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macrumors 68040
Original poster
Dec 28, 2009
Let me preface this post by saying I'm not the main photog at this wedding. I'll be bringing my gear for some practice as I don't normally shoot indoor/low light situations and just wanted to get some ideas on how to shoot properly.

I'll be bringing;

Canon T3i
Canon 17-55 f/2.8
Canon 10-22
Canon 430 EXII flash

I would imagine the 17-55 would stay on there most of the time. Might be quite a few people there so I'll bring my 10-22 in case there are any wide angle shots that need be taken. Doubt I would use the tripod all that much but it's light so I figured I'd bring it anyways.

Obviously people aren't going to care about the photos I take but this would be a great opportunity for me to do some indoor shooting as I mainly shoot UWA/landscape type shots. Any tips/things I should be aware of or keep in mind? Thanks.


macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
Where is the ceremony? You may not be permitted to use a flash in a church.


macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
An Island in the Salish Sea
If these are friends, leave the majority of gear at home and enjoy yourself. Its their wedding... you are supposed to be celebrating it with them. Get tipsy. Make a pass a someone (not your partner. And dance until you've worn holes in your socks.

If you still want to bring a camera, then just bring one lense and leave it on. Work within the limitations of the lense, and save the stress of hauling gear around. Consider that if you bring a camera bag you will need to find a place to stow it. That you may lose it. That your gear may get damaged though being bumped or spilt upon.

Also know that pro photographers have insurance. The biggest number of claims by them involve them backing into things (cakes, tables, art, etc) as they try to get the shot. It's just one more thing for you to stress over while you are shooting instead of celebrating.

Go and enjoy yourself.... it's why they sent you an invitation.


macrumors 68020
Nov 18, 2010
If you can, I'd go for the tele side a little more. That way you can get the intimate close-up shots that everyone likes.

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I recently was at a family wedding in which I was not the primary shooter (thank goodness!) but I had my Sony NEX-7 and pretty much covered all of the interiors (church) during the rehearsal and then the wedding itself with the 50mm f/1.8 (no tripod) and then when we moved outdoors for the receiving line, I slipped the 18-200mm on. That seemed to work well for me. Because I was not the paid photographer and under no obligation to get any shots at all or decent shots, I was able to relax and enjoy myself while shooting but also feeling very much a part of the wedding ceremony. At no time did I use flash; I stuck with natural, ambient lighting and a fast lens. This was because the primary photographer was using flash and I didn't want to inadvertently mess her up by firing nearly simultaneously and also during the actual ceremony it would have been very distracting to have used flash at any time. Fine for the paid professional to do so, but not for a mere wedding attendee. The ceremony was mid-afternoon so the church was reasonably well-lit through lots of windows and natural lighting worked well with my fast lens.

If you have an opportunity prior to the wedding, you might want to go and check out the conservancy location at the approximate time of day that the wedding will be held, and that will give you an idea of lighting conditions to expect then (in good weather).

I am not familiar enough with Canon gear to recommend which lens you should have with you, but I would say, the fastest one you own will stand you in good stead. The 17-55 sounds good in terms of focal length, and the f/2.8 is OK, too. If you've got something faster, though, that might be better, or if you can boost your ISO higher without excessive noise, that works, too. That way you can do without flash. If need, support the camera on a railing or chair arm or ledge, but forget the tripod. You are not the professional who is going to be working there, and frankly, your tripod might only get in your and others' way.

Above all, try to stay out of the way of the professional photographer and videographer....let them do their work, they are being paid for it. Try to capture the scenes they will miss: intimate family or friend shots, casual off-the-cuff moments when people are relaxed and not posing for a camera....

Good luck!

Pikemann Urge

macrumors 6502
Jan 3, 2007
I recommend against using flash. I prefer to have a higher ISO setting and keep the ambience of the interior. If the interior lighting is flurorescent, you can fix that in editing while adding a touch of warmth (just enough to make the result nicer than what you'd get from a neutral white-balance). If the lighting is incandescent and the cast is too strong, take the edge off later.

However, flash can be useful out of doors more so than indoors. It can provide a bit of fill and nice catchlights in the subject's eyes. Use a diffuser.

Oh, and take photos of as much as you can (get all the tables and try for at least two passes). If there's a band, shoot them comprehensively. Hell, shoot the caterers too. I do. :)


macrumors 6502
Dec 3, 2009
Are you a guest or an actual 2nd shooter?

If you're a 2nd shooter for the wedding photographer, you might want to borrow/rent another camera along with a telephoto and have that alongside your T3i with the wide angle. You may find yourself in a position where you wished you had a telephoto but only have one camera/lens. Switching lens in the ceremony takes times which means you have the potential to lose some really nice shots. For me, the telephoto allows you to get closer into the subjects without distracting the attendees and/or getting all up in the bride/groom/presider's faces. ;) I use a 80-200mm f/2.8.

In terms of flash, I'd disagree about not using it indoors. While it's definitely tricky to make a good, natural looking photo with flash, it's still can be very useful. At the risk of giving too basic an advice, one suggestion is to bounce the flash off the ceiling instead of pointing it directly at the subject. You might also want to invest in flash gels for your flash as well to balance out the light color from your flash and from the venue.

If you're a guest, avoid the flash (might mess up the real photographer, whom the bride and groom is paying a lot of money!). Don't go too crazy with gear or whatever... take a few nice shots and enjoy the ceremony, food, drinks, dancing, etc...!

I'd avoid the tripod... just one more thing to carry. Your 17-55mm f/2.8, along with the flash, should be enough for most low light situations. Leave the tripod in your car or in a safe place in the venue just in case you need it though. Bring lots of memory cards, extra fully charged camera and flash batteries, etc...

Oh one more thing (again at the risk of giving too basic an advice)... if you have access to Photoshop or any image editing software, shoot RAW, not JPG. RAW can save your behind if you over or underexpose an otherwise good shot.
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macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2001
Sendai, Japan
You definitely need something longer than 55 mm. I use a 80-200 mm f/2.8. Unless the ceremony is outdoor in broad daylight, a slower lens will not do.

I don't think your UW zoom will find much use. Resist the temptation to use it for group shots, the people in the corners will be distorted. (Apart from the fact that the proportions, all women will complain that they look fat ;))


macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2010
I'm an Austronaut
I'd only try to document the wedding if I meant to become a wedding photographer. Before that, I will gain experience in portrait and concert photography. After that I'd become a student of a real wedding photographer and follow him on the field.

Enjoy yourself, take a prime or zoom lens and shoot occasionally. You'll get less frustrated since the paid photographer has freedom to move around and shoot at the best angle.


macrumors 603
May 6, 2008
Your 17-55 will probably stay glued to your camera body the majority of the time. I would also consider renting a 70-200 f/2.8 IS (or non-IS) if you can't get close to your subject(s). Maybe even renting the 50 f/1.4 wouldn't hurt either.
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