View Full Version : 1st and only wedding

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 15:57
Hi, I am new to this board but I have been reading alot here and at other forums.
Here is my situation....I was asked by the bride and groom to take pictures at their wedding. Long storry short but there are some missing parents issues and not much money.
They told me they hired a professional to take, what they feel, are the important shots...bride, bride goom, wedding party. Basically I think it consisted of 12 pictures the pro would take.
I told them no, I am not a professoinal. I have taken senior pictures for my neice, which turned out good but I do not know enough about my camera, ect to do a wedding or anything else.
Well, I was asked again and again and finally agreed since I figured they would have some professional pics and the rest I could possibly get some good pics.
Well..the end of last month I asked the bride and groom who the professional photograher is and they told me "you"!!!!!! Come to find out that they decided I could do it all...when were they going to tell me???!!!!
I of course told them over and over again that I am not a professional and if a few pics turn out they would be lucky. They said, "that's okay, you will do fine".
So, after throwing up a few times here and there thinking about this, I have been reading, reading, practicing ect....
What I need to know is alot but for starters....tips on shooting in church without flash/which mode and if what I have as far as lenses will work for me.

Canon Digital Rebel XT
Canon 50 mm f/1.8 II
Canon 135 mm f 2.8
Kit lens-which I am leaving home
430EX flash
Remote release
Two batteries for the XT
Three CF cards - 4+ gig all together

Thanks for any tips and suggestions. BTY the wedding is in three weeks.

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 16:15
Okay, which mode do you use in a church setting when you cannot use flash.

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 16:16
Have a look at these sites.
There is a lot of information for you to digest.


Keep in mind when you shoot, priorities should be:
1 Focus
2 Exposure
3 Composition

Take all your gear cuz you just don't know.

I've only shot one wedding so take it with a grain of salt.

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 16:22
I would shoot in manual mode and set the white balance according to the type of ambient light (tungsten, daylight etc.) Definitely shoot with the fastest lens you have and high iso if you are not allowed to use flash.

Mike McCusker
27th of September 2007 (Thu), 16:23
Get thee to church! Seriously take a trip to the church, take a light meter or your camera, try to visit at the same time of day that the wedding is scheduled for meter all areas that you intend to use for shots. See if there is an attractive location outside the church (front steps, garden etc), use the mode you are most comfortable with, maybe AV if you don't feel confident with manual. Relax after all you have warned them. You will do fine and GOOD LUCK.

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 16:40
Thanks very much for the links and for the information!
I am going to the church tomorrow afternoon..same time as the wedding will be and I will definitely be taking some pictures then.
I am most worried about "focus" as there have been times in the past when my focus is way off. I have been reading about that and will do more.
Another question or two...and I know they are kind of silly but I am kind of nervous...
Which lens would be best for which shots.
Also, I can rent or maybe buy another lens, which would you recommend.

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 17:01
You might want to check out Tim's FAQ (Sticky thread in this forum), but my advice is :

- shoot in RAW (this will give you the ability to tweak WB and fix exposure error up to 2 stops -/+ later)

- rent EF-S 17-55mm lens if possible. Better yet, rent a backup body.

- remember to change ISO setting when you go from outside --> inside and vice versa.

- practice using flash as fill / bounce, etc. (bring extra AA batteries)

- prepare a shot list

Good luck!

27th of September 2007 (Thu), 23:56
Don't use the 50mm f/1.8 unless you've got a much better copy than me—in low light it only focuses properly without flash once in a blue moon. I just got a 50mm f/1.4 in yesterday for an upcoming wedding and I'm much more confident in its focusing ability. The 135mm might be a bit long for your needs? I agree with renting what ktgiggle suggested, or the 24-70 f/2.8L (or the 70-200 f/2.8L if you need something a bit longer).

Lots of good info in the above posts. One thing you might consider at your first wedding: shoot in either Av priority mode or Tv mode to keep things fast and less complicated so you don't miss a shot unless shooting in manual mode is second nature to you. It can be pretty overwhelming if you're as nervous as the bride and groom and the more workload you can take off of your brain and fingers the better IMHO. :)

Good luck, and let us know how things turn out!

28th of September 2007 (Fri), 03:20
Hi Tess,

Just some personal advice. Are you allowed to get close to the couple dring the ceremony ? Some church won't allow it.
If not, then I suggest you rent 70-200 mm 2.8 or 4 (depend on the light in the church) IS.

Get more CF card, sine you gonna have to shoot in raw

28th of September 2007 (Fri), 03:29
Take the kit lens if you don't rent the 17-55, the range is ideal and the quality's ok.

28th of September 2007 (Fri), 04:31
I shot my first wedding with the kit lens and an XT body, its not the ideal setup but for your first time out there will be quite a few other factors that will affect how you do more so than what gear you have.

I am still a newbie myself but this is what I would try and do in your position.

* Shoot RAW - get some more CF cards.

* AV mode when your not using flash and P mode when your using flash, stay off the picture and green box modes or you dont get RAW files.

* Watch your backgrounds (flag poles out of heads etc) particularly when doing the group shots

* Try and practice some group shots before the wedding (get a group of friends or family together), setting people up and directing people isnt easy when you havent done it before and for group shots you need to take control and look as though you know what your doing, the rest of the time try and melt into the background and follow the action/emotion. Look through some threads here for how to set people up. Write a shot list down for the groups and get the B&G's input on any groups they want. Its also worth having a shot list for the whole day just to remind you and help you out when your frazzled and the creative juices have dried up, things like Bride Full Length on her own, same for groom, head and shoulders shot, cake etc, do a search and you will find a few on the forum.

* Where possible dont use direct flash, bounce it off walls, ceilings, people or whatever else is around to give you better light.

* Smile lots and look like your having a blast even if you do feel completely stressed out, you need people to relax around you and if your looking stressed or tense then thats going to make people nervous and tense and it will show in the photos.

If you get hooked and want to do more, be prepared to spend a lot of money :)

28th of September 2007 (Fri), 11:28
I've now done 5 including my first paid one.

My tip is do a photo rehearsal with the bride and groom, preferably at the venue. It gets them used to the camera, posing and photographer!! The result is more relaxed pictures on the day.

It also gives you a chance to run through what they want. It seems to me that some photographers are so busy taking the shots they want to shoot they forget about what the customer wants!! So what if they want old fashioned poses and group shots?!

Be polite, charming and happy! I think any photographer with retail experience has an advantage of dealing with the public!

Just my thoughts so far.....and lots of learning to do.