The results of my first wedding

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Razeus, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Razeus, Oct 10, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011

    Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Thanks for everyone that helped me out in my previous posts, especially concerning indoor flash photography. Here are some of my best shots of the night (about 80% done with PP). I used my D7000, 17-55 f/2.8, and my SB-700 speedlight with the tungsten filter the entire time due to being indoors and horrific lighting of the venue. CC is greatly appreciated - you won't hurt my feelings:

    111008_D7K2040.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K2101.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K2120.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K2158.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K2384.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K2180.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K3035.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    111008_D7K2868.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    edit: for picture changes...
  2. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    Good effort, particularly for your first shoot.

    Colour and exposure is spot on - skin tones look realistic.

    Only shots I would comment on:

    5 - I don't want to see that wall. Not only is the lighting terrible in that space but the decor too. The shot could have been more successful had the cake been moved slightly to give the guests as a background. As a general aside different wedding couples want different things from the photography of their day but for me the couple should be captured enjoying and celebrating the day with their guests - why aren't the guests a significant part of the cake-cutting, they're all sat down?

    7 - Whilst the bride is clearly enjoying herself the drama of her pose juxstaposed with the background and general composition of the shot are at odds. I feel like I want to see the guests that she is engaging/laughing with. Might've been better in B&W, too.

    8 - In the interest of symmetrical sanity I would have either cropped the wall lights completely out or completely in. They're fairly inoffensive so I would probably have kept them in to add depth to the image.

    Again though, good effort. Very clear and crisp images - did you shoot wide-open?
  3. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Thanks for the comments. I shot mostly at f/4 @1600 ISO.

    #7 is a shot getting ready for her garter removal. Everyone had left the dance floor for this. Why? I'm not sure. I went with the flow. I had to tell the bride to get this moving because guests where starting to leave - not sure what the wedding coordinator was doing during this time. I'm thinking of cropping out that speaker on the left.

    #5 unfortunately, they weren't willing to move the cake. I'm positioned where they wanted me, and frankly that was the best angle I could get. I was literally in a corner (had the move the table out just so I could squeeze in). Not sure why all the guests remained seated - the wedding coordinator was missing in action most of the time. I literally had to tell the bride and groom it was time for cake cutting because there wasn't anything going on for a good amount of time.

    I didn't want to shoot the formals by the "fireplace" setting but that's what she wanted and frankly I had to. To the left was the cake and the appetizer line, tot he right was the buffet and everywhere else in the place, the walls were lined with mirrors. Mirrors...

    The venue was pretty much a very low budget place, but I guess you pay for what you can afford. The dance floor in #7 was also where the ceremony was held. The lights were horrific, but luckily the ceilings where low. I had to overpower my flash by 1EV to get even and consistent lighting. It was pretty dark in there. Don't get me started on the disco ball that had all sorts of colorful lights beaming all over the place.

    Overall, I think I nailed the lighting, exposure and skin tones. As a photographer, I learned you have to work with what you're given.
  4. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    Agreed. But, as a photographer, you also need to advise your client on how to capture the best photograph possible (I'm sure that the wedding couple were not particularly interested in the yellow wall either...!) - at weddings this can be really tough since there is much pressure to please a (most probably) sensitive client.

    I shot my first wedding earlier this year - admittedly I had quite different conditions to you but, if you're interested, you can view my blog post about it here:
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Weddings are tough but you made it harder pushing them along when you knew (because you said so) it was not your job. Next time try to go with the flow and if your time is limited (contractually) then that is when you need to speak up. You control you and your contract, let the clients be upset with the wedding coordinator.

    The shot of her on the dance floor is confusing and sad. Crop the speaker for sure but more so, what happened to her feet? The same goes for the bottom of the cake? I would shoot it and let the client choose a crop.

