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View Full Version : I woke up and smelled the coffee.



aparmley
08-21-2006, 03:20 PM
And it smelled like crap.

Just an update if anyone is interested.

I have spoken to the bride I was to be the WP for in November. She is now in the process of searching for a Professional wedding photographer. :eek: I know I know, WTH?

Heres the skinny: I don't like shooting weddings. there might be some extenuating circumstances around why I don't care for them, but heres the why: I don't find servicing strangers on a day when they have this "attitude" that today, they are "above all." Thats the best way I can summarize it. as I said, perhaps its the market the WP I was shooting with catered to, perhaps it was even the style of his photography. Im sure both are a turn off for me. The days were bland, boring, the same boring characterless ceremony setting, the same dull and lame reception venue, nothing interesting between the two. . .and the same types of B&Gs - you know the kind that have the following expression across their face: "We have to do more pictures, come on already." etc etc.

The WP I assisted operated based on the "Money Makers." I know where my interest lies - the "Non traditional" side - which is extremely difficult to do when the B&G aren't interested in the photography side of the day. Again - the wrong market for where my interests lie.

The worst kind of reality: I have other pressing priorities than require my wallet's complete attention. Camera, Computer, and other luxury purchases will have to take a back seat in some old beater in the junk yard for as far as I can see. engagement ring, home repairs, wedding expenses, new car downpayment and the monthly payments I'm sure the bank will like that I make [my current tercel, while lame, was and is completely paid off] will be making it extremely difficult for me to afford these luxuries.

I'm a huge fan of inspiring wedding photography - Jamie's work, Christians work, and others that frequent these forums. . . So much so that it fueled a desire of entering the WP world. A hard pill to swallow was that as moving and inspirational as their work is, I won't ever be able to create images that I want - because I don't care for everything else that goes into creating those images - Mostly the people and circumstances. It just doesn't appeal to me. I'm not comfortable with directing strangers - It doesn't feel right to me. I thought that was something that I could work past, but I have seen how it will hender my photographry. For whatever reason I don't go after the shots I want to because I don't want to inconvenience the people and I don't have what it takes to put them at ease with what I want to do. . . That has to be one of the hardest things to come to terms with - that you weren't made for something you'd love to do. . . A big reason is because I might not have the best understanding and foresight to know exactly what it is I want. . . I want and need these people to be completely comfortable with the fact that I might move them around a hundred times until I do find what I was after - which isn't really what anyone wants. I can see now how there is very little time to experiment on the wedding day. You have to have a game plan all prepared - Which requires a play book before hand - I lack the play book and I can't shoot a wedding until I have a play book - read: the experience to know beforehand what I want to do and what I need to do.

I still know that I want to do something photography related - but its probably not going to be portraits and weddings. . . Perhaps it will be product, automotive, sports [if I can every find the money] something. . . I still have the same passion for photography I did a year ago I just have a little bit more knowledge about what I am and what I'm not interested in pursuing. . .

Just letting off steaming and owning up to some self-discoveries of late. Thanks for listening.

My apologies to the new comers who probably didn't even make it half way through my post. :o

D Thompson
08-21-2006, 03:41 PM
The days were bland, boring, the same boring characterless ceremony setting, the same dull and lame reception venue, nothing interesting between the two. . .and the same types of B&Gs - you know the kind that have the following expression across their face: "We have to do more pictures, come on already." etc etc.
It's funny that a lot of them feel that way. So much money spent and they want to rush thru it to get to the party stage, but they want great looking shots.


I'm a huge fan of inspiring wedding photography - Jamie's work, Christians work, and others that frequent these forums. . . So much so that it fueled a desire of entering the WP world. A hard pill to swallow was that as moving and inspirational as their work is, I won't ever be able to create images that I want - because I don't care for everything else that goes into creating those images - Mostly the people and circumstances. It just doesn't appeal to me. I'm not comfortable with directing strangers - It doesn't feel right to me. I thought that was something that I could work past, but I have seen how it will hender my photographry. For whatever reason I don't go after the shots I want to because I don't want to inconvenience the people and I don't have what it takes to put them at ease with what I want to do. . . That has to be one of the hardest things to come to terms with - that you weren't made for something you'd love to do. . . A big reason is because I might not have the best understanding and foresight to know exactly what it is I want. . . I want and need these people to be completely comfortable with the fact that I might move them around a hundred times until I do find what I was after - which isn't really what anyone wants. I can see now how there is very little time to experiment on the wedding day. You have to have a game plan all prepared - Which requires a play book before hand - I lack the play book and I can't shoot a wedding until I have a play book - read: the experience to know beforehand what I want to do and what I need to do.
There are some fantastic shooters around here. I think you do have to have a gameplan as to how to set up the shots. You could possibly do some of the "generic" shots and then try to do a few where you are a little more creative. You do have to remember - yes, they don't want to moved around a hundred times, because there are guests waiting. Set them up & fire away. Maybe start off with smaller wedding groups that are more manageable in size. There was 11 in my daughter's wedding, but my friend who shot it has been doing it for years. It is a learned experience.


I still know that I want to do something photography related - but its probably not going to be portraits and weddings. . . Perhaps it will be product, automotive, sports [if I can every find the money] something. . . I still have the same passion for photography I did a year ago I just have a little bit more knowledge about what I am and what I'm not interested in pursuing. . .

