(Closed) I'm a wedding photographer – want tips or have questions?

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 17
Member
362 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I hope it’s ok to jump in here and give some additional advice on some of these questions!

@HotnHollerin:  It is certainly possibly to capture your walk down the aisle and the groom’s face. I shoot 95% of my weddings solo so I’m used to doing this on my own. I position myself crouched down, about halfway up the aisle or even up at the top of the aisle. One camera has a longer zoom lens which I use to capture your walk down and then I drop one and pick up the other (which has a wide angle), swivel towards the groom, and get his reaction. Easy peasy. The only time I have ever missed getting both of these has been when an unruly guest has jumped out right in front of me to get their own picture which is very aggravating and a great reason to have an unplugged ceremony.

The key with this is to find a photographer who is usually a solo shooter and has the skill and experience to shoot weddings comprehensively on their own. So if your budget only allows for a solo shooter, or you’re not having a huge wedding and don’t really have a need for two photographers all day, look for someone who regularly shoots as a solo shooter rather than hiring a photographer who normally shoots with another photographer (like hiring one half of a husband/wife team or any other team). A lot of duos are accustomed to having two of them to comprehensively cover the day so they may not be used to the faster pace of grabbing all of those moments on their own. This is NOT true across the board for teams but I’ve seen it happen enough to know that there are definitely teams out there who learned how to shoot a wedding with two photographers and don’t compensate well when the other isn’t there. It’s just a totally different pace.

 

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@Sunnyinct:  For posed shots your photographer should be able to put you in positions that are flattering for your arms. But remember that a wedding day is FULL of moments where the photographer can’t, say, stop the ceremony or first dance to tell you your arm looks fat, you know? haha! So if you do nothing else during those candid moments, be SUPER aware of your posture. Roll your shoulders back, straighten your back/neck, and pretend that someone is holding them in that position with string. You’ll look a million times taller and sleeker.

Post # 18
Member
520 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

@skippydarling:  I think continuum’s comment was more because from the looks of the post, it’s bordering on self promotion… most photographers new to the boards don’t know the rules here.

Post # 19
Member
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@emorelia:  Aussies unite! I’m in Adelaide, and having such a hard time finding a photographer that I like.

When I go to bridal expos or view online galleries, I find that a lot of the photos looked ‘forced’ and awkward – overly posed in the ‘now put your hand on his lapel like so, and look relaxed!’ style. I want genuinely relaxed/natural, intimate, romantic-looking photos much like these: http://www.100layercake.com/blog/2013/04/10/creative-industrial-wedding-casey-david/.

These expo photographers seem popular though, and aren’t cheap – but to my (admittedly untrained) eye their photos don’t seem like anything special. The actual shot quality is fine, like they’ve got all the right equipment, but the poses and overall ‘feel’ of the photos is awkward and doesn’t seem like it took a lot of skill or experience to create.

Do you think I’m setting my standards too high? I’ve found some photographers that I love for upwards of $4k, which I can’t afford, but if I’m going to drop $2k on a photographer I feel like I should get more than just good equipment – I also want experience and knowledge on how to create natural, non-posed shots.

Post # 23
Member
362 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@HappySky7:  I’ll run you through my workflow. On any given week during busy season I am shooting at least 3 days – usually one wedding, sometimes two, and an engagement or bridal session or two each week. Let’s say that I take two days off a week (VERY rare from March-November), but let’s pretend for the sake of this that I do. That leaves me 2 days per week, maybe 3 if I take only one day for myself per week, to really dig deep into editing. So in a two month span let’s say that I have 8-10 editing work days. So:

1. I copy ~60-90 gigs of photos from my cards immediately after the wedding which takes a few hours. Then I copy them to at least 2 or 3 other drives which takes many more hours.

2. I wait 2-3 days to start working on any images from the wedding I just shot. This is a personal thing for me, but I find it helps me a lot to have a little bit of distance from the day before I re-visit it, so after everything has been backed up the night I get home (late Saturday or Sunday), I usually wait until Wednesday to start any work on them.

3. I import all of those RAW files into Lightroom and start the job of going through each shot and marking it as a keeper or trash. I usually have 2,000-3,000 images to get through and it’s even more if I have a second shooter. This task alone (importing and culling) is a full work day or more.

