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Old Dec 26, 2011, 6:55 PM   #11
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Thank you all for the information and advice, this an area i would like to get into, so i might re-look at my budget, and it looks like i have a job on my hands, but it looks like i have joined the correct forum for any help and support I may need.

Thanks

Martin
Dear Martin,

Sounds like you're going to go ahead with this. So, if I you're truly serious about getting into the world of wedding photography, my advice would be to
try and find a wedding photographer that would be willing to give you an internship so that you could gain some valuable experience. And, I'm really not talking about gaining experience regarding the use of equipment and the type to buy. That's the least of your troubles.

The real key to this type of work is the knowledge that's between the ears
and not the camera. The ability to understand the best way to pose large groups of people in a variety of settings under difficult conditions is a skill developed through real world experiences. Additionally, you'll also need to be able to react when something goes wrong. Bad weather, unexpected delays, irate, uncooperative, or drunk wedding party members, etc. Note I say when not if something goes wrong.

Then there's the equipment: a primary camera, with extra batteries, a back up camera, a couple of flashes, a fast prime i.e. 50mm f1.4 for low light, a fast 70-200mm f2.8 zoom when you can't get close enough.

Most pros work with full frame bodies because they produce the best results with little to no noise. You're looking at something closer to 10 times the figure that you mentioned.

Good luck

sincerely
Zig
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 7:11 PM   #12
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Hi i was surprised you mentioned a Compact system camera ( Sony Nex-5n), would this be except able at a wedding?
There are two drawbacks to the NEX system. The first and most important is the lack of an adequate flash (a situation shared by most compact systems.) The second is the selection of lenses. The 18-55 kit lens isn't wide enough, nor is it long enough. Common lenses for event photography are the Canon 15-85, Nikon 16-85, or the Sony 16-80 on APS-C bodies. The NEX system has nothing comparable.
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 7:48 PM   #13
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Hi, i offered to shoot a friends wedding in June 2012 after they mentioned they were just going to use a couple point and shoots. Thankfully their expectations aren't too high as I've never shot a wedding before.

I'm no expert, but I don't really agree with the majority opinions here. What you lack in equipment, you can make up for in dedication and perseverance. As tcav's signature says, a good camera doesn't make a good photographer.

I'd say shoot fast, and shoot as much as you can till the end. Bring along an assistant and give him/her a spare camera. In the meantime, read up on the basics and make friends with photoshop, there's plenty of help on the subject on the internet. it's far from a professional level, but I wouldn't say it would ruin someone's big day as long as they have their expectations set.

From what I've read, the biggest thing seems to be the planning and organising. Get together a shot list and factor in every little detail.

in terms of equipment, if your camera really isn't good enough, my entry level Sony a33 can shoot 7fps, not seen until the higher end nikons and canons I believe. Should be able to pick one up fairly cheap second hand (discontinued) due to a small over heating issue when shooting video.

A good idea if the bride and groom haven't thought about it yet is to place 2 or 3 disposable cameras on every table. Another friend of mine recently got married and this done wonders. Some shots were amazing, no professional could had replicated them.

Good luck, would love to know how you get on!
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 8:27 PM   #14
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Seen that before with the disposable cameras. Good idea and can produce some very good candid shots.
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 9:12 PM   #15
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I'm no expert, but I don't really agree with the majority opinions here. What you lack in equipment, you can make up for in dedication and perseverance. As tcav's signature says, a good camera doesn't make a good photographer.

I'd say shoot fast, and shoot as much as you can till the end. Bring along an assistant and give him/her a spare camera. In the meantime, read up on the basics and make friends with photoshop, there's plenty of help on the subject on the internet. it's far from a professional level, but I wouldn't say it would ruin someone's big day as long as they have their expectations set.



I'm going to apologize to you right up front for what I'm about to say as, no matter how I try to phrase this, it's not going to sound good:

1-Based on your response, it's clear that you are NOT married, Sir. The only expectation that a bride has on her wedding day is that EVERYTHING goes perfectly. And that she'll be able to cherish the photographs of her wedding for the rest of her life. Anything less is unacceptable..Regardless of your experience level or expectations that YOU set.

2-Inadequacies of your equipment can only be overcome with your knowledge of how to operate that equipment to get the most out of it. Perseverance has nothing to do with it.

3- "Shoot fast and as many times as you can" ???? Why? this isn't a horse race and a lot of bad photos being processed in Photoshop end up being just a lot of bad photos.

4- Have a friend with another camera doing the same- Oh, and give that person the 2nd hand camera that's been discontinued because of known failures.

5- Just go and buy a camera, get on the internet and google "how to" and before you know it, you are an expert. Gee, I wish it were only that easy.

The only point you made that I totally agree with is the suggestion that disposable cameras be at each table, except I would suggest 6 instead of 2.

Gotta go now, I want to become a rock star- can't sing or play a guitar but, I'll go on the internet.....and well you know the rest.

Zig
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 9:39 PM   #16
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I was giving him tips on how to shoot a wedding, not how to be a professional wedding photographer. I can give you tips on how to be a rock star, but not a rock legend.

1 - if perfection is what the couple seeks then they would pay for a photographer and not ask a relative. Not all brides are the same, don't generalise.

2 - perseverance, Practice, get better. Perseverance is rooted in the success of EVERYTHING.

3 - if you have a good grasp of the basics (camera shake, understanding of exposure, basics of composition etc.) then no photo is a bad photo as every photo captures a moment in time. The artificial aspect of photography, composition etc. can be fixed to an acceptable level in post production.

4 - get shots from various angles a lot easier, capture the same moment from a different perspective. The suggested camera was a cheap alternative. Incidentally within budget. The issues only exists under certain situations. Hot climates and video.

