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Can I get some advice from the wedding pros?

Discussion in 'People' started by JoJo2Fast, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. JoJo2Fast


    Nov 20, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    Well a friend of mine wants me to shoot her friend's wedding. I'm not like the professional photographer for the wedding, in fact they didn't even hirer one. Really I'm working for my friend/boss who wants to give them an album of shots for a present.

    Now I wasn't presented with much time to prepare for this but I think I can handle it pretty well.

    I'll only have my d300 and 70-200mm vr combo and an sb-800 to use on camera. The wedding is outdoors and around 5pm and goes till 7ish which should present me with decent lighting hopefully.

    My questions to you guys are:

    -should I be worried about doing large group shots?
    -should I use my sb-800 quite a bit or go with natural light?
    -any advice for me? this is my first wedding and I'm extremely nervous about doing a good job
  2. Phil


    Nov 25, 2007
    I'm not a wedding pro, but you might want to get a wider lens to use with your 70-200.
  3. If you are going to do the group shots, the 70-200 might be a bit tight. Outdoors, you should be able to make it work with natural light, if you take the time to look for the right locations.
    Will the couple be working with you on this endeavor, or are you just supposed to be shooting candids for the gift? If you are just doing candids, you can work it with the 70-200.
    Bring the flash, just in case, but don't "plan" on using it.

    Good luck!
  4. hellogan


    Nov 26, 2007
    i definitely suggest using the flash most of the time. meter the background and use the flash to fill in, you'll get a fine exposure that way. no one likes raccoon eyes, especially with wedding photography. hope this helps.
  5. okcandids


    Jan 12, 2008
    Southern NH
    Not a pro either, but I'll go out on a limb and share my thoughts.

    You'll want to have your sb-800 ready to go regardless if indoor or outdoor. You can always turn it off, but may also want to use it as fill if outdoor. Unless your signature is wrong, you have the 18-135 to do the wide end shots and depending on indoor/outdoor you can use that (and may need the flash to give you enough light once you stop down to get sharper pictures). I don't own the 18-135, so don't know about the properties of the lens, but expect that in capable hands it can produce fine results. You definitely do need a "wide" lens, for the group shots as the 70-200 is just not going to cut it unless you have 50ft or so of room to back up. :wink:

    So, with that, I'd say you shouldn't fret about about group shots, and if you think the lens is limiting you can rent one (28-70 or 24-70), but figure that you'd want to add that into the price you quote.

    Now, as for the final piece. Sure you should be nervous [*], but they wouldn't ask you to do it if they didn't think you have the skills. And if they haven't hired anyone yet, it is likely they'll think your images are above&beyond what they'd expect to get. I can tell you that folks here are a lot more critical of each others work (in a good way) than everyone else, and you should have the confidence that you'll do a good to excellent job.

    Now, something you may want to consider, for short $$$, might be a stand and a shoot-thru umbrella so you can use it to work a bit more with the flash for your formals (by taking it off camera and using the on-board and CLS to drive it).

    Good luck!

    Disclaimer: I'm in a similar boat as you as I'll be shooting my first wedding in less than two months and I'm looking forward to it.
  6. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    I would rent a 24-70 lens or borrow one from someone. You'll need it for the large shots.

    The 70-200 is a great lens...but it will not be good enough for the larger shots...JMHOFWIW.
  7. The 70-200 might be lose on a full DX body. A friend and Canon Shooter does a lot of his formals with a 70-200 but on his D1 MkII with a 1.3 crop it's not as far as the 1.5 crop for the DX.

    But you have 18-135, formals are not shot at f2.8. They are closer to f5.6-f8. the gear you have should be fine for the service and formals. The 18-135 may be a little slow for the reception but bump the ISO for a faster shutter and you will probably be fine. Don't forget to pull out the Fish for some fun dancing shots.

  8. And better yet, rent a 17-55. Even the 24-70 will be on the long side for many group shots when mated to the D300. The 17-55/2.8 is pretty much THE wedding photography lens.
  9. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    Well I totally agree with the guy above me...Medic1210...I think the 17-55 is just a prime lens. I have a 17-35 and wished I would've just spent more money and gotten the 17-55. I settled.
  10. Not a pro but I have shot a few. I would use the 70-200 for the ceremony & some shots of the bride & groom. I would use the 18-135 for larger groups. I would use fill flash as much as possible. Experiment at that time of day (hopefully at the event location) the get your settings figured out.

    Don't be nervous, most things will be natural. Remember the small details... ties straight, necklaces straight, eyes open and other little things like that. These are the things that usually get me.

    Good luck.
  11. JoJo2Fast


    Nov 20, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the great advice given here.

    I will probably just stick with my 18-135 as it has produced excellent images for me in the past, I believe it will deliver this weekend for me once again.

