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Fearless Leader
11th February 2013, 09:34 PM
Hi all

After sinking (cough) pounds into my photography habit/addiction, I wonder about making a few quid.

Of those on here that "do" weddings, and portraiture work, did you do a course detailing the basics? If not, do you think you would have benefited? Or are you better off teaching yourself?

While it would be wrong to say the "human" element of photography isn't my strong point, I've never really given it a go, so I don't know. One thing I am sure of is booking a wedding as my first event would be like taking your first driving lesson on the motorway!!

So my question is, are these courses worthwhile? Can anyone provide any feedback?

Imageryone
11th February 2013, 11:52 PM
Best way to learn is to approach an established Wedding Photographer and see if he will let you assist on a few weddings.
The best way, but in these cut-throat days not the easiest way, sorry to say.

If you are considering a course, I would be very inclined to ask to see examples of the teachers work, so you can judge for yourself their level of expertise.

Ask friends and relatives if you can look at their celebration photographs, this gives you ideas of what is expected.

Lastly, make sure you check the local competition and pricing, you will be amazed at the actual amount of work involved, both before and after the event.

Hope this helps.:)

Chevvyf1
12th February 2013, 11:09 AM
Tony Northrups book has some great ideas :)
but I also have some excellent USA books on poses and lighting author "Phillips" Publisher Amhurst Media - from Amazon .Com

'Sacrifice' by Sinead O'Connor - YouTube

and I like to get ideas for poses from Vogue photographers books :)


You could always take a look at local wedding Togs on line albums and take a "model" along to some venues for a practice shoot or two ...

second hand or Pre-loved Wedding frocks are cheap as chips online - either eBay or from china ... so you could get some Bride images :)

In my humble opine ... it is more about the photographers ability to capture "that LOOK" in the eyes of a loving couple - than the frocks and hats or suits

You could also ask your local Florists if you could photograph their wedding Bouquets - giving them a copy for their "albums" - for these I have a metre of various pieces of fabrics (lace (cream; white; black) ; White linen (nice embossed old table cloths from car boots or eBay) ; satins; these show flowers off nicely :) and you can always pop into your local churches on Saturday mornings and often find it "filled with flowers" a#Vicars are quite happy for photos to be taken - there is the little box with a slot in :) to show how grateful you are :)

David Image1 says the most important, last " ... Lastly, make sure you check the local competition and pricing, you will be amazed at the actual amount of work involved, both before and after the event ... "

I reckon on 2 weeks of evenings processing work - but then I do swap Grannies miserable face behind the Bride during the service, for her happy one outside chatting with family ... have "ligtly sun tanned" a very pale & poorly Groom at his Dec 29th winter very cold day wedding ... and some of the pasty faced guests :) (um this does increase the print orders :) so is really an investment :)

I usually present an album of small jpegs files in a new Flickr family only album for viewing and selection - I will show some of favs in A4 and A3 prints to the couple and give them these as part of their Service :) more so they can "see" how good images loo printed big - this often leads to a number ordered for printing on linen canvas ... a nice little earner :) as I have the BIG files to print from :)

The couple are then given a set of the small images on CD for web/phone loading and gifting to others and a set for quality A4 prints by one and all :)

To start, you have to get work on PRICE :) even if your the best in the world, they will not pay top prices or even medium prices to a "beginner" :( ... but the sooner you have a few Wedding Albums for Prospective Clients to view your away :) and can pick and choose your Commissions :)

Chevvyf1
12th February 2013, 11:11 AM
sorry I cannot delete the Sinead O' Conner mysteriously pasted in here :(

but its a great one tolisten too :)

Benedict
12th February 2013, 01:09 PM
Best way to learn is to approach an established Wedding Photographer and see if he will let you assist on a few weddings.
The best way, but in these cut-throat days not the easiest way, sorry to say.



