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TP: How to photograph weddings?

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gadgetgaz66 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gadgetgaz66 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 April 2010 at 15:27
I would agree with the general advice of DON'T DO IT, but like me, sometimes you can't avoid it. For example if a family member asks you, or a friend who has little money etc.

I've ended doing six weddings like this ( not very good at saying NO, obviously)! I like to talk to the couple and find out what they are expecting/ what they want. If possible I try to visit the venue with them beforehand, take a few shots and have a look around for likely locations.
Perhaps practise a few poses and advise them how to stand, tell the groom not to put his hands in his pockets!

Usually the couple will be more at ease with you on the wedding day, because you have gone through things with them. They know what to expect and that's important.

Had some great results using bounced flash. Bounce off walls / ceilings , try it and see. Once took a shot of the whole wedding party in a church hall, alongside their main photographer. He used direct flash, I bounced it off the wall and then the ceiling. My results were better than his.

Be confident, but polite. People expect to be Arranged / told where to stand. If you don't they'll just mill around like sheep!

Shoot RAW and shoot lots. Pose the shot, then fire off 2 or 3 extra as you'll be surprised how many people anticipate and CLOSE their eyes!.
RAW gives the flexibility to correct possible errors in post processing.
Try to relax and enjoy it!
 



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Mark L View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mark L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2010 at 14:50
Originally posted by Dr Hotdog Dr Hotdog wrote:

Hi Mark L,

You didn't say whether you're using a full frame or APS-C body with those lenses, I'm guessing the former? For full frame the classic 28-70mm & 70-200mm fast zoom pair covers the vast majority of shots, but it's not so clear cut in my case with an APS-C body and a desire to get by with just one fast zoom for now.

Sorry. I should have said - A700 (APS-C). At the lower end the KM 17-35 is roughly equivalent to the 28mm lens I used to use on my 9xi film camera, which is normally more than adequate for weddings. The remaining lenses give me up to 300mm equivalent, which again is all I ever need.

BTW, Dyxum reviews of the Sigma 50-150 indicate that its image quality is poor, especially when used wide open. Based on these reviews, it's not a lens I would consider for weddings.

Having said that, it's not often that I actually need to use f/2.8 at a wedding. I tend to use f/4 whenever possible, occasionally going 1/3 -1/2 stop lower if necessary.

Reading your earlier post again, I see that there are going to be several photographers at this wedding. This sounds to me like a potentially unsatisfactory arrangement, unless there is prior agreement among you as to who is going to shoot what. You don't really want to be fighting for position during the ceremony, groups and formals. And duplication is pointless.

Most professionals work either alone or with an assistant/second shooter who has a specific task to perform. The arrangement you outline could, I think, result in chaos, and some shots may even be missed if you all think someone else is covering the moment. Just a thought.
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Dr Hotdog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dr Hotdog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2010 at 16:25
Originally posted by Mark L Mark L wrote:

BTW, Dyxum reviews of the Sigma 50-150 indicate that its image quality is poor, especially when used wide open. Based on these reviews, it's not a lens I would consider for weddings.
Interesting, I've looked at the reviews in the Dyxum lens database and they were all positive with just one exception, who seems to have ended up with the one of the lemons Sigma's quality control occasionally lets through. The consensus seems to be it's generally sharp but gets slightly soft wide open at the long end of the zoom range, something that can be said about most of the 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms as well.

It's not something I'm about to rush out and buy straight away anyway, for now I've ordered a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 HSM OS so I'll have a fast focusing, low light capable lens covering the standard zoom range. I'll see how I get on with that lens for a while before deciding whether I need any more.

Having said that, it's not often that I actually need to use f/2.8 at a wedding. I tend to use f/4 whenever possible, occasionally going 1/3 -1/2 stop lower if necessary.
Sure, but it's good to have those fast maximum apertures there for when you do really need them, and aside from the two DT SAM primes I don't currently have anything that even gets up to f/4 apart from at wide angle.

The wedding photography articles I've been reading have made a strong case for fast lenses for this sort of thing, there are some lovely example images on Neil Van Neikerk's site (linked in one of my earlier posts) that illustrate how helpful a fast lens can be even when using flash because it enables you to capture enough ambient light to avoid really dark backgrounds and get a more natural looking, atmospheric shot.

