Becoming a wedding photographer.

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paul13walnut5

Guest
Hi I've just bought a 6D and a 24-70, I've been doing photography about 6 months and really want to make that next step...

I kid, I kid.

I've been doing photography as a hobby since my EOS1000 (the 35mm one, not the digital) so thats for some 20 years probably. I've never aspired to be professional. I've had a long learning curve (film was expensive) and probably quite a bit of a way to go, in terms of portraiture posing etc at least (my technical and camera craft ability, I think, is pretty well sorted)

Along the way, I did a 3 year communications and media degree (from the university of Mickey Mouse for all it's been worth, hey kids.. don't study media, really!) and a 2 year technical college vocational course in television and video production. I've worked these last 6 years as a cameraman / VT editor for Europes largest publishing group, regularly doing broadcast work of various descriptions, so I have plenty of current experience lighting, directing, setting up scenes etc. For four years before that I worked at a Univeristy setting up TV studios, Photography Studios, Apple Mac produciton labs, doing equipment hire etc. Before that I worked in photo-retail for around 5 years selling everything from Olympus Stylus to Leica MP's, and the first few waves of DSLRS as well. I know it's not hands on photography, and I know more than anybody how different the skills are, I'm just making the point that I'm not 'uncle bob'.

I've always been asked to do video favours for folk or mates rates etc, and if the work will benefit me (financially, developmentally, or just feeling good) then I'll usually do it.

I have a few friend getting married this year, and they've asked me to take a look at various 'professionals' work.

I'm shocked. There are a lot of Uncle Bobs and Auntie Robertas masquearading as photographers out there.
When told the money they charge my jaw hits the floor. I don't think 'I want some of that action', I think 'I want to give folk better for their money'.

So I'm considering starting up a part-time photography business.

I'm really just after critiques of my business model. I don't need or want any more or any new gear just yet, and I don't need to ask anybodies advice on what I would like to move on to, so please don't respond with that kind of answer.

My Plan.

£250 wedding photos.

And thats it.

I turn up for 1 hour, after all the church stuff is done, and before the party begins. I do you 10 shots. Classic ordinary shots. The couple. The grooms gang. The brides gang. The Parents and the Couple. Everybody. Cheers, see you later.

No bridesmaid peeking out behind trees.
No close ups of rings on fingers.
No annoying the minister.
No getting ready shots.

Just a simple, straightforward collection of classically posed group and couple shots, in a nice setting. Correctly exposed. In colour. Nothing tw@tty Twee or convoluted.

Cheap. Limited hassle on the day.

And a CD passed over with all rights relinquished, the couple can print share canvas post any of the images as many times as they want wherever they want. I'll recommend they use Loxleys rather than boots of course, but no faffing about.

Basic. Solid. No packages. No Gold, Silver or Bronze.

I think i can make money at this, as a lot of folk don't have £2000 for a wedding photographer, or who don't want to be in front of a camera all day.

Do you think there is much of a market for this?

I plan to do a studio skills course at a respected local college, brush up on my photographic lighting practise and learn a bit more about posing people. So I'm not so arrogant to think that it's dead easy, I bring a lot to the table already and I think I've a grasp of what else I need to know.

It would be a sideline initially, and if things take off I might then invest more time in it, or more money in gear, but for now, I think it's a marketable idea.

Is anybody doing anything similar or disagree on strong terms?

Please please please keep gear out of this thread. I may have questions in the future, but this is a business post.
 

FKS

Nov 13, 2013
1
0
I love the straightforwardness of your proposal, but I see two problems: audience and cost.

1) If a couple is making a full day affair out of their wedding, it seems like they'd be interested in (and prepared to pay for) capturing more of it. An audience looking to minimize the photography scope of work (and cost) is, in my opinion, the same audience that will have Uncle Joe take the pictures. I don't know where your market is.

2) Do you really want to tie up entire weekend days just to shoot a wedding or two for $250/ea? To me, the opportunity cost of being tied down for a weekend is far higher than what you'd be making in income.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
Thanks, constructive thoughts.

1) There are plenty of folk out there who will do the whole day and for a lot more money, if thats what the couple want then they aren't on my radar. I think folk get uncle Joe to do it because they don't have £1000 to pay the going rate. Times are tight. £250 for a simple package that doesn't dominate the day is much more palatable. It might put uncle Joe out of business in fact.

2) £250, not $250, I don't see it being every weekend. And if it did really take off and I got two bookings every weekend I could give up my main job freeing up time through the week to augment my freelance video work. I already work full time in video, I could be making a lot more freelance, a strong second income would pay the house and car whilst I got that going for say, 2-3 days a week. I'm pretty confident my work would hire me back to do the work I already do as and when required. I'd cost them less overall.
 

danski0224

EOS R
Apr 24, 2011
1,102
11
Sounds like a novel idea, not sure how it would actually work out.

By that, I mean it reduces an entire day of events to a single block of time, an hour in this case, for professional photography. Would people actually want a limited number (10 in this example) of professionally posed group shots and nothing else?

