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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:34 AM   #1
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Default Wedding photography lenses for Pentax k-r

Hello,
I'm a newby when it comes to digital photography (I have some experience with 35mm though). I have a wedding coming up next soon and a friend of mine will be doing the photography. I purchased a Pentax k-r with 18-55mm kit lense a few months ago and have been playing with it since then. I also purchased DSLR for dummies 2010 version and I rented a Pentax da*60-250mm lense, Pentax 77mm limited 1.8 lense and a AF540 flash w/powerpack for the wedding date. Did I choose the right lenses for wedding photography or should I get different lenses? Also, since I chose a da*60-250mm, am I doubling up by getting the 77mm limited? Would I be better off getting da* equivalent to 18-55 and not get the prime? Anything I'm missing? Any advise would is greatly appreciated.
Thanks again
Dan
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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Dan,
You say "a friend of mine will be doing the photography". Is your friend a professional wedding photographer or just a friend of the bride/groom doing them a favor. The reason I ask is that: if the friend is a pro, why aren't they advising you on gear?

Now, the second question: where do you fit in? Or are you saying you and the friend are "partners" and will be doing the wedding together? If it's a coordinated effort, you need to determine who will be doing which photography - that will determine what gear each needs to have.

Also, if you're one of the "official" photographers you're going to need more practice time with the gear. If you don't own an external flash you're not going to pop one on the day of the wedding and take great wedding photos. You need to practice and learn proper flash techniques. Same with shallow dof work with the 77mm limited. Without practice you're going to botch shallow DOF shots you won't have time to repeat. A wedding is fast paced - you don't have time to zoom in on the lcd playback and see if focus was perfect or to guess through issues of balancing flash with ambient light because your subject looks like someone standing in a completely dark room with a stark white light on them.

A wedding is not the right time to be renting gear you're completely unfamiliar with.

Now, if you're just a guest/family member and not providing "official" photos I apologize for misinterpreting. I still will suggest you're going to run into a lot of issues with your shot results doing flash work and shallow dof for the first time the day of the event (but at least you won't have the stress of ruining the "official shots" ).
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 1:12 PM   #3
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I'm the one getting married and a friend of mine will be taking the actual wedding pictures (the official ones). We dont have the money for a professional photographer, so I'm trying to work with what I have the best. I have my buddy reading the DSLR for dummies book and Pentax k-r manual and he will have about 1.5 months to play with the camera. I know the pictures wont look "professional" but I want them to look as good as they can with what we have to work with. I rented the lenses and flash for 1 week. Should I get them for two weeks or not get them at all. The cermony and part of the reception will be during daylight/evening. The Cermony is in a church that has moderate light (not great natural light but not dark either). I greatly appreciate your advice.

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Old Mar 31, 2011, 1:46 PM   #4
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OK, now I see. It's difficult to say how much time your friend will need with equipment to become proficient with it's use. Some people have a knack for it and others require more time. If your friend has no DSLR experience, 6 weeks can be tough to go from "zero to wedding" in. The toughest aspect will be trying to work with wide apertures. So, if the ceremony requires no flash that means they need to work with the 77 limited at f2.8 or wider. And if they try to take any portrait work. That's some shallow depth of field work and is one of the biggest jumps in going from digicam to DSLR. Let me give you an example - here's a shot I took at a St. Patrick's day mass:


Notice how the Host is out of focus as is the background and even his arms? The face is in focus but not a lot else. You don't get that with a digicam and it means that when you focus on the wrong thing, the people aren't in focus. It also means that it can be very difficult to get MULTIPLE people in focus.

You've got 6 weeks to go it sounds like. I would suggest renting the flash and 77 in 2 weeks (for a week). During that period - have it arrange to get access to the site where the ceremony & reception will be if you can. Have the friend practice taking photos for several days then the "on site" practice shoot and a couple days left after that to continue practicing. That "test run" will give you an idea how well they're prepared for the big day.

It will also give them familiarity with the environment they'll be shooting in.

I suggest only 2 lenses to keep it as simple as possible:
kit lens to be used with external flash
77mm limited to be used for ceremony shots and some portrait work.

What you also should have them do is practice group shots and portrait shots - they'll need to get comfortable with how depth-of-field works on a DSLR. When you have group shots with 2 or 3 rows of people suddenly not everyone is in focus anymore.

If they're eager enough, have them join this site and post practice shots for feedback so members can help them a bit. Books can be a challenging way to learn photography - especially in such a short time. It's easier and faster to get feedback from experienced photographers. They can post a photo and get feedback and suggestions and make changes.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 2:25 PM   #5
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John - do you think the DA*60-250 f4 would be the wrong lens to rent/bother with, in other words skip it entirely? I'm thinking that since it's huge, heavy and awkward to use without a lot of practice, it would be a liability rather than an asset. But having never shot a wedding and rarely shooting people, I have no real idea if the extra reach might be worth stuggling with it.

