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Old Jun 1, 2011, 9:06 AM   #1
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Default Daughter looking for camera...doing weddings

Ok, so my 20 year old daughter has a very natural eye for taking photos. Right now she has a Nikon D60(?) 6.1 Mega pixels with a 50 MM, 35 MM-70MM and 200 MM Nikkor lenses. She has been taking photos for fun, then moved onto taking photos for friends, bands and a few wedding engagement photos. They look awesome. Now she has been asked to take a few weddings and she is a bit nervous about a few things. But her main concern is equipment. The camera she has now has grain when taken with a high ISO and indoors. She is a perfectionist but with only a few thousand in savings. Also, she wants to get a "full frame" camera because she feels if she is charging all this "money" she wants to give a great product... which is a great way to do business.

However, she is talking about $4000 for a camera and lens only! Is there anything else that can get her started for less money that will suffice until she can afford "top quality" equipment? I do value good equipment as I am a musician but my $500 Bass, $300 Guitar and $1200 drum set will sound great during "professional Gigs" for a lot less money than a "perfect" sounding $4000 Taylor or Gibson guitar.

Any suggestions and help is appreciated.
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 9:18 AM   #2
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Not for a Full Frame Camera like the nikon d700 they are expensive. She can look at a high end aps-c camera like the nikon d300s. The will be about a 3000 dollars to get started with lens and body.
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 9:25 AM   #3
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Hi there are better people to give advice on this but heres my view. As she has alredy started ith Nikon and has lenses then thats the starting point. Maybe looking at a d7000 or d300 they are cheaper and give good results. The d60 could be used as a spare body and when the money comes in then upgrade again.
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 9:55 AM   #4
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OK,
The important thing to understand is - when she starts shooting weddings, the stakes go WAY, WAY up. Now you're talking serious business. Here are some things she should strongly consider:
  • Liability insurance. It's all fun and games until she get's sued because some toddler pulls a camera off a table and cracks their head open. As a working professional, homeowners won't cover that.
  • Backup everything. You can't re-schedule a wedding. So, backup body, backup flash gun, backup lenses. Two of everything if she's going to be the primary shooter for a wedding.
  • Contracts. People take their wedding photos very seriously - as mentioned, you cannot re-shoot it like you can an engagement photo. She'll want to have a basic contract spelling out exactly what will be included - what the terms of payment are - under what circumstances the customer gets any money back, etc. Such a contract should be reviewed by an attorney.
Now, let's get down to equipment:
  • She'll need lens(es) capable of shooting ceremonies that don't allow flash. With a good modern DSLR body, a 70-200 2.8 lens can work. But even at f2.8, she may very well be shooting at ISO 3200.
  • She'll need a powerful speedlight - in Nikon, at least an SB600. Lots of the shots will require the use of flash - both for posed shots AND for reception. And, as mentioned above - she'll need a backup flash gun - maybe a metz, nissin or sigma. The benefit of this backup is it can also be used as an off-camera flash for group shots.
  • Strongly recommend a flash bracket - she'll want to get the flash off the camera more as you can't always bounce it. Additionally a flash bracket will enable her to switch to portrait orientation and keep the flash above the camera.
  • Notice we haven't even gotten to the body yet. If she blows all her money buying a D700 or D3 she'll be in worse shape. She's much better buying a d5100 or d7000 and using the money on the flashes, bracket, 70-200 2.8 and maybe a sigma 85mm 1.2 to back up the 70-200.
With any luck, Mark1616 will see this post - he does wedding work and can chime in as to more specific suggestions.
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Old Jun 1, 2011, 10:33 AM   #5
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This is great stuff... please keep it coming. She does have a contract and I did mention she needs to check out insurance in case "grandma trips over a tripod" or something similar.

Never thought about "2 of everything" but that makes sense. I would imagine 3-batteries and a "point shoot" as a worse case scenario? I usually see Wedding photographers with 3-4 cameras at times.
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 2:52 AM   #6
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JohnG has put some great points up there. Heres another to think about you have to plan on bad weather and have a backup shooting plan. I dont think a p&s for a backup is a good plan, hich is why I said the d60 could well be used for that purpose. Memory cards well you cant have enough of them in your bag and keep checking your results in case of changing light conditions.
Good Luck
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Old Jun 3, 2011, 12:43 AM   #7
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mikelets456, a point and shoot camera just won't do as a backup for pics of someone's very special day. they're paying for high quality professional photos, and it's not like they can do the wedding over again. at the very least, i'd think the nikon equivalent of a canon 70D (i'm not a nikon person) if not another full frame camera, and if one used a APSC sized camera, it would mean additional high quality lenses.

JohnG's list is excellent.

btw, i had to laugh when i saw your original post. i had just left a guitar board, and for a second i actually thought i was in the other board when i read "a "perfect" sounding $4000 Taylor or Gibson guitar."
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Old Jun 14, 2011, 2:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcake View Post
mikelets456, a point and shoot camera just won't do as a backup for pics of someone's very special day. they're paying for high quality professional photos, and it's not like they can do the wedding over again. at the very least, i'd think the nikon equivalent of a canon 70D (i'm not a nikon person) if not another full frame camera, and if one used a APSC sized camera, it would mean additional high quality lenses.

JohnG's list is excellent.

btw, i had to laugh when i saw your original post. i had just left a guitar board, and for a second i actually thought i was in the other board when i read "a "perfect" sounding $4000 Taylor or Gibson guitar."
Looks like she is considering the D7000 Nikon with some good "glass". Any other suggestions before she pulls the trigger?

Regarding the "music comparison"... will the average person know if you shot with a full frame as opposed to a Nikon D7000? Maybe if they saw the same exact photos side by side. Is it more to do with the person taking the picture? I know my $50 Squier bass sounds the same to my wife as my $500 Fender Jazz bass, but I notice a world of difference, but 90% of the average people do not. I could buy my son a $6000 drum set yet I would sound better on a $150 used POS. I assume that the average couple does not care about shadow details, saturation and aberration. They just want a picture that is not blurry and is vibrant.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it matters to the artist what it looks like in the end? I know I am not happy with playing music or a song unless I meet my standard, which is usually well above what the average person would accept. So would all you professional photographers feel comfortable shooting a wedding with a D7000 and some good glass? Would you feel it is adequate and a worthy camera to take your wedding pictures with? All things being equal...
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 6:08 AM   #9
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yes, they'll know. with a lower level lens and/or smaller sensor, the rooms will be too dark to get any pics that don't either look very dark or are very grainy with probably some motion blur, too. also wedding pics are printed fairly large, and a high quality camera makes flawless prints. you won't get those flawless prints from lesser cameras, and it doesn't require an artistic eye to see the difference.

dunno - i'm more of a canon person, but i've heard a lot of good things about nikon dslr's, too.
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Old Jun 19, 2011, 6:13 AM   #10
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The skill of the photographer is far more important than whether they are using a FF camera or not. The D7000 will do just fine for most things.

When it comes to weddings a lot depends on the style of the photographer. JohnG has given excellent advice for a standard setup.

However there are a minority of shooters who for example still use film, or only shoot with Leicas, or adopt a photojournalistic approach and use a D700 and 35 or 50 lens only and no flash. Those kind of photographers are very clear that this is the kind of work they do however.

Regardless, client expectations are critical. They must know the kind of thing they are getting into from the start.
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