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TP: How to photograph weddings?

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brettania View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: TP: How to photograph weddings?
    Posted: 23 May 2007 at 05:17

Get an impressive looking dSLR and sooner or later you will get asked by a friend to be the photographer at their wedding.

Most agree that the best advice is "DON'T".

But if you haven't been able to avoid this humungous task, then what have you done?

Share your techniques and "skills" here, please, scattered with some examples and lists of the gear taken to do the job.

Happy shooting.

Edited by brettania - 23 May 2007 at 05:18
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2007 at 10:26
1. Take lots of spare kit. The last one I did where I was the main protographer was for a friend's second wedding to a much younger woman - I started to feel that the marriage was cursed when the three stills cameras and the camcorder I brought with me all developed some sort of fault - I had to borrow an SLR from my dad at short notice to complete the shots (and I was wrong about them being cursed as they still seem very happy 7 years later and have a lovely little girl..) All cameras were checked beforehand and spookily they all worked fine when checked the next day...

2. Plan - find out what shots the bride and groom want (how many groups and who in where) and take any opportunity to look at the venue before the day.

3. Have a plan B that allows for bad weather and such.

4. Take charge. People will grumble about 'that bossy photographer', but if you don't tell people where to go and ask other guests to get out of the way you will spend ages getting the wrong shots with the wrong people in them.

5. Don't expiriment. At least not until you have the shots the bride (and groom I suppose) want - experiments could look really good but tend to have a low hit rate, so get your standard set before you get the fish-eye out of the bag ;-)

6. Take a big group photo even if the Bride and Groom have not asked for it - makes everyone feel involved and wanted.

7. Follow up the formal stuff with lots of casual shots of guests - particularaly of any kids present.

8. For the last wedding I went to (where I was not the appointed photog, but the guy who was hadn't thought it through and ended up with a dissapointing set) I put a camera into the hands of each of my three sons - The hit rate might not be great, but people loosten up when a kid points a camera at them instead of an adult, plus you get an intersting perspective on a wedding from 4 ft 5 inches...

9. I've only ever done weddings when asked and have never charged. When I've done a wedding in digital (as guest) I've tended to give the bride and groom the whole set on a CD with my favourite half-dozen with extra processing) within 24 hours - If I was the main guy I might even take a laptop to burn to CD so that they could show some pics at the reception. For film I get the processing done at a place I trust and give two sets of prints plus the negatives to the happy couple (had a bad expereience once where a lab lost the negs when I was dealing with the reprints). I guess if you were working on a commercial basis you would take a different tack here (maybe watermarking the proofs on CD?)

Bob
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2007 at 10:30
Oh and (possibly most improtantly)..

10. Think long and hard about whether you want to do it before you agree to be the main photog and get the bride and groom to ask other guests to back you up with their photos (assuming you arn't doing it on a commercial basis).

Bob

Edited by Bob Janes - 23 May 2007 at 10:31
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2007 at 10:42
I am preparing myself for wedding photography lately... and here aresome free resources you will find EXTREMELY helpful:

Comprehensive Wedding Tutorial link
Here is a very good reading for newbies like me: The author shares all the tips and techniques in great details... very specific and comprehensive. Talked about everything from preparation to composition to flash seting to lens choice to designing album and more...
http://tips.romanzolin.com/articles.php?cat=4


Wedding flash techniques tutorial---another must read

Covers everything you need to know about flash usage in wedding with a lot of samples and discussion of specific settings and how to handle different situations ...enjoy!

http://www.planetneil.com/faq/flash-techniques.html


Another comprehesive coverage including how to shoot most of the important moments

http://www.all-things-photography.co...aphy-tips.html


Edited by mark victor - 23 May 2007 at 10:42
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2007 at 11:12

Thanks guys. This was asked for a while back and it has got off to a good start with a mix of personal experience and good links.

Let's hear from more of you!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Timbuctoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 June 2007 at 13:16
Ok, but I'm the least experienced but I love photography so what the heck!!

My golden rule is be confident, If you look nervous that'll make the couple nervous.

Even if technically you're not the best around make your photos good by reading mags and websites on the topic. You only learn from others that are better.

Get good at PP (something I'm not good at) because it can save your backside if you stuff up a shot.

Try and shoot a mix of natural and posed shoots for variety, some brides don't like poses so a wedding photo journalistic point of attack can be handy, plus some of your best shots will be the unplanned ones.

Do them up a simple DVD slide show because they are easy and the guests will love it, you might like it to.

Keep all your very best wedding shots in an album with nice prints so you can show them to people that are planning to get married, this gives them ideas from situations you've dealt with before and makes planning easier. The album will also be a great word of mouth tool if you really want to to more weddings.

Finally, take along a helper and give the helper some wet-ones (baby wipes), a comb, some lipstick and something to remove stains off a white dress. Trust me the help will be worth it.

