Seeking suggestions on which body/lens I should use at a wedding...

Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
11,051
Location
NH, USA
Hi,

I'm traveling this week to attend a wedding of a second cousin. I'd like to take some shots at the wedding and reception for my self primarily (although if I get lucky and some come out great, I'd surely give them as gifts to the couple).

I honestly can't remember the last time I've gone to a wedding, and certainly not with nice gear. So, I'm not sure what focal lengths and apertures will work (granted it depends on the venue), for someone just wanting to get some shots at the ceremony. I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Refer to my signature for the equipment I have to choose from.

For the reception, I didn't want to be burdened by the equipment, so was thinking of using the Fuji. Focus here will be more on enjoying the event.

For the church, I could use the Fuji here, but I thought I may have more options with the D700. I didn't want to lug in the backpack or wear the belt system (was thinking of leaving the belt system home, actually), but instead, just bring in a few lenses (I have a small bag from the belt system).

My initial thoughts are to use the D700 with the 24-120/f4 and pray there is enough light. In the small bag, I could include the 200mm, 85mm, and 28mm or 50mm, if lighting is low?

I'm guessing I'd need a reasonable focal length, if I'm seating in the middle of the church (I suspect it will be a small church - not big families) when they are at the alter, and maybe mid range for walking down the aisle? I suspect I may sneak about a little to try to get some better angles, but don't want to interfere with the ceremony (or photographer). I'm pretty shy, so I don't think they'll be any issue there.

Any other lens choices I should consider bringing into the church?

I was thinking of leaving the 70-300 and 105 at home - figuring they wouldn't be useful for this event. Think that'll be OK, or should I pack them?

Will flash photography be prohibited/frowned upon? I'm bring my flash on the trip, but figuring that I won't be able to use it in the church.

I'm thinking I'll be frustrated trying to get shots I like in the church with the Fuji (fixed lens, equivalent to 50mm). I'll want to enjoy the event, but the inner photographer in me will want to take some great shots. :smile:

Any other sage advice you have would be greatly appreciated!
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
6,374
Location
Alabama
I would take the Fuji and that's it. If you are sitting in the church and use a big zoom, then you get in the way of people enjoying the wedding. If you move about, then you may be getting in the way of the photographer/videographer.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
11,051
Location
NH, USA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
I would take the Fuji and that's it. If you are sitting in the church and use a big zoom, then you get in the way of people enjoying the wedding. If you move about, then you may be getting in the way of the photographer/videographer.
Thanks for the suggestions.

I don't have a large zoom (70-300 and 200mm re the longest I have). See my list in signature.

Was thinking more of being on end of the row, and stepping out a bit at different points in time. Concerned of flexibility on 50mm only, via Fuji.

Hoping I can take advantage of my gear to get some shots.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
1,547
Location
Famington Hills, MI
I would take the Fuji and that's it. If you are sitting in the church and use a big zoom, then you get in the way of people enjoying the wedding. If you move about, then you may be getting in the way of the photographer/videographer.
100% agree. I really like the idea of a no cameras at the ceremony, sit back and enjoy. One of my most dearest friends in my life was in my wedding. She just got married last year. I brought my camera, took a few pictures, and then sat it under my seat. Best decision I ever made. I like to live life thru my camera lens, but sometimes I get a lot more out of just living life.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
6,374
Location
Alabama
Thanks for the suggestions.

I don't have a large zoom (70-300 and 200mm re the longest I have). See my list in signature.

Was thinking more of being on end of the row, and stepping out a bit at different points in time. Concerned of flexibility on 50mm only, via Fuji.

Hoping I can take advantage of my gear to get some shots.
To you they may not be large but to others they are.

Speaking from experience, unless you have access and can move around like the paid photographer, your photos are not going to be that great of the ceremony.

Personally, I wouldn't want to haul all that gear around to begin with for something that is an enjoyable experience.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
195
Location
UK
The other issue you have if your a guest with a good camera is you feel you need to get good pictures so spend more time trying to do so rather than enjoying the wedding and people suddenly start expecting you to take pictures, particularly after the official photographer goes home. I used to always take mine, now I dont bother, plus some of the local photographers get a bee in their bonnet if ive got mine and have been known to make an issue of it!
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
11,051
Location
NH, USA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
The other issue you have if your a guest with a good camera is you feel you need to get good pictures so spend more time trying to do so rather than enjoying the wedding and people suddenly start expecting you to take pictures, particularly after the official photographer goes home.
Odd as it may be, I really love shooting all events I go to, partly to document the event for myself, and partly because I just love to shoot.

At the reception, I'm only bringing the Fuji, as my focus there is more on having fun and just capturing a few shots of relatives I haven't seen in years (we're traveling back to my home town for this event).


