Wedding photography versus altitude

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Patrick L., Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Patrick L.

    Patrick L. Guest

    The other day, I was at a photo lab, one that professes to be a pro lab. I
    was waiting for the fellow (who was the owner) behind the counter to finish
    with another customer, but I overheard his reply to the customer who asked
    him if he did weddings -- a reply which exuded the unmistakable aura of
    condescension regarding wedding photography. He said "I don't do wedding
    photography", with a big frown and accent on the word 'do', as if those who
    do this type of photography are in some kind of diminutive class.

    I realize wedding photography does not have the glamour and probably not as
    much excitement as photojournalism, but I was really offended by his
    comment, especially since a good part of his photo processing business comes
    from wedding photographers.

    Have any of you wedding shooters out their come across this attitude with
    other types of photographers?

    And how many of you would rather be into some other type of photography, but
    do weddings solely for the bread and butter aspect? I can respect the
    latter, since it sure as hell beats flipping burgers.

    I'll tell you what I like about weddings.

    They are happy, joyous affairs (usually).

    Free food, usually pretty good.

    I"ve found most brides and grooms easy to please, which, as I understand it,
    is not the case with magazine photo editors.

    Pay is good.

    Exposure to different cultures (and I find the sociological &
    anthropological aspects of weddings from one culture to another, very

    It's all about people, moments, memories, and the fact that, when all is
    done with the wedding, my work is going to stay with that family for a long
    time (unless they get divorced, of course). So if you love shooting
    people, this is a good thing.

    In many other types of photography (excluding art-in-museums stuff), your
    work is seen by the public not in their original print form, but in
    magazines, books, brochures, billboards, etc. This is not the case with
    wedding photography.

    And here is what I really like about it, and that is the fact that in a
    fast paced environment, you must be able to summons forth anything and
    everything you have learned about the subject, and apply your knowledge
    quickly, so this environment is very good for honing one's skill.

    But, alas, there is one big thing I don't like about it: The fact that the
    only people to whom your work has real meaning are the bride, groom, and
    their family.

    Well, nothing in this world lets you have it all.

    Patrick L., Dec 1, 2003
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  2. Patrick L.

    zbzbzb Guest

    I find most weddings sad in the sense that more effort usually goes into
    preparing for a wedding and everything that it represents, in addition to other
    superficial things and events, instead of what it takes to sustain and nuture a
    zbzbzb, Dec 1, 2003
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  3. Patrick L.

    Robertwgross Guest

    Patrick, there are many technical types of photographers who disdain some of
    the artistic aspects of photography. A wedding photographer has to have some of
    the technical skills, some of the artistic skills, AND THEN has to be good
    dealing with people. This especially includes brides on their wedding day. Some
    brides tend to be really nervous and show great paranoia about anything bad
    that could possibly happen. For this reason, many photographers simply opt out.
    I've seen some supposedly professional photographers who screwed up big time on
    a wedding shoot, and that affects their business for quite a while.

    At one of the last weddings that I shot, the father of the bride was half-drunk
    by the time we got to shooting the formal poses. That made it difficult, but
    somewhat entertaining.

    ---Bob Gross---
    Robertwgross, Dec 1, 2003
  4. Patrick L.

    Alan Browne Guest

    I don't DO photo-newgroup wedding discussions.


    Your 'pro' should not act so negatively, but rather network and refer to
    a list of colleagues/competitors who do DO weddings. Referrals have a
    habit of generating back-referals for whatever area he does DO.

    Alan Browne, Dec 1, 2003
  5. Patrick L.

    Ray Murphy Guest

    RM: It's an interesting topic you've brought up, but hey don't be
    concerned about it. You must know by now that photography attracts a
    lot of fruitcakes who gravitate towards the art in order to express
    thieir pedantic nature.
    It's just a vehicle for expressing expertise - often for less-educated
    people who have difficulty in surviving in the real world with their
    particular personalities.

    Personally I've never encountered a difficult wedding photographer,
    but have been very impressed with the two major qualities which they
    display -- a great way with people and a high standard of work. Some
    of them are quite outstanding individuals and contribute a lot to
    society in a very direct way.

    Sure, some of the lesser wedding photographers are a bit bossy, but
    they are still motivated to "get it right" which is an admirable
    quality if not taken to extremes.

    I cannot imagine too many wedding photographers surviving in the
    business if they were not reasonably good overall.

    As I said before, don't be concerned. You are in a very respectable
    line of business - even if a few colleagues DO cut a few corners and

    But getting back to the neurotic character you mentioned -- yes,
    there's a lot of them around, so you need to be on the ball and ready
    with some stock answers before you go into their shop or lab etc.

    If you miss your opportunity to have your say - go back when customers
    are present and do it :))


    [other newsgroups omitted]
    Ray Murphy, Dec 1, 2003
  6. I would say that wedding photography should be done below 13,000 feet.
    Charlie Dilks, Dec 1, 2003
  7. Patrick L.