    I worry that you said 80% was PP. Was this just because of difficult lighting? I would never want to spend 80% in PP. My goal would be to do it right in camera best I could and not rely on software. I gather you had issues with lighting, it's obvious at least in one where the man is lit up so much; almost hot, and she is good. Were you the only photographer?

    Shot 1, I'm annoyed by the purse. I feel like there is nothing else there so why the purse? Shot 7, can you PS out the cord from the outlet? and shot 4, another crop issue. The left side fake vine got more love than the left side of the groom (right as you look at him). Spacing issue? Who were they looking at?

    Overall, I'd call it a success. I think, as you said, some shots are the victims of where you're required to be and what is in the room. Such is life. However, refrain from blaming the low budget room on anything. It'll only hurt the bride's feelings.
  6. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    I would agree with your comments on the whole but not this statement. I would never let a client choose how an image should be cropped. It's my job as a photographer to know, particularly after shooting, how to make the most of what I've captured.
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    ^ you're right. I think where I was headed is if they were dying for a crop I'd crop.
  8. Bonch macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2005
    Could use a little more T&A but not a bad set of photos overall.
  9. Razeus, Oct 10, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

    Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    No, I meant that 80% of my PP is done. Only thing I had to do was change the white balance and that just took one click. So in other words, all my PP is done, now I'm just looking at the little things like tighter crops and cloning out minor things.

    As far as pushing the bride along, I had to. People were getting restless (???) and asking me what was next. I told them I didn't know. I felt I needed to approach the bride (who is a friend of mine) and tell her what was going on. When she replied that she didn't know where the coordinator was or what to do next, so I made a few of the decisions. She agreed and we both went up to the DJ and gave him the next steps.

    As far as the cake shot, hey, I tried to get a better shot, but she felt it would be too much of a hassle and was fine were it was - she likes the photo and frankly that's the bottom line.

    I have no control over the bride by herself on the dance floor. The DJ announced it was time for the garter toss and everyone left the floor. I thought it was strange, but I took the shots as they happened. The bride knows that I'm more of photo journalistic photographer and posing every shot is not my thing (other than the formals of course).

    So as far as #1, ya, I'm going to attempt to clone out the purse and blur the background. #7 the speaker and power cord are getting the ax. #2, grandma is getting cropped out. #4, the vine is getting cropped out. Next to me was a door and people had just walked in and she was saying "hi". When I tell you the place as small, I'm telling you the place was tiny.

    On top of that, it was dark. I used my speedlight to the fullest to over power the ambient light by using up to +1 EV.
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    You did a nice job with lighting, too. There are a few hot spots, but it's pretty even.

    And it's a lot better than one would expect for what to find in a thread with a title like "The results of my first wedding." :D
  11. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Thanks. The lighting as 90% flash...Having them lit up the way I have them would have been impossible with what the venue had. I'm glad I opted for the flash instead of going with "available" lighting. I would have been in trouble.

  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    It doesn't look like you used softboxes or anything like that, but did you use reflectors at least? If you got that far with just a single point flash mounted on your camera, then I'm even more impressed.....
  13. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Just a single flash atop the camera. Had the camera in manual mode and the flash on TTL. I'm a one man army so no reflectors. Luckily low ceilings and bouncing the flash at an angle behind me with the tungsten filter on it help out the color balance. If you look at pic #4, in the background was all the light I had throughout the entire venue.
  14. tinman0 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2008
    I'm going against the grain a little bit and will say the photographs look excellent. These are pictures taken on the day, maybe a little thought about details - eg cropping, but at the end of the day they are first class.

    The problem throughout the shots is backgrounds that aren't exactly spectacular, but from what the OP has said, it sounds like he was quite limited in what he could do. There is only so much a photographer can do, and if the bride is determined to pose next to a crappy wall then your options really are very limited!
  15. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    It doesn't sound like you're looking for c&c.
  16. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    1,4 and 7 should all be shifted to give the subjects more space to "look into."

