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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Weddings & Other Family Events
Thread started 14 Oct 2017 (Saturday) 14:05
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Help me shoot my first wedding!

 
ericz34
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Joined Jul 2016
LA
Oct 14, 2017 14:05 |  #1

Well, Wedding AND engagement!

Thing is I don’t do people.. I usually do landscape and urban/architecture photography. But both party’s are great friends and they wanted me to be the person to shoot their special days despite my advice to hire a professional photographer lol.

My biggest question is aperture.. I have a 6D and I’ll be renting a 70-200 f2.8.. I’m afraid of not getting them in focus, should I shoot at f4? For the proposal I think f4 would be best, and the wedding maybe f2.8?

Also, any tips are welcome.. considering I have no clue what I’m doing lol.

Thanks in advance!




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Micro5797
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Montana
Oct 14, 2017 21:22 |  #2

I think every ones main advice would be to hurry and get lots of experience. Messing up on a wedding can hurt your friendship, whether it gives them bad feeling toward you if you mess up, or you just feeling sick because you missed moments etc.

After you shoot the engagement, you will have a better idea on how prepared you are for the portrait part of a wedding.

Learn to pose people, how to light people whether it is OFC, natural light or reflectors and be able to quickly change your camera settings. You have to get to the point where you can control the back ground so that it isn't too cluttered or in most cases not brighter then the people you are photographing.

Read Roberto Valenzuela's books Picture perfect practice, posing and perhaps even his lighting book.
Look up his videos on Creativelive.

Ditto with Lindsay Adler's videos and perhaps books as well.

Get experience, do you know of a wedding photographer? Be a second shooter on a few weddings. If you don't know one, find one, even if you have to work for free.
Do you know a portrait photographer, do the same. Be their grip, move the lights for them, help pose and watch them pose people.
Perhaps join a local photo club to meet people that you can go with to watch their shoots to get experience.

As per your other question. you can photograph two people at 200mm at F/2.8. Just make sure that they are on the same or nearly the same focal plane (normally with in 4" max). If one person's face is 4-8" behind the other, you will get soft focus on the person in the back. The bride is the priority for focus. Practice, practice practice, then you will know the limitations of the DOF. F/4 will look fine especially if you get the people away from the background and zoom in with the lens. If in doors with no flash, you may need to use F/2.8 for the ceremony, though you have great ISO with that camera.

This may sound harsh, but it is such an important event, if you can't put the time into learning, it is easy to miss the moments or just have awkward angles. Every one has to start some where. Learn what you can, try the engagement photos and then see how you all feel about proceeding with the wedding from there.


_______________
Canon 70D | 70-200mm f2.8 MK1 | 85mm f1.8 | 50mm f1.8 | Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 non vc| Nissin Di866 II

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George ­ Zip
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Oct 15, 2017 06:49 |  #3

ericz34 wrote in post #18472604 (external link)
Well, Wedding AND engagement!

Thing is I don’t do people.. I usually do landscape and urban/architecture photography. But both party’s are great friends and they wanted me to be the person to shoot their special days despite my advice to hire a professional photographer lol.

My biggest question is aperture.. I have a 6D and I’ll be renting a 70-200 f2.8.. I’m afraid of not getting them in focus, should I shoot at f4? For the proposal I think f4 would be best, and the wedding maybe f2.8?

Also, any tips are welcome.. considering I have no clue what I’m doing lol.

Thanks in advance!

How long do you have before the wedding? If you tell me that I can recommend some tuition video courses.

As to to your aperture question, I would go 5.6 for group shots ... You'll probarbly need a flash if you are indoors or you will be at massive ISO. . 4 to 5.6 for the couple shots. I shoot really shallow for individual portraits with focus on the eye.... But that's just a personal taste thing.

I would grab a couple of people and put them at different distances to get a better feel for what aperture you will need.

You will get different opinions but I shoot a lot of frames. Like a couple of thousand. It helps if someone blinks or has a weird look to give you some options. Expose for the people and not the whole scene would be my tip. If you try and fix in post skin starts looking a bit funky.

It's not that hard photographically, and if you know the people and set the expectations where they should be you will be fine. As long as they are ok with the fact it is not going to be as good as an experienced wedding photographer. I am guessing if they asked you, you told them your limitations then they are probably ok with whatever they get. Like most things it's hard to do well. Posing is the hardest bit IMO.

