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03-05-2012, 06:48 PM   #16
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I just went through this very discussion with my future daughter-in-law for the engagement photos. She had started to talk about the wedding photos also before I sat her down with my son and explained that I've only been married once and been a participant in two other weddings, and those were thirty years ago. I helped her write down what she wanted and guided (without telling her) her search for the professional.

A wedding is like a play. It has a script, some actors, some music, several acts and a conclusion. The minister, organist, Altar ladies and photographer have performed this play many times and know their lines and stage marks. They interact with each other to deliver the play to the audience.

The biggest problem you're going to have is that, lacking years of experience, you won't be able to anticipate the "motions" of a wedding and move yourself into the correct position in advance (hit your marks) to make the desired shots. There are really only a few different kinds of weddings. Aside from a few specific features of religious (or Civil) ceremonies they're all the same, but you've never rehearsed.

A pro has an assistant, knows where to be, which shots are important, which lens (or body) to use for which shot, what the bride wants before she says it, etc. You don't.

My advice is to give her the professional wedding photographer as a wedding present.

03-05-2012, 09:19 PM   #17
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Buy a flash and learn how to use it, is also my suggestion. I also agree with the 50-135 lens.

Something my father told me years ago when I asked him about doing weddings (not a pro, but he has done a few). He told me bascally the same thing about elbowing "uncle Bob and stepping on aunt Millie's toes".

He said that before you start to pose people and take pictures, to raise your hand to get everybodys attention and tell them that you will be taking the pictures and that you do not want anybody else taking a picture at the same time because the other flashes will interfear with your camera and flash. After you take your pictures, you will give anybody else that want to take a picture of the same pose the time to do it.

Also do a search for standerd wedding photo lists. Bascally there are anywhere from 60 to 100 standered photos that are normally taken and lists have been made of them. Print a couple out and give to the Bride and Groom and have them decide what they would like taken and anything else they can think of.
03-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #18
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Lots of good advice here. Best being to run away, fast. Or give them a professional as a wedding present.

But if you cannot get out of it, I would suggest finding a professional and asking if you can tag along and carry his bags or whatever on a couple of real wedding shoots. This is fairly common and many photographers get their start as an "apprentice". This will give you some sense of what has to happen.

You have gotten good advice on lenses but my take is that with your kit and budget, flash gear is going to be more important than lenses. Unless you are going to spend thousands you are not going to get the lenses you really need. So improve what you can, and a good flash and maybe an umbrella is all you can afford.

I've done one wedding and narrowly evaded having to do another. The hardest part is that you are WORKING, from way before the wedding to way after. Every single minute there is someplace you need to be. As mentioned above, you need to hit your marks every time and be there before the action happens. You have to anticipate, and pre-position and pre-focus for every shot. The tempo is unrelenting. And with no experience you will be behind the curve all the time.

To do a wedding properly you need two shooters and at least one assistant to organize the shots. You will not have that but I would ABSOLUTELY insist that you have an assistant who knows all the family and has the moxy to get everyone organized. It will be their responsibility to organize the shots and poses. All you have to concentrate on is getting the shot right. Which is more than enough to worry about.
03-05-2012, 10:48 PM   #19
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As above, flash is a must. You cannot rely on ambient light alone for many settings. Even on a budget, to do a semi-decent job of recording a wedding, you'll still need a fast lens, and the most logical choice is a fast fifty like the FA 50/1.4. Cheap, but capable and good focal length for couple photography. Doing it as a favour and not as a paid job takes the pressure away from you to have to perform, and that's important for your first assignment. Then after that, the pressure's on...

03-06-2012, 06:28 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
As above, flash is a must. You cannot rely on ambient light alone for many settings. Even on a budget, to do a semi-decent job of recording a wedding, you'll still need a fast lens, and the most logical choice is a fast fifty like the FA 50/1.4. Cheap, but capable and good focal length for couple photography. Doing it as a favour and not as a paid job takes the pressure away from you to have to perform, and that's important for your first assignment. Then after that, the pressure's on...
More to the point, an off camera flash. On camera flash looks exactly like what is (amateur flat and ugly light), and turning the camera vertical adds in the dead giveaway of the clueless photographer, which is the shadow to the side of the subject.
03-06-2012, 09:11 AM   #21
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That's a point. On camera flash only really cuts it for the drunken-student-in-a-club look. Get a gorillapod or something with your flash, or a cheap lighting stand. And Cactus triggers if you can, the v5s are good and cheap. Wireless triggers, a flash, a lighting stand, flash mount and an umbrella won't set you back too much, and it'll give you a lot more flexibility and much better photos.

