Camera Craniums

General Category => Photography Techniques and how to's => Topic started by: rksmith51 on August 31, 2010, 01:41:50 PM

Title: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on August 31, 2010, 01:41:50 PM
I have rather reluctantly agreed to shoot my niece's wedding in May next year, I'm no portrate photographer and I know this is a big ask with answers that will be many and varied. If you were doing it, what kit would you use and what basic configuration would you have.

I have a Nikon D3s and a D300 so both will be taken, I have a 14-24 f2.8 for wide shots and a 70-200 f2.8 but feel that may be too long for the Bride and groom and other group shots, my flash is an SB800 and a http://www.garyfongestore.com/flash-accessories/lightsphere-universal-cloud.html (http://www.garyfongestore.com/flash-accessories/lightsphere-universal-cloud.html) Gary Fong lightsphere

I will take RAW & Jpg Should I stick to ISO 200 and f2.8 or what ?

Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Jonathan on August 31, 2010, 01:45:39 PM
Hey Bob - got your email and was hoping to reply this afternoon.  Do you mind if I answer here instead?
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on August 31, 2010, 03:13:49 PM
Hi Jonathan, I didn't want to bother you as I know you must be busy  :), a reply here would be much more beneficial to everyone, so please respond here.

Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Jonathan on August 31, 2010, 04:22:57 PM
Right.

I'm going to preface this with a warning not to take my word on anything.  There are many opinions on this and lots of people will have a view.  I can only give you one view because I only do things one way (plus I make most of this up as I go).  And seriously play it safe.  People will advise you of all kinds of crazy off camera flash.  While you're sweating about that you'll miss something.  I guarantee it.

I would normally never advise people to buy kit for a wedding - just use whatever they have.  But there's a massive gaping hole in your lineup.  You don't have an in room weapon ;)  The 14-24 is a great lens but I hardly use it at weddings.  Some people use it to stunning effect but I've never got the hang of it.  With the 70-200 you have to be at lest 8 feet away to focus and a LOT further away if you want to shoot a group.  You could benefit from something in the 24-70 (D3) or 18-50 (D300) range.  If you think you can justify the 24-70 then go for it :D but the 35-70 or Sigma 18-50 are both good choices (Siggy on the 300 naturally).  If I could only take one lens to a wedding it would be the 24-70.

70-200 is a GREAT lens for B&G as long as you have the confidence.  You'll be some distance away and some people find directing couples by shouting a little difficult (FWIW my favourite is now the 150 on the 'blad - for full length shots I have to yell)

Here's the 70-200 at about 90mm to give a nice soft b/g.

(http://homepage.mac.com/jonathan_ryan/filechute/VA_190614.jpg)

SB800 with Gary Fong?  Excellent choice indoors.  Not too bad outdoors either.  It gives boring safe light.  And boring and safe is what you want.  Some people put black tape on various bits of it to dram it up a bit and you could have a play with that at a practise session.  But it will get you in the ballpark more often than not.  Plus people will naturally smile when they see it.  OK, they will laugh.

>> I will take RAW & Jpg Should I stick to ISO 200 and f2.8 or what ?

Personally I think f4 is a better go to aperture.  You'll want to change it according to the subject but f4 is safeish for anything apart from groups of more than 2.  On full frame 2.8 will kill you unless you are good ;)

Personally I shoot the majority of the day on matrix metering (plus or minus - usually plus....), single centre focus point, AF-S, aperture priority and adjust ISO to taste.  On the D3s 800 is a really nice place to be.  3,200 with flash when it gets dark is kind of nice too ;)

And if I were using those 2 lenses and those 2 cameras....then I'd put the wide on the D3S and the long on the D300 because then you play to the strength of each sensor.  But I'd really want something in the middle.  Even a 50/1.8 would be a lot safer than super wide + an outdoor lens.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: picsfor on August 31, 2010, 06:36:16 PM
Last time i done a wedding - i don't think i moved off the 24-105 very much, and that was using a 2 body set up.
Not sure i would now either.

However, i rather see me telling JR how to do weddings in the same bracket as JR telling me how to drive a train...
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on August 31, 2010, 06:48:07 PM
Thanks Jonathan, you have confirmed my main concerns that my best lenses ( Nikon ) are all just outside the most suitable range. I have a Sigy 18-200 but TBH I don't rate it and am reluctant to use it. Interesting your choice of + on the metering as I have often to brighten up lots of images to my liking.

