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arnyjoh Jul 7, 2008 7:04 AM


i have been asked to take wedding photos on july 19th 2008 and i am a little nervous..

i have a canon lenses (18-55 which i never use) 70-300 and 24-60 and a speedlight flash..

since there is not much time to change lenses..or settings in the the moments need to be grabbed spontaniously..what would you suggest in lens and settings..?

i have been to the church and it plenty of light..i haven´t been where the party will be..need to check that..

should i set the camera back to default settings as it has been through a lot of settings?

thanks for all the help you can give me..:)

DragonRider Jul 7, 2008 9:23 PM

I cant speak of the camera, but go to Barnes and Noble and read some wedding photography books!!! Which lense and when to use it plus flash is more of a question of how well lit the locations are.

Good Luck

arnyjoh Jul 8, 2008 5:52 PM

no barnes and nobles in iceland..:)

anyone that can help me out..the lighting in the church is pretty good..
should i just flick to auto..put my speedlight on and fire away?

John at the Beach Jul 9, 2008 6:16 AM

I shoot most of my weddings using "P" program mode...That way I can switch my ISO
as needed...Darker churches 400, 800, and even 1600 ISO...Some churches do not allow flash during the ceremony, so the highest ISO you can get away with is best...
Don't panic though, you can always re-create the moment...I know its not the same but sometimes you have to...If you have any control over inside lighting, ask to have as much light as you can...You mentioned you have a 24-60 lens...I don't know that lens...Do you mean you have a 24-70?? I use a Canon 24-70mm 2.8L lens 99% of the time...If you like the results from your 24-?? lens, use it...The 1.6 camera crop will give you about a 55-115mm...I would also recommend trying the 18-55 lens...Again with the 1.6 crop you would actually have about a 30-80mm...Your speedlight flash should give you enough flash...I recommend a flash bracket and a defuser, with the flash set at a 45 degree angle so you bounce the light...This makes for a softer light on your subjects...If you dont have time for a bracket, shoot as much in landscape to avoid harsh shadows...If you want portrait mode shots, make sure your subjects are far enough away from walls to avoid the shadows...
Relax and have fun and blast away...The more you shoot, the better chances of getting lots of great photo's...Digitals are pretty much free...I usually shoot around 1000 shots per wedding...That way I have made sure I have enough keepers to give the bride and groom...Good luck and again, make it a fun thing...Things go much easier when your having fun....:|

JimC Jul 9, 2008 7:26 AM

First suggestion....

Urge them to hire a professional photographer that has a good reputation.

Unless you've got lots of experience with people photography in general so that you can capture the moments properly (from a timing, composition and exposure perspective), and work with people for posing and more, you don't want a couple to rely on your images for something as important as a wedding.

Shooting in existing light is going to make it even tougher during the ceremony if you can't use a flash, and equipment alone is not going to make for great results. The only lens you've got that *might* be bright enough without a flash is your 24-60mm (I'm assuming it's a Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8 ) *if* you can get close enough to use it.

You need experience, where you've learned from your mistakes and know what to do in a wider variety of conditions for best results. There is too much that can go wrong (and not just from a settings/composition perspective, as you can also have equipment failures, so make sure you've got backup equipment, even if it's a film camera).

If you've been to the location, and still can't figure out what lens to use (and need to ask for settings advise in a forum), you're not ready to do this type of shooting, especially for something as important as a wedding. You only get one chance to capture the moments.

If you insist on continuing, you need to take photos at a wedding at that location (or at least photos of people in the same location, with the lighting identical to what it's going to be during the ceremony). That way, you can learn from your mistakes (was your shutter speed fast enough to stop blur, was depth of field adequate, was your white balance set correctly to reduce color casts, was the composition OK, etc.).

If you use google, you can find some tips. Here's one example (written assuming film, but the same principles apply to digital). With digital, I'd shoot raw for the most flexibility later.

