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Wedding business
Old 10-09-2005, 01:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A local informal poll of photographers in the Rio Grande Valley tells me that the wedding business is off.I went from 2 weddings a month to none.

Many photogs on GG do weddings. Has this been your experience?

Bruce

Goldie at sunset. Shot w a Canon 10D and a slaved Vivitar 283 off camera.

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Re: Wedding business
Old 10-09-2005, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Most people are now finding that there are a dozen people in their crowd with digital cameras and if you have them shoot your wedding its a lot cheaper.

Will this make for good wedding photos. Well, if you shoot 500-1000 photos which is certainly possible and you have several people doing that you can end up with 1500 photos and you're bound to have 25-50 that are usuable so most people will get decent wedding photos just from luck. It is a different world.

I think that wedding photographers are going to have to offer something really different to capture new business and they are going to have to watch their price points. You can still do the high end stuff for a good price, but that's not going to be easy anymore, either.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Wedding business
Old 10-09-2005, 03:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It is currently feast or famine, and would you believe the reasons for the famine are actually among us?

Now, I don't mean GG'rs, but in a way I do. The amateur photographer which we have plenty of on this board, you know the ones I am talking about. Mon-Fri they are 9-5, but at night and weekends, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS AT LARGE.

It's the P/t's who do this for the extra cash or for the fun that have become a problem for most of the established full time wedding photographers and studios.

With digital, people are not so much concerned about hiring the right photographer to expose the film correctly on this once in a lifetime opportunity might as well pay to get it right. How many people do you think honestly know nobody who is a graphic artist or has photoshop on the computer? It has become hard times for the wedding photographer.

HOWEVER, for the P/t time photographer, its money in the bag [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] They hired you on your rates and your providing the work that you said you would. No muss no fuss on albums, framing, or lab costs, your simply giving over a cd.

In my neck of the woods its a smorgosborg of wedding photography. I know one photographer who will shoot your ceremony and the reception and provide you a CD with raw images for a mere $300 (excellent price for any couple trying to make ends meet) and on the flip side, how about the whole kitten cabootle (anyone ever try to spell kah-butle, its hard when you think about it) albums, frames, all the poses, before the wedding, after the wedding, you name it for about $5,000.

Right now it all depends on where you are in the world. Many photographers here still shooting weddings but your competing against other photographers in the area as well as "Uncle Bob the lawyer, who happens to have a 1ds Mark II and L series glass and would be happy to shoot the wedding". Depending where you are in the world, and the income of people around you, it's sink, swim, or tred water right now in the wedding industry.

Still a booming market though....and if anyone wants to know more, well drop me an email and clear your schedule for spring is almost upon us.

JasonNJ
GPCB
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Re: Wedding business
Old 10-09-2005, 08:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It has really slowed down in the area we reside. On my website {MS frontpage}, I have a "grabber" price. When someone inquires I quote the $1200 fee for 5 hrs of coverage, the images a few enlargements and all 4x6 proofs up to 75. The next thing I get "well on your site it says". When I explain that is just for a cd of the event they answer with, thats ok I am pretty good on a computer and I'll print them myself.... go figure. Next thing you know a week later they threaten to sue cause the colors are off and the Walgreens person said they can't crop it correctly or the enlargement is off.... Go figure... I'm a "p/t" photographer who will not undercut or throw the standard off to make a lil money. It's getting tough down here.... Lucky I have a day job to support a p/t job I enjoy... Good Luck...


Luis
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Re: Wedding business
Old 10-09-2005, 11:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yep, I agree.... it's much like the weekend warriors who will shoot a model for free, and then provide her with a CD full of high res edited images for free..

They could care less about this as an industry...I guess I should take up their trade, and provide it for free, to see how they like being put out of work!

JP
 
 
Re: Wedding business
Old 10-10-2005, 12:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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One of the things you add in the contract is a clause that states that no other photographs are to be taken at the wedding........well,...that is of course after you managed to get them to sign you..

I have read numberous posts on other sites regarding how "unfair" it is to disallow a photographer to bring their cameras to a wedding, while a professional photographer is busy working there, and then they all say such and such about the guy,...and that their pictures were sooo much better,...yet they gave them all away for free because they felt soooooory for the bride and groom.... GD crybabies!! I somehow doubt if their pictures were any good if they gave them all away for free..

What I see,...is a lot of competition shooting for next to nothing.. they have day jobs, and on the weekends, they will gladly make an extra 500 bucks!! Yep,...that's it...and they give them the jpgs right out of the camera onto a CD and they leave with five hundred bucks that they don't claim in their wallets.

The thing is though,...there always has been those types.. there will always be them out there too.. It is the artist, the true professional who the bride will go to their friends for advice, who will recommend you through word of mouth,...and or see your examples as by far better than Mr. Snappy crappy GWC on the weekends wedding photographer..

It's all about service.. Don't cut your rates to be in step with those little ****s out there.. Show them who's the real photographer,...who is accountable,...who has a damn good portfolio,...who has back-up equipment,...who can take a great shot in dificult situations.....rather than Mr. snap-shot "P-Mode"..

Never stoop!

JP
 
 
Re: Wedding business
Old 10-10-2005, 01:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
One of the things you add in the contract is a clause that states that no other photographs are to be taken at the wedding........well,...that is of course after you managed to get them to sign you..


