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08-10-2009, 09:21 PM   #1
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Wedding... Help!

So i kinda fell into being the photographer for a friends wedding. It's going to be outdoors and pretty informal. My problem is I have no experience shooting weddings and very little in shooting portraits . Right now I have a K10d with the kit lens as well as a da* 50-135. I have gathered that I will need some kind of a flash... Does anyone have any suggestions on good ones to look at? Im trying to keep the flash around the 200 dollar mark but would be willing to put out a little more if it would be worth it. Also is there any suggestions on how to shoot the event, other equipment that I will need, or things that I will need to keep an eye out for? Any help would be amazing! I'm pretty sure this topic has been beaten to death somewhere on the net but I wasn't able to find it. Thanks ahead of time!

08-10-2009, 10:06 PM   #2
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Well, all I can say is I feel so sorry for you.
My experience so far with Pentax and flash is that one is probably just as well off with an ordinary auto flash as with a fancy TTL auto zoomar, fiendishly clever little dedicated job.
Start taking pictures of people NOW.

If it helps, here is a list of shots that the bride at my next wedding has requested. I've changed names to who the person is which is why it reads like an order form (though that is what it is):

.hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { font-size: 10pt; font-family:Verdana } ceremony
-my dad and me arriving at ceremony cite
-groom arriving at ceremony cite
-decorations especially a large view of the hall (church) 2 arches from both ways, the chair covers and the petals on aisle before people are seated
-parents and grandparetns being seated
-bridesmaids (2, including chelsea maid of honour) walking down aisle
-me and my dad before and walking down aisle
-groom waiting for me and his face when he sees me and i walk down the aisle
-the back of me and my dress and my dad with groom waiting in the distance
-the sand ceremony
-the vows and exchange of rings
-groom and me and bridal party walking bk up the aisle and leaving the ceremony

for studio and/or park
-me full length with bouquet
-me and sister with bouquet
-me and both bridemsaids with bouquets
-me and bridemsaids with our parasols (park)
-me with my mom and boyfriend ?
-me with my dad and MOI
-me and groom together facing each other (facing camera headon never works hes too big)
-groom behind me in pic
-me and groom with backs to each other
-me and groom with all the parents
-groom with his parents
-the entire wedding party
-groom with best man
-groom with all his groomsmen

reception schedule
supper 5:30pm (we will arrive by then hopefully)
cake 8:00pm
dance 8:30pm
garter throw and toss and bouquet toss 10:00pm (if u cant stay that long its ok)

-a shot of the hall and all the pretty decorations and set up
-cake table and cake!
-guestbook table
-our picture table with scrapbook and frame with pics
-our first dance together
-the father/daughter dance (me and my dad) and groom if hes dancing with his mom
-us cutting the cake and feeding the cake to each other
-people dancing and having fun.

This is actually a pretty complete list of what to shoot.
08-10-2009, 10:18 PM   #3
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Thrown in the deep end...
Indeed, you need to start practicing now.
Understand your equipment and how to use it to get the results you want.
Be weary of the 'issues' with P-TTL flashes - consider the Pentax AF360 (if you're not bounce flashing) or the Sigma 500/530 Super if you are.
Have the 50-135 mounted ready and the kit lens as backup (and for those larger group shots).
All the best in your preparations!
08-10-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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ok during the day, dont get into a panic at ANY TIME. just be cool all day. I'm going to assume that because you spent two grand on a camera/lens setup, you know how to shoot.
if you've never shot a wedding, and you are about to get your first shot at ready for the panic to try and creep on ya. dont get nervous.

just be cool, and every time you press the shutter, let the SR activate first. don't machine gun. wait for smiles and/or tears.

get a flash!!
practice your fill flash outdoors in bright sun A LOT, as much as you can during the days/weeks before the wedding. (start by using your popup until you get a good flash..use the ev comp)

shooting indoors: go ahead and overexpose a TINY bit, and when you are outdoors, you can underexpose a bit.

it sucks that you are shooting a personal wedding, because you are definitely going to miss some shots at the reception because you'll want to party...c'est la vie.

now, go call your friend up and make sure she knows that you havent shot a wedding and you are trying to figure it out, now that you have this request. she should buy you that flash, or get daddy to. ask for a 540fgz. its awesome.

i shoot on two k10d's on every wedding. my 50-135 comes along. its a great pair. you and i both know that the camera isnt quite a noiseless camera so try and stay low on your iso. i rarely go over 320 but i have shot lots of weddings and know how to use my flash.

in the reception, please avoid direct flash.

in the reception, do everything you can to avoid direct flash.

dont use direct flash at the reception.

did i mention not to use direct flash at the reception?


but remember, it is your friends wedding. you are doing freebie for them which should cost a couple grand. you are going to give up your priviledges as a guest, and you are going to WORK instead of enjoy your friends wedding. so, on that note, dont worry. roll with the punches.

and remember, be cool....

08-10-2009, 10:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Thrown in the deep end...

Have the 50-135 mounted ready and the kit lens as backup (and for those larger group shots).
Damn right. I love that lens and I could roll with it all day. I only use the it's wide counterpart when I have too.
08-11-2009, 04:38 AM   #6
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No portrait experience? Wow. All I can say is, I just shot my first wedding with lots of portrait experience before that and it was still the toughest thing I have ever done photographically speaking.

The 50-135 was made for weddings. It was awesome. As far as ISO, as long as the picture isn't underexposed, I can comfortably go up to 800 with the K10. What time of day is the wedding.