Here's my weddings link, I've only done 3. Technically there are heaps better but so far the couples have been happy and that makes me happy:

Timbuctoo's Weddings
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Post Options Post Options   Quote trentor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2007 at 20:41
I've only shot one wedding (for a friend), and never will I again if at all possible. :)

however, I have multiple friends who often shoot weddings and I attend a LOT of them. One of the hardest parts of shooting a wedding is finding everyone needed and keeping them there for the shots. First, gather EVERYONE who will be in a photo and start with your group shots. After each shot, dismiss those who are no longer needed. Eventually, you have only the bride and groom left.

this is the best process I've seen. Guests and family don't get annoyed by being called in for another picture over and over, and the whole shoot goes much more quickly.

Edited by trentor - 15 November 2007 at 20:42
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RosieA100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2007 at 22:00
This has been helpful for me (thanks Mods) and Tim, your pics are great
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bharnois Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2007 at 22:40
At the last one I used a flash bracket and had a reflector mounted on the flash so it made a pretty impressive setup. Didn't neccessarily make the shots better but the 'pro' looking equipment commands a little more respect from the guests. If that makes it 2% easier then it was worth it.

I've also found that the minister and hall manager can be your best friends so talk to them and they'll help you out. Of course take their 'shot advice' with a grain of salt or two.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gwevans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 August 2009 at 19:17
I've shot three weddings for family and friends all free of charge and I'm getting better with each attempt. The first thing I do is tell the B&G that I'm not a wedding photographer and that my gear is not set up for weddings. If you're thinking of shooting a wedding consider the pressures and the stress involved. During the morning of my third wedding I couldn't eat and must have been more nervous than the bride but you mustn't show it.

For each wedding I had a plan but be warned everything will not go to plan. For the first wedding I dropped my camera and broke it 48 hrs before the wedding and had to use a borrowed camera of a different make and learn the menus, buttons and limits of the camera very quickly but the results were OK and the B&G were very happy.

My second was shot for my nephew and I knew what to expect but it still didn't go as I'd planned. You have to think on your feet. People don't behave logically and you need to be firm which is easier said than done. It was a 3pm January church wedding, thankfully sunny and not raining, but so cold that the guests took refuge inside the church so I had no candids of guests milling around outside the church. Shooting alone I couldn't be inside and outside of the church at the same time and was worried that I may miss the arrival of the bride. The wedding car didn't stop outside the church entrance as I'd planned but pulled up past it so that I was now shooting into a low setting sun and missed a lot of good shots of the wedding party arriving. After the service, because of the cold, it was decided to take the group shots around the altar but everyone left the church for a smoke including the best man and bridesmaids leaving me with only the B&G. I had to drag everyone back in. I took only one shot of each group only to find afterwards that the Bride had blinked during one shot. Take two or three of each grouping.

My third wedding was shot last week and was totally different from previously although I still missed a few shots that I wanted. This time I went early to the house and took portraits of the Bride and Bridesmaids in the natural light of a window and it was worth the effort. It's during weddings that your lack of basic photographic skills shows up and I've had to do a lot of post processing in some important photos in order to rescue them. The best man dissappeared and went home straight after the service. I took far more shots at this wedding remembering to use burst mode in some instances to ensure that I got the shot I wanted. For the first time I put a selection of images of the day into a slideshow with titles and music using ProShow Gold. I've used it for the first time, it was very easy to use and looks very professional. The B&G are very happy with the results.

I shoot weddings alone using RAW with an A700 and two lenses, the Sony 16-80ZA and Beercan at ISO 800 without flash during the service. THose lenses are not ideal for weddings. I position myself to the side and rear of the altar taking candids and wide shots of the service and guests using both lenses before moving quietly around the church depending on how long the service is. Then it's group shots inside or out depending on the weather.

RAW is a godsend because you can adjust the white balance in post processing which means that I can concentrate on getting the exposure and composition correct.

I'm full of admiration for the skill of professional wedding shooters and what they have to go through to earn a living but if you want to see what an amateur shooter can do then you can view a selection of all three wedding images and the ProShow Gold slideshow at www.wirralpix.smugmug.com



Edited by gwevans - 28 August 2009 at 19:24
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 August 2009 at 19:50
- Shoots lots. Choose later
- After getting all traditional wedding photos such as the ring, the rice trowing and all that try capturing small little detail such as window, chair, food, candle. Most photographers over look this but every single detail last a life time for the couple.
- Bring lots of back up. You will run out.
- Plan your shooting list
- Diffuse your flash effectively
- Talk to your subjects, get more natural, laughing looks
- Shoot RAW

Hope this helps
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alpha300 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2009 at 21:40
Very helpfull for when i get like a pro.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wetapunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2010 at 22:52
Not sure if the scope of this thread runs to this, but I'm musing over and trying to visualise a shot for an upcoming wedding. The wedding dress has some nice detailing on the back, so the bride would like a full-length shot from the rear.

It's an outdoor wedding so the dress has a simple, short train.

Just wondering if anyone has tackled this sort of shot before & what they thought about when pre-visualising the photo. I'm thinking of trying to get some subtle S-shaped bend to the bride's figure rather than a rigid, straight shot...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Octupi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2010 at 23:58
chthoniid - it all depends on the dress and the shape of the bride. If there is a lot of detail, lace work down the middle you'll want to make sure to capture it. Venue will also play a role, make sure you have a pleasing background and go shallow DoF to blur it out.
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