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Wedding Photography Advice

Discussion in 'People' started by barriosa, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Next Friday I have the 1st of four weddings in which I have been asked to take some photos. Being a relatively nice guy I of course said yes to each request. In each case I asked for the name of the professional photographer they hired so I could speak to them and make sure I didn’t step on anyone’s toes or otherwise get in the way. As it turns out only one of the couples is hiring a professional photographer. The other 3 are just asking friends with SLRs to bring them along; personally I think that is a mistake. Weddings are a once in a lifetime event (ideally) so I’m against the idea of trusting friends and family who are part time shutterbugs with such an important task; at least not as the main source of the wedding portraits.

    Anyway I was wondering if I could get some input from those who have photographed a few weddings to give me advice on the “Do’s” and “Do not’s” of wedding photography and give an opinion on the following questions:

    1. Gary Fong Lightsphere or CB Junior?
    • I’ve been experimenting with both and in truth I like the LS better but I only have a SB600 and sometimes that seems a little too underpowered for use with the LS. I’m tossing around the idea of using the JS for outdoors and portraits and switching to the CB Jr. for indoor dance photos, toasts and the cake cutting.
    • I’m also thinking of upgrading to a SB800 before the first or second wedding. Depending on the price at local stores vs. online; this brings me to my next question.

    2. SB600 or SB800?
    • I have only the SB600 right now but most of the weddings are going to be outdoors in the mid afternoon, with receptions indoors an hour or two later. I’m guessing 99% of you will recommend the SB800 but has anyone used the SB600, indoors at a wedding at all? How did it perform? Is it too week for use with the GF LS?

    3. Next lens - 85mm f/1.4D or 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor
    • I’m guessing most people will say the 85mm is a better lens for portriats but I hear the 105mm is a great portrait lens as well and the ability to get in close would be great for the ring shots. I hope to get both someday but I can only afford one right now so which should it be?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you make.
  2. I have not used a sb600 but have talked to some that do and they feel it does the job; I guess it is like anything else, you need to know the limitations of your equipment and make adjustments to over come them.

    You will need a diffuser on your flash even if you use the CB Jr and I would suggest that you use the bracket. I take my diffuser off outside for ttl/bl shots and inside at the reception if the ceilings allow for a good bounce. Mostly, if I am inside then: spot metering, diffuser on, +ev comp set on flash head.

    The portrait lenses that you have listed are really of limited value at a wedding. Most of your shots will be of more than one person so you will need a wider lens. Of course this all depends on your style......which you don't have yet. If yo want to justify a pro lens purchase then look at the 17-55 f2.8 or the beast, I think they may suit your needs and give you more versatility. getting close while taking formals is easy.....keeping everyone else out of the shot while shooting from down the isle is much more difficult.

    Just my thoughts.....I'm sure other's will chime in.

  3. I'm not a wedding photog, but Mike seemed to touch on everything I was thinking.
  4. bob swanson

    bob swanson Guest

    :cool:  Yesterday I photographed my 5th wedding of the year with about 25 - 30 to go.
    My wife's set-up is a Fuji S-2 w/24-120 zoom, flash bracket, SB 800 with diffusing dome.
    My set-up is similar but I use an 18-200 zoom and occasionally take my diffuser off and use the built in bounce card. By the way we purchased our SB-800's from B&H Grey market. We own 4 (each of us has a complete back-up system.
    As fore mentioned, portrait lenses are great if you are in a studio but too limited when at a wedding unless you are just a second shooter.
    I'm not certain about the SB-600 but I do use the flash (800) on manual a lot particularly outdoors as fill.
    Hope this answers some of your questions.
    My opinion of B&G's asking friends to take pictures at a wedding is no gift at all. Usually the friend has no experience and just adds stress to the friends day when they should be enjoying the event. bsvirginian
  5. Mike,
    Any recommendations for a diffuser when the flash is mounted to the bracket or is the GF LS good enough?

    Fortunately the 17-55 f2.8 is one of the lenses I already own. I was just a little more concerned with the shots from inside the church. I’m guessing flash photography won’t be allowed and it will be pretty dark.

    And thanks for your suggestions.
  6. Bob,
    I guess I should have mentioned that I am just the second shooter on all the weddings.
    In regards to your last comment I agree with you completely and tried very much to get them to change their minds, but with no luck. I don’t know how many ways to say it but the three couples won’t change their minds. At least the couple getting married in August hired a pro, the same guy who did my wedding actually.
    I have also have the 18-200 but honestly never considered using it at any of the weddings. It sure sounds like I need to invest in a SB800!!!

