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  1. #1
    Member Stina's Avatar
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    Question Help needed from the Wedding Photographers here

    All you wedding photographers out there I need your help. Iíve recently agreed to photograph the wedding of a couple I go to church with. It is a second marriage for the both of them and will be small. Theyíve seen some of my portraits and ask me to do the wedding for them, I did explain that Iíve never done a wedding before. I believe I have all the equipment I need (including 2 back up bodies) and plan to use Kodak Portra UC film for color and a few rolls of BW400CN for black and white. I have a list of suggested posed shots I will go over with the two of them along with discussing which photos will be taken before and after the ceremony. I plan to go up to the church and take some practice photos next week to hopefully catch and correct any lighting problems I might have and enlist one of the high school students to help me with equipment (my husband who would normally do this has to work the day of the wedding). Aside from trying to calm my nerves and prepare as much as possible what tips and suggestions do those of you who do wedding have for me. Anything would be great as daily the responsibility of what I have agreed to sinks in. Thanks in advance.

    Christina
    If every morning when you wake your goal is to straighten out people, you probably should be a funeral director. - Charles Lowery

  2. #2
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    A shoe mounted flash is a must. If you can get it on a bracket it would be even better. Along with that you will need a battery pack to recycle the flash faster.

    If you can't afford a hotshoe flash, then don't use one at all (no onboard flash) and use fast film. Red Eye will kill the photos.

    If you have a hotshoe flash and no battery pack, then I would also use fast film so that the flash will recycle faster. You have no Idea how stressful it is waiting for the flash to recycle as the wedding party stares at you waiting.

    Other than that don't get too fancy with you 1st wedding. Look for nice locations.

    You didn't mention if it is a day wedding or night. What time of year?

  3. #3
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stina
    what tips and suggestions do those of you who do wedding have for me.
    Rolaids.

    OK, I've shot one wedding but maybe can help a little bit. Sounds like you've got things pretty well under control - you've done the research, plan to take a few test shots, have backup cameras, etc. As long as the couple understands that this is your first wedding, you're going to be fine.

    I didn't see where you mentioned a backup flash (or two). One of the easiest things to break is the hotshoe on the flash, then it's done for the day. Not only do you want twice as much film as you think you'll need, but same goes for batteries too. I'd probably load one camera with BW400, put one in a flash bracket (Stroboframe, etc) and use the third for available light color shots during the service, assuming flash isn't allowed here. Check with the church for photographer's guidelines to see what they allow.

    If you've got time, see if you can tag along with a wedding photographer to see what they do and how they do it. Also, you might want to go to the rehersal the night before to see what's going to happen when and where (that was a big help for me).

    If you're getting good results with 400UC, then use it - but most people use 400NC for this. I haven't tried the new BW400CN yet, but loved T400CN. Portra 400BW wasn't one of my favorites. How does it compare?

  4. #4
    Member Stina's Avatar
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    The wedding will be a 2pm next month and the church is lit with a mix of incandescent, fluorescent, and natural light from the windows. I have a flash with a bracket plus two smaller Vivitar flashes with adjustable heads. I usually use the one on the bracket with a small soft box on it. I was planning on loading one of the extra bodies with black and white. I donít have a battery pack for my flash. Good idea about going the rehersal.
    If every morning when you wake your goal is to straighten out people, you probably should be a funeral director. - Charles Lowery

  5. #5
    We just can't have nice things... darkrainfall's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are very well prepared for this wedding and the nerves won't go away... *smile* You just need to channel those nerves into energy for the wedding... stay focused and you'll be fine.
    I would suggest picking up a book on wedding photography to read through. There are several good ones out there.
    Also, I don't think those butterflies and nerves ever go away, no matter how many weddings you shoot.

  6. #6
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    If you don't have a battery pack, then bring lots of AA batteries and change often, well before you think you need to. Maybe after every 2 rolls of film (assuming 36 exposure). ISO 400 will help you get more life out of it. Getting close to the subjects and dragging the shutter will help reduce the amount of energy require to recycle the flash.