4. Once all of the keepers have been put into a new folder, I do preliminary Lightroom editing on each one. I straighten, crop, adjust exposure and color balance, sharpen, and adjust highlights/shadows for every.single.image. There is no magic one-touch button to auto correct every image the way I want them. I select images I’m pulling for the blog post/preview and do full edits on those. This takes hours and hours and hours.

5. At this point, after the blog is done, I assess where I am with my editing on weddings that happened BEFORE yours. So it’s really important to remember that when a photographer brings home memory cards from your wedding they are not jumping right into them and have nothing else to do. They are somewhere in this process with a NUMBER of weddings, so it’s not like you’re getting all 8-10 hours of an edit day on just your images. I shot 5 weddings in May and 5 in June this year, so it wasn’t until the end of June that I was wrapping up edit work on May weddings to begin digging into June weddings. Now if your wedding was in December and I was caught up on editing I would have the images done much faster because I wouldn’t have a backlog.

6. Once my preliminary edits are done in Lightroom I export the files from Lightroom in TIFF format, which means they are HUGE files. Exporting 600-800 TIFFS can take ~5-6 hours alone. During that time I work on someone elses images.

7. After they’ve finished exporting I run them through a PS action I created. This can take a few hours with TIFF files. Steps 6 and 7 take a full day usually.

8. I then open each individual image in PS and do final edits. Many photographers only do this when you order prints but my OCD ass forces me to do something to every image I deliver. This usually includes brightening eyes, lightening bags under the eyes, taking out a few distracting elements in the background, dodging faces to make them brighter or burning backgrounds to make the subject pop out of the image . . . this process takes 4-5 edit days. Not 4-5 days, 4-5 EDIT days. So again, if I have 2-3 of those a week, this can take me two weeks to complete and I may not even get started on it until 4 weeks after the wedding because I’m doing steps 1-7 and working on other weddings/shoots.

9. After I’ve edited all the TIFFS, I run actions to convert them to JPGs, then resize them for the proofing gallery, put them in the order I want them in and sort them by categories, and upload them to said gallery. This takes a bunch of time too.

It’s exhausting. I know it is frustrating for folks to wait on their images but honestly it just takes a long time to work through them, especially for busy photographers. Some bees get their photos super fast and that may be because their photographer doesn’t go further than step 4, or outsources your images to an edit company (which is expensive) and gets them turned around really fast.

The above doesn’t even take into account that your photographer, being a human being, might take a vacation or be sick for a week or have a family crisis to deal with or feel burned out sitting in front of the computer 12 hours a day. These are all things that go on for photographers and affect the turnaround time for photos. I promise we aren’t just sitting around twiddling our thumbs for two months before we decide to work on your photos. πŸ™‚

Post # 25
Member
3162 posts
Sugar bee

@continuumphotography:  I think what she is offering is fine. There are lots of MUAs, dress shop employees and other wedding related business people here, and they have threads.

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@emorelia:  I think it’s great you are offering this thread!

Post # 26
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@emorelia:  

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@mariematt:  

Thank you both for your insight! I appreciate it!

I’ve booked a solo photographer who has primarily shot weddings on her own – so I’m not too concerned.  The price was right and she’s got nice pictures πŸ™‚

Post # 27
Member
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I guess I’ll throw in a quick question without starting a new thread:

I know you should let your photographer know about good sides and bad sides but what to do if you can’t smile at all?  After being diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy 3 years ago, my smile’s never the same.  I can grin but look super awkward (and disformed) when I give an open mouth smile.  I’m afraid our candids will turn out one bad picture after another.

Post # 28
Member
346 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

What can you do if you hate your nose? I have a bulbous nose that I wish I could cut off and start over with a nice sharp one. πŸ™‚ So I know how to pose for my round face but my nose = ugh.

 

Post # 29
Member
362 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@BeeRod527:  Just tell your photographer about the Bells Palsy so they can be mindful of it during the day and not ask you to smile really big if you’re uncomfortable. 

 

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@Bainise2013:  Your photographer isn’t a magician. I would find photos you DO like of yourself, note those angles, and let your photographer know about them in advance. Then they can come up with poses that make you feel the way you do in your favorite photos of yourself. But it’s very important to realize that your photographer cannot control the angles they get during candid moments at the ceremony and reception. 

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