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wedding photography

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by mr jones, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. mr jones

    mr jones
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    ok ive been pestered into photographing my friends wedding at the weekend, does anyone have any hints, tips, words of wisdom etc as im sh*tting myself at the moment.

    i dont have an external flash gun whcih is going to be a bit of a ball ache, but im sure i can get round it, ive got plenty of memory - well i will have once i buy another gig of memory during the week. and as the church is a few mins walk from my house i can pop back between the church and reception and empty the cards if i need to.


    anyone got any really good tips, ive looked on DPreview and read a few decent writeups etc


    :) :lease: :lease: :lease: :lease: :lease:
     
  2. Zone

    Zone
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    Dangerous ground mate imo, friends and wedding :eek:
    If there is one area where people want a professional job its capturing their wedding day, I aint saying your not up to the job, but you yourself said your bricking it ;)
    Tell em to get a wedding photographer in.
     
  3. condyk

    condyk
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    I had a friend do my wedding photo's ... we weren't very happy. Luckily, he took so many that we managed to get an album full. Problem with that was the cost of getting them all printed, the time he took, and the hassle! Also, the excuses he had for the small number that worked where a drag. Didn't have digital then, at least practically, 8 years ago!!

    So, from that experience, the I reckon the secret is to plan exactly which photo's to get and of who/when (family/groom/bride, best man/women, brides maids, etc, etc, etc) and then take loads and loads! Also, you need balls to do it, telling people exactly what to do and not standing for BS. Planning will give confidence. Plan for weather changes too. Say to bride and groom that you'd like to do lots of informal shots of people involved in and enjoying the wedding. This will fill an album nicely. Can't help thinking you'll need a flash for reception ...

    I think you must be mad, but hope it works out for you :)
     
  4. owain_thomas

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    good luck with it mate! we had a supposedly professional photographer at our wedding in italy (organised through a UK company) who made an absolute disaster of our shots. You'd swear he'd never held a camera before to look at the shots (massively overexposed, taken from an angle which made even me look like a dwarf - I'm 6'2" - out of focus, everything that could be wrong with them, was).

    We got our money back in the end and our only decent pics from the day came from my dads digital pics with his fuji point and shoot, they were a million times bettre than the "pro" ones.

    Any way, good luck with it, hope it goes well, at least if they're digital you can do some tinkering afterwards!
     
  5. condyk

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    Yes, this will help you relax and focus. You know you can take loads of shots and so forget about cocking it all up. Stay off the beer and if you get 20-30 great shots out of, say, 200, then you'll have done a great job :clap: It's also true that you can have a few quality checks as the day progresses, looking at the shots on the computer and then re-planning to fill any obvious quality or 'posing' shots.
     
  6. Johndm

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    I did the sis-in-laws wedding just before christmas with my 300D, kit lens and a 50mm f1.8. (and no external flash)

    Took some 500 shots through the day.....they were pleased with the results, but I thought they were...............utter crap.. :thumbsdow

    My advice if your REALLY gonna do it........get a 580EX to go with your 20D, like tomorrow, and get some practice in damm quick, as 'proper' flash photography is a bitch to master. While in the shop, get some mega expensive L glass.....
    No zooms here...you'll need primes for a Pro job, say a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM for the group shots, a Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM and Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM for the portrait suff, and a Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM to capture those moments where you can't get too close.....like the ring and kissing bits.
    You'll need 4 more bodies too.....no lens swapping here..no time.. :eek:, and what if your camera packs up after 5 shots... :suicide:

    I've been watching photogs on the news and TV progs like 'Airport'
    They always have at least 2 cameras ready..one in hand and one over the shoulder...bet there's another in their bag too.

    My advice......tell them to pay for a pro for the ceremony, and tell them you'll do the backup work in the evening..then you should still be friends forever... :lesson:
     
  7. tomson

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    I've photographed a few weddings and it isn't the easiest thing in the world to do but if you do your planning and prepare for every eventuality you should be ok.