The best advice you can have is shown above + you really need to be a 'people person' if you are contemplating wedding photography - You need to be able to get the best out of people ( usually indifferent guests ) in what can sometimes be quite trying circumstances ( the sun doesn't always shine on wedding days ) - or to put it succinctly 'You need to be able to kick ass,with a very big :D on your face'. That's from someone who has done 100+ weddings in his time.

Good luck if you choose to dip your toe in this genre of photography.

mike_j
12th February 2013, 01:15 PM
I have been learning a little about portraiture (not weddings) and found a couple of one day 'courses' worth the money, typically about 50. You do pick up a lot about equipment and dealing with models over and above the basic course topics.

Dealing with the subjects is my main problem. It was perhaps easier in the days of the Daguerreotype when the photographer could strap his subject into a posing frame and tell him to keep still and not talk.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/posing_frame.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/57479)

David M
12th February 2013, 01:52 PM
Taught by a leading pro with multiple Kodak Gold awards when I was at art school.

Seonnaidh
12th February 2013, 06:04 PM
I did a course 3 years BA (Hons). taught me nothing about wedding photography but was lucky enough to be able to assist a well established wedding pro for about a dozen weddings before I did it solo.
Give it a go . Just make sure of
(a) You do have the people skills they are essential and you do have two of everything
you need. Two cameras, two flashguns several sets of batteries for each camera and flash gun and at least three lenses. Otherwise stay at home!
The worst thing you can do is ruin the 'big' day through lack of skill and incompetence.
The real problem is the 'Trade Mags' like 'Turn Pro', 'Professional Photographer' and various others who seem to preach the mantra 'Buy a half decent digital camera, go on one of the courses that we advertise in our mag pay the exorbitant fee and then you will be the dog's doo dahs at wedding photography.'
No you won't, you'll be next to useless, however the course organisers will be several hundred pounds better off.

I honestly admit to feeling aggrieved when I spent years learning my craft and magazines like the above continually de-value my skills.
Yes I am bitter about it, but I am gradually getting used to quoting for a wedding and then being told "Oh my cousin's wife has a friend with a nice camera they said they would do it for £450, the jobs yours if you can match it.'
Nowadays I just smile when the wedding couple turn up and say XYZ made a complete mess of our wedding photography. If we give you the disc can you sort them out"

Answer "No, you should have hired a real pro first off"
I'm coming to the end of my wedding photography career so in all honesty I don't really care anymore. I just get really hacked off when people think it's an easy way to make a few quid. No it isn't. Not if you do it properly.

I apologise if I have offended anyone but this is the way I feel, undervalued, unappreciated and betrayed by my very own profession.

Rant over for now but just don't get me started.

David M
12th February 2013, 06:15 PM
What Jon said.

I don't think I learned much if anything from the wedding pro who came in a couple of afternoons in total. He seemed more interested in showing us his Kodak Gold award prints than teaching us.

Imageryone
12th February 2013, 06:40 PM
I did a course 3 years BA (Hons). taught me nothing about wedding photography but was lucky enough to be able to assist a well established wedding pro for about a dozen weddings before I did it solo.
Give it a go . Just make sure of
(a) You do have the people skills they are essential and you do have two of everything
you need. Two cameras, two flashguns several sets of batteries for each camera and flash gun and at least three lenses. Otherwise stay at home!
The worst thing you can do is ruin the 'big' day through lack of skill and incompetence.
The real problem is the 'Trade Mags' like 'Turn Pro', 'Professional Photographer' and various others who seem to preach the mantra 'Buy a half decent digital camera, go on one of the courses that we advertise in our mag pay the exorbitant fee and then you will be the dog's doo dahs at wedding photography.'
No you won't, you'll be next to useless, however the course organisers will be several hundred pounds better off.

I honestly admit to feeling aggrieved when I spent years learning my craft and magazines like the above continually de-value my skills.
Yes I am bitter about it, but I am gradually getting used to quoting for a wedding and then being told "Oh my cousin's wife has a friend with a nice camera they said they would do it for 450, the jobs yours if you can match it.'
Nowadays I just smile when the wedding couple turn up and say XYZ made a complete mess of our wedding photography. If we give you the disc can you sort them out"

Answer "No, you should have hired a real pro first off"
I'm coming to the end of my wedding photography career so in all honesty I don't really care anymore. I just get really hacked off when people think it's an easy way to make a few quid. No it isn't. Not if you do it properly.

