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Judge Joe Brown knows his wedding photography...

...and can spot amateurs shooting their first weddings. When you get a second, watch this segment of Judge Joe Brown getting on to some wedding photographers that didn't know what they were doing. The bride ended up winning the case and rightly so. These "wedding photographers" had horrible attitudes, knew nothing about their gear, used low end equipment and Judge Brown knew more than they did about technical photography terms and lens apertures.

Originally Posted by shphoto32 View Post
I watched this video and it scared me: YouTube - Judge Joe Brown - Cheap wedding photographer
This video SHOULD scare all of you.

You should be scared to death doing a wedding for the first time: If you don't know what you're doing, if you're not covering your ass, if you don't have back ups, if you don't have somewhat professional gear, you haven't communicated with the bride, family and venue/church and if you don't have professional post (editing) software and computers.

The bottom line is, you can ruin your own reputation and the reputation of other photographers before you even get started and you can get your butt sued off!

If you've never done a wedding before, DON'T DO IT!
Do something else first:
  • Be a 2nd shooter
  • Intern for free with an established photog
  • invent/create a fake wedding portfolio using models in wedding dresses and shoot scenes from weddings
  • read every book you can find on the business of wedding photography and practice every chance you get
Get a portfolio together before you EVER shoot a real wedding where the couple is counting on you for capturing a ONCE IN A LIFETIME moment. A portfolio shot means that you have experience shooting "this kind" of shot and you can do it with ease and artistically every time. Each of these moments could be missed just because you:
  • weren't zoomed in enough
  • made the shot blurry or under-exposed because you didn't know how to shoot in low light
  • weren't paying attention
  • had gear that wasn't fast enough, powerful enough or didn't respond when needed
  • had a bad/low battery.
You Are A Business

Get a business plan together. You will be presenting yourself as an independent contractor, a business person. Are you ready to start your own business yet? What do you know about LLCs? Insurance? Do you know about releases? Do you have access and use basic legal documents to cover your ass? Do you have enough capital to cover yourself if you get sued? (usually around $5000) (Its not IF you'll get sued, its WHEN you'll get sued). Do you know how to explain the value of professional photography to your client (why they should pay you so much, or anything at all?) Be VERY careful if you don't have some kind of insurance. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, but just know that the above can happen.

Get to know your gear...

...and all of the manual settings like the back of your hand, like your camera is a cybernetic hand and each manual button is attached to your brain.

This is going to sound harsh to many but, don't use bottom of the barrel "pro-sumer" type gear (this includes Canon's Rebel series (XS, T1i is ok), Nikon D-40, D-50 (discontinued for a reason) D-3000, Pentax K-x, Sony A230). The reason for this is:
  • most of the external buttons and knobs that you need to access essential features fast in a pinch are hidden inside software menus
  • plastic camera bodies (easily cracked)
  • smaller LCD screens
  • smaller bodies are more awkward for hands
You can't make your camera part of you if you are always hunting and pecking through 3 nested levels of menus to find that manual ISO setting that you need for the kiss shot because the lighting changed.

And that's just the basics. I'm really not trying to crush anyone's dreams of being a wedding photog. Just wanted everyone to know the realities and the work that goes into being a wedding photog. Good luck to everyone and keep learning!

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