May The Photo Gods Have Mercy On My Soul – My Wedding Shoot

So, I go pretty much everywhere with my camera. Thats what your supposed to do. So I hear. I knew months ago my cousin was having a wedding and since I genuinely like my family, I knew I was going to go. Of course I would bring my camera for practice. I hate taking pictures of people but the only way to get that funky monkey off my back was to take shots. Lots of them. What better place than a wedding. People are dressed up and usually happy. Usually.

I didn’t think much about it, but I usually believe people pay for a professional photographer to record their special day. I know I would. Ok, well I didn’t. We took our own photographs. I took this in my own yard, with my own camera, and I don’t think I even processed it. Sure it’s not spectacular, but we had a small wedding. 5 people small. That image is of course not my wife’s favourite. It’s mine lol. She thinks it looks like I am getting ‘special favours’. I’m cool with that.

But back to my assumption that people hire professionals. Well they don’t. I have been to 3 weddings in the last few months and only one had a photographer resembling anything like a professional. I even missed a wedding where I was asked to take the photos but was able to show that I couldn’t lol. Lot’s of people just don’t seem to understand the difference between a pro and people like me. I have been trying to educate them by showing them my ‘photographs’ and those of professionals. Speaking of which, one of my favourite places to stop by is Your Not A Photographer which is hilarious AND educational.

So here I am rolling up to my families wedding with my gear. If you can call a Rebel T1i, a few lenses, and a tripod; gear. In the months leading up to the wedding I never even thought to ask if they got a wedding photographer. So when I asked thirty minutes before the wedding if they had a photographer, I was slightly jolted to hear that there was just family friends taking pictures. I kinda cringed and felt a twinge of panic set in me, not sure why the bride and groom didn’t panic lol, but I started panicking for them.

Ok. No problem. The family friends must have a plan. I hope. Well turns out he was given a book full of images they want. I felt bad as all the reading I have been doing explained how difficult wedding were to do with the amount of shooting and the level of expectations. Of course, not to let someone suffer by themselves, I offered to assist him in ticking off the boxes. So there we were. Two family members taking photographs of a relatives special day. I don’t know about anyone else, but that had natural disaster written all over it.

Well 3 or 4 hours, I took 600 photos just myself, and the book checked off we finished the ceremony. I’m sure it was traumatic for many involved but I wanted to help. I figured even if I got 3 or 4 shots that were really good then it would be better than nothing. I worked on a few simple premises. 1) Don’t have stupid crap in the background. 2) No cheesy tacky junk shots 3) Try to use the natural light and use the shite onboard flash to fill in certain situations. 4) Spray and Pray 5) Not to end up on YNAP. The last one is still up in the air.

I managed to take about 5 shots that I was very happy with. Even after editing those I could still find things I wasn’t exactly thrilled with. One that note I will be going back and doing some tweaking when I have more time. But the important thing is that the happy couple are more than satisfied with the images I captured. No harm, no foul. It was family and it was free. I enjoyed myself and I hope they will remember their special day through some of my photographs. I also hope I took some stress off of other family members, especially my co-partner in wedding-photog-crime.

Loving Embrace

The above shot is OK, but more detail could be brought out in the dress. It was suggested that I even crop a bit of the dress on the right to offset the image somewhat.

First Steps as Man And Wife

The above image is over saturated but I like the story it tells. I also like the flowers in the front providing foreground for the story.

Love is a Picnic

My friend suggested I take out or reduce the tan lines in the above image. I see what he means. Some smaller edits could also work, like cleaning up the leaves.

Not a care in the world

I really like the above image. I never noticed, until I was told, that there is some lens flare. There is also a bit too much yellow / warmth. I still like it though.

Something I failed to think of, which of course my photographer friend mentioned, is that when people shoot weddings for free they take away work from a professional and lower the quality of wedding photography out there. It’s ok if its family and you do a good job. But it’s not ok if you do it for someone else. Money has to change hands in the end. A photographer spends all day shooting and will spend up to 40 hours more editing and processing those images. That photographer also puts mileage on his vehicle, computer equipment and camera gear. If it’s a good photographer they will also have insurance. Then there is the question of prints. So the next time someone asks you to shoot their wedding day, remember those things.

I have been asked  in the last few days to shoot someones wedding pictures. This request based on three things. 1) They know me through a friend. 2) They seen a few of my wedding images. 3) They priced out a wedding photographer. The last point I assume is the most important lol. I have since responded to them urging to reconsider. I politely explained that I am just a hobbyist. I mentioned what a Pro will do for them. I even gave them a link to Uncle Bob Vs. A professional Wedding Photographer for reference. The fact is they know I am not a professional and still want me to do the wedding. People can’t afford $3,000 to $5,000 for a wedding photographer these days. At least not the people I know. So your damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. I don’t know how to politely say no, so my photog friend said to tell them this: Sure I can shoot your wedding. $5,000.00

Whatever you do. Do your best and try to do it right.

Just one man’s opinion.

PS. I still hate taking pictures of people lol.

Troy Alan White


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