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03-08-2015, 06:45 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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First Time Wedding!! What I learned.

Ok, aside from all the post practically everywhere that are around advising first timers to stay away from shooting weddings. I took the dive! Here's my break down of the day and the peculiarities I faced with the intertwining relation between me and the wedding party. I will say firstly- The best and worst aspect came in dealing with my extended family. It wasn't bad just very interesting. I will explain further below. Below the post I have included a few of my favorite/best shots from the event. The last is my two kids and my cousin's family dog.

The event came about when my cousin asked that my two children be in his wedding- my son as ring bearer and my daughter as flower girl. This was about 3 months prior to the event date. My wife and I were happy to include them. 2-3 weeks pass and they ask if I'd do the photography also. After mulling it over I agreed. This is when all the details started pouring in, some lack there of.


This was to be a 2nd wedding by an older cousin whom I more resonated as an uncle. No bridal party, just my kids and the bride and groom (with mother of bride and groom). The wedding would be about 2 hours away from where I lived. I would not be a part of the rehearsal and couldn't visit venue. Luckily I had previously been to it for a different event years back. Ceremony and reception at same location.

I did the usual prep that most would do: research shots and posing, the particular photo techniques that work best- basically the dos and don't. I took the event seriously and knew it would be tough but great practice. I looked at Heie's post here on pentaxforums as well as this amazingly good (in my eyes) post for new wedding photogs: How to shoot a wedding - Lesson 1

My wedding photo gear consisted of the following:

Camera bodies
Pentax k5 & kr (though I really hoped I wouldn't have to use kr backup with its limitations in comparison)

Lenses
Sigma 10-20 f3.5-5.6
Tamron 17-50 f2.8**
Pentax A 50 f1.2
Pentax FA 28-70 f4
Pentax DA* 50-135 f2.8

[**Received credit from my broken one and brought it new so I would not have to rent DA* 16-50 as I asked here: ]

Flashes
Photozuela Montana c600 with soft diffuser (Manual)
Bower SFD926P with demb reflector card (P-TTL)++

++[Brought this on impulse knowing I needed a P-TTL. Probably the most inexpensive one with P-TTL.]

Stability
Manfrotto compact tripod

Batteries
3 DLI90 (k5), 3 DLI190 (kr), AA adapter (kr)
20 chargeable enloops AAs

HC Memory cards
2- 32gb, 3- 16gb, 1- 8gb
And my other Misc. Stuff...

The initial plan was 4 hrs of ceremony and 1 hr of photos prior to ceremony. Well the day came and it started chaotic. To shorten the day I'll just list the events:
Got lost trying to get to the bride's location
Make up artist was 2 hours late
Bride didn't not want any preparation photos
20min to shoot bride before escaping to venue
Horrible lighting at venue
No rehearsal was done with anyone involved!
No one kept to a slow pace walk; they all ran in except the bride (thank God!)
Family took over family group shots (Iphonography)

WHAT I LEARNED
In the end I did have a great time shooting. And it was a great learning experience. Though I am hard on myself, some shots came out well but I'd say I did decent. Certainly not great. They were not expecting anything spectacular but just a record of events. I really did the best I could with the information I was given, the gear I had on hand and the experience I had built the last few years. The difficulty of the venue lighting would have required an off camera setup to be the most viable. Please check out all of the finished shots here: Selina & Michael by J.W. Smith Photography

Camera Gear related:
1. As for my gear the K5 handled things superbly though I wish the higher ISO didn't show as much (but then again I'm not use to editing out noise). Shot most of the night at 1600 and even 3200 (which was pretty heavy).
2. Flash didn't seem fast or powerful enough (but then again this was my first time shooting with P-TTL). HSS would be a must plus as I said an off-camera setup would have been best for this venue.
3. I didn't have the time nor did the chaotic disorganization of the ceremony allow me much time or advanced knowledge of events coming to switch lenses. I used k5 and Tamron 17-50 with Bower flash the whole event. For the ceremony I definitely should have switched to the 50-135 but in reception 17-50 was fine.
4. Tamron 17-50 f2.8- didn't seem to focus fast enough. Not sure if it was the lens or body. Miss some shots on this.