    I guess you could say I'm more excited than nervous. I never what have thought I'd do my first wedding at 18yrs old but hey gotta start somewhere haha. I'll be sure post some images once I get them edited and such.
  12. if you go wide watch the distortion,people on the edge of the photo will look heavy,women hate this.so watch your group shots.One shot I used to use,was placing the groom and best man seated in a pew,facing each other but looking at me,in the pew behind them the rest of the men facing me with there right foot up on the pew,and there forearm resting on there right knee.kind of a GQ shot for the men.
  13. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    I'm no wedding pro either, but just my two cents.........17-55mm f/2.8 lens would be the lens of choice, extra batteries for the flash, and camera, as well as extra compact flash cards. Bring the battery charger as well.
  14. Jordan, I would use the 70-200 for as much as you can and only use the 18-135 when you are under 70mm, mostly during the reception. the light in church will have you shooting at f3.2-f4 and remember that an f2.8 is open to f2.8 until you shoot. Meaning more light for the camera to focus and meter. Also you are not shooting fast moving subjects, so with VR you can use a slower shutter speed to let more ambient light in.
  15. I'm not a wedding pro - but have shot 20 or so in the last two years and I'll take a crack at your questions and try to offer some advice. Hopefully you'll be getting paid "something" for your time if someone thought enough to ask you to do the "job"... If not see this and this.

    -should I be worried about doing large group shots?

    Definitely - you should see if you can rent something wider - I would recommend the 17-55, it never comes off my camera during a wedding. You will NOT be doing group shots with the 70-200 unless you shoot from across the room. :biggrin:

    -should I use my sb-800 quite a bit or go with natural light?

    Use natural light whenever possible for outdoor shots but have the SB-800 on hand. You will probably need it for fill flash and illumination if you're shooting in the shade. (Use Matrix Metering, Flash to TTL-BL - flash should change when you switch metering modes from spot to Matrix) For formals, you may want to get a reflector if you're shooting outdoors.

    -any advice for me? this is my first wedding and I'm extremely nervous about doing a good job

    Advice - If you've accepted the job, it's too late to be nervous! Relax and allow your photographic skills to take over. You'll be fine. Have plenty of memory (I travel with 12 gigs - my camera is 4 megapixels), you may want to have a little more with a D300. You will also want to have 1-2 extra batteries for your camera, and plenty of AA's for your SB800 (I pack about 4 sets of 5) If you've got time (and $$$) to do so, see if you can rent a 2nd body for the wide angle lens of your choice. You want to have a backup in the event of equipment failure, and don't want to miss a shot while changing lenses. Hopefully this helps and let me apologize for any typographical errors, I didn't proofread this. :biggrin:

    Good luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  16. I have had many photos in this type setting that would have been decent shots, except for that tiny bit of overlooked bright sploch of sunlight hitting the subject in a bad spot (I hope this comment makes sense). Be very aware of the spots of natural light falling on your subjects with the outdoor photos. It's a real job cleaning the over exposed blotch on the white wedding dress, or the grossly overexposed flesh.
    As mentioned, you need a wider lens. Beg, borrow or steal the 17/55, don't go without it. <--- Woops, I missed that you have the 18-135 - that will do it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2008
  17. You NEED the flash for fill. This was bright sunshine on the coast.

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  18. Sanyika


    Apr 19, 2007


    If I were you, I would never leave my fisheye at home!
    I use 3 lenses on weddings. 15mm Fish, 35 f/2 normal lens on DX, + 105 1.8.

    All 3 type of lenses are must IMHO.
    So if I were you I would take my 10.5 + 18-135 + 70-200. You need all of them.

    Here is a fish image from the last wedding:
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  19. I can't offer any specific guidance without knowing what you'll be facing in terms of venue and light, so here's my best advice. If you can possibly arrange it, get over to the wedding site for some test shots before the wedding. Make sure to do it at the same time of day that the event will take place, so the lighting will be identical to what you'll face at the ceremony and reception, and bring a friend or two to act as stand-ins for the bride/groom. The objective is to work out the technical issues and shooting positions before the event. Shoot, chimp, and make notes as to what worked best. Then, at the actual event, you'll be able to concentrate on the poses, expressions, and emotions of the wedding party instead of futzing around with camera settings.

    I'm not sure what you're asking. If you mean, do you have to do large group shots, the answer is no. But if it's in terms of focal length, absolutely. You need a quality midrange zoom or prime to complement your telephoto zoom. As others have suggested, either the 17-55/2.8 or 28-70/2.8 (my personal favorite) would be excellent. But if you can't afford to buy or rent one, try to get your hands on a 35mm f/2. It's a great little lens for people pics, and wide enough for table shots and small group shots.

    If you are good with the flash, use it. If not, stick with natural light. This is no time to experiment.

    Try to find another shooter to back you up. Conspire to shoot each of the critical events from two different positions. With both of you working the wedding, the odds of missing anything important will go way down.

    Bring extra batteries and lots of memory cards.

    Be in good humor... it's contagious.

    Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. It's good practice, and the best way to identify the people closest to the bride and groom.
  20. Both very good points
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