asked to shoot wedding for the first time-can you help,please?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Freida, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Freida macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    Hello guys,

    I've been asked to shoot wedding for the first time. The couple will have professional photographer for the ceremony but after that it will be on me. I've never done anything like that before so I kinda need as much help as you can possible share, please. :)

    I have Nikon D90 with the kit lens 18-105 and prime 50 1.4 lens.
    As discussed in previous thread, I'll probably get Lumopro LP180 as strobbist praises that flash and its very affordable. I understand that it has some kinda TTL metering in the slave mode but I'm still a bit confused by it all so if I have it on the camera then it should all work fine I assume, right?

    I assume that I will probably need some diffusers on the flash, right?

    I'm also thinking to rent a lens for that day so what would you suggest would be a good lens for such event?

    Please, let me know any other tips you think I should consider so I can do a good job. It's for friends who are getting married and they always like my pics so they asked me but it makes me a bit nervous to have such a responsibility as you can imagine.

    I have 1 month to prepare :)))
  2. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    1a) Thoroughly test and work with whatever equipment you are going to be using that day. If you can't practice with the equipment before hand in similar conditions, then you may consider not bringing it all. You won't have time to learn how to use it that day. And worse is if your photos have a problem that you don't know about until you get home.

    1b) Bring extra batteries. Make sure they're charged. Then bring a few more.

    1c) Bring extra memory cards. Make sure you have a system for keeping track of which ones you have already shot.

    2) Talk with your 'clients' to find out what they want. Are these formal shots? Candids? etc.

    3) I'm assuming you aren't professional, and therefore don't have insurance. So.... be really careful of what is behind you. I've read that, in this business, most insurance payouts are for the things and people that an event photographer backs up into while trying to get their shot.

    4) Have clear expectations with your clients on what you are going to give your clients. All photos, with minimal post production; all photos with no post production; selection of photos with complete post production; etc etc

    5) Doesn't hurt to discuss timelines too. If you haven't done this before then double however long you think post production will take. It will probably not take that long if you honest with self when estimating, and then you can deliver early.

    6) Limit how much you drink.

    7) I'd consider this to be your wedding present to them, and therefore you don't need to buy them something else (unless they are really really good friends) in which case you may want to spring for an album and put a few prints inside. Consider that this gift is worth $hundreds (or even over a $thousand) and that you will not be able to really enjoy the party. Very limited drinking, limited socializing, no dancing, etc etc... plus the risk of losing or damaging your camera gear.

    8) Also, come to the party calm and centred. You will be dealing with some people who may be tired and cranky (family) and bossy; and then later people who are drunk. Despite all this, you have to make sure you get your shots because this is a once in a lifetime event, and you can't bring them back for a reshoot.

    9) Oh, and have fun...

    10) And this is why I don't do weddings....

    Hope this helps....
  3. crawler1975 macrumors regular


    Mar 22, 2011
    First rule of thumb if you do wedding photography for friends / family is to make absolutely clear to them that you are doing this because they requested it and that if the photos don't turn out right - they won't hold you liable.

    Second, go to the wedding relax and not think of yourself as "the photographer" and that "I must take these shots" - remember this is your first time and they asked you - take your shots calmly, if your photos are blurry the first time - take another shot - your friend will be forgiving because she knows you are not "a hired pro"

    Third, you have a month left... practice, practice, practice. learn your camera, learn your flash... if you dont have anyone to take practice shots with, use any objects within reach - (soda bottles, brooms, toys) - anything to make you comfortable with your camera and the flash ...

    Fourth - you mentioned about renting lens - go for 24-70 lens but rent it way before your event so that you have time to practice. As for diffusers, it is not necessary - it does make your light "soft" but the key in my opinion is to bounce your flash ... don't point your flash directly on your subjects.

    Fifth - make sure you have an extra set of batteries for your flash and if possible for your camera. You don't want to be shooting away till your flash battery runs out and you don't have extra ...

    Sixth and the last one... refer to rule #1 .. I cannot stress that enough - just make it clear to your friend that you're new to weddings and ***** happens sometimes.

    - I love shooting weddings
  4. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    You don't need all that equipment. Just bring your iPhone. A 4G will do. If they question it, just tell them Annie Leibovitz recommended it and who are they to question her?

    Feel free to drink. If they question it, show them some of Terry Richardson's wedding photos and explain you are aiming for a similar effect.

    Above all, if you follow the advice given by the above posters, you should be able to get away with it.


