Post # 1
I know there are so many horror stories about asking a friend to be your photographer…hopefully this won’t be one!
I am an amateur photographer who has never done any type of paid job. Photography is just my hobby, I love it and feel that I know my camera well. I have posted photos on Facebook; mostly of nature, my dog, and family events like holidays and reunions…never really to “show off” my abilities though.
A friend of mine has asked if I will photograph her wedding next month. She said that she loves my photos and my photography style. She is on a tight budget and will not be able to hire a professional. After thinking about it a while, I told her that I would do it. However, I made it explicitly clear that I am an amateur and I cannot guarantee anything even close to professional quality. I told her that I have never shot a wedding or any live event comparable to a wedding. After all of that, she still said that she wants me to do it so I hope that her expectations are low (and with that, hopefully I will over-deliver).
She gave me a price that she could pay but I will not be charging her anything. I don’t feel comfortable charging due to my lack of experience, so maybe we will both benefit….I’ll get experience and she will get free wedding photography.
I will be tagging along to a wedding with my cousin (who IS a professional photog) next week, so I will at least have that day to get the feel of shooting a wedding.
With all of that said, does anyone have any tips for me? :). Things to do/not to do? I’m trying to play out how the day will go in my head but it’s a little difficult to know what to anticipate since I’ve never done this before.
Anything your photographer did that you loved…or maybe things they didn’t do that you wished they had?
Any tips/advice welcome, because even though I want my friend to keep her expectations low, this is her wedding day and I very much want to do a good job!
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Can you tour the venue before hand, to get familiar with the space?
Your friend needs to come up with a shot list- photos that are musts for her. Ex: bride & her grandmother, groom and his fraternity brothers, etc. Does she prefer posed or more casual photos?
Make sure to bring a backup camera/ cards/flashes, and swap out your cards frequently (the bride can buy these extra cards for you, if needed-this way if there’s an issue with one card, all of the photos aren’t gone). Most of the photographers I interviewed brought 3 cameras with them, just in case.
Try to take shots of every table, and pay attention that you’re not taking photos of just the same people- not everyone gets on the dance floor. Detail shots are a plus- the cake table, favors, centerpieces- try to get a table shot before people sit down. Will you be with the bride when she gets ready? You can get some great shots then, too.
Are you going to act as your cousin’s assistant next week? That will be great experience- you’ll pick up so much from him or her.
Post # 4
Make sure you take too many photo’s 😉 Get all different angles and use different lighting techniques for each!
As I read from a previous poster who was very unhappy with their pics, ask about the ceremony and if you should lay low so the guests get their ultimate view or if you should do what you can and go where you need to in order to get the shot!
As PP said, try to get to the venue to scope it out! Our photographer isn’t professional either but we took him to our venue and he snapped TONs of pictures for ideas and to play with lighting. He also asked us to print examples of pictures (the actual pictures) so he could play with the ideas and to give a list of must haves!
Also as PP said, get all of the details!! Some brides spend a lot of time and the deco and details, be sure to get pics of it all. If they could care less about them, then you just have added photos!
Also, can you do engagement pics before the wedding? We had our photographer do this, more so we could all get a feel for eachother. He is a friend but we were all a bit nervous in the beginning but after a few minutes we were brainstorming ideas together and it was really a group effort that I loved. I also know what to expect now for the wedding and what to ask for, as well as him! We also allowed for a lot of time (2 hours) but it was well worth it!! He knows our style and we know his 🙂
Post # 5
I wouldn’t jeopardize the friendship. Do you have the proper gear? Backup equipment in case of failure? Insurance the venue will most likely require? I would take what they have budgeted and help them find someone that at least has the proper equipment and experience doing a few weddings.
Oh, and I believe it’s against the rules to discuss business here. Just sayin, the mod’s may squash this thread soon.
Post # 6
@USER876: In all honesty, she would likely be relying on guest photos alone if I didn’t help her out because she was only offering me $100. Perhaps she could hire a student for that amount, but she is familiar with me and trusts me to be reliable. Unfortunately she certainly could not hire a professional on her budget.
As far as equipment goes, I have the following lenses:
- 24-70mm 2.8
- 70-200mm 2.8
- 55-250mm 4.0-5.6
- 50mm 1.2
- 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 (kit lense)
As well as an external flash, and I will be borrowing a backup camera body from my cousin who I mentioned in my OP. I didn’t really feel the need to list out my equipment before since this isn’t a photography forum.
The venue does not require insurance as it is the private residence of the bride’s mother.
The only rules I can find pertaining to business are those against self-promotion. I am certainly not self-promoting because no business exists to promote. Definitely not trying to break rules, just trying to help out another bride.
Post # 7
@Miss Sorbet: Here’s my advice- no matter what, draw up a contract. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong of you to provide this service to your friend free of charge, but if something does go wrong never underestimate the emotional damage that it can cause a friendship when a wedding is involved. You need to be very specific as to what you are going to provide them in terms of service and deliverables. Protect yourself!
Leave those kit lenses in your bag or your car. You can shoot the whole wedding with the 24-70, 70-200, and the 50. You need two camera bodies, two flashes, and a ton of batteries. Unlike the second poster’s advice I recommend against multitudes of smaller CF cards. The key to avoiding corruption is to never ever delete in camera, and never remove a card while the camera is turned on. Always format your cards before an event. 16GB or 32, the faster writing the better. When you get home, make sure you’ve downloaded the images on to multiple drives before you use the cards again. Offsite backups are a good idea as well.
Make sure the couple has a solid itinerary for the day, and that the photo events are planned out. The only list we work off of on a wedding day is for family formals, and it’s important that they are well planned out. I would recommend looking at a lot of wedding photographer blogs and getting ideas before you shoot.
Post # 8
@continuumphotography: Totally agree. Two cameras, as many batteries as you can get your hands on, two external flashes, don’t even bother with the 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 or 55-250mm 4.0-5.6, they’ll be completely useless to you.I always back-up my weddings twice on two different external hard drives as well as burning to a CD. The worst thing that can happen is you lose the pics.
I try to talk brides out of friendors, but if this woman knows exactly what to expect and she’s completely sold, then just do the best you can.