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Old Apr 12, 2005, 12:10 PM   #1
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Hello, I've got a ton of questions here, but I am also posting this atdcresource.com and shutterfreaks.com. I am posting the same questions there hoping to get the best answers.

I am a new digital camera owner from Oct. 2004. I purchased a second hand Fuji s602z, and grew with it quickly including the TCON-17 telelphoto attachment.

I am now for a month a proud owner of a Canon Digital Rebel 300D, which I will be making payments on for a while. I am extremely happy with all the "hacked" functions.

I have been approached by friends inquiring about my involvment in taking some Wedding engagement photos, then possibly shooting their wedding. The equipment I own currently isn't up to the task. The Rebel is awesome, but I've only got the Kit lens right now, and no external flash.

I am looking for recommendations, which I could look at reviews and sample images. I will post now, that I am unable to view pbase.com or deviantart.com image galleries, as my college censor's those sites due to some trasy content.

I already am looking at the Canon 50mm f1.8 Mark II lens. I know the Mark I is better, but I'm a young married man, with a 3 month old daughter. http://www.quantumdefect.com/tlmiller10/jordan/ That's her gallery. =o)

I am also looking for a telephoto zoom lens. I like the Canon 70-200mm F4L lens, but that will take a while before I can buy. Their wedding is a year from this May I believe, and the wedding photos must be taken this summer, which is quickly approaching.

I also need to give them a portfolio of my work!! ACK... I've never done that before. Should I take my best shots up to the "real" camera shop in town and have 8x10's printed? Or 4x6's? Or a mixture? Would a web gallery work as well? Would they be happy with that?

Thank you all for your time and efforts in this questionare. I appreciate your help tremedously!

Oh yeah! My name is Tim Miller, and it's nice to meet you all!!! Here's my website, sans html! Just links to graphics! http://www.quantumdefect.com/tlmiller10/

I used to make websites for a living, but with full time college load, part time work, and full time fatherly duties, that has to wait. Why oh why, did I get into photography! =o) *grins wildly*

-Tim Miller
tlmiller10
[email protected] (You may email me samples, or ideas)
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 2:22 PM   #2
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I have one simple answer. Don't do it. Run, don't walk, away.

This topic comes up every now and then. Search on the word "wedding" on this forum and read the posts, especially mine.

Wedding photography is about the hardest photography you can do (second to war photography, basically.) Seriously, you risk loosing your friends. Forever.

Read this thread:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...hlight=wedding

Then look at this link, for the type of shots you'll need to provide:

http://my.bridestuff.com/checklist/photo_checklist.asp

Read this wedding photography FAQ:

http://www.koskiphotography.com/amateur.html

This is written by a person who does it for a living and is very good.

Read this thread, where I wrote a lot about wedding photography:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...hlight=wedding

Unfortunately, it looks like some older posts at this forum have been removed. So I can't refer you to them. Please do read the links I put above, as they still work.

Trust me, you really, really don't want to photograph a wedding. They are hard in ways you won't even think of. Here are some examples:

This is a once in a life time event that many people consider the most important event in their lives (second only to a child being born.) You have to treat it that way. In 20 years, those pictures will be the big thing that reminds them of their wedding. I've read stories about people who do not talk about their wedding and do not show the photos. They hate it because of the problems the photographer caused.

Your camera has to work. Period. You can't go up to them after the wedding and say "sorry, I didn't get any shots. My flash card was corrupted." You should really have an assistant checking the shots on a laptop to make sure you got them.

You have to have backups of everything (related to the previous point.) You can't have your lens break, your flash has to work. Everything must work.

You have to be able to make high quality, tack sharp, low noise large prints. Not 8x11, but 11x14 or maybe bigger. That is much harder to do than you might think.

You have to know how to get there, ahead of time, and be ready to take pictures. You can't be late. You should probably drive there some days before (maybe a week ahead so you really can judge the traffic patterns) so you are sure you know how to get there and understand the delays. You should scout out places to take specific shots. You have to know which shoots to take so you can plan them out.

Many of the important shots you will only get one chance to shoot. And that shot has to be perfect. You can't tell them to do the "you may now kiss the bride" again just because you realized you blew the exposure.

You should go to the wedding rehearsal and talk with both the bride and groom about who is important. And you should take notes about what they look like. This way you'll know that person X is really a long-lost college roommate and you just have to have shots of them too.

I could say more, but I should get back to work.

Eric
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 2:34 PM   #3
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Thanks (I think) =o) Eric... for all the resources. First off though, is an outside environment where engagement photos would be taken.

That's #1... then they would decide on the wedding.

I would only accept if I felt up to it (skill wise). Otherwise I will recommend a professional.

Thanks again...

