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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 27 Mar 2012 (Tuesday) 04:45
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First Wedding Advice

 
ginab1989
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Mar 27, 2012 04:45 |  #1

Hi there, so I am shooting my first wedding in February after a few second shooter attempts. I have a Canon 450D (which I am hoping to upgrade the body of..just not sure which to upgrade to yet!-Is it worth going to the 600D or something better?!) Anyway.. The couple know exactly what they are getting from me..as in very much a beginner! And I am not charging for the wedding shoot. They said that they want me to be myself-I know them very well and they will be happy with whatever shots I get.

Basically, everyone has to start somewhere. I just want to know, when you did your very first wedding..what is some advice you could give me from it? Anything you did right / would change or do differently? Different lenses you would have purchased?

Also, for a first wedding, does it matter too much what flash I get or is one of the cheapest 'ok' enough for a first attempt? And when shooting, is it best to go fully manual / P / Tv / Av mode? I am just worried about not getting the settings right and mucking up a perfect shot!

Also, for inside the church what are good lenses in case I am not allowed to use flash (obviously will find this out beforehand!)

I am going to look at the reception venue in a couple of weeks to get a good idea of where some planned shots could take place and where the bride would like some shots - do you find it useful to do this?

Thanks very much with any info and advice you can give me!




  
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ginab1989
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Mar 27, 2012 04:48 |  #2

Also, is it best to stand at the back of the church with a long zoom for ring-on-finger photos or at the side of the church? I don't want to be in the way with the camera making noises..but want to get good shots! Sorry for all the questions!!




  
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iLvision
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Mar 27, 2012 05:05 |  #3
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As a wedding photographer, I wouldn’t suggest shooting a wedding alone. ALWAYS have someone else do it as well since it’s your first.
I started shooting in 2010 when I was 20. My first wedding I shot, I used good lenses but didn’t use them right. I rented a 70-200 VR but never used VR since I didn’t know what it was. Don’t make the mistake i did. ( I tried shooting manual and screwed up) So here’s what I suggest:
Use VR (vibration reduction for Nikon) or IS (Image stabilization for Canon) if you have that feature.
Shoot in AV mode (Aperture priority) when using fast zooms or primes. SHoot at about f/2.8-3.5 (or smaller for group shots to have everyone in focus) with a zoom or around f/2.0 on a prime lens.
HAVE A FLASH! that’s a must have. Don’t point directly at your subject, and try to avoid pointing a flash up when you can. Point your flash to the side, on a white wall, persons white shirt, reflector- anything, so it can produce a directional light. That way it will look more natural and diffused.
You don’t know much about ISO right now so use AUTO (like I said, these are all the mistakes I made when I shot my first wedding)

I’d suggest renting a 17-55 f/2.8 (I’m assuming your’re using a crop body?) and a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for low light. If you can, get a 70-200 with IS or VR if you’re a nikon shooter. I use this lens the most for my weddings.

I’m far far more advanced now, I use 3 off-camera speedlights on lightstands and I shoot with 2 camera bodies and have 4 fast lenses (2 zoom and 2 prime, getting another prime real soon) so it takes a lot of time to learn and practice.

Hope this helps.


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boerewors
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Mar 27, 2012 05:23 |  #4

A start would be to go and see the venue, both where the ceremony and reception will be held. Take a couple test shots beforehand in manual mode to find your base exposure. use those settings on the day and check your histogram every couple shots to make sure youre on the exposures. Shoot RAW to allow corrections of poor exposures and get the white ballance worries sorted.
You dont know yet if you will be allowed to use flash but again check the venue beforehand. Is it large or small, are there white surfaces to bounce from. Generally i would recommend a powerful speedlight since you would be bouncing the light. I recommend the Nissin DI866ii, its priced lower than the 430EXii and puts out more light than a 580EXii. As far as camera bodies go, well i recommend any camera body that has a top LCD panel. It really helps you up the pace to find your settings and they have control dials that you can spin around to speed it up even more. A camera that can perform well at high ISO is another important feature for weddings especially if you cant use flash at the ceremony.
As for focal length you would be best off with either 2 bodies, one with a wide angle zoom and the other with a telephoto lens, or have a backup photographer with the opposite focal range as what you will use. Fast lenses are also important since youre shooting hand held and never ever be afraid of using high ISO, wedding albumns generally dont print large so its easy to hide the noise, but its not easy to hide motion blur caused by slow shutter speeds.