    Ken Hart Guest

    And I'll tell you what I don't like about weddings!
    Everyone in the wedding is stressed out because they have to have everything
    "just perfect"
    Cheap food, usually cooked last week and very dry.
    Most brides' mothers can be a real PITA at the wedding, and if you miss a
    photo of Uncle Edgar (who spent the wedding in the car listening to the game
    on the radio), they want you to re-create the entire day, or refund
    When you include all your time (sorting negs, putting albums together, etc),
    it ain't that good.
    I concede this point-- depends on your location.
    The same can be said for studio portraits, except that you don't have the
    travel and pressure.
    I'll conceded that point-- I prefer to work in a more relaxed, structured
    If you enjoy wedding photography, more power to you! For me, I consider it
    too much time, too much hassle, not enough money, not enough opportunity to
    get really creative.
    The only wedding I really enjoyed shooting was my nephew's. He and his bride
    hired a wedding photographer, and I just took pictures for myself.

    Ken Hart, Dec 1, 2003
  8. Patrick L.

    Bob Ford Guest

    <<big snip>>
    I have been doing video for the last 20 years but prior to that I
    worked at still photography but only part time.
    I can't count how many weddings I have shot, for myself and before
    that as a stringer for several local studios.
    Yes, I have encountered this attitude many times and my usual answer
    used to be "you don't like shooting weddings" because you don't know

    Sure everbody wants everything to be perfect - wouldn't you if it was
    your wedding or your childs wedding? Yes the brides mother can be a
    real pain in the ass, not to mention "Queen for a Day" the bride but I
    found that if you keep your attitude in the right place, most people
    will come around and be cordial.
    I suspect that people in general are harder to deal with today than
    when I was shooting weddings, especially the brides. We now have a
    generation of totally spoiled brats so if I were in that biz today I
    might have a different opinion about it.

    It's not enough to know how to shoot the pics - if you have a decent
    knowledge about social ettiquette you can be a real help to people.
    I used to be amazed at how many people don't know which side to pin
    the flowers on the men. I knew where and not only that I knew a really
    slick little way to put them on quickly and they stayed in place.

    God forbid but I also used to shoot little leaguers but even that can
    be pleasant depending on your own attitude.

    Bottom line is these jobs all PAY MONEY and it is very difficult to
    move up into higher ranks of photo work.

    I have a very unique video business in that I tape dance conventions
    and have been doing so for 20 years. Many of my peers look down on my
    chosen field but bottom line is I make money at it. Would I like to do
    commercials or be a news shooter or editor? Of course but here again
    it is very difficult to move up into that level and it takes MEGA
    BUCKS for equipment to do so. Interesting thing is there are only 2
    companies on the West Coast that do the type of work I do - it not
    only takes technical video skills but also a knowledge of dance to do
    it properly.

    I don't do video weddings because it is much harder work than doing
    stills and I make more money at what I do.

    I normally don't answer things on the photo groups but your subject
    caught my attention. If you are good at what you do, make no apologies
    for your chosen field and just continue depositing your payments into
    your bank account :)

    Good luck.
    Bob Ford
    Images In Motion
    Bob Ford, Dec 1, 2003
  9. Patrick L.

    Charlie Self Guest

    That attitude, along with reasonable photo skills, can keep anyone going a long

    And if the attitude isn't enough, I've known wedding photographers who do a lot
    better financially than most journalist shooters. More glamour to the j-camera,
    but unless you're on a big town paper or a bit tmie magazine, the money tends
    to not be so great.

    Wedding photographers are limited primarily by the amount of time they wish to
    spend working, and their skills.

    Charlie Self

    "I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who
    believe it." George Carlin
    Charlie Self, Dec 1, 2003
  10. Patrick L.

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Photographers get more lawsuits from wedding work than from all outher
    sources combined. I imagine this tends to influence a lot of people's
    attitude toward the field.
    I used to assist a man who did weddings (he had three shooters besides
    himself and they averaged 2 weddings a weekend each) Dealing with the bride
    and the mother at the formal shoot, was more than enough for me. I think
    wedding photographers are much braver than I care to be.

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    Tony Spadaro, Dec 1, 2003
  11. Patrick L.

    Railfan Guest

    Oh. I thought the subject "Wedding photography versus altitude" was a
    question about doing wedding photos in high altitude places such as

    BB in Canada
    (Former part tome wedding photographer)
    Railfan, Dec 1, 2003
  12. [snip]
    How *do* you pin them on quickly so they stay in place?

    Just curious for good little tips :)

    - jz
    Jeff Zawrotny, Dec 1, 2003
  13. Patrick L.

    Robertwgross Guest

    I had to think about that also. I shot a wedding celebration once at 10,000
    feet in the country of Nepal. The men were each wearing a ceremonial Buddhist
    robe with an American cowboy hat. Weird.

    ---Bob Gross---
    Robertwgross, Dec 1, 2003
  14. Patrick L.

    Leicaddict Guest

    Especially with the new "Gay" marriage law in Mass (soon to spread to the
    rest of the US), I can see Wedding photography becoming really, really
    lucrative. Your friend may be singing another song this time next year.
    Leicaddict, Dec 1, 2003
  15. Patrick L.

