Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Do you do weddings?

''I have a friend who is after a cheap wedding package...''

As a photographer how many times have you heard this, especially when you already have a few decent weddings under your belt. When I first found I had a desire to work in documentary style photography I was keen to see what it was like to work as a wedding photographer. In the early stages I would ask anyone I knew who was getting married if I could work in the background keeping out of the professionals way and doing my own thing, I would also offer my assistance, for free, to the paid photographer just so I could get a feel for the day and improve my skills. This, for me, is the best way to start, there's no pressure and you have no-one on your back, I also found it really enjoyable!
My first paid wedding I got off the back of doing a family shoot for a friend. Someone saw my work and asked me to capture their special day. I think it's only fair to say you have to be honest with a couple about to get married and explain fully where you're at in your photography career. It's no good just saying yes, turning up and making a mess of things! Weddings take planning, planning and more planning!

My first wedding ©2012MattElliott

For my first shoot I was lucky enough to work with Lee and Stacey who were fully aware of my situation, but also knew how dedicated I am. I met them several weeks before their big day, talked everything over...
  • location
  • guests
  • style
  • timings
  • special requirements
  • theme
  • style of images
  • ect...

I made sure I visited the location a week before to check for light and surroundings then met with the couple again to make sure all was set.
Couples want, on the whole, documentary coverage of their day, that's the joy of digital! You are able to get creative and make your own mark, and that's what should set you part from the crowd, this isn't to say you should go beyond what the couple are looking for! My first shoot I shot in jpeg, I wasn't knowledgeable enough about RAW at the time, however I was happy with the results and so were the couple! The bride had a few tears when I presented them with the images, of joy I may add. That for me was enough to let me know I had done a good job!
Since this wedding I have worked on a lot more and each and even time I evaluate the day, what I liked/didn't like and what I could do better. I am glad to say I haven't had any problems so far, and I think that's mainly down to my work ethic and planning.

I have a fair amount of weddings planned for the Summer already and am looking forward to working with all the couples involved. I NEVER shoot for free anymore, I think it's fair to say I've severed my apprenticeship and now offer a service which takes a large amount of time, and time is money!
  • Consultation 2 hours
  • Planning 4 hours
  • Pre-dress shoot 2 hours
  • Wedding day 10-12 hours
  • Editing (depending) 24 hours 
  • TOTAL= 44 Hours
So if someone asks you to shoot a full days work for £150 think about the amount of work you are going to put in and explain this to them in a diplomatic way.
Someone once said to me ''you don't need to be qualified to be a wedding photographer'' this is true to a point, however if the couple want Joe next door, who shoots only for fun, that's fine. If you're going to put yourself out there as a 'professional' then in my opinion you need to have met certain standards and have all the right boxes tick, but I'll blog about that later.

All images are copyright to MRE-Photography ©2012

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