  17. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    No, I am looking for CC at the photographer level. When you have the audacity to tell me that my client "wouldn't want a yellow wall in the photo", now you're trying to guess what my client wants in the photo, without the details of why the shot ended up the way it did. Did I try to suggest moving the cake or getting them a different angle? Yes and yes. Sometimes, it is what it is. If you want to leave it at the photo itself, fine, but trying to say what my client would like without knowing the fine details is absurd.

    Then we have our member jessica who's asking why all the people are sitting down at the cake cutting and why there's nobody on the dance floor doing the garter toss. As if I'm suppose to know or gather everyone one around for the shot. Did I raise my brow when the DJ announced the garter toss and everyone left the dance floor? Yep. But in the end, I figured it was some sort of tradition or how they wanted it setup. But Jessica thinks this is "sad". She's also annoyed by the purse. Me too, but you know what? The bride was 45 minutes late as it was and we had to hustle. I'm sure I can fix that in PS.

    Could I have done some stuff different? Sure. It's my first wedding after all. My mind was on the lighting first and foremost and I'm sure I could have paid more attention to the compositions. I believe I nailed the lighting and got most of the compositions right. That came from visting the place before hand and using my girlfriend as a prop and writing all the settings down. There was no rehearsal and no practicing sessions. Of course, a few things change the day of.And that's why I asked for the CC. On the photos themselves. I didn't ask for CC on what's "sad", nor did I ask "do you think my clients will like this photo".
  18. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    Razeus, 2 comments first: 1) man, you are BRAVE to jump in a do a wedding! 2) I am far from an expert so you can either take whatever you want from my comments, no harm no foul.

    some of the photos have been removed from flickr so I can not comment on them. here goes;

    photo 1- with the mirror in the background, maybe next time you are in a situation like this maybe take a shot with the reflection in the photo. Angled just right it might look good, provided your not int he reflection:) I have a terrible habit of wanting to get the shot and not taking a moment to look at the subject, look around the subject and move around the subject. OK, so the purse was in the photo. Next situation you'll more than likely remember to do some surveillance first. Actually, I did not notice the purse right off the bat. I was focused on the bride.

    photo 3- I may be cliche, but how about considering a real close up of only the hands as one of the shots, maybe with a little shallow DOF

    photo 5- any possibility of a shallower DOF with bokeh effect with this pose?

    The group shots are nice and I see you have cropped out the sconces in the one photo. Nicely done.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. Like I have already stated, you're brave to take the plunge and do a wedding. Tons of pressure. But as with everything in life, we learn from being introspective and analyzing how we can do things better, and practice make perfect (or at least gets us better!):D For a first go round I feel you captured the feeling of the event.
  19. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    I was reuploading and the photos should show up better.

    I wish I could have got a better ring shot, but I had to shoot fast. Of course, I should have ask to re-enact the shot... hind sight.

    I wish the cake cutting at more bokeh. I shot it at f/4 and pretty much stayed there the entire night, sometimes dropping to f/2.8 in area where there was no light.

    Yes, it was definitely a learning experience, but I look forward to doing more.
  20. Pikemann Urge macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2007
    I wish I had done that before my first wedding! I actually wanted to plan for the ceremony and immediately afterwards. But get this: the groom said not to worry about it! Well, he's the boss... :)
  21. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    I think lighting is too bright.

    Dial -1 on the camera, and +1/2 on the flash, and see how it goes. Every light measuring system changes a bit, so you might have to tweak that a bit.
  22. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    Ok. Without wanting to drag this on, you've been offered advice at a 'photographer level'. If you don't think that comments regarding composition are related to photography then you're beyond help and, from the tone of your responses, you aren't really looking for the second c of c&c. Fair enough.

    Simply put, a photographer would have composed the cake cutting shot differently.
  23. LucidX macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2004
    I don't think you really want constructive criticism. It sounds like you are hoping for praise. If you sincerely want constructive criticism, simply listen to the opinions on the photos rather than replying back to each and every issue raised. In short, stop defending yourself - you're not on trial. The only way to improve in any creative field is to recognize where one may have gone wrong so you can avoid it or try something differently next time.

