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  1. #1
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    Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    I did my sisters wedding last year because she had practically no budget. Some friends of hers saw her album and asked about using me for their wedding.

    I'm an amatuer 100%. i've done "getting ready" pictures for friends who were very happy with the results.

    I would have said no, due to my lack of experience, however their budget for the entire wedding was $3000... so that left them with practically nothing for photography. They are paying my gas money and $100 only. I wouldn't take more than that.

    I only have canon 100-300mm; a 19-35mm 3.5-4.5 and a 550ex flash. I have 3gigs of memory and a portable Wolverine 80G card reader/external drive. I have a digital rebel and an Elan IIe. I don't have a tripod and would LOVE a suggestioned for a tripod.

    Luckily the wedding and the reception are daytime and outdoors (again, or I wouldn't have agreed to shoot the wedding) - but there is a "weather permitting" aspect... so there's a small chance it could be indoors.

    If you have any advice, equipment suggestions (mainly a tripod).... I'd really appreciate it.

    regards,Lisa

  2. #2
    Senior Member OldSchool's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Yikes!!!

    That's an awesome responsibility. Hopefully the photos will come out, eh?

    I'm not a wedding photographer (100% amateur too). So, my recommendation is to have your friends tell their wedding guests to feel free to bring cameras and shoot away. I've seen this done with great success. With the large population of photos, there are sure to be some good keepers. This will allow you to not worry so much about the candid shots to capture the "flavor".

    Find a good place for the group portraits and test it before hand with some friends -- both outdoors and indoors (cover both options). It's good to know ahead of time that you will not have any lighting issues.

    Finally, I think you may want to borrow or rent a good mid-range zoom.
    Good luck
    Tim
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  3. #3
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    I'm looking at buying an 85mm 1.8 lens. Is that a good choice?

    Plus I'm borrowing a friends Digital Rebel as well so I won't have to switch lenses as often. That will give me two digital SLRs and a film one in case I need backup.

    I plan on doing the brides bridal portraits at the same garden as the ceremony at the approximate time as well, which I think is good so I'll know how the lighting will be.

    Trust me, I told them over and over again I'm not a professional and told them to look through my past work and make sure they are satisfied with the quality. They've stressed that it was either me or any other friend of the family.

    I'll have three cameras, 4-5 back-up batteries, 4G of storage (and 80G backup), my 550EX....

    UGH......

  4. #4
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley
    I don't have a tripod and would LOVE a suggestioned for a tripod.
    Don't buy a cheap tripod. I had a tripod with a plastic head that was close to $100 at the time and I hated it. With the gear you mentioned, the rig can get fairly heavy. So you adjust your shot then the weight of the camera would make the platform sag. I would have to recompose or hold the camera anyway. When you buy your tripod, consider bringing your camera with the batteries in the flash and your heaviest lens attached. Make sure the head stays firm with the weight of your gear.

    (If you can't buy one, rent one.)

    Regarding the wedding job. Go to the library and read/check out a wedding photography book. Most of them have list that you can follow. There's so much to to keep in mind, I strongly recommend reading up on it.

    Good luck and have fun.
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  5. #5
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley
    I'm looking at buying an 85mm 1.8 lens. Is that a good choice?

    Plus I'm borrowing a friends Digital Rebel as well so I won't have to switch lenses as often. That will give me two digital SLRs and a film one in case I need backup.
    Good plan on the backup camera which is a necessity IMO. I'd also say that a backup flash would be a good idea. I'm sure that the 85 f1.8 would be very useful but I'd probably look at a good, fast mid-range zoom. I have a Tokina 28-80 f2.8 ATX-PRO (they make three versions...) which is a little long for a DSLR but I find it great for this kind of use. A lot of people are using 17-55 or so lenses which are closer to 28-80 on a DSLR but I liked the little extra focal length - personal choice, that's all.

    For a tripod, check out the Bogen 3021 leg set (although it might have a different catalog number now) and one of their heads. The 3025 head is really solid but not the quickest thing to use so I'd look at some others too.

    Like it was mentioned above, the equipment needs to be ready but that's only one small part about wedding photography. You might find some good books at places like Border's or a library.

  6. #6
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley

    I'll have three cameras, 4-5 back-up batteries, 4G of storage (and 80G backup), my 550EX....

