Looking for photographer for Austin, TX wedding

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Moof1904, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    I thought about putting this in the Marketplace forum, but it seems more appropriate to put it here. Mods, if you disagree, move it as you wish.

    A friend is getting married in Austin, TX and she and her fiancee are on a tight budget. They're having a small, simple outdoor wedding with a dinner following at a banquet room of a restaurant, and then a reception at a nearby reception hall.

    The entire event will last from 3pm to 8pm and it's on October 28th.

    As I mentioned, they're on a shoestring budget. They can't afford to go to a "professional photographer" and pay for a full wedding package. They're looking for a talented semi-professional or an art student with wedding experience, etc. They're not looking for someone who's never shot a wedding before and would like to try for the first time.

    Here are the parameters:

    -the photographer needs to have had some experience shooting weddings
    -the couple want the pictures to be taken digitally, with a digital SLR that's at least 8 MP
    -the couple wants the photographer to deliver the photos as RAW images as soon as possible after the event has finished. (That is, the couple is not going to be contracting with the photographer to have the photos printed or bound or output in any way.)
    -the couple would retain all rights to the photos. That is, they would be free to print, reprint, use, or alter the images entirely as they wish, without any royalty payments to the photographer.
    -the photographer may retain a copy of the images for use solely as material for a portfolio, not for any other commercial or non-commercial use or for any release or disclosure other than content in a portfolio
    -I believe they are able to pay somewhere around $900 or $1000, but the payment discussion will be between you and them.
    -They will undoubtedly want to see a candidate's work and check a candidate's references before making a final decision.

    Sorry to be so annoyingly detailed with the above, I just know that such things can be fraught with problems if details of the arrangment aren't discussed openly and in advance.

    If you have a referral or are interested, please PM me. (BTW: I'm not the decision maker, just the messager. I'll likely just pass the contact information of the interested parties to my friends.)

    Thank you.
  2. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    I hate to let you in on this, but that is asking a LOT of someone.

    What incentive is there for the photographer - no money off of reprints, etc. And then all the guidelines, such as RAW, must give all the work, at least 8mp, etc etc.

    Good luck to them finding someone willing to go for all that, will that little money.
  3. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    I don't think $1000 for five hours work is a lot to ask for a photography student looking to add to their portfolio. Yeah, they're not going to make money off of reprints but $200 an hour shooting a teenie wedding with 25 guests ain't bad for someone just starting out. And a Rebel XT with a stock lens would suffice for the resolution requirement. Heck, if they could borrow a friend's Rebel, this gig would give them enough to go out and buy one of their own.
  4. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    I think the problem will be is that they are asking a lot and expecting a lot! I doubt that they will find too many art students with wedding experience....or too many semiprofessionals willing to accept the responsibility and the work involved for such little payoff. They're really asking for professional-level work without providing the respect and pay that a professional rightly deserves and earns. Trying to do this on the cheap and undercutting professional wedding photographers who are trying to earn a living in this field is not a good thing. Shooting weddings is NOT that easy -- there is good reason for the prices commanded by professional photographers.
  5. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    Clix said what I was trying to say, only much better.
  6. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    99% of experienced wedding photographer would not take this job.

    An aspiring amateur or student might. The biggest problem is the requirement for RAW images and signing away the copyrights. Anybody who cares the very least about their reputation would not give out RAW image files.

    Wedding shoots are very stressful. There are certain must-have shots to be gotten. Almost no wedding goes according to the schedule. They usually run late. $1000 for shooting time, RAW, and copyrights is nothing.

    Sorry to be harsh, but I believe this offer is extremely unreasonable and an insult to the wedding photographer industry. I would only dare offer this to a family friend or somebody with zero experience. I wouldn't think about putting it up to the public
  7. cgratti macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2004
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    So a photographer shoots this wedding and hands over the RAW files. Then the couple does an inadequite job at processing the RAWs, so the photographer looks bad. It is a possibility. I wouldnt want someone processing my RAW files for a measly $1000 and possibly ruining my reputation.

    How about they take all the photos in FULL RES TIFF files?

    Your friend has a lot of demands for only paying $1000. If they are only paying a grand for a wedding they should be happy to get anyone.
  8. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    So, a music student who accepts a low pay for performing at a wedding (or bar mitzvah or whatever) is insulting professional musicians who would command a much higher price and demand a royalty for any rebroadcast?

    A relatively inexperienced student isn't worth the same money as a professional and isn't threatening the livelihood of a professional who would be out of the price range of this sort of customer. Universally adopting that attitude that this insults the professional would prevent anyone except professionals from gaining experience. How is one to become a professional if not by experience, paid commensurately with one's relative lack of experience?

    I was a college student not too long ago and if someone offered me $1000 for five hours work and no effort in post processing, printing, cropping or anything, I would have jumped at it. (Were I a photographer, that is.)

    Is the issue the RAW format request? Would it be more palatable if they were asking for (for example) the pictures to be shot in the highest resolution jpeg that the camera could take and handed off that way?

