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Old May 28, 2007, 9:20 AM   #1
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ve been asked to shoot a relatives small wedding in a few months and have several technical questions.

I have a Canon 20D, with 580 EX flash. I will be using 3 lenses a Sigma 70-200 2.8, a Tamron 28-75 2.8 and a Tokina 12-24 4.0.

Should I shoot RAW or JPEG? What would be the best metering to use, center weighted, evaluative or partial? Should I shoot apeture, shutter, or program modes?

What would be the best set up for using my flash.

Are there any web sites that you can direct me to.


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Old May 28, 2007, 11:57 AM   #2
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Well a lot depends on the situation, the lighting is a big question mark for one thing. I would shoot RAW for sure, but then I shoot everything in RAW. I would probably leave it in evaluative metering mode. I tend to use Aperture priority and manual mode the most. In lower lighting situation I would go with AP and dial in the widest qperture for my lens so this would inturn give me my fastest shutter speed. There will be scenes where maybe you would want more dof the you get with your lens wide open too, so there is no one setting that is going to work for everything. Check your histograms, and LCD, be sure you go to the rehersal so you know what is going to happen when and take some shots there. Check out the location to see what the lighting is. If you can get a back up camera body. A good tripod for the formal alter shots is also a good idea. And be ready for everything to go wrong, because it probably will.
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Old May 29, 2007, 1:11 PM   #3
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Shooting weddings is hard, be warned.
You didn't mention if you were the primary photographer there or not. If you are, you should seriously consider getting help.

There is a lot to do, and many things will happen only once (potentially *ever* in their entire life!)

Also I would spend some time setting expectations with the bride and groom. Even if they say things like "just do your best, we'll be happy with whatever you can do" I would still be afraid. There are many horror stories out there about people hating their wedding photos and not forgiving the photographer for years.

But on to your questions. I'm not sure which metering mode is better, probably center weighted. Definitely not partial. I would take many test shots of people wearing similar colors of the bride and groom (traditionally white for her and black for him.) This is the hardest thing to shoot - trying to get detail in the black while also not blowing out the white.

Also know that in Av mode, the flash is treated as "fill flash" while in manual it is considered the dominant light source. In low light situations you have to choose. Do you want a low-light looking shot (for mood) but a low shutter speed or do you want the flash to light up the scene? Practice, practice, practice!

Oh, and bring extras of everything. Flash cards, batteries, cameras (if you can.)

Also, go to the wedding rehersal. You *need* to learn what will happen where so you can be ready for it.

And talk with whoever is running/giving the service to make sure you know the "house rules". Some places don't allow flash in certain places, for example.

Good luck! Personally, I run away from wedding requests. They are really hard, and you run the risk of really messing up your relationship with the parties involved.

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Old May 29, 2007, 8:48 PM   #4
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We are in similar boats as I'm shooting my first weddings as main photog this year, I have one in Aug, one in Sept and another in Oct. I shot at quite a few in the past at friends weddings just as a guest who is obsessed by photography so generally I can be found glued to the shoulder of the pro

When using flash I use M, apart from that I always go for Av as I want to be creative with dof. I will be shooting RAW + Jpeg so I can have quick results to get on to the web for viewing/ordering but still have the RAW when I need to play around if things were not quite nailed. This will eat memory so take that into consideration, depending on your shooting style and the fact you probably want to take quite a few more shots than needed to make sure you have everything and focus is strong then I would suggest2 x 4Gb is the place to be.

If you are the main photog then do make sure you have 2 of everything (as you are a Canon man there is a good chance you will know someone who has a XT or XTi with standard lens you could borrow for the day in exchange for a bottle of wine or similar). I have just bought a Canon 5D/24-105mm f4 IS USMand 430EXto go with the 30D and 580EX I already had. I have a lot of lenses and will probably go with the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 on the 30D so I can get candids to increase the potential sales and add another dimension.

Do talk to the family to see the shots they would like to get from the day and ensure you know who is going to be there (family/friends). Once you know what they want get the group shots listed and given to the best man (who usually sorts groups for shots - he is going to be your best friend). Do the shots that need immediate family and a big group if needed first then they can get off while you do the bride and groom, bridesmaids and grooms men without worrying that everyone else is standing around watching/getting bored.

If you are looking for ideas do a google on wedding photographers and look at their websites. As they want to sell work they generally will have what they class to be their best work in a portfolio section so get ideas from that as it will help loads.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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Old May 29, 2007, 11:15 PM   #5
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I have shot a lot of weddings. My #1 tool would be that Tamron 28-75mm lens, followed by the Tokina 12-24mm lens for the group shots and the formals. Simply follow the scenario laid out by Scott Kelby in his Digital Cameras book and you cannot go wrong. It really is a good deal easier than you might think.

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