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Old Jul 6, 2011, 8:26 AM   #1
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Default Wedding shoot advice

Hello I am a hobbiest. Through my wifes best friends her brother has asked me to shoot their wedding(they are on a budget) my gear T2i , 18-55 kit 70 300 is ,access to 70-200 l is , 100-400 l , 100 macro and a speedlite 550ex.My passions have been shooting hockey, baseball , wildlife, my kids some landscape.This wedding and events are mainly going to be indoors at a poorly lit community hall ,(they have not come up with a decent outdoor area for wedding portraits ,but I will) Any key points to focus on and or advice on doing this. This is really a favour (and learning experience for me)

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Old Jul 6, 2011, 12:01 PM   #2
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Hello! Ill try to give you some advice although I have only shot 3 wedding. You should really try to borrow or rent a second camera house in case yours would stop working. You also should try to rent or borrow a some lens with a faster aparteure. 50 mm f1,8, 50mm f1,4 or something like that.

Besides that. get a good nights sleep the night before. Dont stress. Have fun. Take something to eat and drink with you. Last wedding me and my wife who also shoots weddings with me drank floods of water.
And when your done shooting for the night, try stretch some. Im not kidding
My back was killing me after the first wedding.

Good luck and Im sure you will get some more advice from more experienced people.

Best regards/Daniel
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Old Jul 6, 2011, 9:00 PM   #3
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I am a newspaper and fire-rescue photographer by trade and to be honest I rather have a car on fire right in front or something about to explode ....... I have shot several family weddings after being bagged to do them. So here some advice I can pass along. Hope it helps

- get to the wedding too early. Use the time to photograph the church inside and outside and other detail shots. Also if you can go to the reception hall earlier in the day (if it is set up the day before - most often it is) and take detailed shots of the place (glasses, table clothes, name cards if they use them, flowers on the tables etc). Also if its a fire hall grab a photo of the fire department sign and the fire trucks if you can get access to that part of the building.

- take twice as much memory and batteries as you think you will need..... In fact I recommend you take every battery and memory card you have for the camera and if in doubt try to borrow an extra memory card and buy an extra battery.

- charge every battery you have the day and night before the weeding... Even the one in your camera and even if the batteries have been charged before and are waiting for use. You want every battery at 100% charge

- When you get to the wedding location put a spare battery in one pocket of your pants (not your jacket in case you take the jacket off) and also have a spare memory card easily accessible in the bag - I put mine in the front most pocket of the bag. I tend to start the event using a 16GB card and make sure when I get to the part of the wedding ceremony when the bride and groom are about to walk in I make sure I have 300 shots still available or I'll change memory cards if needed. That way I won;t miss any action having to change memory cards. Also same holds true if the battery isn't 1/2 full I'll change batteries as well.

- Shoot at the highest settings possible (meaning highest mega-pixel available), if you commonly work with raw you may want to shoot in raw as well but I don't use raw as I find it a pain in the _____ and just shoot in highest available jpeg

- Shoot way too many photos - worry about which ones to delete after you get home as to not miss the next shot..... you can always take too many photos but once it over you can go back. If you see somethign that grabs your eye shoot it immediately. Expect to take at least 1,000 images and if you gravitate to the burst mode 1,250 or more.......

- Take at least 2 if not 3 shots of every group pose to make sure you get the group with their eyes open and smiling

- Ask before hand if you will be feed at the wedding reception. If not cary some easily and quickly eaten snacks And no matter what carry some bottled water and an energy bar etc.

- Have a list of must have shots from the couple and also have a list of group shots they want you to take so you don't miss anything

- Also remember to take more than just the bride and groom at the reception. Don't feel like you need to follow them around all night long and only shoot just them. Try to shoot guests, parents etc for a well rounded set of photos. I try to shoot at least one shot of each table where the guests eat and when the dancing starts I try to get as many shots of the guests dancing once I've got the several dozen frames of the bride and groom shot

- Stay till the end of the reception. Don't waltz off after the cake gets cut. I have seen too many pros leave as soon as the cake was cut and piss the couple off and miss some great shots. I would say leave only after the couple has driven away......

- As soon as you get home from the wedding even if its very very late upload the photos to your computer that way if something happens to the memory card or camera you know the photos are safe. Then as soon as you have culled the batch back them up to your normal photo hard drive. Make any photo edits needed and replace the folder you saved the images in on the photo hard drive with the edited batch. That way if something goes wrong when editing a photo you can still pull the original from the other drive.

- As far as saving photos, unless the couple tells me otherwise I will always save the final images using Adobe Photo Shop Elements in max jpeg (12). I want to keep the files as large and as detailed as possible so that the couple can print large prints if need be.

Good luck and hope this helps. I'd comment on lenses and such but I shoot my weddings with the Fuji S9100, HS10 and HS20..... fixed lens bridge cameras not D-SLRs.


Last edited by Photo 5; Jul 6, 2011 at 10:01 PM.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 4:20 PM   #4
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Thanks guys , both have given me some good thoughts . I do shoot raw+jpeg and have cs 5 to edit with .
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 10:31 PM   #5
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Thanks...... I tend to shoot photo-journalism style as if it was a breaking news story going down for the most part. I do break loose from that to do the group formal shots and then start the photo-journalism style. I do check shots from time to time for exposure etc but tend to just keep shooting and delete the bad ones at the very end of the night after I've gotten home.

Good luck

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Old Jul 8, 2011, 7:20 AM   #6
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Between now and then you need a LOT of practice using an external flash. You're going to need it. Learn how to bounce the flash, learn and get comfortable using flash exposure lock (FEL). You're not going to have time to fidget with things and if you don't have experience with bouncing external flash and controlling flash exposures your shots will really suffer.
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 3:10 PM   #7
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Lots of good advice - I'd add that you might want to consider running off to an obscure monastery instead of shooting the wedding.

Get some help. Some one to drag Uncle Fred back from the bar for the group photo. Some one to arrange the bride's clothing. Several other folks to shoot photos - esp at the reception.

Just a slight expansion on one of dave's:

Originally Posted by Photo 5 View Post
... - Take at least 2 if not 3 shots of every group pose to make sure you get the group with their eyes open and smiling...
If you are not using flash, take those in burst mode. That will make it easier to clone heads/faces from one shot to the next if you need to. Also you won't wear out the group waiting for the next shot.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 6:37 PM   #8
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I recently assisted a photographer with a wedding which was my first ever. I was really there to assist with lighting as a learning experience and wasn't shooting anything.

One thing, someone mentioned....TAKE WATER AND SNACKS! This is key as you'll be going non-stop. Also, talk with your friends about taking 5 min breaks when needed before the wedding and schedule every detail so they know what you're shooting and when. ORGANIZATION is key. Making a list of shots to make is also an excellent suggestion as mentioned above.

Another thing Brides like too see, is the set up before the wedding.....the groom getting ready and chatting with his mates, the bridge getting dressed - meaning someone buttoning up the dress, etc. Hair and makeup shots....the last few minutes of being single. Also, get a shot of the rings artistically laid out somehow as this is always a pleaser. You can place them in the bible opened to a chapter which will be read and bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall to give some nice shadows and sparkle. Or have them set against some wine glasses on the table in the reception room with the rest of the decorations out of focus in the background. Get creative. And Good luck!!!

Its all about the details.
Olympus E-PL5 45mm 1.8, 60mm macro and Panny 25mm 1.4

Canon 5D III
50mm 1.2 L l 24-70 F2.8 L l 70-200 F4 L l 40mm 2.8 l 100mmL 2.8 macro


Last edited by Shutterbug74; Jul 10, 2011 at 6:41 PM.
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