I used to always take mine, now I dont bother, plus some of the local photographers get a bee in their bonnet if ive got mine and have been known to make an issue of it!
Good heads up on the hired photographer (I don't know if or to what extend the bride & groom are documenting the event, BTW), but please don't read into this request more than it is...

Namely, I'm just looking to, as a spectator, take some shots of them coming down the aisle, a few during the vows (if opportunity arises), and when they come out. Will likely take before and after pictures of relatives that I haven't seen, who are coming in from all over. Essentially, what everyone else does at weddings.

No intention on getting up there and shadowing or undermining the photographer, nor drawing any attention to myself. I clearly respect what they are doing and don't want to interfere in any way.

But I do want to take some shots. What I don't know, and am seeking guidance on from this sub-forum (should I repost this in the General area instead?), is what would be the best len(es) from what I have to try to use inside the church, both in speed and focal length. I know the time window to take some of these shots is small, so anything I can do to reduce the guesswork would be greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
3,185
Location
Westchester County, NY
"No intention on getting up there and shadowing or undermining the photographer, nor drawing any attention to myself. I clearly respect what they are doing and don't want to interfere in any way."

I respectfully suggest that if you use your DSLR gear and flash you will be "...shadowing or undermining....".

Every wedding photographer I have ever met dreads the GWC. (Guy with Camera). There is no way for an amateur with physically large gear to shoot during a ceremony or reception (or worse yet - during the portrait sessions) without interfering with the hired pro. Give yourself (and the pro) a break - if you must shoot some shots, use a small P&S and try to stay unnoticed.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
195
Location
UK
if your really wanting to take a DSLR then get your 70-300 lens and take candids of the guests, shots the official photographer wont be getting. Thats what I tend to do and you will find your cousin will be grateful for having shots of everything that was going on while they were away having their portraits done, rather than a copy of the official photographers shots from a different angle.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
1,277
Location
canada
Take the Fuji.
I 'uncle bobbed' a few weddings in my day and the only real use one of those did was to provide pictures to my friends because their hired 'pro' stiffed them. The other times, I brought a DSLR and never really shot anything as I was busy enjoying the moments...and getting wasted. :biggrin:
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
1,547
Location
Famington Hills, MI
If you insist, it really depends on the venue where you're getting married. In a standard church take your D700 with the 70-300 as long as it isn't super dark. And then also take your Fuji for aisle pictures. If it's a more close, or intimate setting use the 24-120. I've known several pro photographers who use this lens almost exclusively. I lean more towards the 35/85 prime combo myself with a 70-200 for long range close up shots. But the other combo I could see you using is the 16-35VR with a longer prime i.e. 85mm 200mm.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
11,051
Location
NH, USA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
if your really wanting to take a DSLR then get your 70-300 lens and take candids of the guests, shots the official photographer wont be getting. Thats what I tend to do and you will find your cousin will be grateful for having shots of everything that was going on while they were away having their portraits done, rather than a copy of the official photographers shots from a different angle.
Very good idea! I'll be interested in getting shots of other relatives as well, and from what I remember of my wedding (a looong time ago), there were times when we missed out on things going on, because of photos.


Take the Fuji.
I 'uncle bobbed' a few weddings in my day and the only real use one of those did was to provide pictures to my friends because their hired 'pro' stiffed them. The other times, I brought a DSLR and never really shot anything as I was busy enjoying the moments...and getting wasted. :biggrin:
:biggrin: I'll definitely only have the Fuji for the reception. Bring the D700 on the trip, not sure about what I'll do at the wedding. May try to peek in the church before and decide whether or not some of my lenses will even work.


If you insist, it really depends on the venue where you're getting married. In a standard church take your D700 with the 70-300 as long as it isn't super dark. And then also take your Fuji for aisle pictures. If it's a more close, or intimate setting use the 24-120. I've known several pro photographers who use this lens almost exclusively. I lean more towards the 35/85 prime combo myself with a 70-200 for long range close up shots. But the other combo I could see you using is the 16-35VR with a longer prime i.e. 85mm 200mm.
Thanks for the suggestions Andy! Both the 70-300 and 24-120 are not really fast. I'm wondering if they won't work out (or if I'd have to use an outrageous ISO).

Do you think the 85 would work for aisle shots or I'd need a wider lens like the 50 or 28mm?
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
To tack onto what Jon said, if you bring a big zoom or any type of big camera, you're going to be enjoying the wedding less, and aiming to get the right shot. You want to be there to enjoy the day with family and friends, and not worry about "working".

Let the pro do their job, bring a small camera of a decent body and one lens for snapshots, and call it a day. :)
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
99
Location
usa
A fast prime (85 f/1.4 or 1.8) and a wide angle would be the two I would carry with me.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
2,489
Location
NC
To tack onto what Jon said, if you bring a big zoom or any type of big camera, you're going to be enjoying the wedding less, and aiming to get the right shot. You want to be there to enjoy the day with family and friends, and not worry about "working".