I don't do weddings either, don't want the hassle or the stress. Portraits are a little more laid back to do, because generally you're working with a lot fewer people and you can get your shots set up. Follow the basic set of rules and you can find a location in a lot of places.


Just letting off steaming and owning up to some self-discoveries of late. Thanks for listening.

My apologies to the new comers who probably didn't even make it half way through my post. :o

Hang in there, you'll find your niche and if nothing else, shoot for pure enjoyment. I love it, but still have my day job.

btw - I made it all the way thru, but then I don't guess I'm really a newcomer either! :D

aparmley
08-21-2006, 03:45 PM
It's funny that a lot of them feel that way. So much money spent and they want to rush thru it to get to the party stage, but they want great looking shots.


There are some fantastic shooters around here. I think you do have to have a gameplan as to how to set up the shots. You could possibly do some of the "generic" shots and then try to do a few where you are a little more creative. You do have to remember - yes, they don't want to moved around a hundred times, because there are guests waiting. Set them up & fire away. Maybe start off with smaller wedding groups that are more manageable in size. There was 11 in my daughter's wedding, but my friend who shot it has been doing it for years. It is a learned experience.



I don't do weddings either, don't want the hassle or the stress. Portraits are a little more laid back to do, because generally you're working with a lot fewer people and you can get your shots set up. Follow the basic set of rules and you can find a location in a lot of places.



Hang in there, you'll find your niche and if nothing else, shoot for pure enjoyment. I love it, but still have my day job.

btw - I made it all the way thru, but then I don't guess I'm really a newcomer either! :D


LOL - Dennis - you aren't a new comer. . .

Thanks for your comments. What I must echo is what I've bolded in your post: pure enjoyment was not present working with this photographer. He enjoyed what he did and it showed in his personality, I think it showed in mine that I wasn't enjoying it. :D

forno
08-21-2006, 03:52 PM
My brother had a very informal wedding in so much as it was not done in a church, instead it was done by a celebrant in the Botanic Gardens in melbourne and the setting was aided by a jazz quartet that just roamed around the group and played

the pics are not the traditional posed B&G shots, rather a more relaxed and intimate feel with lorts of laughter and natural smiles as a result

To me this is the way a wedding should be and as a result the pics will pic up the vibe IMO

EDIT- its a constant source of amazement to me that you often pic up on the B&G's face (even when bumping into a wedding) that they are obviously not enjoying or cant be bothered with the photography side of the wedding. After all the planning and putting "this day" on the pedestal they dont have the desire or understanding of getting a few good shots!

Vich
08-21-2006, 04:29 PM
Read it all. Yip, good thing you learned this as a 2nd rather than jumping in over your head from the get-go.

I think it's just a tough venue to get started in. If a guy had been properly schooled in all the wedding photo skills, and had the personality to put people at ease while wielding a silent yet strong arm of control over the situation, it would be a different situation (that maybe you have, just don't know it yet).

I agree. If you can slow things down and create meaningful images, it would be more a satisfying pursuit for you.

Hope you can still attend your friend's wedding and get permission to offer her a ton of photos.

Congrads on your own plans in that arena. Welcome to the whirlwind of home, mortgage, spouse, etc. etc. Seriously; good moves. It's all for the better.

Glad to hear you're not selling everything off and dumping it as a hobby. However if you just produced 1 good image a month for a while it wouldn't be the end of the world. Get your head clear and all that. (chin up, never look back, etc) :D

jamison55
08-21-2006, 05:21 PM
Wish you could shoot a wedding or two with me before you finalize your decision. I rarely ever get a B&G who have a bad attitude about photography. I don't know how the primary you shot with did it, but if you stay upbeat and enthusiastic (Spartan spirit), I find that they enjoy the photography rather than seeing it as an ordeal to get through...

aparmley
08-21-2006, 05:34 PM
Thanks for your comments forno - I agree - we have MOBOT here - missouri Botanical gardens [St. Louis Missouri] and my GF and I agree - that would be a fine place for a wedding. Especially in the Japanese gardens. . .;)


Read it all me-man. Yip, good thing you learned this as a 2nd rather than jumping in over your head from the get-go.

I think it's just a tough venue to get started in. If a guy had been properly schooled in all the wedding photo skills, and had the personality to put people at ease while wielding a silent yet strong arm of control over the situation, it would be a different situation (that maybe you have, just don't know it yet).

I agree. If you can slow things down and create meaningful images, it would be more a satisfying pursuit for you.

Hope you can still attend your friend's wedding and get permission to offer her a ton of photos.

Congrads on your own plans in that arena. Welcome to the whirlwind of home, mortgage, spouse, etc. etc. Seriously; good moves. It's all for the better.

Glad to hear you're not selling everything off and dumping it as a hobby. However if you just produced 1 good image a month for a while it wouldn't be the end of the world. Get your head clear and all that. (chin up, never look back, etc) :D

I think thats a better way to put some of the discomfort I was feeling - I'm not comfortable being the center of attention - and when I have wanted to grab everyones attention to "change the tempo" of everyones day cause I saw an opportunity for a great photo, I just laid low and moved on to something else - I'm just not in a place right now to be either confident or comfortable enough to be in control of the tempo - because you really need to be when your the primary WP.

