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Old Sep 28, 2008, 7:02 PM   #1
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I am not a professional wedding pro. I have done it as favors for a few family members. 2 of the 4 weddings I have covered were because the pro photographers backed out at the last minute (once the photographer quit with 6 days to the wedding because the briude would not pay for extra albums and prints and just wanted a basic package -- he said I am sorry I overbooked and your the low bidde I quit).

Here are a couple of tips I'd like to pass along in hopes it might help someone else

- Use a good quality camera (bridge or D-SLR type) shooting in a church isn't the easiest. I used a Fuji S-5100 for the first 2 and the Fuji S9100 for the last two. The photos are the greatest but they turned out well enough to make the bride and her parents happy each time. Luckily I shoot way more than I need to make sure I got eniugh to keep the couple happy.

- Ask bride ahead of time to see if you can use the flash (have her ask the minister when they have their pre-wedding meeting)in the church or not. Some ministers will let you and some will not. In my case the answers have always been no......

- Use highest MP rating possible with lowest compression if you shoot jpgs. For those who can use RAW and know how to use it go for it as long as the processing time between images is not forever or feels like forever.... some cameras have better buffers and faster processing of RAW images.

- Do not delete photos as you go as you might miss some of the action in the progress. If you think you messed up on a photo keep shooting. Some of those bad photos maybe able to be rescued with software or might often an expession that is priceless..... Do the culling after the fact not as you go

- Use of C-AF and high speed shooting mode as bride and groom and wedding party come up the aiel at begging of wedding

- Charge/top off every set of batteries you have for the camera and carry them all with you -- you can not have too many batteries. I generally do this on the 2 two days before the wedding or any other large scale event I have to cover. Even if the batteries were charged in the last week top them off.....

- Carry every memory card you have for the camera -- since you won't be deleting as you go memory cards can fill up. You may not use them all but what if you suddenly want to take some video you will certainly be glad you have extra space. Also remember that some events from start to finish can last 8 hours (pre formals, wedding and reception) that is a lot photos you will need to grab

-Extra shots not to forget, shots of the outside of the charge close and wide angle, wedding place cards, inventations, flowers and the guest as they arrive for wedding and reception -- don't just focus on the bridge and groom make sure you get the people in there wedding party and their friends and guests.

- Make sure at atart of ceremony when wedding party starts up the aiel to have fresh batteries in camera and plenty of room on memory card in camera or a fresh memory card

- Carry a bottle or two of water and some snacks in the car so when it gets hot or the couple forgets that you need feed your ok.

Download all the memory cards to your computer as soon afterwards as possible. Back them up as soon as possible as well. I usually put a couplke on my storage server and work with the onces on my hard drive just in case something goes wrong or I mess up an image etc.

- Lastly and most importantpre-plan with bride and grrom approx 4 weeks in advance. Get a hit list of all the photos they would like and then put them in the order you need to shoot them, especially if you need to stage them. Make sure if you are shooting formals that they know when to have their people at the church ahead of time for the photos. The more that you know and have in stone before the day starts the easier it will be.

Good luck and try to have fun

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Old Sep 28, 2008, 8:47 PM   #2
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Not a bad list - I'll add a couple more:

Unless it is his third wedding and her second taking place at the courthouse with a reception at the saloon `round the corner - DON'T DO IT. Run away. Join a monastery. Fake a death - your own if needed.

But you are going to ignore that advice, so here is a bit more:

Get help. Someone to round up folks for the group shots (you do have a list of what shots to get, don't you?). Someone to help arrange things like this:

Figure out how you are going to assign other folks who have better cameras than you do to take what photos. This has to be done while the wedding is taking place and you have to consider that even if Uncle Fred has a better camera, he has spent a bunch of time at the bar.

If possible, shoot the group shoots without a flash using your camera's burst mode. Then you can pick the one where everyone's eyes are open or clone in open eyes (or whole heads) from one of the other shots.

Take at least five times as much memory as you think you will need. And a whole bunch of batteries - or at least a charger

Again the best advice is DON'T DO IT.
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Old Sep 29, 2008, 9:40 PM   #3
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Bill thanks for adding your advice to the thread. I agree with everything you said. But as we all know someoneout there will think they can do it and dive in head first and start sinking.... so I was giving some tips from my minor experience on the subject having done 4 weddings. As I said I am no pro wedding photographer. I am more at home shooting thiongs blowing up, cars on fire, firefighter running into burning houses etc. Hopefully if someone is gonna do it our tips will hopefully help them out.

The DON"T DO IT tip is a good one if you can find away out of it. But in my case for the first 2 weddingsI had the bride, the grandmother, my parents and several other gang up on me. They figured if I shoot fire and rescue stuff and the like.... a wedding would be a piece of cake. A wedding is the hardest thing you might ever do in your life especially if you can't use the flash inside the church.

One last tip if you do do it PRAY OFTEN

Thanks Bill for adding your tips

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Old Oct 3, 2008, 6:43 PM   #4
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I probably wouldn't agree 100% with everything so will add some extras following on from the assumption that you are the main shooter.

If working in a poorly lit church with no flash allowed then make sure you have fast lenses and a camera that responds well to high ISO. I carry a 50mm and 85mm f1.8 lens just in case.

Have at least onebackup of everything so the main 3 arecamera, lens range andflash.

Know your equipment, if you have to think how to compensate for exposure, work with depth of field, shooting modes etc then a wedding is not the time to learn.

Understand composition and posing if you are doing group/individual shots etc

If you want to be able to offer creative shots then you will need a dslr and some lenses with wide apertures otherwise you are generally looking at shots where everything is in focus which can get boring.

When doing groups if possible still use flash as this will generally give a nicer result, but if you are using external flash as you should be then you will usually be able to get 2 or 3 shot bursts if needed.

If you get spend a time witha Pro to get a feel of the flow of the day and the shots to get this will be really helpful. Also spend time looking at the work of other photographers to give you ideas and inspiration.

Make sure that the B&G know exactly what you are offering and what you are capable of, I always undersell myself here as it is better to meet or exceed expectations rather than fall below them. This is their day and a big part of this will be what the photographer will offer, think about what will happen if it all goes wrong. I have insurance against things going wrong but still it's not something I want to happen. I personally shoot with 2 cameras and have a 3rd backup just in case. You can do it with less but just make sure you will have the ability to shoot if something decides to stop working.

Oh, as for the RAW/jpg argument, I used to work in RAW but found the quality gain wasn't there and the post production time was silly. If your exposure is off though you quickly lose detail so be sure you are nailing it otherwise shoot RAW and jpg so you have the backup.

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Old Oct 3, 2008, 9:19 PM   #5
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I would like to emphasize Bill's advice on having a list of shots. (it can't be overemphasized) Make sure you work with the B&G in sufficient time before the wedding, to make sure you know exactly what combinations of people will be posed together, and have someone in the wedding party (best man or maid of honor - whoever is meanest) to round them up for you.

Shooting in a church is a piece of cake. Try shooting a ceremony held in a small gazebo (no room, so you have to shoot from outside) at noon on a sunny day (but the clouds are in and out when you least expect it). Rapidly changing lighting, extreme contrast, and people moving around as you are trying to shoot bracketed exposures so you can combine for HDR. It was all pretty informal, and half the people there had digital cameras, and were in the way more often than not.

Oddly enough, I was the only one not happy with the results. If I ever have to do another like that, I won't just fake an injury!

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Old Oct 7, 2008, 2:26 AM   #6
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really your tips are very useful,thanks to this greate guideness.
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