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Old Jan 26, 2008, 9:18 AM   #1
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I am a new SLR user. I would appreciate any help I can get on shooting a wedding. At this time I can only get clear pictures using the auto function on my new Nikon D40x. But it doesn't seem to take continues pictures. I can get it shooting a little faster when I use the sports Digital Vari-Program but the pics are very very blurry. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have a Panasonic Z27 that takes clear pictures in movement at a much faster speed.

Also what would you suggest as the best setting to take wedding pictures??

I'velearned in another forum about nikon tutorials and other helpful suggestions and I will definitely use the wisdom given but the wedding I am shooting is on Feb 2nd and I need help as soon as possible.

Thank you, Kathy
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 12:13 AM   #2
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Are you the only one taking these pictures? Are you being paid?

Please say no to both of these questions!

Do you have a separateflash unit to use with your camera? If not, you need one.Are the bride and groomaware of yourknowledge levelwith your equipment?

You sound totally unprepared to take this on. There's no worse situation to have to learn how to take pictures than being responsible for doing something like this. These people will be looking at your images for....the rest of their lives. Hopefully,5, 10, 30years from now they'll be happy they picked/asked you to do these.

Of all the things I have tried with a camera, shooting weddings is, hands down, the most anxiety filled thing I have tried. I knew what I was doing with my equipment, but the whole scene, from the ceremony, which can't be "stopped" if you've missed something, to shooting in front of large numbers of people after the ceremony, who are looking to you to make the right decisions about how to pose family members, the wedding party, to receptions, where sometimes you have to be the one directing what's going on if there's no wedding director present, can be one intimitaing experience.

The technical part of the taking of pictures is fairly straight foward for the most part. Keep it simple so, most of the time,little can go wrong. TTL flash systems make this easy. I set my camera to MANUAL exposure mode and use a setting of 1/125 second at f5.6 for most flash shots,and set my SEPARATE FLASH to TTL. I also use a Lumisphere II bounce attachment to soften the light to give more attractive results.

Set your AF system to focus on the center area only. You want to be the onein charge of where within the scene the focus is being concentrated, not the camera. Out-of-focus images because an AF system selecteda spray of flowers or some other objectinstead of the brideis unacceptable.

While shooting a wedding, you can't make everyone wait so you can figure out how to change a setting on your camera when you do have to make an adjustment. That needs to be automatic...you need to be able to make any adjustments on the fly without thinking about it because there are so many other things you are having to concentrate on besides how your camera works.

I'll say it here again...I hope you have a separate flash unit. You REALLY need one. To be honest, you need two.... of it, and everything else. If your D40x malfunctions or any other piece of your kit fails, what do you have to fall back on to finish the evening? That is part of accepting the responsibility to take these type pictures.

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Old Jan 27, 2008, 5:41 AM   #3
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wise words indeed from greg

people see weddings as a good way to earn lots of cash, which they are, but for someone who really doesnt know the ins and outs of their camera, id be very very carefull, as its a once in a lifetime event for the 2 people getting married and "bad" pics will ruin that day!

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Old Jan 27, 2008, 7:02 AM   #4
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Greg has a very good point if the wedding is in any way formal. However, if it is his fourth wedding, her third, it is taking place at the courthouse with a reception at the Goat's Head Saloon, Kathy is likely to do just fine.

In short: if their expectations match her experience, everything will be OK.
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Old Jan 27, 2008, 9:16 AM   #5
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My son and daughter-in-law approached me to take their wedding pictures because I seem to get acceptable results with a camera. I said NO without even thinking about it so they hired a professional photographer. The church only allows the pro to move around during the ceremony so I would have been grounded anyway.

I did take some shots at the rehersal that the pro didn't cover as well as at the reception where he was also shooting so we complimented each other but it wasn't serious if my photos didn't turn out.

Shooting the wedding was less important to me than not having my daughter-in-law mad at me for ruining her day.

Beware the wrath of Bridezilla!
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 6:06 AM   #6
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Bob Nichol wrote:
My son and daughter-in-law approached me to take their wedding pictures because I seem to get acceptable results with a camera. I said NO without even thinking about it so they hired a professional photographer.
I was in exactly the same situation as Bob, asked to shoot my son's wedding. To save them money, however, I said "yes." At least until I was also asked to escort the bride since her father wasn't in the picture. Then my wife said "no" for me. I wound up getting another son to shoot with my camera, and me slipping a small point and shoot into the pocket of my tux to take a different angle of the ceremony (outdoor). I then shot the posed after-ceremony shots and reception.

Thankfully, everything worked out beautifully. The record-intensity Nor'easter lifted long enough for the botanical garden ceremony, and the photos were, on the most part, memorable. I would never recommend my approach to anyone, however. It meant that I was constantly on edge thinking about the photography instead of my son's nuptials, hoping that my quick training course for the son shooting would be enough.

If you MUST go ahead, for family and friendship reasons, learn EVERYTHING you can about your camera. Find out what it can do, and perhaps most importantly, what it cannot. Test shoot in the worst possible conditions you might encounter. Talk to the bride and groom about the specifics of what shots they want taken and make a list of "critical" shots. Things get hectic, and it's easy to get home and realize, "I didn't get any shots of Aunt Minnie, and she flew all the way from California for the wedding."

Communication is key. I assume you are shooting the wedding as a favor to a friend or relative. Make sure that the bride and groom understand that, and that they understand that their cooperation is an integral part of your success.

Good luck.

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Old Jan 28, 2008, 7:06 AM   #7
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Same thing with me: son wanted his mother (the real photogrqpher in this house) to shoot his wedding. I quickly went out and hired a pro. I am sure my wife could have done an excellent job, but in every other aspect it would have been a disaster for her.

Did you know that there are some strange people who think there is something more important than photography going on at a wedding?
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Old Jan 29, 2008, 10:26 PM   #8
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All good tips here for anybody just starting to do Wedding photography or in my case getting back into doing Weddings again. Lots to learn again, hey it has been about twenty years and the new cameras don't have cranks on them anymore.:whack:

There is one piece of equipment that has not been talked about yet andthat is the photographer. As the wedding photographer, you will need to have the ability to control all that is going on around you at all times. That means keeping the wedding party together and doing what you want, keeping the audence in control (not getting in your way) and controlling the wedding coordinator. The wedding coordinator can be the hardest one to control. Why, the wedding is over they have their money, so all they want to do is rush everything through and get out. It is up to you to make sure that the new couple gets everything they want, not what someone else has in mind. Other good tip (trick I use) is to shoot the wedding rehearsal, it is usually held in the same place the wedding will be held so you get to practice before the big day in real time.
Good Luck,

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