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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:10 PM   #1
bigwalton
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Default Wedding photos: if you had to do this...

My brother is getting married in Sept. and they're doing it all low-key. Getting married in his in-laws' back yard, family member officiating, no big shebang...

Anyway, they know I'm handy with a camera and they've asked me to take pictures at the ceremony (the only photographer!) and reception.

I'm already stressed out. I've got some good shots at other weddings, but never as the "official" photographer or anything. Both of them, and our families, appreciate good photography, so it's not like simple snapshots will be sufficient.

I have a D40x and 35-200/3.5 (IIRC, will correct later too lazy right now) and that's pretty much it. I have another zoom lens, but it's not as nice as the one I normally use.

What would you want to have to shoot a wedding outdoors? I'm thinking a real speedlight would be good incase it's overcast as opposed to the built-in, but I've never used one and would have to play with it a lot beforehand to figure out what I'm doing (of course that's assuming I can afford to swing one).

Just wanted to start thinking about things so maybe I can watch on CL locally for something if I need other equipment.... any help is appreciated.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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you get what you pay for. Spring for a good photographer, it will save headaches later on during the marriage. Especially with the wife needing to remember what he looked like 100lbs ago, and vice versa.

Post a pic of the bride and maybe the good photographer isnt needed or wanted.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:25 PM   #3
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It's not my call as to the photographer. If I don't do it, they'll just ask another friend or family member.

I don't mind the idea of doing it, don't mistake my nerves about it as reluctance. You'll just have to take my word for it that a professional won't happen and it won't matter to them now or later. They're just those kinds of folks. I'm just looking to do as good a job as I can and if it justifies getting another camera toy, so be it
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwalton View Post
My brother is getting married in Sept. and they're doing it all low-key. Getting married in his in-laws' back yard, family member officiating, no big shebang...

Anyway, they know I'm handy with a camera and they've asked me to take pictures at the ceremony (the only photographer!) and reception.

I'm already stressed out. I've got some good shots at other weddings, but never as the "official" photographer or anything. Both of them, and our families, appreciate good photography, so it's not like simple snapshots will be sufficient.

I have a D40x and 35-200/3.5 (IIRC, will correct later too lazy right now) and that's pretty much it. I have another zoom lens, but it's not as nice as the one I normally use.

What would you want to have to shoot a wedding outdoors? I'm thinking a real speedlight would be good incase it's overcast as opposed to the built-in, but I've never used one and would have to play with it a lot beforehand to figure out what I'm doing (of course that's assuming I can afford to swing one).

Just wanted to start thinking about things so maybe I can watch on CL locally for something if I need other equipment.... any help is appreciated.
Here's my .02

The pop up flash isn't going to even come close to providing enough fill for shots with a zoom lens. Something like the SB-600 or 800 would be ideal. You'll probably want to spend the 15 bucks on a diffuser for it also. The 18-55mm kit lens with the D40 is a pretty sharp, cheap lens that works good outside, however isn't very long. Something like the 70-200 f/2.8 would be sweet, but comes at a high price.

If that lens you have now is the old nikkor 35-200, you'll probably want something that will focus on the D40x also. Focus is one less thing to worry about while shooting IMHO.

You'll want to stock up on batteries and memory cards also. If you shoot RAW you can fix a lot more in post, rather than jpeg. Takes about 12mb per shot, but well worth the space when it comes to adjusting WB/Exposure, and other stuff after the shot.

I'm no pro, and i dont shoot weddings. I have been asked to, and simply dont want the responsibility of people not being happy with their wedding pics, no matter how much they tell you that they dont care.