Using flash well takes a lot of skill. Using flash poorly is easy to do. Practice, practice, practice.
08-11-2009, 06:00 AM   #7
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Almost the same exact thing happened to me just a few weeks ago. We had some friends who asked me to shoot their very informal outdoor wedding (see this thread: I explained to them that I had never shot a wedding, zero experience ect ect but they still wanted me to do it. I was lucky because they wanted non of the typical shots and had no wedding party except their dogs

Anyway a flash is a must even for outdoors in the day. You have to fill in any shadows that appear. Also don't forget to get a diffuser for the flash! I picked up a Omni bounce for my Sigma and it worked well. Also (something I didn't think of) is get a good set of batteries (read that thread I linked) to reduce the charge time on your flash. I missed some shots because I was waiting for the flash to recharge!

Oh, one more thing. Have a lot of conversations with the bride and groom on what shots they want

Good luck

Last edited by palmor; 08-11-2009 at 08:30 AM.
08-11-2009, 08:00 AM   #8
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Original Poster

Thank you all so much! I have spoke with them a few times about it and let them know that I do not have any experience shooting weddings and they are still ok with that. The wedding is going to start at 5pm then the reception is going to be at 6-6:30 in a different location. Both are in areas that have scattered trees. For a flash I was looking at getting either the 360FGZ, 540FGZ, or the Sigma EF-530 DG Super. What one out of those do you think would be the best to go with? the 540FGZ is just a quite a bit more than I was looking to spend. Is it worth the extra money?
thanks again!

08-11-2009, 08:23 AM   #9
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I posted quite a bit in Palmor's thread and you can read that stuff already. We can overload you with advice and that's fine, use what you can and discard the rest.

One thing I feel for you is the times. a 5PM wedding and a 6:30 reception? How the heck are you going to get any personal shots? People don't realize it takes time to go to a location with the couple and take some of those "signature" shots everyone wants in their albums. You can't do that in 36 minutes. I usually ask for 3 hours. trying to pull them away from the reception is nearly impossible most of the time.

So advice:
1) look at wedding shots on the web. Copy ones you think will be appropriate for their day. Print them and put them in a small booklette form that can fit in a pocket. These will serve as a "checklist" of reminders. You'll have lots of great shots in your head Saturday morning and forget them all Saturday afternoon. Plus if you want them to pose a certain way, you can show them a smaple and then they know what you want.
2) Flash. Any recent model will do. I do manual flash shooting all the time. But you dont have the time to get enough practice for that. So get the AF360FGZ. It will do the job just fine. I use a $2.00 DIY flash diffuser to soften the light. See here how to make one. Practice with this a lot before the big day.
3) Get Sanyo Eneloops batteries or Rayovac Hybrids. No other battery will do. Period.
08-11-2009, 10:46 AM   #10
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My vote for the flash is the 540 over the 360. I didn't give the 360 a second thought when I was shopping for a flash, because You cant swivel side to side. Now I have 3 540's and I love em.

I have never used or even seen the sigma, so my only question would be 'can you use it as a slave?'.

Those wireless flashes can be a lot of fun and produce great pictures when you get to use em.

Like Peter said. Look at the web and get some ideas of what you want to shoot. Feel free to click the link in my signature and print any of that stuff out.

Google 'wedding photographer *mycity*' and do some psuedo shopping, looking at pictures and learning.

good luck!
08-11-2009, 11:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
3) Get Sanyo Eneloops batteries or Rayovac Hybrids. No other battery will do. Period.

I second Peter's recommendation, don't go skimming on the AA battery (no alkaline) or else your flash will get so hot and run out so quick.

I have done a few weddings already (still learning). It is not that hard, if they are the main photog, you will need to focus on the hosts, if are not, I focus mainly on the guests. Flash is a must, even in daylight, as many suggested, learning how to use it effectively will help but don't be afraid to try. Good luck...
08-11-2009, 11:18 AM   #12
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Everyone can give you loads of wisdom - and unfortunately I'm not too wise but here's my tidbits for you anyway.

Since it is an outdoor wedding get the 360FGZ flash because you won't need to bounce it off any walls or ceilings so you don't need it to swivel. Also since it is outdoors you don't need to use a diffuser. The Pentax TTL is not great but it is OK and without time to practice manual settings you should be shooting TTL. When shooting TTL, a diffuser will send too much light up into the sky and your pictures will come out darker than expected. Just shoot bare flash (for fill) and try EV compensation on your flash of -1/3. I've found on Pentax that diffusers are best used in manual mode when you can dial in the exact amount of light that you want.

oh yah and one more thing. I rarely take more than 500 pictures at a wedding but you should plan on 1000 so make sure you have enough batteries (camera and flash) as well as memory cards (remember you are shooting RAW) to get through the day.
08-11-2009, 03:27 PM   #13
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I'm no expert in gear but I can give you an advice about attitude (learned the hard way): pretend nobody see you and don't be afraid to try unique angles. And don't forget to have fun .
08-11-2009, 04:56 PM   #14
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I've never done a wedding, and don't think I'm good enough to pull one off, but one thing that I would think may be important, would be to not put everything onto one memory card. I would think spanning the shoot over 3-4 cards would be better. If they are all on one, and the card craps out on you, your screwed, but at least if you've got them on a couple different cards, you'll at least have some, and not lost everything.

I apologize is someone already mentioned this and I missed it.
08-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJB DIGITAL Quote

in the reception, please avoid direct flash.

in the reception, do everything you can to avoid direct flash.

dont use direct flash at the reception.

did i mention not to use direct flash at the reception?
Hey!!! I was wondering ... Can I use direct flash at the reception?!!! LOL!!!!

Ok now, seriously, could you elaborate a little on this? Is it because it is just so bright it is annoying and disctracting? Do people get mad? I have heard about not to use a flash during the ceremony, but I am glad I have read your warning for the reception as well!

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