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  • Wedding Photography

    Just thought I'd pull together a few threads and tips to one location for those people who have been asked to photograph a friend / family member / random person's wedding / etc. and who are looking for some tips. So, here are some questions I've seen a lot of, and some info I thought was really helpful:

    Help, I've been asked to shoot a wedding, should I do it?

    Answers to this question range from you've got to start somewhere to vehement "No"s. So, it's kind of up to how comfortable you are doing it. As mdwsta4 said on a thread called Shooting Wedding as a favor for a relative:
    Make sure they are okay with no wedding photographer because there are no guarantees you'll come out with a single good picture. or you could come out with a couple dozen
    Technically, this can be true even for a professional photographer, since there's always a chance things can go wrong, but it's doubly true for someone who doesn't have all the extra equipment, etc that a pro may have in the case of equipment failure, etc.

    Ok, I understand things can go wrong, but I'm going to do it anyways because I think I can / want the experience / etc, how do I know what pictures to take?

    There are sites out there for checklists, in fact there's one listed at the bottom of this. Google wedding photo checklists and you should be able to find some more information as well. But the best way to make sure you're getting the right shots was said by nacre in the Wedding Photography tips thread:
    The first thing I do when preparing to shoot a wedding is to get together with the couple and ask them what kind of photos they like. I then have them prepare a list of the shots, ie. the kiss, the signing of the registry, throwing of rose petals etc. that they would like to have. I then make sure I get those shots and I do whatever I can to catch the essence of the day by doing some candid shots of their friends and family.
    If you don't get the shots that the couple and their family want, they almost definitely won't be happy with the end result, especially if you manage to forget one of the major moments.

    So, I know what photos to take, but is my equipment ok?

    Leight asked in Wow! Asked to do a Wedding Shoot if his point and shoot camera would be ok. There was a pretty good consensus that if you have a good flash (especially an external flash) and can shoot raw, you will probably be ok as long as you're ok with doing post-processing.

    And acheick got lots of recommendations in the Hello - I'm a newbie that needs major help thread to get a 50mm f/1.8 for low light situations where you can't use a flash because that's a nice little piece of glass.

    A speedlight or external flash can also be really helpful with a diffuser, but make sure that you ask the celebrant if it's ok to use the flash during the ceremony. If you can't, respect that, but you'll need to have a fast lens if you want the pictures to be bright enough.

    Ok, I've got a camera and a list of photos, and the wedding is today, what else could I possibly need?
    • A fully charged battery or 3
    • Lots of memory cards (better to carry 8 1GB cards and have a problem with 1 card than carry 2 4GB cards and lose half your pictures.
    • A tripod for group pictures (and a remote is really handy too)
    • Water (in a separate bag, cause really... cameras and water don't mix)
    • Comfy shoes that look nice since you'll probably be running around
    • Some sort of easy to eat (and clean) snack (see the tip just above this one for why)
    • A smile and a good attitude and the knowledge that you're the photographer, and that means that you kinda get to boss some of the people around so that you get the right shot )
    • Probably lots of other things I'm forgetting
    Some other helpful links:Ok, so there's a bit of info about wedding photography just from all the tips we've gotten and given here in the forum.

    Feel free to add your own advice / questions / etc. (I just like to organize things and was doing a bit of procrastinating this morning)
    Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
    Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
    My Flickr

  • #2
    Thanks for all the work, Nicole. Maybe this should be a sticky.
    Linda
    My Gear
    OK to re-edit and repost my shots on dps
    flickr

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    • #3
      It's been stuck Saralonde
      Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
      Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
      My Flickr

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      • #4
        A nice little tip I picked up for group photos...

        it's always the case that at least one person will have their eyes closed when there's a group of 5 or more people. So, to make sure that everyone has their eyes open when you press the shutter release, tell everyone to close their eyes. Then, tell them you'll do a countdown - 3, 2, 1, OPEN! - and wait for half a second or so when you say open, and everyone will have their eyes open.

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        • #5
          this tips for flash is a great read.. thanks..

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          • #6
            I feel nervous just reading this
            My Flickr

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            • #7
              Very helpful tips.

              I am considering doing a friend's wedding in February, and was just asked to do another wedding for hire (very low cost). I was sure to clearly explain to the gentleman that I am not a professional, and could possibly get few good photos.

              I'm confident in my abilities, and realize I must start somewhere. Not necessarily looking for advice as to whether I should do it or not, but I am wondering what you guys thing the most common mistake is in wedding photography.
              -Andrew

              Canon 400D/XTi
              Canon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM, Canon 50mm f/1.8
              Andrew's Flickr

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              • #8
                Some of the more common mistakes I can think of can be either technical or not. All things considered, forgetting that you can tell people what to do in order to get the shot can be a big detriment. If you're not shooting for a close friend / family member, it's not like you're trying to make sure that everyone likes you. You just want the bride and groom to be happy with the final result, so if you have to tell Bob over there to put down his beer and smile, you've got to remember that is ok. It sounds simple, but sometimes it's harder than it seems.

