Want To Shoot Weddings? Page 2

The Shooters
Each sun-dance photographer works with an assistant (a photographer in training), who also takes pictures. These assistants get direction on their timing, and the best moment to capture a shot. Afterwards, Reynolds says, they are critiqued for every photo shoot. "We're very positive and encourage creativity."

Regarding photo students who want to explore the possibility of doing wedding photography, Reynolds stands firm about their willingness to learn on the job: "You can't get out of school and think you know everything--you have to learn wedding photography by doing it."

As for the clothing they wear while shooting, "We try to be conservative and wear darker colors, depending on the wedding," says Reynolds. The photographers and assistants dress for comfort and for the season, and they consider that some occasions are more formal than others, she adds. "We always try to dress professionally, as if we were invited to the event." Uncomfortable clothing or shoes can distract from the job, she points out, so it's best to avoid them.

Reynolds says that they pay their photographers well, "to stick around." Nonetheless, sun-dance continues to critique the photographic staff. "We're all still learning," she maintains. Although the studio does a very high volume of work, she says, they stay at a mid-priced range compared to other studios. She says they raise prices roughly once a year (or when lab fees go up).

"When I started out, I did it for free, and then started to charge my film-processing costs to the customer when I got a little more experience," says Reynolds. She says that learning is mainly "an individual thing, and the only way to learn is by shooting weddings."

"I love being creative; it's not only about the money." Although she's constantly busy shooting weddings and meeting with couples, Reynolds exudes enthusiasm, not stress. "I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't fun," she says.

sun-dance photographers sometimes use fish-eye lenses for interesting effects.

Unposed, photojournalistic wedding coverage is popular with couples.

The Finished Product
sun-dance photography offers the bride and groom a choice of wedding packages, with a range of about four to seven hours of photographic coverage. They give the couple a minimum of 200 4x6 prints in an album, as well as all the negatives. These albums tell the story of the couple's special day. As for the finished print, sun-dance offers thick or thin sloppy borders, traditional white borders, or no borders at all.

"We prefer to be creative on the job, rather than spending time selling enlargements and reprints to our customers," says Reynolds. Some photographers disagree with this way of doing business, she says, but sun-dance refers the couples to the photo labs that they use if they want additional prints.

Another word of advice: "Find a good lab! We look for quality first, followed by great customer service." Pricing is also important, she says.

sun-dance photographers shoot from interesting angles.

Parting Shots
"People who are interested in photography should try shooting a wedding at least once," Reynolds advises. "Try assisting a wedding, commercial or portrait photographer. You'll find your love in there somewhere. You need to love what you do--don't get into a photographic speciality just because you hear there's a lot of money involved."

And finally, it goes without saying that if you're thinking about getting into wedding photography, you must be willing to work weekends, she points out. It's difficult for those who have a spouse who works nine-to-five during the week. "Decide if wedding photography is for you--it's not for everyone."

Wedding Photography Tips at a Glance:
* Invest in a professional camera body and fast lenses, whether you shoot digitally or with film
* Assist a wedding photographer initially
* Keep an open mind; be willing to learn on the job
* Consider photographing your first wedding for free or at your cost, until you're more experienced
* Dress comfortably, but professionally
* Find out before the wedding what events (the kiss, ring exchange, etc.) your clients want documented
* Use fast film indoors (or set your digital camera's ISO accordingly); many churches don't allow flash photography
* Shoot twice as many images as you plan to include in the wedding album
* Be creative--look for different angles from which to shoot
* Try to capture emotions whenever possible
* Find a good photo lab

To learn more about sun-dance photography, visit www.sun-dancephotography.com.