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Old May 27, 2010, 1:19 PM   #1
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I need some expert assistance. I've been asked to shoot a wedding that will be held inside (bar/rest) and I'm kinda worried about how to shoot and keep everyone in focus as well as using a flash. I will use an Olympus E-500 with either the 35-70mm lense or the 70-150mm. I want the photos to come out clear and without ghosting or red eye. Can someone please provide me with how to best proceed?

Thank you.
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Old May 27, 2010, 1:26 PM   #2
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Please help. I have an Olympus E-500 w/ 35-70mm and 70-15mm lense and will be shooting an inside wedding (at a local bar) so I guess light will be limited. Can someone please tell me how to best shoot to keep blurring and red eye down? I just shot a baseball banquet inside and had a real problem with blurring. i used the 70-150 lense. Thanks for the help.

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Old May 27, 2010, 2:32 PM   #3
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My advise is that if you need to ask what you need to do, you should not agree to shoot the wedding. If you make mistakes and the photos do not turn out well, it's not like you can ask them to have another wedding to try and get better results, practicing until you get it right. You only get one shot at it, and you need to have the experience, skill level and equipment needed to insure those photos come out well (with the emphasis on the experience and skill level). Otherwise, you could contribute to bitter feelings between you guys if something goes wrong (and refer to Murphy's law when shooting weddings). ;-)

Taking photos indoors in difficult environments takes practice, especially if you're using MF lenses with a camera that has a small viewfinder without a split prism type focus screen, making it difficult to determine focus accuracy (I'm assuming that the 35-70mm you're mentioning is an older OM type lens).

That's not a great focal length if you're shooting in closer quarters with a four thirds system camera either (as it would have the same angle of view you'd have using a 70-140mm lens on a 35mm camera, which could make it difficult to back up far enough to get what you want in the frame shooting in bar/restaurant environment, depending on how large it is).

What kind of flash system are you using now? Do you have experience making changes to settings as needed in difficult indoor environments to compensate for ceiling height/color, subject colors, distance, etc. to accommodate for metering difficulties using a flash in that environment?

What kind of backup gear do you have (camera bodies, lenses, flash systems, etc.) in case something breaks or malfunctions?

Here is one 6 page article that may help you understand the difficulty and challenges involved:

http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Wedding101-page1.html

Do you have any experience at all in this area, or comparable experience shooting a lot of indoor [people] subjects with your existing gear in comparable conditions?

Do you have adequate backup equipment to use when problems occur?

I'll move this thread to our General Discussion forum for more comments. I'd give more info on the exact conditions, what equipment you have available, your experience level, etc. But, if you've never shot similar subjects in similar conditions, I'd suggest bowing out gracefully and asking them to find a professional photographer with experience shooting weddings in those conditions instead.
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Old May 27, 2010, 4:44 PM   #4
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My advice is that you run away, change your name, and move to another city.

If it does not go well, you will feel like a bum everytime you see them, and the best you can hope for is a quick divorce.
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Old May 27, 2010, 5:26 PM   #5
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I've just joined your two threads together to make it easier for you and other people to follow the advice as it is not camera specific but more technique I've left them in General Discussions rather than Olympus.

There are a handful of us who have or do shoot weddings here and I would pretty much agree with JimC and TCav. If however you do have time to practise so that you can nail the settings without having to think much and can then use these settings into usable shots then all well and good, but if it is soon and you've no time to get this sorted out it is best not to do it and leave a couple without the photo memories they were hoping for.

Key points already mentioned, you need to have a good powerful external flash (I'm not an expert on Oly flash guns but a bare minimum power for my is a guide number of 40 and 50+ is really desired), normal zoom (on Oly you want to be starting at 14mm or wider) then a backup for each element as you can't shoot if one part goes down.

I personally shoot with a 5DmkII as my primary camera using a 24-105mm lens and then carry a 1DmkIII with a 70-200mm f2.8 for the detail/candid shots. On top of this I have a spare body ready to go with a lens covering basically the same range as my primary camera and all 3 have external flash guns. Why do I take all this? Shot coverage and security, I can get get everything needed with my main 2 cameras and then if something fails I'm out of action for a few seconds by picking up the other body. This is only really key in the ceremony, at the party after I don't have the 3rd camera out ready as there are not so many things that are critical and can't be repeated.

I wouldn't want to stop anyone progressing in their photography, but more importantly I wouldn't want the happy couple to turn into the unhappy couple by receiving bad photos. If you can't say 100% you will be able to give the quality expected by the time of their wedding then it is best for them to get some in who can and you can use the event to practise shooting in these conditions.

I don't claim to be an expert, in fact I'm still at the low end in regards to attaining the quality of wedding shooting that I aspire to. Each wedding I shoot I try to learn something else to enable me to get closer to this goal. Weddings are very much a love or hate situation as some people really don't enjoy the need to get the shots so it puts a lot of pressure on them and takes away the fun. I personally love them, the whole event, it's a challenge, it's fast paced, never really a slow moment throughout the day so as I come from sports shooting I get a huge buzz out of this.

I don't think I really answered your questions as at the moment I guess you are working with built in flash so without a bit of a kit upg you are not going to even be able to create pleasing shots.

I hope the 3 replies you have had don't seem too negative, they are just honest views that will hopefully help you and the couple getting married.
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Old May 27, 2010, 5:44 PM   #6
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For your wedding present to them, hire a pro.
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Old May 27, 2010, 7:53 PM   #7
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Shooting a wedding takes a good deal of photographic experience and the ability to work well under a lot of pressure. It is not a photo environment for amateurs. Usually a good wedding photographer we use multiple camera bodies, lenses, and flashes.

