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Thread: Ok, hold the laughter ...ME a wedding photographer!???

  1. #41
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    Wow Denise, great opportunity! I say without a single doubt...go for it! Because I know you can do it.

    You might know I have shot two entire weddings now myself. Purely for fun/hobby without getting payed.(well I did get a very nice gift)Yes I'm still a big amateur so take my advice in good perspective.

    What I have done with both weddings is that I have had a practice-shoot with both couples. I would highly suggest doing that.(for free?)
    It gives you the chance to practice your skill, but it also gives you the chance to get to know these people and they get to know you. Which shows it's use when you're shooting at the wedding. You know how they behave and they know what to expect. I know you might do this without getting payed, but it's free practice for you as well. Also you could make up a good formula for example that if they like the practice shots they'd have to close the deal for the wedding day itself.
    Doing a practice run also has another benefit. Social media is a big thing these days and if the couple is happy with the practice shots you get free advertising in the best possible group(age/interest) months/weeks before you shoot an actual wedding. A lot of time friends/relatives of the couple are in the same age-group(interests and behavior-wise) and it is very likely that the couple has connections with people that will be marrying too. Longer free advertisement = good for you.

    As for equipment. I think your equipment(camera+lenses) would work just fine. Having a second camera(photographer) is a definite plus though. Learning your daughter how to take a few photos might workout better than you think. I'm still amazed how well my girlfriend takes pictures even if she doesn't have a clue what settings she's on or how the thing works.(yes, I'm working on that) And since I get the feeling your daughter watches your photography and the criticism you get, I think she knows quite a bit about things you should and shouldn't do already.

    As for flashes and stuff. The bride has seen your photos and there isn't too much strobism going on on your site. Keep it that way. Unless you've got days and days to practice, just keep it simple at the wedding and don't start experimenting with lighting there. I took some product-shots today for a friend and the time I needed to set-up my flash/softbox(and I only have one) and all the other stuff simply would have been too long to do at a wedding. Better yet, some shots I still did with the flash on-camera. Which is actually not that bad if you bounce it. And a lot more simple. And also if you're doing a wedding there's more important things to worry about than flashes. Keep your stress-levels as low as possible.

    If you're going to do a test-shoot. Ask your couple to google some photos that they like. Discuss the photos with them. Some might be possible and doable(perhaps you could test it after your conversation), but some might be out of your league. Discuss it so your couple knows what they can and cannot expect.
    Also ask your family(son/daughters) if you could shoot their portraits to help you prepare for a wedding. They have experience and they can also guide you. Perhaps your neighbors are willing to help you as well. Consider it as an investment to your experience.

    If it weren't for me being on the other side of the world I would have fought my fear of being in front of the camera and modeled for you. Perhaps someone else in your area at this forum will do it...

    Good luck!

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by iND View Post
    I recently wrote this for another post but I pasted it here for you.

    I've been doing weddings for 15 years, so if you need any advice I will be glad to tell you what I know from experience. Just send me a note.

    Hope this helps:

    Advice:

    Be prepared. (I've run marathons that were less exhausting).
    IT IS NOT ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT
    LET ME REPEAT
    IT IS NOT ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT

    ITS ABOUT KNOWING WHERE TO BE WHEN.

    Know your equipment and do not use cameras and lenses you are not extremely familiar with.
    Have a back up camera of the same type as your primary. (this is a must) Spare batteries, cards, flash.

    Know your bride, you have to sit down with her before the wedding, days before the wedding.
    Know what she wants and then try not to bother her the day of.

    Go to the rehearsal, ask to set the lighting to the level of the ceremony.
    Take test shots during the rehearsal.
    Know your light.
    Use no flash whenever possible, but know the limits of your depth of field.
    I use single point focus in the church with low apertures and make sure my bride is in focus ALL the time.
    The hardest shot is always the bride coming down the aisle.
    Dont let the bride be out of focus, and don't blow out the dress.

    Move around discretely. Dress appropriately and try to not be noticed. Dress like a guest but do not stand out.
    Ask the church if they have any rules about where you can and can stand during the ceremony.

    Know the sequence of events.
    Where is the bride getting ready
    Where is the groom getting ready
    Can you cover both locations?

