Wedding Photography Tools

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sir SpemzR, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. Sir SpemzR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #1
    Ok so my cousins wedding is next week and she wants me to take
    pictures of it, she knows im new to photography so she doesnt expect the
    best of the best...

    i barely own a Rebel Xs and im comfortable shooting in different modes
    but i know i cant just use my bare camera and ill need some kind of flash
    to carry around and maybe other supplies...

    so what do you guys recommend for a wedding?
    besides my Rebel Xs and the 18-55mm kit lens...
    what kind of flash(s) should i look into?

    thank you,
    mario
     
  2. gatepc macrumors 6502

    gatepc

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    #2
    If I was you I would look into some lens/flash rental sites like http://www.lensrentals.com/

    If I was you I would rent these two lenses and the following flash unit ( assuming you can afford the rentals )

    http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon-speedlite-580ex-ii/for-canon
    http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon-70-200mm-f2.8-l-is/for-canon
    http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon-24-70mm-f2.8-l/for-canon

    and you should be set. Your camera body isint the best but the person is not expecting the best in the world ether but the two lenses listed above are really fast and would be extra good/important if your going to be indoors.
     
  3. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #3
    Good. But go a bit farther to manage expectations: tell her that you might miss some important shots. Your inexperience could cost her big time.

    x2 on the gear rental. Tell your cousin it's a reasonable expense.
     
  4. Sir SpemzR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #5
    Well i doubt ill miss any real important shots...

    first were going to a nice park to take some photos
    then to the reception and the party same ol' routine...

    and im impatient so ill follow here everywhere taking photos lol

    EDIT: would i happen to need a diffuser?
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    A week is not really a great deal of time to learn to do flash photography under pressure. This may help:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471790176/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk

    I'd be more concerned with the personal dynamics given that it's family- do your aunt and uncle expect professional shots? Because that's probably the biggest risk you face- not meeting expectations not just of the couple, but of the involved family members. Make sure you have that base well-covered!
     
  6. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #7
    I agree with compuwar, a week will not make you able to master flash, and eventhough you think you understand how flash works, as soon as you reach the location and everything will go crazy especially when you just got ur flash. This happened to me though, I practiced in my house everyday for about a week and when the event comes (some formal event, not wedding), I go nuts when the flashed photographs didn't turn out the way I liked them to.

    And yeah, a diffuser will help you.

    Btw, does ur cousin hired some photographer and wants you to take some extra photos for her or what?
     
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #8
    if you're the official photographer: say no. just because you have a fancy camera doesn't make you qualified to record something as significant as a wedding. it's much more than simply walking around snapping pictures.

    if you aren't, don't buy anything. rent something if you'd like.

    if you want specific advice on equipment, you need to tell us where and when the wedding is.
     
  8. Sir SpemzR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #9
    ok well i just got off the phone with her, the wedding has been moved to 2 weeks from now,

    its not a big wedding wat so ever....
    small church and i think the party is going to be
    at her house in the backyard....

    sadly yes i am the main and only photographer and she knows that
    im new and not skilled and so does everyone else in the family, they werent
    going to hire one but then noticed i had the capability to snap some photos
    better than everyone else in the fam....

    i know the basic of taking pics like wat settings, exposures and focus to use
    different shots, i know how to add balance and focal points and not have a
    million things going on in the pic...

    trust me, they dont expect high quality at all, but i do have to wear a tux
    for the occasion lol
     
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #10
    time of day? does the church have large windows?
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #11
    Make sure it's all in writing- the blow ups you can get cross-generation can be no fun- you know your own family, but factor in flying female wedding hormones! (they're like male direction-asking hormones, except they don't show up when you're lost, just when there's a bride about to wed.)

    Get the book, Google the heck out of "Drag the shutter" and try to go to the church and arrange for some time to practice 3 or so times- offer the power there the use of some images if they'd like to pose and you can get anything good. Rent or buy a flash now and the glass and practice at least every couple of days until you get the distance/settings down well. You can do that at home with a teddy bear worst-case, but you'll need to know the distances in the chruch, and you'll have to learn to convince the officiant that you're not going to be shooting direct flash so they should let you use yours. Make a shot list for the "formal" posed shots and get used to asking the others to wait with their cameras until after you've gotten two shots. Drink lots of water and go to the bathroom first- it's going to be a long day and you're likely to be stressed and overheated. Shoot tight and look for emotions.
     
  11. pixelperfected macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #12
    Make sure you tell them that YOU WILL MISS IMPORTANT SHOTS. The bride walking down the aisle could be only a blur or out focus.

    This said, I truly admire your bravery/madness. If I were you I would get a a 430ex flash (580 exII if you can afford it) AND a off-camera cable. It will save your day. Don't forget to have extra batteries for the flash and the camera as well as extra memory cards.

    If you can throw in $100 box more get a 50mm f/1.8, it feels like a toy but you will get much better portraits allowing you to keep ISO to a minimum.

    Good luck with that
     
  12. Sir SpemzR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #13
    well im prioritizing my needs...

    and i truly think i need a flash over a new lens...
    so i think i should get a flash and diffuser and
    a slave?
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    You don't even know yet if the officiant will allow flash during the ceremony.
     
  14. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #15
    believe me, you don't want to learn a new flash and end up with another flash as slave, it will be too much overwhelming, stick with 1 flash and a fast prime (to everyone: since it is an APS-C will a 35mm prime make more sense then a 50mm prime? since on an APS-C it will give ~50mm FoV which is about the same as 50mm on a FF)
     
  15. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #16
    Wedding postponed for a couple of weeks? Then there's still enough time for you to back out. The words 'wedding' and 'new to photography' should never appear in the same sentence. No matter what people say, they all want a set of beautiful pictures to mark a special, unrepeatable occasion. The set of skills required range from total familiarity with equipment, technical competence, 'vision', creativity, unflappability and 'man management'...
     
  16. ThunderRobot macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #17
    Like just about everyone else I'd say don't do it. Not if you want to keep your cousin as a friend.

    'Working' (even unpaid) for family will almost always lead to problems. Especially when - by your own admission - you're new to photography.

    Having said that, take a look at the wedding forum at fredmiranda.com.


    Especially these two stickies;

     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #18
    Seconded. I would try to get out of that commitment, it will only lead to disappointment. Probably the bride just wants to skimp out on paying a real photographer and put it towards her honeymoon or whatever. You are not equipped to do what she asks you to -- neither in terms of camera equipment nor in experience with your equipment. I don't mean to be mean here, nor am I saying you're not capable, but the difference is more like between someone who likes to cook at home (with perhaps decent results after consulting cook books or so) and a chef in a kitchen who is supposed to make dinner for 20 people, most of whom have ordered different dishes. ;)

    I've done a wedding once -- and I take pictures for over 20 years. (I'm not saying I'm particularly talented, but I feel comfortable using an slr with plenty of accessories.) I was given zero budget (I'm friends with the bride). I asked her in advance if there are any shots she likes to have taken or what she expects. Zip. Funny thing is that her whole family knew a lot more what I was supposed to do than me! During the ceremony, one of her relatives asked me: `Why do you sit here? Aren't you supposed to take pictures up front?' ;)
    Despite all this, I nailed all the money shots even though I had to hand hold all shots with a 1.5 kg camera + lens combo (mostly at 135-200 mm). The pictures suffered a little because I had to push my cameras ISO settings to the limit, but I doubt any non-pro would notice.
    Then I invested a lot of time in making an album, but the response was positive. Personally, I think it turned our rather well, it was professionally made (via Aperture) and I spent a lot of time on details.

    For me, it was fun and my wedding gift to them (besides flying to England). However, I wouldn't want to do it for money -- I'd have to invest quite a bit in more equipment (more powerful flash, second body, backup everything, tripod, two, three primes).

    If I were you, I'd say that you will take your camera, but that you won't be the wedding photographer. You're there as a friend taking snapshots. That lifts all of the pressure and you can still take your camera, your flash and practice -- without the expectations others might have.
     
  18. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #19
    I don't agree with the folks that are saying to back out of the deal. To me, it looks like a small wedding with mostly family and close friends. Small church, small party in the backyard, etc.

    If SirSpermzR doens't do this, the the bride won't have anything. I think most brides will understand the difference between a pro and a relative with a nice camera and ratchet her expectations accordingly.

    As for advice, make sure you have a second battery that is fully charged. In fact, make sure your primary battery is fully charged. Bring your charger as well.

    Also, see if you can recruit another one of your relatives to be your assistant. For the outside shots, the assistant can hold up some reflectors and stuff like that. Also, he could make sure that you don't accidentally knock into the table and topple the wedding cake.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you'll be expected to pose the subjects ... unless you go "photo-journalistic" style. One of the things that my wedding photographer had me do was to position my head slightly forward. This had the effect of stretching my neck ... to eliminate any double-chin action ... not that I have a double chin, but from some angles ...

    Lastly, take a look at as many wedding albums as you can. Surf the web and look at some pro portfolios to see certain shots that you like. You can mimic those poses and shot. If there's a cake, shoot that. My photographer followed my wife in the morning of the wedding and shot photos of her getting ready with her bridesmaids and stuff. He did those shots in B&W, photojournalism style.

