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11-15-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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Looking for some wedding advice.

I was asked by a friend to shoot their wedding next year and am looking for some gear/lens advice. The wedding is to take place in a church with high ceiling's and no natural light. The reception is also the same. So my question is what gear/lens advice would you suggest I look at getting to make my life easier? I have a K-5 and a K-7, a 360fgz flash, 60-250 f4, 35mm limited macro, 18-55mm kit lens, 85mm sigma lens, and a 50mm f2 manual lens. My first thoughts was to look at getting a faster lens to replace my kit but the 16-50mm seems to have issue's, or a flash the swivels. Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Suphfly

11-15-2013, 12:59 PM   #2
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The K-5 with the 35mm macro and 85mm f.1.4 should be a pretty good combo. Ideally, you would have a fast zoom that covers most of the inbetween of those two, like a Sigma 24-70 2.8 or Tamron 28-75 2.8. If you don't mind changing lenses quickly, the 35/85 combo is fine. But with the location not having good light, or a bouncable ceiling, you will need a good flash and flash modifier to make light. I'd say the Metz 58 is the best available and grab a flashbender like this thing. I'd leave the manual lenses at home -- weddings are just too fast to work with them.
11-15-2013, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #3
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This was my experience shooting my first (and so far only) wedding. Perhaps it may help (beware - very long read!)

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/137-photographic-industry-professionals/2...31-images.html

I will say though that you have a fantastic bit of kit that should do you very well But agree on a flash that swivels (I use the Yongnou YN-560 II - all manual but very powerful - I have two and they both are my manual hotshoe flashes - no P-TTL). Also, instead of the DA* 16-50, go for the Tamron 17-50. Comparable image quality but the tamron is significantly cheaper. My recommendation is the 17-50 on your K-5 because it has better high ISO and the Sigma 85 on your K-7 which should be shot at low ISO's because of the faster aperture. Keep it between f/1.6 and f/2.2 for portraits that pop.

The 35mm macro will do you will on the rings and and other close ups, and the DA* 60-250 (my favorite lens!) will work well outdoors to get shots from a distance.

Everything else I can say is in the above link

-Heie

P.S. the guide in my signature may also be of interest to you if there are some super low light (static) shots and you want to help stabilize them without bringing out the tripod or firing the flash

Last edited by Heie; 11-15-2013 at 01:42 PM.
11-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #4
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I'd think twice about this. Lots of folks seem to want their buddy with a nice DSLR to shoot a special event, but this kind of thing needs experience more than fancy equipment. But if you insist ...

See if you can go to the church and check out the lighting in advance. Bring your gear and take some test shots, when nothing is going on, if they will let you. That will tell you a lot.

Assuming you will be permitted to take flash pictures, I'd think you might want to step up to getting a couple light stands, radio triggers, two powerful manual flashes, and modifiers. Those don't have to cost a lot. Having a powerful lighting setup also means more even lighting, which will make everything easier for you.

You will also need gels to color match your strobes to the ambient. Those are cheap.

I'd suggest you check out Neil van Niekerk's website:
http://neilvn.com/

and his Tangents blog for interesting articles:
http://neilvn.com/tangents/

11-15-2013, 04:06 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I'll second what Tanzer just posted. Your kit is adequate and you will get lots of suggestions to add or improve it but the most important thing you can do is learn wedding photography. It is all about anticipation, being in the right place at the right time with the right lens and settings to get each shot. There are no do-overs.

Visit the location ahead of time, talk with the pastor/priest and find out his ground rules, some do not allow flash during the ceremony. Ask them how things go and what they allow. Take test shots at the same time of day as the ceremony and write down the settings, check them at home and make sure they came out OK.

Get a helper, preferably that bossy cousin that knows everybody and talks loudly. Ask the bride/groom to assign someone if you don't know the family, their job will be to help line up the guests for the portrait shots. You need a written list of shots they want, family portraits in the church, who goes with each family etc, etc. If possible have a couple of umbrellas or soft boxes ready to set up for this part of the work, in a big venue with lots of people a group portrait needs lots of light.

You should also have a shot list for the whole wedding starting with "getting dressed" shots all the way through the new couple leaving in their car. Check out online wedding portfolios for ideas. Search the internet for "wedding shot lists", discuss the list with the bride/groom ahead of time.

Shooting a wedding is WORK. Done right you will be exhausted after the night. Take snack bars with you and assume you may not get a chance to eat at the reception. Have your gear organized so you can carry it easily, you don't want to leave a camera bag laying around unless you are sure it is a secure area. Take extra everything, batteries, charger, memory cards, backup body if you have one. Do NOT rely on a single memory card, take a bunch and change them out after each section of the day so if something goes wrong all is not lost. Make backups if you can. Have a plan for every possible disaster you can think of.
11-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by suphfly Quote
Looking for some wedding advice.
DON'T DO IT!
Oh, wait. I just read the post itself. You're looking for advice on photographing a wedding.
nevermind....................................

