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Old Apr 12, 2009, 6:53 PM   #1
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Hi,

I am a manager and like to shoot photo's since I've got a camara for my birthday. I use my camara mostly when I am on vacation.

I am new and very green in digital photography. I've been asked by my niece -who cannot afford a professional photographer- 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.

A friend of hers told her the best wedding photographers use a Nikon. Can I use my Canon EOS 10D and which lens do I have to use for this and where exactly do I have to look or shoot for ? Or is it wisely to go look and buy a Nikon?

Thanks.
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 12:30 PM   #2
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Welcome.

I'll move this thread down to our General Q&A forum, where more members are likely to see it and respond.

This topic comes up from time to time in the forums, and you'll probably get some advise on spare equipment needed (including a decent flash), poses, skill level, and more.

But, if there are other options, you may want to decline if your skill level isn't up to the task (especially if you've never shot a wedding before).

How long have you had this 10D (you mentioned getting a camera for your birthday)? Do you have a good understanding of basic photography (aperture, shutter speed, iso speed, depth of field, lighting, composition, etc.)?

Your skill level is going to be the most important thing, and you'll want some experience under your belt shooting in the same conditions with the equipment you plan on using.


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Old Apr 13, 2009, 1:54 PM   #3
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gretchenta wrote:
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I am new and very green in digital photography. I've been asked by my niece -who cannot afford a professional photographer- 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.
Here is my honest advice. If your relationship with your niece is important to you I suggest you and some other relatives hire a professional relative on her behalf as a wedding present. Everyone who has ever shot a wedding has had a 'first time'. That 'first time' should not be while you are 'very green to digital photography'. I realize it's very flattering to be asked. But my advice is to put your ego in check (I don't say this in a durogatory fashion as I don't know you but just generally speaking) and decline. Wedding photography is difficult. There are almost always a list of technical hurdles (difficult exposures, etc...) but there's a lot of planning and time management involved as well. And you usually don't get a chance at a re-do if you screw up. My advice would be a bit different if you had expressed a good level of experience with your gear and doing portrait work and good experience with flash photography and experience with other event type work (where you're time boxed and can't do-over).

Again, ask yourself this question - "what is more important to YOU - the fact that your niece has quality photos to remember her special day or the fact that it was you that took the photos"? You're self proclaimed inexperience would suggest it unlikely you'll take quality photos at this difficult task. I say that not to be mean - it's just a fact. I say this from some experience. I've shot with DSLRs for 5-6 years now and I shot with SLRs before. In that time I shot a number of weddings as a guest and I look back on those shots and cringe at a lot of them. I've shot 1 wedding as the pro and it was tough work. I had quite a bit of shooting experience and was using professional level equipment and I'm still not happy with my results. I think they were 'good enough' given the price I charged. But I had done enough event and sports and group work that I had some good experience to draw on for how to make quick decisions and adjustments on the fly. Without that experience to draw on, you may have a very difficult time if conditions aren't perfect.

As to only using Nikon - that's hogwash. Nikon, Canon, Oly, Pentax can all do weddings. Your current lack of photographic experience is going to be the limiting factor. Certainly the 10D is an older camera though - what WILL limit you is a lack of dynamic range, lack of good high ISO performance and lack of megapixels for detail / cropping / large printing. Also likely to limit you are potentially lenses and flashes / flash brackets you currently own. But all the necessary equipment is available in Canon's system. But the money you would spend on upgrading your current gear could be spent paying for that photographer.
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 8:27 PM   #4
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How formal is the wedding going to be, and what does your niece expect for photos? If you feel your skills are up to the task, your equipment probably is too.

Many people these days seem to think that all their guests having camera phones is sufficient to put together a wedding album from. Others insist on a total package from a professional. You need to have a full discussion with the bride and groom to find out what they want, and what you are able to provide. If you still think you want to take on the project, there is plenty advice available.

brian
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 10:17 PM   #5
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What quality of photos and work is your niece expecting? Have her spell it out clearly in writing. Then decide if you have the skills and tools to do it.

Another thing to consider, is the wedding won't be much fun for you since you'll be busy working.


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Old Apr 14, 2009, 6:47 AM   #6
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gretchenta:

Here's a 6 part article that may help you decide if you're ready to shoot a wedding. Please do not underestimate the skill needed for good results.