My solutions:
Get a better schedule of ceremonies (though this was somewhat of pandemonium haha)
Take control of shots
Give necessary instruction to wedding party (Ex: slow entry for guests, etc.)
Long(er) lens for ceremony (??)
HSS flash is a must


Father and Photog
And lastly my unique twist on this event was my children were a part of the event and ultimately I had a few instances were I had to do father duty while shooting (which I would not recommend). My son (2 yrs) being very interested in photography (See Photo Below!) just wanted to stand by my side. So a few (gladly it wasn't many) ceremony shots, he was standing at my side looking on. Was just part of the day and my duties.


(Yes I am trying to teach him how to hold it, put in this case the flash weighed it down a lot.)


I am open to constructive criticism and your thoughts on this all. I won't say that I'll be doing any more wedding head on but would be more apt to be a second shooter for a few before taking it on again as lead. Thanks in advance.

Attached Images
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03-08-2015, 06:56 PM   #2
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not sure if I would let a 2yr old hold my camera.....the pics look just fine and the last is priceless!!! they will love the pics and you prolly got a fantastic record of the day......give yerself a pat on the back
03-08-2015, 07:21 PM   #3
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Nicely done! Does not look like a first time wedding shoot at all...


03-08-2015, 07:22 PM   #4
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Now the next question, will you do it again?

Also, you're much more brave than I am. I don't even let my 15 year old nice hold my equipment.

03-08-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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Very sweet. The last shot is absolutely priceless. I wish I could have had something like that from my wedding. Well done!
03-08-2015, 10:16 PM   #6
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I think you did a very good job and like The Voice of Reason asked...will you do it again?
03-08-2015, 11:01 PM   #7
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Awesome pics and thanks a lot for sharing your experience. THe last pic has come out very very good. You are a brave man to let a kid hold your gear all by himself. I would never be able to do that
03-08-2015, 11:16 PM   #8
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Very nice. Mr and Mrs shot could be improved by editing out the wires.

03-08-2015, 11:29 PM   #9
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Interesting to find this this morning. I found out over the weekend that I will be shooting two weddings soon. One in about a three week. The other in one and half months. Both for friends.

Then I might be getting a paid gig in July.

As you can imagine I am racking my brains. This is my first wedding. I have a k-30 and a k-m. Lenses below in my list plus a Tamron 70-200 2.8 that I bought last year.

I also go a pttl flash. Well lets put it this way. I am starting to get nervous already. I have been thinking of getting into wedding photography I am still not prepared.

It was nice to read this. Like you I have two kids that will be going to the first two weddings. Youngest also two. Fatherly duties. Fun time!!.

I liked the first second picture. But the third one, WOW!! I guess the dog is the mediator of this fight. And he looks surprised.
03-09-2015, 07:28 AM   #10
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The second groom&bride photo is great. Without knowing these people the man looks like a great&nice guy you want to spend your time with. The way he 'supports' her and let her get into the light strengthen that impression.
03-09-2015, 11:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aaron28 Quote
not sure if I would let a 2yr old hold my camera.....the pics look just fine and the last is priceless!!! they will love the pics and you prolly got a fantastic record of the day......give yerself a pat on the back
Thank you! I was quite close and he only took one shot. I too was uneasy while snapping that photo! haha

QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Nicely done! Does not look like a first time wedding shoot at all...
That is a huge compliment. Thank you. I did beat myself up on a few i had to toss due to unclear and not in focus.

QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
Now the next question, will you do it again?

Also, you're much more brave than I am. I don't even let my 15 year old nice hold my equipment.
I am toying between if I will. I've already been offered a gig as a second shooter in May. May take it on. I wouldn't be lead again until I've done some as a 2nd shooter. At some points I was standing around like "what am I suppose to do now!?" I need to see the sequence of events and a pro doing for me to get it fully.

QuoteOriginally posted by eddaytona Quote
Very sweet. The last shot is absolutely priceless. I wish I could have had something like that from my wedding. Well done!
Thanks!