    And no, my MacRumours account hasn't been hacked at all.
  5. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    thank you guys so far.

    yeah, it is for friends so they told me that I'm not responsible for anything. They just want to have more pics after the professional does the main thing so I will be doing mainly the "party" pics etc. which won't be so important so even if it doesn't go well then they won't say anything as they will have the main ones done by PRO :))))

    I thought you guys might suggest 24-70 as that sounds like a good sharp lens for a thing like that.

    When you mentioned bounce, would you say that 45degrees to the ceiling would work fine or 80-90degrees to the ceiling? Or does it depend on the distance of the subject? :D

    I will take tons of batteries but also there won't be much alcohol as this family doesn't drink much so I'm set. :)))
    I guess its wise to leave the 50mm 1.4 lens at home, right?
  6. crawler1975 macrumors regular


    Mar 22, 2011

    bouncing 45 degrees to the ceiling is the common way to bounce flash.. however, if the place have white walls then you can use that to bounce as well.. remember bouncing off the ceiling may create shadows under the nose or eyes.

    another trick on how to bounce flash is to point your flash on where your subject nose is pointing ... there's a caveat on this though, you can only do this on certain photos but it is more flattering and if your subject is facing you head-on then flash the bounce to the ceiling or backwall (if it is white).

    since you have 50mm 1.4 I would suggest to take that with you as well... there is a difference on how a 24-70 f2.8 lens and 50mm f1.4 lens deal with bokeh. if you use 50mm lens you have to move around more to take the shots that you want.
  7. ocabj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2009
    If you're running and gunning and have no way to bounce your Speedlite, you can try:

    1. Flash bracket (example:
    2. Round Flash modifier - - basically a ring flash style look

    For events like this, I always say shoot high ISO and just use noise reduction in post. I'll shoot ISO 1600 with a small bump on the noise reduction slider in Lightroom with no issues. It's not like you need pixel peeping detail, anyway.
  8. needfx macrumors 68040


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    even though I wouldn't use it, I would definitely keep it in the vicinity as backup if you don't have any other lens. backup of course means catastrophic event for the other lens, which I am sure translates to possibly not caring to continue taking photos, but just saying
  9. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    Find out exactly what your friends expect from you - do they expect you to take group shots / posed formals with the bridal party / portraits of the bride & groom?? If they expect you to do any of this then work with them to list the things that are important. Your homework is then to plan out an order to take these shots that will be the most efficient use of time. Take your final list & running order with you on the day and stick to it - that way you'll know exactly what you've already captured. You definitely don't need a 24-70 for this, your kit lens should be fine for the wider shots.

    On the other hand, if they only want you to to get informal shots of people mingling, dancing etc then your 50mm is the only lens you'll need.

    If you're new to flash photography then just pointing it straight up is the safest bet (assuming you have a white roof). If you have white walls you could also try pointing it to one side. If you have lots of time to practice with your flash before the wedding, check out
    That site is a mine of excellent information, but you'll be hard-pressed to learn it all in a month.

    Hope that helps


    As far as I can tell, the Lumopro LP180 is not TTL. The reason Strobist praises it is because it's an excellent off-camera flash. It will certainly fire if you put it on your camera, however you will have to manage the power of each flash burst manually - save yourself the hassle and get an SB700 instead.

    You don't need diffusers. Flash accessories like the stofen omnibounce of the Gary Fong lightsphere do not actually help your flash produce softer light.
    If the place you're shooting has white walls or a white ceiling you are all set - just be sure to point your flash at one of those instead of your subject.
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Do you know the venue at all? If not see if you can pop in (maybe to another wedding party) to get an idea how the hall is set up etc.

    Do you have someone who could assist you. Making sure you have batteries on charge and the correct equipment etc?
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    At our wedding we put disposable cameras on each table. The MC told the guests that we had all the formal photos done by a professional already, so don't take photos of the us or wedding party. Please take photos of everyone at the table instead over the afternoon. I think we put two cameras on each table. At the end of the afternoon, we had photos of every single guest, with at least one decent photo, and some really really good ones. You don't see this very often anymore in the days of digital… but it can work well.

    Or you can set up a website and just ask people to send their iPhone photos to you so you can compile them.

    Just some random ideas to supplement what you are going to be doing.

  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    They probably have a few wedding magazines. Tell them to show you some examples of photos of the reception they like.

    FYI those shown in magazines are often the top photographers that charge 5 or more figures per weddings.