I apologise if I have offended anyone but this is the way I feel, undervalued, unappreciated and betrayed by my very own profession.

Rant over for now but just don't get me started.

What Jon said.

I don't think I learned much if anything from the wedding pro who came in a couple of afternoons in total. He seemed more interested in showing us his Kodak Gold award prints than teaching us.

All too true !

Chevvyf1
12th February 2013, 07:09 PM
... people skills they are essential and you do have two of everything *chr
...
The real problem is the 'Trade Mags' like 'Turn Pro', 'Professional Photographer' and various others who seem to preach the mantra 'Buy a half decent digital camera, go on one of the courses that we advertise in our mag pay the exorbitant fee and then you will be the dog's doo dahs at wedding photography.' :mad:

No you won't, you'll be next to useless, however the course organisers will be several hundred pounds better off. *chr

I honestly admit to feeling aggrieved when I spent years learning my craft and magazines like the above continually de-value my skills.


Nowadays I just smile when the wedding couple turn up and say XYZ made a complete mess of our wedding photography. If we give you the disc can you sort them out"

Answer "No, you should have hired a real pro first off" *chr

I'm coming to the end of my wedding photography career so in all honesty I don't really care anymore. I just get really hacked off when people think it's an easy way to make a few quid. No it isn't. Not if you do it properly. *chr

I apologise if I have offended anyone but this is the way I feel, undervalued, unappreciated and betrayed by my very own profession. *chr

Rant over for now but just don't get me started.

Jon, You and Me too :D Me for this and another ... but I shall RANT elsewhere ..

Benedict
12th February 2013, 07:27 PM
What Jon said.

I don't think I learned much if anything from the wedding pro who came in a couple of afternoons in total. He seemed more interested in showing us his Kodak Gold award prints than teaching us.

I don't think a wedding pro in a classroom is of much use overall. You need to experience Wedding photography in the field. By this time you should be than comfortable with your knowledge of your equipment,after all that's not why you are there,what you are there is to learn the differing techniques,different ways to handle people on the day,How to operate when the sun is shining,how to operate when it is pouring down cats and dogs outside - all the things they can't show you a classroom. When I ffirst started out I visited every church in which the wedding was going to take place in, visited every wedding reception in advance to ensure that I fully appreciated every possible problem that I could forsee,and couldn't. I also found out the shortest ways to to and between each venue,no point in the photographer being last one to arrive between venues!

My advice is, find yourself a wedding pro and see if they are willing to take you on,probably for little money to start with. I was lucky the pro gave me one of their Bronicas ( no prior knowledge of this camera at the time,and toggers didn't have 2 cameras in those days ),but did I learn fast ! and on the next wedding day he gave me 2 rolls of film - and I can hear him now,'I want no duds from any of the negatives okay'.

At the end of the day it is all about your confidence in your abilities - something that will come along more and more,if you present satisfactory work.

Go for it ...:)

sapper
14th February 2013, 08:28 AM
When I was a soldier serving in BAOR, I was asked to do weddings quite often. I just did them. No experience at all, but I did learn a lot. The folk I did them for were grateful for the prints (B/W) that I produced.
When I came back to the UK, the pattern continued, so much so that I did a days workshop with 3 top northern pros and learnt a lot. Learnt about costing, marketing and different styles. I also freelanced for a couple of local guys, as they did for me, we learnt from each other.
After years away from the craft I was asked again to do a friends wedding so I joined the SWWP, http://www.swpp.co.uk/ and did days with other London photographers, shooting couples in a park, profit from the day went to a charity.
The advice given by others is good.
But, remember that the day is a BIG day for the couple so you cannot afford to mess up. In my early days, I was lucky I suppose to get opportunity's that I did.

