Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Survive as a Wedding Photographer

So you want to be a wedding photographer?
Here is a guide to obtaining a job as an official wedding photographer, how to lock in the date, prepare for, and execute a successful day of wedding photography. 

·      Initial Phone interview: Ask for Date, Times, Venues, Names, Phone no., email. Check availability. Send them to website if they haven’t already seen it. Make appt for portfolio review.

·      Portfolio Review: Show examples of all types of shots taken. Show an actual bride’s album, parent albums. Show big pictures. Ask about them and their wedding day. Take notes. Be enthusiastic. Suggest timing, schedule and flow of the day based on experience. Outdoor lighting needs for formals. Educate them. Give paperwork showing all price breakdowns. Give them a package price estimate according to their preferences. Explain contract and payment plan. 3 most important variables when choosing a photographer — photo style, personality, budget.

·      Contract: Both parties sign, have copies. Receive down payment (1/3 total) to hold date and confirm agreement. Balance due by day of event.

·      Two weeks before event: Call, go over schedule, procedures, website, CD, album. Get directions, parking details. Remind about meals and balance due.  Exchange cell numbers.

·      Day before: Charge all batteries, re-format cards, check and pack equipment including (at least) 2 cameras, 2 flashes, multiple lenses including 24-70mm zoom and 70-300mm zoom, fixed lenses as well. Rechargeable (Quantum) batteries with chords to run flashes and 20 plus rechargeable AA batteries for flashes. 4 gig cards are quite useful. Addt’l charged camera batteries. Tripod, Reflectors, lens cleaners, battery checker, any flash accessories, Studio lighting & accessories if necessary, extension chords. You’ll be adding more to this.

·      Wedding Day: Arrive early. Scout location for formals. Greet and getting ready shots (30 mins), Formals- Natural light/flash fill, reflectors, gobo, shade, etc. w/ B&G, Family, Wedding Party. Fun shots, romantic/scenic, walk, creative portraits, wide open lens (allow 1 hour) Allow 30 min. break before ceremony.  Outdoor ceremony free reign, no flash. Indoor limit flash, natural light, unobtrusive. Bounced flash for reception, natural light. Cocktail candids, 2 photographers for events of day, Check in with band/DJ not to miss anything. Shoot a lot of everything. Wide open. Lenses and perspectives. Try slow shutter speed shots. Check batteries and cards before each major event. Delete duds as you go to save time later. Remember how to get home. Charge batteries.

Read More on Tony's Website with photography basics and tips

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