Well I already have the mortgage and all the other wonderful bills associated with owning a home - half of her car payment, I took on her debt and beat it like a red headed step child, and all the other restrictions that go along with marriage - so I figured, what the hell, might as well get married. LMAO - I'm a helpless romantice, what can I say. :D

Hell ya, photography is one of my passions - its much like golf and _ _ _ [3 letter adult activity], you don't have to be great at it to really enjoy it. :p And I have made a concious decision to make sure I enjoy the type of photography I am doing.

Another thing I did wrong before: a large portion of my motivation to enter WP was the future earnings to use for future photography purchases - Thats the wrong reasons to get into anything. . . :cool:

24Peter
08-21-2006, 05:37 PM
I'm not sure if this applies to you Andy so I'll speak for myself but I've come to realize if I want to shoot people (in whatever form my photography takes) I'll have to deal with those people. And dealing with people can be a pain the neck - esp. when they're stressed, like on someone's wedding day. I just shot a wedding video for a friend of a friend and while overall it was great (esp. b/c some of my friends were there) it was still nerve wracking as heck. (For one thing, the damn WP kept getting in my shots, Jamie! ;) ) I wouldn't mind doing a few wedding videos a year but I don't want that kind of stress all the time. Some people are cut out for it - not me. But even my niche - fashion and portrait photography - has it's own people issues. So unless I want to go shoot landscapes or flowers or buidlings all the time, I need to work on my people skills. And to work on my people skills I need to work on myself. I can't let stuff someone else is doing upset me or cause me to react in a negative way. I need to keep the end result I'm trying to acheive in mind and be willing to take control, while still considering the other people's needs/insecurities/expectations, etc. But I can't be shy about directing my subjects or making sure I get the shots I want/need.

My experience is my subjects don't always get what I'm doing at the time I'm doing it and can put up some resistance. I need to be able to work around that 'cause I know later when they see what we've done it all makes sense and everyone is happy.

You're a good photographer. And I can say I understand not wanting do weddings. But I sense maybe a larger people issue lurking there that's gonna come up regardless of the type of people photography you do. I think anyone who shoots people has to be willing to pursue their vision even if the other people involved don't necessarily get it at that moment. My $.02. :)

aparmley
08-21-2006, 05:44 PM
Wish you could shoot a wedding or two with me before you finalize your decision. I rarely ever get a B&G who have a bad attitude about photography. I don't know how the primary you shot with did it, but if you stay upbeat and enthusiastic (Spartan spirit), I find that they enjoy the photography rather than seeing it as an ordeal to get through...

I have to conclude that being a low cost provider tends to draw the clients that don't put the photography first. The WP I assisted filled this niche. He was very streamlined - took only the photos he knew to be worth his time and money to print.

I have absolutely no doubt that shooting a wedding with you would be in a different world, because the images and settings certainly are in comparison. Your images always give the viewer the impression those involved where indeed having a hum-dinger of a good time [I rarely get to use that expression].

Thanks Jamie.

aparmley
08-21-2006, 06:03 PM
But I sense maybe a larger people issue lurking there that's gonna come up regardless of the type of people photography you do. I think anyone who shoots people has to be willing to pursue their vision even if the other people involved don't necessarily get it at that moment. My $.02. :)

I Agree with that 100% - hence my detection of it not being the right time for me personally. I have people issues in that I don't feel comfortable if they aren't comfortable and I've still got way too many other factors and considerations that I will and have put their comfort at the bottom of the list. . . Because as it stands now, they can be perfectly comfortable and it doesn't really matter to me if I screwed the exposure or made some other big mistake. And bam there it is - I don't have the confidence in myself to be comfortable in those situations and that hurts the images and that doesn't make those in them comfortable. So I certainly have that to work on . . . how one works on that is beyond me. . . probably one of those things you just have to battle through - but it occured to me know no one wants to pay a photographer to watch him battle through an issue or two. . ;)

Thanks for sharing Pete.

forno
08-21-2006, 06:12 PM
It sounds like you have set the technical standard you will be happy with at a very high level. I think you should pursue any opportuinity you can to take wedding pics (not as the primary) and see how you feel about it all after a few.

If you are not the centre of attention it may open up some interesting shots and it will certainly give you the chance to work towards your techincal goals.

If nothing comes from it you will certainly gain another set of skills.

jamison55
08-21-2006, 07:20 PM
You guys bring up a very good point - one of my favorite parts of the job is the fact that I get to interact with people. In my day job I'm a technical trainer, i.e. I make my living from public speaking. I love traveling around, meeting new people, and telling them what to do, while making it fun, of course! In wedding photography, people skills are far more important than photographic ability... If you're not that comfortable with a group of strangers, than you might have a tough time. Good bit of self analysis, Andy!

cdifoto
08-21-2006, 09:08 PM
Since I have about the same amount of experience as Andy in weddings and cannot offer any antecdotes (sp?) of advice, I just want to chime in that I feel the way he does at times. But I'm going to push through it. Instead of lowballing my prices just to get business and experience, I set them to the average rate after cheapening out on my very first one to drive away the low end clients from the get-go. I want them to want pictures so I priced myself accordingly. I don't know if that will ultimately work but I'm trying it.