    First off - know your camera inside out, know exactly how it works in every condition - bright light, shade, indoors at low light, back lit situations etc etc. Know what your lenses are capable of, especially at what aperture they give their best.

    Like condyk says, plan everything. Plan who you need to photograph, when you will photograph them, where you wil photograph them and have a back up plan for when/if it rains/snows/blows a gale etc etc. If you're going to do a few intimate portraits of the couple then invest a few quid in a 5 in 1 reflector - damn useful for getting rid of shadow or shading direct sunlight.

    Check with the registrar/vicar/minister (or who ever is in charge) well in advance to see what limitations there are in the venue. Flash photography might not be allowed so, like John says, you'll need a fast lens. Summut like a 50/1.8 is fine (ramp up your iso to an acceptable max too, but know where grain starts to become noticeable). If flashes are allowed then use one. Beg borrow or steal one as it'll really be a life saver.

    Make sure you find out from the couple exactly what they are expecting from you. If they really only want a dozen traditional posed images then practice that sort of shot as much you can to achieve a natural looking, in focus, properly exposed image. Always check your histogram and make any necessary adjustments - but once you've got that nailed you can concentrate on the actual people in the pictures. Take plenty of each pose as 9 times out of 10 someone will blink/get distracted/sneeze etc and the shot will be less than great.

    Look at other peoples wedding photos (there are plenty of gallerys on tinternet) and see what works - Annabel Williams has a great book on the subject.

    Take a spare camera - hire/borrow another dslr if possible or if you must then take a compact as pics from a compact are preferable to no pics at all

    Dont know if you shoot in raw or not but its a good idea too (assuming you are comfortable using full manual on your camera) as it offers an extra level of tweakability over jpegs. But if you feel more comfortable shooting fully auto then do so - its better to be able to concentrate on whats going on in front of the camera than fighting with the controls and getting distracted.

    I've got about 6 wedding booked so far this year and i can guarantee each one will will pose its own unique problems - but overcoming those problems and getting some good shots that the bride and groom are happy with is a great feeling. If a little nerve wracking.


    Good luck.

    edit - some useful links
    http://www.aljacobs.com/Weddings.htm
    http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques/viewtechnique.cfm?recid=222
    http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques/viewtechnique.cfm?recid=224
     
  8. seany

    seany
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    Jamie mate, i think you should get the chance to follow a wedding photographer for the day first. When i was at my pals wedding in july he had a girl along side him, he was really teaching her the do's and dont's. You could do with some better lenses mate i know you have the 50mm 1.8 might would be a good idea to get the 85mm 1.8 if you can reach to it



    You're brave man doing a friend, Personally i'd tell them that you'lll take shots for them but to also use a photographer. It is their big day after all and it's a special day. It's ok if you're never going to see them again. But if it goes pear shaped you have to look them in the eye
     
  9. mr jones

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    gonna shoot in raw, infact im gonna buy another CF card tomorrow just in case, ill look into a flash, knowing me ill end up buying a 580 speedlite as well while im there!

    **** it, if im gonna do it i gotta do it properly


    they know the score, i told them i couldnt do it, but they really want me to do it, i told them that i wasnt comfortable doing it, but they really seem keen on it, no backing out now i guess *gulp*
     
  10. mr jones

    mr jones
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    i also have a plan, im gonna go to the rehersal to see people etc, pik out the important people that i have to photograph (father, best man, mothers etc) so i know what im doing. im also gonna go visit the vicar before hand if i can and talk to him about whats allowed and whats not allowed etc
     
  11. Crocodile

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    If it's a friendship that you value then I would politely decline on the basis that you don't have the experience/equipment (even if you think you do). The very best that can happen here is that nothing goes wrong, you manage to pull it off & your mate is satisfied with the results - without having any idea of the stress you've been through to get them! All of the other possible scenarios don't bear contemplating.

