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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Looking for advice for my first wedding
Showing posts 1 - 10 of 10, (reverse)
10/20/2007 03:46:07 PM · #1
Hi all! I am what I would consider a beginning photographer. I've taken thousands of shots and learned along the way by reading forums and discussions but I've never read any books or gotten extremely technical although I would love to. My wifes sister is getting married on the beach in Mexico and they can't afford a photographer so they asked if I could take pictures of their wedding. I've got two main questions I need help with.

1st question: Is there short guide to shooting weddings? A template that I could follow that goes over what I need to do? I guess I could make one up if I need to but I have a feeling I would miss some critical shots if I did it that way.

2nd question: Camera. I currently have a Canon S2, no additional lenses that I shoot with. I've gotten pretty good with the camera but it's not going to cut it for a wedding I don't think. The wedding with be outside, in the sun, on a beach. I imagine the reception with be indoor/outdoors and will probably go until well past dark. I'd like to stay under $1000(I'm a poor college kid).

I've been eying the canon rebel XTI 10.1 MP but from what I've been reading the kit lens is pretty poor. There's also the 8mp rebel(the older model) and then the more expensive 30D, 40D which I feel are out of my price range. Is there a good starter digital SLR that comes with a decent Kit lens for under $1000? If not are there any cheap lenses that I could add to an SLR that do a good job and still keep me under $1000? How will the kit lens that comes with the XTI compare with the one on the S2? I'm also open to other brands/suggestions. Thanks for reading this!
10/20/2007 03:50:36 PM · #2
check this out by Leroy

good luck and have fun :)

Message edited by author 2007-10-20 15:52:23.
10/20/2007 04:35:40 PM · #3
Hmm.... First off I'd like to say good luck with this shoot. Yeah you're definitely going to need a DSLR for this task. The XTI is a fine camera and would do you well. But go and actually hold one in your hands first. The camera is pretty small (for a DSLR). I had my mind made up to get one until I held it. Too small for my hands. I got the 30D instead. You also don't have to buy a new camera. You can get a used 30D for well under a grand. You'll definitely need a different lens than the kit lens. It's just not sharp enough nor is it fast enough for low light (indoors). You're also going to need to get an external flash, for fill light outdoors and your main lighting indoors. And practice, practice, practice!!!!! Hope this helps a little. Good luck!
10/20/2007 05:04:49 PM · #4
See if you can pick up a 20D. Great camera.

One thing, just make sure your sister-in-law is aware that you have ZERO experience and not to expect amazing images.. thats not to say you suck, but wedding phtography really is a bugger of a job, its so darn stressful and there is a hell of a lot riding on you, that not to say you shouldn't enjoy it, I have been doing weddings for 18 months now and I totally love it, but I still get incredibly stressed by it all.

Search these forums and search the internet, there is loads of advice regarding shooting weddings.

Good luck!!
10/20/2007 05:31:54 PM · #5
If they asked you to be their photographer, rather than hiring one, I assume it's based on seeing photos you've done in the past with your current camera. If I were you I wouldn't be worried about gear. Of course, it is a good excuse to upgrade.

If you really want to upgrade, maybe a Rebel XT and a 50mm f/1.8. You can rig up some sort of deflector for the onboard flash.

Being a student, I wouldn't suggest you go out and blow a bunch of cash on fancy gear just for a wedding, though.
10/20/2007 05:33:11 PM · #6
I got an idea. If they pay to fly me down and and put me up for two nights. I will shoot it for free and teach you as much as I can. I am looking to get into destination weddings. I will shoot it and give them the hi res on a dvd.

my website


Message edited by author 2007-10-20 17:34:13.
10/20/2007 05:34:49 PM · #7
Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate the link to the Wedding guide, very helpful! I'll try to follow the template at the bottom. I'm worried about getting in the way of the view of the guests. When your taking shots of the kiss, the exchange of the rings, and the people coming up the isle, how do you deal with it? I don't want to block everyones view, should I crouch in the middle of the isle or use a zoom lens from the back? As for getting shots of the bride walking the isle, and the flower girl, etc... Do I just stand right in the middle of the isle in the front right in front of the preacher? I''m pretty nervous about doing it and I've told her not to expect much, she's not paying me anything so that takes away some pressure. If I was to go with the 20 or 30d, or the Xti, what general all purpose lenses would you suggest?
10/20/2007 05:37:07 PM · #8
Originally posted by Travis99:

I got an idea. If they pay to fly me down and and put me up for two nights. I will shoot it for free and teach you as much as I can. I am looking to get into destination weddings. I will shoot it and give them the hi res on a dvd.

my website


Nice work, beautiful photos!
10/20/2007 08:45:24 PM · #9
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

Nice work, beautiful photos!

Thanks Dude, wait to I post the ones of todays wedding!


1. Don't worry about getting in peoples way.
2. Shoot from many angles.
3. Everyone stands in the isles, just stand off to one side, move over to the center, take the shot and move back and let them pass. I kind of hate doing what everyone else does though. So I would let the location and attitude of the bride decide where I would be standing.
4. Get a wide angle, you will need it for formals, you will also need some sort of fill flash. Or they will not turn out so well.
5. Becareful not to blow out the sky to bad, it tends to happen in beach weddings. Shoot in raw just in case.
6. If shes not paying you then she really can't expect you to be a Joe Buissink. So don't stress to much, because that will just hurt your images and give you a headache. Just have fun, make people laugh. And act like you know what you are doing.
7. Formals are not easy, you will have to arrange several people who do not want to be arranged. You will have to do this pretty quick because people will want to get to the reception. O' and a guest will always no a better way to do everything.

But my offer still stands. Seriously.

10/22/2007 10:30:28 PM · #10
Thanks for all the advice! I really appreciate it. I'll ask my sister in law if she has a budget to fly a photographer out to the wedding but I really doubt she does. She's not paying me anything as it is but I'll still be happy to ask.

I've really spent some time researching in the past couple days and here's what I've come up with for camera/lens combo.

Either the Canon 20d, XTI, or XT. I know there's a big price difference between the three. Using the same lenses is there a huge difference in image quality between the three?

For lenses I've narrowed my search down to a couple.

For Portraits:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens is the cheap option for $70


Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Medium Telephoto Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Telephoto Lens
are both similarly priced (more or less $300)

Which would be the best option from the lenses above?

A second possible lens I'm looking at for a simple zoom lens is the
Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Standard Zoom Lens - Aprox $230

Is this a decent zoom lens or is there something that would do me better for the same or a little more?

Again thanks for all the help I really appreciate it!
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