Vich
08-21-2006, 11:29 PM
Since I have about the same amount of experience as Andy in weddings and cannot offer any antecdotes (sp?) of advice, I just want to chime in that I feel the way he does at times. But I'm going to push through it. Instead of lowballing my prices just to get business and experience, I set them to the average rate after cheapening out on my very first one to drive away the low end clients from the get-go. I want them to want pictures so I priced myself accordingly. I don't know if that will ultimately work but I'm trying it.
It better! Sheez Louise. Look at that equipment list! lol

I'd say that's a nice strategy. I know in my business (computer consulting - going on 20 years now) I steer way clear of anyone wanting to chissle my price down. It's a good way to get sc$%wed and sued. I give 'em plenty of freebees but never tell them about it (don't want to set a precedence), better they just think I'm that much faster.

cdifoto
08-22-2006, 12:17 AM
It better! Sheez Louise. Look at that equipment list! lol

I'd say that's a nice strategy. I know in my business (computer consulting - going on 20 years now) I steer way clear of anyone wanting to chissle my price down. It's a good way to get sc$%wed and sued. I give 'em plenty of freebees but never tell them about it (don't want to set a precedence), better they just think I'm that much faster.

No doubt. I think if you charge people enough, it'll be on the forefront of their minds..."We paid a lot for these pictures, let's make the most of it and let the photographer do his job."

XaiLo
08-22-2006, 06:12 AM
Well said 24Peter. And gentlemen the sentiments here on low ballers are absolutely correct. Just last night I got into it with my wife because one of her co-worker/friend had a printer issue. I kept telling her I do not want to deal with it, after a long stretch of her annoying me he just wants me to look at it and check it out. I finally got tired of her bringing up the issue. To make a long story short the guy had a dell and a crappy brother all in one piece of ___ printer ! So I checked it out and told him the printer was the issue. basically I just checked and reinstalled his drivers and connection, etc... after I removed the crap out of the mouse... so I could get the heck out of there. About a month or so later he calls her telling her something is wrong with his CD-ROM drive. I asked her why is she telling me this I did not agree to be this guys free tech. So she's speaking with him again last night and he brings up the issue with her again. I get her to call him back so he can tell me what's going on. He tells me his CD_ROM is not recognizing the media. I ask him what does he want me to do about it? He says he wants it working the way it was so he can dub. And asks me what it's going to cost? I tell him I don't know it depends on whether or not you have to replace your drive, then he starts saying well I'll pay you but my money is kind of funny. I'm like how is that my problem. Then he started down the wrong road telling me the last time I was there all he asked me to do was check out his printer and since then his CD-ROM hasn't worked. we'll I proceeded to use a few superlatives that I will forgo mentioning here. Mind you this guy never paid me a dime for my services or time and this was a house call. And all I have recieved for my generousity is grief.

ReF
08-22-2006, 06:41 AM
anyways....

parm, maybe the discomfort is something you could grow out of. i used to be really uncomfortable with speaking in front of people but last time i tried it, it was totally easy. just takes some getting used to. maybe if you shoot a few more wedding and become more sure of yourself in that type of enviroment you'll find the whole thing more enjoyable. i'm thinking that you've just started in this so going for the big meaningful and creative shots right away might be a bit too ambitious. just saying don't let some bad experiences in the beginning get you too down. maybe a happier, more willing couple/a really successful shoot will turn things around for you and make you want to keep doing this stuff.

jamison55
08-22-2006, 06:41 AM
No doubt. I think if you charge people enough, it'll be on the forefront of their minds..."We paid a lot for these pictures, let's make the most of it and let the photographer do his job."

Not necessarily...

cwphoto
08-22-2006, 06:55 AM
Crikey - and here I was about to offer you a job. You bastard!:D

Mate I can totally empathise with your point of view - if your heart's not in it better to stop now and chase something that can make you happy.:)

Nickcanada
08-22-2006, 06:56 AM
Hey guys, well I'm new and I made it all the way through:) The thing I find intresting is, does the romance and joy of creating art with a camera become deminished when you have to rely on the art to pay the bills? Is it beter to just have a dream of useing photography as way to pay the bills than actually geting to that point? Personaly I want to keep photography a hobby so it can stay something I love.

cwphoto
08-22-2006, 07:04 AM
Hey guys, well I'm new and I made it all the way through:) The thing I find intresting is, does the romance and joy of creating art with a camera become deminished when you have to rely on the art to pay the bills? Is it beter to just have a dream of useing photography as way to pay the bills than actually geting to that point? Personaly I want to keep photography a hobby so it can stay something I love.

That's a very valid point Nick. The key is to find some work where you can express yourself creatively. It doesn't always work as Andy will testify.

I find that it's a double-edged sword: if I didn't put up with the mundane stuff I wouldn't also get the opportunity to do the really fulfilling stuff so it cuts both ways I guess.:confused:

Rhys
08-22-2006, 12:11 PM
Personally, I wouldn't stick around for the candids. They're the kind of stuff that the amateurs get with their P&S cameras. I'd go for the formals and take the B&G to one side for most of them. Those are the pictures the B&G will want in their album - not the candids. Our wedding album has half a dozen formals and no candids.