Reading your earlier post again, I see that there are going to be several photographers at this wedding. This sounds to me like a potentially unsatisfactory arrangement, unless there is prior agreement among you as to who is going to shoot what. You don't really want to be fighting for position during the ceremony, groups and formals. And duplication is pointless.
I haven't been able to find out from my brother what the situation will be yet (we live on opposite sides of the world these days), so at present I don't know how many photographers there will be, whether there will be a professional photographer (something I'm certainly not) and how experienced/well equipped the other photographers will be. Clearly there should be one lead photographer responsible for making sure all the key shots (ceremony, groups, formals, speeches) get captured, with the others either acting as their assistant or keeping out of the way while looking for interesting shots to complement the standard set. I'll certainly be trying to persuade my brother and his fiance to have a professional photographer for that lead role and then I'll be happy to shoot away in the background in a more informal, photo-journalistic style. This is something I've done in the past at family and friends' weddings and have been able to contribute a few good images.
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Mark L View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mark L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2010 at 17:01
Sure, but it's good to have those fast maximum apertures there for when you do really need them........

The wedding photography articles I've been reading have made a strong case for fast lenses for this sort of thing, there are some lovely example images on Neil Van Neikerk's site (linked in one of my earlier posts) that illustrate how helpful a fast lens can be even when using flash because it enables you to capture enough ambient light to avoid really dark backgrounds and get a more natural looking, atmospheric shot.

Fair comment -- and that's why all my lenses are f/2.8 or wider. I was just pointing out that in most circumstances you can get away with smaller apertures. Bear in mind too that the wider the aperture, the smaller the DOF.

I think you are wise to ask your brother to ensure that there is at least one experienced wedding photographer present. As has been said before on Dyxum (and many other forums), wedding photography is not just about taking a few good photos.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lamsamson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2010 at 05:03
Great Post! My cousin is getting married and I will be going with my gears. 6 weeks to go but I feel nervous already!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote usmccwz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2010 at 14:22
this is all really good advice for wedding, alot of good tips thanks
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote taz002dev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2010 at 16:29
This is a great toppic. I wish I had read a thread like this when I started doing events.

Well, I'll start with this: my best shots on weddings were done at my cousin's, when most of the guests knew me well. I've talked a lot with my cousin and his future wife and planned things a bit... I even introduced them with the whole equipment so they won't get scarred when they see the real deal and had some shots with them before.
So my point on this one is to have a good COMMUNICATION between you and customer.

Try also to anticipate what kind of shots would like to have : photojournalist style, formal, etc.

Looking back at my weddings I wish I had more guts and put all my ideas in practice. I hesitated and eneded up with some normal shots.
So don't be shy to improvise and be CRATIVE. Put all your ideas into practice by telling everybody envolved what they are supposed to do. You'll be surprised that most of the time they'll actually like it and get involved quickly.

Look at many examples as you can and read the internet a lot on this toppic.
Try to decompose the shots you like and imagine yourself as beeing the photographer, what was his position and how you would achive that shot. Decompose also the lightning. That helped me a lot throughout time.

Shoot RAW.

Equipment:
Always have a lens that does everything OK (meaning wides, teles, portaits,etc : Sony 16-105 SAL did a hell of o job on all my events.) : If you have the money of course go for the best like CZ 16-80, CZ 24-70 on FF, etc. Most of the time you don't have enough time to change lens.

If you can afford a second camera(also acting as backup) it will be excelent. It's your choice what lens to have on it.

Flash : have a very good FLASH that recharges fast and I would say at least 3 sets of batteries for it, maybe a battery pack (this is also on my wishlist).I would say it is more important than having a very good lens.

Practice makes perfect. I started on weddings without expirience on events and did OK. Did not fail but all I can say I did not do as I would like to until some of my last ones. This is because I have another job that does not allow me to hire as a an assistant for other expirienced photographers. So try to do some weddings as a second photographer even for free. The expirience you'll get from this jobs worths all the energy consumed / time/ money spent. The only thing here is be picky when choosin your 'trainer'. Choose from the best.

HERE is one example I am satisfied with (My cousin's wedding).
Equipment : A700 with Sony SAL 16-105 and Zeiss 24-70 when I had time and enogh space.Flash Sony 56 AM . As second camera I had a200 with Minolta 85 1.4 and sometimes my girlfriend shooting with it.It is not the best combination of cameras, lenses. I also have to addmit that I wish I can afford an assistant for all my future weddings.
Now I moved to FF Sony a850 and a700 as second body and can't wait to try them on a wedding.
I hope my post helps. It heled me to prioritizise my thoughts on this topic.


