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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> First Wedding Shoot - NEED ADVICE!!!
Showing posts 1 - 18 of 18, (reverse)
04/05/2009 12:41:49 AM · #1
Hey everyone...

I'm shooting my first wedding on Monday night. It's very small - just the bride and groom, and two others. It's very low key and non-traditional. The bride is wearing black...we will be in their house...

Does anyone want to take a look at my lenses and suggest what they would use?

They want to stand in front of a big window in their living room - and I do have a quantaray flash I could use for fill light (which I don't really understand how to use.....but I hope to fake it). The lighting may be a little tricky - it's at 5pm (and in front of the window - INSIDE).

I'll take any and all advice you are willing to give so that I can give them some nice pictures to remember their day. :)

04/05/2009 01:18:28 AM · #2
50mm 1.8
04/05/2009 02:11:31 AM · #3
Put your camera on manual and take the reading of the window light. Then keep it there, and put your flash on TTL/BL. I'm hoping thats what the Quantaray flash has as settings, thats what I have on Nikon - if not, it would be described as balanced fill flash. You can also walk around them and take it from the side, so you pick up the natural light coming through the window onto their faces (no flash - use that 1.8 so you have enough speed to go hand held) - don't be afraid to walk around as much as you need to, they're obviously counting on you to get some nice shots and you will only have a short time, so be bold. A silhouette shot with no flash may even work for one or two shots.
Good luck!
04/05/2009 02:55:01 AM · #4
If you're not comfortable using your flash... you'll be pretty limited by light, so your 50mm 1.8 is your best bet. I'd suggest that you practice with your flash as much as possible on Sunday. That will open you up to using your Tamron, or your 60mm macro.

If you're still not comfortable, don't try to fake it! You'll stand a good chance of having 100 blurry images (even though they looked good in your LCD). Worst case - take it off of AV and shoot with flash in Auto mode (sounds crazy, I know). That way you'll at least have some sharp images that you can process afterwards.

Practice with someone tomorrow. Experiment with bouncing the flash on the ceiling. Direct flash will give you some really harsh light. Also - male a small list of the "must have" shots, and don't be afraid to pull it out. 1st wedding pressure may get you caught up in the moment, and you'll forget what you had planned.

Leroy <The one who must not be named> put together a great comprehensive list of shots here. Read the whole thing - some great advice in there.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out :O)
04/05/2009 03:49:53 AM · #5
While I agree that the 50mm is the best bet, it means you have to zoom with your feet, and if the walls are too close, moving back far enough requires a doorway or a sledge hammer.

The Tamron or the kit lens might be the better choice, since you will be able to grab the action in close quarters, even if the shots are not brilliant at least you will be giving them a record of what happened in stead of a set of well focused and well light headshots.
04/05/2009 08:41:51 AM · #6
I think you should get out the Lensbaby... at least for a few shots.
04/05/2009 11:42:22 AM · #7
Wow - thank you so much for the replies. Some great advice and info!!!

Yes jettyimages, I have TTL on my flash - I just have no idea what that means...or what all the other modes are. I have TTL, M, MULTI, MODEL, and then the little lighting flash icon. And then at the bottom, there's the "zoom" that's always on - and it says 35, or 24, 28, 50, 70, 80, 105... and I don't know when to use that. I DO have a Gary Fong light sphere to attach to it and bounce it off the ceiling though. I love that thing! :)

04/05/2009 12:03:29 PM · #8
You might find some really useful information on strobist.com - I don't know where exactly, but maybe start with the first page, there's a really good intro to flash photography there. Good luck!

PS TTL is the mode that talks directly to your camera and adjusts the flash according to your camera meter's reading. The zoom numbers are corresponding to your lens - so if you have the lens on 35, that number will come up on the flash. Try it yourself, throw a zoom lens on and zoom it in and out, you'll see the numbers change. They're ridiculously clever, too complicated for their own good - bring back the old flash bulb! :-)
04/05/2009 01:14:34 PM · #9
IMHO if you don't know your flash and aren't comfortable with you, you should use available light only. Crank up the ISO and shoot how you know. Flash can be fooled by black dresses, window reflections, white clothing(and walls). You should really learn to use your flash before using it on something like this. Shooting in a situation like you are going into is one of the trickiest to learn flash. Heck it can also be tricky using AV, TV, or manual mode because of the variable lighting conditions(whether they are facing window or backlight). IMHO you are better to overpower ambient with strobes(or flash) which will ruin the idea of window lighting or get really good at changing settings on the fly in manual mode.