    The only people seeing these pictures will be the relatives who don't know d-ck about photography and the only person showing these photos in the context of the photographer's name would be the photographer who would presumably do so only after processing, cropping, etc. the photos to his/her liking, as to preserve their reputation.

    These are a couple of starving students who want a little more security than merely trusting that boozed-up Uncle Fred will take adequate pictures and they've got only so much to spend for their wedding. Quite frankly, I'm stunned at the negative response from this post. I thought for sure someone would have responded "Sure, I'm a photography student. I've shot a wedding once or twice and I could use a grand to help these starving kids out."
  9. annk Administrator


    Staff Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    Yes, absolutely. Not only insulting the professionals, but undercutting the profession to which they aspire.

    Many students are already union members (those who are good enough to get gigs, that is), at least in some countries, and the unions would not allow this anyway.
  10. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    I once gave an elderly friend of my mother's a ride home from the grocery store and the nice lady insisted I take $3 for gas. I guess I undercut and insulted the cab drivers and limo drivers that I should have insisted she call instead. It doesn't matter that $3 was all she could afford and would have never been able to call a paid professional. I should have insisted that she, in her walker, either walked 9 miles home or somehow come up with 4 or 5 times that amount for a cab ride?

    So, anyone on this forum who, as a talented amateur or semi-professional IT person, has helped a friend set up, diagnose, or repair their Mac is undercutting and insulting the paid Macintosh repair people at the Apple store? Who here hasn't done that?

    Someone who has helped a friend's child with their math homework is undercutting and insulting a paid, union teacher?

    Where do we draw the line? Most anything one could envision doing as a talented amateur is taking food away from the professional who could have been hired in our place. (It apparently doesn't matter that the person whom we helped could never afford hire a professional, anyway.)

    I understand the points that y'all are making, but it seems that the line is being drawn here at an unsuitalbe extreme.
  11. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006

    Note the common theme in your examples: friend

    We (as in you and I or your friend and I) are not "friends". We (as in public photographers) are professionals or semi-professionals that make money from a client.

    There is not a single point in the requirements that is a problem. It is the requirements as a whole. Specifically the combination of experienced photographer, RAW/high res files, and copyright signoff. A gig as stated might be possible if you left off the "experienced" part and openned it to college students or amateurs. Otherwise, you can get the "experienced" for $1000, but you aren't getting any images. Maybe a few proofs or small image files.
  12. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    Perhaps my OP wasn't written clearly enought, but I intended the candidate audience to be college students or what I would call a "skilled amateur." I never intended that an established professional would consider this.

    If my friends could afford to hire a professional, they would. The situation is pretty b&w: they have $1000. That's it. They either find someone who will do this or they get whatever pictures their 25 untalented and distracted guests take.

    BTW: Y'all need to take a trip over to the video forum. I've seen numerous "I'm a high school student" or "I'm a college student" posts asking what they should charge to edit a video for someone who wasn't a friend. I don't recall any responses raging that the poster was undercutting and insulting all of the union film editors out there. I stand by my position that those without experience or credentials are fully justified in accepting work that falls into this category: low paying work with lesser quality expectations, contracted by someone who couldn't possibly afford a professional.
  13. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    I can agree with that. That is a very popular way to break into the market with a low price or free first gig. Afterwards, the photographer should charge accordingly. But you specifically said "experienced" in your post. How do you hire an exprienced photographer with no experience? :confused:

    P.S. I leave the video forum for videographers.

    Edit: I am not just trying to protect wedding photographers. I am also trying to protect the poor person who takes this offer up and may or may not get his/her reputation trashed. As mentioned before, allowing the client to make any adjustments, whether for better or worse, is downright risky for the photographer.
  14. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    Now we're really splitting a hair here with "experienced." The intent of my OP was that the person would have shot (or even assisted) at least one wedding, in any capacity. The couple doesn't want an absolute stone cold inexperienced person. This doesn't mean that they're looking for professional experience, just something that the photographer can display in advance to show that they have some acceptable skill at this.
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    RAW files would look crap. I'd never hand those to you because you'd think they were crap and would give me an earful just because you don't understand what a RAW file is supposed to be or look like (ie: like crap before editing). Then you'd take the $1000 back and say you're dissatistied. Well of course you would be with RAW output.

    And think about what you're asking for. You're asking for an inexperienced photographer who has shot weddings.......that's "weddings" with an "s" at the end (ie: plural). Are there a lot of those out there? Are there a lot of amateur students who have shot a few weddings AND have the good $500-$2000 lenses to get the right photos? People may own a Digital Rebel XT, but what about the lenses? What if these non professionals own like 3 decent lenses, but none of them really that good or suitable for photography? That indoor restaurant part would be a problem, or at least the lighting might be if the photographer doesn't have some decent lenses.

    Even if I, a student, were interested (which I'm not, even if I lived in Texas), I wouldn't take it knowing your expectations and that I might ruin the wedding photos. :p It's not even about undercutting pro photographers for me, or the money. I just don't think you're going to find what you're looking for --- a guy with good camera + lenses with experience in shooting weddings who doesn't mind giving you a bunch of crappy RAW files.
  16. cookie1105 macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2006
    London, UK
    Moof1904, I honestly don't think that the problem lies in the photographers experience or how much they are being paid.

