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Old May 2, 2005, 3:23 PM   #1
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I am new here and I figured this is the best place to ask my questions. I am doing wedding photography and I would like to know what lenses and other equipment do I need to buy for my canon 20d? The wedding will first take place at a church then proceed to outdoor garden.

If anyone can point me in the right direction for what lenses and flash are good for bride walking down the aisle,group shots,close ups,evening shots etc.. That would be much appreciated.

Thank you and hope to hear from someone soon.

sincerely,
Rose

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Old May 2, 2005, 7:45 PM   #2
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Here's my inexperienced $.02:

For the indoor shots during the ceremony you want a fast zoom lens- someting in the f/2.8 range. This way you can get close without becomming part of the ceremony and with a fast lens you can get shots without using flash. The lens I am considering, the Sigma 24-70 would fill that need quite well. The shaots I have seen from this lens are every bit as good if not better than teh Canon L of tyhe same specs, and it's 1/3 the cost!

For posed shots you may want a prime lens- like a 50, 60, or 80mm lens in the 1.8 or faster category- better control over DOF which can give you a lot of creative control.

You also need a good flash unit with bounce capabilities with a diffucer of some sort (like a Lumiquest Ultrasoft, and maybe a Stroboframe flip flash. This is handy even outdoors for fill.

If this is your first experiences in this field, then be sure to learn how to use the manual settings with exposure bracketing, and learn how to shift the bracketing so that you can do it without thinking.

And be sure to have at least two 1gb cards, extra batteries for the camera as well as the strobe on hand. I would also recommend something like a small DVD player so that you can preview the images there on the site to be sure that focus and exposure are correct rhoughout the day during critical shots (which, ast a wedding, will be almost everything you shoot). A laptop would also work quite well for reviewing images. Have an assistant that can check the images on the laptop while you shoot with the second card before losing an opportunity.

:shock: whoops... that's more than you asked... It's a personality fault.. sorry.
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Old May 2, 2005, 11:50 PM   #3
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Hi Randy,

Thanks for replying, don't even be sorry. I was hoping for details of what to purchase and how to use the equipment…

Now after reading your reply I have some more questions if you don't mind…

From what I understand of what you are saying, I should buy one fast zoom lens such as the sigma 24-70 (or the $1000 plus canon one =) ). If I am standing at the front of the alter and the bride is coming from the back.. Is this the lens to use for those shots? Does it have enough zoom? I imagine the 70-200 lens would have better zoom…Also If I get the 24-70 lens will I need an external flash too? Would I continue to use this lens for the ceremony too? In what situation would I need to use another lens?

You also mention for my posed couple and group shots to use a prime lens…I would like to have the fastest, which would be the 50mm 1.8 lens correct? So during the ceremony would I change from the 24-70lens to this one? I am just a little confused on which situations need different lenses…when do I change a lens etc…..sorry for asking so much..

With the Lumiquest Ultrasoft, I can use that in the church and the outdoors in the evening whenever I need flash right? Should I use that as my main flash instead of the flash already on my camera? Also I searched for the Stroboframe flip flash and found a lot of different things on pricegrabber.com…do you know the exact model number? What exactly is it used for?

I don't know much about how to use the manual settings with the exposure bracketing…but I will continue to read my manual and research on that area…

When you mention to make sure I have the strobe on hand.. Do you mean the Stroboframe flip flash?

Sorry for asking so much…

I just need help and more info and so far you have done just that. thanks.

sincerely,
Rose
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Old May 3, 2005, 6:43 PM   #4
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roseisrosey wrote:
Quote:
From what I understand of what you are saying, I should buy one fast zoom lens such as the sigma 24-70 (or the $1000 plus canon one =) ). If I am standing at the front of the alter and the bride is coming from the back.. Is this the lens to use for those shots? Does it have enough zoom? I imagine the 70-200 lens would have better zoom…Also If I get the 24-70 lens will I need an external flash too? Would I continue to use this lens for the ceremony too? In what situation would I need to use another lens?
[/quote]

Too many variables to really answer specifically. at 1.6x factored in, the 24-70 is about a 39-112mm 35mm equivalent. In most churches that should be more than sufficient. If it is a place like where i got married it would be too long and you would have been better off with something in the 17-55 range or so. If the lens isn't long enough you can migrate up the aisle (well) in front of the bride if necessary to get the processional and recessional shots. If it's too long, dress like an angel and have someone hang you from the rafters!

