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05-12-2011, 06:58 PM   #1
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....This is what joking around gets me....

So my wifes uncle is getting remarried in a few months. He is pretty well off financially, and had talked about getting married somewhere tropical. While joking around with him (more than a few times), I told him that I would photograph his wedding for free if he just covered my room and board for the weekend. Well his soon to be wife is quite fond of my portrait and landscape photos, so she took it quite serious and has asked me to be the photographer. This is a panic attack waiting to happen. I can do a little photo shoot with friends for fun, and maybe get some really cool photos out of them, but a wedding? That requires to be on your A game all night. No time to take some test shots and see what looks best. You take the picture or miss it. Part of me says, if im going to pop my wedding cherry, it may be better at a family members second-marriage wedding, where they are a little more forgiving. But part of me also says, not good enough yet, just say no. Its like a rock and a hard place. Its not for another 8 months to a year, so I have time to practice and learn.

Thoughts? Maybe I should joke less next time huh?

05-12-2011, 07:03 PM   #2
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Go, take the trip, prepare well and do your best. Meanwhile, hire a pro on the sly to be your "backup." Done deal.

Ok seriously, I would be up-front about your concerns and warn them of the worst case: that you might blow it. Odds are they already realize this but are willing to take the risk. But everybody will feel better if it's out on the table. You can do a decent job, otherwise you wouldn't have suggested it more than once, right?
05-12-2011, 07:09 PM   #3
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You'll be fine but a new lens or two never hurts.
05-12-2011, 07:11 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
You'll be fine but a new lens or two never hurts.
And a flash with a power pack.

05-12-2011, 07:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
And a flash with a power pack.
I wanted to ask someone about this. Do you have to have a special flash to have a power pack? I have not done too much research on this. Maybe ill jump on google real quick. I have a Metz 50 and Sigma 530Super, not sure either support a power pack.

I expressed that im very nervous, and that this would be my first big event. Her quote was "start shooting now, you have to start somewhere"...
05-12-2011, 07:29 PM   #6
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Having shot a number of weddings, I will say, first, CALM DOWN! Realistically, the wedding can be broken down to some basic steps:

A. Pre-wedding formals- Bride and parents/significants then Groom and parents/significants "A"
B. Coming to the wedding (getting ready for the big event) candids "B"
C. Ceremony "AA"
D. After ceremony formals- Bride, groom and wedding party "A"
E. Candids- post ceremony "B"
F. Good byes (optional) "A"

The areas you should be on your "A game" I have labeled such. Doing the ceremony, you need to be on your AA game as you can't reshoot it. I equate it to shooting a sunrise. You can't stop it! All the candids you can be on your B game in that you can relax and just shoot the party. Just anticipate the action (observe and shoot).

If you are good at portrait work (and the WtB likes your stuff already) then you are ahead of the game for the portrait work. Just do what you do best! For the ceremony, put the camera on multi-shot mode and have at it! Make certain you have plenty of power for your flash (extra batteries or a battery pack would be better) and you have a zoom lens with a good range (a 28-105 should be perfect). Get one with a constant aperture so you do not have to worry about shifting exposures. Also, DO TEST SHOTS just before the ceremony starts. Make certain your exposures are good. Periodically check the images as you shoot them to make certain things are going well. To make certain your are saving the images, review a few every so often.

Wedding photography is all about the prep. Scope out the hall/church/venue before you start shooting. Pick out areas to do portraits away from people. If you have observers, instruct them to WAIT for your flash to go off before they shoot. If they "forget" remind them strongly. YOU are the main photographer and YOU must take control. And remember, the main "boss" for the day are the bride, the bride's Mom, the Bride's sisters, then the Groom and so on. And whatever they want, you go with.

Don't have any alcohol until the event is over, then tie one on! Just make certain your equipment is secured before you down the first cold one.

Finally, make certain you back up ALL your files, twice, so bring a PC (laptop) with you and some DVD blanks to save the images to also. Make certain the DVDs never leave your body on the way home! To add a nice touch to the event, find a decent lab close to the hotel that you can print a few pictures and circulate the day or even hours after the event. They'll love you for this!

Good luck and have fun. It is not as hard as you think, just ORGANIZE and you will do fine!