Good luck dude.




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airfrogusmc
I'm a chimper. There I said it...
Joined May 2007
Oak Park, Illinois
Oct 15, 2017 08:51 |  #4

ericz34 wrote in post #18472604 (external link)
Well, Wedding AND engagement!

I have a 6D and I’ll be renting a 70-200 f2.8..

Thanks in advance!

You do have another camera body and lens correct?




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ericz34
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LA
Oct 15, 2017 11:20 |  #5

Micro5797 wrote in post #18472828 (external link)
I think every ones main advice would be to hurry and get lots of experience. Messing up on a wedding can hurt your friendship, whether it gives them bad feeling toward you if you mess up, or you just feeling sick because you missed moments etc.

After you shoot the engagement, you will have a better idea on how prepared you are for the portrait part of a wedding.

Learn to pose people, how to light people whether it is OFC, natural light or reflectors and be able to quickly change your camera settings. You have to get to the point where you can control the back ground so that it isn't too cluttered or in most cases not brighter then the people you are photographing.

Read Roberto Valenzuela's books Picture perfect practice, posing and perhaps even his lighting book.
Look up his videos on Creativelive.

Ditto with Lindsay Adler's videos and perhaps books as well.

Get experience, do you know of a wedding photographer? Be a second shooter on a few weddings. If you don't know one, find one, even if you have to work for free.
Do you know a portrait photographer, do the same. Be their grip, move the lights for them, help pose and watch them pose people.
Perhaps join a local photo club to meet people that you can go with to watch their shoots to get experience.

As per your other question. you can photograph two people at 200mm at F/2.8. Just make sure that they are on the same or nearly the same focal plane (normally with in 4" max). If one person's face is 4-8" behind the other, you will get soft focus on the person in the back. The bride is the priority for focus. Practice, practice practice, then you will know the limitations of the DOF. F/4 will look fine especially if you get the people away from the background and zoom in with the lens. If in doors with no flash, you may need to use F/2.8 for the ceremony, though you have great ISO with that camera.

This may sound harsh, but it is such an important event, if you can't put the time into learning, it is easy to miss the moments or just have awkward angles. Every one has to start some where. Learn what you can, try the engagement photos and then see how you all feel about proceeding with the wedding from there.


Not harsh at all! The whole reason for this post is to get some real advice. So I definitely appreciate your response! I tried my very best to explain my limitations to them but they said even if the photos looked terrible.. they’d be more than ok with it. I tried lol. Because they are such good friends and because I know there’s a real chance I’ll mess something up, I told them I’d do it for free. Basically, they understand that they’re my photo-guinea pigs and are ok with it. But of course I’d still like to do a great job. I would hate to hand them some hack-job pictures.

Thank you for the book recommendations! I’ll be looking into them. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone else that’s a photographer, hopefully I can join a club or something to get to know more photographers. I really think I’d be able to benifit from them as you mentioned.

I do appreciate you saying we all start somewhere. This was really sudden, unfortunately I don’t have the greatest experience for such events but at the very least I’m glad it’s for somebody I know. They understand my limitations and it makes it a little less stressful.

George Zip wrote in post #18473021 (external link)
How long do you have before the wedding? If you tell me that I can recommend some tuition video courses.

As to to your aperture question, I would go 5.6 for group shots ... You'll probarbly need a flash if you are indoors or you will be at massive ISO. . 4 to 5.6 for the couple shots. I shoot really shallow for individual portraits with focus on the eye.... But that's just a personal taste thing.

I would grab a couple of people and put them at different distances to get a better feel for what aperture you will need.

You will get different opinions but I shoot a lot of frames. Like a couple of thousand. It helps if someone blinks or has a weird look to give you some options. Expose for the people and not the whole scene would be my tip. If you try and fix in post skin starts looking a bit funky.

It's not that hard photographically, and if you know the people and set the expectations where they should be you will be fine. As long as they are ok with the fact it is not going to be as good as an experienced wedding photographer. I am guessing if they asked you, you told them your limitations then they are probably ok with whatever they get. Like most things it's hard to do well. Posing is the hardest bit IMO.

Good luck dude.