For the ceremony shots you should not use flash (at least, out of courtesy, I wouldn't), so the fast lens (2.8 or better) is critical at that point. You want to use as low of an ISO as possible, so once again, a fast lens is a good thing. The large aperture also gives you some extended controlover DOF as well.


Quote:
You also mention for my posed couple and group shots to use a prime lens…I would like to have the fastest, which would be the 50mm 1.8 lens correct?
There is actually an f/1.4 I think, altough expensive at around $300-400 or so. But the 1.8 would work just fine and be a nice all-around lens to pack anyway.

Quote:
So during the ceremony would I change from the 24-70lens to this one? I am just a little confused on which situations need different lenses…when do I change a lens etc…..
The zoom would be my first choice during scenes where you can't get close for composition sake which would be most everything in the church during the ceremony. The prime would be good during the pre and post activities when you have the freedom to move about at will without the worry of disturbing anything important (toasts, dances, etc.). The zoom with its wider capabilities would also be good for large family shots when you can't move back far enough.

I should also have stated that you want to get really fast memory cards so that you can use the raw mode for the important stuff (posed bride and groom, etc.)


Quote:
With the Lumiquest Ultrasoft, I can use that in the church and the outdoors in the evening whenever I need flash right? Should I use that as my main flash instead of the flash already on my camera? Also I searched for the Stroboframe flip flash and found a lot of different things on pricegrabber.com…do you know the exact model number? What exactly is it used for?
The Ultrasoft is meant to go on an accessory strobe. I would recommend the most powerful strobe flash you can afford that is dedicated to the Canon so that the camera can control it. If you aren't use to using such a set up you will need to practice. I would highly recommend taking your equipemnt to the church when no one was around (maybe bring a helper) and practice before the ceremony!



Quote:
I don't know much about how to use the manual settings with the exposure bracketing…but I will continue to read my manual and research on that area…
I have a couple of decades of practice with various digital and 35mm cameras and I can tell you that the 20D will take a LOT of practice. You don't want to be hunting for settings during such an important event. I hope that there will be at least one other photographer working the wedding as well!

Be sure that you can bracket and shift the bracketing with oittle or no thought. The manual mode is quite good for that, but most new photographers would find checking for bracketing range, bracketing shift, aperture, shutter speed, DOF preview, and composition all at once a little intimidating. :shock:


Quote:
When you mention to make sure I have the strobe on hand.. Do you mean the Stroboframe flip flash?
I would shoot most of the time with the camera and strobe mounted to the FlipFlash, and turn the flash on as necessary. The idea of the flip flash is that the flash is always above the camera whether shooting landscape or portrait, and you will be doing a lot of both. During the ceremony you could probably get by with just the camera since you won't be using the flash then.


Quote:
I just need help and more info and so far you have done just that. thanks.
Glad to have been of assistance.
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Old May 3, 2005, 9:22 PM   #5
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Randy G. has given you some good advice on equipment. I would add a few more comments. First off, bring extra of everything you can afford. Bring extra batteries (for the flash, the camera, the computer if you bring one), extra flash cards, extra lenses (even if they aren't the proper ones if the proper one breaks you'll be happy you had something)... anything you can think of.

Unless you are amazingly steady I'd recommend at least a monopod for the set shots/poses after the ceremony. You won't be able to use it in the ceremony or during most events 'cause you'll need the freedom of movement. But when you can use it, use it.

When you pick a lens, pick the fastest you can get, and pick the fastest focusing you can get. f2.8 is a MUST if for no other reason than the 20D's center AF point with be in high-precision mode with it. You need the sharpest pictures you can get and that will help. A big difference between the f1.4 and f1.8 50mm is the f1.4 is a full metal body made to take abuse. The f1.8 is plastic. If you get the 50mm f1.8 get several as backups (at $60USD, you can afford to!)