    Know where your bride is at all times.
    Make a shot list of MUST get shots (ie bride putting on dress)

    Have a assistant help you carry stuff.
    I use three cameras during the wedding each with a different lens and different settings.
    Its not about having the right lens, its about being in the right places and having a camera ready to capture the moment.
    I recommend beginners only concentrate on journalist style. Tell you bride to act like you are not there.
    Plan to capture the day, and to tell a story, with the layout.
    DO NOT PROMISE TO GIVE OUT YOUR JPEGS. ONLY GIVE OUT YOUR BEST.
    GET EVERY SHOT THE BRIDE WANTS. GET EVERY GROUP SHE WANTS, GET EVERY AUNT AND GREAT AUNT THAT SHE WANTS.
    Get to the reception hall before everyone else to take the tables and the small details.
    (Figure how to do this when you are still at the church or doing off site shooting and everyone is off to the reception hall except you, can you do this the night before? Ask at the rehearsal, or have a second shooter)

    Are there pictures at the church of family? There are techniques to save time here if you are on a tight schedule.
    Leave 10 min for each group. (these always take longer than the bride thinks)
    Everyone wants photos but no one wants to take the time for them.
    If you have a lot of groups the bride need to know how much time this will take. (ahead of time)
    Dont be a source of frustration for you bride.
    This is her day and EVERYTHING needs to be about her.
    Maids of honor are usually not much help but it helps to try to bond with the best man and maid of honor. (they can be of help)

    Will there be off site photos between the church and the reception.
    If so you need to scope this out ahead of time, at the same time of day, look for locations and the best light.
    Know what you are going to do before you get there.
    You must be able to organize groups. (they may be drinking at his time, don't ride with anyone, get your own driver)

    Do groups by starting with the large groups and work down.
    You will not be able to reassemble the crowd once they scatter.
    Same idea for church groups. Try to place your bride and add people around her. Dont keep moving the bride.
    You need someone to help you look at your groups as you concentrate on the camera setting. Think how people should be grouped.
    Watch how people are turned, watch how hands are hanging and mens coats not hanging correctly.
    This is not the time to try something new.
    Dont let there be equipment problems. Bring enough of everything.
    Know your flash and how to change settings without thinking about it.

    Try to eat when you can, and drink plenty of water.
    Wear comfortable shoes. Don't drink alcohol.

    The reception: know your shot list and when things are going to happen, first dances, cake cutting, tosses? These happen quickly dont get caught sleeping.
    Work the room and take at least one shot at each table.

    The night before the wedding go over in your mind what is going to happen the whole day.

    Equipment advice:
    If you only hand a 24-70mm 2.8 you could do the whole wedding just fine.
    Dont get over involed with more lenses unless you have more bodies to keep them on.
    As soon as you change to a prime your wish you had your zoom back on.
    My three cameras for the day:

    In the church (no flash)
    5D 24-70mm 2.8
    5D 70-200mm 2.8
    5D 24mm prime 1.8

    Reception
    5D 24-70mm with 580EX all night.

    Outdoors
    5D 24-70mm 2.8 (with 580EX if I need fill flash)
    5D 70-200 2.8
    5D 85mm 1.4 prime


    Its a marathon if you are alone. Be rested, prepared.
    Push the ISO instead of missing shots.
    Good luck
    Yes, I did read this before when originally posted but at the time it was through different eyes than I am seeing it now! I never would have thought that it would pertain to me personally! Anyway, fantastic advice and very thorough!

  3. #43
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    Denise, a wedding shoot is combination of many things, but the equipment IS important. This forum wouldn't be emphasizing equipment, if equipment wasn't important. If equipment isn't important, then just bring a point-and-shoot, and see how that turns out for the whole event. You're a good photographer, so use the best equipment you can.

    I shot the reception at a wedding, while the main photographer shot the participants. He was using a low grade Nikon with skinny cigar lenses, and an on-camera flash. It was inside of a huge church. The pictures were absolutely crap. The father-of-the bride told me that my photos saved the day for them. I was using a 30D with a 24-105 L at the time.

    Equipment is critically important, and so is the lighting. You want to make sure this wedding is as good as you can get, so you can get them to refer you to their friends.

  4. #44
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    What is a "safe" amount of GB's to have for cards if I'm shooting RAW? I don't have much, I never needed it. I have three cards with a total of 32 GB's of the SanDisk Extremes. How much more would be a good amount to have? Also, I have two camera batteries which should be good I would think.

  5. #45
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    That's heaps Denise, you got this.
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

  6. #46
    Senior Member clemmb's Avatar
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    Glade to hear that you will be doing it. I know you will do a great job.
    It is your first wedding so keep it simple. I use my 580EX on a flash bracket with omni-bounce. For the dance floor I used two flashes like Joel mentioned bouncing off the ceiling or on a balcony with umbrellas. I have the flash on camera and the remotes firing at the same time.

    IMG_0390 by clemmb60, on Flickr
    That only works on the dance floor without dragging flashes all around so when we did the cake cutting I only had the flash on the bracket. It would look better with off camera flash but it is not bad IMO.

    IMG_0347 by clemmb60, on Flickr
    For outdoor shots I try to use off-camera but not always. Things move fast so I keep it simple. This one is on camera flash.

