Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/11/19

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Subject: Re: [Leica] 1st Wedding assignment --- should I ?
From: Carl Pultz <>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 11:03:14 -0500


This subject came up last spring, and someone posted a very comprehensive, 
funny and scary summary of the reasons not to do weddings. Ted hit on the 
major points this time around, with the appropriate voice of doom.

I haven't done one in over a decade, and thinking back on it, I was very 
lucky that they went pretty well. Once, my Mamiya 645 fell off a table just 
before the ceremony. Big crash, prism finder detached and went sliding 
through the crowd, film cartridge flew out the other way. I just about 
died. Camera worked fine. Good thing - I had no backup, and I had to do the 
whole day wondering if it really was working. So were the clients. Once, my 
F2 locked up (what were the odds it would pick that moment out of 12 years 
of use?) half way through the gig. Lucky I had a Nikkormat along. Once, I 
ran out of Vericolor and had to finish the job with Kodachrome! Stupid, 
ignorant.....and those were all jobs for strangers.

Anything can happen. Or not happen. Most likely, your equipment will be 
fine. It won't be nervous. You will be. Like Phong said, half the battle is 
being calm, having confidence and keeping clear headed enough to avoid 
silly mistakes. That difference instantly shows in the photos.

The few weddings I did for friends turned out the best, because I was 
relaxed with them and comfortable meeting their friends and families. 
Wasn't an interloper. I got great informals, which they still praise me 
for. My formals were always mediocre, but luckily they didn't want the 
stiff, stand straight family tableau or glamour bride shots. Will your 
friends want those? They are the hardest to do and might be the ones that 
demonstrate you don't do this full time.

When you're making a business of it, every job counts. You are looking for 
recommendations that will bring you more work and shots for the portfolio. 
You also want to sell maximum prints. A fly by night shooter can get away 
with a less then great job, because it's over and that's it - the client 
has to accept it. Those guys don't loose sleep at night, they just don't 
make as much money or build a reputation. As a friend who takes good 
pictures, your task is to do a good job on this one event. If they will 
accept your limits in exchange for your strengths, you have won. But you 
have to believe that you'll do better than the folks with the disposables!

Reading the posts lately, it seems like the wedding business has changed a 
lot. Twenty years ago, anything over 100 shots was too much. B&W was 
unheard of. 35mm was considered amateurish. Around here, I was being avant 
guard with a journalistic style. But, Jesus, people will let you do that 
AND pay over $1000? Tempting...


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