September 16, 2014, 07:57:36 AM

Author Topic: Emergency wedding, of sorts.  (Read 14223 times)

digital paradise

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2013, 01:55:53 PM »
Thanks for all the advice everybody, a lot to think over. The wedding is at a church, then reception, pretty simple, not huge.

After reading your comments I've now been considering is talking to him into hiring a photographer, and then I'll just bring my 6d, and pancake lens just for some candid photos to give to them.

If he insists on me, I'll then tell him to at least hire someone for the ceremony and I'll shoot the reception.

If he really insists on not hiring a pro, then screw it, I'll just take my stuff and he'll get what he gets!

I'd much rather see them with quality photos than meh photos, from their friend who just does it as a hobby.

But whatever happens, I think I may invest in a nice 85mm. Maybe a new 50mm if they release a new one.

This is very wise of you. They may not be meh photos. I have seen this situation more than once and images produced were from awful to exceptional.

There was one post at DPrview. A person posted some images reception images that a natural light wedding photog took. They were absolutely awful. The worst I have ever seen. All terribly underexposed. I could have never charged anyone for that mess. I would have paid for their honeymoon out of guilt alone.

Natural light photography is wonderful but a professional, even though it may be preferred a pro must be able to go into any situation, analyze it and use all available tools as the scene dictates. I doubt any professionally trained and accredited pros did not receive training in flash photography. 

No insult to natural light photographers out there but there are some that claim to be because they have not taken the time to learn how to use flash correctly. I have also seen excellent work without flash. Tougher in dark venues.   

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2013, 01:55:53 PM »

RMC33

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2013, 02:02:39 PM »
Of all the advice here.. Honestly getting out is your best bet. I get asked all the time to shoot weddings by friends/family and I tell them a clear and simple: No. I will bring a camera and take pictures.. and I ALWAYS make a book for the bride/groom as one of my gifts. It makes a much better impression and it keeps the friendship from deteriorating due to one party not being happy.

digital paradise

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 02:07:43 PM »
Forgot to add I was asked to shoot my wife's sisters wedding about 25 years ago because I had nice gear. They had a 3 month old son and were low on cash. Besides they were not into the big show anyway. I was mess because those were the film days and you could not check the LCD. I could not relax until I got the negs and prints back.

I had a Minolta X-700 and a Minolta flash. My friend helped me pick out a high end film. I just put it P mode and shot away. They weren't exceptional but were miles ahead of that mess posted at DPrview. At at least the exposures were good. Mind back then the labs corrected for exposure and colour but hey it worked out. Even shot a bunch of B&W which I developed myself.

   
         

distant.star

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2013, 02:35:15 PM »
.

If you can sidestep the obligation, do. If you really can't, don't panic. It's a grand challenge, and you can have fun if you allow yourself to.

Beav talked about expectations -- very important. Make sure they know they have no reason to have great expectations. That said, I expect they've seen some pictures you've taken, and you should be flattered they asked you. But again, make sure they know event photography is a specialized occupation and getting a nice landscape shot is not the same as a wedding.

A few thoughts:

1. Keep it simple. Go with the equipment you have. It's what you know. Trying to learn a flash, even just for fill, will get in the way. Forget a second body. The chances that your body will malfunction is about the same as them changing the date back to six months from now. A second body, with a different lens, can be helpful, but you're disadvantaged. First, you're shooting a wedding, and you know nothing about how to do that properly so all your attention needs to be on getting that right. Second, it's too confusing in this situation to remember a second body and what settings are on which body (it's more than just another lens). Keep it simple. Go with the equipment you've got.

2. Work on getting one memorable shot. You can give them 50 mediocre pictures, and one great one -- all they'll see is the great one. That's the one they will come back to in future years, and they'll remember you gave it to them. Try to plan something in advance if possible. If not, keep looking for that one moment when everything comes together perfectly -- and don't hesitate! Shoot the damn thing NOW. And tell them you're best hope is that you can give them one, single memorable picture.