But I have a more important reason to write than equipment. If I'm stepping over the line or misunderstanding the situation I'm sorry. I just care a lot about wedding photography.

The way you are talking you've never shot a wedding before. If you are doing it for money or if you're the only photographer I would seriously recommend you don't do it. Really. It is the hardest type of photography except war-journalist. I'm not exaggerating.

Here are just some of the reasons and things you'll have to do.

These pictures are of a once-in-a-lifetime event, second only to the birth of a child. The pictures that you are going to take are the only memory they will have in 30 years… they will be the thing that refreshes that memory in their brain every time they look at them. If you miss that picture of them kissing 'cause the flash battery died or the CF card filled up or the AF locked on the grooms shoulder and not their faces, or the aperture was too small (f2.8) and the DOF meant the entire left side of the bride is out of focus… it is your fault. And you will have ruined those pictures and those memories. And trust me when I say this… the bride/groom could end up hating you afterwards. I've heard stories about people who never show their wedding photos or talk about them because it is just too painful. The pictures were that bad and it soiled the memory.

For many of the pictures you have a moment… literally a fraction of a second to get or you'll miss it. There are no do-overs. You have to be ready to take them, know your equipment well enough so you can change settings without thinking. You have to know your flash, your lens and you camera so you can change settings confidently without looking… 'cause if you look you'll miss the shot. When she puts the ring on his finger you have to be ready to take that picture with the right settings and from the right angle. You have to get that shot.

Your equipment can't fail. Ever. This is why you need backups for everything, including the camera body if you have the money. You might want to get a battery pack for the flash… I know some wedding shooters who use it and some who don't. They get in the way and can be inconvenient but when you need the flash for multiple quick shots there is no other way to do it.

And you can't be late. You need to test drive to all the locations so you know how to get there. You need to scout out the location to know where you're going to shoot which pictures. You need to ask the "powers that be" if you can use flash and where, where you can be and can't be. And you have to remember it!

You need to go to the wedding rehearsal and study the event. You need to talk to both sides in the event and learn who you must get pictures of. That long-lost college roommate who flew in from Japan might not look important to you, but really is. And you have to learn that.

Getting proper exposure in a wedding is very hard. A white dress and a black tux is the absolute worst situation to get right. So practice it. Put up a white and black shirt next to each other (if you can't convince people to pose for you) and take pictures of them. Make sure there is still detail in both shirts. You can't blow out the white, which might reflect the flash, and you can't have the black shirt be a black blob.

And lets not forget that some of the pictures will be printed very large (11x14 or larger) and to get that you need to use the entire frame of the image and it has to be tac sharp. That is not easy when you're hand-holding the camera, especially since you might not be able to use the flash and the available lighting might not be good in the church.

I hope I'm scaring you, because I'm trying to. If you still want to do it… do so. But please, please… get ready for it. Practice. Order the gear way ahead of time and use it a lot. Understand all of it. Practice by having people walk around you and try to shoot them doing specific things (even if its every-day things like cooking. Pick a shot you want and then try to get it.) Your actions could capture this special event and make that special day even better… or you could soil it for the rest of their lives.

You should also check out these sites:
http://my.bridestuff.com/checklist/photo_checklist.asp
This one has a great list of pictures you should really get. It's the "Wedding checklist"

And this one:
http://www.koskiphotography.com/amateur.html

This is an "Amateur wedding FAQ". This is written by a photographer who shots weddings and understands it very well. You'll learn a lot from it. I know I did (and I didn't even read it all... I don't shot weddings.)

You might also consider signing up for this forum:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/index.php

They have a forum dedicated to wedding photography that (when it didn't require signing up) was very informative.

Eric
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Old May 3, 2005, 11:51 PM   #6
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eric s wrote:
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The way you are talking you've never shot a wedding before. If you are doing it for money or if you're the only photographer I would seriously recommend you don't do it. Really. It is the hardest type of photography except war-journalist. I'm not exaggerating.
I wasn't going to say anything, but I was thinking the very same thing and I couldn't agree with you more, Eric. No quicker way to get sued than to screw up wedding photos. And with a new camera that you are not familiar with? And new lenses? It's the formula for a nightmare. Adfter over 4,000 shots with teh 20D I am still trying to internalize all the workings of this camera. I actually like that about it, but not to go off and do a wedding.

