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08-23-2009, 12:55 AM   #1
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Wedding photography on a budget

Hey all,

I've been looking in getting into wedding photography and would like some input as to what I would need to at least get started on a budget. Right now my inventory includes a k20d, a pentax 50mm 1.7 smc-a, the kit lens, a pentax 50-200mm Da, tripod, and a cheap flash (pentax af160). I know a diferent flash will be a necessity, but I couldnt pass it up for 10 bucks on ebay.

Also, I'm a bit concerned about the low light focusing and being able to get the shot the first time b/c sometimes you only have one chance during the moment.

Could anyone offer any advice, and possibly throw up a couple of wedding pics taken with a k20d in this type of low light environment?

Thanks to all in advance


08-23-2009, 06:24 AM   #2
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Welcome here mate.
Having an interest and being genuinely ready for wedding photography are two quite different things.
You'd be capturing one-time events that need the right gear and know-how to be able to do it effectively and not miss the important stuff. Assuming you've not done weddings before, would it be fair to say you wouldn't be prepared in either of these aspects?
If so, I'd think hard about starting at this stage in your journey.

Weddings demand much more than a person who can take nice photos - they involve getting the right moments, coordinating people, knowing how to set up the poses you need to get the job done and experience in what gear suits what stages in the game, among other things.

Lots of people here do weddings (I do them occasionally, and started off quite humbly), using cams ranging from *ist D to the K-7, but it really isn't about the camera. Low-light focusing, if not possible by the camera, needs to be done manually, regardless of the camera. On lenses, these are an important investment, and your 3 lens setup, whilst it could manage, would not be capable of effective indoor ambient light photography, which is paramount in this setting.

It will take lots of practice, and that's my first and foremost suggestion to you. Even with the gear you have, go out and get lots of experience - see what limitations you would have in your gear and see how your results stack up with your competitors.

All the best in that.
08-23-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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What Ash said..

You need to start somewhere, but unless you are sure that the alternative to you taking photos at the wedding, is that no photos will be taken... don't. and if you do it anyway, make double sure they know you are their first, and that you can't promise anything.

If you commit to deliver something - you need at least and extra camera house, as a backup. Remember - there are no good excuses for not delivering. Your camera broke? Not their problem. Your fav lens dies, not their problem, better have an extra or work around it. Same with flash.
08-23-2009, 10:41 AM   #4
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You also need a set of people skills, to manage and manipulate various situations to get the required results, that ain't always easy with some folk.

Also, welcome to the forum.

08-23-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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Be assertive as you have to be a director.
If you don't direct, you won't be able to get the shots you need.
Act like a professional and you know what you are doing so that they will follow your command.
You might want to take photos before the wedding too as that is also important.
Some shots that are not in wedding clothes but intimate shots of the couple.
You might also want to try and take pics of the rehearsal as you would know where to position and what to wait for.
..and most of all..Good luck!
08-23-2009, 04:49 PM   #6
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Original Poster
Thank you for your advice

A big thanks to all that have responded so far. One thing I forgot to mention is my first wedding I ended up with by default and its in Oct.. My wife's mom and dad are getting remarried and since they've seen me running around with the
K20d they asked me to do it as a favor and they know I'm very limited in knowledge about it all for sure, but to them the most important thing has already been met and that is it will be for free. I guess you could say I don't feel pressure to do an outstanding job, but I would like it to be at least respectable and something they can appreciate. I know I'm FAR from being ready to actually go out and get business doing this, but thankfully this came up and with the advice army I've found on here to lead me in the right direction, I couldn't say no.

Once again, thanks for all your input it is GREATLY appreciated!
08-23-2009, 07:32 PM   #7
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As far as a flash is concerned, look for an old Metz 60 flash. It is a separate flash and power pack, doesn't talk to the camera and has enough balls to allow daylight fill flash using a 77mm lens to do full lengths.
It also has a big enough reflector that you won't need a Rube Goldberg attachment to diffuse the thing. You will find that a huge % of your pictures are shot vertically, so a shoe mounted flash is not going to anything for you.
08-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #8
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Having done a few of these ( rolls eyes ) I would never work alone. One person in there getting shots and one roaming to capture the crowd, unusual angles, creative opportunities. Key parts of the ceremony should be teamed to insure the moment is available on a duplicate memory card. These are not easy gigs because you must have such a wide array of skills to draw upon. There's tons of pressure, especially if you're working alone, because if you mess up, have a bad memory card, HD crash, that's it. Game over.