3. Don't be afraid of the high ISO capability your camera has. Use what you need to get the right aperture/shutter speed to make the shot.

4. If you're going to be the "official" photographer, be it. Don't let people get in front of you or block you. Direct people into shots you need. You're in charge of this production. Don't be a passive photojournalist just shooting what happens. MAKE it happen. And as I've said here before, the best piece of advice I ever got when I started doing weddings so many, many years ago -- Do NOT be afraid to do it over. If you screw up a shot, stop everything and have them do it again. Now that may not be possible on the altar (but it may be if you've got the chutzpah) but have them restage it a few minutes later if need be. Always better to be embarrassed (which everyone will forget) than hand them a bad picture (which they will NEVER forget).

People have mentioned visiting the venues where you'll be working, good advice. And finally, I'd suggest looking at some wedding photographer sites -- look at the standard shots they all get, and plan to get those at least.

And have fun. The worst that can happen is you take some lousy pictures. At least I haven't heard any mention of a shotgun!
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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2013, 03:00:30 PM »





"At least I haven't heard any mention of a shotgun!"


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sanfranchristo

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2013, 03:28:06 PM »
Thanks for all the advice everybody, a lot to think over. The wedding is at a church, then reception, pretty simple, not huge.

After reading your comments I've now been considering is talking to him into hiring a photographer, and then I'll just bring my 6d, and pancake lens just for some candid photos to give to them.

If he insists on me, I'll then tell him to at least hire someone for the ceremony and I'll shoot the reception.

If he really insists on not hiring a pro, then screw it, I'll just take my stuff and he'll get what he gets!

I'd much rather see them with quality photos than meh photos, from their friend who just does it as a hobby.

But whatever happens, I think I may invest in a nice 85mm. Maybe a new 50mm if they release a new one.

Wise choice to discuss further. I was in a similar situation and as long as the expectations are very clear, I think you could pull it off. One other thing to consider is whether you want to be part of the wedding or not. I offered to shoot a close friend's location wedding but he rightly said he wanted me to be "part of it" and not worried about shooting. There will be a trade-off. I was subsequently asked by another, more casual friend, whose wedding I may or may not have attended otherwise and it was a much easier decision to do it as it will be a very informal, outdoor event. If your friend knows what you are capable of (walk through some of your relevant shots) and they know what you can and can't deliver (based on location and equipment) then don't be afraid if they aren't expecting more than you can deliver. If you go ahead, I would just add this...

You have a high-ISO beast and some decent options for the wide and normal ranges. If you can, rent or borrow a 70-200 2.8 IS (ask them to cover it). It'd be worth it - that can get you very good results and cover just about every need, including portraits and the ceremony.  I would be concerned about the lack of a lens longer than 50mm for portraits (the 85 1.8 is a quality, affordable option to consider adding in general). Do you know anyone that can lend you a second Canon body (or do you have your old one)? Even a lesser-caliber one than your 6D will come in handy to have with a prime attached. Obviously, extra batteries and cards to be safe (or know what the charging options will be). I echo another commentor in cautioning about flash - yes, you "need it" for weddings, but if you aren't experienced with it, you may more do more harm than good, and more importantly, you will spend time trying to manage it and miss shots. Just be clear about where and when you expect to be able to shoot and forgo the flash (if you have one, maybe bring it to have on-camera for nighttime "party" candids, but don't rely on it for portraits - get those done early or outside). A good photographer is ultimately a good photographer - it is about the subjects and moments. Perhaps most importantly, to go to the location in advance (if possible) and establish a clear shot list with times for yourself so you have people when and where you need them, and don't miss anything.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 06:27:48 PM by sanfranchristo »

sanfranchristo

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2013, 03:31:49 PM »
.

If you can sidestep the obligation, do. If you really can't, don't panic. It's a grand challenge, and you can have fun if you allow yourself to.

