Advice for wedding photography equipment?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by phil_jones|6, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. I'm doing a shoot for my first wedding experience there isn't to much time to prepare, only about 2 weeks till the wedding day..The ceremony will be inside a church. My concern is the equipment that I have since I'm fairly new photographer, what i have is Canon T2i with sigma 17-70mm f2.8 and canon ef 50mm f1.8 ii, with 430ex ii flash (which sometimes will stop firing for like 10 mins during low light indoor events)
    I'm worried about the zoom levels that I can't reach far enough to get some shots, I have no idea how close I'm allowed to stand between myself and the bride and groom without causing distraction and looking like a bother to the crowd. I don't have huge wad of cash to spend on a expensive telephoto lens.
     
  2. I'm doing a shoot for my first wedding experience there isn't to much time to prepare, only about 2 weeks till the wedding day.​
    That's not a lot of time, but okay.
    *
    The ceremony will be inside a church. My concern is the equipment that I have since I'm fairly new photographer, what i have is Canon T2i with sigma 17-70mm f2.8 and canon ef 50mm f1.8 ii, with 430ex ii flash (which sometimes will stop firing for like 10 mins during low light indoor events)​
    The first thing I want to say is, your equipment isn't the problem, at least not the main problem. The main problem is that weddings are complicated, fast moving events, and it takes a fair amount of planning to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time with the right equipment in your hands and a confident understanding of what you have to do. The more you know about what is going to happen, in what order, and when, the better you'll do. You can take $20,000 worth of equipment with you, but if don't know what you are supposed to do, well, the equipment won't matter.
    That said, your T2i is perfectly capable of shooting a wedding. It's perhaps not the weapon of choice for successful wedding pros, but don't let that worry you. The main problem I see is that it's the only camera you mentioned. You should have a backup camera. What happens if your camera stops working? It's unlikely — but it happens. If it hasn't happened to you yet, well, as you said, you're inexperienced.
    The Sigma 17-70: is that a fixed f/2.8, or are you referring to the lens that is f/2.8 at the wide end and something else (can't remember exactly) at the tele end, like f/4.5? If I've guessed the lens correctly it's a good lens, and would work fine while you are using flash. But you may wish you had a fixed f/2.8 (or faster) lens for shooting the ceremony, since you probably won't be permitted to use flash there. Your 50 f/1.8 might be the lens to use during the ceremony.
    *
    I'm worried about the zoom levels that I can't reach far enough to get some shots, I have no idea how close I'm allowed to stand between myself and the bride and groom without causing distraction and looking like a bother to the crowd. I don't have huge wad of cash to spend on a expensive telephoto lens.​
    Will your lenses be long enough? Well, the sooner you are able to visit the church, the sooner you'll know. But in a general way, I would say, yes, probably. I mean, you may wish that you had a 100mm or 135mm or even 200mm lens, if they stick you up in the balcony and forbid you to move. But you do what you can do. You may have to crop. The problem is really that the 50 — the lens you're most likely to use for the ceremony, as I said — may indeed be a tad short, for some shots, and a tad long for others. I usually shoot with 2 bodies, each with its own lens. I like to have something like a 28, 30 or 35mm prime on one body, and something between 70mm and 135mm on the other, depending on the venue. But you shoot with what you've got.
    The big problem sounds like it's your flash. Just one flash? What if it breaks? (I've had quite a few break on me.) And what if it does what apparently you already KNOW it does, and it stops working for a while? I mean, say this happens during the bride's dance with her father? Or the bouquet toss? or the cutting of the cake or something else important? Do you ask everybody to just wait 10 minutes while you're flash takes a nap? Wedding photographers typically want flashes that are reliable and that cycle fast.
    I understand that you are on a tight budget. I'm not quite sure what to suggest. I think the #1 item you need is a reliable flash. You can buy flash units that are pretty decent for $200 or not much more, if you shop carefully. Might not have the highest guide number but if it tilts and swivels, that's fine. Don't buy it the day before the wedding, though, because you'll need to practice, and practice, and practice some more.
    There are tons of threads here where advice is given to photographers about to shoot their first wedding. I'd suggest searching, and spending an hour or two reading. You might want to pick up a book on wedding photography too either by purchase or from your local library. But don't get lost studying. Practice and planning now are more important than anything.
    Good luck.
    Will
     
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I suggest you take the small amount of cash you have and beg, borrow or rent:
     another camera body
     another flash.
    Then get to the Church and find out from the Priest exactly where you can move to and how far you can move.
    And also confirm if Flash Photography is allowed, or not.
    And ask what if any other Local Church Rules there might be.
    Also take your camera with you to the Church, so you can get some idea of the EV (light level) in the Church.
    Based on that information, you might need to rent a telephoto lens and perhaps a monopod or a tripod.
    These are pretty much the main points my colleague William Porter has made – and I generally agree with the other details he mentions, too.
    WW
     
  4. Good advice above. I just have two more comments.
    1. Are you doing this as favor to a friend or are you charging money for this?
    2. The flash may stop firing due to the thermal cut off switch. Read about that in your flash manual. If you don't already, switch to Eneloop AAs. And be aware of what causes the thermal switch to activate. Also bring plenty of spare sets.
     
  5. William W. nailed it. Get them to budget for equipment rental if you can and get some sort of back up, etc.
     
  6. Thank you guys for the great advice I will look into it.
    @Nadine yes it is a paid job
    Also I'm looking to a get some sort of portable light on a budget price, what can you guys recommend as I dont have much experience with photo lighting equipment.
     
  7. Portable off camera flash gear used by wedding photographers covers a huge range, from shoemounts to monolights. It depends on you and how you are going to light your shots. It is impossible to just recommend something without knowing what you intend to do.
     
  8. I agree with what everyone else said above. I just wanted to add.
    1. Make sure you have extra memory, I've had them fail before.
    2. Make sure you have spare batteries (for flash, camera), for whatever reason the ones you have may not work when you need them the most. At least have one extra set. Two extra would be better. Since you learning you'll probably want to be taking more shots to increase your rate of keepers.
    3. Shoot some shots with flash, some without in low light, and vary your shots also so you will always have some safe shots and some a little experimental. Get the safe ones out of the way first, sometimes wedding events happen so fast you only have one chance to get them. Better to have a safe boring picture than to miss the event completely (Ceremony Kiss, ring exchange, bride coming down the aisle, first dance, etc.) then if you have time, shoot for some nice experimental artistic stuff.
     
  9. Think very carefully about how you will use the equipment at each stage of the day , plan and practice your setups .dont go for anything fancy that you are not familiar with ... dont wing it .. the equipment is not the important bit. I have managed to second shoot recently and I can tell you that the equipment isnt the factor in what i kept and what was thrown away. IF you are in situations where you dont / cant use flash take extra frames from various angles..in the pressure cooker its what to point the camera at and in what general manner to use the camera that is the problem as oppossed to what the camera is. Whatever gear you have practice using it , whatever gear you rent get it delivered days before the wedding so you can practice using it , even if it is lenses so you can somewhat predict what happens with the particular copy you have, ie is it soft as mushy peas wide open etc.
     

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