. I shoot outdoors, some sports, If I did go pro it would be freelance journalism or just plain event photography. I have heard too many "distraught mother of the bride" stories to make me want to do this for a business, much less for a living.
So....I have been asked by a friend to shoot a wedding. I do not know the bride or groom, my friend has been hired to do the video. He is a member of a large Indian society in our area, and does the video for all of his friends and relatives weddings. They are spectacular events, colorful dress, music, great food and friendly people. I want to do it, I would enjoy it very much and I am confident I could produce good exposures.
What I want to know is this: how do you learn the ins and outs of what is expected? what kind of packages go for what kind of price? Is it easy to find Photographers that will let me work as a second gun in trade for the experience, kind of a 'job shadow'?
How did you first start shooting weddings? How did you get GOOD at it?