I could be wrong, but from reading your post it appears that the proposed wedding assignment is an almost perfect recipe for photographic disaster, and the loss of a great friendship.

Tell the wedding couple the truth. Act as an assistant to the professional or just be there to take some bonus/add-on photos. But, my advice is to not accept the assignment.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 27, 2010, 8:33 PM   #8
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If you are determined to try this after all the advice to skip it, (which I agree with), then you need to have a good long session with the couple to find out what they expect in the way of number of photos, poses, groupshots, portraits, etc. Nail it down. Also, let them know that you can't do it alone - there needs to be someone to herd (and I use the term precisely) the guests and family for the necessary poses.
Indoors, you will definitely need a top of the line external flash unit, as bar/restaurants are not often well lit. Practice using bounce flash, to find out if you can get decent group shots at f/8.
Be absolutely certain that the couple doesn't expect too much from you. And realize, that, even though you're their friend, you will be working and not there to have fun.

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Old May 28, 2010, 3:10 PM   #9
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RUN!

In all seriousness, weddings are Very stressful. I think this level of stress is one of the key reasons good wedding photographers charge the prices they do. That and it costs a lot of money to get all the right gear (back-up bodies, lenses, flash units, batteries, memory cards), pay an assistant, etc.

Everyone here has provided you with some excellent advice. Like VTphotog stated, be sure to talk with the couple to see what all is expected. I recommend doing it for Free if you are going ahead with it. This is how I started, which helps reduce the amount of stress a little.

An assistant can also be a huge lifesaver. My wife does all the "herding" and makes sure we get all the shots on the Bride/Groom's list, and people aren't taking their sweet time. After the ceremony, they want to get out of there as fast as possible to get the to reception, where the fun usually begins. That means you have a short window to get the key group shots, without having unhappy people (this of course depends on the people you are working with)

How much actual photography experience do you have? Since you are going to be in a bar/restaurant setting, I'm guessing that the lighting is going to suck (be very dim). Like Mark mentioned, you're going to want a good external flash unit; do not try this with the built-in unit. Also, since the E-500's max usable ISO setting is ISO 800, a good fast lens (F2.8 or better) is a must. I honestly wouldn't try to use anything over ISO 400 with that camera, which is going to be quite hard in marginal lighting without the above two accessories.

What settings were you planning on using?
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Old May 28, 2010, 10:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
My advise is that if you need to ask what you need to do, you should not agree to shoot the wedding. If you make mistakes and the photos do not turn out well, it's not like you can ask them to have another wedding to try and get better results, pd you need to have the experience, skill level racticing until you get it right. . ;-)

Taking photos indoors in difficult environments takes practice,

Do you have any experience at all in this area, or comparable experience shooting a lot of indoor [people] subjects with your existing gear in comparable conditions?

Do you have adequate backup equipment to use when problems occur?
I'd suggest bowing out gracefully and asking them to find a professional photographer with experience shooting weddings in those conditions instead.
I agree with Jim C and my advise is this act as a backup photographer which is what I did on the 4 weddings I have done for family members. They wanted a second person shooting in case the pro lost the images etc. Use a large memory card or several mid size (say a 16GB or a couple of 8GB, always having at least 1 back up card). Shoot as much as you can and don't delete on the spot/location/during the wedding as you might miss something or actually end up with a great shot you can edit in photoshop etc. Have plenty of batteries fully charged with at least one at all times in your pocket.

The first wedding I did in 2000 was with a 120MB floppy disc camera ok laugh but that was what I had. 1.3MP images. This was for my brother who wanted me to mainly take pictures of members of both sides of the family doing whatever they do as the pro most likely would not do that. The pro delivered 400 shots and I took 120. Grant mine were not the best but I did capture somethings the pro didn't like family members. It was my first real shoot and I learned something valuable you need a good flash and if your not a pro hire one. The pro dude had four cameras and one assistant that would load them with film and change batteries as needed.

The second wedding I used the Fuji S5100 with 4 1GB xD cards and a hard disc memory storage device ( only reused 1 memory card). The first day we had a family reunion. Day 2 was the wedding. My goal was to get images the pro wasn't getting like family members and details as the pro followed the couple around

Third wedding was Fuji S9100 (with S5200 as back-up) with a 4GB, 8GB and borrowed 16GB CF cards 9(im C talked me into that). This time I split my shooting to 50% normal covered wedding stuff a pro would do and 50% detail/family. Still nice to have the pro there.

Fourth wedding was with Sony A200 (S9100 as backup and an Olympus SW1050) 50-150mm and 28-300mm with a hot shoe flash, 2x 8GB CF, 4GB CF, 2GB CF. I went crazy this time. The mother of bride demanded a backup photographer and one that would shoot anything and everything and then some. So I shot everything I could. Luckily the mother of the bride loved my photos very very much. She had nothing negative to say. I shot for close to 7 hours total and then spent another 12.5 hours post work getting them upload to laptop, working on some photos that need white balanced, cropped and then titling them.

By the way on the 4th wedding the pro guys yes guys (2 of them showed up) Each had a D700 and the lead guy had a spare D40 or 40x on him. They were using 16GB cards in each camera and had 4 spare batteries each. When the pros saw me they asked who I was hired by or if I was just shooting for fun and didn't cause any real problems. They also had hot show flashed with a blow like diffuser mounted. The lead guy also had a card wallet with 4 more 8GB cards on him.

Now after 4 weddings I feel I shot good as I work part time for a newspaper, but still like shooting second to a pro at a wedding for me wedding photography is the hardest gig I have ever done, I shoot fire rescue and news and that stuff is 20x easier and shooting fires is nit as easy as it sounds if you do it right.

hope this helps.

dave
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