    UGH......
    Please read this with the understanding that I don't do weddings (actually been avoiding that aspect of photography):

    I think you're OK in the camera, batteries, memory card, & flash department. But you will need a "standard" zoom like the 24-85, 24-105, 24-70, etc.

    As for tripods, make sure you get one that has a quick release plate so you don't have keep screwing on, screwing off. Also, recommend using a ball head that has only one locking crank. I can tilt, pan, and rotate without having to unlock and lock each axes. Unfortunately, I don't think there are many that have both the quick release plate AND ball head.

    Also, if your outdoor terrain is not even, I would suggest a tripod that has three independent legs (as opposed to one in which all three are mechanically tied together like a video tripod). For outdoors, I use a Benbo. But this tripod is not suited for indoor work because the legs can splay out if the crank is not locked tight over slippery tile or wood floors.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

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  7. #7
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley
    I did my sisters wedding last year because she had practically no budget. Some friends of hers saw her album and asked about using me for their wedding.

    I'm an amatuer 100%. i've done "getting ready" pictures for friends who were very happy with the results.

    I would have said no, due to my lack of experience, however their budget for the entire wedding was $3000... so that left them with practically nothing for photography. They are paying my gas money and $100 only. I wouldn't take more than that.

    I only have canon 100-300mm; a 19-35mm 3.5-4.5 and a 550ex flash. I have 3gigs of memory and a portable Wolverine 80G card reader/external drive. I have a digital rebel and an Elan IIe. I don't have a tripod and would LOVE a suggestioned for a tripod.

    Luckily the wedding and the reception are daytime and outdoors (again, or I wouldn't have agreed to shoot the wedding) - but there is a "weather permitting" aspect... so there's a small chance it could be indoors.

    If you have any advice, equipment suggestions (mainly a tripod).... I'd really appreciate it.

    regards,Lisa
    I did a wedding last weekend - a two day event, full-time, everything from the bride having her hair done on Saturday morning to the banquet on Sunday night. 1300 shots on the D200. I did it for free, they are friends and I have no interest in taking people's money.

    I took two of everything - cameras, flashes, CompactFlash cards, lenses that overlap to some extent (17-35, 28-70, 80-200). I would never take a tripod to this sort of event, you need to be mobile and it's just a burden. I can't see an 85mm being any use either. Too much telephoto, you need to be able to change focal lengths quickly. Things happen all the time in a wedding.

    In your case the most useful combination for your DRebel would be an 18-70 (or similar) combined with your 550ex flash. Make sure that you are in the right place at the right time (less than 10 feet from the couple at all times) and ensure that no other photographers get in your way. Make a list before the event of everything that will happen that you want to take a picture of make sure that you are ready when it happens. Keep it simple, don't try to be arty and stick with what you know how to do.

    If you manage to do all that - well a marriage isn't that difficult, finally.

    Charles

  8. #8
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley
    I'm looking at buying an 85mm 1.8 lens. Is that a good choice?
    I have that lens and I used it alot during the film days but now it is 136mm on a DREBEL. It's to hard to use in close quarters. The last wedding I shot, I barely used it. I used my 50mm more so. Consider the 50mm f/1.4 which will give you 80mm on the DREBEL.

    If you don't have a lot of experience, prime lenses are a challenge in wedding environment. I, not having much experience myself, would have to recommend a good zoom lens as mentioned in the other post here.

    Use prime lenses when you have total control over the bride and groom and you can setup the shots.

    Not sure if it was already mentioned......consider a battery pack for your 550ex. If you don't, you may have to change batteries during an important highlight of the wedding.

    All my Canon DSLRs have grips that contain two batteries....another way to avoid changing batteries during the even.
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  9. #9
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    hi there, I m not a professional but I had been out shooting with one lately. I used to shoot sport, but just been hire by the local wedding photographer. I know one things from last wedding and it out door too, half way through the wedding my 20D got zap with the unfamoust erro99 and fortunally I had a second 20D with me at that time for back up. now I alway carry two camera one with the canon 70-200 f2.8L and the other with my 17-40 f4L
    my zoom lens cover them walking down the aile and my 17-40 cover the bride shot when they are in their dressing room, because most of the dressing room are very small. and I never used a tripod either...recentley I bought a 24-70f2.8L canon and I love it. hope this will help and try to relaxe when you shoot and have fun with it too.

