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Old Apr 4, 2010, 1:06 PM   #1
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Default Wedding Photography essentials?

I owe the Sony Alpha 350 (am currently looking into the Alpha 850 in the near future).

I already own three lenses (DT 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens
 [the lens it came with], the Sony 75-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 Compact Telephoto Zoom Lens, and the
Tamron 17-50 2.8 Di-II

) and the HVL-F42AM external flash. But I'm curious if anyone has some suggestions for the best lenses to use for wedding photography that aren't going to totally break the bank. Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 5:20 PM   #2
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Depends on what you are looking to do, do you mean as a working pro (any paid wedding) or shooting as a guest at a wedding.
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 6:44 PM   #3
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This past summer I shot a wedding as the second offical photographer for a relative's wedding. By offical the brides mother demand two separate people/companies shoot in case something went wrong. I was paid.

I used a Sony A350 for shooting. My advice based on my shooting -- I used a Sigma 50 -150 f/2.8 and a 28 - 300mm f/4.5 - 6.3 lens.

- There were a lot of times I wish the f 2.8 lens would have been wider
- The 28 - 300 was useless at the reception when the DJ turned out the lights and only had a single overhead disco type light on the dance floor. Would not focus....... what it was useful for was wide group shots posed in church and the actual vows for getting in tight
- After all was said and done I wish I would have had something in the range of 28 - 70 or 28-80 in f/2.8 in my arsenal
- Also fast cards such as extreme III are a must if you shoot in burst mode to capture that perfect shot of the kiss etc

But I will say 90% of what I do is action fire-rescue-police and large scale public events and for what I do the two lenses I have, have worked so far.

dave
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 7:14 PM   #4
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Depends on what you are looking to do, do you mean as a working pro (any paid wedding) or shooting as a guest at a wedding.
Yes, as a working pro.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 3:20 AM   #5
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Yes, as a working pro.
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I'm curious if anyone has some suggestions for the best lenses to use for wedding photography that aren't going to totally break the bank. Thanks in advance!
It will be helpful to know the budget that you are planning to work to.

Out of the lenses you currently have the only one that I would be happy to use shooting professionally is the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I would use his as my primary lens for general shooting.

One very important thing with weddings, or any pro photographic work in fact, that is to have 2 of everything that are essential. Your 18-70 will do in an emergency, but I wouldn't really like to have to use it so that would be quite high on my list to update.

The 75-300 is too slow for wedding shooting so that wouldn't make it into the bag. It would be OK for an outdoor, daytime wedding for long shots, but would have enough use IMHO.

You need a 2nd flash and a 2nd body, the 850 will be good, but the 17-50 and 18-70 won't work with it so new glass would be required. The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 (either option) would be my choice and if you can afford it the HSM is much better.

If you are looking at longer glass then the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 is worth considering, this is the only situation that I go for the Tamron over the Sigma as it is too slow for sports. The other choice is the Sony 70-200mm f2.8.

Lastly I would consider some fast prime lenses in case you are shooting in really dark churches. I keep a 50mm f1.8 (I use full frame) and a 85mm f1.8 with me, honestly they are not often needed, but I wouldn't want to be without them.There are times where the church is too far from home (some wedding have been over 400 miles) so I need to know I've got all situations covered and lots of churches would rather no flash photography in the service.

The last thing is I wouldn't offer my services unless I had worked with a Pro at weddings previously to understand the process, the work flow, the people management, the essential shots etc. Being very proficient with the kit is also essential, you need to be able to make very fast changes to settings and know that you are not going to miss the shot..... you might already be at that stage, but it's best to say it in case someone else reads this and thinks jumping into wedding photography is easy.

