Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/12

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Lenses For Wedding
Date: 13 May 2002 05:40:03 -0000


This is superb advice, have printed it off just in case I ever need to
recall it. Plan A) Avoid Friends getting married Plab B) Get out Derick's 



> I've been trying to figure out how to answer this, and I'm having
> trouble...
> Various thoughts, in the order that they come to me:
> 1) Make sure you want to do this.  If you feel pressured and obligated
> you're starting with 2 strikes against you.
> 2) Make sure they're aware of your capabilities, and talk a LOT about
> expectations.  Friendships have been lost over wedding pics (no joke).
> Look at albums together, figure out what they expect to see.  Check out
> a couple of wedding photo books on the market for ideas.  Someone coined
> the term Bridezilla for a reason -- count on seeing her sometime.
> 3) Use gear you're comfortable with.  Don't get caught in the trap of
> renting a Hasselblad without being used to one.  If you need to you can
> shoot the whole thing with a 50 or a 35 (I know lots of wedding photogs
> who never needed more than an 80mm lens in medium format) -- don't get
> too caught up in the technical details.
> 4) Shoot wedding film.  Low contrast is key if you want details in the
> dress and tux at the same time.  Portra, NPH, NHG-II (so I hear), Reala,
> etc.
> 5) Outdoor weddings are DARK -- plan for it.  Fast film and/or fast
> lenses and/or flash.  Carry lots of batteries for flash or carry a
> battery pack.
> 6) Plan to shoot a lot of film, as this is an uncontrolled event that
> you won't be able to reshoot.  Figure 1,000 frames but be prepared for
> 2x that.  Make sure you discuss costs with the B&G before the shoot (dev
> + proof from a professional wedding lab averages about $1/frame, maybe
> $0.72 per 35mm neg; dev only is like $2 per roll that you can then scan,
> but this is really time intensive).  Maybe shoot Tri-x and let them
> choose images with a loupe and contact sheets if they're really on a
> budget.
> 7) Have backup equipment.  Use it.
> 8) Take lots of pictures of the old folks.  This might be the last good
> picture op for a lot of them, and the B&G wil likely forget to point
> them out as VIPs.  They will expect lots of great pics later when great
> aunt millie dies, though.
> 9) Does she want a bridal portrait?  Ask.  If you don't, believe it or
> not she might assume you magically made it happen sometime during the
> festivities.
> 10) Plan the formal family groupings in advance.  Have WRITTEN DOWN who
> they want in each grouping, and stick to the list (hard to do when
> everyone's anxious to get to the reception).  Explain that each grouping
> might take 5 minutes when planning to trim the list.  Use a tripod and
> flash for the groupings -- I don't care if you're using a Leica (shoot
> these on MF in you can -- when great aunt Millie dies someone may want
> to really blow up a group portrait because that's the best expression
> she had.)
> 11) Get to be friends with the DJ/Bandleader/wedding planner/whoever.
> This person can make sure you're in the right place at the right time.
> 12) Have fun.  These things are a blast to shoot.  DON'T DRINK.
> 13) If you want to play the leica-candid game (low light, low shutter
> speeds), consider doing it with B&W film.  Otherwise the images you shot
> with flash will have a much different color balance from the remainder,
> and if the B&G are going to want an album (all of 'em do, in my
> experience, even if they talk about artsy collages and unique
> presentations up front) you want the images to work well together.
> 14) Mom and Dad's expectations are probably much different that the
> B&G's with regard to pictures.  Shoot images to make them happy too.
> Think color, posed, well-lit, boring crap that matches the boring crap
> you see in most PPA ads (no offense to PPA photographers -- I just think
> it's dull).
> 15) You *might* want to consider something like a softar for pics of B&G
> + parents.  See 14.
> 16) Have the authority to make it happen.  Don't be afraid to stand up
> and take charge if necessary (hopefully you won't need to, but if they
> want shots of the cake cutting you need to be INSIDE the guests, and
> guests aren't thinking about pictures.)  
> That's all I've got right now.  Good luck.
> And no, I'm not the expert.  I've shot less than 2 dozen weddings.  Love
> 'em, but hate the follow-through afterward.
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Replies: Reply from Rolfe Tessem <> (RE: [Leica] Lenses For Wedding)