[/ QUOTE ]

Few wedding parties will sign an agreement that disallows other photographers. And you could not enforce it anyway. What do you do, call a policeman? Do you ask the parents to stop the other person from taking photos and they get in a shouting match right in the middle of the wedding.

I've shot several hundred weddings over the last 30 years and as they said in "Music Man", "It's not like it used to be". The other photographers with the benefit of really fantastic digital cameras and Photoshop Elements or Photoshop itself can now turn out a much higher quality of photo that used to be possible for the casual camera buff. Part of this is due to the greatly increased number of photos they can shoot and see the immediate results, and then self correct. This was never really possible in the past. Of course we're talking about the candids at this point.

When we get to the staged shots, is where the pro still has an advantage, especially if he has set up a couple of strobes with umbrellas, etc. to get better lighting for the group formals. The other non-pros will not have those lights. They may shoot the same shot from behind the photographer, but they will be almost all bad due to great difficultly in evenly lighting the larger group shots. I never try to bar other photographers when I shoot the formals, but I shoot quite quickly and I'm in front and jumping around and so it is really hard for them to get the well posed formal shot.

As to whether someone who charges less gets the job, well that's the competitive system. The quality may be poorer in some cases, but with nothing to compare it to, the wedding party doesn't know.

Quality and professionalism still count, but one has to work harder now days to convince someone that these are important parts of the equation. I think the overall rates that pros can charge will steadily move down, simply because there will be more people who actually can do a credible job of shooting a wedding because the learning curve is so much less with digital and there are 101 books that give all the details of shooting weddings as well as seminars, DVDs, etc. In fact right now in Barnes and Nobel they are selling a complete course on wedding photography.

Cheers,
rfs

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Vison Survives
Old 10-10-2005, 01:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I find this fascinating to read actually. Last weekend I attended the first wedding I've been too in years. The bride and groom had asked me if I would shoot the pictures but I declined (I don't have a backup camera body for one and second I would not want my first wedding to be someone I knew just in case I blew it)

That said I still took my camera, I still shot, I did not steal their photographer's setups I figured he gets paid to do that let him do it. Instead I shot candid's, reaction shots from the crowd, things that I didn't see their photographer shooting. It was outdoor wedding, he shot fill flash, i shot natural light just to give options (and to avoid stepping on his shots)

I stayed completely out of his way and did my own thing. I was fascinated to see that I was one of 3 people at the wedding with what would be considered at least higher end consumer products.

Now with all that and my respect for the profession, I can tell you that part of me secretly hopes that my shots are much better than his but at the same time for their sake I hope his come out fantastic.

I've seen stuff in magazines that makes it clear at a certain level you get what you pay for, there are people who's work is so clearly worth it that you don't question it. I expect that to survive in that industry in the future that is what you are going to have to do. If you can't provide exceptional service and images with a vision and creativity beyond what I can do as an advanced amateur you won't survive.

But for me, I don't have the cajones to do weddings, I fear the brides mother's way too much. But I think in the end the point of my ramble is, if you are good, if you have the eye and the skill you will still be able to make money but the average wedding photographer might be squeezed out by that one person that every bride knows who is better than all her other friends with a camera and naive enough to think that weddings are a piece of cake.

gary
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Re: Wedding business
Old 10-10-2005, 01:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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What you do is let the bride and groom know at the signing stage that this isn't allowed. and then they inform the guests that there is not to be photography from anyone else there. I have never seen a shouting match develope over this. It is simply a professional courtacy,...and it helps your online print sales if no one else was taking pictures along side you..

Several years ago, I shot a convention for the State Bar. I brought my whole kit with me, and set up a backdrop, and lights,..and I was in the middle of shooting with my RB67 when I noticed that most of the lights had just gone off before I took the picture....I thought nothing of it really,...and then it happened again.. I turned around and what do you know,...some sneaky little bastard with a camera on a flash bracket was shooting over my shoulder, and timeing it for when I took my picture..I yelled at him (quietly)...and asked him to find his own background to shoot on...and then continued to shoot.....well, I later learned after I got my film back that the guy had actually set off the lights just a second before I took the picture..(because I counted to 3...1...2...3..click)....and since my lights didn't have enough power, aside from the main light,...many of my shots were ruined, while that sneaky little ***** probably ruined every one of his shots, not knowing what film speed I was using, and or exposure I was set at...when his flash set off my lights that were not slaved.. in addition to this,...I'm the GD photographer, not uncle Joe.. I'm sure uncle joe can take nice pictures, but not while I'm working. It is not his business to cut into my business by providing quality photographs as his gift to the couple,...at my expence. If uncle joe wants to become a wedding / event photographer, then he can do that on his time, not mine.

JP
 
 
Re: Wedding business
Old 10-10-2005, 10:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I never have the problem with the flash you did. That's probably because I use a Novatron power pack and it doesn't go off unless it gets the signal from my PocketWizard (and there is no slave involved). Not to likely that someone else will bring a pocket wizard to the event. And I have seen shouting matches develop (fortunately, not at a wedding I was doing). And as to extremes, I've been at weddings where everyone was given a disposable camera when they arrived, so lots of people want all those other photos.
Cheers,
rfs
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