    You can practice this in your living room. With film you almost always want to take 2 of each shot, since you don't know about eyes being closed or what not. So keep in mind you will frequently be taking 2 shots in succession while indoors.

    If you haven't notice, I shot my first few weddings without a battery pack and found that the flash recycle was by far the biggest issue. All the rest was pretty uneventful if you've been serious about photography for a while.

  7. #7
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    I shoot weddings. If you were near Chicago I would invite you to shoot with me one day. But here is my equipment list.

    1 Digital body. 2 film bodies. 2 flashes, 16-35mm 2.8 lens, 28 - 70mm 2.8 lens, 70 - 200mm 2.8 lens. 20 rolls of film. 3 gigs of CF cards. Tripod. Extra nick-nacks like batteries, markers, etc. I don't carry a stroboframe or anything.

    My shooting style is as much natural light as possible very little flash.

    Here is my day and what I am thinking at each point. Think of the day as a story and you are creating a photo essay. I get to the site early so I can calm down from traffic or other distractions. Getting into the mindset is very important step for me.

    Shots of church or where ever I am to meet bride (it helps set the scene). Shots of bride getting ready. Take shots of details and close-ups, medium distance and lastly, scene setting distance. Try to capture the mood of the day.

    Things I am looking for: Interesting angles. Things to use as frames. Foreground and background interest for wide angle shots. Emotions.

    At Church. Groom getting ready. Quiet moments. Maybe a few portraits of the groom and groomsmen so I have less to do later. Scene setting shots of the church. Children playing. Father of the bride and bride before walking down the aisle. Groom as he looks at bride, nice tight shots showing emotion. Parents of the couple during the ceremony.

    Couple leaving church. Wide angle shots of the crowd greeting them.

    Reception. Fun shots. I'm really casual here and just pick and choose shots. During the reception, as long as the ceilings are 20ft or lower, I bounce my flash off the ceiling the whole time.

    Good Luck,

    Dennis
    "Foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. #8
    Member Stina's Avatar
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    Dennis I wish I were able to tag along with you one day but Chicago is just a bit too far a commute from Texas. You wrote that you use a lot of natural light, I too prefer to shoot this way but Iím afraid the mix of lighting in the church might cause a strange cast. Next week when I do some test shots I plan to try some both with and with out flash just to see what I get. I am hoping to use the flash mainly for fill.

    As far as equipment my main concern is I may be lacking on the wider end. I have a Canon Rebel Ti (which will be my main camera), a 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, and 28-90 f4-5.6mm zoom. My backup system is made up of a Minolta X-700 and a SRT 202 bodies, 50mm 1.7, 85mm, 28-105 2.8-3.8 zoom, and 135mm 2.8. I have a Quantray flash and bracket with dedicated modules that allow it to work on any of my cameras and two smaller Vivitar flashes.

    Thanks for all the input and tips so far please keep them coming. I will feel more comfortable if I have all the information I can get my hands on before the wedding. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good wedding photography book, Iím sure almost all would be informative but a recommendation would be great.
    Last edited by Stina; 06-16-2004 at 12:19 PM.
    If every morning when you wake your goal is to straighten out people, you probably should be a funeral director. - Charles Lowery

  9. #9
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    28mm should be wide enough. Is there a place you can rent equipment from? If mixed lighting is a problem, shoot B&W. It's classic and will not be bothered by color cast.

    Check out this book. The Best of Wedding Photojournalism: Techniques and Images from the Pros
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...lance&n=507846

    Better than buying one, go to the bookstore and spend a morning there. Also read all the bridal magazines. They profile weddings and there will be a good sample from one or two weddings in each magazine.

    Dennis
    "Foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10
    Member Stina's Avatar
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    The only places Iíve been able to find to rent equipment from are 2+ hours away so Iíll just make due with what I have. I think they are going to want the formal shots in color but I will keep one camera loaded with black & white with me also. Thanks for the recommendation on the book.
    If every morning when you wake your goal is to straighten out people, you probably should be a funeral director. - Charles Lowery

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