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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 10 Jan 2017 (Tuesday) 17:37
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Helping my sister's wedding with photography

64 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Location: Brentwood, CA
Jan 10, 2017 17:37 |  #1

My sister-in-law asked me if I can take pictures of her wedding. She will not have a professional photographer because cannot afford one. I want to help her out so I said yes.

I transitioned to Sony mirrorless for Canon EOS. So I have a Sony a6000, but still have my ancient Canon 40D. For the a6000, I plan to rent the 24-70 f2.8 G Master and a 70-200L f2.8 for the 40D. I do have a Speedlite 430ex and remote triggers for lighting. (The Speedlite can be used on the a6000, manual mode). I do also have a Canon FD 50 f1.4 if I can grow a pair and go manual for portraits.

With the setup above, will it suffice to give my sister-in-law some good photos at her wedding? Do I even need a 70-200 f2.8? (small restaurant, civil wedding) Thank you.

Canon 40D | Tokina 12-24 f4 | Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6IS | Canon 50 1.8II | Sigma 30 f1.4 | Canon 55-250 f4-5.6IS | Canon Speedlite 430EXII

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my head is usually in the way
1,644 posts
Gallery: 17 photos
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Joined Apr 2016
Location: Shelton, CT USA
Jan 10, 2017 18:04 |  #2

I am NOT a wedding photographer and hate doing weddings. Like you, I was asked to record a wedding (the son and daughter of two good friends of mine). Both being young people they also had no money. The whole wedding was put together by friends and family and all but the restaurant was pretty much donated. The ceremony was done in a small, venue at a local park while the reception was at a family restaurant. Both very small venue.

The wedding group was small as was the guest list and I brought two cameras (as is customary for me when shooting events). One had my 24-70mm and the other my 70-200mm. Needless to say, the long lens was barely used (less than a dozen images). You'll do fine with the 24-70mm if you say it'll be a small, intimate affair.

I brought several flashes for both on camera bounce and off camera portable softboxes. My only regret was not having brought a portable backdrop as well. It would have been nice to offer some decent images without the ugly background of the venue. Oh well. Live and learn.

Hope this insight helps some.

"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Unitas Photography (external link)Blog (external link)Facebook (external link)Flickr (external link)

01010100 01010011
35,310 posts
Gallery: 98 photos
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Joined May 2002
Location: Northern Indiana
Jan 10, 2017 18:14 |  #3

I would consider adding an 85 1.8 to the arsenal. It will do wonders for portraiture during the wedding. You have the basics with what you outline for getting good pictures. I would use that over the FD lens, simply due to the ease of using a fully working AF system on that lens. I would practice with the 40D and 85 1.8 beforehand with the lighting. You can pick up an 85 1.8 pretty cheaply these days.

Past Equipment | My Personal Gallery (external link) My Business Gallery (external link)

Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
2,403 posts
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Joined Aug 2013
Location: Houston, Texas
Post edited over 2 years ago by Jarvis Creative Studios.
Jan 10, 2017 18:22 |  #4

First of all, that is wonderful that you're giving this gift to your family.

The first thing I would do is find out their expectations. Is she expecting professional quality images, or just hoping you do the best you can? She understands this is a "gift to help out" and not the end all if you miss / don't get exactly all the shots she wants, correct? I would ask these specific questions and set boundaries. Do not make promises you can not keep, and never expect that things are assumed. Working with family can be difficult, regardless if money is changing hands. Just be aware of this.

On to the equipment questions. I would honestly ditch the 40D / 70-200 and just go with the Sony 24-70 with the flash on manual on the camera. Why? You stated it's a small restaurant, and on your 40D is actually a 112-320mm, so you will be on the very wide end on this, if you use it at all. Plus restaurants are some of the worst lit places on the planet, and the 40D will have some MAJOR issues focusing, not to mention it's horrible low light performance.

With it's crop factor, the Sony 24-70 actually becomes a 36-105mm, which would be a better "do all" lens in the situation you're describing. The on camera flash should provide enough light to light up a small restaurant room just fine. One tip though is cut a white postcard in half and rubber band it to the top of your flash like a white card. The 430EX doesn't have a built in white card and a lot of restaurants not only have horrid light but very poor balance on their lights as well.