Here's a suggestion for the formals (copied and pasted from my formals list):
Wedding Photography Shots Before the Ceremony
___ Wedding dress lying over a chair
___ Zipping up or buttoning the wedding dress
___ Mother of the bride fastening the bride's necklace
___ The bride's garter
___ The bride's veil
___ A close up of the bride's shoes peeking out from under the dress
___ Bride looking into a mirror
___ Bride looking out window
___ Bride and bridesmaids putting on makeup
___ Bride pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father
___ Bride hugging parents
___ Bride touching up
___ Bride and parents leaving for ceremony
___ Groom tying tie
___ Groom looking into mirror
___ Bride looking out window
___ Groom pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father
___ Groom hugging parents
___ Bride and parents leaving for ceremony

Wedding Photography Shots At the Ceremony
___ Outside of ceremony site
___ Guests walking into ceremony site
___ Bride and father entering ceremony site
___ Parents being seated
___ Grandparents being seated
___ Maid of honor walking down the aisle
___ Bridesmaids walking down the aisle
___ Flower girl and ring bearer walking down aisle
___ Groom waiting for bride
___ Ceremony musicians
___ Officiant
___ Altar or canopy during ceremony
___ Close up of bride, just before she makes her entrance
___ Bride and father walking down aisle
___ Groom seeing bride for first time
___ The back of bride and father walking down the aisle - with the groom waiting in the distance
___ Bride's father and Bride hugging at end of aisle
___ Shot of the audience from the bride and groom's point of view
___ The unity ceremony
___ Close up of bride and groom saying the vows
___ Wide shot of bride and groom saying the vows
___ Exchanging the rings
___ Close up of hands
___ The kiss
___ Bride & Groom walking up the aisle
___ Receiving line
___ Bride & Groom outside on steps
___ Guests throwing confetti/rose petals/birdseed
___ Bride & Groom hugging guests, laughing, getting congratulations
___ Bride & Groom getting in car
___ Bride & Groom in back seat

Posed Wedding Photography Before the Reception (These can also be taken before the ceremony)
___ Bride alone (full length)
___ Bride with Maid of Honor
___ Bride with bridesmaids
___ Groom with bridesmaids
___ Bride with parents
___ Bride & Groom together
___ Bride & Groom with parents
___ Bride & Groom with families
___ Bride & Groom with entire wedding party
___ Bride & Groom with flower girl and ringbearer
___ Groom with parents
___ Groom with best man
___ Groom with groomsmen
___ Bride with groomsmen

During the Reception (to help your photographer, you may wish to list these shots in the order they will happen at your reception)
___ Outside of reception site
___ Bride & Groom arriving
___ Bride & Groom greeting guests
___ Table centerpieces
___ Table setting
___ Bride & Groom's table (head table)
___ Musicians or DJ
___ Guest book
___ Place card table
___ Closeup of bride and groom's place card
___ Wedding cake
___ Groom's cake
___ Gift table
___ Decorations (specify which _________________________)
___ A shot of bride & groom with guests at each table
___ Bride with college alums
___ Groom with college alums
___ The buffet or, if having table service, a dinner serving
___ Bride & Groom's first dance
___ Bride & Father dancing
___ Groom & Mother dancing
___ Guests dancing
___ Bride & Groom cutting the cake
___ Bride & Groom feeding each other cake
___ Toasts (specify who is giving them: ____________________)
___ Bride & Groom drinking champagne
___ Signing the marriage license
___ Bride throwing bouquet
___ Groom retrieving garter
___ Groom tossing garter
___ Garter/Bouquet dance
___ The getaway car
___ Bride & Groom leaving party
___ Bride & Groom driving away

Guests the photographer shouldn't miss: (provide your photographer with a seating chart so that he can easily identify them)
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________

JMWallace
08-22-2006, 01:09 PM
Well, I HONESTLY hope I don't offend, but this may get me put on many ignore lists, chastised and maybe bounced, however, here is my take on the wedding issue...and it comes not from photography, but almost 20 years of being a wedding DJ.

The DJ, if a good one, has not only the opportunity, but in many aspects, the responsibility to interact will everyone involved in the day. The photographer, the videographer, the cake maker, the wedding coordinator, the hall, the bar staff, the host or hostess, the kitchen/caterer, the B&G, parents of the B&G, the wedding party, the guests.

Many times after the event is done, people that attended don't remember if the cake was good or pretty, if it was a particularly nice place, what food they ate (unless it sucked), etc...they remember if they had a good time...was it a GREAT party. The DJ is responsible for that.

(side note: The photographers job is capture those special moments, feelings and spirit of they day, so that when someone (B&G or whomever) looks at the Wedding Album they are transported to THAT day at THAT moment when the shot was taken. Overall, in my opinion - the single most important responsibility)

Of course it helps if you have an energetic B&G, bridal party and guests. But, my job was to set the tone, schedule & expectations for the night. I did this as soon as they arrived before introducing and presenting them to the guests at the hall. Remember, buy this time, many of the bridal party have downed as much alcohol as they can in the [sometimes short] time between leaving the church & arriving at the hall. Often, they gotta huge buzz on or it is just starting to hit them. (WHOA do I have the stories)

A good DJ doesn't just know music, s/he knows how to interact with people and read the crowd. It takes people skills. I have had many people apply to work that I have turned away because they have no ability to deal with people...they know the music, but that is only part of the job.