Thank you! And yes they are very aware of my limitations.. I explained it to them in every possible way that this isn’t something I know how to do and they were very ok with it. I do agree that posing is the hardest!

I have about a month, but regardless I’d be interested in that course if you could PM me.

Thank you!




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drmaxx
Senior Member
Joined Jul 2010
Oct 15, 2017 12:37 |  #6

There's a lot of good tips out there. Here's one that helps me a lot: Learn how to utilize the automatic modes as much as possible - get away from the 'real photographers use full manual' attitude. Shooting events is stressful and fast paced - the more you can rely on your camera the easier it is to get the crucial moments. E.g. Sunny outside, I usually use Av -- just enough light, but no flash possible (large rooms, ambient important, ...) Tv or M with floating iso. Flash with ETTL and flash compensation. Think ahead what metering mode you would like to use for people ...

AND: Learn how to use your flash! Probably the most important accessory for much of the day and also the most difficult to master properly.


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ericz34
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LA
Oct 15, 2017 15:32 as a reply to drmaxx's post |  #7

Thanks for the tips! I’ve got AV mode down pretty well, but didn’t even consider the others so I’ll definitely play around with it!




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George ­ Zip
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Oct 15, 2017 18:30 |  #8

ericz34 wrote in post #18473361 (external link)
Thanks for the tips! I’ve got AV mode down pretty well, but didn’t even consider the others so I’ll definitely play around with it!

I live in AV mode except when I am using flash indoors




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George ­ Zip
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Oct 15, 2017 19:48 |  #9

Couple of things I have found helpful.....

Nail down a timeline. What I mean is as this is new to you, I would allow plenty of time to move slowly.

So say the ceremony is 4.00 PM and you are going to do the whole day. Do the groom getting ready shots at say 12.00. You should be in and out in 15 minutes. Tell them to be dressed and ready.

Tell the bride and bridesmaids to be completely ready by 2.30. Use that time to get photos of her getting ready, the dress and details.

Then use 2.30 to 3.30 or whatever to get shots of the bride and groom and if time permits also the shots of the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Another tip for shooting women....and men... get on a chair and shoot down where you can, it is flattering and you won't have double chins.

Another thing... if shooting indoors without flash in a journalistic way, myself personally I like to get my SS at about 300-500 just to freeze people a bit and get sharp images. I use manual in a kinda AV way. So I go 2.8, set the SS 300-500 depending on light ( or hang around a window) and let Auto ISO do it's thing. You will get grainy images but these will not be critical album shots most of the time. More just memories. The formula for indoor flash I have settled on to keep a bit of ambient light.. Manual.... 4.0 to 5.6 iso 800 to 1000, SS 60 or 80.... flash pointed up at the roof and the white pull thing out. This works well for any indoor stuff if you want to get the people in focus. You will still get a few blurry photos, but if you rattle out enough you will have a good hit rate.

These are just my opinions, seems to work, and they like the photos. YMMV




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Larry ­ Johnson
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Virginia
Oct 15, 2017 20:14 |  #10

ericz34 wrote in post #18472604 (external link)
Well, Wedding AND engagement!

Thing is I don’t do people.. I usually do landscape and urban/architecture photography. But both party’s are great friends and they wanted me to be the person to shoot their special days despite my advice to hire a professional photographer lol.

My biggest question is aperture.. I have a 6D and I’ll be renting a 70-200 f2.8.. I’m afraid of not getting them in focus, should I shoot at f4? For the proposal I think f4 would be best, and the wedding maybe f2.8?

Also, any tips are welcome.. considering I have no clue what I’m doing lol.

Thanks in advance!

Go back to your friends and explain to them that you feel you have been put in a lose-lose situation. If they don't like the photos, your friendship is threatened and they have to live with unacceptable photos. In addition, if you have to take photos, you won't be allowed to enjoy the wedding like a great friend should be allowed to do (no dancing for you, etc.).

Best of luck if you decide to go through with it.


