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Old Jun 8, 2003, 6:16 PM   #1
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Default X-Post: Canon 10D wedding photography set up - good start?

I posted this in the Canon lenses forum as well, I would appreciate any advice people may have.

I have just purchased a 10D for my girlfriend who is going to be shooting two weddings this august. She has shot with a digital camera before (Oly E-20N - not at weddings, though) but I chose the 10D because of the superior performance and ability to use a wider variety of lenses. Being that I am going to surprise her, I had to chose the lenses myself. So far I was thinking about the:

Super Wide Angle EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Autofocus Lens
and
Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens

Would these lenses be adequate for wedding photography? She also does portraiture work. The rest of the setup I put together includes:

BG-ED3 Battery Grip
BP-511 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
550EX Speedlite TTL Shoe Mount Flash
ProMax Softbox for Shoe Mount Flashes
Lexar 2 Gig 40x Compact Flash Card

Should I also get a bracket to position the flash off the camera? I did a good deal of research before putting the package together, but have no idea about which bracket or off-camera adapter to get. Would I also need to get her an external battery?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 8, 2003, 10:27 PM   #2
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Is your girlfriend being paid to do this? Will they have a backup photographer? Is she the backup for a pro they hired? This sounds like a weird question, but I mean it. I’ll post a follow up when you answer this.

Now, on to your question. This is just my thoughts about it, I am into nature photography not wedding/portrait photography. But I’ve read enough that I feel safe making some comments.

Before the weddings:
She should make sure she knows how to get there and how long it takes. Drive the route so she knows it. Do it the same day of the week at the same time of day so the traffic is known. Being late to a wedding when you are the photographer is really bad. Make sure you have a friend who can rescue you if need be.

Walk around the site when they do the rehearsal. Look for good places to setup for the formal pictures. My guess it that you want good light (pay attention to where the sun is!) and room to set up the equipment. Also, far enough away from the guests that you don’t get bumped into or bothered. This is often done after the wedding is over and many guests leave, but some shots can also be done in a quick break during a transition in venues (the move from inside to the tent, for example.)

Talk to the couple and learn who is important. Maybe go to a pre wedding dinner and have the important people pointed out. The college roommate, the parents, the brother who flew from Germany just for the event… that kinda stuff. Take notes (or pictures!) and make sure you get them in the pictures (both formal and candid) during the wedding. I have a friend who’s mother never appeared in their wedding photos at all. They are not happy.

Test you equipment! Both the primary and backups!

During:
I truly don’t know how to handle myself as a wedding photographer, beyond the comments above that I’ve read from other people’s posts. I’d rather not say. The weddings I went to I never noticed the photographers (as it should be.)

Equipment:
You will want to get pictures of the couple alone and with friends. You’ll want to bring extra lighting to make that possible. If that should be off-camera synced flashes, some soft boxes or something else, I don’t know. You’ll also (probably) want reflectors.

You will want several batteries. I can take 200 or so JPG pictures on my 10D. With the grip, you might double that… but it rarely works that way. I’d get 3 batteries; 2 for the grip, 1 spare. That way if one shorts out in your bag on the way over you still have another to use. It might not hurt to get 4.

You’ll probably want multiple 1G CF cards. That way, when you finish one, you can store it away safely (not on your person) and then switch. Then if one of the CF’s goes bad, you don’t loose the entire wedding. If you were really paranoid, you’d copy the pictures to a laptop (or get an assistant to do it for you) during the wedding. Then you can verify that things are going well. This is probably impossible, as she doesn’t have an assistant and won’t have the time. But I mention it any ways, because that is what the larger pro shops do (part of what you get for the higher price tag.) Since she will probably be shooting in RAW format, she’ll want several 1G cards… 3? 4? 5? I get about 80 RAW pictures on my 512MB Lexar (200 of the best JPG.) I expect that on many occasions she’ll want to take multiple pictures in a row to increase the chance she’ll get a special one.

You will want faster glass than that. If the wedding is inside (tent, building, whatever) you’ll need to shoot in low light when you can’t use a flash. You are right that you need a wide angle and some kind of telephoto.

The problem is if you stick with Canon lenses, you get:
16-35mm f/2.8L USM which costs about $1,400. I know nothing about his lens.
24-70mm f/2.8L USM which costs about $1,350. I have heard amazing things about this lens. Lots of people really love this lens. The problem is that it really isn’t wide enough.

Sigma makes a:
20-40mm F2.8 EX which costs about $600. I know nothing about this lens. I’d do some research. Even consider renting it and trying it out. I’m not sure its wide enough, but it’s better than 24mm!

I own the 28-135 IS, it’s a nice lens. It’s light, focuses fast, and IS is handy. It’s a little noisy when the IS is active. During parts of the ceremony it might matter, in others it won’t. If you can use a flash, it should work. If not, it might be too slow for indoors, but work well outdoors.

