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02-10-2011, 04:45 AM   #1
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My first wedding.....questions

I'm doing my first wedding in April. What lenses do most of you use? I have bought some old manual lenses that are wonderful....but, I'm a little concerned about being quick....not the lenses...me! I have a manual 50mm 1.7, manual 100mm 2.8, and then the 2 lenses that came with my camera....I bought the K-x with the lens kit(18-55 and 55-300). This will be an outdoor wedding, but starting at 4pm, so I know I will need to use my flash eventually....I believe the reception will also be outdoors....I know I have some practicing to do with this flash unit. It's a Bower for the Pentax....any issues with that using manual lenses?

Thanks ahead of time for any info! The bride knows I'm just starting out and she needs a money break(hence me) but I want to hopefully wow her!

Trish

02-10-2011, 05:13 AM   #2
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Do you have an external flash? That's one of the things I would consider buying or renting.

As for weddings : have you ever done one as a guest? Assisted a photographer at one? If the answer is no, I can only tell you to read a lot lot lot, experiment (have friends act as newlyweds, go to the premise, test the place, the light at 4PM near the time of the wedding, etc etc). Also try to addend a wedding just to see how things work and go.

Your manual lenses will be fine as long as MF is second nature. Otherwise, I suggest you borrow/rent a fast AF lens or consider using your kit lens if the light is good. If you have time to stage shots, MF will work.

This is going to be difficult, I warn you.
02-10-2011, 05:17 AM   #3
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Wheatfield recently wrote THE authoritative thread on doing weddings, and I'm sure he or someone else will be around to link it.

Not so ironically, technique and equipment account for maybe just 50% of the deal. And the other 50% is really interesting--basically the social skills needed.
02-10-2011, 05:29 AM   #4
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We really ought to have some place where the threads like this which have died can all be collected together as a reference. It would help people and perhaps save quite a lot of typing.

02-10-2011, 06:33 AM   #5
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I just got thru reading: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-field-accessories/58767-fir....html....super informative, but still would like opinions on my own situation. I shot a wedding around 30yrs ago for a friend....didn't get paid, it was a favor/wedding gift type thing. Of course....not digital back in the day! It was one of the worst experiences I ever had. A friend of mine came with me cuz he was also a photographer. I was concerned about being in charge and telling people what to do etc. Anyway.....the reason why it was so awful an experience was due to the tension between the families....nasty nasty people! It's been so long, I don't even remember if the pics were good!

I was asked to do this wedding cuz the btb saw pics I had taken of family and she loved my style....she wanted different and not the average type pics. I have been out of photography for such a long time(just became your average pic taker), but have been working my way back into this cuz I love it! I was really leaning towards just portraiture and had used the old saying...I'll NEVER do weddings....so of course, what is my first paying job...a wedding!! Just remember to NEVER say NEVER!!! LOL!
02-10-2011, 06:34 AM   #6
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Forgot to mention the flash unit I have is the Bower SFD926P
02-10-2011, 09:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Wheatfield recently wrote THE authoritative thread on doing weddings, and I'm sure he or someone else will be around to link it.

Not so ironically, technique and equipment account for maybe just 50% of the deal. And the other 50% is really interesting--basically the social skills needed.
Probably not Wheatfield as he has left the building.

This was a popular thread on the subject.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-photography/106245-doing-first-wedding-gulp.html

I did see a few of the final shots, which were OK. OP said all went pretty well.
02-10-2011, 09:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Probably not Wheatfield as he has left the building.
What do you mean by that? He made a post about 30 minutes ago.

02-10-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
What do you mean by that? He made a post about 30 minutes ago.
Then he has returned. Word (in his sig yesterday) was he was leaving, for a couple reasons.
02-10-2011, 11:52 AM   #10
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Weddings can be fun. You have to be confindent in your self. A Flash is uber Important. Use a defuser (lightsphere). Read some and try to find someone to tag along with. Once you do one its pretty easy to figure out.
02-12-2011, 04:05 PM   #11
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Trish, that linked thread has some great advice and I would read it carefully. I would also add that you need to do a few things.
1) Get a better flash. I would never trust a Bower for a wedding and I'd never go with only one flash. I carry 4 to every wedding and use at least 3 much of the time with off camera remotes. I do not suggest you should try this but you need to have a backup plan for everything. So you should have at least an AF360FGZ or better, a 540 as your primary flash. Keep the bower as a back up only.

2) Get a fast zoom and a couple of fast primes. I'd suggest the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 as your primary lens. Then I would get a FA50mm f1.4. Consider one of the fast Sigma primes like the 28mm. I also carry a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and find it an indispensable lens. Forget using manual focus lenses. DSLR's do not have focus split screens like the older film cameras and you will be too slow to lock focus. Plus it makes auto flash (P-TTL) inoperable. I don't use auto flash settings but manual flash takes experience and practice. Trying to estimate flash outputs when in manual is not for an inexperienced shooter.

3) Have battery back ups for everything.More batteries than you think you'll need. Same for memory cards. Don't use cheap cards. Lexar pro and Sandisk Extreme III's are the only thing I would trust.

4) If there is any way to contact a local pro in your area and shoot free as a second shooter a couple of times before the wedding, what you will learn will be invaluable. Do what you can to arrange this, you will not regret it.

5) Most important of all. Have 2 camera bodies. This isn't a suggestion but a rule. You may shoot with one most of the time but I would never consider shooting any wedding without 2 bodies. If you have any issues with the primary camera, you absolutely have to have a comparable back up body to continue shooting. The bride will not stop the service and wait an hour while you go to the local camera store to buy a replacement.

I've had 4 cameras fail in mid service and there's no panic quite like that. Fortunately all I had to do was grab the backup which was on my shoulder.