The last one had a projector set up and the pictures were washed through a preliminary Photo Shop screening. As they came out of the software, they were dumped into a directory & a slideshow was projected onto a screen at one end of the reception hall (big venue). Well received.

08-26-2009, 06:44 AM   #9
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I'm also thinking about getting into wedding photography next year and I only have 1 set of equipment. My approach is to tag along as a FREE second photographer for the couple and promise to give them everything for FREE (including post-process) with the condition that I get to use some of their photos on my portfolio (not for sale). Once you've done at least 5 of these, you should be able to showcase your portfolio and know what it takes to get paid...
08-26-2009, 11:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by innershell Quote
I'm also thinking about getting into wedding photography next year and I only have 1 set of equipment. My approach is to tag along as a FREE second photographer for the couple and promise to give them everything for FREE (including post-process) with the condition that I get to use some of their photos on my portfolio (not for sale). Once you've done at least 5 of these, you should be able to showcase your portfolio and know what it takes to get paid...
Good idea IMHO. Take your time and observe the pro. Takes lots of pics and you will be just fine.
08-28-2009, 03:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
As far as a flash is concerned, look for an old Metz 60 flash. It is a separate flash and power pack, doesn't talk to the camera and has enough balls to allow daylight fill flash using a 77mm lens to do full lengths.
It also has a big enough reflector that you won't need a Rube Goldberg attachment to diffuse the thing. You will find that a huge % of your pictures are shot vertically, so a shoe mounted flash is not going to anything for you.
I like how Wheatfield likes to mention that his flash has balls.

When I read that I think of the time I was trying to bounce for an at-home personal shot of my nephew. The flash was pointed to the side and my brother quietly walked up beside me while I was waiting to snipe the kid.
When I shot, my brother's head bounced off of the wall. Stumbling around with his hands on his eyes he says, "oh my god I can still feel the HEAT from that thing!"

I bet that Metz is nuclear powered.


sorry if i got off topic
08-28-2009, 03:35 PM   #12
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More on topic:

@ the guys/gals who are saying they are interested in getting into wedding photography, have you looked into being an assistant or a second shooter?

do it.
08-28-2009, 04:42 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by innershell Quote
I'm also thinking about getting into wedding photography next year and I only have 1 set of equipment. My approach is to tag along as a FREE second photographer for the couple and promise to give them everything for FREE (including post-process) with the condition that I get to use some of their photos on my portfolio (not for sale). Once you've done at least 5 of these, you should be able to showcase your portfolio and know what it takes to get paid...
QuoteOriginally posted by res3567 Quote
Good idea IMHO. Take your time and observe the pro. Takes lots of pics and you will be just fine.
Works if you follow a competent pro. Some of the "professional' photographers getting paid generously are THIEVES for charging for the crap they offer.

Sorry, but it irritates me that anybody who plunks down $$ for an SLR can toss out a shingle.
08-29-2009, 10:14 AM   #14
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aahhh the wedding biz

QuoteOriginally posted by TourDeForce Quote
Works if you follow a competent pro. Some of the "professional' photographers getting paid generously are THIEVES for charging for the crap they offer.

Sorry, but it irritates me that anybody who plunks down $$ for an SLR can toss out a shingle.
We are on the same boat, buddy. I do know what you mean. I try to charge BOTTOM price I can get away with and still pay all of my bills. I don't have a perfect business running (actually closed on hiatus) and I know I don't make the most elegant product on the market. On top of that I enjoy giving discounts to couples that are paying for their own stuff out of pocket, so sometimes I have to skip a meal.
USA Today named wedding photographers as one of the top ten overpaid jobs in America. That is probably because of how:
QuoteOriginally posted by TourDeForce Quote
Some of the "professional' photographers getting paid generously are THIEVES for charging for the crap they offer.
and are not representing the market right. Some people can get away with shooting on top tier gear and delivering an excellent product in a prompt way with great presentation. Those guys and gals can get away with selling a 10K wedding photography package to well-to-do clients.
I stay in my market. I assisted for three years. I started on my own with budget weddings that couldn't afford an established wedding photographer but still wanted something beautiful. Only then did I start to raise prices. I still give discounts and have low prices for what I am selling.
I actually stay kinda broke to avoid overcharging.

So, after a couple of years of hobbying around, three years of assisting and a year and a half of doing budget rates, I'm STARTING to make a buck.

@OP, wedding photographers all know each other and gab. If you jump in too fast, you could kill your rep in a day.

Be cool.


(I think that was a long winded post, eh?)
08-29-2009, 10:15 AM   #15
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p.s. "Toss down a shingle!" ha! I've never heard that one.
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