Most important thing, is have fun and enjoy the wedding. Don't over stress about "getting the shots". You're working for free as a favor, and based on this post I am led to believe you're not a professional wedding photographer nor do you want to be. So just enjoy it. And post some images afterward if it's ok with the couple :-).

EDIT: After reading TeamSpeed's post I'm inclined to agree (and disagree) with what they said. Yes, you should probably add a prime to the mix, but instead of the Canon 85 1.8 I would add a Sony 50mm to the mix. With the crop factor the 85mm would be closer to a 135mm on these cameras, which would probably be tight for a small restaurant. If you get a 50mm on the Sony it would translate to a 75mm, which would be a good focal length for portraits.

WEBSITE (external link)
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Sony HX90V || Sony RX100V || Sony a6500 || Sony a9 || Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS || Sony FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM || Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA || Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f1.8 ZA || Sony FE 70-200 f/2.8 GM OSS || Godox speedlights and strobes

64 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Location: Brentwood, CA
Jan 10, 2017 19:22 |  #5

Thank you for the replies! I think I would skip renting a 70-200L f2.8 for the 40D and instead, rent a Sony 50 f1.8 with the 24-70 f2.8 G Master (I'm pretty excited with this lens!) for the a6000 and just use that alone. Though the FD 50 f1.4 take awesome photos, I don't think I have the time focus-peeking each frame before I take the shot, not in a wedding. Besides the Sony 50 f1.5 is much cheaper to rent than a 70-200L f2.8 which is good. I do have a soft white dome on my 430ex so I can do bounce flash. My sister-in-law expects only what I can bring to the table and nothing more.

Canon 40D | Tokina 12-24 f4 | Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6IS | Canon 50 1.8II | Sigma 30 f1.4 | Canon 55-250 f4-5.6IS | Canon Speedlite 430EXII

Senior Member
965 posts
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Joined Apr 2012
Location: san francisco, CA
Jan 10, 2017 19:22 |  #6

The gear in your sig should be enough to cover the day. No need to stress about gear and go with what you think will work with the situation. You wouldn't really benefit from renting those 2.8 zooms on a crop body since you already have fast wide/medium primes and a flash if you want to use the tokina. If anything, an 85/1.8 would be a great addition.

Just don't miss out on the critical shots; ring exchange, first kiss, first dance, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss.

Canon 1DX | 6D | 16-35/2.8II | 24/1.4II | 24-70/2.8II | 24-105 | 50/1.8 | 50/1.2 | 70-200/2.8 IS II | 85/1.2II | 100/2.8 IS macro | 400/2.8 IS | 2xIII
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Senior Member
667 posts
Gallery: 4 photos
Likes: 119
Joined Nov 2010
Location: Lehigh Valley Pa
Jan 11, 2017 09:27 |  #7

We will never photograph family and close friends for weddings. We base this on others that are very good at what they do, but have convinced us a big no no. With your questions, it sounds like you have not done a great deal of weddings and now right in the middle of a gear switch, even more chance for issues.

If you have to move forward with this, make sure you remind them in a nice way you are doing this for free, so the expectations are not beyond what you will give them. I know of several friends who shot weddings for family as a gift or a small charge and thought nothing could go wrong and it did. Issues with either the quality or missing the shot or even in one instant as explained to me by one of them, in their mind doing it for free, so subconsciously they did not try as hard as they would for a paying client, etc.

Just remember, long after the wedding is over, if something does happen, you will continue to have this person in your life and if you have an issue, it will continue to come up and could cause whatever. One of the pro's that had an issue with family offering his services, said to me if he could turn back the clock, he would have hired a pro to do the work and offered to carry their gear for the wedding and several others for free as a trade off. If you are renting or buying stuff, with just a civil ceremony and restaurant, what you will spend versus what you might have to pay for something this small, could balance out.

Again, not saying anything will go wrong or jinx you, not trying to panic you and 99.9 percent of the time, it will probably work out great. My opinion is based on past experience with friends and what has happened to them from it and what they now would do if they could do it over. Just a great deal to risk especially when it comes to the bride being your sister in law.