5 - if you had missed it, I mentioned it's "far from professional". Nobody mentioned making him an expert.

I, sir, am trying to help and give some advice.
Photography is much more than capturing a perfectly composed and exposed image with high end equipment.

My apologies if that offends you.
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 10:37 PM   #17
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Well, I'm happy that I didn't totally tick you off, which is positive as that wasn't my intent anyways.



You say, not to generalize as all brides are not the same. That's true, BUT, their expectations are the same as far as their wedding day is concerned.
Don't believe me, you'll learn for yourself the day you shoot the wedding.

Having a grasp of the basics of how to operate a camera, composition, etc.
is only the beginning. Getting the results you want in an event such as a wedding is a totally different situation. Understanding how to assemble a group of people then get their attention and have them look normal, happy and all eyes on the photographer is a totally different skill set.
A photo with only half the group in focus, or half looking elsewhere or eyes closed etc. is a bad photo that can't be photoshopped. It's just a bad photo capturing an unwanted moment in time.

One thing we do agree on, is that photography is definitely not capturing a perfectly composed/exposed image with expensive equipment. It's a lot more
complex than that.
But in the case of wedding photography, it's capturing that special moment in time in a bride's life, wether she is 23 or 73, looks back at her wedding day photographs and she smiles.


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Old Dec 26, 2011, 10:42 PM   #18
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Seen that before with the disposable cameras. Good idea and can produce some very good candid shots.
Seen them at several weddings but if they are touch and many are not they usually in my case walk off..... so if you go this route make sure you get them back at the end of the night and work into your budget the cost to get the film processed.

dave
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 10:50 PM   #19
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It's a tricky situation. I dropped $2k to get ready for my nephew's wedding, and I already owned a dSLR. I still lost a few shots due to my inexperience, but overall I got the job done reasonably well.

I made it clear from the beginning that I was an amateur and that we were hoping that a few shots would turn out. The bride and her mother understood this and were OK with it. As a matter of fact, I said so in our e-mail communications. A contract wouldn't be crazy, even if you're doing this for free, to ensure there are no misunderstandings about an amateur's ability.

Zig is right, that there will be high expectations to get the right pictures. To this end, discuss up front exactly what photos are desired. My sister-in-law wanted a recreation of a photo from their wedding, with them getting into the car to leave. The bride's mother wanted pre-wedding shots of the daughter making final preparations. I made a point to get all those, and studied and practiced flash technique so I could get the formal shots of the wedding party at the altar.

Derek also makes a good point about expectations. My in-laws are firmly rooted in farming, and have dare I say a very practical, down-to-earth world view. As such, my skills were acceptable. But I also worked at it and studied right up to the event. But, if Madaway's situation is different, he may be walking into a nightmare. Which is Zig's point. If the bride is looking for the photographer to choreograph a series of artsy photos, Madaway is SOL. Still, hiring a pro is no guarantee of success. Another in-law hired a photog for $2k but the person didn't quite understand low-light shooting and didn't produce many decent pictures.

Madaway, you've choosen a loosing proposition for yourself. At best you'll produce photos that the bride will be happy with, and given the asumption that is what they are going to get, you've got a thankless situation. And you'll spend over $1000 to get there. But miss a key shot, or have an entry-level piece of equipment fail, or find a lighting situation that you can't properly deal with, and you'll have the honor of ruining their memory of the event. Good luck!
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 11:12 PM   #20
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.....

Then there's the equipment: a primary camera, with extra batteries, a back up camera, a couple of flashes, a fast prime i.e. 50mm f1.4 for low light, a fast 70-200mm f2.8 zoom when you can't get close enough.
Also several 16GB (or even 32GB) high speed class 10 SDHC or 300x CF cards. One wedding photographer I know uses a 32GB in each of her two camera bodies (yes two cameras and she uses both of them not just one and the other as back-up, her back-up is her third camera) and ends up with close to 40GB worth of photos by the end of the night. Shoot at the highest resolution best settings possible..... On the Pentax K-5 you have a choice of jpeg quality settings for each mega-pixel option. Use the highest number of starts or use the Fine or Normal jpeg setting depending on the camera.

My rule of thumb for the weddings I have shot for family-relatives is to carry every battery I have for the camera and every memory card that will work in the camera (having at least twice as much battery power as I think I could go through and twice as much memory card space as I think I will use). Also be careful if you use a smaller cards since you'll need to change them out more often and don't want to get in the middle of the ceremony and the kiss is coming up only to find the card is full and you have to search the camera bag for another one. F

Also don't delete images on site-during the event as you may have a keeper that you think is bad in the camera and second you'll loose time if you shoot delete, shoot delete etc. Just keep shooting......... At a wedding you can not take too many shots and as for those group shots get a a hit list from the bride and groom for all the shoots they want. Then when you get to that point grab the best man or head usher and have them get the people that need to be in the next shot for you since you won;t know the people names for the most part. Then for insurance shoot 3 to 5 frames of each shot to make sure you get the eyes open, smiles etc.

The weddings I was begged and talked into doing for family (the first one I did was because my cousin had the photographer drop her 2 weeks before the date because he had a better offer from another client) are some of the hardest things I have ever photographed and I photograph a lot of action stuff including loads of fire-rescue stuff for a local newspaper and this was no comparison.

The first things I noted was getting pictures on the dance floor was hard because of the almost darkness and random DJ spinning lights, had to use a flash for ever shot there. The second thing was trying to figure out where to be before the shot happened. You can't be everywhere at once but you need a sense of where to go at what time so you get all the required shots and capture all the action as it happens.

I may shoot fire and rescue stuff and work for a local newspaper but wedding photography is the hardest stuff I have had to photograph and its not gotten easier after 5 weddings. Their all equally hard, you'll work your ass off and hopefully in the end produce a good product.

dave

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