Post # 1
So I have a friend who is having a destination wedding a few states away. And she has asked me to be her wedding photographer.
I have ZERO EXPERIENCE shooting weddings.
I told her this, and she assured me that it’s ok, that she just needs someone to take photos. I told her they probably wouldn’t be very good, but she said she’s seen some of the photos I’ve taken on Facebook and that I’d do fine.
The photos on Facebook are of birds and flowers.
Also, my camera was recently stolen so she is letting me use her stepfather’s camera, and it’s a Nikon. I’ve only ever uses Canon. I’ve tried convincing her to get a professional to no avail.
I am so scared that I am going to screw this up that I am nearly hyperventilating, and the wedding isn’t until Saturday!
Post # 3
- Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo
I’m surprised you didn’t insist on not doing it, or flat out refuse! Have you done everything possible to make sure she understands that you have no experience and it’s not your fault if her wedding pictures don’t come out the way that she is expecting them to??
If you have and she’s aware, then try to stop freaking out. She should be aware of the consequences. Anyway, you are probably way better at photography than you are giving yourself credit for!! I would however ask if you can see her father’s camera ahead of time so you can play around with it.
Post # 4
Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be in fine. It sounds like your friend understands that you are not a professional and isn’t expecting professional photos. It’s a rarity but there are some of us out there that don’t think photography is a priority. If you really don’t want to do this then say no. She can find another friend to take pictures. If you are going to take the pictures I would definately try to get the camera before the actual ceremony so that you can spend some time familiarizing yourself with it. And spend some time looking at wedding photography to get some ideas for poses and such. And ask your friend for both a must have photo list and some examples of the kinds of pictures she likes. It sounds like you’ve been very upfront with your friend and warned her that these will not be professional quality photos and that is all you can do. Take the best pictures you can (and lots of them so you have lots of choices) and don’t stress about disappointing her because stress serves no good purpose. Also check to see if there is a backup battery and memory card for the camera.
Post # 5
Ask for the camera ahead of time with its manual so that you can practice with it.
Don’t accept any payment from the bride; in fact, I might even put it in terms of “this is my gift to you” because you need to convey you are not a professional and she can’t have the expectation that the results are going to look like a professional.
Encourage her to have other guests take pictures besides you. When she asks why, tell her the truth: it’s an unfamiliar camera, you’re not a professional (which makes a difference when it comes to capturing moments and technical things like low-light), and it’s possible therefore that the shots could be over-under exposed and/or something could go wrong in the editing/developing process etc. etc.
You know your friend, but I’m guessing that she probably is aware of these things and just needs someone because she’s on a budget or in a bind. And don’t sell yourself short–just because you’re not a pro doesn’t mean that you can’t take good photographs. A lot of guests have wonderful candids. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with telling your friend that you’d like to assume this repsonsibility AS A GUEST, not as a makeshift vendor. Or to refuse outright, if the pressure is overwhelming.
Post # 6
Get ahold of the camera in advance and get some practice in.
Look online for advice about shooting weddings and what photos/angles/timings are good.
Look at lots of wedding photos.
And BREATHE. She knows what the situation is.
Post # 7
People never seem to realize that taking pictures at a wedding is totally, completley different than posed shots or nature shots. People are, in general, just totally clueless about how much goes into professional photography.
If you think this could effect your friendship, don’t do it. Let someone else take the fall!
Post # 8
I don’t blame you – I’d crap my pants! First things first, get a list from her (an ALL INCLUSIVE list) of the photos she expects you to take. Make sure that you create a check-list and get all the family shots, etc. Take a few test shots and show her to see if you’re on the right track. Next, get the Nikon early. If her step-father is willing to loan it to you, I’m sure he’d be willing to let you get used to it early and give you some tutorials.
I am sure this is unbelievably stressful for you! Just try and stay calm and focused and do the best you can. You have given her several outs – what can you do now but try??
Post # 9
Also, websites like borrowlenses.com let you rent camera bodies and lenses very affordably. At the very least, you could have her rent you your camera.
And the multiple lenses you’ll need.
And the multiple flashes.
And the backup bodies and lenses.
And the 70+ GB of flash cards you’ll need for the job.
And the backup batteries.
A wedding is not a small undertaking….
Post # 10
Breathe. Don’t put it on yourself to get fancy equipment, etc. You didn’t volunteer for this. Just do the best you can. It’s all on her.
Sorry she sprung this on you. I know it’s going to take away from your enjoyment of the night. That’s a lot to ask someone to do.
Post # 11
- Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park
My advice (as a professional photographer)? Don’t do it. There’s a lot more riding on her photography (both technically an emotionally) than either of you probably anticipate at this point. It could go fine, but it could be a disaster… and is that worth it?
Post # 12
She asked you today to be a wedding photographer Saturday?! Is she nuts?! I would politely say you’d be happy to try to take some extra shots, but that you’re not a professional and you’d really rather be there as a guest to enjoy the day.
Post # 13
CRAP in pants. Wedding photography is a big deal. I would say don’t do it… but is it to late for her to book a photographer?
on the other hand, you warned her… if she doesn’t like it then so be it I guess.
I can totally understand why you are frieking out. Just do your best and it will be fine!
Post # 14
I think you should decline You can say you’d rather attend as a guest and spend the time celebrating with them. =)
Post # 15
@bakerella: Oh, no. She asked me a few weeks ago. And I do think it is mostly because of money. I did definitely express my trepidation, but she’s the sort of encouraging,sweet person who gets what she wants and doesn’t really take no for an answer.
Post # 16
I really think you should respectfully decline :/