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Old Feb 10, 2006, 1:44 PM   #1
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I'm going to be shooting weddings for a living and I'm looking to upgrade from the 18-55 kit lens that came with my 20d (though to be honest the results I've had with it haven't been at all bad really).

I'm thinking about Canon's EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 , and their EF-S 17-85 f4-5.6 IS .

Obviously these lens cost quite a lot more than the one I currenlt have, and also more than Sigmas in the same sort of range. Does anyone have any experiences with/thoughts about these lenses? Or maybe you could reccomend something else?

All advice gratefully recieved!
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Old Feb 10, 2006, 2:13 PM   #2
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Shooting weddings is going to get you into some expensive areas, gear wise. Here would be the lenses I would recommend:

24-70 2.8L (for both focal length AND aperture)

70-200 2.8 or 4.0 You need reach for shooting in churches and the 2.8 would really help out in low light situations where flash is not allowed or not preferred.

85mm 1.8 (portraits and low-light church)

17-40 or 16-35 for group shots. You really don't want ultra-wide shots for the most part - group shots should really not be any wider than say 8-10 people (wedding party).


External flash (Canon 580ex, 550ex, 430ex or Sigma 500 DG Super) with a flash bracket - Custom Brackets makes some very nice but not ludicrously expensive models and an omnibounce.

About8-19 gig in CF cards or microdrives.

Now for the kicker - you need a second flash a second camera body and a backup lens for a given focal length. Bottom line is you need to have a backup of EVERYTHING. Some kid knocks your camera/17-40 off the table and things break - you better have another body and another wide angle lens. If you don't then to be brutally honest you don't have the right to hire yourself out as a professional wedding photographer. That's a once in a lifetime thing for a bride and if you don't have backup gear and something goes wrong you've just ruined that woman's most important day. And yes, the gear above is expensive - but you want people to pay you to provide one of the most crucial photography services in their lives - we're not talking a family portrait at Wal*Mart here. IMHO there is no such thing as a 'budget professional wedding photographer'.

I'll let others speak about the dangers you're getting into but will just suggest that you try an apprenticeship first - see if you can work for free with an existing wedding photog to learn the ropes first.

Having said all that, I wish you the best of luck on your endevor. Hopefully you will have much success in your chosen career.
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Old Feb 10, 2006, 2:19 PM   #3
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Well I'm not a wedding photographer, but I could see how the wide angle lens would come in handy to take a picture of an entire party room. That would probably be the extent of usefulness for that lens at a wedding. I have the 17 -85 and that would be a very nice lens indeed for most photo's, trying to keep it towards the normal to tele end would make the pics of people much more flattering. I'm sure some of the folks here with actualy wedding experience can recommend many other lenses etc.

Do you have any real experience or schooling in photography that would qualify you for this type of work?? I've been doing photograhy for 35 years but don't think I am qualified to do a real wedding layout professionally. Other than taking some nice photo's, I doubt that I would really know how to do the real job...

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Old Feb 10, 2006, 6:01 PM   #4
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John G's advice and recommendations are right on. I have done a few weddings, and I do have a back up for most everything I have, and it sure pays off even if something doesn't break. mount your 24-70 or 17-40 on one body and the 70-200 on the other because at the end of the ceremony when your at the back with your 70-200 getting the first kiss, it's just a few moments later they are all coming back down the aisle and you better be ready with a wider lens.

You must be a glutton for punishment wanting to do that for a living, if there was ever a profession that Murphy's Law applied to, it would be wedding photography. It is not so much if something will go wrong as when it will.

If you have the right gear, and the willingness to do it though it can be rewarding. If you haven't already I would recommend checking with your local community colleges to see whatkind of photography courses they offer. I took one for weddingphotography before I did my first wedding, and I was sure glad I did.
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Old Feb 11, 2006, 4:17 PM   #5
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Thanks to all for their comments. I think that I probably didn't make it too clear what I was asking in my post. Experience-wise I'm more than qualified - twenty three years and a photography degree - but what I was really wanting to know about was the quality of the Canon lenses. I've just recently made the switch to digital with Canon, having worked for years with Nikon 35mm and Bronica/Mamiya/Pentax medium format kit. My experience of Canon lenses if pretty small, so I'm wondering how they compare to Nikon in the real world.

Apologies for that not being clear!

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Old Feb 15, 2006, 8:31 AM   #6
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Hi Beige Viper,

Wow, you've shot weddings before and want to continue? Just kidding. I shot a lot of weddings years ago with a Blad 500 CM setup and some very, VERY nice glass.

In the past 6 months or so I've also gotten into digi in a big way and thus far IMHO I've not found anything to compare to the L glass of the Canon. I've tried a few others and won't mention them (don't want to start a flame war) I really think you get what you pay for. I know that some folks will disagree and have some fabulous glass. I feel it's enough to say that I haven't felt the need to return a Canon L but have returned several non-Canon Pro lenses. I currently own the 10-22 after trying a few full frame wide angles and wasn't happy with them, 24-70 f/2.8L 70-200 f/2.8L IS and should be receiving my 400m f/2.8 L with Mark II N this week. (I decided not to shoot weddings any longer and have been shooting a lot of sports).

The 24-70 f/2.8 L is a fantastic lens and I think you'd be shooting with this quite a bit. I agree that the 10-22 on a 20D may be too wide even with the 1.6. The 70-200 f/2.8 L with IS is an amazing lens. Keeping the 24-70 on one camera and the 70-200 on anohter would cover you for most shots I believe.

Hope this helps,

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Old Feb 15, 2006, 9:41 AM   #7
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Canon has a lot of great glass. Naturally L glass is superb. The 10-22 and 17-85 EF-S lenses are great as well. Quality-wise, I would put them in between L glass and Canon's lower level offerings. Though for wedding photography, they're not quite fast enough.

Ideally, you'd shoot a wedding with a 16-35 f/2.8L, 24-70 f/2.8L, 70-200 f/2.8L, 24 f/1.4L,35 f/1.4L, 50 f/1.4, and a 85 f/1.2L used on a5D or IDsMkII and a 1DMkIIN. Maybe you wouldn't shoot will all those at a wedding, but would have those in your arsenal to cover most needs.

I know all that was pretty much a given. If one could afford all that easily, then they'd have it.

Personally, I shoot all Sigma EX glass and love it. You could get the 14 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, and 30 f/1.4 for $2300; less than buying almost any 2 Canon's mentioned. L glass, ISbetter (it doesn't cost more for the hell of it)than EX glass, but EX glass is a much better value in my opinion. The 500 DG Super flash is an awesome value as well.

Those four Sigma's would cover you for most of the shooting you'd be doing at a wedding. For another $700 you could add the 50 f/1.4 and the 85 f/1.8 and you'd be set.

Naturally, it IS a good idea to have a back up for everything, but that's up to you. I think you should look into purchasing the Sigma glass. If I had to say which order to purchase based on wedding's, I'd say the 30, then the 24-70, followed by the 70-200, and finally the 14, 50, and 85.

These are my thoughts, hope it helps a little and have fun capturing the moments.

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Old Feb 16, 2006, 4:58 PM   #8
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jlacasci wrote:
Wow, you've shot weddings before and want to continue? Just kidding. I shot a lot of weddings years ago with a Blad 500 CM setup and some very, VERY nice glass.
Actually here's a shot of my 500CM's (with my equally beat up Bronica) taken today with the only 12-24 EX full-frame available on the market: :lol: :-) :G

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