You should sit down with them and plan out every shot and let her make the list for you of what she wants to capture and then make sure it happens, to cover all bases. And click that posed shot 4 or 5 times to make sure you have a good one. Just to be safe. Make sure expectations are not high so when you give them great photos, you look like a hero.

1-1Dx II 1-5D Mark 4, 3-5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 2-7D's, 70D, canon 70-200 2.8 L IS II, 24-70L II, 85 1.8, 85 1.2, 50mm, 135 mm F2 L, 17-40 , 24-105, Sigma 35 Art and 18-35 1.8, 600 EX's, Elinchrom RX and Phottix 500 strobes

2,457 posts
Gallery: 3 photos
Likes: 639
Joined Dec 2010
Location: Southen Arizona
Jan 11, 2017 21:28 |  #8

An assistant or two can be a great help in herding, calming, fetching, buffering, remembering, straightening, moving, holding, etc.

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Senior Member
335 posts
Gallery: 11 photos
Likes: 83
Joined Nov 2012
Location: Colorado, USA
Jan 11, 2017 22:36 as a reply to  @ Jarvis Creative Studios's post |  #9

I like doing weddings. You absolutely need to be comfortable, confident and proficient in using whichever equipment set you decide upon. Adding new bits and pieces on a short timeline would make me nervous.

There are some great suggestions above. I won't say that any are wrong, just that we have different experiences and therefore different recommendations. In a smaller venue (restaurant) on a crop-sensor body (a6000), I think the 85mm would be way too narrow of a field of view for most situations. I agree with Jarvis to go with something wider, but even 50mm might be too narrow in many shots. I'd probably be looking for something around 35/1.4.

With a more casual approach to wedding photography, you're likely to want to get a lot of group shots. Or, rather they'll be wanting you to get a lot of group shots. Maybe as few as 2 people, but you'll have a lot of 3, 4, 5 or more people that want a picture with the new couple. You might want a wider field of view for this.

And flash? Yup. You'll have to use manual flash (for the obvious reasons). Just be careful about missed flash exposure. When you're moving around and the distance between you (actually, the flash) and the subject(s) is changing a lot. The distance is a big factor in determining the effect of flash. Getting that right will be challenging. Maybe knock the flash power just a tad lower when you don't have time to shoot and retry.

Of course, shoot in ARW so you can lift the exposure as needed...

Mostly using 5D3 with lots of different lenses and flash, but also still using a large format 4x5 film camera.

63 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 25
Joined Dec 2016
Location: Toronto
Jan 12, 2017 02:11 |  #10

Weddings can be fun. I find the less equipment you bring the more you focus on capturing the fleeting moments and being creative with composition. I'm happy with a 35 1.3 + 50 1.2 setup.

Toronto Wedding Photographer | Evolylla Photography (external link)
follow me on Instagram (external link); follow me on Facebook (external link); Canon shooter

Scott ­ Spellman
203 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Likes: 122
Joined Oct 2015
Location: Royal Oak MI
Jan 13, 2017 09:01 |  #11

For a smaller space, a medium zoom and solid flash are you best choices. I also believe in keeping it simple so I would only use 1 camera instead of switching. Since you have a flash for the Canon 40D, I would rent a 24-70/2.8 zoom for that. Practicing with your friends in your own house or a similar space way before the event will give you much insight into the right camera settings and techniques. Best of luck.

Colin ­ Glover
1,363 posts
Gallery: 17 photos
Likes: 124
Joined Aug 2012
Location: Southport nr Liverpool United Kingdom
Jan 13, 2017 12:36 |  #12

17-55, 35 or 50mm prime, and a nifty 250 are good choices. The 17 is optically a lot better than the 18 kit lenses. Yongnuo do both a 35 and 50 at really keen prices that give good performance. To give you an idea of how much Canikon hate them, official retailers for them aren't allowed to sell Yongnuo gear. If you look at Amazon, it's all marketplace sellers you see, not amazon direct. A good TTL flashgun, not the built-in one, on auto will help too. A Neewer TT645 is actually a rebadged Godox Think Tank TT640 and a lot cheaper. I love mine. The TTL is pretty accurate with not much exposure compensation needed in post.

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 website.

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Helping my sister's wedding with photography
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