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Old Sep 23, 2006, 6:58 PM   #22
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Lundrog, you ask many questions and have had good advice, the best of which was DON'T DO IT. August a year ago, some twice removed poor relations asked my wife and I to shoot their wedding. We primarily shoot nature with 500mm + focal lengths, but have done many night parties, so we know flash and groups, etc. The poor relations bride said, "If you don't do it, we'll just have disposable cameras for the guests to use. Waah Waah." Personally, I thought the disposable route was their best bet, but my wife is a pushover, and we did it.

I read at least three books on wedding photography, spent a couple hundred on flash brackets, etc., compiled a shot list, and even shot the rehearsal to be sure. We used a 20D and Rebel XT with 580EX and 420 EX flashes. Not really geared to indoor non-flash photography, we used the 28-135 and 17-85 lenses primarily, and since flash during the ceremony was approved in advance, we were OK. Until during the procession when my wife's flash stopped working. I stepped in with my RXT and continued while she worked on her flash problem. Without the second camera and flash, we would have missed some important photos.

We both worked during the reception, where the DJ was a lot of help (he was PAID, and so the music was more important to the bride and groom than the photos, eh?)

A couple things to remember: No one isas demanding or less appreciative as someone getting a free ride (case in point take the Katrina "evacuees" who are still complaining and freeloading in Houston after a year), so expect many demands and complaints. Also, since they're not paying, consider just uploading your finalimages to Kodak Gallery or similar, for them to view and order their own prints. If you make any prints for them, they'll just keep coming back for more freebees.

By now, you've probably shot the first wedding and may be learning. Good luck to you.
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 9:10 PM   #23
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Thanks for the luck.

I did learn some from the event, but I know I would have a long way to go to even claim to beable to produce good pictures.

Out of the two lens you used did/ do you like both?

I am looking at my options for lens.
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Old Sep 25, 2006, 7:54 AM   #24
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Neither of the lenses are commonly suggested for weddings. For a no-flash situation, you need a fast lens. If you can't get close, you need a longer lens. So you probably need a faster, longer lens, like an 85mm F1.8. If you can't afford that, you might pick up the plastic wonder--Canon's 50mm F1.8.

Be aware of a design problem with your camera and fast lenses, too. Where the 20D's autofocus becomes more accurate with an F2.8 or faster lens (1/3 DOF vs 1 DOF), the Rebel XT autofocus becomes somewhat erratic with a fast lens. When I found strangely OOF shots with the Canon 35mm F2 on the RXT,I set up tests with a tripod, cable release, and carefully constructed 3D targets. I tested with the 35mm F2 and both the 20D and RXT. With the 20D, no problem. With the RXT, each time I half pressed the shutter release (remote)--with the camera unmoved on the tripod--the camera refocussed, with about one of three being correct focus. I sent the 35mm F2 and RXT to Canon to check out. They came back with the usual boilerplate language about what was done, but nothing is different--the 35mm F2 will not reliably AF with the Rebel XT. While the 50mm is somewhat better, it is still a high-risk combo.

The 17-85, as with any wide angle lens,is a tricky lens to use indoors. You have to be really careful to not get too close, as you get significant distortion--people toward the sides look wider. You have to also be careful to keep the camera level and not pointed upward or downward, or you will get severe keystoning. The 28-135 is one of Canon's nicer lenses and better values, IMO. We use it for portraits all the time. However, the 28mm wide end is not wide enough indoors much of the time. And the IS lacks Mode 2 (vertical stabilization only), so it is not practical for panning shots like with runners or motorsports.

The most useful accessory I bought for our unpaid wedding was a Stroboframe Press-T bracket. This bracket allows you to flip the flash so that it is always above the lens and in alignment with the sensor orientation. Of course, you need the Canon remote flash cable too. It's not cheap doing freebees. I also wouldn't shoot without at least two extra sets of flash batteries, and I assume you have the battery grip with two batteries installed for your camera, since the RXT battery is pretty small and low capacity. If you use an IS lens, you suck even more power from the battery for the lens IS motor.

One final remark. I am most impressed with professional wedding photographers who shoot alone without even an assistant. Without a second person to help with posing people, moving onlookers out of the way, straightening neckties and trains, holding a slave flash, and so on, I don't see how they can do it. My wife and I researched and studied, practiced, made our own shot list (which we reviewed with the bride and then included her addtional shots) and then were there to back on another up, and we were still running virtually nonstop from 4pmuntil about 11. IMO, a wedding is a two-person, two-camera job, if it is to be done right. And I'll wager you'll find that the cooperation you get in exchange for your favor, will be almost nonexistent. Like Katrina evacuees, people don't appreciate what they get for free, while if you were charging them $3,000, they would listen to your every word and bend over backward to cooperate.
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Old Sep 25, 2006, 10:09 PM   #25
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You're so right about the lack of cooperation when doing freebies!
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