    I am one of many "skilled amateurs" trying to build up a portfolio, and if I was anywhere near Texas, or for that matter the US, on October 28th, I would gladly do it for free, as long as I could use the pictures for my portfolio. I feel the problem lies in the fact that the photog would have to hand over all of his/her unedited images! I have handed over all of my unedited images once and never again. It left me feeling sick all the way to my stomach.:(

    My skillset as a photographer does not just include taking pictures, it also includes the processing of those photos to improve their quality. If I hand over unedited images, my reputation could be damaged further on down the line. Not only that, but anybody else who sees these "poorly processed" wedding photos, is not going to think "wow, that photog took really nice pics. Lets hire him for our wedding" I lose out on word of mouth advertising and possible $$$ in the future.

    My proposal for this situation:

    • Photog retains all copyright to pictures.
    • He/she releases 10-15 hi-res jpegs to the couple
    • The couple have the right to print and reproduce these images all they want as long it is not for commercial gain.

    This to me sounds perfectly acceptable. The couple get 15 great images, they can print all they want. The photographer has a sound conscience and hopefully some material for his portfolio.
  17. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    That sounds fair, for the money.
  18. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    As Abstract pointed out: "weddings".

    I would agree with cookie1105's proposal. That would certainly be a good and fair offer.
  19. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    How tight is the budget? I've seen some couples asking budgets of $50. :rolleyes:

    For someone starting out in photography, it's a good way to gain wedding photo experience. I've seen some assistant photographers shoot on digital and give the couples the JPG images burned on CD-R at the end of the night. Rates range between $300 - $600.
  20. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    As with most "wants," the list of conditions in the orignal post was an ideal scenaro and like most such things, subject to discussion and compromise.

    Cookie, your response seems the most thoughtful and reasoned. I imagine that the final arrangement, with whomever performs the task, will be quite similar to what you propose.

    Thank you all for a most lively and relevant discussion.
  21. DanielNTX macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2005
    I asked my friend who used to shoot weddings here in Austin and around central Texas and what you're asking for is like $3500 to 4000.

    Oh yeah, he said you might want to post to Craigslist's services section.
  22. javabear90 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Well, I would probably be able to do it if you were in Houston, but unfortunately that is not the case. (I do have all the nice equipment) I think nearly all photographers would like to go through their pictures and at least cut the bad ones out if not correct for WB, exposure etc...
  23. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Moof, this is not directed towards you unless you are your "friend" then it is directed towards you.

    I have read and seen how people have picked this apart, but as the internet would have it, I like to respond in my own time and I love hearing myself type. It's beautiful.

    No photographer that has done more than one wedding will ever release their digital negatives aka RAW files to anyone without a huge price to the customer. I have released photos from a set of headshots for $4000 the original job was going to be $200. $4000 was what I deemed this person to be worth to me in the long run. In the end, I was right. Wedding photographers usually don't get royalties paid to them by the wedding couple. They order their package and get their prints and then reorder prints. There are exceptions to this of course.

    $900-$1000 is too little to ask for this, but then you knew that.
    Checking someone's work and references is a great idea and not at all an issue of course.
    Shooting with nothing less than an 8MP camera is retarded to say the least and simply puts a nice bright shinning spotlight on this friend of yours that screams how little they know about photography and how easy it would be to screw these people over because they happen to think you NEED 8MP to get a decent image. That is comical.

    Tell your friend to pay a little less attention to the MP of the photographer's camera and their lack of understanding of how raw a RAW image will look and a little more time looking at the photographer's work and what they capture with their camera. They will undoubtedly wind up being far happier because I've seen some crappy images from 8mp - 12mp cameras and I've seen images sitting in high end galleries here in Laguna Beach taken with a 4mp digital camera.

    I am sure you know this, but your friend would have to be nuts to ask for this face to face with any Houston photographer. There are many, but I don't know any stupid ones to refer.

    I hope your friends have a relaxing wedding and I hope the 8mp raw images that they own full rights to are the best images they've ever had. This is a memorable day and I hope that it is captured in raw, royalty free images.
  24. DanielNTX macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2005
    If they are on a shoe string budget, I also recommending getting a couple dozen disposable cameras and letting the guests take pictures during the reception.
  25. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I've never shot a wedding (except for some incidental shots) and I wouldn't but I can't imagine this working for anyone.

    The wedded couple will be angry that the photos aren't what they wanted and will want to sue the photographer.

    The photographer will not want to deal with the wedding party screaming at him/her. Once the couple sues him, he will counter-sue and they'll all end up on Judge Judy.

    You think I'm joking but I see such a mess happening.

    For anyone with wedding experience, that is a $10,000 job.

    Getting a $1000 camera that handles RAW files and having a (disposable) friend work it might be the best thing.

    Good luck to your friends, though.

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