    Image00537a by clemmb60, on Flickr
    When talking with her let her know that you will be slow because you have never done this before and if you rush, thats when mistakes happen.
    It is also my policy to never use flash during the ceremony, and many preachers also do not allow it. I use flash up to the father giving her away. Available light during the ceremony. I use a tripod for this depending on the amount of light.
    When making prints for customers I always have them personalized in the lower right corner with my name. If I sell them the rights/full files and therefore they may go to Walgreens I do not watermark or personalize them. I do not want my name displayed on an inferior print.
    Will you be doing wedding only or also engagement and bridal sessions as well. Most of mine include an engagement session during an evening and a bridal session on a saturday. That way she has a few enlargements to display at the reception.
    Remember, keep it a simple as possible and take as much time as you can to keep any frustration to a minimum because thats when you start making mistakes.
    I look forward to seeing your work.
    Last edited by clemmb; 08-09-2012 at 01:42 AM.
    Mark

  7. #47
    Senior Member iND's Avatar
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    The point my friend is to NOT THINK ABOUT EQUIPMENT ISSUES on the day of the wedding.
    You must have this down cold, its like at an athletic event, you have to trust your training and go for it.
    Don't be thinking equipment, think BRIDE
    Yes you must have equipment but don't worry so much about changing lenses as much as getting the shot.
    I could shoot 90% of most weddings with a 24-70 F2.8
    Take a high ISO shot over missing it.
    Only experience will teach you this.


    For cards I like more with less.
    What I mean is I like 8GB cards and change frequently, thus one corrupt card will not ruin your day completely.
    I take 3000-4000 shots on in a 10 hour day.
    Keeper rate can is usually 5-10/100
    I usually set up 300 for review (I can promise 300 at most weddings)

    Another piece of advice is modern weddings are SHORT
    if you blink you may miss it.

    On a recent wedding once the bride and groom were on the altar, I got some mom and dad shots then moved to the other side of the church.
    Before I got there the new bride and groom were being introduced.

    For you first wedding it would be really nice if you had some sort of back up shooter.
    Last edited by iND; 08-09-2012 at 01:48 AM.

  8. #48
    Senior Member clemmb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddt0725 View Post
    What is a "safe" amount of GB's to have for cards if I'm shooting RAW? I don't have much, I never needed it. I have three cards with a total of 32 GB's of the SanDisk Extremes. How much more would be a good amount to have? Also, I have two camera batteries which should be good I would think.
    I forgot to address this. The larges wedding I shot was 1700 pics. I have 16g in both cameras shooting raw and have no problem but always have a couple of 8s as backup. Now my camera is 13.8mpix so you will need a little more but 32s are plenty.
    Two camera batteries may not be enough but close. My 580EXs go through two sets each but the first set last longer than half way but change early so you don't get caught. I keep more batteries on hand in case but usually do not need.
    Mark

  9. #49
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    Thank you very much for the information, Mark and the examples! Having them linked to flickr so I could view the exif was very helpful also! Sure looks like everything I used to own would sure come in handy for this!

    I have done my own little research and they post on accuweather that the sun would be setting at 6:38. Ceremony is at 4:00, 5 minutes from the Lake Michigan where she wants to take some shots afterwards. Again, since the sun does not set on the lake, it will be on their face to maybe some extent (providing there is no tree blockage) and may still be reflecting some (very little) on the lake. Probably too early for any of the yachts to have there lights on though. I have photographed seagulls and ducks down there before at about an hour before sunset and it was awful!

    Any suggestions on how to handle this scenerio?
    Last edited by ddt0725; 08-09-2012 at 05:14 AM.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by iND View Post
    The point my friend is to NOT THINK ABOUT EQUIPMENT ISSUES on the day of the wedding.
    You must have this down cold, its like at an athletic event, you have to trust your training and go for it.
    Don't be thinking equipment, think BRIDE
    Yes you must have equipment but don't worry so much about changing lenses as much as getting the shot.
    I could shoot 90% of most weddings with a 24-70 F2.8
    Take a high ISO shot over missing it.
    Only experience will teach you this.


    For cards I like more with less.
    What I mean is I like 8GB cards and change frequently, thus one corrupt card will not ruin your day completely.
    I take 3000-4000 shots on in a 10 hour day.
    Keeper rate can is usually 5-10/100
    I usually set up 300 for review (I can promise 300 at most weddings)

    Another piece of advice is modern weddings are SHORT
    if you blink you may miss it.

    On a recent wedding once the bride and groom were on the altar, I got some mom and dad shots then moved to the other side of the church.
    Before I got there the new bride and groom were being introduced.

    For you first wedding it would be really nice if you had some sort of back up shooter.
    I know its not a good time to think about equipment the day of the wedding so that's why I am trying to get all of my thoughts together on this now. I need to know what I need to buy and what I need to rent and what I am already well set for.

    Only thing I can think of for a back-up shooter is posting for one on craigslist of someone willing to do it for free for the experience and check out their work to make sure they aren't any worse than myself. If so, then I assume a contract between him and myself is necessary (?)

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