The Gary Fong Lightsphere always get comments, I just tell people to put some drink in the top and it will keep me going for a while  :D it does however work very well for me.

I'm off to search for a lens, let me know if you can think of anything else that will get me set up.

Best regards, Bob.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Eileen on August 31, 2010, 08:38:19 PM
Jonathan has pretty much said it all. One other source of advice and inspiration for me is Neil Van Neikerk's flash/wedding photography blog. http://neilvn.com/tangents/

One of the great things Neil does is explain flash and related issues very simply and clearly. There's lots of good advice in there about using one on-camera flash. If you're anything like me at these events it will be hard to think clearly when under pressure and 'Keep it Simple, Stupid' is one of the best pieces of advice I've had on this subject.

That and getting lots of practice in in taking pictures indoors in low light. Nerves will get to you on the day - you want as much as possible to be able to operate on auto pilot, without needing to spend ages trying to work out how to do things. I love my 70-200 and if I had to do a whole wedding with just one lens that'd be it. But a mid-range zoom is much more practical really...
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: irv_b on August 31, 2010, 10:20:03 PM
^^^ couldn't agree more  :tup: - I am an avid reader of his blog and it has me trying things that I wouldn't have thought of (with varying degrees of success ;D ;D)
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on August 31, 2010, 11:01:51 PM
Thanks Eileen, that's a great link with loads of info, it echos a lot of Jonathan's advice and advises getting out and practicing with the setup before the big day.

Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: skellum on September 01, 2010, 01:13:16 AM
Well here is my input from a Football tog that now does weddings.  I use my 70-200 on one body and 24-105 on the other plus a 50mm 1.8 and  17-40 to hand just in case plus the tripod for the boring formal family shots with the happy couple ( My wife Jenny is involved here getting everyone into place and adjusting the Brides dress, flowers and all the rest )

If it is a Church wedding go to the rehearsal that way you will get to see what will happen on the day and hopefully plan were you should be. Introduce yourself to the Vicar / Priest ( or whoever is in charge ) they like that. Find out what they will allow you to do or can't do on the day ( plus what you can get away with ) Everyone has their own way of covering weddings but in my experience the client seems to be more impressed with the candid or movement shots as apposed to all the usual shots that must be taken to keep the families happy. I allways try to include the couple saying their vows and other parts of the ceremony but that all depends on who is in charge of the proceedings on the day. The last wedding I did the vicar was more than helpfull but some can be a real pain. After the ceremony try and get the couple away to a private area to take some shots.

I have attached some shots from the last wedding I did which were all planed with the couple after the rehearsal.

The first one I told them to hold back at the church door way and then to walk towards me as all the guests showered them with confetti. ( like a football shot of players runing towards you )

The second picture was the Bride, Father & Bridesmaids walking towards me and the Church. ( This is quite a boring shot but without the movement it would of been worse)

The third shot is part of the ceremony ( During the ceremony, if allowed to cover it I focus on whoever is speaking at the time )

Forgot to say... Tell the guests with their cameras to hold back until you give them permission to take shots. Remember you are in charge of photography on the day.

I hope this is of some help,

Regards, Dave.


PS. As a Rugby Tog you should be ok with movement... :tup:
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on September 01, 2010, 10:04:42 AM
Thanks all, having read the reviews on the 24-70 I have been given permission to order it as an early Christmas present  :dance: , I can see that with that and my existing kit I should be fairly well placed to cover most situations. I'll see if there are any weddings locally that want free cover to get some practice in. Metering and flash in indoors then going outside will be interesting and I think using other weddings is the only way to be confident and learn some technique.

Great advice from all and thanks for the encouragement.

Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Jonathan on September 01, 2010, 03:46:26 PM
Thanks all, having read the reviews on the 24-70 I have been given permission to order it as an early Christmas present

Oooooooo good call :D.  By no means a cheap lens.  But I've never met anybody who's been disappointed in it.  Mine's just been in for its 100K service and it's good as new.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Sarasocke on September 01, 2010, 06:50:46 PM
cooo - interesting!

I just did my first wedding 10 days ago - that's why I've been so quiet on here lately.

I TOLD her I mainly did dogs, but she wouldn't have it. So there I was weekend before last on a farm just outside of Zurich.
I realised that it's really difficult when you're on your own. I did have someone stand over me with an umbrella to avoid lense flare, but that was it. It was REALLY sunny, 30°C and there was something happening all the time. It wasn't a church wedding "just" registry office (small and cramped and nowhere for me to stand), but she did wear white, super in the brilliant sunshine  ::) After the reg office one tree and otherwise no shadow whatsoever.