Wedding Photography 101 by Antony Hands

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Old Apr 14, 2009, 8:42 AM   #7
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Several interesting pointers from JimC last post
-> For folks planning on using their f/1.8 (or less) take note:
  • For bridal portraiture (head and shoulders) use an aperture of not less than f/2 unless you are very familiar with your tools. Even at f/2 the whole face will not be in focus. If you want to be sure you nail focus on the whole face an aperture of between f/2.8 and f/4 is probably best. Naturally you are using a telephoto lens to get the most flattering perspective.[/*]
  • For the groom's head and shoulders shot use a smaller aperture, say f/4. The "dreamy" look that wider apertures give generally does not suit men, as it implies femininity rather than masculinity.[/*]
Also:
The importance of fill flash
The use of fill flash is important for weddings in so many ways. For normal portraiture in the shade it can be used to gently fill in eye sockets, making shots more flattering. In bright sun it can be used to overpower the daylight, removing harsh shadows. The difference between the two applications is the amount of flash exposure compensation (FEC) applied.
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Old Apr 14, 2009, 5:24 PM   #8
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Practice and get help. Anytime you are near a group of people, practice getting them to pose. Get help so you are not the only one taking pictures. Also help rounding up Uncle Fred from the bar and making sure Granny Ethel has her shoes on and her teeth in. Scout the location and figure out where the best place for formal shots. Go there at the same time of day a few days in advance and figure out how the light works.

Get a whole bunch of folks shooting - that way there is a better chance of getting some good shots, and you won't be on the hook because the photos are less than professional.
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Old Apr 15, 2009, 7:22 AM   #9
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If you do decide to the do the wedding, arrive early and get detailed shots like the inside and outside of the church and the plates and glasses at the reception place etc. Also get the brides dress and shoes before she puts them on (dress on hanger in the drerssing room); get the grooms party fooling around before the wedding and getting dressed if possible. The bride and groom arrivng at the church etc. Make you pictures tell as story from start to finish and leave no detail out if possible.

Carry way more memory cards than you think you will use (or can fill for that matter) and shoot shoot shoot. You can not shoot too much and don't delete shots as you may miss something durning the time you are reviewing and deleting. Also some shot you may think of deleting may be able to be fixed in photoshop and turn out to be good shots. I have found that 16GB is usually enough with my 9 and 10MP cameras I have used to get an entire wedding captured (shooting at highest jpeg setting).

Shoot at the highest resolution possible even if it means less images per card and keep the images in the editing program saved at the highest resolution. Also use the highest capacity card you have when the ceremony starts to make sure you don't run out of space and have an extra battery in your pocket or where you can get to it in seconds.......

For group shots etc take multi shots just to make sure everyones eyes are open and smiling.

Also think/plan in advance where you stand or sit durning the ceremony to make sure you can get the ring exchange and the kiss as well as the party coming up the aisel at the beginning of the ceremony.

I have done several wedding as favors for relatives one of which the pro backed out with one week piror to the wedding because the bride woudn't buy into the pros most experience package deal. I can tell you from experience that this is very difficult work and you will be pulling on all your experience and skills (their is no do overs at a a wedding - they only kiss once at the alter etc). Also something you may not have even though about is that your arms and wrist may get very tired and even hurt as you will need to hold the camera for hours to be able to shoot the entire event. So start carrying the camera around and get used to the wait of it.

dave
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Old Apr 16, 2009, 9:24 PM   #10
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gretchenta wrote:
Quote:
Hi,

I am a manager and like to shoot photo's since I've got a camara for my birthday. I use my camara mostly when I am on vacation.

I am new and very green in digital photography. I've been asked by my niece -who cannot afford a professional photographer- 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.

A friend of hers told her the best wedding photographers use a Nikon. Can I use my Canon EOS 10D and which lens do I have to use for this and where exactly do I have to look or shoot for ? Or is it wisely to go look and buy a Nikon?

Thanks.
OMG.

Yes, that was my first response.

(BTW,I am not a pro, I don't shoot weddings and I am not wanting to start now)

I would hire a pro... even it meant leaving some guests off the guest list... because a pro is that important. No, second cousin Amy can't attend. Neither can your neice's high school English teacher. Might need to drop the fresh fruit baskets off the banquet tables. Get the pro, it is important.

Having said that...your comment "cannot afford a professional photographer" is important.

What does that really mean? Your niece is spending $30K on a wedding and she is $2K overbudget so she is dropping the pro photographer is a budgetary move? Drop a guest or twoinstead.

Or is thebudget is $500 and shehas already spent $800 and has dropped the semi-pro photographer because the extra $200 required is just way over her budget?



I will say this in encouragement. Twofriends of mine got married. After 12 years of living together. Her 5th marriage, his 4th. A small group of friends attendedthe ceramony. In Las Vegas. I lent a member of the groupmy camera for the event. The kit lens only, built-in flash,complete novice taking the pictures in auto mode.

Small group of people. Yo, Bob, squeeze in closer. Wait a minute, that one didn't turn out. Can you kiss again. Hold the knife and let me move for a better angle.

The pictures are great. Not just because of the small group. The pictures really are good. Meaningful. Emotional.

IF, and that is a big IF, if there is just no darn way for your niece to spring for a pro photographer, the wedding is a small affair, and you can get some helpers with cameras to participate, then by all means do it. Some pictures are better than no pictures.






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