With some 25-30 years of on-again, off-again photo experience, a BA in art, a better-than-average working knowledge of how to deal with photos in Photoshop, and owning a SMALL newspaper for over a decade, I would work as a back-up photographer to assist someone (just to get a bunch of 'extra' shots- just in case), but would NEVER take a job as a wedding photographer. Unless you are REALLY good and REALLY talented, then nothing you do will be quite good enough.

For a friend- for free? Maybe- but only if I knew they couldn't afford anything else, and only if they begged a lot- and I got a pre-nuptial photo-immunity agreement. I would do that, but as a paid job? No way- life's too short.



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Old May 4, 2005, 6:26 PM   #7
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I've seen some nice wedding stuff done with a Canon 28-135 IS.

The image stabilization is niceso that you could take some nice shots in low light indoors.

Personally if I were doing wedding for a living I would get a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, and maybe use a 20D as a second cam/backup for grab shots.

I had to laugh at Eric S's comments. Although I've never done wedding photography, I've done wedding videos and worked with some very good wedding photographers.

Wedding photography is very demanding. On the day, I have never seen anyone work so hard as a wedding photographer. Also, dealing with the couples is very tough.

If you can do wedding, you can basically handle anything from a workload/stress/client management perspective.

-- Terry


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Old May 4, 2005, 7:08 PM   #8
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hey guys,

First off thanks for your honesty. I have definitely taken everything you have had to say into thought and consideration.

I have taken many pictures of weddings as a guest. Even standing on the sidelines I think I have taken pretty good pictures. There are times when I take pictures and give them to the couple and they are wowed by them and shocked that their photographer didn't think to capture that moment. People keep telling me to go into professional wedding photography, that I have a gift, I have talent.

What better opportunity then to being the main photographer at my friend's wedding coming up. She didn't even want a photographer in the first place (feels that photography is not a main priority and second didn't want to spend much either).

I love photography, I enjoy it and it is my passion. I know I have an eye for taking great shots, key shots, candid shots. I just need to get better equipment. With better equipment I could only get better. With being the main photographer I have the position of taking better pictures and leading the group.

The way I see it is that the only way to get better is by experience and practice. I know what I need to work on and I will work continuously to get to that level of perfection.

My passion and perseverance will lead the way.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Rose




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Old May 5, 2005, 4:45 PM   #9
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roseisrosey, I'm glad you took my statments the way they were intended. Some people take it personally and they aren't meant that way.

It sounds like you are better off than I thought. This is good.

Still, you haven't had to feel the presure of doing a wedding yourself, as the primary shooter. That extra pressure raises the challenge to the next level. You have to be ready for that. Seriously, I would suggest that you shoot as a backup for someone before doing one yourself. I don't mean just shoot at one, but learn from the pro there. You have to find the right pro to work with, as many won't want to be bothered but there are ones out there that will do it.

Eric
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Old May 5, 2005, 6:26 PM   #10
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I'll just though in my 2 cents worth too. You might want to talk to the wedding coordinator if they have one. she can tell you want you can and can't do. As a general rule you shouldn't be up farther in the aisle than the last person seated. so your shots of the bride and attendants will actually be from farther back in the church, so a wider lens, say a 17-35mm lens might work better there. Flash is usually a no-no during the ceremony. sometimes it's ok as they are walking up theaisle, but ask the coordinator. I agree with most everyone thathas responded so far, take as muchback up equipment as you can.

I'm not sure if this is forsomeone you know or not, but if you have a chance to go to the rehersal it will give you a good idea ofhow things will happen so you can be in the right place at the right time. It's also a good idea to set your lens for manual focus in dark areas and you can set it for the distance, this will help with speed, sometimes lenses have a hard time focusing in dim light.

Alsoif it is for someone you know, be sure and give equal time to both sides. We have a tendency tophotograph people we know and forget to get theones we don't.


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