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Old Sep 24, 2005, 4:10 PM   #1
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I'm pretty new to digital SLR photography and have had my Canon Digital Rebel XT with the stock lens and i recently picked up a Canon Speedlight 420EX and needed some advice about shooting my friends wedding.

I wish I had a better lens but i'm going to have to do with the stock one.

Basically the wedding will be indoor and outdoor at a place in Long Beach called "the reef", a restaurant which is on the harbor next to the Queen Mary cruise ship. Time of day will be 5pm tomorrow (sunday) so early i'll have good outdoor lighting. Since i'm a rookie, and only doing this as a favor (they're on a very low budget so i just offered to shoot pictures free)

Do any of you have suggestons about shooting weddings and what to do and what not to do? I'm planning on doing most shooting on the Program AE setting, probably in RAW since i'm grabbing a 2gb Microdrive today because my current 512mb Ultra II will definately not be enough. I'm going to shoot as much as I can with having enough leeway via RAW to fix any stupid mistakes i make and about an hour ago i had a good conversation with my Uncle who has done weddings but has much nicer gear than me. Unfortunately he will not let me borrow any of his lenses considering they're all super high end Canon glass.

I know basic photography principals but since this is my first time actually doing something serious, i wanna make sure i do things right.

I'm definately going to show up at least an hour early just to get the feel of the place and the lighting, positioning for the ceremony, etc.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to do the best job i possibly can.

Thanks in advance,

Andrew
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Old Sep 24, 2005, 4:22 PM   #2
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Don't shoot in any of the basic modes. Use the creative modes...my suggestion, shoot in Aperture Priority. Good luck!
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Old Sep 24, 2005, 4:34 PM   #3
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Whats the big advantage if of shooting in Av (Aperture-Priority AE) over P (Program AE) considering i'm an amature and want to use as much "no brainer" settings as possible. I'm definately not shooting in the Basic Settings area, only the creative area on the dial.
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Old Sep 24, 2005, 4:49 PM   #4
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As long as you know how aperture and DOF works, you'd be better off with Av. Instead of every picture looking like a snapshot, you'll have more interesting pictures if you manipulate the aperture keeping it wide open or a stop down most of the time. In program, the camera is going to want everything in frame to be in focus...not perfectly in focus, but more in focus than you'd probably want. For example if you're taking a picture of the bride and groom dancing and there are people in the background, program might leave those faces pretty focused, where Av would leave them less focused, not distracting attention away from the main subject. It's just my opinion to shoot in Av, but it will be hard to get good results with that lens in the mode due to lens speed. If you're going to shoot in Program mode, then just shoot in Auto. All program mode is is a slightly glorified Auto. Best of luck!
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Old Sep 24, 2005, 5:26 PM   #5
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If this was my first ever shoot...I'll play it safe for the important photos...ie, in "P" with the flash indoors. BTW, for my 20D, when I shoot RAW only, I get about 400 photos on a 4gb CF...so take than into account as well.

BTW, I hope you got a good microdrive...a Hitachi...I'm not aware of any other brands that work with the Canon...when I say work, I mean no leaking power when the camera is off, no lost files, etc...it should, or should I say, it mustwork as good as your 512mb CF.

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Old Sep 24, 2005, 6:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
If this was my first ever shoot...I'll play it safe for the important photos...ie, in "P" with the flash indoors. BTW, for my 20D, when I shoot RAW only, I get about 400 photos on a 4gb CF...so take than into account as well.
I just picked up my 2gb hitachi microdrive and it says i'm going to get 229 photos in RAW mode and 543 photos in regular mode. Considering i've also got a 512mb CF card, my shoot with RAW at the wedding just so i have more leeway when it comes to screw ups, etc.

Quote:
BTW, I hope you got a good microdrive...a Hitachi...I'm not aware of any other brands that work with the Canon...when I say work, I mean no leaking power when the camera is off, no lost files, etc...it should, or should I say, it mustwork as good as your 512mb CF.
Yeah. I went with the Hitachi. I read a bunch on CF cards and they're definately the best from what i read.
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Old Sep 25, 2005, 7:18 AM   #7
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The best advise would probably be to not do it, but it sounds like you are already committed. I'm not sure how long you havebeforethe event takes place, but ifthere is time, check the communitycolleges around to see if any of them offer anyclasses. I took a quick non credit class on how to photograph your friends wedding.Although it was only an 8 hour one day class, I was much more prepaired to do my first wedding, and the cost was only$45. I know you said you were doing this for free, but you might checkaround to see if you can rent someequipment, lenses. maybe a stroboframe flash bracket. Or go back to your Uncle and beg to borrowa lens or two from him. You will see very few if any wedding photographers that do not have redundantequipment, backups for everything. Raw mode isfor sure the wayto go, but if you could pick up even a couple more 512mb CF cards for back up, if that micro drive takes a crap on you and you are just left with the one 512mb card, thatwould be almost as bad as you camera not working. I do have The course outline for the class I took onPDF that I could e-mail to you, it is just the outline, but some pretty good info.
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Old Sep 25, 2005, 8:49 AM   #8
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My advise would be to beg your uncle to load up his equipment and come shoot the wedding with you if he's experienced (or try to find a local pro to shoot it).

A friend's wedding is not the time to learn your limitations (and that goes for your photography skills, as well as your people and organizational skills to get the needed shots). Wedding Photos are far too important to the bride.

A small mistake (or equipment failure) can ruin the outcome, and just because it's outdoors doesn't mean you're not going to have serious lighting problems to overcome.

Here is an article you may want to read for starters Most of the article assumes you'll be using film, but many of the same principles apply.

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

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Old Sep 25, 2005, 11:43 AM   #9
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One more response (long winded)...

Last year, a very old and dear friend of minegot married.

She asked me if I'd take some photos, letting me know that her groom had hired a photographer. But,she wanted me to take some anyway, just in case. So, I told her I'd bring some gear along, then talk to the photographer and make sure it was OK (not wanting to get in his way).

Iloaded up multiple cameras (2 film, and my little pocketable Konica KD-510z digital), a couple of old flashes,a tripod, andplenty of film (yep, that stuff that you can still find in stores), and arrived before any guests.

The photographer was young, having worked onlyat Olan Mills for a brief time before deciding to start a photographybusiness independently. Ihad a friendly chatto see if he had any objections to my taking some photos,and he didn't (quite the opposite, encouraging me toshoot).

I should have known I was in trouble when he looked at one of the cameras I brought along (an old "bare bones" Nikon N4004s, which is a relatively simple camera I've had for some years), telling me that he wished he was using my camerainstead. The photographer was using a Canon Rebel (film) of some type (and I'm sure it was a far better tool than my older Nikon in the right hands).

But, he seemed to know his way around his own equipment, and appeared to know what he was doing, so I figured it would be OK (and in my mind, I was just taking the photos for fun).

The conditions were horrible. The wedding ceremonywas outdoors, but it was being held under a Gazeebo overlooking an inland waterway. It was backlit (in shadows, with light coming in through opening in the Gazeebo behind the cermony)

I was literally using two cameras atthe same time, with photos taken within split seconds of each other fromthem during the ceremony. I had one set to overexpose astop from where the meter thought it should be (to help out with the backlight), and the other set dead on.

The official photog was also snapping away, with metrying to stay out of the way as not to interfere. We werenot allowed to use a flash during the ceremony. To make matters worse, rain and mist starting rolling in during the ceremony.

When I looked at the images later, the results were even worse than I expected, with thethe awful kind of foggy flare you sometimes get (from the backlight), especially with real fog and mist rolling in behind and around the couple.

The shots takenwiththe othercamera hadunderexposed images of the ceremony using ISO 400 film (even though the background wastotally overexposed), which resulted in some pretty grainy scans, even after cleaning them up with modern tools.

After seeing my results, I told my friend that the photos didn't turn out well and I apologized, trying to explain what went wrong. I assumed (wrongly) that she had plenty of others, since I saw the photographer they hired going through lots of film.

She later stopped by to visit, and I called her into my office and started showing her the photos I had taken. She broke down sobbing in tears,teling me"I thought you said they didn't come out".

I tried to show her the problems blowing them up on screen to a larger viewing size, but she didn't want to hear it, telling me "these are wonderful" as we looked through them (they weren't, but apparently her eye for good photography is even worse than mine).

The next thing I know, she was on the phonewith her mother, tearsstill rolling down, letting her know "I've got photos of the wedding". Her mother drove from out of town (about an hour away) to see them, right then.

What I didn't realize, is that the photographer they hired had skipped town, with their deposit (never delivering any proofs, etc.). My lousy shots were it.

If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never forget her reaction (and she's not usually a very emotional woman).

Photos of a wedding are far too important to a bride to screw up. Take every precaution, try to talk your Uncle into taking some photos, too, and try to get your friend to hire a pro if you can. Your friend may never forgive you if you don't get the shots of what she may consider to be one of the most important days of her life.

Good Luck!



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Old Sep 25, 2005, 11:49 AM   #10
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I agree with JimC. Even though they are your friends and may say they have low expectations, this is a once (hopefully:lol in a lifetime event. There will be no opportunity to reshoot or do it over. Your friends will expect some decent if not excellent results and this is a great way to screw up a friendship. I don't mean to sound harsh, but you need to be prepared as to what you're getting into.

You need to ask yourself:

1. Do you have backup equipment...at least one of everything from camera body, to batteries, speedlights, recording media etc. Failures tend to happen at the worst times.

2. Are you comfortable with how aperature/shutter speed/ISO affects the shot, and most importantly how to use these settings??

3. Do you have a list of poses or shots the Bride/Groom want and how to execute all of them.

3. Will you provide prints or the photo's in digital form and are you comfortable in editing.

4. Can you be firm in handling people to get the shots you need??

My advice would be to help them find a pro to shoot the formals at the very least, and you just offer to shoot candids at the reception. This will still save the couple some money and get you off the hook for what are usually the most difficult pictures.
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