Let the pro do their job, bring a small camera of a decent body and one lens for snapshots, and call it a day. :)
++1 :smile:
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
1,547
Location
Famington Hills, MI
Thanks for the suggestions Andy! Both the 70-300 and 24-120 are not really fast. I'm wondering if they won't work out (or if I'd have to use an outrageous ISO).

Do you think the 85 would work for aisle shots or I'd need a wider lens like the 50 or 28mm?
Welcome to the world of wedding photography where plans must be made for no flash at the wedding ceremony.

Any of your f/4 lenses should be plenty fast enough because for most shots the people generally don't move all that fast. Now the recessional is a different story. The maids and bride almost across the board, grab the men and practically run down the aisle. I usually switch to sports shooter mode at the end.

Aisle shots are typically taken with wider angle lenses. Are you going to be moving around or sitting in a seat?
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
11,051
Location
NH, USA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
Welcome to the world of wedding photography where plans must be made for no flash at the wedding ceremony.

Any of your f/4 lenses should be plenty fast enough because for most shots the people generally don't move all that fast. Now the recessional is a different story. The maids and bride almost across the board, grab the men and practically run down the aisle. I usually switch to sports shooter mode at the end.

Aisle shots are typically taken with wider angle lenses. Are you going to be moving around or sitting in a seat?
I'll be seated. I'm not going to disrupt the ceremony playing second shooter :smile:

Will likely sit on the end, if at all possible, so I can step out a bit to shoot down the aisle at times. Toying with the idea of focusing some shots on the crowd, as suggested - may be a nice thing to give the couple as shots they may not see as much.

Not sure if I should try the 24-120/f4 for flexibility and then either the 200/f4 for closeup, or 85/1.8 for lower light, or some combo of the 85/f1.8, 28/f2.8, and 200/f4 lenses. Since I'm in town early, I may try to swing by the church and see if it is open to see the size and lighting.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
567
Location
Texas
I would take the Fuji and that's it. If you are sitting in the church and use a big zoom, then you get in the way of people enjoying the wedding. If you move about, then you may be getting in the way of the photographer/videographer.
100% agree. I really like the idea of a no cameras at the ceremony, sit back and enjoy. One of my most dearest friends in my life was in my wedding. She just got married last year. I brought my camera, took a few pictures, and then sat it under my seat. Best decision I ever made. I like to live life thru my camera lens, but sometimes I get a lot more out of just living life.
To tack onto what Jon said, if you bring a big zoom or any type of big camera, you're going to be enjoying the wedding less, and aiming to get the right shot. You want to be there to enjoy the day with family and friends, and not worry about "working".

Let the pro do their job, bring a small camera of a decent body and one lens for snapshots, and call it a day. :)
Listen to these guys.

It is frustrating watching great, traditional wedding photos being ruined by glowing cellphones and camera screens in my shots as the couple are kissing, walking down the aisle, having their first dance, etc. People regularly step into the aisle with me (sometimes in front of me) to get their photos midway through the ceremony. It has become a regular thing while taking group photos for me to unknowingly back into groups of "Uncle Bob's" with their DSLRs clicking away over my shoulder, restricting my movement. This ultimately affects the quality of the photos that the couple has paid their hard earned money for.

Don't bring a large body and long lenses, they will only tempt you to interrupt what the couple has hired someone to do. Bring your Fuji, snap some family/couple photos when there is some downtime and the photographer is finished. The X100S is an amazingly competent camera, and you will do just fine with that.

I am actually attending my first wedding in nearly 3 years in October, and I am so excited about not bringing any gear with me and just enjoying the moments. Too many people experience the marriage of loved ones through the screen of an iPhone or DSLR. They love you enough to invite you to their wedding - enjoy it!
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
Theo, enjoy that wedding. I just went to my buddy's wedding this past Saturday. Took an instagram of some trees. That's it. The photographer they hired was someone I referred to them, and - get this: We'd never met, but I loved his work. He and I get to talking and he shoots hybrid digital (Canon) and film (Contax, polaroid, etc.). He walks up to me at golden hour and says, "Hey Mike. Want to shoot a roll of 220?" Who does that?

So still got to shoot, but it was awesome.

ANYWAY, the moral is - I really enjoyed not having a camera in my hands. When you do this for a living, it's amazing and fun and awesome, but it's still work. And just being present for the couple is more important than getting one more picture of the same stuff that everyone else will be instagramming trying to be the first to upload a picture.

It's not about the pictures (*GASP*). It's about the couple and their marriage.

Fuji X100s and have fun. Dance. Drink. Pray. Eat. Love. Laugh.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom