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Old Nov 19, 2005, 6:06 PM   #1
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I just volunteered to shoot a small wedding for free for my Uncle. He has CP (Cerebral Palsy) and is deaf and has difficulty walking, so it's really hard for him to come up with money. He is trying his best to get help from the family for a wedding, and that's fine with me.

My problem is, I have never shot a wedding...Hell, I am just now learning about portrait photography. I have a Rebel XT with a 50mm prime, the kit lens, and a sigma 70-300. I have an IR flash trigger and a Sigma EF-500 dg Super flash. I am pretty sure the venue is going to be very small, maybe not even in a church, just some random room. Anyone have any tips or is there like a "10 things wedding photographers need to know" or some sort of crash course.

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Old Nov 19, 2005, 6:58 PM   #2
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thats pretty assinine. Even if you did have advice, Im not sure if I'd listen.
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Old Nov 19, 2005, 7:36 PM   #3
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Sorry you had to listen to that previous reply. Here are a few tips/things to consider.

1. Your lenses should cover most situations. Your a little lacking on the really wide end, but it does not sound like you will be taking any large group photos.

2. You will definetly want to go to where the wedding and reception will be held and take some test pictures to get an idea of what the lighting will be like. This way you'll know if any exposure compensation will be needed.

3. If the ceilings are high, I would pick up a lumiquest pocket bouncer for you flash unit. This will soften the flash and make things look more natural.

4. Get a list of poses/shots your uncle would like..this way you'll know exactly what he wants and make it easier for you plan your evening and make sure you get everything.

5. Do you have a backup camera. Even if it means renting, or borrowing a body....stranger things have happened, and you'll want to be prepared. Make sure you have batteries, memory cards, etc.

Obviously there is alot more to consider. Are you completely comfotable with your camera and do you understand the basics of photography....aperature, shutter speed, iso, use of flash, exposure compensation etc. Are you prepared to work while every one else is having fun. You won't be able to mingle and party with the rest.

Weddings are not easy. Lighting conditions and white dresses with black tuxes really put metering to the test. They are easy to screw up. Even though this is family, I'm sure your Uncle will have expectations. I would think long and hard over this...I'm not saying it can't be done, but it won't be easy.

One other thing to consider...think about going in with a few other family members to pay for a pro to do the job as a wedding gift. I'm sorry if i sound harsh, but again this is not easy work.

Good luck!!!

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Old Nov 19, 2005, 8:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the help. I will take all that into consideration. I don't have a backup camera other than a Powershot s50. The reason I am worried about it is because I read somehwere that family shoots and free shoots are the absolute worst when it comes to weddings, so I hope I didn't make a big mistake. I am fairly comfortable with metering and camera settings, etc. but I will probably need to practive metering on something that is white/black like the wedding subjects. Any ideas on that?

As for hiring a photographer, I am not sure if it can be done. They are barely getting up enough to even have the wedding, and it is going to be 12/31, which is short notice and a day in which photographers probably won't want to work.
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Old Nov 19, 2005, 8:30 PM   #5
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Don't panic.

Are you likely to get 20 good shots that could be used in a magazine? - not likely

Are you likely to get 20 shots that are good enough to put in a photo album and bring back some fine memories? - real likely

Get someone to help you with things like this

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Old Nov 19, 2005, 8:47 PM   #6
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I am glad that youaccepted to helpyour uncle . rjseeney and BillDrew gave you the most precious advices already. I can just add that if you have someone with a laptop on site, it will be nice, after a series of shots, you can make that person to load them right away and check if anything is missed, sometimes not visible on the camera LCD.
I believe also that one of the difficulties will be the white dress , actually , details on the dress, easily over exposed with (direct) flash .

Good luck
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Old Nov 19, 2005, 11:05 PM   #7
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Search this forum for the string "wedding eric" and you'll find my posts about wedding photography. The problem you're in comes up fairly regularly on this forum. This link has some good info:


This link includes a link to another site that has suggested poses.

The advice you got above is good. I want to add a few things:
Wedding photography is very hard. Things happen very quickly, so you have to be ready. This means several things:
- Learn about the wedding. What they will do when, so you can be ready ahead of time. How close can you get?
- Learn if you can use flash or not. Some places don't allow it, and that will make a huge difference.
- Learn who you need to get pictures of. Talk with people on both sides of the family.
- Practice taking pictures of people in black next to people in white. It was mentioned aobve, but it shouldn't be missed. You still need to get detail in the black shirt while not blowing out the whites. This takes practice.
- Learn to anticipate what is going on. Take the camera around the house, and take pictures of things that go one. Capture someone pouring a drink (with the fluid in the air.) As they come through a door. Get good at reading the moment.

You've got the flash power covered, but I think you need the wider end of the focal length. I would suggest renting a lens like the Canon 28-135 IS or something similar. Your 50mm could be handy if the light is low... but you'll want something wider for group shots.

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Old Nov 20, 2005, 5:22 AM   #8
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I recently shot my son's wedding when the official photographer failed to show.

It was a big rush to get things done but a few friends sat in church during the ceromony and made a list of the sort of shots you generally get at weedings and that really helped.

When I got the shots back (I was using film then) I had some good shots and some I wasn't so happy with. My wife then got our wedding album and showed me that the photos we had taken were no better and I had never noticed. My son and his wife were really pleased with the album I made up and never noticed my less than perfect shots.

Some ideas

Groom and best man before the wedding, adjusting ties, buttonholes etc.

Bride arriving

Bride and bridesmaids

Bride coming down the aisle. During the ceromony it'll depend what is allowed.

Signing the register

Couple leaving together.

Couple outside venue as many shots and poses as you want.

Couple with best man and bridesmaids

Bridesmainds admiring ring

Couple with parents

Couple with parents and grandparents

Couple with brothers and sisters

Couple with all their family.

Couple with friends

Couple with all guests

Couple getting in car to leave

Couple in car.

I'm sure you can think of more just think about weddings you have been to.


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Old Nov 20, 2005, 7:51 AM   #9
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I have done two weddings, the last one shot with my canon 300d with no backup camera and most of the shoot done with a finger holding the battery in the camera as the worst possible thing happened and the camera took a fall onto concrete and the battery housing door snapped off. Believe it or not I managed some good photos and with a little photoshop work there were at least 15 really nice ones and the couple were so happy with them.

A wedding is difficult but if the couple are happy in the end, that is all that matters.

A little advise, since you cant provide another camera I would purchase some of those throw away cameras with film perhaps 5 or so (maybe you could talk a salesperson into a reduction of the price) and hand them to the most useful looking people attending the wedding, no-one who's had too much to drink though...:-) Tell them to shoot what they would like photos of if they were the wedding couple and make sure you ask them to shoot some of the crowd. We did this with my brothers wedding and some of these shots were great and caught people that the professional photographer missed.

good luck
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Old Nov 20, 2005, 9:39 AM   #10
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Here's some professional advice...:G

You're doing this for free for your Uncles Wedding?

Lighten up - Lighten up and have a good time. Take as many pictures as you want, while you're celebrating and enjoying the wedding! If you're Uncle is not a fool, then he knows who you are and what you can do - But I'm sure he wants a great wedding more than a great series of photographs!

The more relaxed you are. The better the time YOU are havinbg, the better the pictures will be!

Enjoy the Wedding and the pictures will be better!

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