In my hiring as at the bank, I go by two main things depending on the job. 1st and foremost I want someone with a good personality that can interact with the public. 2nd, they need to be intelligent. The operations side I can teach anyone. It is black and white, rules and regulations, guidelines, policies, procedures and practices.

BUT, in my opinion, the ability to deal with people is either innately in you or not in you. Agreed, it can be developed - but it can take a long time and some people just are not meant to be face front with the public.

Andy, I think you have a great sense of humor and wit! It shows in your postings. I think THAT will be your strong suit when it comes to you dealing with your prospective clients/current customers.

<amateur analysis>

However, when I look at your chosen profession and some of your other postings and I pick up what seems to be a big part of your personality. Your job is dealing with computers on the late/midnight shift. Doesn't seem to be very conducive to a personality that likes to deal with the people. More so, you seem to be someone that likes predictability. People are not predictable, a group of people are even less predictable and throw those people into a Wedding...LOOK OUT.

You seem to be very technical in nature. Computers you can pick apart, trouble shoot, debug and make hum. You like to pick apart your shots (pixel peep) and strive for perfection. Reality is, they will never be perfect. The day they are, you have nothing left to learn...when we stop learning we might as well hang it up and die. Also, what is perfection to you may not be to someone else. Working so hard for perfection, when pretty damn good is sufficient, can drive you crazy. Fact is, the general consumers you'll deal with aren’t professionals and don't pixel peep. I am sure Jamie & Christian have many many shots that they think technically aren't great but their customers have LOVED. Tastes are subject, art is subjective.

I have also noticed when you talk about doing weddings your comments are "me" focused. The primary premise that made the DJ company I worked for so successful, is this: The day isn't about me as a DJ, what kind of music I want to play, or how "entertaining" I can be - it is about, and SOLELY about the BRIDE & GROOM. This is there event - their day, they have been nice enough to invite me along for the ride.

Also, you may very well find the shots you want to get are not at all what the B&G want. You don't like to shoot the group/family shots, however, in most cases, those are the shots that make you money. They are a must simply because, how often do you get the people that mean most to you together at one time??

That is why, all I think you need is more exposure to more weddings & WP's.

I truly believe you have the personality in you, it just needs to be developed. You just don't get to practice everyday like Jamie, Vich or even I do in our professions. Your sense of humor will be your asset.

You DEFINATELY without a doubt, have the photographic skill and eye for great detailed shots. I don't think that is in question at all. I think I have told you before, I envy your skill!!!

<TIPS>
Gaining Experience - Go to a couple bridal shows as an observer, or as a participant since you are getting ready to tie the knot. It's a great resource because you will have a handful of photographers available to you and the ability to look at their portfolios. Look at their work. See where they have established themselves in the field, artistic or traditional. Latch on, learn what you can.

Price - hhmmm. Well, with the exception of breaking into the market, get paid what you deserve. Don't be afraid to ask for the $$. Pricing low to break in is, in most cases, a necessity. It can however get you a certain "class" of client. However, pricing high has the tendency to invite a different class of client that give a different set of challenges.

The Initial Consultation - Get your portfolio set up that shows YOUR style. When they look through, they will know if you are the type of photographer they are looking for AND by reading their reactions, facial expressions & body language you will get a feel too. Maybe, have another portfolio that highlights a more traditional approach and pull that out if you sense that artistic/fashion/glamour approach isn't their style. This is the time where you set the tone, expectation & schedule. Ask them what they expect of you and the shots they definitely want. Then let them know your expectations.

Final Consultation - I think here is where you will get a feel for their real personality. Day is getting frighteningly close - stress is setting in. Find out the days schedule & where they want you to be. Hair stylist session, group breakfast, fitting, arrival at church, groom and groomsman’s fitting rooms, bride and brides maids fitting rooms, time ceremony starts, ends, time between ceremony & reception, outside pictures, when the reception starts, when will they will arrive at the reception.

Reception - This, in my opinion, is when you find that DJ and find out what is scheduled for the rest of evening so you know when you can split!!! Introductions on the way in, toast, prayer before dinner, cake cutting, B&G dance, intro of bridal party & dance, intro of parents & dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, will there be a garter & bouquet toss, dollar dance, will they do the goofy stuff (and do you want to stick around for it) like hokey pokey, chicken dance, etc. At my weddings, the important stuff is done right after dinner. In this order: Cake cutting, into bridal dance, 3 or 4 fast songs then garter & bouquet toss. If the reception starts at 6:00 pm, dinner at 7:00, the photographer is out by 8-9:00.

Well, that is my insight and perspective. I have also done video and bartended. To me the spirit of the day is electric...and Jamie is right, part of the fun is being able to interact with them on that day.

The world of weddings isn't for everybody, but don't let your experience with one WP spoil our ultimate dream. You have a vision of the way the event should be shot and you were trying to fit it into THAT WP's mold. I think if you found someone near you that shoots similiar to Jamie and Christian, your thought might change. Hanging with someone like them AND getting to know the other intricacies of the day and business would give you a full view of the puzzle...not just a piece of it.

I am saying...don't throw in the towel yet. There are too many images out there that only YOUR eye can see that need to be shared.