Chevvyf1
14th February 2013, 09:11 AM
Dave this is great advice :) ...

ps check your pm's :)

sponner
14th February 2013, 12:33 PM
Having assisted at a wedding once I will NEVER look to make money in that way.

It's not so bad if you are doing it as a "favour" and the expectation is low, then again so is the recompense.

Portraits are, to my mind a different proposition. There is less time pressure and it isn't completely the end of the world if the results aren't brilliant. You don't get a second chance with a wedding.

Chevvyf1
14th February 2013, 12:44 PM
Having assisted at a wedding once I will NEVER look to make money in that way.

It's not so bad if you are doing it as a "favour" and the expectation is low, then again so is the recompense.

Portraits are, to my mind a different proposition. There is less time pressure and it isn't completely the end of the world if the results aren't brilliant. You don't get a second chance with a wedding.


Which is WHY I prefer Portraiture :) *chr

Simon Hickie
22nd April 2013, 02:08 PM
I shoot a couple of weddings or receptions a year - usually for friends, family and friends of family. My next one is at the end of August. To that end, I'll be wielding 2 x OMD EM5 (one rented), 9-18mm, 20mm f1.7, 14-45mm, 45mm f1.8 plus possibly 40-150mm for candids, 2 x FL50 flashguns. There's overlap here, but I'm largely covered if one lens fails. I expect to be using the 20 & 45 in available light most of the time. However, the kit is only part of the story. I met up with the B&G a few weeks ago to discuss what they wanted and help clarify what they were looking for. I'll be scouting the wedding venue and reception venue before the wedding to check on lighting, places for formals, parking, etc. I reckon on about 8 hours at the venues plus 1 hour travel, 2 hours at the venue pre-checks, about 20 hours post processing, another 2-3 hours with the B&G after the event and a few more hours with print preparation if needed. Now, if you charged minimum wage for the whole lot, you'd still be charging the client £250 before any equipment costs etc. Realistically you'd need to charge £600 as a bare minimum for this kind of event - then you are starting to compete with experienced pros.

So why do I do it for friends and family, sometimes for minimal or no cost? Mainly because I enjoy the challenge and I'm a good people person with decent technical skills. Would I want to make a career out of it? Absolutely not. Does it help fund the habit? Barely - the second FL50 is backup for the wedding (wouldn't have bought it otherwise), the 9-18 is a luxury I can justify for my architecture photography but I don't NEED it.

timd1230
14th September 2013, 10:17 PM
If your still after some advice get in touch - I have shot 20-30 weddings a year for the last few years along with a day job - You need to be competent in taking the pictures BUT more importantly be able to deliver a set of images no matter what the day throws at you

Tim

David M
14th September 2013, 10:29 PM
Weirdly, SWMBO found my Kodak Gold award the other day. I kept it as a reminder to avoid doing weddings at any price.

Lindsay D
7th November 2013, 04:06 PM
Photographing weddings can sound like a great way to earn a bit of extra money, but the reality is often very different. I think you first have to establish whether or not you just want to be a cheap hack with a camera earning a bit of beer money, or whether you want to do things properly with a long-term view. For the former, the investment in your business, your equipment, and yourself will be correspondingly low, and without doubt you'll attract a particular class of customer - these days that equates to brides who are likely to demand a refund afterwards and who will complain every step of the way. Society is not what it used to be. Opting for the second course of action requires many years of skill building, including lighting, posing of individuals, couples, groups, people management, the ability to work very quickly and under pressure in very different environments, the ability to withstand long hours on your feet, post production and retouching, designing albums etc. But worse than all of that is the fact you will need to understand the business of wedding photography, and how to run a viable and profitable concern. By far and above your hardest task will be marketing and client acquisition, and understanding your cash flow and accounting. You will also need to be a good Webmaster since your presence will be Internet driven and referral driven. This all takes years to do well, and the majority will fail. Often the failure is due to a lack of preparation or a refusal to accept that skill and the ability to work with people is a prerequisite. The days of being able to find a pro to take you under their wing are all but gone and personal development nowadays is normally self driven, including desk research, constant practice, and structured training via seminars and workshops. This sort of professional training is by far and above the very best way to fast-track your learning, but you need to choose your trainers wisely. Often the best trainers can be found via the leading photography institutions such as the BIPP and SWPP, where there is a great deal of support for wedding and portrait photographers and the training is heavily subsidised. Otherwise always go on recommendation. It's not a career or job one can necessarily cope with alone.