  7. FYI, with the discount code, the SB800 is $300.00 @ B&H now.
  8. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    I've researched and read that the 17-55mm, f/2.8 is a great lens for shooting weddings. This is a lens I'm going to purchase at a future date. Just my two cents.
  9. I've only used a Gf once and that was only for three frames, so nothing to really compare too. I think that any diffuser that you own will do the job...as long as you know its quirks.

    For a number of years I had a bad case of G.A.S. , now it is not as bad. Funny, if you actually learn how to use what you have; you find that you really don't "NEED" all of the latest and greatest.....you still want it though!

    There is something special about making good captures with equipment that you previously thought you needed to replace.....it help you realize that the photographer takes the picture not the tool.

    With that being said their are some things you need and it looks like you already have them.

    Take the formals before and after the actual ceremony when you can use a flash. Frequently you cannot take any pictures during the actual event. Check with the minister.

  10. To All,
    I'm pleasantly surprised; it sounds like I have most of what I'll need except for the SB800.

    I guess if I can figure out how to use my Lensbabie then I can put off getting a macro lens for awhile. At least for those wedding rings shots.

    I also might pick up a monopod. The 17-55 isn’t going to break anyone’s back but anything I can do to keep the sweating down in this FL heat will help.

    I've noticed many nice photos taken here with the GF. You can always tell when they crop in tight and you see the reflection of the GF LS in the subject’s eye. I need to experiment using the CB Jr. with my omnibounce, GF LS and old lumiquest diffusers. In any case I think I’ll need the better power of the SB800.
  11. lfn22

    Bob Swanson uses the 18-200, maybe he can answer your question.
  12. racerx1


    Jan 13, 2006
    northern NJ
    All the above suggestions are good. You might want to use a tripod in the church, in case flash is not allowed.

    For a diffuser, I prefer the Demb Flip-It, which is a glorified bounce card. What I like is that you can adjust the card angle to get more light. I prefer it over the Fong LS - works well in all situations and not nearly as bulky.
  13. I have used the GF outdoors on my SB800 to good advantage. If you are doing closeup's with the SB600 you should be OK but the SB800 has more power. For group shots where you are back a ways both the SB800 and the SB600 are underpowered when shooting outside. I use a three flash setup in those situations. Inside, you should have no problem with the SB600 and the GF diffuser. I don't find the GF diffuser fits very well on the SB600 so I personally would not use it. I have found recently that a better bounce card as highlighted by Uncle Frank here on the Cafe works great and is cheap and simple to use. You might want to look in the Pro lighting forum and read up on that. You can find it here. I personally carry several of those with me wherever I go.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  14. To add to the SB-800 talk, I think the reason it's prefered is not the power over the 600 (minimal) but the 5th battery holder significantly reduces recycle time. I am looking at shooting weddings soon also, and have been debating what to buy, I have concluded that I'll be buying the 17-55 to add to my 70-200VR and 50 1.4. I think these three lenses will cover most everything. To me, more importatnly, is a back-up body and back-up flash... then maybe a specialty lens like the 85 1.4 :smile:
  15. Hmmmm, I'm thinking you might want to go back to the manual and see the guide numbers Shaun. As an example on M1/1 with a 50mm lens the guide number for the SB600 is 36 and for the SB800 it is 44. That is a fairly significant difference IMO. Also, while the 5th battery will give a 1 sec. faster recycle time you can improve the 4 battery recycle time by 2 seconds by going to rechargeable batteries. The normal recycle time with std. 4 batteries is 6 sec. and that is not all that shabby. I usually do not shoot faster than that anyway. With recyclables it drops that to 4 sec. in a 4 battery configuration. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of a 5th battery but did want to put it all in perspective. Personally I hate that 5th battery sticking out there.
  16. Gordon, thanks for all the info. I guess will be picking up a SB800 before the 85 f1.4

    I think I have a LumiQuest ProMax system from WAY back in my Minolta SLR/Medium format days. It might save me a little light loss.

    I seem to remember a site comparing several different diffusers but can't remember where.
  17. I think that is a good decision on the SB800 for it can be used as a commander should you ever go to multiple flashes. The SB600 makes an excellent remote. Good luck.
  18. Unless North Tampa Photo has it in stock and at a great price I probably won't have it for Fridays wedding but I will have it for the next one.
  19. Jim, What discount code?
  20. I sent you a PM with the following discount code:

    psjan07101 Nikon SB-800 Speedlight 294.95
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