But, I'd suggest withdrawing and let them hire a pro.

arnyjoh Jul 9, 2008 10:15 AM

hi john and jim..thank you for all pointers..

the reason i have been asked to do because the couple do not afford to get a pro..and they have seen my photosite and commented that they liked what they saw there..
they asked if i would do this for a very low price..but i am thinking of taking no price..which they don´t know..unless the photos are more then fantastic..;)
i do know the family some so it´s not like i am a total stranger to them..

after the church they want to go to a garden nearby and have lots of photos taken there..
should i still use the "p" setting and a low iso out there..
then there will be some taken at the reception and i am going to check the lighting in there this week..

what is a bracket?

the light in the church is great..and i asked them about using the flash and they said it was fine..i could do whatever i want..

if i use the "P" setting..will i not need a tripod?

i am going to a graduation this saturday and i mean to make the most of that..take a lot of photos in the hall which i am sure will not have as much light..that will give me some practice..

still a little nervous..but i would really like to bless them by doing this for them..

John at the Beach Jul 9, 2008 1:21 PM

A flash bracket is a device that allows your flash to be mounted above the camera so you can rotate the camera from landscape to portrait, giving you an option on how to shoot the shot...It keeps the flash over the lens and eliminates the harsh shadows...
You can probably get away with out using one if you shoot your inside shots landscape keeping the camera horizonal...If you turn the camera portrait/vertical your flash will then be sideways and will produce really bad shadows behind the subjects...Out side shots, it wont matter...Program mode is like auto but you get to set the ISO...The camera will continue to choose the shutter speed and the fstop's...
If you are unsure about trying it, go full auto...And a tripod with either might be an advantage for you...I don't use one because the wedding moves along fast and I dont have time to mess with it...As far as your outside family and bridal shots, you might want to consider one...Won't hurt...Trust your camera and let it work for you...
The little edits you can take care of later...And again...Make it fun...No Stress...And even if you give your time to the couple for free, your still learning for the next wedding...I have given away my time more than once...It helps having a good reputation...

JimC Jul 9, 2008 1:43 PM

More suggestions...

Find a wedding photographer in the area and see if you can convince one to be a second shooter (taking photos, just for the experience). Find similar venues that you can practice at.

That way, you'll get some experience under your belt before you are relied on to get photos at the wedding (and you don't want to ruin any friendships, or your reputation, if something goes wrong and/or you don't know what to do if you run into something unexpected).

Then, downsize the images and post some samples of the shots you took, and ask for opinions on what you could have done differently to make them better.

Mark1616 Jul 9, 2008 2:21 PM

I'm concerned for you as things will happen quickly and if you are thinking about what you need to do with the settings/lenses etc you can easily miss a shot. At a recent wedding I managed to miss a part of the exchanging of the rings so we posed that after the ceremony, not ideal but it was fine. Anyway back to you, personally if it is only you shooting I would suggest you have a backup body, backup lens and backup flash as a minimum as if something goes down you need to keep shooting. I personally shoot with 2 bodies with different setups and then use a 3rd as a backup just in case the main body with the wider lens decides to stop working. It's good that you can use flash but personally I use manual settings when working with flash otherwise you can't control the shot as well for depth of field and etc.

Have you looked at the group shots they want? Make sure you go to the rehearsal to check the flow of the service so you can be in the right place at the right time. What poses are you going to get the Bride, Bride and Groom to do? I would spend a lot of time looking at the work of others up until the wedding to get some ideas otherwise you will be there and then you will draw a blank.

A couple of my faves are:

It looks like you are going for this so please try to borrow some backup kit in case the worst happens on the day. Plenty of batteries for flash, for the camera, enough memory (I usually get through about 8 - 12 Gb as I'm shooting in RAW and Jpg for the ceremony shots and jpg for outside). There is a huge argument about what should be done with RAW etc, taking Jeff Ascough above, renowned as one of the top in the world and he only shoots jpg. I think as you are unsure of settings you will want to use RAW to give some protection against missed exposure.

Ronnie948 Jul 9, 2008 7:16 PM

Hi Arnyjoh,

My suggestion is to make sure you go to the rehearsal if they have one.

Ask where the flowers and anything else will be placed so you know exactly where you can stand to photograph the action.

Ask the minister exactly which lights will be on.

Use your flash on TTL

Set camera to aperture prefered and open the lens up all the way. I would probably use the 18/55 for everything.

Set the WB to auto.

Set the ISO to 800

Don't be afraid to move around while shooting.(nobody is looking at you anyway)

Be sure you know your camera because you do not want to fill the buffer and miss an important shot.

I'm sure you will do just fine as long as you stay calm and do not get frustrated.

Please let us know how you do. We like to see the results.


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