That's it...i'm done. my fingers hurt.:o

JMW

Vich
08-22-2006, 01:48 PM
You just don't get to practice everyday like Jamie, Vich or even I do in our professions. Your sense of humor will be your asset. [/COLOR]JMW Hua?

I'm an IT manager. Once in Mexico on a 2 week vacation I fit in a little too well with the party crowd and they couldn't believe I was a computer guy, and I used to organize monthly ski trips (code for big multi-day party on the river or mountian condo) with a few dozen friends and buddies, but those're about the only other times someone accused me of being a real people guy. :o :o I think maybe you ment CWPhoto, the other pro WP regular.

On your analysis though, I'd agree that Andy's a people guy thru and thru. Some of us computer types aren't social directors because somebody gave us an nice paying employment break and we've got a mind that fits, then 20 or 30 years later we're used to computers that can be discected when they misbehave :eek: , unlike pesky wedding guests and clients, hehe.

Yeah, practice practice.

coldrain
08-22-2006, 01:57 PM
I think maybe you ment CWPhoto, the other pro WP regular.

Yeah, I always mix you 2 guys up too! :D :D :D

Vich
08-22-2006, 01:59 PM
Yeah, I always mix you 2 guys up too! :D :D :D
My gain, I'm sure. Poor CW. I'm not a newb but for sure one of the lesser talents on the block. :)

aparmley
08-22-2006, 02:28 PM
Thanks JMW - I appreciate that response.

In a situation where I don't feel the loads on me and I'm the weakest link, I feel I'm a people person too. . . hell I can set the camera down and spend all night talking with people. . . a big thing might just be how inexperience I am and just how uncomfortable it makes me. . . A good reason not to take on a wedding on my own just yet. I can't say I'll ever be perfectly comfortable but if I get better then it certainly will be a different story than it is now. . .

What kind of makes me stand back and doubt myself is that JMW and Jamie kind of come off as "It doesn't matter what type of person they are" you enjoy being around them. I'll be the first to say, I've met people I like to be around and I've met people I certainly would rather not be around so . . . does that eliminate me from being a people person??? maybe?

jamison55
08-22-2006, 03:03 PM
Maybe because that's because all of my clients so far have been pleasant to be around. I might be singing a different tune if I had to deal with a real bridezilla, but so far so good.

I also have to say that I shoot what makes me happy on a wedding day. Sure I try to get all of the requested photos, but the stuff I really like (and the stuff I show) is the stuff I want to shoot. So you have to spend an hour or so shooting groups...so you have to make sure you get 20 or so "must take" moments...the rest of the day is yours, to capture with your eye in your style. It's you style that they chose you for. That's what makes it fun...not the two hours of "can't miss", but the other 6 hours of "what can I do to make this moment interesting...?"

And I love the fast pace...I love the pressure...I love having to be "on"...it's a rush. It usually takes me a few hours at night to come down from a "wedding high" (which is good, because it often takes me a few hours to DL my cards and back everything up!)

Vich
08-22-2006, 04:25 PM
Maybe because that's because all of my clients so far have been pleasant to be around. I might be singing a different tune if I had to deal with a real bridezilla, but so far so good.

I also have to say that I shoot what makes me happy on a wedding day. Sure I try to get all of the requested photos, but the stuff I really like (and the stuff I show) is the stuff I want to shoot. So you have to spend an hour or so shooting groups...so you have to make sure you get 20 or so "must take" moments...the rest of the day is yours, to capture with your eye in your style. It's you style that they chose you for. That's what makes it fun...not the two hours of "can't miss", but the other 6 hours of "what can I do to make this moment interesting...?"

And I love the fast pace...I love the pressure...I love having to be "on"...it's a rush. It usually takes me a few hours at night to come down from a "wedding high" (which is good, because it often takes me a few hours to DL my cards and back everything up!)
Dang, sign me up!

That kind of positive attitude is what motivation lecturers are made of. You've got me sold! Honestly; I can't think of a better product to produce in life (that's within my reach, hopefully).

The WP's I've met and remember most are very good at being the center of attention, and seem very good and directing that attention to the B&G and party. Just calm, composed, and professional. It does seem to take a pressure performer type ... not the "hot seat" necessarily, just living up to high expectations.

timmciglobal
08-22-2006, 04:35 PM
Woops! posted in wrong thread...

Tim

Rhys
08-22-2006, 04:36 PM
The thing to remember is that a wedding is the bride and groom's day. They are the focus of the event. You are there simply to record for themselves, their relatives and their offspring the event. You are small peanuts at the time and they don't have much money to spend.

cwphoto
08-22-2006, 04:44 PM
Yeah, I always mix you 2 guys up too! :D :D :D

I'm the handsome one.;) :p :D

Clyde
08-23-2006, 03:53 PM
Well I already have the mortgage and all the other wonderful bills associated with owning a home - half of her car payment, I took on her debt and beat it like a red headed step child, and all the other restrictions that go along with marriage - so I figured, what the hell, might as well get married. LMAO - I'm a helpless romantice, what can I say. :D

Hell ya, photography is one of my passions - its much like golf and _ _ _ [3 letter adult activity], you don't have to be great at it to really enjoy it. :p And I have made a concious decision to make sure I enjoy the type of photography I am doing.



