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shooting my 1st wedding....help?

post #1 of 8
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So in sept/oct (i know ~9 months away) i have my first wedding to shoot. i am currently the only photographer (am going to ask one of my friend to help me shoot) and ill be shooting the wedding + a night banquet. i havent checked out the locations yet since it is still far too early and things can still change, but i am going to assume worst case scenario (high dark ceilings, spotty lighting, etc).

right now i am considering leaving my sony gear at home in favor for canon or using 3 bodies (2 canon 1 sony). reason why i am considering canon is because would like my main system to stay consistent so menus and ergonomics stay consistent and plus i have access to a 5d2+24-70 which would be the same as the a900.

gear in my head right now are
5d2 + 24-70L + 580ex2
7d 70-200/2.8is mk1
and maybe a900 + 17-35/2.8-4 + f42am

i can also rent the 16-35 (canon or sony) as it seems more wedding photographer prefer that range to the 24-70.

tips, trick, opinion on shooting style/gear.....any input is nice, so dont be shy
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post #2 of 8
My Girlfriend has her own little side business where she does photography in her spare time and for weddings I am usually there as her assistant for the bigger weddings so I can give you a few points from my perspective.

You say you going to ask a friend to help you out? Definatly have an assistant! I know its your first wedding but you won't realize the importance of an assistant until you have one. So basically you are the main photography, everyone expects the typical shots, bride down the isle, wedding bands, first kiss etc... it's the assistant who captures all of the shots that people don't expect. Have your friend still try to capture the expected shots (at different angles) but have him experiment a little on trying to get more unexpected shots. The big one would be back shot of the bride walking down the isle for example.

Definatly scope out all of your locations if you can. You need to know how much light is in all of these locations and take some test shots. I've like 10 weddings so far and not a single indoor location will have ideal lighting conditions. I don't care how many windows a church has, theres never enough light. Know where the best places to bounce the light and how bright your gonna need it. Speaking of light, make sure you have tons of batteries and some sort of extention pack where you can plug more batteries into the flash and get a longer life. If you go trigger happy the batteries will heat up so fast that the recycle time drop to the point where it could be 15 seconds before the next flash is charged and 15 seconds could mean you would miss the first kiss (pray your assistant gets the shot at that point while you are swaping hot packs in and out of your bag).

More cameras can help if your willing to lug them, it would be a lot quicker than swaping lenes. I swap lenes and it takes a while, I personnally need a better storage system where I can pull lenses out quicker.

Oh and the biggest and most important thing you can tell the wedding party... SLOW DOWN!!! TAKE IT EASY! WALK SLOW! etc... If you don't tell them this they will blaze down that isle so fast that by the time you realize you have adjust the appature/shutter/flash/anything really you have missed the shot.

Thats all I can think of thats important right now from my experence. It's late
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post #3 of 8
Ok here goes.

1.) dont be afraid to touch people, when doing formals you will need to be able to move people into position pose's you wan't, remember everone's mind is on a million things the last thing anyone at a wedding is thinking about is looking right in a picture thats your job!

2.) don't be afraid to walk into other peoples shot's, remember you ARE THE PAID PHOTOGRAPHER, grandma and her point and shoot don't matter, if you see a shot jump in an take it don't worry about "being rude" you're one the one being paid to take the shots not grandma or cousing billy bob.

3.) always have spare cards! When shooting a wedding you can never have too many shots, on average I shoot between 1500 and 2000 shots a wedding, I also typically have a laptop with me so I can dump immediate to avoid catastrophy, remember you cant go back and reshoot a wedding if you lose a card or one craps out on you.

4.) Stay out of eachs others way, when working with a 2nd shooter especially during the ceremony make sure you have zones that you are working that the other is aware of so that you don't end up with a really beautiful picture of the bridal couple and the other awesome photographer, noone wan't you in their pictures

5.) Do your research, look at other wedding photographers shots, check out the location, think outside the box, and lastly figure out what style do you want to shoot, do you want to do more of a photojournalistic approach and tell a story with your pictures, or the standard, "here's the formals, heres the ceremony, and here's the reception" I much prefer the photojournalistic approach myself.

As for gear, for most weddings the optimal setup will be a camera with a 24-70, or 28-75, and a 70-200. You'll want your lenses to all be at least f2.8 or lower, as you'll never know when you get in a situation where you are not allowed to use flash even if you are the paid photographer.

Also if you're using a good body don't be afraid to shoot in the iso400 - 800 range as long as you've got good fast glass this won't be an issue and will allow you a little more freedom in situations where light is not the best.

Lastly don't forget post production. I had a wedding where the bride has pretty severe acne and brides don't want to see that in pictures, she had covered it up with makeup but it was pretty obvious in the pictures still, it took me 16 hours of post production to clean up her shots and make her look wonderful.

one other tip I can give you, is to get those great shots of the garter and flower toss, go to a little leage game, setup next to the batters mound and practice stopping the ball before the batter hits it with your camera, once you can get it every time you're ready!
post #4 of 8
One other thing I'd recommend is, get GOOD recharchable NiMH batteries for your flash (s), you'll get more consistent flash recycle times as NiMH don't slowly lose juice like normal alkaline's do resulting in longer and longer recycle times as they wear down. NiMH give's consistent recycle time's untill the point they just finally die.
post #5 of 8
Good suggestions have been offered already, but I'll give my input. I've shot five weddings solo and have had happy clients from each.