  10. #10
    Sports photo junkie jorgemonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    I've done a couple for some friends/family as a backup, and here are some tips that I'd suggest (Note, I am not a pro and I just talk about what I've learned)

    - I second the thought of telling guests to bring their camera and shoot away. Since you're gonna going to making money on prints and stuff, might as well!

    - I love having two camera bodies. The last one I did was outdoors, so I kept my 70-200 F2.8 on one camera, with my 28-70 f2.8 on the other, really didn't miss a shot. Because of where I was standing I really didn't need a wider lens, but now I wider lens is on my list of purchases.

    - If you're going to be doing group shots, have the Bride/Mother of the Bride make a list of who they want in the pictures (for group shots) and also other shots of say the B&G with Uncle Joe and Aunt Sue's family, all those kind of shots. Also make a list of shots you know you want to get- close ups of the rings, cake, etc, and memorize it before the wedding.

    - Try to get out to the location a day or so before and scout out where you want to shoot from. If they have a rehersal at the place then make sure you're there for that. When I shot my friends wedding I went to the rehearsal, and was able to find out exactly where I wanted to be and at what time.

    - Have extra batteries. I didn't have a problem with my flash running out, but now I carry at least one extra set for my flash as well as my camera just in case.

    - I didn't use a tripod since it was outdoors and nice and sunny. Indoors might be a different story.

    - Have fun! I don't want to do weddings as a living, but they were kindof stressful, but they were fun at the same time. It was fun interacting with the guests and snapping away.
    Nikon Samurai #21



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  11. #11
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Hi Lisa.

    I find myself in the same situation. Just this last weekend, an old friend of mine asked me to shoot her wedding...in two weeks. I've never shot a wedding before, so I am frantic to try and figure out what I need to do, communicate with the bride, and get ready before then.

    Don't worry about whether you are a good photographer or not. They asked for you, so you need to show some confidence in yourself. If you don't have that confidence, it will show.
    Sean Massey
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  12. #12
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    WOW - you are all great, with lots of WONDERFUL suggestions. I can't thank y'all enough.

    I'll have a tripod on hand in case anything gets moved inside, but I liked that many of you said I might not need it outside. Between my camera and my friends, I have the 18-55mm, 35-85mm (I think) and the 100-300. I also just ordered a 50mm/1.8. I plan on having the telephoto on one camera and the 18-55 on the other camera... might use the 50mm now and again if I need to.

    I'm getting excited and building up a little more confidence. i've spoken to some of the brides (friends) I've done "getting ready" shots for and they all told me I had zero to worry about.

    I ordered a few books from amazon on wedding photography and digital wedding photography. Because I've done a lot of the getting ready type stuff, I'm already accustomed to getting the close up shots of the dress, rings, etc.

    It's the formals I'm a little worried about, but I did an okay job at my sisters wedding, and I signed up for a portrait photography class at my local aduclt education center. Since the wedding isn't until September I have time to take the class and get my feet wet a bit more.

    I love photography so much, and mainly love taking pictures of people... so I'm hoping this gig was what I needed to start doing something I love...

    THANKS SOOOO MUCH for the advice. I feel better since no one said "are you crazy for agreeing to do this?"

    I'll post results when they come in.!!!

  13. #13
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley

    It's the formals I'm a little worried about, but I did an okay job at my sisters wedding, and I signed up for a portrait photography class at my local aduclt education center. Since the wedding isn't until September I have time to take the class and get my feet wet a bit more.
    The formals are the worst. The groom at the wedding I did last weekend was like a piece of wood, terribly serious during the formals. I might be able to cut a more cheerful looking head from the others I shot and paste it into a formal image..

    One last thing - do check out the place you will do the formals and the place where the ceremony will be held before the event. These are the two most critoical parts of the whole event and if you've had the time to study the place before it's a great help on the day.

    Charles

  14. #14
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ltilley
    I feel better since no one said "are you crazy for agreeing to do this?"
    It wasn't said; it was implied...

    This was a joke; everyone started somewhere. I shot a half-dozen weddings and decided it wasn't for me. I did a ton of research, played with cameras and settings until I didn't have to think about doing it, went to the church days before just to see what it looked like and how much (or little!) natural light I had to work with - basically just totally obsessed over it. Not that it's a bad thing...

    "Other" photo websites usually have the standard response of "don't do it!" but we're really not like that. Not all couples have the money to hire a full-time experienced photographer, but everyone getting married deserves to have someone there to take nice pictures of their day. Do your homework and be prepared, so when the day comes you can watch the action instead of guessing what will happen next or trying to figure out how to set something on a camera. Act confident and people will know you're in control. Have fun with it and people will have fun with you - which will come thru in the pictures. Good luck!