Hope this helps.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:56 PM   #5
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I'm no pro either but that 70-200 VR lens is very nice but I think it comes in at 650-800 price wise but well worth it if your going to use it all the time. A tripod is also a nice option. Other than that, I would spring for the D90. Maybe they will help you pay for it for taking pictures for them.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:57 PM   #6
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My sister got married in july, and they hired russ miller to do the photography. What i thought was cool was that my mom bought 30 or so disposable cameras and put them on every table. there were some neat pics to say the least.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 11:00 PM   #7
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I'm no pro either but that 70-200 VR lens is very nice but I think it comes in at 650-800 price wise but well worth it if your going to use it all the time. A tripod is also a nice option. Other than that, I would spring for the D90. Maybe they will help you pay for it for taking pictures for them.
Its actually about twice that, but damn id love to have it.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 11:13 PM   #8
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I have done a few weddings this past year. Best I can tell you is get a good flash and also look at getting an off camera mount (Flip Bracket) for it. This will get rid of all red eye. The flash needs to be up and away from the lens. Also carry lots or extra batteries for the flash, maybe one for the camera too and at least one spare memory card. Last wedding I took about 850 photos myself as the second photographer.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 11:14 PM   #9
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I apologize. I must have been looking at a different lens earlier. It appears to be around 1600.00
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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you should be able to do it.. i do a bit of wedding photography my brother and I have a photography Business, just invest in a good flash, with omi bounce and shoot.. they will turn out well.. maybe not super pro but pretty dang good.. just try to watch whats in the back ground and such. if you can get a constant 2.8 lens that will help alot in lowering the depth of field as to keep the background not so noticeable. with the D40 you can just up the ISO for indoor stuff. or quicker exposure. thats whats nice about the newer digital upping the iso a little helps make up for not having a 2.8 lens and most people will not notice a difference. during the ceremony is the only real stressful time.. cause things only happen once.. but you can always have them repose for a kiss.. or anything after the fact too..

good luck.. just take your time.. have extra cards, and LOTS of batteries for camera and flash.. and if you get a flash bracket cool..they do help.. i got one off ebay for like 50 bucks.. works great.. also shoot in RAW so you can adjust exposure and Whitebalance afterwards if you forget to change it while shooting.. will give you just a little room to play..

Last edited by Black71gp; January 3rd, 2009 at 09:48 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 09:56 AM   #11
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I am (or was) a pro photographer. I've got over 50 weddings under my belt. My .02 is to decline the invitation to shoot their wedding. It is a once in a lifetime event and I cant tell you how many horror stories I've heard about friends/family shooting weddings.

There is a reason people are willing to spend a couple grand for a good photographer.

Once the wedding is over the bride and groom will have two things. A overpriced dress that sits in a box for the rest of their lives and the pictures. Good wedding photographs are worth 10 times what was paid up front.

That being said, if you still do decide to do this, make sure you are prepared.
Main camera and a couple lenses
Back-up camera and a couple lenses.
TWO flash units and PLENTY of batteries.
Tripod.
A couple extra memory cards. (SHOOT A MINIMUM OF 500 FRAMES, FULL RESOLUTION)
Lens hood is a necessity for an outdoor wedding!

Do you know how to pose a group?
Do you know how to pose a couple?
Do you know how to CONTROL a group?
Do you know how to light a group?
Can you do all that FAST w/ grandmas, aunts, uncles ect looking over your shoulder and giving advice?

Is the reception in or out?

Do you know how to shoot CONFIDENTLY in everything from heavy overcast to bright, direct sun?

Do you have to capability and knowhow to shoot w/ more than one flash?

Do you know how to shoot fast? Can you time your shots well? (DONT MISS THAT KISS!! DONT MISS THE CAKE CUT!!)

Most importantly, can you GUARANTEE 100% that you and none of your equipment will fail to miss ANYTHING?


When I shot, I charged a minimum of 2K and usually cleared 5K by the time everything was done. I was good, and people like my style. That being said, I still got VERY stressed out, I still missed things occasionally, and my top of the line equipment (hasselblad) would let me down now and again.

After 50 plus weddings, I decided that it wasnt worth it, no matter how much people were willing to pay me.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 10:21 AM   #12
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I've done it.

Take a look at 2-3 pro wedding albums - there are several "stock" shots you need to get:

Bridal party together at ceremony - easier to do in low-key ceremony
Bride & groom together
Bride & parents
Groom & parents
etc...

It's all pretty formulaic - just think it through ahead of time, make a list, and do it. Just make sure they understand that an amateur family member will not shoot like a pro. The disposable camera idea works well too - a lot of people like the random snaps as much as the pro shots.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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Personally, I think the biggest downside would be that you're going to miss out on the wedding and reception. You're going to end being so focused on taking pictures that you won't really get to participate. Is that something you're okay with?