    And of course set their expectations. You don't have the experience or equipment of a professional. Can't expect same quality pictures.
  13. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    Well, the SB700 is 100EUR more or 1/3 more to put it in perspective. So if I put LP180 on the camera and just fire away with a default settings then I can't later just adjust it in Aperture? Someone told me that its very easy to adjust overexposed images in Aperture than underexposed, is that true? And if it is then the LP180 would work with that, no?

    I'm planning to use the flash as off camera for about 65% and around 35% on camera so I like the fact that LP180 saves me 100EUR and its still praised so much. How difficult is it to set up the power of each flash and if you are inside with constant lighting then you would need to adjust it just once, no?

    And if I would go for SB700 what would I lose from the LP180 one? Originally I wanted to get SB910 but people told me its not worth it for me as its outrage sly expensive and there were some issues with 900 so I changed my mind set and thought that LP180 is very very good price so I can buy my first lighting set (strobist suggested)
  14. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    It's true that you can adjust exposure in Aperture within reason, but you have to understand just how powerful a flash is when close up, and how quickly that power falls off. If you take a photo of a person close up with your flash on 1/2power then that person is gonna go nuclear and no amount of tweaking in software will get the detail back. Alternatively, if you adjust the flash for a close-up subject, your background will get very dark unless you balance it with a long shutter speed.

    No. You'll need to adjust your flash power or your aperture CONSTANTLY to take account of the subject you're trying to light. If your flash is off-camera then it's harder to change the power settings quickly, so you'll need to constantly ride your aperture instead based on the flash to subject distance. (With off-camera light, your distance from the subject is irrelevant - it's the subject's distance to the flash you need to think about).

    The SB910 is certainly expensive, and sounds like more than you need. I've never used an LP180 and I'm sure it's fine when you're using it in a controlled environment. However weddings are certainly not a controlled environment - you need to think & act quickly. If you're new to flash photography then having an option to switch to TTL and take some of the pressure off can be a godsend.
  15. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    Thank you. So you say that SB700 will do the same as LP180 + more? I noticed that the praise for LP180 is due to the quad sync methods - will that be the same for SB700? I looked at both specs sheets but at this point it all looks double dutch to me so I rely on reviews and recommendations of more experienced people. Usually, when I purchase things I tend to look at it as investment so I tend to buy something that will last me ages and when I grow it will fulfil my needs. So, I know that now I don't understand much but when I start with it I will learn quickly so then I just hope that the choice I make now will be fine with me later when I learn it. I'm sure you understand what I mean.

    I've done some digging and found a great deal for the SB700 (233EUR) so the difference now between LP180 and SB700 is only 40EUR so that is far more reasonable than before. :))

    So unless someone else comes with an objection or something then I think I'll go with your suggestion and will get SB700.

    I hate decisions - so hard :)))

  16. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    "Quad-sync" simply means that there are 4 ways to make the flash fire:
    1) plugging a radio trigger into the 3.5mm Mini-jack port,
    2) plugging a radio trigger into the PC-sync port,
    3) using the flash's hot shoe foot (either on-camera or using an external hotshoe),
    4) the built-in optical slave.

    These have absolutely nothing to do with the different modes that the flash has - it ONLY refers to the different ways you can tell the unit to actually flash.

    The SB700 only has 2 of these options: the hotshoe (obviously) and a built-in optical slave. The other 2 ports featured on the LP180 are certainly useful for off-camera lighting, but you can buy a hotshoe for $10 that will let you do exactly the same with the SB700.

    The reason the SB700 is so much more expensive is because of the amount of technology built into the unit. In terms of actual flash modes, I'm sure it'll do everything the LP180 does and much, much more.
  17. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Do not get a 24-70 2.8. If you had a full-frame body, I'd say yes, but you don't. The Nikkor 17-55 f 2.8 for DX is the way to go. (25.5 - 82.5 full frame equivalent). You need that range, and it's a very nice lens. The kit lens is a terrible piece of garbage. Or okay -- it's a terrible piece of garbage *for a wedding*. Step up your game -- this is an opportunity to shoot more weddings in the future!

    Uh, bring it, for the love of god! A fast lens should definitely be in your bag, and the 50 1.4 is nice and compact.

    They're paying you, right? Shooting a wedding reception is very hard work, I promise you -- you are NOT just a party photographer. First kiss, first dance, cake cutting, all that stuff -- pressure is going to be on.

