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Exhibitions, stock photos, professional work This board concentrates on topics that explore the potential of your photography being seen by a wider audience and even earning you some money.

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Old 11th February 2013
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Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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?
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Old 11th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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.
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Old 12th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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


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
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

sorry I cannot delete the Sinead O' Conner mysteriously pasted in here

but its a great one tolisten too
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imageryone View Post
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 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.
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Old 12th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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.

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Old 12th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

Taught by a leading pro with multiple Kodak Gold awards when I was at art school.
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Old 12th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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.
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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.
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Old 12th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seonnaidh View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
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 !
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seonnaidh View Post
... people skills they are essential and you do have two of everything
...
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.


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.
Jon, You and Me too Me for this and another ... but I shall RANT elsewhere ..
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Old 12th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
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 ...
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Old 14th February 2013
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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.
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

Dave this is great advice ...

ps check your pm's
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Re: Weddings / portraiture - self taught or a course

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.
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