    As for critique at the 'photographer level,' I can offer you my thoughts. I am a professional photographer of weddings and events. I shot as a second photographer for many years prior to being a primary photographer and this helped immensely with my timing. For instance, one learns pretty early on that the the cake cutting can be over very quickly with little to no warning from the mc. It helps to be as pushy as possible if the angle or lighting is awful when the mc or event coordinator is positioning the cake. They usually don't care where it is, but won't mind moving it a few feet one way as opposed to the other. If you have never worked as a second photographer, I would recommend it as you will advance in your craft faster than working solo and going through trial and error as a primary photographer. You can experiment without the pressure of just having to get the shot since the principal photograher will be shouldering most of the pressure.

    If these photos are what you deem to be the top selects from the wedding, they show a very amateurish level of technique, framing, composition and lighting.

    I do not doubt that the lighting at the venue was horrific. You did do a good job at keeping color balanced. However, the background is often exposed the same as the subjects (who are a half-stop over-exposed) and it is not a background that needs any highlighting (it could use obscuring). The lighting makes the photos flat as does the lack of shallow DoF in most of the shots. You'll get a better sense of depth with a contrast of light & dark as well as shallower depth of field. In post, you can try adding some vignetting to darken the background, if you dig vignetting. Also, by angling the lighting, you'll enhance the depth. Rather than shooting the flash head-on at the subject, you can try bouncing of the ceiling or turning the flash 45 degrees and using the white card.

    Many of the angles and frames are very predictable. These are the expected compositions from a guest with a point-and-shoot or cell phone camera. You're the pro, the compositions have to stand out from the guests.

    Reviewing your gear, you will not be getting much in the way of variety bringing a single lens. 17-55mm is a narrow range, you do't have a long lens for portraits of the bride and you don't have a wide lens for large group shots (in tight spaces) since that 17mm is really 25.5mm on a camera body with a 1.5x crop factor like that nikon (I'm a canon guy, so I'm not 100% on that spec). And, even if you're at the $500 level, you have no redundancy in case of equipment failure with one lens and one body. Also on a 1.5x body, it is more difficult to achieve shallower depth of field at the same field of view when compared to a full frame or 35mm camera. Except for large group shots, I used to shoot wide open much of the time when I used a camera with a crop factor.

    If you really want to improve, creatively and technically you can get there. Henri Cartier-Bresson said, "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." He shot on film.
  24. Razeus, Oct 11, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011

    Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Points are noted. Thanks for your input. But as I've already said, all the flash was bounced off the ceiling, bouncing it behind me using about +1 EV. I didn't want my subjects lit but the background dark. That's how cell phone photos look. I wanted the place to appear lit with more emphasis on the subjects.

    I don't recall ever mentioning my complete gear list other than what I shot with, but since you assume that I have no redundancy, I had my buddy's D90 and his 24-70 2.8 with me and my own 35, 50 and 85 1.8 primes in the bag - didn't even need to use it. And yes, I'm aware that I have a 1.5x crop factor - obviously....

    As for my next wedding, I'll be shooting wide open at 2.8. I was actually worried about shooting at this aperture even though I know my 17-55 is crazy sharp wide open. I've read in the wedding photo books that's what most photogs do, so I'll be trying that. Hopefully it'll be outdoors, but I'm no longer worried about doing indoor photography.
  25. Rich-212 macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2010
    I dont' want to hi-jack another thread, and apologies if this is bad manners but...
    I'm in the UK and currently have a career in the law. I'm doing ok, but my heart's not in it.

    I started photography a few years back and love it as a hobby. I;ve started to think about photography as a career - especially weddings.

    Anyone got any experience of starting off and any good tips they want to share?

    Thanks in advance, I know you guys are great at giving advice!

    Cheers, Rich

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