If you okay with that and they are truly okay with you shooting the pictures rather than a pro, then do it up! Even if you only do a mediocre job at least you're going to have more invested than a typical friend being that he's your brother so you'll probably do a nicer job. cjric does brings up some good points to think about though.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 12:15 PM   #14
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A buddy thought it was a great idea, top put disposable cameras on each table at his reception. They ended up with many shots of my penor. I grabbed just about every one of the cameras, some times four at a time. I went to the potty a lot that evening.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 12:52 PM   #15
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WOW, holy crap I had no idea I'd get all of this feedback on here...

I need to explain a lot more, I apologize. They do not want and will not stand for a "pro" experience here, that's why I said that isn't an option, even if I wanted to spring for it for them. And most importantly, they're not asking me to replicate it.

These are two very non-traditional/alternative 30 year olds that have been to a SHITTON of weddings and they despise the idea of a traditional pro photographer (and a boatload of the other traditional wedding activities). They've hated watching photographers trying to document every little thing and other than a shot of the two of them and them with the parents, there will not be the litany of group shots or any other posed shots. They've made that very clear from the beginning of the discussion.

They're all about just enjoying the day (including me), not documenting it or doing things that they don't want to bother with just for the sake of "tradition".

SO, with all that being said, this will not require 500 shots (they'd probably be upset if I came anywhere close to that) because 1. they don't want all that and 2. they want me to still enjoy the wedding myself.

I fully expect that there will be hand-out cameras for folks at the reception and those are the kinds of photos they'll really love (you'd just have to know them to understand). We did that at our wedding and have seen the shots from many others, it's really cool and I recommend it.

I want to be able to do a good job on the handful of posed shots, and it sounds like a separate flash and the flip mount would be a good idea.

I have a nice tripod I got myself a while back, so that's set and I have a spare battery and card for the camera (probably just get one new one to give them afterward with a disc of the shots as well).

I've never shot RAW and I've never post-processed anything. I've always tried to get it on the camera based on learning on film. For this, it sounds like a better idea to do RAW and either find someone or let them find someone to do the post on the shots.

Oh, and I was wrong on the lens I have, it's an AF-S Nikkor 18-135 1:3.5-5.6. I've really liked it in the four months or so that I've had it. From what I've been told, the yard/area for the ceremony isn't large, so I don't think I'll need anymore zoom than that. Maybe I can get them to give me a photo and some dimensions...

Great suggestions folks, but let's drop the idea of backing out of doing it I understand where you're coming from but this is far from the types of situations you're thinking about, you'll have to trust me on that one.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 12:57 PM   #16
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Another neat thing I was going to do that I saw once: the photographer pulled photos off the camera between the ceremony and reception and set up a laptop running though a slideshow of them during the reception. Since a bunch of the people at the reception were likely never to see the wedding album, I thought that was pretty sweet and it drew a ton of attention as people wandered through the reception all evening.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:24 PM   #17
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We do that slideshow presentation at every wedding.. shoot in Raw + basic and load the basics on the laptop and play it.. people LOVE it.. always a big hit.. your lens should be fine.. if you need to zoom more.. walk closer.. your feet make a huge amount of zoom up at a wedding.. sounds like you will be fine.. just have fun...
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:26 PM   #18
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x2 everything cjric said.... We have done several wedding of all kinds and the wedding your brother wants... done that too. Don't do the laptop it's more trouble than it's worth, Wedding Photographers use that to promote themselves more than anything.

You've set your mind to do it, so I won't tell why you shouldn't everybody has covered that. But you should have a backup camera and flash (not pop up). We carry four camera bodies with us to every wedding and we have had camera malfunctions...

I know they say they don't care and it's all good... but you just never know.

Extra camera body, flash and lots of batteries.... Wedding are the most stressful on those that are working... even the little backyard weddings.

All that said I still wouldn't do it... But then I get paid for that kind of stress!

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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Don't do the laptop it's more trouble than it's worth, Wedding Photographers use that to promote themselves more than anything.
Well, from what I saw at the one wedding (and at least one other comment here) you may be missing out, because it was a HUGE hit and I want to give it a go.

Guess I'm just not listening to much y'all have to say.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Its actually about twice that, but damn id love to have it.

I'd consider renting mine out for the right price

Last edited by DetR6oit; January 3rd, 2009 at 01:51 PM.
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