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Old Apr 17, 2009, 1:48 AM   #11
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Shooting a wedding as the pro is tough. You owe it to her to do nothing but take photographs all day.

Taking your camera along and acting as a backup in case the pro messes up is great fun. It allows you to get some shots they might not and fill-in as second photographer.

The top wedding studios send 2 or 3 photographers along anyway.

My advice is that if you can afford it to hire a pro to do the job for her wedding present.

So avoid it if you can; if it's really you or nothing then take your camera and do your best. Do lots of reading on the wedding photographers sites first. Sit down with your niece and discuss with her the type of shots she wants.

Then go out and practice before the day. Make sure you go along to the rehearsal. Take lots of pictures there and show them to your niece and discuss them.

Do get a disposable camera for each table and ask the guests to make sure they are all fully used up by the end of the night. They will be some of the best shots at the end of the day.

Set your personal standards very high and treat it as a job.

There is one advantage that you will have over a pro: you will know a lot of the guests and can therefore establish a rapport with them that it can be much harder for a pro to achieve. (Though the best pros can put people at their ease very well.)

Good luck.
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Old Apr 17, 2009, 9:51 PM   #12
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Wanted to add some more to this post after thinking about my experiences being in your shoes. I did get some good advice here that helped me with my weddings so I always feel like giving back when I can.

As for lenses I used a Fuji S9100 for the last two weddings since I didn't own an D-SLR. I know what wedding guy is gonna do a wedding with a semi-advanced camera and not a D-SLR. Well I did. As for lenses make sure you have something wide for those large formal shots. I found my 28mm end of the built in lens was just wide enough if I would have started at 35mm or 38mm that wouldn't have been wide enough for some shots.

I have done 3 weddings as favors for relatives. The first one was done for a cousin whos pro backed up because he claimed he overbooked..... it was because she didn't buy into his biggest package of all the extras where would make most of his money. So he found someone who would and quit. Lets just say he backed out with less than a week to the wedding (he did refund the downpayment).

I can say honestly it is very hard work. Especially holding the camera for many hours straight. Start carying the camera with you all the time because after 2 hours of holding it your wrist will get tired.

Here is some more advice I'd like to offer based on my experiences.

Lots of memory cards so you don't miss any of the action and use the largest one you have just before the cemerony starts. I have used an 8GB and a 16GB card for the weddings. One event between the wedding and reception I told 17GB of photos, many duplicates just to make sure I got the shot.

Also as dumb as this sounds make sure you actually CHARGE EVERY battery you have the night before, top every battery off.

Make sure you talk to the bride and groom and get a hit list of photos they have to have inculding any posed or formals. Also take to the mother of the bride if you can and ask her if their are ay must have pictures.

When you do the posed/formals always!!!! take multi shots to make sure everyone has their eyes open etc. I usually snap 3 of each to make sure.

Some people say its a pain to edit if you have 100s or even 1000s of shots but this is one time when you need to shoot as much as possible. You CAN NOT overshoot. You can always delete when you get home but you can add. Also don;t delete in the field for 2 reasons you have the once in a life time shot and you thinks its a gooner and you may be able to edit and photoshoip it to save it and 2.) you may miss another shot or shots of importance in the process of check and deleting. Yes check often to make sure you got the shot but don;t start staring and deciding on weather to delete it or not.

I usually started to shoot about 2 hrs before the ceremony doing church shots etc, then an hour or 90 minutes before do formals and ended up when the bride and groom drive off in their car after the reception. That was about 7 hours of total shooting in most cases. On average I ended up with about 800 shot that I saved. All of the shots were shot and saved at the highest jpg resolution in camera and at jpg max in photoshop (you may want to use raw) titling all images in number order using 001 002 003 004 etc.

My rule of thumb was to shot the wedding and do nothing else that day except grab some food/water (being quick about it) and go to the bathroom. I didn't stop and chat, didn't dance, didn't go outside and throw around the football etc. I owed it to the people to shoot the entire time. As soon as the wedding was over I off loaded my memory cards to my laptop and keep the cards in tack. I saved the entire batch to an external hard drive in a temp folder marked full wedding with date.

I then culled the batch and removed all the duplicates I didn't need and anything that was out of wack etc. That was all I did the day of the wedding (took me another 90minutes to move the photos to do the cull).

The next day I opened each photo in my image viewing program and croped as needed. If the photo needed edited in any other way I opened them in photoshop elements and did whatever editing was needed. In my case the editing part of this took close to 6 hours.

Then I saved the photos to my photo holding drive in my external server (netgear device) and once I knew they would open erased the temp folder. I then saved 2 copies of the photos to discs, one for my archive and one for the couple. Then extras for the other people as needed.

In all the wedding would take me all day on the wedding day (at least 9 hours should be planed dedicated to photo work - shooting and uploading etc) and 2 days afterwards editing (more or less depending how picky yo are and how much editing is needed).

Hope this helps

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Old Apr 21, 2009, 9:04 PM   #13
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gretchenta wrote:

I am a manager
of what? a photo studio? a shoe store? McDonald's?
and like to shoot photo's since I've got a camara for my birthday.
your 15th bday? 45th? 73?
I use my camara mostly when I am on vacation.
as opposed to using it mostly at work on wall street. oh, cool, let's run around the office snapping pics of 300lbs Brenda as she sips coffee.
if I would like to shoot her wedding. She is one of my favorite niece and I have never done this or have been asked for this.
if you want to stay that way, tell her no can do. hire a photog for $500.
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Old Apr 21, 2009, 9:10 PM   #14
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"I will say this in encouragement. Twofriends of mine got married. After 12 years of living together. Her 5th marriage, his 4th."

oh boy. how nice. hope this time it works out.
perhaps people should indeed try living together for a while prior to hitchin' a ride in the ol' wagon.
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