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Old May 31, 2005, 1:57 AM   #11
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I concur with the others and I too would advise you to decline this reponsibility. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event (hopefully, statistics don't paint such a great picture), and everything has to flow, not snag. There are things you have to know in advance, like poses for the formals of the couple by themselves, the couple with the bridal party, couple with families, location/time for the shots, positioning to take advantage of available light, etc. And all this in consideration of available time, available weather, and that no major mishaps occur from begining to end. Other things to consider are the unexpected. What if your equipment malfunctions, or you shoot too much and have no more storage space left (and you haven't even gotten to the reception yet), or the weather is really bad on the wedding day, what do you do then? These are most of the reponsabilities and worries of a wedding photographer.
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Old May 31, 2005, 2:39 PM   #12
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ALL of the above!!!!!! been there, done that, and it ain't fun!!!! truly, if you really don't know what kinds of pictures to take, you really shouldn't be doing it. this is not to belittle you or your talent. weddings are a pressure situation and a 1 time only attempt at one of the most memorable times in a couples life.and, i hate to say, the worst part is that they are your friends!!!! kindly bow out and let them find another pro. if you do decide to do it, i suggest, for equipment, have a spare for everything (camera, flash, multiple lenses, many memory cards, etc., etc.) as you never know when something may malfunction. oh, have a spare photographer too!!! just as an assistant to help you and to also grab candid shots and other stuff.

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Old Jun 1, 2005, 7:12 AM   #13
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I've never done weddings, but I've been to a few and it is definitely going to require a ton of work. Taking photos is only going to be one of your requirements. Getting a good angle (which can sometimes be impossible), attention to detail, awareness, digital processing, and photo preparation (herding the family members like cattle to take shots of everyone with multiple permutations) are just to name some. The best part is you only have _one_ chance for everything. At least that's the mindset you should have. All things being equal, that one group shot, that one special moment, that one funny moment, whatever, if there was camera shake, poor exposure, an act of god which somehow influenced poor quality in the end result then you might play a little game called hide and seek. Where of course you hide =) Of course, by then it will be to late and you'll have to face the music.

Now I know there's a lot of frightening posts here, but I wouldn't say all is loss. If you can, get away with just "I'll take photos as a friend/guest, not a professional" so you can at least get some practice without the burden of being the guy in charge. You will most likely get a few good shots so you can show them off later while the professional works his but off shooting/processing hundreds of photos. If that's unsuitable, then between now and the matrimony I would strongly suggest squeezing in some practice time. Call up a few local churches and ask if there are any weddings going on. Attend them and take as many photos as you want. Talk with their professional photographer (assuming they hired one) to get a few tips, or just watch him like a hawk and take notes. And if there are no weddings, practice practice practice! Go into the church or wherever the wedding is being held and take enough photos to understand the lighting requirements. Even attend a mass and take photos of the priests/people from every angle possible while recording the best settings. Basically prepare yourself in advance. Spend upwards to 8-10 hours a practice session going non-stop because time comes the wedding, you'll be the first one there and the last one leaving with a lot of running around in between.

It's also a safe thing to say that as a professional, you'll need professional grade hardware. The XT will suffice, but you should have some fast L series lenses on you. At minimum, especially in a church environment, you'll want an f2.8 lens or better. The EF 50mm f/1.8 I think is a must for portrait style photos.
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Old Jun 1, 2005, 8:12 AM   #14
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Since it sounds like you can't get out of it, work to spread the blame. Find as many other folks as you can to shoot. Hand out disposable cameras to anyone who will take one. That does increase the odds of getting a few good shots as well. Also get some help to set up the shots. Some one who spent time as an army drill sargent to order folks to get over here for the shot, and someone who has a good sense of clothing to do some final arrangements. This kind of thing.

Forget about having a good time at the wedding - you will be working, not partying.

The biggest mistake I made (my wife didn't - my shots were the extra ones) was to cut off feet. Make sure you don't crop to close and cut off feet or the end of the bridal gown.

