Noob seeking advice from the experts

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Sep 13, 2006
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So long story short - my cousin has asked me to shoot her wedding this weekend - supposed to be a small outdoor ceremony. Now I certainly don't consider myself a 'people' shooter - but apparently my friends and family do based upon some of the stuff I have done in the past. But many of my photography friends say that I should shoot outside my comfort zone, so I agreed (they also have confidence in me as well)

this is where you people come in :) (don't worry I'm not trying to steal business away from you - I really don't want to make a habit of shooting weddings)

Looking for some tips or suggestions - I've already asked my cousin (the bride) to give me a list of the 'must have' shots she wants and some ideas of what she likes (she's been all over pinterest and theknot)

My gear for the most part is listed in my signature - I have added a stofen omni-bounce and I do have a 30" umbrella/stand as well.

So what are some things that I can do to help increase my success and make my cousin happy.
 
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There really isn't that much we can say in such a short amount of time, especially since you don't consider yourself a people shooter.

I say just shoot how you normally would and don't worry about making your cousin happy.

Here's the deal with this kind of scenario. If you have a great relationship with your cousin, this could make it worse. I take it they want free. I have found the ones that want free are the pickiest people. She is going over Pinterest finding example shots from seasoned pros. You will not be able to deliver those shots. It takes practice. Hopefully she is the kind that if you just get it close she will be happy. The fact she is looking at ideas does mean she has a vision in mind of how it's supposed to look. It kind of tells me she will be directing you all day.

So, unless you can practice from now until then, get a long zoom, a midrange prime, and a wide angle and shoot. Follow her around all day as she is the one that is important.
 
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Thanks Jon,

I know it goes against all the 'rules' about not shooting for family etc and I appreciate your honesty - I know I'm not going to become an awesome wedding shooter overnight (I'm driving my co-workers crazy today practicing candid portraits :p)

I'll pack my 17-55 2.8, 50 1.8 and 70-300 VR then and just roll with it
 
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Also, even though it is free and family have some sort of contract. It protects you just in case something goes horribly wrong. You never know if a card might fail, or a host of other things. I always make my family sign contracts with a model release included as well.
 
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You introduce yourself as a "noob". You admit to have no wedding experience and little "people" experience and you are obviously having second thoughts about the wisdom of accepting this responsibility.

For all of the reasones cited in other replies and others that have yet to be mentioned, my suggestion is to respectfully decline the "job". Wedding photography requires a specific skill set which you (and frankly many other photographers) have yet to acquire. Ansel Adams probably had little experience shooting weddings.

I do not see this ending well for you since I have seldom met a bride who is satisfied with snapshots. Go as a guest and enjoy the wedding.
 
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You introduce yourself as a "noob". You admit to have no wedding experience and little "people" experience and you are obviously having second thoughts about the wisdom of accepting this responsibility.

For all of the reasones cited in other replies and others that have yet to be mentioned, my suggestion is to respectfully decline the "job". Wedding photography requires a specific skill set which you (and frankly many other photographers) have yet to acquire. Ansel Adams probably had little experience shooting weddings.

I do not see this ending well for you since I have seldom met a bride who is satisfied with snapshots. Go as a guest and enjoy the wedding.
Yep.
 
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SoCal
This is a no-win situation for you. Given such short notice, it's unlikely that she will be able to find another photographer (for free.) As a result, if you decline, it'll be your fault (in her eyes) that she doesn't have any wedding pix.

If you do decide to shoot the wedding, then I'd use the D300 and 17-55 for virtually everything. For indoors, use the SB600 and do some quick homework on how to use bounce flash.

I'd also take the D60 as a backup body and the 70-300mm and 18-135mm lenses just in case. Try to borrow another flash for the day as a backup to your SB600.

Make a cheat-sheet of must-have pix. Not just what they are requesting, but the shots that are considered necessary/standard for a wedding. (Plenty of info online.)

Good luck!
 
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This is a no-win situation for you. Given such short notice, it's unlikely that she will be able to find another photographer (for free.) As a result, if you decline, it'll be your fault (in her eyes) that she doesn't have any wedding pix.

If you do decide to shoot the wedding, then I'd use the D300 and 17-55 for virtually everything. For indoors, use the SB600 and do some quick homework on how to use bounce flash.

I'd also take the D60 as a backup body and the 70-300mm and 18-135mm lenses just in case. Try to borrow another flash for the day as a backup to your SB600.

Make a cheat-sheet of must-have pix. Not just what they are requesting, but the shots that are considered necessary/standard for a wedding. (Plenty of info online.)

Good luck!
+1

I would have the 18-135 mounted on the D60 with the SB-600 across one shoulder, and the D300/17-55 as your primary camera. I would definitely try to get a SB-800 or SB-900 or something that fully swivels both ways for your D300...the SB600 is just (IMHO) too limiting. Depending on the church lighting, you might not need it. The D300/17-55 combo is sweet (I used it for a long time), so I second the recommendation to use it as your primary.

Also, change cards a couple of times. That way, if one card gets corrupted, you won't lose the entire wedding.

Is there a rehearsal? If so, shoot it. I mean really shoot it...gear up, pretend it is the real deal. I used the rehearsal to get the couple used to me, my style, and the church. If there's no rehearsal, try to go to the church at the same time of day on Friday and see what the lighting looks like. I shot in a church once where the light poured in from a skylight for exactly 10 minutes a day...and guess what 10 minutes it was? Yes, the first kiss. Beautiful, even lighting for the entire ceremony except the first kiss, where there was blinding direct sunlight. If I hadn't had known ahead of time, my flash would have been in a bag somewhere...but because I knew, I was able to add a little fill flash during the kiss...problem solved.

I noticed from some of your other posts that you like to shoot close up bugs...perfect! Do a bunch of close up pics of rings, signature books, church details, stuff like that. Play to your strengths.

Good luck! And post the results...I'm excited to see how you did!!
 
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Thanks Bob and John for the advice and encouragement - since this is fairly spur of the moment (two weeks from engagement to wedding - he's in the military) the ceremony and reception are being held at his aunt house - apparently a big yard etc - so I'll mostly be shooting outdoors. No rehearsal, no church, so this will be a one time shot :p I talked with the bride tonight and she's really relaxed about it and gave me a list of shots she'd like the most - so I have that to work on - other than that I'll just be shooting (and yes I'll totally try to get some macro shots of their rings together etc - I think I'm going to take my whole case of camera gear just to be safe)

As much as I'd love to pick up another flash - I just can't seem to justify the crazy cost of an SB-800 or 900 - I got my 600 for a steal ($125) about 6 years ago and its done me proud.

Thanks again - and as long as she's happy with my shots I'll share what I can :)
 
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I just got home, I'm exhausted, it was outdoors and upper 80's. I did take 600+ shots so hopefully there are some keepers. It was fun though, not sure I'd go solo at it again, but I'd certainly offer to be a backup shooter for someone. I have massive amounts of respect for those of you who do this for any part of your living. I had people telling me I was the hardest working on there and it felt like it. I'm going to shower and pass out, and deal with the shots tomorrow night. But don't worry, the bride seemed happy with what I showed her on my camera, so I think we'll still be on speaking terms :) and I will post a sample of some of the better ones once I've had some time to play with them.
 

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