Beav talked about expectations -- very important. Make sure they know they have no reason to have great expectations. That said, I expect they've seen some pictures you've taken, and you should be flattered they asked you. But again, make sure they know event photography is a specialized occupation and getting a nice landscape shot is not the same as a wedding.

A few thoughts:

1. Keep it simple. Go with the equipment you have. It's what you know. Trying to learn a flash, even just for fill, will get in the way. Forget a second body. The chances that your body will malfunction is about the same as them changing the date back to six months from now. A second body, with a different lens, can be helpful, but you're disadvantaged. First, you're shooting a wedding, and you know nothing about how to do that properly so all your attention needs to be on getting that right. Second, it's too confusing in this situation to remember a second body and what settings are on which body (it's more than just another lens). Keep it simple. Go with the equipment you've got.

2. Work on getting one memorable shot. You can give them 50 mediocre pictures, and one great one -- all they'll see is the great one. That's the one they will come back to in future years, and they'll remember you gave it to them. Try to plan something in advance if possible. If not, keep looking for that one moment when everything comes together perfectly -- and don't hesitate! Shoot the damn thing NOW. And tell them you're best hope is that you can give them one, single memorable picture.

3. Don't be afraid of the high ISO capability your camera has. Use what you need to get the right aperture/shutter speed to make the shot.

4. If you're going to be the "official" photographer, be it. Don't let people get in front of you or block you. Direct people into shots you need. You're in charge of this production. Don't be a passive photojournalist just shooting what happens. MAKE it happen. And as I've said here before, the best piece of advice I ever got when I started doing weddings so many, many years ago -- Do NOT be afraid to do it over. If you screw up a shot, stop everything and have them do it again. Now that may not be possible on the altar (but it may be if you've got the chutzpah) but have them restage it a few minutes later if need be. Always better to be embarrassed (which everyone will forget) than hand them a bad picture (which they will NEVER forget).

People have mentioned visiting the venues where you'll be working, good advice. And finally, I'd suggest looking at some wedding photographer sites -- look at the standard shots they all get, and plan to get those at least.

And have fun. The worst that can happen is you take some lousy pictures. At least I haven't heard any mention of a shotgun!

+1 for all points, especially those in #4 which most non-professionals (including myself) are either too polite or embarrassed to embrace in the moment.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 03:38:01 PM by sanfranchristo »

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2013, 03:31:49 PM »

Orangutan

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2013, 04:06:48 PM »

After reading your comments I've now been considering is talking to him into hiring a photographer, and then I'll just bring my 6d, and pancake lens just for some candid photos to give to them.

If he insists on me, I'll then tell him to at least hire someone for the ceremony and I'll shoot the reception.

If he really insists on not hiring a pro, then screw it, I'll just take my stuff and he'll get what he gets!

I'd much rather see them with quality photos than meh photos, from their friend who just does it as a hobby.


Sounds like you're thinking clearly about it.  I'll add a few more items in case you end up shooting.  I'm an amateur who's done a few wedding gigs as a second shooter , so this is from someone closer to your level. (apologies if others have covered this ground, I haven't carefully read the entire thread)

* Talk to the bride, in person, and make sure she understands the expectations.  The fact that your friend says it's OK is not good enough.  Her needs/wants/expectations may be different from his.

* Weddings move fast, so simplify as much as you can.  Don't expect to have lots of time to change gear.

* Better to know a few items of gear well, than take a lot of stuff and lose track.  Take one good low/medium zoom, and one long zoom.  No other lenses are needed.

* using bounce flash in the reception (or at the ceremony, with the agreement of the couple and officiant) is not that hard.  You can spend 30 minutes with a couple friends in a dimly lit room to figure out the settings you need.  (hint: use manual with flash)  Don't get creative with flash until you know what you're doing.

* Get the "script" of the wedding in advance.  You'll need to anticipate the action to be in position.

