That title is kinda catchy don’t ya think?
In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that I have shot 2 weddings previously, but they where close friends who for various reasons where not able or willing to stump up the cost of a professional, the results where adequate but certainly nothing to write home about…. And I have to say that I tried hard to talk Jana out of using me and getting a real photographer, but she insisted that I should do it and that she wasn’t too concerned, so long as she had some shots that where in focus (I was pretty sure I could manage at least that much) she said that she’d be happy – No pressure just take a few pictures.
I had about 6 weeks to prepare for the big day and in between went to KL for a few days (see my previous blog post) so mostly I was reading about posing techniques, trying to understand the “must have” shots etc, and of course online snooping at real wedding photographers albums. Two weeks out I bundled the bride to be in the car with her sister and did a bit of a reconnoitre of the locations that she had in mind at about the time’s that we would be at those places on the day (to get a sense of the light, parking issues, other challenges that we may have over looked etc.
My reconnoitre showed me that I would need to use a fill flash pretty liberally due to the outdoor location and partly shaded areas – should be no problem I think to myself – I’ll just read the little book that came with the flash when I bought it! how hard can it be? Turns out it’s pretty bloody hard, so I decide that a bit of practice is in order and take my wife down to the ceremony location for some practice shots, I jot down a few notes for my wedding day cheat sheet – so far so good, shit ! then I realise how many batteries the flash chews through and decide I best get some SANYO Eneloop rechargeable jobbies (I’d read good things), and after driving in circles for a few hours I find someone who has them in stock..thank you God, and Dick Smith!
The big day comes and I am shitting myself, as nervous as a new driver the first time a cop pull’s you over and walks up to your window. I’m thinking about how many ways I could ruin the memory of possibly the happiest day of this young couples life – No Pressure my arse !! Right at that moment I felt the pressure of about a hundred people on my shoulders, and some of them knew where I worked….. So a bit of internal meditation and off I go, nervous, excited, and as I always say “if it doesn’t kill me it’ll make me stronger”.
At this point I’d like to weigh in on the always hotly discussed topic of fee’s that wedding photographers charge, for the record – I’m not a professional and did not charge for my time and effort, I accepted the task as a personal challenge to improve my photography skills, and it certainly taught me that I know less than three tenths of bugger all about being a wedding photographer, and how little I know about properly using a flash. As for how much wedding photographers charge, here where I live the rates seem to be anywhere from a little more than a $1000.00 for a basic three-hour package, up to many thousands of dollars, and goodness knows what. Like I said I don’t really now a single thing about the industry, but I can now say, with some degree of authority, that I think, on balance – “they’re too cheap”!
You read it right “too cheap”, equipment cost, time, effort, stress, post production, not to mention the overheads associated with running a business, insurance, marketing, wages etc, doesn’t leave a lot of change in your pocket after expenses. I was ‘working’ from 15:00hrs through till 20:30hrs, was using a 5D mk2 and 7D with a variety of canon and zeiss lenses, 430 EX2 flash, spare batteries, memory cards, blah blah blah – thankfully the images straight out of the camera are pretty reasonable, so I only needed a few minor global tweaks to each image in LR4, but given that there are hundreds of images to process, that still constitutes more than a few hours to sort and then process.
I take my hat off the all the real wedding photographers out there – bloody good job.
So will I ever do it again ??
Hell yes! ….after all, they say practice makes perfect.