04/05/2009 01:43:31 PM · #10
Dont try anything too arty if you are not fully comfortable with your equipment, just stick it in P mode and let the camera take most of the strain... Does your flash head tilt/rotate? if so, try bouncing flash off the wall. practice like a demon over the next few days.
04/05/2009 03:24:50 PM · #11
I would actually keep well away from strobist on this (an I am a huge fan of that site & methods e.t.c.)... You just don't have time and it's not a good fit for a wedding.

Practice with bouncing the flash on lower white roof and walls on full auto (eTTL in this case) and take lots of batteries - I would use M and let the flash try to get the exposure correct based on the 3 static variables.... I hate what AV tries to do in most cases with flash (you can get rid of the default behavior in custom functions but easier not to go there). Learn how to use the flash comp to push above or below what eTTL is doing and check the hist. For outside stuff play with a dab of direct flash to fill - eTTL normally handles that pretty well in AV/TV modes.

Flash is complex, so agree with Matt... Try to use no flash as much as you can. I would also shoot RAW just to give you some room with white bal and exposure.... You might need it badly in post....
04/05/2009 03:41:09 PM · #12
Start early & get some shots of the BG without people. Get some shots of the window by itself under optimum conditions for that window, with the same camera angles you will be using later. It can save you some time in PP. Be sure to use a polarizing filter on your lens. Don't use a flash, the window will reflect the flash in an ugly way. The window is probably going to reflect you in every shot--be aware of what the window is reflecting. Bracket your shots if you can or shoot in Burst mode--one of them should have everyone's eyes open. These are just a few of my favorite things...
04/06/2009 12:55:27 PM · #13
Thank you for the awesome advice everyone.
I've been practicing with my flash incase I need to use it...and thanks to you guys...now I feel WAY more comfortable with it. YAY!

Any last minute advice for me??? I'll post some pictures later after the shoot! weeeeeeeeeee!
04/06/2009 01:08:58 PM · #14
Hi and good luck with your first wedding!
My best advice would be to relax and start to enjoy the night. These guys feel comfortable enough to employ you and with it being such a cosy small event , no one is going to give you a hard time.
Don't spend ages arranging people..look for those magic moments when the bride and groom are totally relaxed and just imagine they are shots of your own family friends.very soon you will work into your own style and totally agree with Simms on just using p for your first wedding..
One more bit of a tip...in order to get them looking happy but not cheesy simply get the group to shout out the bride and grooms name...as they say John and Mary they will automatically smile and your job is to catch it..
Good luck and let us see the results.
04/06/2009 02:37:30 PM · #15
I'm sure that all the good tips above you'll commit to memory & follow them exactly!
But if not, I'll pray that you have beginner's luck and get some good shots while you
have a good learning experience! ---Mitch512
04/06/2009 02:37:58 PM · #16
without knowing how big the living room is. the 50mm might not give enough field of view - depending on what kind of shots you're after.

your widest zoom is the 18-55mm. not the greatest - but might end up being what you need to use. if you do need to use the flash - the easiest thing will be to set the camera at 1/100th - f:5.6 - ISO 200 - aim the flash at the ceiling with the little slide up relfector thing sticking up - and have the flash set to ttl mode.

have a glass of wine with the party and ask them whilst enjoying what they want for photos. 50 shots of them standing in front of a window isn't going to leave a long lasting impression IMO. so see if you can loosen them up and get some pseudo-candid shots as well.

take a few test shots and check the histogram on the preview. adjust your cameras aperture to get proper exposure & depth of field.

if using the flash.
the cameras :

shutter speed affects the amount of ambient light recorded
aperture affects the amount of flash light recorded - and the depth of field.

04/06/2009 02:52:59 PM · #17
Best of luck with this - I just got back from doing my first wedding, 3 days of shooting and I'm shattered but I had an absolute blast and got some incredible shots. I'm sure you'll be fine, just be confident, plan your shots in advance, look for special moments and relax!

P.s shots to follow as soon as I've gone through the 2000+ frames I took this weekend!!
04/06/2009 05:51:15 PM · #18
Others have suggested this, I'll just emphasize... if you at all can, set up a practice session the day before in the same location around the same time. that way, you will *know* what the lighting conditions are beforehand. Have someone dress in black clothing and shoot them with and without flash. Experiment with bouncing the flash off the ceiling, and try with and without the modifier (Mr. Fong's contraption).
Prior to the practice shoot, get some practice with the flash doing the following:
- Getting proper exposure with it bounced off a ceiling
- Setting exposure compensation on the flash to use it for fill only (and not to overpower available light)
One thing of note: if you do bounce the flash, you will be forced to rotate the flash head to switch between shooting in landscape and portrait orientations. This can be a pain, so practice that ahead of time.

Edit for typo

Message edited by author 2009-04-06 17:51:27.
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