    Bob Ford Guest

    Hi Jeff and thanks for asking.

    Most people try to put the flowers on top of the man's lapel and then
    also pin them on the top. Just place the boutinerre (sp?) on top of
    the lapel, hold it in place with your left hand, turn the lapel over
    and insert the pin on the back side of the lapel and right through the
    body, stem parts of the flower, typically carnations. Sometimes 2 pins
    are necessary but if you get it fastened securely, one will hold it
    all day.

    Bob Ford
    Images In Motion
    Bob Ford, Dec 1, 2003
  16. Why will that make it more lucrative? Only a few percent of the population
    would be candidates for "gay marriage" and I don't see why it's more
    lucrative than ordinary marriage...
    Michael A. Covington, Dec 2, 2003
  17. Patrick L.

    Timo Labrenz Guest

    I'm not a pro, but I've done weddings, so I'll comment, if I may.
    I think wedding photography isn't the worst thing.
    No, never. Wedding photography just seems to be a part of the
    business. Somehow, every pro I know has done it at some point of
    Well, I wish I would get payed for doing weddings. I do them because
    I like to. As I said, I'm not a pro, and most couples I've taken
    pictures of couldn't afford a photographer anyway.
    Yes, sometimes they aren't, but usually they are.
    I don't care much about the free food, but I always take pictures of
    it, anyway ;)
    This is the one thing I don't like about it. The bride usually says
    that she just wants photos as a kind of keepsake, something that
    just shows what it was like and who was there, that they don't have
    to be particularly good photos, but every person who was there
    should be on one photo at least. And that I should take my time
    doing the prints, they don't need them that soon. They lie. They
    never mean it. They want good photos and they want them ASAP, even
    if they don't say so. And they are dissapointed if they don't have
    the photos 3 days later, unless they are on a honeymoon.
    Well, but you don't get that kind of feedback, unless you are really
    good or do something very special.
    Feedback. If a photo you've taken is in the local newspaper, many
    people will see it, but no one will call you and say "Hey, I've seen
    the photo, it's really beautiful.". Brides and grooms and their
    family and friends do that, and I enjoy that.

    It's a challenge. You only get one chance to make it right, and
    every couple is convinced that they are not gonna marry again or get
    divorced. One chance, and if you mess it up, you can't just say
    "Let's do it again!". That makes it more interesting, and that's why
    I really give my best.

    Maybe being a good photojournalist, winning prices, or doing great
    fashion photography has more glamour or excitement. But the pictures
    you take at those fields will probably never mean as much for a
    single person than the photos of their own wedding. The wedding
    pictures are very special and important to them. Call me romantic or
    idealistic, but that really means a lot to me.

    can't believe I wrote that... although I mean it...
    Timo Labrenz, Dec 2, 2003
  18. Patrick L.

    jjs Guest

    I believe wedding photography is hard work and requires professional
    skill, but so does embalming.
    jjs, Dec 2, 2003
  19. Patrick L.

    Bob Ford Guest

    And have you encountered the ones who say......."we don't want any
    posed pictures - just shoot candids"?

    Try that and see what kinda flack you get from that one. When I was
    booking my own wedding shoots and came across a bride like that I told
    them straight out that most of the pictures need to be posed,
    otherwise you shoot a bunch of snapshots that good ol' Uncle Elmer
    could easily do.

    Professional pix need some posing especially for the formals after the
    wedding. I have seen photogs who took 30 minutes or more to do these
    and a typical set of formal shots for me took about 15 minutes which
    allows everyone to get on to the reception. Yes, you can do it in 15
    minutes if you know what you are doing :)
    Bob Ford
    Images In Motion
    Bob Ford, Dec 2, 2003
  20. Patrick L.

    zeitgeist Guest

    I used to say that photography is a lot like pop music, for every mega star
    making millions with their creative efforts, there is a million doing

    I think its a pose, a lot of photogs do a wedding when they don't know what
    they are doing and get their fingers burned, but a lot also do a wedding and
    think, this is cool.

    I for one don't relish the idea of spending my day in a darkroom, with some
    manager jerk standing over me with a stop watch timing how many orders I
    video color correct per hour, how many orders I push through, jeez, that's
    one micro-managed business.

    but I don't think too many wedding photographers would take serious offense,
    not only do we hear it alot, but we're all probably a bit masocistic (sp?
    like I care?)

    btw, 90% of all problems that those who hold that 'attitude' believe is
    endemic to weddings can be headed off before the wedding day if you take the
    couple out for an engagement shoot. I've posted the reasons for this
    before so I won't go into it again, but think, the folks hold a rehearsal
    the night before so everybody is on the same page just walking down the
    aisle, how hard is that? but they don't go over what is to be expected in
    the photography. I can really feel the difference between a cold start and
    one where I've warmed the creative partnership up.

    this reply is echoed to the z-prophoto mailing list at
    zeitgeist, Dec 2, 2003
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