_______________
Ain't Nature Grand!
Shooting 7D2 with Canon 400mm, f/5.6.
60D, canon 18-135 EFS, and 1.4 extender in the bag.
flickr (external link)

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Colin ­ Glover
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Joined Aug 2012
Southport nr Liverpool United Kingdom
Post has been edited 1 month ago by Colin Glover.
Oct 16, 2017 12:40 |  #11

Well, I think Larry is wrong at this late stage. It would wreck your friendship as they'd have to find another tog at short notice and pay over the odds if they can find one. You'll be fine with your gear. Just get a spare body and hire a 24-105. Put a lens on each body so you don't have to swap lenses and miss great moments. And a nifty 50 is great for portraits. I've shot 15 weddings and often shoot at F8 to avoid the one in, one out of focus situation. I like 160th/sec, and put auto ISO in manual with a cap of 3200. The sensor on the 6D should handle it with hardly any noise, even if flash is not permitted in the ceremony. If it's not allowed, the slightly dark images you might get will brighten up nicely by adding 1 stop EV in LR/ACR, whilst LR/ACR NR will take care of any extra noise. Heck, I do it with my 70D which has much smaller photosites so is noisier, so it should be easier with the 6D. And remember, check settings and focus as you go along, chimp in to ensure full focus and not 'Almost nailed focus but it looked sharp on camera's LCD. Set flash to ETTL.

Enjoy the day, work a plan, and then watch it go to pot...... (UK expression which means to crumble, fall apart, etc) as things are so hectic on the day. Anyway, Good luck, enjoy the day, and capture some awsome photos, you can do it!


Canon EOS 70D, Canon EOS 600D, EF-S 18-55 ii, EF 55-200 USM ii, EF-S 75-300 iii, Tamron 28-80, Sigma 70-210. Pentax 50mm, Pentax 135mm, EF-S 55-250, Raynox Macro adapter, Neewer filters (CPL, UV, FLD & ND4), Fuji HS20 EXR (30X zoom ) & cable release, Yongnuo 560 iii & Luxon 9800A manual flashguns for the Fuji, Hama Star 63 tripod, Hongdek RC-6 remote control, Velbon DF 40 www.point-n-shoot.co.uk website.

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Camlee0814
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Alabama
Oct 16, 2017 14:40 |  #12

Being as I shot my first wedding last year. The wedding I shot was also someone that wanted me to shoot their wedding knowing I didn't have any experience in that field. My advice would be is to get posing down, Just from the stuff I have shot I kind of knew what settings I needed to use in certain situations. The posing was the hardest part for me, I just asked them if there were any poses they knew they wanted to have and then used what I had saved from pintrest and other sites. I also asked a friend of mine who Im close with and does photography to shoot with me so I had a 2nd shooter (it was also his first wedding). Good luck and you will be fine.


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drmaxx
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Joined Jul 2010
Oct 16, 2017 14:59 |  #13

Camlee0814 wrote in post #18474125 (external link)
The posing was the hardest part for me, I just asked them if there were any poses they knew they wanted to have and then used what I had saved from pintrest and other sites. I also asked a friend of mine who Im close with and does photography to shoot with me so I had a 2nd shooter (it was also his first wedding).

Why don't you just ask an other friend / another guest to support you with the posing. Tell them in advance to figure out the poses with the bridge/groom and let them do the guiding. Being able to direct people and get them to do what looks good but feels unnatural is a different skill then handling the camera. If you are a pro - then you need to be able to do both. But as a non-payed gig there is no harm in sharing this demanding task with somebody else. And I can tell you from experience, there are plenty of people who like to tell others what to do but have no idea how to use a camera. :-)


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wallstreetoneil
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Toronto Canada
Oct 16, 2017 17:39 |  #14

Here is the absolute minimum I would use, if required to do so, to shoot a wedding:

1) A main camera, with 2 cards, a 24-70 F2.8, a hotshoe mounted flash for bouncing when required, backup camera battery, spare memory cards
2) on my belt / person a 70-200 F2.8 IS
3) a battery pack for the flash and a backup flash on my belt

In my wedding bag, a backup emergency camera, a 24-105 in case either or both of your 2 main lenses broke or were stolen, a fast F1.4-1.8 35 or 50 prime for very low light reception situations and a spare flash (I want to be able to shoot a wedding from my spare bag if something happen to the equipment I'm carrying.

