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Ishay Jul 27, 2010 12:23 PM

Wedding photography problem...
Here's the story.
My cousin is getting married, and well...they're broke. Hardly can afford the wedding...really broke.
My mom told my cousin I could it, and my cousin called me to ask me if i'd do it for a small fee.
At the moment i thought- ' Yeah, why not, i could use the experience'. But then I came to realize 2 things.

1- It's her freaking wedding! One of the most important days of her life!

2- I only own a 500D kit, with no money for extra equipment! No external flash, no other lens...Nothing.

As I realized that I called her right away, telling her that I can't really do it because I'm inexperienced and don't have the right equipment, but she said that it's me or there won't be any photos of the wedding.

So I agreed to do my best with no results guaranteed...and I really don't want to disappoint her (or my whole family).

I need advices about wedding photography. It'll be indoors only. I'll take anything you guys can give me, maybe I can make up for the lesser equipment with some good technique...

Ps: I feel this post's already too long, but if you have any questions, just ask :)


TCav Jul 27, 2010 1:01 PM

As your wedding present to them, hire a photographer.

billy Jul 27, 2010 1:51 PM

TCav has a good point, however after reading your post it looks like you're it or they don't have photos.

If you can get a small external flash with an omni-bounce (like the Canon 430EX II + a STO-FEN omni-bounce), you could capture some pleasing photos for her with a little practice before hand with your setup. The built-in flash is much better than on a point-n-shoot, but still no match for a good external speedlite.

How much experience do you have in photography, and with your Rebel?

Ishay Jul 27, 2010 2:30 PM

Wish I could hire them a photographer, i can hardly pay myself a beer :D

I'll try to get a small external flash...thats exactly why i asked the question 2 weeks before the wedding.

Im into photography since i've been 17, which was roughly 3 years ago. I only have my rebel for a month, before that i had a Canon has all manual controls, so i had a chance to learn some about the game.

tclune Jul 27, 2010 3:01 PM

I would suggest that you put the camera in Program mode for the wedding and leave it there. It takes a while to get comfortable with manual and semi-manual controls, and you make a lot of mistakes until you have learned them cold. Program mode is generally pretty good with modern cameras. Better OK on lots of the photos than Excellent on a few and Bad on the rest.

Also, if you can organize a "pot luck" with the people who bring cameras to the wedding and snap from where they are, you may increase the number of good photos you can assemble for the couple. If folks copy you on their shots, you can edit them for reasonable uniformity and select the best of each for inclusion into the wedding album or DVD. One thing about that -- if you do this, try to include at least one photo from each person who helps you out. If people have made an effort to help, they like to see that their contribution has been acknowledged. FWIW

JohnG Jul 27, 2010 3:29 PM

I think tclune's advice is great. Go with the shotgun approach - but contact friends/relatives ahead of time to get them on board with the program. You'll end up with a lot more keepers that way and the bride and groom will be better off. The tough part about that is it requires you to check your ego (don't know you so I'm saying this in the general sense). Secretly we all like being "the guy" people go to for pictures. Instead you must become "the organizer" to facilitate and collect images from other shooters. It's amazing what some simple edits can transform a shot into. Of course you still take photos but having 2 or 3 other members providing shots will really help out.

Ishay Jul 27, 2010 4:22 PM

Thanks for the advice about the potluck, I guess it takes some pressure off...

My Rebel has been on P most of the time since I got it, so no problem there.

JohnG- As much as I'd like to be 'the guy'- I understand this wedding is more important than 'me as the photographer', so no ego problems there.

Any more practical advices on things I should do?
1-Stay in P
2-Try to get a hold of a flash
3-Creating a potluck of pictures

Thanks for those who already helped, i'll mention you to the bride ;)

TCav Jul 27, 2010 6:08 PM

Get a big SD Card, and extra batteries for the camera and the flash.

And good luck!

tclune Jul 27, 2010 6:16 PM

A few random thoughts:
1. Go to the wedding rehearsal. Get permission for the way you want to shoot the actual wedding and let the minister and the couple know where and when you are hoping to take pictures. Churches vary all over the lot as to how formal they are, and what would be fine at one church would be scandalous at another, so get permission from anyone and everyone for what you want to do beforehand. If you can't do it, get advice on what equivalent thing you could do that would be within the bounds of propriety for that church.
2. Use the fact that you're not a pro -- tell the minister that you've never done this before and ask his advice on what to do. He may even have good ideas for wedding shots that you should take. Remember, he's been through this a lot more times than anybody else there (unless Zsa Zsa Gabor comes to the wedding...)
3. Ask the couple what photos they especially want you to take. They may have seen a photo that they love in a friend's wedding album. If you know what they want, you're more likely to be able to give it to them.
4. Take every shot you can before the actual wedding day. The bride and her maids are probably going to try on their dresses before the wedding day -- be there and get shots of them then. They will be willing and able to try different poses and suggest possible shots in a less hectic environment than the wedding day. Every shot you get beforehand is that much less pressure on the big day.
5. Plan ahead -- if you know you want a shot of the couple inside the car as they leave the wedding, for example, make sure the windows of the car are down -- or know that it's a convertable and the top will be down, and set your position accordingly. Mentally shoot the whole wedding beforehand, and solve the problems you can anticipate before the shoot. Scout the setting, and look for dramatic backdrops for your photos.
6. If you do the pot-luck approach, consider getting a "papparazzi" shot of all the photographers who helped swarming the couple and taking photos.
7. Build a "narrative" in your mind of the progression of the event. You should have a story line, at least in your own mind, for the album that you put together. It may be as simple as "him" and "her" become "them." You might then have the beginning of the album be her and her party getting ready, him and his party getting ready, them coming together at the church, and leaving as a couple. Whatever the organizing vector is, you ought to be able to pretty much tell where you are in the cycle when you see a picture or two in isolation. Putting an entire shoot together needs some organizing principle, just like an individual photo needs compositional unity.
8. Go to your local Barnes & Noble and browse through the photography section. You'll probably find a book or two on wedding photography. Browse through them and get all the ideas you can.
9. Set expectations on how long it will take to put the photos together after the wedding. It's a lot of work to post-process a lot of photos -- even more so if you're trying to match white balance of different cameras. Plan on spending at least a hundred hours on the post-processing, (I would probably plan on four or five times that, but I'm kind of slow at these things) and parcel that out according to the rest of your schedule. Let the bride and groom know when to expect the final product because they probably have no idea that there's anything to do after the photos have been taken.
10. I almost forgot -- have extra batteries and memory cards, and shoot multiples of every shot you care about.

frank-in-toronto Jul 27, 2010 7:16 PM

Just to zero in on point number 7 from tclune. I've never done a wedding so these are just ideas. There's a book called "Do-It_Yourself Wedding Photography" by James Booth that provides a nice simple story-line. What shots are de rigueur. Where to try to be creative. I would minimize the creativity part. You'll have enough work to do just to get the standard shots done well.

Also, I've read this suggestion elsewhere. Enlist some younger folk (like 13 to 16 years old) to take pictures. Make sure they know how of course. They'll get the ones you can't. Tell each one you want 100 shots, 20 per hour. And check on them during the wedding/reception. I wouldn't edit their pictures. I would put them into a slide-show...just call it "Candids!". Of course, cull the oof and pics that show people (especially the ladies) in a bad pose.

Whooo. The pressure you're under. Big job. Good luck.

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