Today’s question is from Angus who asks:
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I’ve been asked to photograph a friend’s wedding
They like my street photography photos. I’ve taken photos of them in the past just for fun. They have said they have confidence in me, but I have never photographed a wedding before.
I have all the equipment I need including backup equipment. But i’m not sure if I should photography their wedding as my first or even how much I should charge them?
In today’s episode: I’ve been asked to photograph a friend’s wedding
- How much to charge for your first wedding
- Offering the photos as your wedding gift
- Setting expectations for the bride and groom
- Having a contract for the couple to sign
- Understanding the flow of the day
- Using this as an experience to decide if you should pursue wedding photography
How Much To Charge For Your First Wedding
This is a tricky one because it comes down to your confidence level here.
Clearly, your friends have trust in you and they like your photography as a whole, which is excellent. You have the equipment by the sounds of things. It’s really comes down to you of how comfortable you feel.
There are going to be people that have been listening this podcast who are professional photographers and they’re going to say don’t do it because you could stuff it up.
You know what? They’re right. What they have to understand is sometimes brides and grooms that want photography done for their wedding ask friends because of they want to save money or they feel more confident with a friend doing it, or thirdly, they don’t value photography as a whole and they just want to get it done the cheapest way possible.
Irrespective of that and don’t worry about people giving you negative advice and saying you’re not to do it, but what I think you should do is maybe use this as an opportunity to maybe think about doing wedding photography.
Think of it this way, right, they’re friends. You could potentially offer this as a wedding gift to them and by doing so, you can say I am going to photograph your wedding. I have no prior experience. I will photograph a portion of the getting ready, the actual ceremony of course, and a portion of the reception. After that, you’re allowed to sit down, enjoy the meal, and enjoy the festivities.
Setting Expectations For The Bride & Groom
I think that if you think of it that way because you asked if you should charge and I think you shouldn’t, especially for being your first wedding and, you know, if you offer it to them that way and then maybe you can get them to sign maybe a one page or a document that says you’re not going to charge and you’re only going to do it under these conditions.
I think that they would be understanding, you know? I think anybody would be wrapped to get photos, irrespective how good or bad, for free. Okay? Maybe not bad, but you know what I mean.
The fact that they like your straight photography, which a lot of wedding photography is candid moments, which is what happens in street photography. You’re photographing people, sometimes with their knowledge, other times not. Some differences are, is that there are parts of the day that you have to command attention to what’s going on.
You may want to ask somebody to move to a particular part of the house if they’re getting ready to give them more flattering light or if you’re doing group photos, you’ve got to get people in line and then use the assistance of the bride and groom to wrangle, or even bridesmaids for that matter or groomsmen, to wrangle guests and family members into order.
Get them to help you to set things up. I’m sure everybody wants the day to go smoothly, so don’t think that you’re on your own here, but just remember if something does go wrong, you need to be able to solve issues quickly.
Having back up equipment is one aspect that you need and you mentioned that you have that. Having enough lenses and camera bodies and flashes and memory cards to last through the day.
That’s very, very important. I think if you’re game, I think you should do it.
Understanding The Flow Of The Day
If you’ve witnessed weddings before, you may have witnessed the ceremony so you can kind of, you probably would have seen what the photographers are doing.
You also, if you’ve been a part of a wedding in the bridal party, you’ll see how the day kind of starts off and how it ends.
As you know, it does end quite late, which is quite important for you to set the amount of time that you are going to photograph, so there is no issues with people, you know, with you just sitting down and people expecting you to be photographing when you said you weren’t going to photograph anymore.
Just keep that in mind and I think that if you explain these things to your friends and they’re obviously keen for you to take photos, I think that you will be fine, Angus and there are plenty of resources online.
I know that they don’t replace experience, but they will generally give you an idea, so Googling wedding photography and just seeing what some people show online will kind of give you a good idea.
Visiting professional photographer’s website and seeing their photos and seeing how they pose people because that will be a small part of the day of you having to pose people.
I’ve been in business for over 12 years and it wasn’t until my seventh year in business that I started my portrait and wedding photography business. Up until that point, I was working towards it, I was doing small portraits and then small events, which had a few hundred people and then up to a thousand people and so on and so forth. I could manage large crowds and understood how to work long days and what I needed to organise.
I know being your first, if you do a first wedding, there will be a million things you’ve got to think of, but I think if you just go with the flow and not get into anybody’s way and only pose when there’s moments of needing to be posed, like the group photos and some of the bridal party photos, you know, and the other bonus for you is they’re friends so potentially your friends with their friends and interacting with them is not going to be such a big problem.
In fact, some of the weddings that I have dealt with where I have known extended family or even friends of the bride and groom, the day has gone so much more cruiser.
Learning From The Experience
Everyone understands you’re there for a reason and then people are more relaxed and they know that you’re there to get the best photos for them, so you may want to think about it if this is something that you’re potentially thinking of doing in the future.
If not, well then, it’s one wedding that you did and one wedding, potentially, that could have told you not to continue a career in wedding photography.