QuoteOriginally posted by bass3587 Quote
I think you did a very good job and like The Voice of Reason asked...will you do it again?
As I sadi above, I'll do a few as 2nd shooter before going in as the lead.

QuoteOriginally posted by danny09 Quote
Awesome pics and thanks a lot for sharing your experience. THe last pic has come out very very good. You are a brave man to let a kid hold your gear all by himself. I would never be able to do that
Thank you very much. I'll have to get him a toy camera for next time.

QuoteOriginally posted by mdave13 Quote
Very nice. Mr and Mrs shot could be improved by editing out the wires.
Thank you sir. Those were the ballon strings. I will get more detailed oriented for sure as I grow. Thanks for the tip!

QuoteOriginally posted by Culture Quote
Interesting to find this this morning. I found out over the weekend that I will be shooting two weddings soon. One in about a three week. The other in one and half months. Both for friends.

Then I might be getting a paid gig in July.

As you can imagine I am racking my brains. This is my first wedding. I have a k-30 and a k-m. Lenses below in my list plus a Tamron 70-200 2.8 that I bought last year.

I also go a pttl flash. Well lets put it this way. I am starting to get nervous already. I have been thinking of getting into wedding photography I am still not prepared.

It was nice to read this. Like you I have two kids that will be going to the first two weddings. Youngest also two. Fatherly duties. Fun time!!.

I liked the first second picture. But the third one, WOW!! I guess the dog is the mediator of this fight. And he looks surprised.
Aw man, be ready for mayhem. I do not know the specs on the dslrs you have but flash is essential and i'd say you need a mid range zoom or prime to cover ~20-50mm in a 2.8 or faster. The 18-135mm may be too slow for a wedding especially with the possible lighting issues that pop up depending on venue and restrictions (like in churches). Have fun with it though.

QuoteOriginally posted by Volker76 Quote
The second groom&bride photo is great. Without knowing these people the man looks like a great&nice guy you want to spend your time with. The way he 'supports' her and let her get into the light strengthen that impression.
he is one of my good cousins. More of my uncle due to the age difference. He's gone through a lot, I'm glad he's happy.
03-20-2015, 09:02 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
Now the next question, will you do it again?

Also, you're much more brave than I am. I don't even let my 15 year old nice hold my equipment.
QuoteOriginally posted by bass3587 Quote
I think you did a very good job and like The Voice of Reason asked...will you do it again?
Didn't take me long . Signed on to 2nd shoot for my friend and co-worker as 2nd shooter at a big wedding coming this May. He does some really great stuff. Not completely sold on making this "what I do" in photography but I will be able to learn the tricks of the trade and gain great general photography experience. I have much to learn in this realm especially, leading, posing, coordination and lighting.
03-21-2015, 07:41 AM   #13
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We are always learning. So long as a person is willing to learn and don't think they know it all you will do just fine.
03-21-2015, 07:35 PM   #14
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Nicely done, did a few paid weddings in the past but found I don't know diddly about how my flash works now. Still learning, I did well with manual camera and flash but not as good with all digital. I am sure they are happy with the photos. And by the way, I always let kids touch my camera... Carefully.... and look through it, I figure if they can just experience it for a little bit, it might take the fear out of them learning something new.
03-23-2015, 12:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by bass3587 Quote
We are always learning. So long as a person is willing to learn and don't think they know it all you will do just fine.
Yes I agree and there's nothing better than shadowing a great photog and picking up good habits and techniques. Looking forward to 2nd shooting with my friend for the next wedding. I have much to learn.

QuoteOriginally posted by sherrvonne Quote
Nicely done, did a few paid weddings in the past but found I don't know diddly about how my flash works now. Still learning, I did well with manual camera and flash but not as good with all digital. I am sure they are happy with the photos. And by the way, I always let kids touch my camera... Carefully.... and look through it, I figure if they can just experience it for a little bit, it might take the fear out of them learning something new.
Thank you! Yes I agree. I will push my son as far as he wants in it.
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