    And make sure you have some fun too.
     
  19. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #20
    rent. or borrow from someone else's stuff, if you know anyone, at least to practice with so you only have to rent for the wedding day.

    start with one flash. slaving and positioning multiple lights can get complicated, and it's complicated enough already.

    if you want to use off-camera flash, you also need a light stand, a PC cord from the flash to your camera, a PC cord adapter for your camera (your camera doesn't have a port built-in), or forget the wires and go wireless with Alien Bees or PocketWizards or Skyports (?). avoid Cactus' with Canon flashes. then you need a reflector and an assistant to hold it. I would just go bare-bulb, but if you want a diffuser, you either hold a reflector in front of the flash or get an umbrella and an umbrella swivel (to attach the umbrella to the stand).

    you also need a longer lens for tight shots without being in anyone's face. you can rent/buy a 55-250 or rent any flavor of 70-200 you like. forget about primes this time.
     
  20. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #21
    In the real world, not everyone can afford to hire a wedding photographer. Professional photographers and enthusiast photographers must understand that.
     
  21. blantonreed macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #22
    The way I see it, is that we were all beginners at some point. Everyone who has ever shot weddings has had their FIRST wedding to shoot. Whether it was a big or small wedding, whether you were new or skilled photographer, etc., there is always that first time. And I'm fairly sure that during everyone's first time, their were a lot of nerves. That's just how it is. The OP has already stated that the bride (whether family or not) knows his situation (new to photography) and is not expecting much. So I don't see any reason for him to back out. This will be a great time to test the waters, so to speak. He may come away with extraordinary images. My point is, after all the rambling, is that everyone during the beginning phases or photography needed someone to give us a chance to get some experience, whether it be wedding photography or not. All this will do is get him that experience he needs.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not at all saying that a new photographer should be doing a lush, extravagant, expensive wedding at all. But this small wedding seems to be a situation that will benefit the OP with experience.
     
  22. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    #23
    I'd suggest renting a 24-70 f2.8L and a 580ex IF they allow flash photography during the ceremony AND IF they allow you to roam. If neither is allowed, rent a 70-200 f2.8 IS. Concentrate on the ceremony only.
    Convince the bride and groom to pony up for a bunch of disposable cameras (one for each table) and allow the guest to photograph the reception.

    Attend the rehearsal and learn what happens and when, that way you'll know which shots are important and where to stand to get the best angle. Check out the church days before the wedding to see what the setting is like. That will determine what kind of equipment works best. (Nearly every church wedding I've attended had dim lighting or worst mixed lighting.:eek:) A flash is almost a requirement, the most powerful you can handle. Being a novice, I'd suggest steering clear the "potato masher" flashes, since they're more difficult to work with (the TTL on those don't always work). A fast lense is a requirement. Again because of the god awful lighting and to DOF control.

    Additional: Get a second camera, even if it's only a point and shoot. A lesser quality shot is better than no shot. I just re-read what I wrote. I jumped subject and confused the heck outta me. Sounds like the ramblings of an old man.:p
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #24
    Most do, the trouble is in both of the other feet where the shoe may not fit- the budding enthusiast may not be aware of the pitfalls of doing a wedding where even managed expectations might not be able to stifle the difference between great flower shots in the garden and even adequate shots in a dimly-lit county building in front of three witnesses. I think it's fair to say that enough of us have seen it go wrongly enough that the advice to flee isn't anything but well-intentioned folks who think that even a 10% chance of a lifetime of unhappiness in a circle of friends or a family isn't worth it. Our budding and easily encouraged wedding photographer may not understand quite how deep they may have gotten themselves into it, until the appearance of a long line of family, friends and acquaintances who hear that they "did it for free for Bessie-Sue, and I can't really afford one either..." Also, Bridezilla and the MOB from hell all come from families- if you're not prepared for that- you may be in for a surprise. "The groom asked me" folks don't tend to look at the larger family issues- they're helping a friend, not looking at the potential downsides.

    The other other-shoe is that most couples really don't understand what goes into wedding photography (if they did, they'd hardly foist it on someone the LIKED!) To them, a person who can point a camera and hit the button can take great photographs in any condition- we all know that's not true- but they may not.

    Most of the good ones start as assistants and learn the stuff that's really important before they're the primary shooter. I didn't even know about shot lists when I shot my first wedding, and frankly it showed (I don't shoot them now.)
     
  24. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #25
    It's a thing of expectations: if you're just a friend taking pictures at your wedding, you can still take all the pictures and make an album with them. That's fine. But often the couple expects a whole lot more even though you are not a professional. Saying no to the job as official wedding photographer is just a mean to prevent heightened expectations.
     

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