1. I would strongly urge you to bring a prime with you. If you have three bodies, this shouldn't be a problem. Shallow DOF and faster indoor shutter speeds are the obvious benefit here.

2. I would have some sort of solution in case the ceilings aren't suitable for bounce flash, like Fong Cloud, Demb Pro, etc. I've used both of those with good results.

3. Never act unsure when directing and posing the wedding party. Plan ahead and know what you're going to do.

4. At the same time, always ask for their input on poses, shots, whether flash is ok during the ceremony, etc., if they don't give it to you to begin with.

5. Don't try to be above using hackneyed shots and poses, like the old ring-on-the-bible-heart-shadow shot, dutching, etc. Remember that these kinds of shots won't be trite to the client (unless they're pro photogs, then God help you).

6. Take a lot of shots. By that, I don't mean spray and pray, but be sure to have plenty of shots to pair down from. At my last wedding, which was rather small and brief, I took 500 shots and delivered 300 or so. Pro wedding photogs will shoot in the thousands for a single wedding.

7. Don't forget candids! Those end up being some of my more popular shots.

8. Finally, jot down notes before hand for different poses, techniques, etc. I put them on my phone in a doc.
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks all. ive cut down your posts to reply so it doenst look like 2 pages of text.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingInferno View Post
More cameras can help if your willing to lug them, it would be a lot quicker than swaping lenes. I swap lenes and it takes a while, I personnally need a better storage system where I can pull lenses out quicker.......
i could use 3 cameras, but it starts getting heavy quick. the 2 canon bodies are going to ~4lbs each and my a900 will be similar. thats ~10lbs worth of cameras hanging from me. i have a dual strap that i can use but just the thought of having 3 hanging cameras is a bit of a put off....

and do you know of a cheap way to secure the 70-200 so it doesnt swing wildly around when i move?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyFr View Post
3.) always have spare cards! When shooting a wedding you can never have too many shots, on average I shoot between 1500 and 2000 shots a wedding, I also typically have a laptop with me so I can dump immediate to avoid catastrophy, remember you cant go back and reshoot a wedding if you lose a card or one craps out on you.
ill probably be ok. i have 2 16gb cards 4 8gb cf cards. but i will try to bring a netbook so i can atleast back up the data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyFr View Post
As for gear, for most weddings the optimal setup will be a camera with a 24-70, or 28-75, and a 70-200. You'll want your lenses to all be at least f2.8 or lower, as you'll never know when you get in a situation where you are not allowed to use flash even if you are the paid photographer.
all my lenses but 1 will be f/2.8 or faster. the slower lens will be a 17-35/2.8-4 and i plan to mostly use it in the 2.8 range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyFr View Post
Also if you're using a good body don't be afraid to shoot in the iso400 - 800 range as long as you've got good fast glass this won't be an issue and will allow you a little more freedom in situations where light is not the best.
if theres too much noise make it BW and call it artistic i went into it expecting to shoot up to 1600iso.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyFr View Post
one other tip I can give you, is to get those great shots of the garter and flower toss, go to a little leage game, setup next to the batters mound and practice stopping the ball before the batter hits it with your camera, once you can get it every time you're ready!
ill definitely try to get some practice in but there arent many little league games in my area.

any experience on the canon 580exii compatible battery packs. i have like 32 enloops but i would like to have a battery pack for the quick recycle times....

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneTomorrow View Post
1. I would strongly urge you to bring a prime with you. If you have three bodies, this shouldn't be a problem. Shallow DOF and faster indoor shutter speeds are the obvious benefit here.
ill definitely bring a 50/1.4. ive considered renting the 85/1.2 but i dont think ill use it much, opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneTomorrow View Post
2. I would have some sort of solution in case the ceilings aren't suitable for bounce flash, like Fong Cloud, Demb Pro, etc. I've used both of those with good results.
i have at least a light sphere (or knockoff) for each flash, but they are so cumbersome to use....



and i have also acquired a c-bracket....ive never used one but i have a friend that swears by it (for model shoots)
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post #7 of 8
shoot with two eyes open.

EDIT: ohh and make SURE you memorize the queue sheets.

event/wedding photography isn't about knowing how to take photos. you already know how to do that. what you need to do is be where stuff is happening and they happen very quickly.
Edited by Dream Killer - 1/29/11 at 11:27pm
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post #8 of 8
About your 70-200: wear the strap over your shoulder, but hang it, so that the tripod mount of your camera faces AWAY from you. That way, due to the camera's balance, the lens will tip slightly behind you, making it easier to navigate crowds.

For extra security, loop it over your other shoulder (across your chest), but beware that shooting verticals WILL get you all tangled up.

I used to have an 85 F/1.8 and I didn't use it too much. I think the lens will be great for the "first kiss", but you risk them going out of focus due to the extremely shallow DOF. Overall, I'd say stick with the 50 1.4, 70-200, and a midrange zoom.
Edited by citruspers - 1/30/11 at 5:59am
    
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