Home Forums Photography Showcase Weddings?? I think I'm in over my head.


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    Here’s the thing; I’m 17, and I have been photographing seriously for a little over a year. I take classes, go to workshops, and learn all that I can from books and online. I understand I have a lot to learn, and I explain my level of experience to people before they “book me” for freelance work. I’d prefer to  be hired to do a project than be a business, but I’m not sure how to convey that. Most of the work I do (with the exception of seniors –who are more like my classmates and friends of friends) is for free. But I have too much editing to do, and I sometimes get a lot of pressure and demand, and I feel not appreciated. Is it true that when you do not charge, or charge a low amount (for gas money or something), people do not value your work?’

    Here are some pictures of a wedding from last month. The bride was giving me a chance knowing this was my “first wedding”, wanting some affordable pictures to send family that wasn’t able to attend. I have second shot several weddings, but I was the main photographer for this one. I paid a second–shooter, and rented equipment, and in the end I got less than half of $440, which I was okay with, because I need experience. But I’m a little worried, because the lighting was spotty, and I was not expecting that since the rehearsal the night before was a little later and the light was fine. But half of the seats were in light, and the other shade. I would just like some constructive criticism on the pictures in this wedding album, my overall work. Advice would be much appreciated! Thank you.

    Wedding pictures: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.555457064489472.1073741830.139011372800712&type=3

    My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaMPhoto

    ^I know I do not have a “real website” link. I am working on getting that, but I just bought a full-frame camera and do not have the knowledge to create a proper website, or hire someone/pay a host server.

    **Should I even charge? I keep going back and forth, which ends up with me feeling used by people. I know I should probably stick to a specific type of photography too, but I’m not sure I’ve found my niche and senior sessions help pays college tuition more than my conceptual/fashion shots.


    I saw the other thread and commented there.  Did you shoot to raw or JPEG?  If you shot to raw files, you can get back the detail in the dress and make other adjustments that don’t work nearly as well if you only have JPEG’s.

    To charge or not to charge, whether ’tis nobler … Yeah, well, if people have a reasonably good understanding of what to expect and they are willing to pay, why not?  It is certainly better to charge a bit more and be more appreciated and less abused, than to charge less and feel put upon.

    Facebook seems to be where people go but Flickr offers free accounts and does a better job of displaying photos.  Also, Flickr will let you post larger images and will display the image just as you uploaded it, without the modifications Facebook does.

    Flash can help even out light.  Options are many and you have to balance the benefits against having the equipment and keeping track of it.  An on-camera flash will help some and is easiest to keep track of.


    Watch your whites carefully at a wedding. In most of the shots you’ve completely lost all texture in the dress. If you’re doing posed group shots make sure everyone in the shot is actually sharp (the bride with bridesmaids shot) and that everyone is looking at you if that is what you want. The ginger girl in the shot is neither sharp nor looking at the camera.

    Bright sun is difficult to shoot in but a flash will help you, especially if you can plan a little in advance. The shot where the bride and groom are walking down the path the entire left side of the face of the groom is blown out by the sun. If you have enough flash power available you can effectively overpower the sun which would avoid hot spots like that and also bring the sky back to the beautiful blue I’m guessing it was. Obviously it’d make your life far easier if you’d done the shot in the shade instead. I’m also getting the impression that the shot isn’t completely level.

    A personal thing maybe but I find a black and white variant of a shot next to the colour version really jarring.

    I honestly think you are slightly in over your head. You aren’t that far off the mark for a wedding photographer but you still have some issues that you should have spotted yourself before you asked for feedback. It might be that some of the things I pointed out could be sorted with careful editing

    To me one of the hallmarks of a good wedding photographer is the ability to use flash properly, especially off camera. If you get more light on your subjects you can get rid of the very bright backgrounds which haunt some of your posed shots. The shot of the family has that bright blotch on the right and some parked cars which you could get rid of as well. Hard light from a very shallow angle can help with creating texture as well which can be helpful if you have the time to set it up.


    I will agree with Nesgran on this one. You may be in over your head a little.

    You and I are not entirely different in the wedding field. I’ve shot 5 weddings solo since I started, mostly for friends/family. I’ve second shot two. While I love the “glitz and glamour” of a wedding and working with a bride who exudes confidence (and I can help make her feel even MORE stunning than she already is!), even the most well intentioned friend can wind up heartbroken if I miss something or create anything that makes her feel like I messed up her big day! Not just brides, either. Friends of the bride may comment on something, Uncle Bob’s may try and undercut credibility and abilities (which actually happened to me once and I just about burst into tears after the ceremony… He was pretty mean – and, as it turns out, wasn’t even invited!). It is a rough business.