One really good reason you need to be able to produce high quality results each time is it's easy to get a bad reputation, once you have one it's hard to get out of that position.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 9:03 AM   #6
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Mark great info as always. I got lucky at this wedding in that the bride's mother thought I had some great shots that the other pro didn't get and was happy with my shots, even though I would have lov ed to have gotten more when the lights were low at the reception.......
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 11:43 AM   #7
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Mark great info as always. I got lucky at this wedding in that the bride's mother thought I had some great shots that the other pro didn't get and was happy with my shots, even though I would have lov ed to have gotten more when the lights were low at the reception.......
Thanks

That's the advantage of two shooters, you can cover each other, but the pressure is on far more when shooting solo.

Which reminds me, get insurance so that are you covered, 3rd party is minimum, in case you injure someone. My insurance covers me for sickness too so I can get another photographer in to cover me in case something major goes wrong, and all my gear is protected for theft and damage etc.

Put together a good contract so all eventualities are covered as well so both you and the client know what they are getting, time scales etc.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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Just to re-emphasize what Mark mentioned. 3 Critical points from the business side:

1) Insurance.
2) Contracts - draft up a version and have an attorney review it. Contract law is troublesome. The attorney doesn't have to know photography specific contracts (though it would be beneficial) but it's worth the money.
3) Spare equipment. A body can break. It's unlikely but it's huge if it happens on a paid shoot.
4) I don't think he mentioned this but I'll throw it in. Make sure any prospective clients see full samples of your work. If you're producing albums show them a finished album or two. If giving DVDs, show them finished DVDs. Make sure they SEE your product and your style.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 1:09 PM   #9
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Good point John, I always show 3 or 4 completed albums to a client before they sign, this is very different to just showing off the best work as lots of people can pull together 10 good shots, but the 200 shot story book photo album (my preferred presentation medium) and the full day DVD is a different matter.

I just found this too which I thought was pretty interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js7Rz...ayer_embedded#
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 4:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
It will be helpful to know the budget that you are planning to work to.

Out of the lenses you currently have the only one that I would be happy to use shooting professionally is the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I would use his as my primary lens for general shooting.

One very important thing with weddings, or any pro photographic work in fact, that is to have 2 of everything that are essential. Your 18-70 will do in an emergency, but I wouldn't really like to have to use it so that would be quite high on my list to update.

The 75-300 is too slow for wedding shooting so that wouldn't make it into the bag. It would be OK for an outdoor, daytime wedding for long shots, but would have enough use IMHO.

You need a 2nd flash and a 2nd body, the 850 will be good, but the 17-50 and 18-70 won't work with it so new glass would be required. The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 (either option) would be my choice and if you can afford it the HSM is much better.

If you are looking at longer glass then the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 is worth considering, this is the only situation that I go for the Tamron over the Sigma as it is too slow for sports. The other choice is the Sony 70-200mm f2.8.

Lastly I would consider some fast prime lenses in case you are shooting in really dark churches. I keep a 50mm f1.8 (I use full frame) and a 85mm f1.8 with me, honestly they are not often needed, but I wouldn't want to be without them.There are times where the church is too far from home (some wedding have been over 400 miles) so I need to know I've got all situations covered and lots of churches would rather no flash photography in the service.

The last thing is I wouldn't offer my services unless I had worked with a Pro at weddings previously to understand the process, the work flow, the people management, the essential shots etc. Being very proficient with the kit is also essential, you need to be able to make very fast changes to settings and know that you are not going to miss the shot..... you might already be at that stage, but it's best to say it in case someone else reads this and thinks jumping into wedding photography is easy.

One really good reason you need to be able to produce high quality results each time is it's easy to get a bad reputation, once you have one it's hard to get out of that position.
Thank you! You truly are a great help. I was shooting a few weddings as a 2nd photographer, but with Olympus equipment. My husband bought me the Sony for my birthday in July. Recently I have been doing shoots with models, and want to get back into the wedding portion. It's always been my strongest interest. Now that I have the free time and I'm not going to be working, I figured it's nice to pick up where I left off.

I already have a contract written up - I'm looking into insurance (any tips? I'm not sure where to begin) - and I have samples of my work. I definitely like the idea of the book as your presentation medium.
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