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CameraMan
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Mar 27, 2012 05:42 |  #5

I like to get to my weddings early. I am fortunate enough to work with a place that does it all. Wedding, reception, catering, etc. so it's all in the same place. This way I can shoot the tables in the reception room before people arrive and mess them up.

If the church will allow it, I would get up as close as possible to get the shots. I like to move around and get many different angles as I can (I call it my 20 minute work out). But some churches will not allow this. I did shoot as a second recently and they did not let us go past the 3rd row of pews down the main aisle which sucked for me because I only have one zoom and it's longest range is 105mm. I plan on renting a 70-200 for my next second shoot in May.

I wouldn't recommend anything less than a 580 EXII. These are great flash units and I don't know what I'd do without mine.

Final note, instead of getting another xxxD body look at some of the xxD bodies. They may work better in lower light situations. I don't know much about the 50D or 60D so you'll have to do some research on them.

Good luck!


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boerewors
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Mar 27, 2012 06:51 |  #6

CameraMan wrote in post #14161175 (external link)
If the church will allow it, I would get up as close as possible to get the shots. I like to move around and get many different angles as I can (I call it my 20 minute work out). But some churches will not allow this. I did shoot as a second recently and they did not let us go past the 3rd row of pews down the main aisle which sucked for me because I only have one zoom and it's longest range is 105mm. I plan on renting a 70-200 for my next second shoot in May.

i too like getting close up for those angles. i would imagine using a long lens would not allow much variety. i am also so lucky to be in a country with no rules in the churches. i have even stood right up against the pastor and flashed him in the face while he was praying without any comments :)

CameraMan wrote in post #14161175 (external link)
Final note, instead of getting another xxxD body look at some of the xxD bodies. They may work better in lower light situations. I don't know much about the 50D or 60D so you'll have to do some research on them.

i use the 60D for weddings and i think its a very good wedding camera. i would like better ISO performance though, but image quality is excellent up to ISO1600 and usable upto 6400 for prints no larger than 8x10 which is within the printing range of weddings.


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avangardphoto
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Mar 27, 2012 08:09 |  #7

I would say that you need a second backup body.


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Daship
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Mar 27, 2012 08:13 |  #8

Never shoot a wedding without a backup of everything including, camera, lens, batterys, memory cards. Once you atleast got that covered give it a whirl. You can not redo a wedding, if something goes bad and you have no backup, you will be in serious trouble.




  
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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Mar 27, 2012 09:46 |  #9

Hardware advice: if money is an issue, buy a 20D or 30D and relegate your 450 as backup. If you have more cash, buy a used 5d classic. In terms of flash, I'd say you need a 430ex at minimum. In about 100 events / weddings, I've seldom had the need for more power. I also pair it with an off-camera vivitar, but I'd recommend keeping it simple on your first wedding.

Absolutely scout the venue. Try shooting the church using ambient--no flash. The most challenging moment of a wedding reception, I think, is getting the entrance. You have movement in what is usually a pretty dim situation--a nightmare ! I usually shoot at 1/160 or thereabouts, and put my ISO to 1600. Have someone walk down the aisle and see what you can do.

General advice: keep at about ISO800 (at least) for most of the inside shooting at both the church and reception.



