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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Advice for photographing a wedding?
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06/07/2009 12:35:17 AM · #1

I am wanting some thoughts on equipment for a shoot. Here's some background info...

My sister-in-law is getting married in 4 weeks, and they've asked me to be the photographer. I did my brother-in-law's wedding a couple of years ago with a P&S, and they were very happy with the results. I stressed a lot, and am determined to enjoy myself more this time around. :) My wife keeps reminding me that they will be happy with whatever photos they get, but I am a perfectionist, and always want to do the best I can.

The wedding will be during the day, at an outdoor wedding centre. There is a creek and lots of greenery around, but the lighting will be tricky. I've been to the centre at the right time of day, and most of the site is dappled sunshine. There's a few place out of direct spotty sunshine, so I'll be working mostly with these on the day. I'll be hoping for clouds.

Anyway, I am wanting some thoughts on equipment, as I have a little money to spend.

Body - 400D. I've never been really happy with this body, particularly with the focus and exposure. I might even consider upgrading, but that would be a big investment. I could even possibly hire a nice body for the weekend, but I'd rather spend my money on buying something that I will still have afterwards, especially as I can't justify the spending against getting paid, because I'm not getting paid.

Lenses - Canon kit 18-55, Canon 10-22 and Sigma 70-200 2.8. The 10-22 seems to be my favourite lens lately, but the wedding will certainly make use of my full lens range. The 70-200 is very LOOONG on a crop-sensor body, but if I stand far enough away and use a tripod, it can make some nice portraits. It also has great difficulty focussing accurately on the 400D, so this is another motivation for a body upgrade sometime. The kit lens is, well...it's the kit lens. It gets a lot of use, and does what it does. Sure, it's not a great lens, but it's not the worst thing in my kit.

I have looked into the Canon 50mm 1.4, but the focus inaccuracy of my body makes it not worth thinking about any faster lenses. I've also heard people say that with the convenience of a 70-200 2.8, a fast 50 prime probably won't get much use anyway.

I have a 550 speedlight, and tripod.

The bride will be getting ready at our house, and I could set up a studio for some quick studio-look shots. I have some off-camera flashes/umbrellas/stands, but I don't have a background. Maybe I should take this chance to buy a backdrop? But time will be tight on the morning, so I will need to have my plan worked out before hand. My sister-in-law is a dance teacher, so I think some posed studio portraits would actually work really well.

That's some disjointed thoughts about it all. Any suggestions/agreements/disagreements?
06/07/2009 02:49:09 AM · #2
Sounds like you have a nice set of lenses...mid, long and wide. Forget about the backdrop/studio stuff...you'll be stressed enough as it is. Not to mention her stress level. Just do your best with what you've got. Look for the moments that they never dreamed you'd capture. There will be plenty of guests taking their own p&s shots, get the special moments that most people miss and they'll be over the moon. Remember also, that our expectations and theirs are TOTALLY different. They will be thrilled with the outcome, I'm sure.

Just another tip...I would stalk wedding blogs like crazy to get ideas. It's what I did and it helped enormously. My favorite blog of all time...Jasmine Star
06/07/2009 06:48:45 AM · #3
Nice blog. Yes, I'm scouring various galleries for tips and ideas. Very nearly bought a 5D tonight on the spur of the moment, but the price went too high. Having time to think about it afterwards, I may not follow that dream again, but man, that would have been sweet. Only one of my lenses would fit the FF 5D.
06/07/2009 06:59:24 AM · #4
Originally posted by Rompy:

Sounds like you have a nice set of lenses...mid, long and wide. Forget about the backdrop/studio stuff...you'll be stressed enough as it is. Not to mention her stress level. Just do your best with what you've got. Look for the moments that they never dreamed you'd capture. There will be plenty of guests taking their own p&s shots, get the special moments that most people miss and they'll be over the moon. Remember also, that our expectations and theirs are TOTALLY different. They will be thrilled with the outcome, I'm sure.

Just another tip...I would stalk wedding blogs like crazy to get ideas. It's what I did and it helped enormously. My favorite blog of all time...Jasmine Star


he, and she is waaaaayy hot as well..

how does she make her images look so sharp.. what processing does she use?
06/07/2009 07:16:32 PM · #5
Originally posted by Rompy:

Forget about the backdrop/studio stuff...you'll be stressed enough as it is. Not to mention her stress level.


Probably a good suggestion. Yes, I shouldn't try to fit in extra stuff on the day, because we'll probably be tight for time anyway.
06/07/2009 07:39:59 PM · #6
Hi if the day is bright with shadows and dappled light prolly fill in flash will be essential. for the posed shots use BACKLIGHT and fill flash it is so much easier to deal to than side or front light. Believe me if you have to photograph down here on a blue sky day you find out what contrast is like.!! I have doe 100s weddings and rarely have deviated from this formula shooting with backlight wherever possible really helps sorry just seen your profile OZ would be as bad as here mid summer. however backlight under allcircumstances

Message edited by author 2009-06-07 19:42:50.
06/07/2009 07:41:38 PM · #7
I wouldn't be going with the backdrop- its just going to stress you and everyone there out, and they're a pain to have to carry around. If you really want to buy something, get that 1.4 50mm lens, then no matter what the light conditions where she's getting dressed, you can still get some gorgeous shots of her. And it will work well on any future body you buy, as well as the 400. The Sigma 70-200 does have focusing issues sometimes, but not so much if you keep the shutter speed above 1/120sec (thats my experience anyway - I was convinced it was a focusing issue, but it ended up being simply a speed issue).
You can get gorgeous portraits of the bride by standing her next to a window (even if the window isn't great looking, just shoot her with her veil on, with the window light coming in, and fill the frame with her). Unattractive furniture always looks better in B&W, so you can snap away while she's getting ready then convert them. And if there's a nice couch, you can get some lovely portraits of her leaning over the side of the arm, or lying on it, or wherever your imagination takes you. You don't need backgrounds, or extra lights if you're working with the 1.4, or the 2.8.
Good luck!

ETA its best to go with the gear you have anyway, for you know its strengths and weaknesses, and won't have to learn on the job in any way - if you can shoot a successful wedding with a point and shoot, you have a good eye anyway, so relax and use what you have!

Message edited by author 2009-06-07 19:42:26.
06/07/2009 08:59:50 PM · #8
Originally posted by jettyimages:

I wouldn't be going with the backdrop- its just going to stress you and everyone there out, and they're a pain to have to carry around.


:) Yes, I wan't planning on carrying it around! I was only considering it because it will be at my house, and the backdrop, lights, etc would all be set up before hand. But you are right, it will be too much stress to fit this in on the day.

I'm also thinking about a TTL cord and some sort of flash diffuser, to help improve some of the flash issues, softening the shadows and getting the flash off camera for some of the shots. I have radio triggers, but they are non-TTL, which is too much mucking around for using on the day. What do you think?

Message edited by author 2009-06-07 23:21:40.
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