For you, given what you have posted about your landscape experience, here a few things:

1) People need directing - you are going to be in charge - if you aren't no one will and it won't work - so you are now in charge - the good thing is, besides the bride, everyone will listen to you because that is what is expected at a wedding - and if the groom and bride have appointed you, you basically get to do wtf you need to do as long as the bride has approved it - so do it - get the job done (but don't be an ASS - be polite - you are not the show - the bride and groom are the show)

2) the bride has paid for her dress, or her parents have, do not blow out the dress - if you have a bunch of white in the picture, you are going to have to pixel peep occasionally to check exposure so that her dress is properly exposed - if presented with a pale fair skinned blonde bride and a dark tanned groom wearing all black - the bride always wins

3) spend a few days looking at nothing but wedding pictures and pick 5-10 poses that you like and 'practice' in your mind setting these up pictures - directing the bride, groom and family will be necessary (you are in charge and weddings have schedules)

4) F2.8, F4, F8 (1 row, 2 rows, more than 2 rows) - focus on the bride's eye

5) watch a few video's on bounce flash and then practice mixing ambient and bounce flash how much ISO relative to correct ambient exposure and then how much FEC to get a good exposure without it looking like people have been flash bombed

6) some couples and individuals are very natural together, some are not - they are very wooden - sometimes with these types of people, simply showing them a few pictures on the back on the camera, to show them how they look, make a little change, more feedback and then they will get what looks good

7) where are you going to stand when people walking down isle, etc, etc, etc - i.e. what does the event space look like and what are your camera settings for when action type stuff is happening

8) take lots of pictures of all the little artsy things that the bride and groom have made for their day - use LR / PS and try and produce some artsy unique photos

9) if for whatever reason, the colours / exposure doesn't work out, or maybe you just don't like the picture, force the picture to b&w and see what you can create

10) old people, grand parents, uncles and aunts, people that may not always be around - search out these situations as the day / night happens and find these pictures for the couple

11) if you have a certain picture set up, you really have 2 to 3 pictures so take them all (a full body portrait, a tighter 3/4 portrait, and or a the same but landscape) - think of shooting wider to allow cropping also

12) if / when you are doing a full body that includes the bride, do NOT crop off or not include the entire dress - the dress is like a 3rd important person

13) drink water throughout the day, make sure you eat, avoid alcohol

14) if it looks like it is going to rain, go purchase a few large white umbrellas from the camera store

You can shoot an entire wedding with 1 camera, one lens and a good flash if you really know what you are doing. If I had that, and I was allowed to bring one other thing, I would ask for an exact second copy of everything so that if anything went wrong, I would be ok. That one camera would be a Canon 5D3/4 or Nikon 810/850 with a 24-70 F2.8.


Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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davinci953
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181 posts
Joined Dec 2011
Oct 16, 2017 18:43 |  #15

Larry Johnson wrote in post #18473521 (external link)
Go back to your friends and explain to them that you feel you have been put in a lose-lose situation. If they don't like the photos, your friendship is threatened and they have to live with unacceptable photos. In addition, if you have to take photos, you won't be allowed to enjoy the wedding like a great friend should be allowed to do (no dancing for you, etc.).

Best of luck if you decide to go through with it.

Having been in this situation a number of times, I agree with Larry. That being said, I understand that your friends would most likely have difficulty getting another photographer, and you need to move forward with the wedding.

Neil van Niekerk has some good information about photographing weddings.

https://neilvn.com ...ng-photography-tutorials/ (external link)

It might not be a bad idea to have a contract in place. Yes, I know they're friends, but a contract helps to level set on expectations. Discuss with the couple any shots they consider a must have such as specific parts of the ceremony or certain family members who might be attending the event. If the couple wants prints made, this might be something to review as well.

If they have a wedding planner, definitely coordinate what you're doing with the planner. If not, you will need to coordinate the timing with the couple as George Zip suggests. If the wedding ceremony is taking place in a church/synagogue/mosqu​e, check with the priest/rabbi/qazi on whether you can use flash during the ceremony. If flash isn't allowed, it might be necessary to coordinate getting a shot after the ceremony is complete.

If you can get a second shooter, that would be helpful. Minimally, see if someone can work as your assistant. Consider having your wife/girlfriend/friend assist if that's an option.

If you work as a professional photographer, invoice the event for what your actual cost is, and then discount the total amount so that it zeroes out. It might come in handy for tax purposes at the end of the year.

Stuff happens, be prepared. Best of luck with the wedding.




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