It really is best to have a look beforehand, even if you can't alter anything. I did have my D80, but it stayed, together with my tripods (yes Andrew, I now have one that doesn't topple over with the D700 on it :)), in the car. My lense for the whole day was a 28-75mm 2.8 (Tamron), so I did get that right  ;)

I take off my hat to everyone who does this all the time!
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on September 01, 2010, 07:10:12 PM
Well done Carol, how about a few shots for us to see.

Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Sarasocke on September 01, 2010, 10:01:27 PM
I've loaded one up into the gallery, have to put in a few more :)
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Oldboy on September 01, 2010, 10:24:24 PM
Thanks all, having read the reviews on the 24-70 I have been given permission to order it as an early Christmas present  :dance: , I can see that with that and my existing kit I should be fairly well placed to cover most situations. I'll see if there are any weddings locally that want free cover to get some practice in. Metering and flash in indoors then going outside will be interesting and I think using other weddings is the only way to be confident and learn some technique.

Great advice from all and thanks for the encouragement.

Bob

You are going to love that lens.  ;D

I had the 14-24mm F2.8 Nikon first, like you, because I couldn't get the 24-70mm F2.8 at the time due to short supply. I ended up buying the Tokin 28-70mm 2.8 Pro for about £210. It's a heavy lens but works quite well.  :tup:
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: jinky on September 02, 2010, 07:23:14 AM
I`ve done a couple of weddings as second shooter and one as joint shooter and must say I enjoyed them immensely. So many opportunities to be creative and capture candids if you get your lens choices right. The tips listed above more than cover what Id have said that I discovered within my limited experiences. The first one I did in a really dark venue helping out Fizzio that some will know from DC Mag site. That was the scarey one when I realised I had too much kit I did not need with me and security was an issue. I also discovered the need to brush up on flash technique as with my old D80 there was no way I had fast enough glass even using my 50mm 1.8 up at 1000 iso. Check out the venue in advance and make sure you check out plan Bs for event of rain especially if she wants group shots. Buy some cheap umbrellas just in case for  bride and groom to hold and be as bossy as you like with the guest shooters who will get in your way. I found my cheeky chappy banter routine at least as useful as any photography skills I had available.
I`ve still not had the time / courage / inclination to really branch out and push myself for jobs but weddings are much more fun - if more stressful- than events gigs. I was amazed at how long the day was, how much perspiration mopping of my brow I did throughout but ultimately how much fun it was - especially when they see the shots and like them.

Good luck Bob and well done Carol
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Jonathan on September 02, 2010, 07:44:11 AM
Pah.  You want pressure?  I just agreed yesterday to shoot a wedding with TV cameras filming me.......
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Sarasocke on September 02, 2010, 09:05:16 AM
Yes but ....

Jonathan, you do this stuff all the time  ;)

I agree totally with Paul's comments. Be bossy. Tell people to get out of the way, especially other togs. In the group shots two of the young ladies (around 20 years old) insisted on wearing this enormous modern sunglasses, I asked them to take them off which they did very reluctantly. They were in semi-shade so they weren't squinting.
In hindsight I maybe should have worn something with my "fotos by sarasocke" on it. I think most people didn't realise that the photography was the reason I was there! I am getting braver though and did boss the guests around a bit  :P I would imagine when Jonathan's around, there's no doubt what he's there for  :dance:

I did have all my lenses with me, but then I was in Switzerland for nearly a week in total (I had a dog shoot beforehand). For instance the macro came in useful for the close-up shots of the rings etc. But this type of photo can be done well in advance. On the day I only had the 28-75mm out of the bag.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Oldboy on September 02, 2010, 09:31:58 AM
I did read an artical some time ago, about a wedding phototog using a 400mm F2.8 lens to capture the couple coming out of the venue.  :o
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on September 02, 2010, 11:09:53 AM
Yeh! but he was in the next county  ;), my 24-70  lense should arrive today I'm so excited its silly .
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: skellum on September 02, 2010, 11:15:12 AM
I did read an artical some time ago, about a wedding phototog using a 400mm F2.8 lens to capture the couple coming out of the venue.  :o

Must of been a Agency football photographer covering a footballers wedding.. :legit:
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Graham on September 02, 2010, 04:50:26 PM
 I seem to remember someone being advised to make a plan, then make a plan "B"..... and be fully prepared to use plan "C"!
                              Graham.