That said, for parties, clubs or whatever, using a bounce card and WA diffuser at 45 degrees does get you a reasonably good cheeky snapshot look that a lot of party-goers like. Not sure if that'll swing at a wedding though. Depends on what they want.
03-06-2012, 09:18 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I just went through this very discussion with my future daughter-in-law for the engagement photos. She had started to talk about the wedding photos also before I sat her down with my son and explained that I've only been married once and been a participant in two other weddings, and those were thirty years ago. I helped her write down what she wanted and guided (without telling her) her search for the professional.

A wedding is like a play. It has a script, some actors, some music, several acts and a conclusion. The minister, organist, Altar ladies and photographer have performed this play many times and know their lines and stage marks. They interact with each other to deliver the play to the audience.

The biggest problem you're going to have is that, lacking years of experience, you won't be able to anticipate the "motions" of a wedding and move yourself into the correct position in advance (hit your marks) to make the desired shots. There are really only a few different kinds of weddings. Aside from a few specific features of religious (or Civil) ceremonies they're all the same, but you've never rehearsed.

A pro has an assistant, knows where to be, which shots are important, which lens (or body) to use for which shot, what the bride wants before she says it, etc. You don't.

My advice is to give her the professional wedding photographer as a wedding present.
Read this - a wedding isn't just "shoot away". It has timing - you have to be in position for certain events, otherwise you get in the way or miss them. And neither of those are acceptable to a lot of people (especially that first one!).

If you are dead set on doing it, then you better practice running through mock-trials at least five or ten times. It's critical to know where you MUST be throughout.
03-06-2012, 04:44 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
More to the point, an off camera flash
I wasn't going to go into that at this stage given the OP is just starting out, but I can attest that 'good' results requires lighting creativity, and that requires off-axis flash/lighting.
Easiest way to achieve this is wireless flash on a large diffuser like an umbrella or softbox.

03-06-2012, 08:51 PM   #24
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Hows the Pentax Flash AF-540 FGZ P-TTL for a flash? They have it available on borrowlenses. I was also thinking of picking up either the Pentax 50-135mm f/2.8 or the Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL and maybe the 50/1.4 they have too. I have the kit 18-55 and 55-300 lenses too.
03-06-2012, 08:56 PM   #25
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You need 16-50 & the 50-135 plus the flash. You don't "need' a 50/1.4 if you have a 50-135 assuming you're not shooting a super dark service where flash is not allowed. Also you need a second body. What does all that cost vs. just hiring a pro? If you hire a pro the bonus is you get to enjoy the wedding as a guest too.
03-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #26
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For a cheap person to shoot the wedding (found off craigslist) it is $800-1500. For an actual professional it is substantially more.
03-06-2012, 10:02 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
For a cheap person to shoot the wedding (found off craigslist) it is $800-1500. For an actual professional it is substantially more.
DA*16-50 $700
DA*50-135 $800
Flash gear $200 - $500

Being able to enjoy the wedding and not worry about ruining your friends wedding pictures...........priceless!

But it sounds like you are determined. Seriously get the flash gear, off camera flash, wireless triggers, a softbox or umbrella. Obviously the lenses suggested are better but what you have will do the job especially since it is not a church wedding, provided you have enough light. Which is where the flash comes in.

And really really get in some practice!!! Be a helper, crash some weddings and just watch the photographer, get invited to another wedding whatever. Also make sure you visit the site ahead of time and take some test shots at the same time of day to test the lighting. And make sure they give you an assistant to handle the posing. And have a shot list approved by the bride ahead of time. And read some books on wedding photography.

I'm getting the shakes just thinking about it...................
03-06-2012, 10:17 PM   #28
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Hi there

Everything discussed so far is related to equipment and technique. But, you can have the best equipment and know how to use it and still turn out crap shots.

It is of equal importance, if not more so, to have an understanding of how to arrange and setup your loving couple, pose, background, distance, props, angle just to mention a few. If you don't have flair or imagination or you are not inventive enough to setup a memorable shot that not only records the happy couple but also tells a story then you will be failing. There are a lot of folk that record images but only well trained and experienced photographers create pictures. A number of photographers I know had at least some formal education in the arts. So please have an honest self appraisal of you artistic capabilities and if necessary brush up on it.

Oh, as mentioned, you need a helper. You cant do everything yourself especially for setting up and holding lights. Best would be a female for this because there is a likelihood that you need to do corrective adjustments to the bride or bridesmaids (here is the skill of setup again) and you don't want to feel uncomfortable having to touch the lovely ladies.

Greetings

Last edited by Schraubstock; 03-06-2012 at 10:30 PM.
03-06-2012, 10:40 PM   #29
Brooke Meyer
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Plan B

No matter what, this will cost you time, worry, money and perhaps the friendship of the newlyweds. Why don't you and their friends chip in for a real photographer as a wedding present? Way better than a Fondue Pot or a Mr. Coffee.
03-06-2012, 11:04 PM   #30
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Send them this link and see if they still want you to do it...
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