Enjoy the trip. If you can sweet talk the groom, maybe he will buy you that nice lens too! Good luck!
05-12-2011, 08:07 PM   #7
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My joke is, "Oh, my camera can't take wedding photos." Works so far.

I think of weddings as more about people management than equipment. My dad used to do it, and that's his approach.

You should get an idea of their expectations. You may get vague answers - "Oh, just do your best" or something. But press a bit to make sure that they don't want a shot-by-shot copy of the bride's best friend's album, taken by a team of three and with a five-figure bill. Then try to get in the loop of the planning. You want to know what elements have been carefully chosen and what was an afterthought, so you know what to include in photos and what's forgettable. This can include ethnic elements - the bride is ___, and at ___ weddings we always do this thing. You want to know who is in charge, too. You may need to round up people for portraits, and this person will get them for you.
05-12-2011, 10:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SlickYamaha Quote
I wanted to ask someone about this. Do you have to have a special flash to have a power pack? I have not done too much research on this. Maybe ill jump on google real quick. I have a Metz 50 and Sigma 530Super, not sure either support a power pack.

I expressed that im very nervous, and that this would be my first big event. Her quote was "start shooting now, you have to start somewhere"...
As far as I know, and I own neither of these models, support an external power pack.

IIRC, the only P-TTL models that do are the Metz 58 and 54 series units and the Pentax AF 540 FGZ.

I own the 540 and a TR Power Pack III, and though there is a speed up of recharge times when you set it up to use the pack and the internal batteries of the gun together, it is by no means quick if you're using the flash at anywhere close to max power. I've only tried the pack with Alkalines though, and have heard that NiCads speed recharge times considerably, but AFAIK, they are not recommended by Pentax, and I have not used them.

BTW, if you do use external packs to speed recharging times, you need to monitor the flash head for overheating as there is no such function built in to the unit. I've heard of people melting the lenses on their guns with repeated high power flashes enabled by external power packs.

I've heard that There are cords that allow Quantum External Packs to be used with the AF 540 FGZ, and have heard testimonials that these combinations work well with very fast recharge times, but have no personal experience with them.

Scott

05-12-2011, 11:18 PM   #9
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Based on my experience of quite a few wedding shoots, those are excellent tips from the Daves. I'd just add - have backup equipment.
05-12-2011, 11:22 PM   #10
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I hadn't finished!

If something is going to go wrong, it will do so at the last convenient time. A smoking Metz 45 in the middle of the reception formals told me that! In the diplomacy department, find out from the principals who need to be kept apart. The current state of family relationships can mean ex partners meeting ex partners and it doesn't always go smoothly!
05-13-2011, 03:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Jannie Quote
The current state of family relationships can mean ex partners meeting ex partners and it doesn't always go smoothly!
Best non-camera advise ever... lol
05-13-2011, 04:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Jannie Quote
Based on my experience of quite a few wedding shoots, those are excellent tips from the Daves. I'd just add - have backup equipment.
Back up equipment is important. You can't reshoot the reception a week later. Get extras even if you have to rent.
05-13-2011, 05:04 AM   #13
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I suggest you start figuring out the kind of equipment you want, then since summer is starting take advantage of the season (which will compare decently well to anything "tropical") and shoot test sessions with the couple. If you're happy and they're happy, then go for it.
05-13-2011, 06:21 AM   #14
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there is a simple law, that suggests, never be first, never be last, and never-ever voulenteer........

having said that, if you take the list of activities Big Dave has given, flush these out with the B&G to nail down any specific "wants" they have. have this list with you and check them off, occasionally. (I would do this on my IPOD today. I actually would use a shopping list manager to do it)
05-13-2011, 08:33 AM   #15
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I've got a friend begging me to do his wedding. It's his and his fiancee's 2nd. I told him that I'm not good at people and although I'm not giving a flat out no I'm still on the fence. I'd call it morbid curiosity more than anything. He said all he really needs are a few group shots before and after the wedding so I'm considering it.

He even offered to buy any equipment I might need. As a joke I set him a list including a K-5, 16-50, FA70, AF540 flash and a few other items totalling over 4000USD. He called up in a panic, he thought I was serious! Maybe I should have rolled with it. I'd love to have a K-5..
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