Under the For Photographers section of my blog there are a number of business related articles which might be helpful: http://lindsaydobsonphotography.com/blog/category/for-photographers/

As the others have said, weddings and not for the fainthearted, but there are an awful lot of idiots out there having a stab at it. In general this has greatly altered the public's perception of professional photographers, and not for the better.

OlyPaul
7th November 2013, 05:35 PM
Three questions you should ask yourself for wedding photography.

1-Are your skills photographic and people up to the job.

2-Do you have liability insurance in case something goes wrong.

3- Can you cope with stress and problem solve on the hoof.

Going back a few years I remember my best friend at the time who was and still is a Pro Wedding Photographer telling me I was more than good enough to do weddings .

So I did five wedding and all the clients were more than happy enough with the results.

BUT although I was good enough the stress was to much for me and after that I referred any other approaches to my friend! I can think of easier less stressful ways to earn money on the side.;)

Portraiture is a lot more relaxed and even though I do little now except for family I will still do the occasional sitting .:)

Lindsay D
7th November 2013, 05:49 PM
... the stress was to much for me and after that I referred any other approaches to my friend! I can think of easier less stressful ways to earn money on the side.;)


My reasoning too Paul! There is stress before, during, and unfortunately afterwards as well.

banjukes
7th November 2013, 08:41 PM
Not for the faint hearted jumping in there. But if you are very familiar with your camera and lighting situations I'd say you have to get on with it. Everyone has to start somewhere and if you can produce consistently good images now then why can't you do the same in a wedding situation with some portrait practice. Some planning of composition, look at other peoples work. Then close to the time perhaps a dry run with a family member to get the lighting right in the church and the single most important is self confidence. If you have the know how and the self belief then your home and dry....Fearless Leader!

byegad
10th November 2013, 08:45 AM
A friend used to do the odd wedding and decided to take a course run by a well known Pro' in order to improve his skills and so earning ability. Sadly the 'course' spent a lot of time on the basics and no time at all on anything technical. My friend decided it was because the Pro' was protecting his own market position.

Lindsay D
10th November 2013, 02:16 PM
If the course was more basic than your friend expected, then I would suggest your friend failed to adequately research the content beforehand.

Most 'Pros' work very hard to contribute to the industry, with a particular interest in maintaining high standards, since that will protect everybody's market position.

sapper
10th November 2013, 05:02 PM
Joining something like this will help any photographer do weddings, or any other discipline. http://www.swpp.co.uk/
A group of us spent a day with a London Pro in one of the parks, Feedback on our shots by other pros on the SWPP forums. The cost of the day was donated to a charity, the pro may have got his expenses, but he was doing it to help others, not to feather his own nest or protect his own interests. As Lindsay wrote, maybe more research needed.

Years ago I did a day with three top northern wedding photographers, sponsored by Colabs, cost 100 IIRC, brilliant day, learnt about marketing, posing, developing my own style, not a lot of techie stuff.

Chevvyf1
10th November 2013, 07:02 PM
Joining something like this will help any photographer do weddings, or any other discipline. http://www.swpp.co.uk/
A group of us spent a day with a London Pro in one of the parks, Feedback on our shots by other pros on the SWPP forums. The cost of the day was donated to a charity, the pro may have got his expenses, but he was doing it to help others, not to feather his own nest or protect his own interests. As Lindsay wrote, maybe more research needed.

Years ago I did a day with three top northern wedding photographers, sponsored by Colabs, cost 100 IIRC, brilliant day, learnt about marketing, posing, developing my own style, not a lot of techie stuff.


THIS is like my own experiences :)