If he's going to rent a second lens to the 77 would it make sense to rent something wider, like the FA 31 f1.8 Limited, for crowd scenes or something longer, like perhaps the DA*50-135 f2.8? Probably your idea of the kit lens with flash along with the 77 is probably the best solution, given the little amount of time available. But I was wondering which way would make more sense.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 2:32 PM   #6
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Harriet,
There's really no need for shallow-DOF "group shots" and general "crowd shot" of the wedding guests really isn't much of a standard shot. If you think about it, it would make up 1 shot out of the couple hundred the couple keeps.

I agree something like the 60-250 is too much given the limited time. F4 isn't fast enough for low light work typically so I wouldn't want to rely on it for ceremony. It can be useful for portrait work. But I assumed (bad idea) the ceremony was indoors. Is that true OP? If it's outdoors that changes things. In that case the 77 becomes the odd-man out. You can do portrait work with the 60-250 and the flash will cover the reception shots.

Now, as to what focal length makes sense for ceremony work - that depends on the logistics: indoor or outdoor? where will the photographer be able to shoot from? Good thoughts Harriet. With some additional information we can narrow down the focal lengths that make the most sense and select a 2-lens solution that will meet the most criteria while still keeping things as simple as possible.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 3:35 PM   #7
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You guys are awsome. Thanks for the advice and tips.

The cermony is indoors in a church that has ok lighting. It has stained glass windows on both sides. Its not as dark as many churches Ive seen, but still darker then outdoors. I do plan to have several outdoor photos taken as the wedding is in the mountains of Colorado.

So should I not get the da* 60-250 and flash and only get the 77 limited prime? Is the 18-55 kit lense good enough or should I get a da* equivalent to the 18-55 range? Any better lens choice you guys can reccommend?

I do have access to my fathers Nikon D5000 and he has a few long telephoto lenses that we could use for any long shots we might need. I just prefered to do it all on the Pentax K-r. But that might be a way to save some money.

Having him post pictures to this site is a great idea. I'll tell him to do that.

Dan
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 4:13 PM   #8
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Congratulations on the forthcoming wedding.

Can you get into the church prior to the wedding (soon if possible) at about the same time of day to get a really accurate idea of the likely light. Although to us the light might seem pretty good, when you start shooting it might well be poor.

Can flash be used during the ceremony or only natural light?

My take on this is to keep it simple, one main lens then a 2nd if needed. As long as there is enough light/flash is allowed then I could do a whole wedding (apart from not being overly creative in my shooting style) with the kit lens. The 77mm prime will allow some nice shallow depth of field shots but as John has said this will require some more work as they are not as easy to shoot well.

If you want some long range shots then get a 2nd person to use the D5000 with long lens and a tripod, that can work well even without flash but I don't suggest your friend juggles too much with different options. I'm a fine one to talk, I go to a wedding with 4 or 5 cameras, 2 to shoot with, one out as a back up then at least one more backup in a bag just in case...... so this is a do as I say, not as I do situation LOL.
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Old Apr 2, 2011, 7:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
Congratulations on the forthcoming wedding.

Can you get into the church prior to the wedding (soon if possible) at about the same time of day to get a really accurate idea of the likely light. Although to us the light might seem pretty good, when you start shooting it might well be poor.

Can flash be used during the ceremony or only natural light?

My take on this is to keep it simple, one main lens then a 2nd if needed. As long as there is enough light/flash is allowed then I could do a whole wedding (apart from not being overly creative in my shooting style) with the kit lens. The 77mm prime will allow some nice shallow depth of field shots but as John has said this will require some more work as they are not as easy to shoot well.
+1. All very good advice. Your friend and you should speak with the officiator (priest/rabbi/JP/etc.) NOW about the ground rules... and it is only right and proper that you should ask for his ground rules on this. I've had some tell me how close I can get and that if I get too close or otherwise that they will give me a signal... usually in the form of a slight scowl.

Settle on the right lens for the job. I keep taking the 70-200 2.8 into the church and not using it. Seems a 28-70 or similar is more useful at least for the initmate affairs I've been doing. By all means set up a longer shot on a different body, lens, but he needs to run through what is going to happen and when so that he is not out of position for certain shots.

Research what the key shots are that you want and give him a checklist. it's a long day. He will not remember perfectly.

You can never be too prepared. There is much more to it than knowing the gear. Knowing what is going to happen next usually means you get some shots of it. Floating through the day being carried by events simply does not work. Again, going over ground rules and what will happen in the church with the officiator will help. Getting into the church to play with light levels and get a feel for the lighting is good, bring him to rehearsal if he is willing to do it because he'll be more up on the "flow."

All of that said, congratulations. You'll need to accept that not paying for a photographer is what it is, so relax and take what comes and be happy. Congrats.

Oh, one more thing. There will be plenty of people there with cameras. Make sure you ask them to give you copies. And do the old trick of putting disposables on every table at the reception. You'll get some crazy and often surprisingly good results that way to augment what your friend gets.

Seaain
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Old Apr 5, 2011, 1:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I've decided to not get the long zoom and stick with the 70mm prime and 18-55 kit lense. I'm also renting the lens and flash now so that we can play with it and take it to the church and reception hall for test shoots. The disposible camera idea is a good one I think we will use. Thanks
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