    To follow up on what others have said, make sure that this is crystal clear, and get it in writing. No, really -- get it in writing. I'd normally say get a contract, but in this case, I think email will do. Write a few sentences saying, very very clearly, that you're going to do your absolute best, but you're not a professional wedding photographer, and if, for some reason, you miss an important shot, or all your photos end up out of focus for some reason, or your memory card breaks or camera is stolen before you deliver the photos, they can't hold you accountable. Obviously, the memory card breaking part is very unlikely, but still, can't be too careful. (There's a reason professional wedding photographers have insurance.)

    No matter what, what's at stake for you is, obviously, your reputation.
  18. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    They are not paying me for it. It's just a favour for them which has no obligation. Even if I didn't take a single pic they would be fine. It's like someone mentioned earlier with putting the "one use" camera on the tables and asking people to use them. In fact, its just for me to make something nice and learn something new and by seeing all the suggestions here I've learnt a lot and there is still more to come. As they say, you can read all the tutorials but until you actually go out and use them in practise then you haven't learnt anything.
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You said earlier that they asked you because they liked your photos. So shoot your your photos.... Which apparently so far has been without a flash or fancy lense. One option may be to learn how to hold your camera steady at 1/30th, use a higher ISO, and use your fast lense with no flash. If you then deliver B&W photos you don't have to worry about light colour issues. Keep it simple, and you can concentrate on your style -which is what your friends asked for in the first place. There is a reason that pro event photographers charge a pretty Euro for this... It's tough to get it right.

  20. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    You are right, I will do that but naturally I also want to improve. I have realised that I will not be PRO as I simply don't have the time nor desire to invest all my free time to it but I want to be "good" even if I do baby steps. That is why I am getting a flash and basic studio kit for home so I can also improve my portrait pics. As the importance of lighting and how to play with it was just introduced to me I want to step up the game a bit. Also, I work in art field so my eyes are always looking for flaws and I'm never happy with my pics so I tend to try things to improve my skills. Its a complex hobby but I will get there eventually. I have a lifetime to learn as much as possible :)))

    Thank you guys so far for help. I'm going to order to SB700 as suggested and will play with it before the wedding. I'm sure I will find a quick and easy way that will be a good compromise (like the angle up to the ceiling to bounce it off) and then will gradually work on my improvements.
    I'm sure that once it arrives I'll be back asking more specific questions :)
  21. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I have learned the hard way that even when it's SAID, it may not be TRUE- especially if there are family pressures or one of the two doesn't like the results. I had a very good friend who's wedding I foolishly agreed to shoot many, many years ago. He was very happy with the results- as was I generally. His bride and her mother? Not so much. There's a reason the term "Bridezilla" exists in the normal wedding photographer lexicon. Suffice to say that my relationship with my friend wasn't ever the same again.

    That said, about the same time period (early and mid-90's,) I shot another wedding where I did NOT like the results and the couple was perfectly happy.

    Overall, the risk of the first set of circumstances make me refuse to shoot for friends. Better that they're mad for a month than years. "I'd prefer to just attend and enjoy the occasion" is the phrase that pays.

  22. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    Ouch Paul, that must have been annoying. Yep, I heard about the term Bridezilla but another term is Monster in Law :)))

    Now I actually see all the things the PRO's go through and how hard it is because at the end of the day the pictures could be the best but if the couple that hired those PRO's don't like them because of their personal taste then you are in trouble. Its kinda easy to make those posed pics but taking pics of people during "in a moment" takes so much skill. Being a PRO wedding photographer must be a stressful job. :)))
  23. JackHobbs macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2009
    Weddings are very emotional times so you need to be careful about taking the photographs. Friends may say something now and mean it but after the day they may be saying/feeling something different. You need to talk to them about what shots they would like if possible and then follow up with a chatty email confirming what was said. If you value this friendship, make sure that everything is clear. Also let them know that you are seeking advice, trying new equipment and techniques. It lets them know that you are taking their request seriously but also lets them know that you are out of your comfort zone. I would also check out the venue. Is there somewhere to securely put your stuff if you decide to take a break from shooting? Will it mean a trip to the car park? You might want to negotiate when you are going to stop taking photos so that you can just be their friend at the wedding. Good luck and enjoy.:)
  24. spacedcadet macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2009
    slow sync

    learn how to use slow sync rear curtain, for some interesting dancefloor shots with exposed background scene, motion blur and "frozen" subject. Can look great but a bit hit and miss.
  25. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    Interesting, will look into it :) thank you


    thank you, it will be fun :)

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