118 - Help! I have to photograph a wedding!
Sometimes the MayDay comes with a long explanation. Sometimes it is a message that is short and to the point.
“Help I have to photograph a wedding!”
Have you ever gotten this call?
“Guess what, we’re getting married!”
You. Congratulations! That’s wonderful.
Your friend. Thank you. We’d like you to be a part of it by being our photographer.
You. I’m not a wedding photographer.
Your friend. I know, but we can’t afford a professional photographer. We are trying to keep costs down. If you could do this for us, it would help us out.
I know many photographers who get that call, because often, I get the next Mayday, “Help! I have to photograph a wedding!
In this episode, I’ll give the full response I often wished I had the time to offer. Here is everything a non-wedding photographer should know before attempting a wedding.
Listen to the podcast
Should you even do it?
I recorded a podcast episode, “Should you ever shoot for free” to discuss reasons you should and should not shoot without charging someone.
I can use the same rationale deciding when I would and wouldn’t take a wedding photography request
Are you depressing the market for working photographers?
How do you accept and preserve the value of the craft?
Meet with the couple (Understand what they want and let them know what you can provide.)
Understand their vision for the wedding
Find out what is important to them in their wedding photos
Get their timeline
Find out their VIP family members
Do some expectation management
Get a Pinterest mood board
Agree on when you will deliver photos
Scout the location
Look up lighting for the wedding time (indoor & outdoor weddings)
Understand the layout
Plot travel times to the wedding and between shoot locations
Create your coverage plan
Make a shot list (Download the PDF)
Plan for an assistant or draft some help
Make sure you have adequate setup & teardown time
Parking restrictions or issues
Set up and test all your gear before packing it (extra batteries, cards, business cards)
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III
Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
Canon 28mm f/1.8
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS
Work the shot list
Shoot the story - not just photos
Height of the action. Height of the emotion. Action. Reaction.
Shoot for the album. Shoot for the mantle.
Pack snacks & water.
Have someone staging your portraits
After the wedding
Back up your photos
Quick edit and share about 10-12 representative images
Finish and deliver pictures as promised
Book or Canvass as a gift?