    If this is a question of cost then maybe you could club together with some other guests & buy them a Pro for the day as a wedding present (no, not that sort of Pro). If you book the shoot & speak to the Pro in advance he is more likely to be accommodating of you following him around & picking off some candid shots while he's composing the formal stuff.
     
  12. homerdog

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    If you don't want to spend much money, you could always hire some 'L' lenses. Failing that, get a second hand 550EX and a new Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Macro, stick it on a tripod and there's no reason you shouldn't get excellent photos :)
     
  13. pbickle

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    I've never been brave enough to do it myself, but I've seen the results when friends do it ... and well I think enough has been said in earlier posts about that.

    As a backup you could consider providing the following:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...78488-9673411?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846

    The results from these 'point and shoot' disposables aren't great, but you can get a few gems, which could make up for things you missed.
     
  14. seany

    seany
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    Diane is going to be godmother in june and i've been asked to take some shots. No where near as stressfull of course. I'm only doing it as they just thought it would be a nice idea and are not going to use a photographer anyway so anything is a bonus.

    Good luck though mate, i'm sure you'll make us proud;)
     
  15. Geordie Jester

    Geordie Jester
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    At the rehearsal, go ahead and take shots there. Even though it may seem weird to them , just make a joke of it. When you get to look at them it might at least give you some good things to avoid for real. Telegraph poles, plantpots growing out of heads in the background etc! Its so easy to look at a shot and say "it would have been better If I had......"

    I know of a fairly large couple, that had a city wedding and when they got their shots back, nearly every one had a sign in the background "LOSE WEIGHT FAST" etc There was a gym in background with promotional posters all over the windows. nightmare !

    Best of luck
     
  16. Centurion

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    My girlfriends mum got married last year and they hired a so called pro. He took quite alot of shots. But while he was changing film etc, I was busy with my 300d taking some shots myself. As it turns out, the pro's shots didnt turn out except 6 of them (which were underexposed) However my 300d shots turned out fine, I did a little tweaking in ps for the saturation and crop and guess who's photo is on there mantle :smashin:
     

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  17. DJW

    DJW
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    If you've been straight with your friends & they still want you to do it, then I recommend a different route. The hardest challenge is trying to get the "standard" wedding shots, as mentioned below in terms of organising everyone. Why not keep these to a minimum....eg, everyone & couple for direct family.

    Now change to a less formal shoot, where with the help of a decent zoom you slip into the background & start to shoot people in a more relaxed / normal manner. You'll feel more relaxed, which will inevitably end up in you taking better shots & you never know you might enjoy it :smashin:

    I've actually done something similar for family & they loved the shots. Normal wedding shots are so staged they lose the magic of the moment. A few decent tight headshots of people laughing, chatting, crying etc, kids being naughty, capture the mood of theday so much better.

    The idea fo disposable cameras is also excellent, as people are more relaxed & you can end up with some great shots.

    Try this link for examples of what can be achieved..... I really like "Garys" wedding shots http://www.garyhector.com/weddings/sampleshots.html

    Discuss the above options with your friends & if they agree & you do also, then go for it & have a larf :thumbsup:

    Best iof luck..... you'll cruise it ..

    Cheers Dave
     
  18. mr jones

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    okeydokey

    cheers to the people who gave positive advice, to those who said "get some one else to do it, you clearly dont know what your doing and you'll **** it up".. thanks for the positive USEFUL advice much appeciated, erm NOT :hiya:

    as DJW mentioned im going for the less formal approach, obviously ill do the obvious ones (bride and father walking up the aisle, posed outside the church and whatnot), ive been told to just try to capture the atmosphere, thats the reason they want me to do it, they dont care about the ceremony of getting married, they just want it out of the way. im just their to capture the atmosphere!

    as people have mentioned about disposable cameras, they've already bought a load of them, they are gonna leave them on the tables at the reception for people to photograph with, surely thats more fun!