   PS  You really are going to love that lens (I do mine. :D) And I rekon you could easily do the whole wedding with just that lens.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Jonathan on September 02, 2010, 06:41:30 PM
Dunno anything about the seller or the price - but if you didn't buy the 24-70 yet....

http://www.talkphotography.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=256857
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on September 02, 2010, 07:23:50 PM
The lens arrived at 13:00 and was fitted at 13:02 as the packing was a bit tight it slowed me down a bit  :) I've posted an image I took this afternoon of my beautiful Grandaughter

(http://cameracraniums.com/gallery/albums/userpics/Katherinenewlens-small.jpg)

But thanks for thinking of me. Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: anglefire on September 02, 2010, 09:43:52 PM
 Nah, send it back its rubbish    :2funny:





Looks a nice piece of kit - and I can see trouble with the Granddaughter  :tup:
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Sarasocke on September 02, 2010, 09:52:17 PM
Beautiful, Bob!
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Eileen on September 03, 2010, 06:14:13 AM
Lovely picture Bob. It looks like you're going to have lots of fun with the new toy!
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: picsfor on September 03, 2010, 07:33:44 AM
According to rumour, Canon are about to upgrade their 24-70 L. Probably put an IS sticker on it...
Your picture certainly gives a good reason for handing over the readies...
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: anglefire on September 03, 2010, 01:26:08 PM
There is certainly a rumour that the 1DsMkIV is going to be announced at Photokina, with also a new lens - which could well be the 24-70.

I wonder if the recently announced update to ACR and LR 3 also have the code for the new camera, but just not mentioned?

Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on September 06, 2010, 08:40:46 PM
 :) First practice wedding booking, I advertised on a free site offering my services for an expenses only fee. One person so far asked to see some of my work, now they want to pay me and have booked me for March, I have been very open with them and explained my situation. We meet next week at the venue to decide on shot locations and images required  :dance:

I have suggested that I also take some portrates of them there so that they can see my work first hand and that I will not be offended if they decide to look else where, so wish me luck guys I have a toe in the door and get to practice my people skills and my shooting technique and then a  :beer:.

Bob
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: irv_b on September 06, 2010, 09:03:30 PM
Good luck with it Bob :tup: I'm sure once you get into the swing of it, it'll feel like you have been doing it for years and I'm sure you'll not disappoint them
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Sarasocke on September 06, 2010, 09:19:38 PM
Good work, Bob!

I wish I'd had something like that - I trawled through loads of websites and flickr wedding groups.
It helped a bit, but I'm sure there's nothing like the real thing.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Oldboy on September 06, 2010, 10:43:12 PM
:) First practice wedding booking, I advertised on a free site offering my services for an expenses only fee. One person so far asked to see some of my work, now they want to pay me and have booked me for March, I have been very open with them and explained my situation. We meet next week at the venue to decide on shot locations and images required  :dance:

I have suggested that I also take some portrates of them there so that they can see my work first hand and that I will not be offended if they decide to look else where, so wish me luck guys I have a toe in the door and get to practice my people skills and my shooting technique and then a  :beer:.

Bob
There you go and showed gumption too. Good luck with the wedding and I'm sure you will do well.  :tup:
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: ABERS on September 07, 2010, 06:52:08 AM
The old 'Try before you buy' approach. None of the smoke and mirrors stuff to dazzle the prospective customer. Great stuff and good luck, not that you'll need it. :tup:
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: picsfor on September 07, 2010, 08:41:16 AM
Best of luck, though as said - you seem well on top of the situation.

What i find interesting on this site - is the methods people use to get themselves into a "fee earning position" with their photography.
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: Sarasocke on September 07, 2010, 01:32:09 PM
Another tip, Bob - just happened to me today. I found out that the Thank You Cards are expected to be sent within three weeks of the wedding in Switzerland. "My" wedding was on the 21st August and I sent the final DVD on the 4th Sept, two weeks later which I thought was quite acceptable. I got a mail from the bride this morning telling me about this three week thing ::)

Yet another step on the learning curve  :)
Title: Re: Wedding Photography
Post by: rksmith51 on September 07, 2010, 08:53:15 PM
Thanks Carol, I was just thinking today, my niece is marrying a young chap of Indian decent, and there may be some traditions I should aware of, so some enquiries to be made. I also visited the location of the first wedding I have to do, and my wife kindly stood in as a subject for flash gun practice. I must do it again it was very valuable. I'm meeting the B&G at the location next week to decide on backdrop etc and I will take some shots of them, I'll post one or two for interest.

Bob