* For the reception, couple pictures, and other photos for which you have time, don't be afraid to take a little time to set up a shot, or do a little directing of the action.  Yes, it's their wedding, but they'll be happy to let you guide them to a better shot, for example to get a better background, nicer lighting, etc.

* If it's a big "family and friends" wedding, try to get photos of everyone, especially older relatives and close friends.  No one knows how much time great-Aunt Helen has left, and they will appreciate photos of her dressed well and with a big smile.

* Take a few cute photos of kids.

* If the wedding is on Sunday, see if there's a local wedding on Saturday, then offer the pro photographer to be his/her free assistant for that gig.  Seeing behind the scenes just once can make  a difference.

* Take your time with the group photos.  Use a tripod, live view and check your depth-of-field charts (in advance) to make sure you do your best.  Don't use flash here unless you can bounce off a high ceiling or back wall.  Be willing to turn the flash off and make do if needed.

When in doubt, turn off the flash, set to P, and go for composition rather than technique.  Your 6D will do well in low light compare to all the P&S in the crowd.


Chris Burch

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2013, 05:20:12 PM »
As long as the bride and groom have a VERY clear understanding of your experience and have the appropriate expectations, then just go for it.  I shot my first wedding in 1999 with really mediocre gear (film back then, too) and I managed to pull it off with expectedly mediocre results, but it wasn't a disaster.  You have to start somewhere.  Ideally you would have some work as an assistant under your belt, but that obviously isn't going to happen in a week. 

You REALLY REALLY REALLY need to pick up a flash.  I've never been to a reception yet that was suitable for only natural light.  Rent one if you don't want to buy it.  Get a 430ex or better -- check Craigslist first to see if you can  pick up a used one.  You can easily set the camera on program and use eTTL flash, but if you want to step it up a notch or 2, use manual low-light settings that are a few stops underexposed and let the flash fill in the correct exposure.  For the 6D, try these settings for the reception (assuming it's in a dimly room)...1/100s, f/5.6, 1600ISO.  If it's very dark you can bump the ISO up to 3200.  High ISO settings will keep the output of your flash lower so your recycle times will be a lot faster.  Practice a lot at home.  If you have time and access to a bar or club, get permission to go there one evening and shoot some photos -- just offer to give them to the owner/management.  This will give you some practice with the gear and with interacting with a crowd. 

Try to shoot the wedding ceremony with natural light if possible.  The 70-200 f/2.8 is ideal for this because you don't want to be standing in middle of everything to get the shots.  For ambient shots, keep the shutter speed at 1/80 or above.  That will cut out most motion blur from slow moving subjects.  This is probably a the perfect opportunity to use auto ISO.  Set your shutter to something like 1/100s with f/4.

Get to the venues early and figure out the best settings.  Save those as the custom presets (C1-C3).  For instance, C3 is your setting with flash...C2 is your setting for ambient.  You can even disable the flash through the camera for your C2 setting so you have one less thing to worry about when switching between ambient and flash settings and will minimize mistakes.

You'll need to make yourself interact with your subjects -- this is a skill all of its own.  Get some purely candid shots, but don't be afraid to ask people to pose for a quick shot.   This may even include you talking to the B&G ahead of time to have them pause for some shots.  For instance, they can stop when they frist get to the aisle before walking down so you have time to take one shot.  Using AISERVO for motion shots like that is ideal, but I wouldn't bother trying to be that ambitious.  The Keep It Simple mentality is definitely the only way to go for you. 
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davidson

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2013, 05:34:56 PM »
i'll add my two cents because i was in this position last year. bride and groom were both my friends and they insisted that i do the wedding, i kept refusing because i believed that my skill level and my gear werent good enough but they wouldnt take no for an answer. so i told that not to expect much i am no pro, had never done a wedding before.
i managed to get a EF 24-70 to add to my EF 50 1.4 and i also 19-35 f/ 3.5-4.5. i own an rebel XT and i borrowed my friends 1100d (the second body did come in handy because one of my bodies froze mid shoot and needed to be reset).

if you want to back out i understand because wedding are MAJOR and the pressure is intense, but if you cant then determine that you will give it your best, no room for lack of confidence once you are committed.

make sure to visit the sites of the weeding and the reception and wherever the pre reception shoot will be. visit at the time of day and take someone with you wearing white so you can approximate what your exposures will be, where the shadows will be etc. i did this, came up with my ideas for the shots i wanted and the settings i would need based on the light available (it was an evening wedding)

attend the rehearsals so you know where to be and when and what is coming next, get a program as well so you can refer to it.

make a shot list of the shots you want and also discuss with the couple what shots they want and what they need. also get them to make a list of the shots they want with family members and what combinations so that on the day you dont have to be scrambling (my couple didnt do this even tho i asked and it was confusion on the day)

i didnt do this but i will in future, shoot in burst mode to avoid people blinking.

decided what style (or combination of styles) you plan to shoot in (or what the couple prefers). nothing wrong with the photojournalistic style, i personally prefer it. TO ME its recording the occassion as it happened so you can hand the couple images of what actually occurred. i;ve seen BEAUTIFUL shots of the bridal party lining up and racing, but in my mind i was thinking that i KNOW that didnt actuallt happen in the day, just a photographers idea, which is fine, if thats what the couple wants. but at the end of the day its what you are comfortable doing.

i'm sure i am forgetting more steps that i took so that i didnt mess up but jut plan for as much as you can, run through the whole thing in your head and make sure you cover everything, clear your mem cards, charge the batteries.

oh yes....wear an undershirt or two....i hate to see a sweaty photographer.

relax and have fun.

Don Haines

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2013, 07:05:24 PM »
Many many years ago, friends getting married and not a lot of money, and instead of hiring a photographer they gave everyone a disposable camera to use. They got lots of interesting shots but not a single nice picture from about thirty rolls of film.

Moral of the story.... If you want great pictures, hire an experienced pro. Anything else is a gamble heavily stacked in favour of mediocracy.
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ktabes

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2013, 08:44:35 PM »
Many many years ago, friends getting married and not a lot of money, and instead of hiring a photographer they gave everyone a disposable camera to use. They got lots of interesting shots but not a single nice picture from about thirty rolls of film.

Moral of the story.... If you want great pictures, hire an experienced pro. Anything else is a gamble heavily stacked in favour of mediocracy.

True, and I agree with that all together, but still when my parents were married they didn't have any money and just asked everyone coming to bring a camera or disposable camera and give them an extra set of prints. And they could not have been happier with the results. There's an honest quality to non-profesional candid 35mm prints. But I guess it depends on what happens.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 08:46:15 PM by ktabes »

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2013, 11:12:13 PM »
Scout your locations. It's more important than any gear your going to rent.

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2013, 11:12:13 PM »

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2013, 11:40:06 PM »
At all costs, if you can, I would decline this request.  I've done it before myself and I definitely don't regret it.  People have no idea how much time, effort, and stress these things are when you are committed to excellence within your hobby.  In the long run I don't think it will be worth it if you are not ready.  Your stress level will be through the roof and it won't be worth it. 
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agierke

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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2013, 01:00:29 AM »
promise nothing.

shooting weddings well is just about the most difficult photo scenario i have experienced and that includes architecture, commercial, fashion, environmental portraits, sports, and aerial photography.

you have to be prepared to think quick on your feet and turn downright unfavorable conditions into great photo opportunities. i used to dread weddings because i didn't really know how to use my gear (and i was severely undergeared) but now i really relish the challenge they provide. you gotta know your gear really well, and you should understand lighting very well too.

unless the bride and groom AND their parents just don't care that much about the photos. then just go have some fun.

otherwise....there are sooo many potential pitfalls that can be very uncomfortable. i can't tell you how many couples i meet with horror stories and regrets they have about not investing more in their photography from their wedding day.
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Re: Emergency wedding, of sorts.
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2013, 01:00:29 AM »