Good luck.
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Old Jun 1, 2005, 10:02 AM   #15
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Go for it. It can be a lot of just plain fun to shoot weddings and still get paid good $$$$ for doing it. I used to use about 50 pounds of Hasselblad equipment and take a couple of Travler 750 lights and it was work. Now I only use My Nikon D100 with a SB28DX flash attached to a Stroboframe bracket to get the flash high over the lens and the only lens I use is A Nikon 24/120 "VR" zoom F 5,6 @ 120 to F 3.5 @ 24. I use a 1gb CF card and carry another one in my pocket. I carry 4 extra "AA" batterys in the same pocket in case I need them for the flash. The photographs I do with this digital set-up is far better then what I ever did with the Hasselblad equipment in the old days. I can see what I have shot and I also can shoot about 600 pictures to choose from.

Ask the bride exactly what She wants in advance and write it down.

Ask the person performing the ceramony about using flash and what you can get away with as far as position ETC. Important that you go to the rehearsal to see where you will want to be. Even if you don't take pictures at the rehearsal you should at least take some for practice and test lighting etc.

After the ceramony I shoot the complete party first and cut them down until only the Bride & Groom are left.

At the reception I shoot every table at least twice. If someone does not want their picture done I just sneak up and do a candid later when they are not paying attention. You can't be bashful because you have to tell people to look at the camera when shooting tables. Also shoot a picture of the church or wedding building for the beginning of the album.

Introduce your self to the DJ and ask him to inform you of the cake cutting and toast ETC as the DJ is usually the one that times the wedding reception events. He IS the man to know.

Remember, You can't be a guest and shoot good photographs so forget about drinking and dancing and be alert for the cute candid shots that make an album successful.

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Old Jun 1, 2005, 10:18 AM   #16
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I bookmarked this one a while back:


Here is another page you may find helpful, too (some recommended shots on a Wedding Photographer's web site):


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Old Jun 1, 2005, 12:16 PM   #17
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Last point - to backup what Bill was talking about. Remember that wedding photos are often printed in different sizes with different aspect ratios (4x6, 5x7, 8x10,11x14, etc...) - so make sure you compose wide enough so that you can crop specifically to fit print size later on. A full person that fits tightly on a 4x6 won't fit on 8x10. Finally shoot RAW and use the histogram - as long as you're not blowing out details you can recover from a wide variety of exposure situations. And as long as you're framing wide you can fix some composition issues. Just a couple of high-level thoughts
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Old Jun 1, 2005, 2:50 PM   #18
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JimC gave you excellent advice with those links. Especially about the cost involved.You may spend as much as $200.00 or $300.00 even if you print the pictures your self. All depending on what ink and paper you use. Printing is very time consuming and even if You are sending them out it still requires a great deal of time to get the pictures ready as you would want them to look.

Some weddings I do I just give a CD with all of the pictures on it to the Bride to get printed . I stillwill make sure that all of the pictures are color corrected and I crop each picture to what the Bride wants as a final print. Most of the wedding pictures I do are 5 X 7.

Always make sure to keep an untouched CD or DVD disk of all the pictures you did un-touched as they came out of the camera. DO NOT GIVE IT TO ANYONE. Keep it and if the Bride has problems getting8 X 10 or larger prints you can give Her another CD color corrected and cropped properly to send off.

I shoot aperture prefered with the lens wide open and the flash at TTL. The Camera chooses my shutter speed at 1/60th. With the "VR" lens I still shoot at aperture prefered and let the camera choose the shutter speed at all times. I always use ISO of 800 and I never ever had a noise problem. I like to shoot fine jpg and use Adobe 1998 color profile in the camera and no sharpening.

have fun and enjoy the picture taking because you will not be a guest but a worker at this wedding.
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Old Jun 5, 2005, 7:54 PM   #19
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I have shot many weddings for friends, family and aquiantances on 35mm and simple medium format equipment and it was a nerve wracking experience. I believe that shooting digital would be far more relaxing but still a big job. In my case all I do is take the picture, my wifetakes care ofall of the posing and other artistic issues.

Try reading these articles http://www.camerahobby.com/Photo-WeddingDiary2004.htm and http://www.camerahobby.com/Photo-ADayintheLifeof.htm

Since there is no way out of this my only advice is listen very carefully to what the bride wants and double check everything since Murphy's Law will be applied with a vengence on a day like this.

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Old Jun 6, 2005, 10:10 AM   #20
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You have to start somewhere. I've shot about 12 weddings now, the first one was a real eye opener for me, but it taught me lots about what it takes to do a good job. Lots of thoughts but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is do it, tell them that its a first for you, suggest that they do the formals in studio professionally, and bring back ups of everything + extra batteries. Use flash, take lots of pics, but most importantly, have fun.


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