    I love weddings. I adore them.
    But they are HARD!
    I’ve stopped for now, until I can learn OCF and really deliver a product that is up to my standards. Practice is great, but I would recommend second shooting for a while. Get to a point where you can charge over a thousand or two for a wedding. Your time is so, so worthwhile when you deliver something spectacular – and not just the final product, but the experience as well.

    I literally just thought of this, but what about grabbing a friend, finding a -decent- dress at Goodwill (I know, it’s super hard!) and practicing? Even if the dress is goofy, it can be a great way to learn how to capture the details of the dress in all sorts of lighting conditions! You can always return or re-donate the dress afterward.

    You mentioned earlier that you’re shooting with a t2i, the other thing I would be concerned about is the first impression. While it really stinks, people are innately shallow. We, as average people, jump to conclusions and when we see a little camera, we don’t necessarily think “Professional”. Odds are your happy couples have done some research, and even if they adore your work, a first impression can cause them to be wary or stiff around you. It may cause them to micromanage and it may drive you absolutely crazy! I would get crackin on learning the ins and outs of the 6D so local pros will look at your ambition to work in full frame and you’ll come in higher than many others vying for a second shooter job.



    No, I’ve shot all weddings with a 6D, with the t2i as my second camera. And I’m more comfortable with couples and individuals, but the family pictures were much more difficult, because it was a LARGE family (about 4 families for both the bride and groom), and they were really antsy. It would have been a lot smoother if the pictures could have been taken before the ceremony. Every wedding that has done that has been much more laid back with less pressure, because the wedding party isn’t in a rush to go off to the reception. In my contract, I asked for at least half an hour, but we didn’t do that.

    With that particular wedding, I ordered the 6D, but it was delayed and I got it the night before. I got practice shooting them getting ready at her parent’s house, but because of the driving situation, I did not get to go to the wedding location before hand and set up. I got there when the bride got there. Oh well, lesson learned. And thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look for a white dress. And I’m not necessarily advertising to get weddings. The bride contacted me, because another photographer had canceled on her. And while I am definitely not on the level I’d like to be, the photographer who canceled was less…experienced? I not sure how to convey that, but the bride was willing to work with me, and said her expectations were just some nice pictures, and she understood that it was my first wedding and she likes to give people a chance. For less than $500, I don’t think anyone should expect a professional WEDDING photographer who can charge upwards of thousands. But I do think it’s a good idea to second shoot some more. I got good feedback from the last wedding I second-shot at, but it was a lot smoother, because of the decorations and overall location, time of day, etc.

    Good advice, thank you! And I realize that’s true, people are camera snobs. Ever since I got the 6D, I haven’t used the t2i. I’m not more comfortable with it, pictures look better on the full-frame, there are just a lot of things I have to tweak and get used to. The rebel will be my camera for underwater shoots.


    agreed with you and everyone else. I’d stop before you fuck up someones wedding and start assisting  with a pro. Someone who’s work you respect btw and make sure they pay you. They can pay you less if you are going into it to learn but they should pay you nonetheless.


    Of course I want to get to the level where I feel comfortable and can charge over 1K. But what about the brides that simply cannot afford to pay more than $500? I feel like I am giving them some decent pictures if they cannot find anyone to do it for free, or comparable for under $500. But I don’t want to be offering up terrible quality work while I’m learning. $ was just to cover fees, hiring a second photographer, and gas $, plus a little to cover the time, but less than I’d make on a regular shoot.


    wow, so you bring an additional photographer for $500 all in?

    I’m not a wedding photographer, but i have shot weddings. I’ve shot two. One was for a friend (i’ll never do that again) and the other was for someone who was a big fan of my style of work. I didn’t want to do it but i also didn’t want to say no. So I quoted her an insane number. Unfortunately she didn’t even blink.  I hired a second shooter who had shot weddings. It was stressful and frustrating and i thought i’d completely fucked up her wedding photos. To this day, I still get calls from ppl she refers me too. And I turn down every one. You cannot pay me enough to do them…maybe if the economy goes to shit again…who knows.

    Anyways, how many weddings have you done? have you fucked any of them up yet? You probably won’t if you keep things very controlled with only what you are comfortable with. Hire an assistant that has a lot of experience to cover your ass. They will probably hate you b/c they know more than you do, but if they could have gotten the job, they would have, not you.  Make them teach you shit. But honestly your CODB is probably higher than your profit, so i’d just stop for now.


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