    for them this is the formal **** they have to do, they seem more hastled about it, they just want to be married, i think they'd have hit gretna or some far away island apart from the fact that the bride to be's father cant travel.


    its all going to be fine! :D
     
  19. itcosthowmuch

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    As someone else said make a point of going to the church rehearsal and use the time to note the lighting and best place to be when the ceremony is going on. I would also say get someone to help you, preferably someone who knows at least one of the families quite well and is not frightened by getting people together. Ask the bride before hand if she wants anyone particular group photos (maybe a group of old school friends will be attending?) and write these down well before the actual day.

    Suss out prior to the day where the best place to take group shots is (I would say at the reception rather than the church if pos so that the guests have a drink to keep them happy whilst your busy doing your stuff) - then get your 'helper' on the day to organise these groups in succession, that way you only have to concentrate on getting the picture right and not who's going to be next.

    If you enjoy pressure you'll get a great buzz out of it and so long as the 'happy couple' know that not every pic is going to be in next months Bride magazine things'll be fine.

    Good Luck!!!!!! Oh and don't forget to post some of the results here :)
     
  20. imichael

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    You are a brave man accepting the job, but sounds like you are on the right tracks. If you haven't already got these accessories, then I'd think about getting them and practising beforehand :

    Extra memory
    Tripod for the formals
    Batteries
    Flash and diffuser
    Spare memory
    More batteries
    Back up camera (even if it is only a compact)
    A bit more memory and a few more batteries

    And get a friendly helper as well to round people up and do some other informal shots at the reception.

    Churches are usually fine about photo's during the ceremony, but don't like flashes or noise (turn of the af beeps etc). So a fast lense in the 50-200 zoom region would be really useful.

    Good luck, enjoy it. and don't forget to take a bit more memory and batteries as well.

    Ian
     
  21. geeWcee

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    I wouldnt worry too much. Hiring a professional doesnteven guarantee you good results. I got Kodak to do my wedding and they were, to be frank, sh*t.
    Its a good job my mate was there with his digital camera (very experienced amateur photographer) cos his shots came out better....
    Just goes to show. I think you and they will be pleasantly surprised.
    After the wedding photos came out, my dad revealed he used to be a wedding photographer many moons ago. I could have smacked him. Cost us £1300.
    At the end of the day, if you are doing it for free(?) what can they expect?
    Have fun.
     
  22. seany

    seany
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  23. mr jones

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    *wishes himself luck*:suicide:
     
  24. geeWcee

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    I wish you luck too...you'll be fine lad! :D
    Dont forget to post a sample afterwards - preferably the bride garter shot!
     
  25. mr jones

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    ive just got back home,


    if the one shot i took at the end of the night works then it will be wonderful


    a totally over exposed white balanced photograph, everything in the picture is red apart from the brides dress which is bright white, set to the right of the picture.....

    the groom is stood on the dancefloor mid lead guitar solo, viewed over the brides shoulder....


    the entire picture is off angle

    if it comes out it will look utterly amazing, rock and roll wedding of the century.



    and whats worse...... £2k's worth of semi proffesional camera gear couldnt take that kind of picture, i took it on an olympus compact whcih id let my friends son play with all day (hes 7)





    when i get the camera back tomorrow morning (i left all my stuff at the reception venue so i could go clubbing) ill see if it came out, if it does OH ****ING YES! :D :D :D


    ive actually really enjoyed today :D :oops:
     
  26. mr jones

    mr jones
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  27. geeWcee

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    looks good to me!
     
  28. dolph

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    As you say needs white balancing - oh and crop out the electrical sockets bottom left.
     
  29. DJW

    DJW
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    Well staged & great shot. :thumbsup:
     
  30. Zone

    Zone
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    Looks like you did your homework mate, seriously welldone, glad it worked out for you and them :thumbsup:
    And please do post some more shots when you've sobered up and have the time :D
     

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