I read some discussion of using a 70-200. It gives you great reach for candid shots of the little kid talking to the groom in a corner… or a tight shot of the bride’s face as she dances with her father. The problem is cost:
The F2.8 with IS costs $1,650
The F2.8 w/o IS costs $1,130
The F4 w/o IS costs $580

You might get away with F4, I don’t know. All depends on the buildings & the weddings. All three lenses are L-glass.

Finally, make sure you give you the camera way ahead of time. This will give her time to really learn the camera and lenses. What they can and can’t do well. Understand the tricks of the flash. Oh, I believe the 550EX has an AF assist light. That could be very handy. (The other Canon flash might too, just pointing it out.)

This post is already way to long. If you read this far, I’m amazed. I would go to these sites and search more. We’re a friendly bunch here, but there aren’t many pros. So if you were looking for lots of Pros, I’d look elsewhere.

http://www.dpreview.com
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/index.php
http://www.robgalbraith.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php

That last one has a “Wedding and Portrait” forum.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 5:34 AM   #3
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Don't forget that 50mm... It makes quite a nice (and cheap) wide aperture portrait lens with the 1.6x factor on the 10D! :P :P :P
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 8:05 AM   #4
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NHL

So true. I own the f1.8, but I use it for such special occasions that I didn't think of it! It would work very well for the portraits that they will want. But you'll also want some kinda zoom during portions of the wedding when you can't move around as freely as you might like.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 2:02 PM   #5
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Which 50mm 1.8? There are a few ranging from $70-$450.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 3:10 PM   #6
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There's a 50mm f1.8 ($70) and a 50mm f1.4 ($290)...

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...392&highlight=
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 4:40 PM   #7
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Sorry, should have been clearer. The Canon 50mm F1.8. I mostly use it for indoors when I need as much light as possible. Cheap as all get out (for a lens, anyways) and good. What a lovely combination in a lens!

Saxguy

Are you going to answer my question about if she is the only photographer there or not? Wedding photography is a very serious business... I've read some stuff which gave me just a glimse of what is takes to do it.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 5:27 PM   #8
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Sorray about that. She will have an assistant to work with. These are her first two weddings - she is doing it as a favor being that the people getting married cannot afford a professional wedding photographer. She does, however, have studio experience and has done portraiture and headshots for some celebrity folk.

Wedding photography is new for her, and she's basically offering her services for the cost of processing and layout. The people who hired her understand that these are her first few weddings.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 9:20 PM   #9
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No problem, I just feel it's kinda important what I was going to say. But I didn't want to spout a lecture if it wasn't necessary. You'll see why I say that when you read the rest of my post. I wrote it as part of my first one, but I felt I could be off base with the tone and content, so I held back. Now that I know it’s (kinda) appropriate, I'll say it now:

As I said, I read stuff about wedding photography at dpreview.com and other places I listed. Along with reading about how to conduct your self and things that you should do as a wedding photographer, another undercurrent was obvious in the posts. That is what the next two paragraphs are about.

To do a wedding properly you should have a backup of everything. Camera body, digital film, flashes, batteries, even lenses. I'm talking everything. This is a once in a lifetime event for the happy couple. They will never do it again, and only have their memories and the photos your girlfriend took for the rest of their lives. They will not want to hear "I didn't get a shot of the ring being put on her finger because the camera battery died."

Am I making myself clear? Wedding photography is something that looks easy, but it isn't. If she makes a mistake because of inexperience or just bad luck, it will be her fault and she has the potential to ruin their special day and deprive them of the photos of it. Something that I guaranty you they will not forgive easily.

Now, part of me found this type of talk… melodramatic. But as I thought about it (and how often this sentiment came up) I started to buy into it. If you take really bad pictures, that is what they are stuck with. Memories fade, but pictures last (in theory.) In 30 years, if they are stuck with crappy pictures, they will not be happy. This is an amazingly important day (no, I’m not married, so my adjectives could be better) and you have to take it very seriously. Do people do wedding photography without taking it this seriously? Without being this careful? Yes. And often they get away with it. But the really good ones don't take that risk.

I have read horror stories about “friends taking the pictures”. It sounds like she is more prepared than those people were. She’ll know how to handle the people from her studio work. How to photograph them. She might not be used to the uncontrolled environments, but she can practice for that beforehand. And having an assistant will help as well. I was asked to take the pictures at my sister’s wedding. I refused. Not only did I want to enjoy the event… I also didn’t feel comfortable that I could do it to the level it should be done. Your girlfriend sounds much more skilled than I am, that part of it shouldn’t be a problem.
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 2:33 PM   #10
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Another place with a dedicated wedding form is:
http://www.bridephoto.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi

I've never read stuff there, but it looks to be quite active. Could have some useful information.
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