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scorpio_e
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Mar 27, 2012 10:13 |  #10

A 60D would be a nice camera to upgrade too and I know a pro who use two 60D's to shoot weddings with.
You should rent a second body..just in case.. Even though you are shooting free, it is still important to have back up. You can get by with a 430 EX but a 580 would be better. Get plenty of batteries and memory cards. As far as lenses.. A Tamron 17 to 50 f 2.8 and rent the 70 to 200 f 2.8
If you can check the venue before hand, that would be helpful.
Shoot whatever mode you normally shoot. No sense in getting confused with dials and trying to figure out what you are doing wrong.
ABOVE all..KEEP IT SIMPLE.. HAVE BACK UP :)


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sdipirro
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Mar 27, 2012 12:49 |  #11

I shot my first wedding as the primary shooter last Fall. Good advice from everyone here so far. I'd like to add or emphasize:

- You definitely need a flash, and the 580EX II would be the best choice, I think
- A zoom lens in the range of a 24-70 (or something similar) will provide a lot of the coverage you'll need. A prime lens capable of f1.4-1.8 would be nice for those low-light situations (50mm or 85mm)
- Shoot in camera RAW or RAW+JPEG so you can correct some exposure and white balance problems later, in post-processing
- Don't be afraid to get close to the bride and groom to get shots you know they're going to want later. Most people aren't paying attention to you anyway.
- For shots you don't want to miss (like the first kiss), take several shots in the hopes that at least one will be sharp.
- Keep your ISO at 1600 or below, if possible, with the camera bodies we're talking about
- And like others have said, you need backups because things fail.


Cameras: 1DX, 1D4, 20D, 10D, S90, G2
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Lighting: 580EX, Elinchrom 600 RX's, D-Lite 4's, ABR800, 74" Eli Octa, 100cm/70cm DOs, Photoflex Medium Octa and reflectors, PW's, Lastolite Hilite, Newton Di400CR bracket

  
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jkobel
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Mar 27, 2012 21:12 |  #12

Been shooting weddings for a few years and this has all been great advice. A couple things to add:
-in many churches the room is going to be large to huge and will swallow light. either use a bounce card on your flash or some other diffuser without pointing the flash directly at the subject.
-know the ceremony and the order of things. know when the kiss will happen so you will be in position. in a Catholic ceremony the kiss comes at a different point than in Protestant weddings for example.
-short range and long range zoom will be very helpful and two bodies helps hugely with this instead of swapping lenses.

good luck and have fun!


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Gear List: 5D2 x 2, 24-70mm 2.8L, 70-200mm 2.8L IS, 100mm 2.8L IS Macro, Sigma 35mm 1.4, Speedlite 600EX-RT x 2

  
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tim
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Mar 27, 2012 21:42 |  #13

Sometimes the advice given here can be quite funny. Some of it's good, some not so much.

- Flash in churches is either frowned upon or banned in many places. I don't use flash during ceremonies.
- You don't have to be invisible, but don't be in the way during key moments. Get in the way of the kiss or ring exchange and people won't think highly of you. I tend to be in the centre aisle so i'm not in anyones way, and I'm on a knee a lot of the time.
- Cameras, flashes, lenses, they all break on wedding days. Have at least two of everything.

Given the level of the questions I doubt you're ready to shoot a wedding yourself, but sometimes you have to start somewhere, and doing it for free for a couple with no other option isn't a bad place to start. Not understanding metering properly is a Very Bad Thing. Lack of confidence about how to meter is almost as bad. Not having a flash, bad. Weddings are fast, you can have dozens or hundreds of people waiting for you. You have to know lighting, posing, where to position people, locations to go (and in case of rain), etc, etc.

Good luck :)


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firefighter4u
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Mar 28, 2012 11:50 |  #14

The 450d will work well if there is plenty of light. So, determine if you may use a flash and/or hope that the ceremony is during the day and the church allows plenty of light to come in. Strongly agree with having a back up of everything. Have fun and good luck! :)

and if you plan on upgrading I would get past the Rebel lineup, in the end you'll be glad that you did.


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nathancarter
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Mar 28, 2012 12:44 |  #15

Did you say February? Well, you have 11 months to prepare. Go out and shoot every day. Read and shoot and experiment and shoot some more. Take pictures of something new every day. Shoot in difficult situations, force yourself to go out of your comfort zone. Especially work on getting consistently good results in indoor, low-light scenarios.

By February you'll be plenty comfortable with the technical hurdles, so you'll be able to focus your efforts on managing the people and the day.


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First Wedding Advice
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