Edited by taz002dev - 09 September 2010 at 16:40
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igogosh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote igogosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2010 at 16:54
I don't know your level as a photographer. If you're good with people and are artistic in the way you see things - you may have an edge and could be a success. You have to be honest with yourself. There are a few other organizing skills involved other than just being a good photographer. If you feel fit after all the advice everyone shared, go ahead and blow your friends away with some fantastic work - it is WORK, believe me:)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Its Atomic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2011 at 10:54
Looking around, found an interesting article / survey on wedding equipment:

http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=999720
A700 | A850 | Σ 12-24 | Min 28-75/2.8 | Σ 50/1.4 | Min 85/1.4 G | Tam 90/2.8 | SAL 70-200/2.8 G | SAL 70-400 G | 5600/F58

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2011 at 11:07
I took part in that, but it wasn't great for non Canon/Nikon shooters.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote keithf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2011 at 16:48
Got a possible paid wedding shoot in June (I've done 3 weddings to date all close friends and they are still my friends so can't have done to bad a job ) Hate doing them but this was friends who were absolutely skint at the time, so I always say the same thing, "I am not a pro, but if you want me to do them I will but please do not expect pro quality but what I will do is the best job I can on the day".

Then what I tend to do is print off a few really good shots (about 20 or some 10x8 some 7x5 or 6x4 depends what paper I have to hand tbh), burn the rest to cd and my wife being the creative type puts the wedding album together and hey presto that's their wedding present from us.

One piece of advice I will give is this, if the parents of either the bride and groom are separated/divorced rather than creating tension on the day try this..

Get the brides father and the grooms mother for one shot, then swap over so get the brides mother and the grooms father for the next shot, it helps prevent any unnecessary nastiness and can be a life saviour on the day as both bride and groom get a picture with their parents..I speak from experience
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mark L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2011 at 18:38
Originally posted by keithf keithf wrote:

One piece of advice I will give is this, if the parents of either the bride and groom are separated/divorced rather than creating tension on the day try this..

Get the brides father and the grooms mother for one shot, then swap over so get the brides mother and the grooms father for the next shot, it helps prevent any unnecessary nastiness and can be a life saviour on the day as both bride and groom get a picture with their parents..I speak from experience

Better still, talk to the bride and groom beforehand and decide in consultation with them exactly who is going to be in what group, particularly if there are complications of this sort. Sometimes separated/divorced parents are happy to be in the same shot, albeit on opposite ends of the group, sometimes not. Sometimes the couple want step-parents included in a group. Every wedding is different.

You should always have a pre-wedding meeting with the couple anyway, and it's a good plan, even a necessity, to make a list of groups at that stage; it saves a huge amount of time on the day. It doesn't have to be followed slavishly; it's always possible to drop a group shot or add another if necessary.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sanjuro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2011 at 19:35
Great thread.
I shot 1 wedding before and some friends from that caouple, after seeing their imges asked me to take their wedding shots and they will pay me.
I am already nervous,one thing is to do shot friends while you are the wedding, prety informal, and another to get paid for it.

When i shot my friends I only used the sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5, excelent lens, with my KM5D.
But now I don't have that lens, and I have A850.

I am thinking of taking the KM17-35, 35-70 and beercan. I can borrow a KM85/1.4 if needed. I will take my F58AM as well.
There is too much to think that I will improvise for sure.

I just hope it will be good weather :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Its Atomic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 March 2011 at 02:25
Originally posted by ricardovaste ricardovaste wrote:

I took part in that, but it wasn't great for non Canon/Nikon shooters.


I was wondering if someone would say something along those lines.

It's only a problem imo if you are insecure about your camera system choice.

What I found especially interesting were the lens choices (exactly the same set I would choose, based on the 437 threads I read here about wedding photography and lens choice ). I am very pleased I already own samples of each focal length from the top 3 in the survey.

Also found it interesting people were using umbrellas. I am only just getting into strobist theory and will purchase an umbrella or 2 soon, but if I was to ever shoot a wedding (or another event), I would much rather be fully competent with on-camera diffusion / reflection and leave myself as mobile and dynamically enabled as possible.

Anyone here use umbrellas at a wedding? Mind sharing how?
A700 | A850 | Σ 12-24 | Min 28-75/2.8 | Σ 50/1.4 | Min 85/1.4 G | Tam 90/2.8 | SAL 70-200/2.8 G | SAL 70-400 G | 5600/F58

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