Folks who make money off their art have to learn to enjoy the collaborative process. More than most types of photography, it seems like wedding work is driven by other peoples vision. People like Jamison and Christian have an ability to work within the constraints of other peoples goals and still create photos that have their personal stamp.

Can there be a great undeveloped photo? How about a photo no one sees? A photo no one would pay a dime for? It is hard to judge the quality of your work objectively, and having people willing to pay a price for it is a very real measure of its worth, even of its "artistic worth." So if you can convince a couple that your vision is so artistically valuable that they want you to document the most important day of their lives, you have really accomplished something.

The flip side is this:

There is a kind of purity associated with art that isn't made to please other people. Only if you don't depend on other folks approval can you be entirely selfish artistically. That means keeping it a hobby.

"Painting should be fun!" I wrote that big on my easel, and on the blackboard in my studio. Starbucks employees make more than I do, and they have health insurance. If painting becomes a chore to me, then I should find a better paying chore to perform.

This is just a thought:

Have you tried the 24Peter thing? Try offering to help amateur models (http://www.onemodelplace.com/) assemble a portfolio. You can spend time polishing your vision working with people, and spend time shooting shots they need for a portfolio as well. If there is a big overlap between the shots you like and the ones a model likes, you should be able to work towards weddings. Judging from your history here, you should be able to get good stuff.

Since the big part of your problem is the people stuff, this could be a way to see if you can become more comfortable working around other folks needs.

Regardless of whether or not you end up working weddings, questioning your artistic motivation should be productive. Surely you will work better if you are passionate about the work...

Clyde

aparmley
08-23-2006, 05:27 PM
Folks who make money off their art have to learn to enjoy the collaborative process. More than most types of photography, it seems like wedding work is driven by other peoples vision. People like Jamison and Christian have an ability to work within the constraints of other peoples goals and still create photos that have their personal stamp.

Can there be a great undeveloped photo? How about a photo no one sees? A photo no one would pay a dime for? It is hard to judge the quality of your work objectively, and having people willing to pay a price for it is a very real measure of its worth, even of its "artistic worth." So if you can convince a couple that your vision is so artistically valuable that they want you to document the most important day of their lives, you have really accomplished something.

The flip side is this:

There is a kind of purity associated with art that isn't made to please other people. Only if you don't depend on other folks approval can you be entirely selfish artistically. That means keeping it a hobby.

"Painting should be fun!" I wrote that big on my easel, and on the blackboard in my studio. Starbucks employees make more than I do, and they have health insurance. If painting becomes a chore to me, then I should find a better paying chore to perform.

This is just a thought:

Have you tried the 24Peter thing? Try offering to help amateur models (http://www.onemodelplace.com/) assemble a portfolio. You can spend time polishing your vision working with people, and spend time shooting shots they need for a portfolio as well. If there is a big overlap between the shots you like and the ones a model likes, you should be able to work towards weddings. Judging from your history here, you should be able to get good stuff.

Since the big part of your problem is the people stuff, this could be a way to see if you can become more comfortable working around other folks needs.

Regardless of whether or not you end up working weddings, questioning your artistic motivation should be productive. Surely you will work better if you are passionate about the work...

Clyde


Thanks for adding your perspective Clyde. I was hoping you'd stop by and offer your 2 cents. I haven't really considered doing what Peter does. I agree that it would be a wonderful outlet, but I'm undecided if thats an outlet I would enjoy pursuing. I'm gonna set back reevaluate my position. . . make a journal - maybe consider some POD like activities . . . just kinda take a low stress appoach to determining where, outside of general snap shot shooting, I can find something to be passionate about. . .

On a side note the photographer I worked with was extremely kind: He said he totally understands where I'm coming from and that it was pleasure working with me, he thinks I have a great eye for photography based on what I did do for him, He believes I have the personality to make it in wedding photography and hopes I don't give up and I keep shooting. I only add this because it was a very nice thing to say and it shows what kind of person I was working with - a real class act - just a shame he was doing weddings that didn't interest me.

Thank you all for chiming in here and helping me highlight areas to improve and for supporting me . . . Its nice to have a great group of individuals like we have here.

forno
08-23-2006, 05:30 PM
Hope you find your niche mate:D

24Peter
08-23-2006, 08:53 PM
Have you tried the 24Peter thing?

I've been hanging around this forum too long... :rolleyes:

It's not all fun and games - spent an hour and a half getting my studio set up today only to have my model be a no show. She didn't even call. (This is her: http://www.modelmayhem.com/member.php?id=163353) My goal one day is to A. get paid for my photography and B. work with professionals. Oh and C. to fly to Sidney and hang with Christian and his 5 kids. :eek:

I did do a shoot last week at a local clothing store. Will be posting those photos shortly. First shoot in a month and a half.

cwphoto
08-23-2006, 09:19 PM
C. to fly to Sidney and hang with Christian and his 5 kids. :eek:

Funny, my goal is to come and hang out with you Monkeys!:D

Maybe we could meet half-way? Waikiki anyone?

aparmley
08-23-2006, 11:28 PM
Funny, my goal is to come and hang out with you Monkeys!:D

Maybe we could meet half-way? Waikiki anyone?

Offer me a return flight to strailia and a job and I'll meet you half way ;)