Study and practice, particularly the flash and how to use it.
02-12-2011, 09:45 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Trish, that linked thread has some great advice and I would read it carefully. I would also add that you need to do a few things.
1) Get a better flash. I would never trust a Bower for a wedding and I'd never go with only one flash. I carry 4 to every wedding and use at least 3 much of the time with off camera remotes. I do not suggest you should try this but you need to have a backup plan for everything. So you should have at least an AF360FGZ or better, a 540 as your primary flash. Keep the bower as a back up only.

2) Get a fast zoom and a couple of fast primes. I'd suggest the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 as your primary lens. Then I would get a FA50mm f1.4. Consider one of the fast Sigma primes like the 28mm. I also carry a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and find it an indispensable lens. Forget using manual focus lenses. DSLR's do not have focus split screens like the older film cameras and you will be too slow to lock focus. Plus it makes auto flash (P-TTL) inoperable. I don't use auto flash settings but manual flash takes experience and practice. Trying to estimate flash outputs when in manual is not for an inexperienced shooter.

3) Have battery back ups for everything.More batteries than you think you'll need. Same for memory cards. Don't use cheap cards. Lexar pro and Sandisk Extreme III's are the only thing I would trust.

4) If there is any way to contact a local pro in your area and shoot free as a second shooter a couple of times before the wedding, what you will learn will be invaluable. Do what you can to arrange this, you will not regret it.

5) Most important of all. Have 2 camera bodies. This isn't a suggestion but a rule. You may shoot with one most of the time but I would never consider shooting any wedding without 2 bodies. If you have any issues with the primary camera, you absolutely have to have a comparable back up body to continue shooting. The bride will not stop the service and wait an hour while you go to the local camera store to buy a replacement.

I've had 4 cameras fail in mid service and there's no panic quite like that. Fortunately all I had to do was grab the backup which was on my shoulder.

Study and practice, particularly the flash and how to use it.
Trish,
Peter has given some very good advise, wish I had known some of these things prior to shooting my first wedding...My first was one of the most nerve racking expirences ever, but fortunately the bride and groom were very happy with the results. So here is my two cents.
  1. Always have at least two camera bodies that you are completely comfortable using!!!I mean always.( First wedding I did my camera locks up right after ceremony(K10D), which had never happened before. fortunately removing the battery and putting it back in took care of it.) If you only have one, consider renting one from Cameralensrental.com. I have used them on many occasions for bodies, flashes, and many lenses.
  1. I most often will shoot with a combination of two cameras for the ceremony. One with a wide to normal zoom and one with a telephoto zoom appropriate for the venue. Trying to switch lenses in the middle of a ceremony is a bad idea. I also have a 50mm 1.4 and have rented a macro as well since I don't own one yet. The macro can not be beat for detail shots of rings, cakes, settings, decor, and other various small things.
  1. I f you can go to the location prior to the day of the wedding, but the same time of day it will take place do it! I will often take some mental notes of settings if a particular location poses some lighting diffaculties. This will also help you with getting an idea of compositions that you may want to try and capture the day of.
  1. If you have not already sat down with the couple to find out if they have any particular things they want you should do so. Some people are addimate about making sure you capture so and so. Or perhaps they have some ideas of there own that they would like you to try and accomidate. I try and have a very open communication line before hand so I know exactly what to expect and what they expect.
  1. Multiple batteries are very very important. I recommend at least two for each body. Plenty for your flashes as well!
  2. Make a shot list, perhaps on a note card that you can keep in your front pocket. It can be easy to foget things when things get moving.
  3. Go early so you can get all your detail shots with plenty of time to spare. A good rule is "if they paid for it, photgraph it"
  4. Shoot in the method you are comfortable with now. the wedding is obviously not a good time to learn how to use your flash effectively or mess with settings you don't normally use.
  1. A way to back-up you photos up at the event is a very good idea as well.
  1. If you are planning on doing posed group shots it's not a bad idea to bring a small step stool unless you are are a tall person, as in over 6'. For group shot I like having the option of being a foot or two taller then the tallest in the group. It can also help with neck lines and making certain individuals look a little less stuffy.


I am an amateur myself and shot my first wedding two and a half years ago. I have only done three since then, but I have learned a little bit in that time. The first one I did was relatively small with about 150 people attending and ten total in the wedding party. I remember the pace seemed like it was a hundred miles per hour. That was a combination of being nervous and unprepaired. Again try to stay calm and shoot in your natural style and remember to relax. I know when I am nervous it shows and it doesn't help your subjects loosen up and have fun either. The recommendation to try and learn from an expirenced shooter is a very good one. I have done this only briefly, but it made a big differance with my confidence and I learned a couple tricks as well.

Last edited by C-Factor; 02-12-2011 at 10:17 PM.
02-13-2011, 06:11 AM   #13
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thanks guys! lots to think about....thanks so much for responding!
04-13-2011, 01:55 PM   #14
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Thank you for this thread. Lots of useful information that I will hopefully put to use soon Next week I will be shooting a small farm wedding @ 4pm outdoors. It is 400 miles away, so I will not have the luxury of spending too much time the day before the event to scout out the property. I did search it out online, and can already see a few challenges. Yikes!
04-13-2011, 04:49 PM   #15
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I've shot just 1 wedding (on 18 hours notice) and made many mistakes, but the one thing I wish I'd had time to organise was a second camera body. With a second body I could have had a wide or normal on one, and a normal or tele on the other. The amount of shots I took where I wished I'd had the other lens on was scary, and there simply isn't always time to change lenses especially as a newbie when it's stressful enough just figuring out where to stand and what's going to happen next.

So, beg/borrow/steal a second body for the occasion.
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