Tuesday, May 20, 2014

So, YOU WANT TO BE A Wedding Photographer?!

So you want to photograph weddings...one of the most, if not the most technically demanding and stressful types of photography you can do.  And of course, you want to be great at it…Right?

So, then I assume you HAVE experience in ALL types of photography…Yes?

Do YOU have experience in ALL this?

 1.  Natural Light Outside
 2.  Natural Light Inside (window light)

 3.  Available light interiors with mixed color temperatures (inside church)
 4.  Interiors in low light with flash (dragging the shutter)
 5.  Lighting groups at the altar
 6.  Balancing off camera flash with on camera flash
 7.  Architectural photography interiors and exteriors.

 8.  Food photography by window light an/or flash (eg. the cake, favors, their meal & table settings). You may also have to move the cake, or the invitation, for a better lighting and placement of bride and groom when cutting.

  9.  Product photography:  the bride's dress, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

10. Action photography; eg. the bouquet and garter toss: you may have only a couple of minutes to set-up each of those events.  You have to decide where YOU place the bride in relation to her girls, so you can photography them with the best background, in addition you have to quickly train the bride how to toss the bouquet.

11. Macro photography:  extreme close-ups of their rings, properly placed or artistically set-up is a big seller.

12. Car photography (the limo) with bride & groom and/or attendants.

13. Interior car photography; you have 8 people in a 25-foot stretch limo…where are YOU going to be and how are you going to light it…you have maybe 2 minutes to do this!

14. Candid photography; what we call "Storytelling" images of everything that happens between the big events of their day.

15. Lighting and Posing a 180 LB bride (standing and sitting). Don't even think about  using on-camera flash! To make it harder, her bouquet is
only 12" wide.  Lighting and posing a 98 LB bride and Her bouquet is Wider than her hips!

16. Posing the bride and groom: she's 5 feet tall and he's 7' 3" tall!  What about that first dance!

17.  Posing a wedding party of 20 people, using a one or two step, dimly lit, church altar.  You have 5 or 6 more set-ups, working on down to the bride & groom alone, and you have 15 minutes to do it before they shut off the lights. What's your plan?

18. How you are going to orchestrate your images throughout the day? Know how to create a step by step image plan, with back-up plan (if I don't catch these images up front where can I make them up later).  

19. Know your Camera inside and out!  In a matter of moments be able to switch gears from a dark interior to bright sunlight outside.

20. Then after all of the above, you need people skills and self confidence.  Oh…my wife asked me to remind you to charge appropriately!  Average weddings use up about 40 hours of your time start to finish…how much do you want to get paid for a weeks worth of work after Cost of Goods?

Now, what do you need to accomplish any or all of the above?
The obvious…paperwork!  Contracts, pricing, studio policies, who's who information sheets, list of images to be done, and timeline to name of few.  Oh…bit of advice here…make your last payment due 2 weeks BEFORE the wedding.  If you don't you could wait a long time to collect any balance due after the wedding.

The equipment you need is:
1.  A minimum of 2 camera bodies with vertical grips, housing 2 batteries and 2 back-up batteries per camera.

2.  A Pro flash on EACH camera, with some kind of flash modifiers (at least a Stoffen type). I also carried 2 extra sets of batteries for each flashes.

3.  I brought 7 different lenses, but you can safely cover events with 4 lenses.

The must have lenses are:
1)  A Pro Medium Zoom - like: f2.8 70-200 L, IS, II Canon, or f2.8 70-200 VR Nikon, or f2.8 80-200 Nikon, or Tamron or Sigma f2.8 70-200mm.

2) A Pro Short Zoom Lens - f2.8 24-70 L Canon, or f4.0 24-105 L Canon (will do .7x Macro), or f2.8 24-70 G Nikon, or f4.0 24-120 VR Nikon

3) A Macro or a Zoom/Macro Lens - f2.8 105mm VR Nikon, or f2.8 100mm Macro Canon

4) A super wide zoom or my favorite a 15mm or 16mm Fisheye.  Every time I've used the fisheye lens clients were blown-away and bought them! Every manufacturer makes fisheye lenses.

Now ask yourself…Are You really ready to be a wedding photographer?  
If you don't have 100% of the obvious paperwork you are setting yourself up for issues down the road. If you can't do at least 90% of the skills needed to do all these types of photography, you need more training before you take responsibility for capturing a life changing event for someone. 

If you need help, give me a call and we'll see if we can get you into one of the training classes offered at our training site ( http://www.LightattheEdge.com ) that will help you the best.  As always leave your comments.

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Certified Master Photographer

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