  15. #15
    Analog Photographer, Digital World Axle's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    I've only done three weddings at this point, a far cry from what some members have done, but in those three I've learned a few pointers, most are based on the mistakes I made at my first wedding, it was horrible photographically...but I did pull some nice shots out of it.

    1. Talk to the bride and groom, figure out what they're looking for.
    2. Look online, mostly for inspiration.
    3. Talk to the minister (and the church, if the minister isn't the minister of the church were the ceremony is happening) performing the ceremony, to see where, when, and how photos can be taken. Some don't mind a flash going off, others do, and some want no photos at all during a ceremony. Remember, shots of the 'important' parts of a service can be posed afterward.
    4. Go to the rehearsal, knowledge is power, you'll be able to see the flow of the ceremony, and determine optimum placement.
    5. Two of everything camera, storage, flash. Also see if someone else is willing to come along to help you either a) pose people or b) do photos also.
    6. Be able to use both your cameras in the dark if possible (ie: know your gear inside and out)

    As for gear, the lens I use most are my 18-50 Sigma (1:2.8), Nikon 35mm 1:2D, Nikon 50mm 1:1.8D and Nikon 85mm 1:1.8D. I've also pulled out my 60mm macro lens, great for detailed shots.

    Shooting outdoors? Fill flash is your friend.
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  16. #16
    Seasoned Amateur WesternGuy's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    I shot a bunch of images at my son's wedding back in late August. I was not the official photographer, but my son and his new wife liked my shots. Shooting was both indoors and outside. A few things I did - made sure all my batteries were fully charged before I started, even then my flash died in the evening and I had to run back to the room and get some others. Fortunately, the wedding and the reception were in the same hotel.

    If you know where it is being held, go visit the place beforehand and scout it out. If there is a possibility of it being indoors, then scout that out too - assuming you know where this place is. If you only have the one memory card, then get at least one more. I have seen and heard to many stories of cards going wrong - personally I carry around three.

    Shooting indoors and maybe some outdoors (e.g. against a wall), you may have to use a flash. Indoors, make sure you have something to diffuse, or tone down, the flash or your pictures will have lots of shadows in them, as I discovered. :blush2:

    I agree with those who said get a good tripod and make sure it can support your gear and then some. After all, you never know what you may acquire in the future. If you can't afford one right now, maybe you can borrow one for the event. HTH.

    Cheers,

    WesternGuy

  17. #17
    Senior Member WsW-WYATT-EARP's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Some nice info Axle and WG - but i am just wondering why pull a thread up that is over 2 years old ???

    I think with all the members here that have dabbled in weddings or do weddings a forum for it or even a sub forum for it would be nice ....

    I have 2 more to shoot 2nd for this year and that will make my count I believe at 15 for the year ... I got lucky and teamed up with some photogs from my club that introduced me to others. I got to shoot 3rd for a while then 2nd towards the end here as they were able to teach me and see what I can deliver ... its fun but mentally draining at the same time ...
    Ben

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  18. #18
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by WsW-WYATT-EARP
    but i am just wondering why pull a thread up that is over 2 years old ???
    Good question! I'm not sure, but there may be more wedding-related stuff in the Business forum. That's probably a better place for questions like how to charge, what to include, how to deal with clients (that could be a whole site in itself!), etc. This forum would be good for how to shoot in a particular situation, etc.

  19. #19
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    Hey I don't have any real professional advice for you but I do want to encourage you. If they liked your photos enough to ask you capture the most important day of their lives, you must be good. I know it can be a heavy responsibility, but you can do it. You are stepping into that realm of professional photography, the place where all us "rookies are trying to get to. This is your learning period and your growing period. Embrace it and take note of everything, and if all else fails....crank up your swagger!!! Walk in there like you own the joint and like you been taking pictures since you were in diapers. Remember confidence calms people. Good luck you can do it.
    Snap It Up!!!
    Naz
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  20. #20
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    So how'd it go?
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  21. #21
    Junior Member Gooosberry's Avatar
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    Re: Asked to do a wedding - HELP!!!

    It would be great to hear how it went, I did my first wedding on film, one camera and the film didn't catch on the take up reel! Still friends with the couple 25 years later!

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