-tlmiller10
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 2:58 PM   #4
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Tim,

While I agree 100% with Eric, here is another option. Approach the situation from an "I want to learn perspective". Ask your friends if you can do unofficial portrait shots. Then when you attend weddings of friends / family act as an 'unofficial' photographer. In this manner you can start building up your skills without putting pressure on your friends / family to allow you to do official work. Many times it's the other way around - someone knows you do photography and asks you to do a shoot putting the pressure on you. But, your request could be akward for them too - by approaching it from an 'unofficial' standpoint you can learn and become a better photographer without any pressure on anyone and no lost friendships or hard feelings. If after a while you feel your shots are on par with what the pro does for the same thing then you will have a portfolio to back up your work and when you do ask a friend to let you do their portrait or whatever you can show them up front you have what it takes.

Just another thought from a rank ameteur
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 3:04 PM   #5
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Tim --

If nothing else, read the FAQ at http://www.koskiphotography.com/amateur.html

It really gives you a good, comprehensive idea about what a wedding photographer does (I had no idea until I read it; now I have great respect for those photographers, especially the ones who can do all that and still have beautiful, interesting shots).

And remember that engagement photos are going to be very different from wedding -- with the engagement photo, you have time to pose the subjects in a particular way; you can exposure bracket; you can take lots of different shots, and there's not a whole lot of time pressure. It's very likely (if you're skilled at all) that your friends are going to love what you did with their engagement photos and insist that you do the wedding photos, too. But it's a world of difference.

I was the backup photographer at my uncle's second wedding (both he and the bride were retired, it was in their home, very low-key)... and I got a couple of great shots. And they thanked me and purchased some pictures (from the online printer Winkflash) But if I had been the primary photographer, they would have been SORELY disappointed. And this was a no-frills ceremony for retirees. Think if I had done this for my 20-something friends' wedding.






So I agree that you run, don't walk. Especially if you don't have an external flash and can't afford a good zoom. And even if they Looooooove your engagement photos. Offer to be a backup. It's lots of fun because then you get to try to outdo the pro (without the stress of having to get all the critical shots).

And yes, buy the 50mm f/1.8. It will do you a lot of good... even not for the wedding.

I dunno, but if I were looking at a photographer, I'd want them to have 8x10s in their portfolio.

Good luck with everything Tim! (Your Jordan pics are great!)

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Old Apr 12, 2005, 3:31 PM   #6
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Ive covered 2 wedding, the first one was a nightmare the 2nd was too but I got good pictures at that one. So I can give you a few pointers.

1. DONT DO IT
2. If you have to do it have the best gear you can: buy, rent, or steal.

In all reality weddings are the biggest nighmare for a photographer, there is so many varibles that you cant control in and during a wedding.

First off with equipment I used a Canon 70-200 F2.8L and and Canon 24-70 F2.8L but due to it being a candle light wedding I had to use a Canon 550EX flash or else no photos would have turned out. Then take the gear you going to use to the rehersal and get your exposures down with that equipment. Make the wedding party wear specific colthing with whites that have alot of deatil in white and guys in black clothing so you can get shots that are balenced to get all the details. Then placement and the timing of where you have to be for each event at the wedding make sure you have it memorized so you in place ready for the next shot.

Second ISO 100 ONLY!!! no matter what you want these pictures to be silky smooth.

Third know everything they want picture wise, it would be bad to miss a shot with a with grandpa or grandma that soon after passes away.

Fourth show them what has to be done for good photos, exapmle: make sure thier backs are not to you when they are lighing the unity candle or else the shot is just the back of two people. Instead have them walk around the table and light it so they are facing everyone and most important you so you get the shot of them lighting the candle.

Fifth be prepared for everything bring 2x the ammount of batteries you need for your flash, 2x the ammount of batteries you need for you Rebel, and 2x the memory for the ammount of pictures your taking. Bring zip ties, duct tape, super glue, matches/lighters, breath mints, tums, advil/asprin, tissues and anything else that may come up that someone may need and they forgot.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:37 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips and helpful comments. =o) I am an old fogey over on the Fuji forums, but they're pretty dead. I'm glad I changed camera systems. =o)

Thanks!

-tlmiller10
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:38 PM   #8
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I agree, I will RUN away! I will tell them we can try the engagement shots, go home process them, let them see them on the screen and a few test prints, and then let them decide if they want them or not.

Either way, it's their time and money... I'm just the amatuer getting more experience right? Does that sound like a good idea?

-tlmiller10
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:40 PM   #9
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My gear will never be the "best", and there's no way to borrow or steal. =o) BUT, I will run away... hehe...

I might let them know I could be an "unofficial" photographer, but I will not approach this as professional. I will throw together a few of my best shots as a portfolio (need one anyways) and let them see it.

Thanks again!!

-tlmiller10
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:40 PM   #10
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Oh, thanks again for the compliment of my daugther's pics! =o) She's gorgeous...

-tlmiller10
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