                Then there are some simple technical problems like forgetting to charge a battery or not having a spare, or not having enough memory cards or having one break. But those are easily solved with good planning.

                And then there are the more technical mistakes, like shooting with the wrong white balance (Raw is good here), or forgetting to change the ISO for the conditions.

                Uh, hope that doesn't put you off lol I know that a lot can go wrong, so it's knowing that and planning how to fix things that go wrong that can make all the difference
                Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
                Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
                My Flickr

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                • #9
                  Very useful advice Nicole. Thank you.

                  I'm good at foreplanning and troubleshooting, so I'm not too worried about that.

                  I have a 4GB CF card which allows me around 400 shots when shooting RAW. How many shots should I be prepared to take?

                  I am soon to purchase a flash unit as well. I have a Canon 400D. Any recomendations for the flash?

                  Also I realize this flash will shorten my battery life, so an extra battery needs to be added to my list. Anyone have any experience with 3rd party batteries?
                  -Andrew

                  Canon 400D/XTi
                  Canon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM, Canon 50mm f/1.8
                  Andrew's Flickr

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                  • #10
                    Battery: Sterlingtek I use this for my 400D. Works great, as good as Canon.

                    Flash: Sigma EF-500 DG Super bought this for my son's XT.
                    Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash
                    Canon Speedlite 430EX Flash I own this one and I'm very happy with it.
                    Linda
                    My Gear
                    OK to re-edit and repost my shots on dps
                    flickr

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hmmm, it depends on how you shoot and how long you're planning to be there. For example, I took approximately 1100 shots at the last wedding I shot. However, that was from some shots of the reception hall before everything started, as guests were coming in to the ceremony we did quick portraits, and then did table portraits as well as the usual shots and candids. Plus I have a tendency to shoot way more than I need just so that I can be sure that at least one or two of the shots come out the way I want But like I said, a lot depends on your shooting habits. If you don't shoot a lot in burst mode, 400 might be ok.

                      Are you doing formal group shots as well? Because that will easily start eating into the number of pictures since you'll want to take a few shots to try to make sure that nobody is blinking (see the blog post on group shots). So that could easily take 50+ of your shots.

                      So I'd really probably say get another card or two, just to make sure. At least memory is one of the cheaper things you're looking for
                      Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
                      Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
                      My Flickr

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                      • #12
                        Hi
                        I just did my first wedding solo.
                        Although it was for a family friend, I was thee only photographer so everything was on my shoulders. I usually just take lots of photos at the weddings of family and friends as a hobby, along with the paid photographer.

                        I was shooting for 11 hours, went through 4 2GB memory cards, at least 3 camera batteries and 2 sets of AA batteries for the flash. By the end of the night my hand was completely cramped and so were my legs!

                        The most difficult part of this is that I shot in manual mode so that I could choose the ISO and white balance settings b/c I don't even know what to do w/ a RAW photo. Some of the pictures came out horrible, some fantastic. But I didn't get paid for it, and saved them about $4,000. That's the last time I won't charge for my services.

                        Another thing - getting the dress to be white, not grey, is difficult with indorr lighting. Practice

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                        • #13
                          wedding

                          Originally posted by a.saliga View Post
                          Very helpful tips.

                          I am considering doing a friend's wedding in February, and was just asked to do another wedding for hire (very low cost). I was sure to clearly explain to the gentleman that I am not a professional, and could possibly get few good photos.

                          I'm confident in my abilities, and realize I must start somewhere. Not necessarily looking for advice as to whether I should do it or not, but I am wondering what you guys thing the most common mistake is in wedding photography.
                          I have done 3 weddings now and the most difficult thing for me was the lighting. If you can its a great help to go and check out the lighting before the day. Make sure you know how to change settings fast to suit different light situations. ( something i didnt prepare for). And relax, not so easy when all you want is to give them fantastic photos.
                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/angeleyes216/
                          nikon d40 user.

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                          • #14
                            Big thanks to all for this topic. I'm shooting my first wedding in Dec.
                            I got a chance to visit the location and yes, the lighting issue is frightening.
                            Also as was just mentioned, I thought I was familiar with my camera setting until I had a little pressure on me and felt like I was stumbling to get what I wanted.

                            * Visit Location and get familiar with the light you will be shooting in.
                            * Be familiar with you camera, test yourself changing some setting in low light.
                            Canon guy.

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                            • #15
                              rjb_Foto: Be sure to buy a 50mm f/1.4 and a 85mm f/1.8 lens. They will be invaluable for low light, especially if you will be unable to use flash for any part of the ceremony.
                              Maplewood, South Orange, Short Hills New Jersey (NJ) Photographer: Ben Drucker Photography

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