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Photography DiscussionStarting Off in the Wedding Business- Equipment and Ethical issues.

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Bobby Deal
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Re: Starting Off in the Wedding Business- Equipment and Ethical issues.

Post by Bobby Deal » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:35 am

Welcome home dear friend, I thought finding you on social media might cause you to wander back here. I have been hard at it going to school and writing a novel for the past two years. At the moment I am in the break between the semester so I have been trying to spend some free time here.

Really glad to see you back here as well.

Bobby Deal - Commercial Photographer

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Charles Haacker
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Post by Charles Haacker » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:14 pm

Ed, I think your lovely wife may be right: there is conceivably a certain insanity in actually wanting to shoot weddings, especially at our age (and you're just a kid; I'm 75 whole yeeeers old). ;) But seriously, I think that, had my studio not failed anyway (1994) I'd have had to give up weddings (specifically) long before now. It wasn't just the physical demands, and they are yuge; it was the psychological stress. I sweat bullets on every single job. There were SO many little niggly things that could go wrong, something as simple as the X and M synch getting bumped (a lot of fellas I knew soldered their switches on X as insurance*). I may have had the wrong personality since for me, every one of ~800-ish weddings was an exercise in terror. No one outside my wife ever knew (I was very good at hiding it). We were shooting film. No verification until the proofsets came back. What if what if what if. I was good, frankly, but I was always this close to a stroke. My wife and I were it, a true mom-and-pop, me doing all the shooting, she doing all the support with the shot lists, posing (she was magnificent), grouping, suggesting backgrounds, looking at the light, and incidentally the "spear carrier" since we used two lights only plus lots of the ambient (I still hate the look of obvious flash and since getting into digital hardly ever use any at all, but I am also not working). I shot only 400-speed daylight color film, and indoors rarely had my shutter faster than 1/30. I had a relatively small Vivitar unit on a high Stroboframe bracket centered over the axis. I shot square so I didn't have to rotate the camera. I had a radio trigger for the second, identical unit that was mounted on a monopod (the "spear") that Daphne carried. She knew exactly where to take the thing, how far, how high, what angle, so we were completely mobile and not risking anyone tripping over light stands. We used the technique throughout, including the reception, table shots, dancing, all, of it. One reason we failed may be that we could not expand and grow but we didn't realize that until too late, but we also didn't want to deal with all the hassles and pitfalls of employees or even contractors. She drove the car from home to church/temple and from there to reception venue while I reloaded backs. So it was just us, joined at the hip. It worked for 16 years... (and we didn't kill each other :lol: )

I think the single biggest point you make is --- SPARES! When I was shooting (started a little later than you did, GI Bill, but also trained on 4x5" press cameras) I actually shlepped 3 complete outfits, all Hasselblads bought very used but still solid working cameras. I carried 4 fully charged Quantum batteries plus a couple of chargers, in case. I had 6 120 backs because I didn't trust 220 not to leak. I usually carried 50 rolls but rarely shot it all. I had my favorite Hasselblad always in hand, a C/M, but I had two older C models, each with its own 80 mm mounted, tucked into the emergency case, along with their own flash units. I tried always to keep everything matched so that if I had to turn to a backup it was a seamless transition. I know that from a financial standpoint that's not always possible, but my thinking was that the last thing I needed in the middle of a wedding was to have something go down, pick up a spare of another brand, only to discover that I hadn't used it for so long that I had to think how. I was trained in the camera-must-be-an-extension-of-hand-eye-and-brain school, and my experience always was that if you used even different cameras every day (such as the big studio cameras as opposed to the smaller field cameras, all different brands and models) there was no hesitation in transition since I was used to all of them. The problems arose when I picked up something not used in a while, maybe a long while. Nowadays my primary is my not-quite-2-year-old Sony RX10, backed up by my former primary Nikon P7800. The other day I was going out and picked up the Nikon just to check where it was preset and discovered that it was last used in manual focus. Okay, so I wanted to restore it to autofocus. But I couldn't remember how! I had to dig out the book! Time! Ack! Thank goodness it's not a job!

A couple of years ago my late wife and I were on a ferry when my then-primary P7800 suddenly had a stroke and I went to the backup, a P7100. Guess what? Same manufacturer, same fundamental camera, but juuuuust enough things different that I missed shots while trying to remember how to use a camera that until not that long before had been second nature. That all reminded me of an instance where, right in the literal middle of a wedding, shooting the formals, my primary suddenly died. My wife, the Lady in the Spangled Tights, saw the look of panic on my face and went into her vamp mode while I picked up my first spare, switched the back, bracket, and flash to it and went on almost as if nothing had happened. Except then the flash on the spare suddenly sparked and died with a scary bang and a nice little curl of acrid smoke. Picked up the first backup, stuck it on the bracket... I was now sweating lead (!!) but what could have been an abject disaster and maybe a lawsuit was averted by having almost too many spares. So my long-winded point is, TWO of every single thing you use is minimum, and whenever feasible, backups ideally should all be the same brand and model. I don't have to tell you that weddings don't wait. I used to tell folks that shooting a wedding was a little running alongside the freeway trying to get pictures of all the moving cars. In both directions. :o :rofl:

*(If you need any jargon explained just ask; I didn't want to make this post any longer that it already was.)
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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St3v3M
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Post by St3v3M » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:41 am

Ed Shapiro wrote:...
I want the best for you and all the new kids on the block who may be reading on!

Ed :thumbup:

There is a wealth of knowledge here, thank you so much and Welcome Home! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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