Given the number of guests/relatives taking candids, maybe you will find work with this approach.

I suppose it couldn't hurt to offer an ala-carte hourly pricing rate, as long as the scheduled time is continuous, and keeping with the minimal post-processing theme.

Good luck.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
Cheers, thanks for constructive feedback. The idea of a fixed price package is the selling point. With that comes the limited number of poses. Keeps things simple. Keeps my time down. In actual fact I think you could distill most weddings down to a single very good portrait of the couple. I think 10 is a good compromise to get the nearest and dearest in. The folk who have more money, or who enjoy being the centre of attention every waking moment of the day have plenty of choice on the market already. I'm aiming for the other folk.

I think there is a market amongst folk who want the classic wedding shots for their mantlepiece / wall whatever, but maybe aren't comfortable being shadowed by a photographer the whole day, maybe the experience of the wedding day is what they want to treasure more than the album.

I have taken a straw poll amongst friends and family, one friend, a piper who has played hundreds of weddings, reckons its a great idea, regards photographers as a nuisance whom upset the dynamic of the day.

I've been at weddings as a guest where photographers have well overstepped, and kinda ruined the experience of the day a little. A half hour to an hour out of the day. Done. Go enjoy, eat drink and be merry. There will be plenty of other pics that uncle bob can take to fill in the gaps.
 

danski0224

EOS R
Apr 24, 2011
1,102
11
I think your idea has merit, providing you can find the target audience.

I've never photographed a wedding, nor do I plan to. Based on attending a couple of them, having a specific block of time set aside for a limited number of pro photographs has no disadvantages from my viewpoint. A couple of people I know with 100's of pictures to choose from for prints did not choose many.

The bridal party could even review them right there on a tablet :)

Wouldn't cost much to find out if it works.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
Yep, thats exactly what I'm thinking, except without the ipad bit.

Cheers all.

Keep constructive critiques coming. (Ha ha ha "Whatever"? PMSL LOLS ROFL "What-EVAAAAA")
 

dexstrose

EOS M6 Mark II
Sep 12, 2012
94
0
Maybe for the first five you do, surprise the client with a 8x10 or 11x17 print few hours after the shoot. Have a printer in your car and some cheap frames. The married couple can display it at the after party with some of your cards. Might get more clients that way.

Please don't be like those Craigslist photographers I hear of that give lousy pics and pass them selves as professionals.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
Hi Dexstrose. Thanks for the thoughts. I wouldn't do promos etc. The price is the promo, the gimmick, I'm going to be 'no frills', without being poor quality.

I don't want to get into printing (though i'll suggest Loxleys) or framing, the only thing cheap about me is my rate, I don't want inkjets in an ikea frame. If I get the package right I don't need any added value. I really want to keep it as simple as possible.

I've listed my credentials, and detailed how I intend to get some further structured tuition before making the leap.

I'm not going to be that craiglists guy, I assure you. I wouldn't do it, unless I knew I could do it. If it any point it becomes apparant that I can't then I won't.

I make a decent enough living full-time in video. I've avoided the wedding circuit up until now. I see this project as a way to branch out in safety. I'm not depending on the work to live. I've not tried a few other things and am now trying this. I've not bought a dslr and think therefore I'm a photographer.

I'm motivated more by a lot of shysters that I see charging exorbitant prices for shoddy work. I find a lot of the trendy gimmicky stuff cringeworthy. For my own wedding I would hate a photographer on my shoulder all day. Thats where I'm coming from.

I do need to build up a portfolio, so might ask some friends to don their wedding day outfits in exchange for a meal etc to get some pics on the go. I'm not after a fast or easy buck. I'm not out to rob folk either.
 

drjlo

EOS R
Mar 27, 2012
805
6
I just did a maternity shoot for a couple of hours, but the real work was all the post-processing I had to do, which took many more hours. I did make several versions of the same "good" photo RAW files (B&W, "film" look, etc) for the couple to choose choose to taste.

For weddings, it's a lot more work than even that shoot, and even though you are going for quick, "classic" photo's only, I think you will find it more work than you anticipate right now. If you minimize your work including post-processing, then I believe many couples will not be "happy," eventually leading to no business :'(
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
I take that point on board. So far I've usually managed to get things pretty much right in camera, my video experience makes me obsessive about lighting, shadows and colour temperature.
 

kennephoto

EOS RP
Jun 7, 2012
322
0
35
Minnesota
My wedding experience is limited but my wedding clients seem too enjoy the candid photo more than the posed group shots that more or less document who was there. They seem to share and talk about the photos that convey emotion and document the ceremony. I'm basing this what I see on Facebook when they share them and I bet when they make a photo album to look back on they will enjoy the same candid romantic photos more than the group shots. To sum up whole wedding or nothing, there's no point in just doing part of the day.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
I agree. And I don't want to tread on the guests toes. Candids are much easier done by those hiding in plain sight as it were, not an unknown photographer with big camera.