Welcome to the forum.
11-15-2013, 08:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
You're looking for advice on photographing a wedding.
Actually DON'T DO IT! still works.
11-16-2013, 12:30 AM   #8
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Suphly since you say it's a friend and I assume you want to remain friends my lens advice would be politely decline. Tell him you would rather share the day as a guest than as a photographer.
To handle a wedding of any one is hard work and is not as easy as people think, you need to work as a second at several weddings to get the confidence to handle the guests and the couple as well as officials.
The fact that you ask the question about the equipment kind of says it all, in fact what you have would suffice but you need to know how to use it under pressure with out thinking, something that no amount of non wedding practice will give you.
Every year people are sued for supplying images that the couple are not happy with , it's your choice but my advice based on 20 years of weddings is walk away at this time, either that or get a dozen in before the friends one as a second shooter

Btw this question comes up often have look for other threads there are lots on kit lists for weddings some very detailed which you will find helpful I,m sure.

11-16-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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thanks for the reply's. BUT I have already said yes so backing out now is not a option. I do have access to the church and planned on going there but hadn't considered that flash wouldn't be allowed so thanks for that one. It is all tungsten light in there, and a big stage for everyone to stand on. I could see how light stands could be helpful but don't people find those hard to look at with all the nice decorations put up? I also just talked to some one how has shot afew weddings there before and they told me "good luck, get a good flash and hope for the best". Not the most helpful advice! I'm not worried about my gear was just wondering IF anything I didn't have would make my life easier. thanks for any input I appreciate it all. Thanks Suphfly
11-16-2013, 11:07 AM   #10
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With respect backing out is always a option, it's better to be honest and tell the couple that you are not confident and do not wish to disappoint or whatever you can say that is polite and shows concerned for their big day , special day, ect.
In the end they will respect you much more for that then if you disappoint them.
Please understand I am not belittling your capability to do, but you should acknowledge the lack of previous experience is courting disaster.
Good luck
alistair
11-16-2013, 11:15 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by suphfly Quote
I could see how light stands could be helpful but don't people find those hard to look at with all the nice decorations put up?
It would be unlikely that they would want/allow light stands during the ceremony. If you are working this by yourself I think you will just have to get a big flash (and lots of batteries) and hope for the best.

I attended a wedding recently where immediately after the ceremony the photographers assistants ran in with gear bags and set up light stands left and right, so the portraits could be taken. I was impressed it took them less than a couple of minutes. Less time than it took the wedding planner to start getting people lined up. But it required the services of two assistants and a wedding planner.

If you are committed I would schedule a meeting with the bride / groom and discuss want they want. Explain you are not a wedding shooter, you want to do the best job you can but don't have a lot of experience at it. Go over what their expectations are, have a shot list in hand but don't push anything on them. Maybe they don't want family portraits, OK that takes one whole thing off the table. Maybe they don't care about "bride getting dressed shots", OK that makes it easier. And so on, But have a clear discussion on what you are to do and what they expect. otherwise you might be losing a friend.
11-16-2013, 05:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
Please understand I am not belittling your capability
Sorry if I came across that I was saying that, I didn't mean to. I was trying to say that I know what I can do but also the quirks of some of my gear. hence the reason for the question. You don't know what can be done with what you don't have.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
But have a clear discussion on what you are to do and what they expect. otherwise you might be losing a friend.
Thanks for your concern. really. It's good to know that people still look out for one another. I had this discussion with them before I agreed to do this for them. I have to make a shot list with them yet as they have been so busy.

An assistant would be great (isn't that what wife's are for ) but since she is looking after the kids not a option. Maybe all ask one of my photo buddies to help as a backup, 2 is better than on.

once again thanks
11-16-2013, 05:47 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Perhaps it may help (beware - very long read!)
You have a way with words. I enjoyed that way you wrote about it. thanks
11-17-2013, 03:56 PM   #14
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Suphfly; I had a close friend shoot my wedding and the most noticeable thing about the day was not her lens or lighting but her discretion - if you can blend into a crowd, anticipate action, know the couple well, be respectful of the ceremony then your friend will be guaranteed wonderful photos.
On a technical front I did notice the following: sharp, narrow DOF and nice bokeh, interesting angles and positioning, and totally candid subjects.
11-17-2013, 04:38 PM   #15
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Be confident, weddings are all about timing. Your kit isn't the critical issue, see whats happening and catch the moment. Fast lenses are nice though, I would work that 85mm pretty hard, but something a little wider would be nice for the reception. I'm not a zoom guy, when I shoot weddings I use an 85 or 105 for the ceremony and carefully plan a few key shots. Then I run and gun with the 30mm for candids.
Being close with the wedding party is a great opportunity, as JPE mentioned discretion is important, as a friend you can be more involved and make the photos a fun thing for people to be involved in as opposed to observing from a distance.
A good photographer can happily shoot a wedding alone with nothing but a manual hasselblad and a standard lens. The thing is not to take every possible photo, but to key in on the moments that are really valuable.

Also, like any other photography, you have to find the light. So if you can scout the locations before the wedding that'll be a huge help. You're looking for window lighting, outdoor portions of the reception at the golden hour, unobtrusive flash placements, you could even rent and setup studio lights(non strobing) in the church to give a fixed bright light during the ceremony.
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