Doing my first wedding for friend need help!!

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by russell jones (on ships), Sep 11, 2003.

  1. I need help please!! I have been away doing ship photography and
    now my friend wants me to do his wedding which i`m a bit
    inexperienced. I have an N80 with a Metz 44AF-3N flash. I need to
    know the best film for the job and which pictures are the mandatory
    traditional wedding ones. Also some hints and tips would be very
    much appreciated!!
  2. If you do not have a flash bracket and a SB-17 cord: explain to your 'friend' that it would be better to hire a photographer. You are equipped to shot a few shots, but cover the entire wedding.....?

    If you wish to continue your adventure, find a good book store or the photography section of your library. Time to do some research!
  3. At the bottom of the front page of the People forum is a wedding
    archive section with over a dozen threads on this topic, and a
    search on "wedding photography," "wedding film," and "wedding
    shot list" should provide dozens of additional threads.
  4. The best thing you could probably do for both yourself and your friend is decline.
    I photographed a friend's wedding... I now have a very clear understanding of why wedding photogs command large sums of money for their time.
    The last thing I really wanted to do was sort through the hundreds of negatives after the event, never mind print them. Then there was dealing with them wanting more prints of this, or that, etc. etc. Finally I just hinted that this was expensive and time consuming, and gave them the negs.

    I'll never do another wedding, at least not gratis.
  5. Gearld, Mike and Grant thankyou very much for your advice but declining is not an option due to time. I may not be equipped well and a flash bracket and SB - 17 cord??? please explain, but i do have to do with what i`ve got and i have got this far already (weddings excluded). I just need help of what the best film is for the job and any pointers if poss? And Grant Hefferman, i will NOT be shooting hundreds of films mate, its not royalty just a favour for a friend! Thanks for your time, appreciated!!!
  6. The 'best' film for the wedding depends a lot on the 'best' but unknown light conditions you will encounter on the day of the wedding.

    Like a Boy Scout, be prepared: if it is bright outside, you can use ISO 100 film. If it is overcast, ISO 200 or ISO 400 film. Late in the day outdoors: ISO 400 is good. Inside a church: ISO 400 or ISO 800, depending on how much 'grain' you like in your photographs. Will the church be well-lighted or dim? There is no way to answer the unknown, other than go prepared.
  7. Use 400 Portra color negative for prints. Bring extra batteries. Have film for 200 photographs.

    At the altar, ask the opinions of others who are older as to what the bride and groom should look like at the altar. Ask the question.

    It sounds like they can't afford a photographer. In this case, around the cake, get there early to get a good spot. If you are in doubt about framing the shot, back up and take in more of the picture. You can always crop later.

    If you have automatic mode on your flash, set it for ASA 200, but shoot 400 ASA film. This will give you a safety margin given you haven't really tested your equipment. Yes, I know that others will tell you to use a setting of 320 ASA, but trust me, you need a safety margin.

    Use only one speed setting on your camera which will be your flash sync speed. I guess that is 125 sec. or 250th sec. on your N80 Nikon.
    Frequently re-check your camera to make sure that you do not change this speed during the wedding. If you do, your pictures will be ruined. For safety, you could use a 125th if your flash syncs at 250th. Therefore, if the dial or setting moves one slot, you are OK.

    Although you are likely to end up with exposures one stop over exposed, that is fine for negative film. Do not use slide film.

    Photograph anything positive, such as affection, kisses, dancing, backslapping.

    Timber Borcherding timberborcherding
  8. I am only a beginner so I can't offer any technical advice but I have some experience in wedding planning and have learned much of what couples look for in their photographs.

    The photojournalisic approach combined with the traditional photographs always get the best results. If possible arrive at the bride's home before the wedding and document her getting ready. B&W shots of her preparing herself with family and or bridesmaids; detail shots of her gown, shoes, jewelry, mom or maid of honor helping her put on her veil, are great storytellers. This will also be a good time to squeeze in some family and bridal portraits. The wedding day is extremely hectic so getting as much of the family portraits beforehand is a great timesaver. The bride should have a timeline of how the day will flow. Ask that she give you a copy or at the very leat discuss it with her so that you are aware of the amount of time you have to work with. Always allow for more time becuase things always run behind schedule. Try and also get some shots of the groom before the ceremony, a shot of his boutinere on his lapel always makes for a nice detail shot of the grooms attire. During the ceremony, capture them as they enter; exchange vows; perform any symbolic rituals like lighting of candles, jumping of brooms, breaking glass, etc. Be sure and get the kiss and them as they walk down the aisle as a couple. If you follow behind them as they exit you will likely have an opportunity to capture some candid and intimate photos. Oh yes! Please be sure to check for any restrictions with the ceremony location beforehand (some churches do not allow flash during the ceremony or only allow you to shoot from designated areas and for the unprepared this can be a disaster)

    The best way to ensure that you don't miss any important people is to ask that the bride make you a list of family and freind portraits that she really wants, i.e. photo with Grandma. You may not know some of these people from Adam so an appointed liason will come in handy. If she fails to do this then simply look for immediate family, they are usually pretty easy to find and by far the most important must haves, and don't forget to take a portrait of each set of parents if they are in attendance. Couples work very hard on putting their event together. Including the details of the event in your photos will be very much appreciated. Some creative shots of the cake, centerpeices, bouquets, reception site, rings, the couple signing their marriage certificate, a shot with their officiant, the first dance, cake cutting, garter/bouqet toss, and guests dancing or having fun, etc. are always winners.

    As for the couple, most have never been photographed as much as they will be that day. Be sure to really pose them for formal shots and help them relax so you can capture some fun and romantic shots. A few classic and romantic examples are the bride and groom kissing while the bride's veil covers them both, or is softly blowing in the wind around them; bride and groom walking away from the camera holding hands-you can make this into a series by having both turn to look back, bride at the camera with a beautiful smile and groom gazing at his brides face, and the ultimate must have-groom dipping his bride. I haven't even discussed bridal party but this is probably much more than you expected to read. A great place to get a detailed list of "must have" photos is on the weddingchannel.
    You have taken on quite a task. I wish you all the best!
    Have fun and good luck!!
  9. Thanks for your help folks!!
  10. The flash bracket and cord are important because the setup seperates the flash vertically from the camera whether you are shooting vertically or horizontally oriented shots. This is pretty important for weddings if you shoot anything indoors because it prevents the harsh shadow of your flash on one side of your subject (flash is always above the lens so the shadow is hidden). It also elliminates red-eye that you may get with if the flash is closer to the lens.

    You may be able to find the bracket and cord at a local camera shop. If not, B&H regular ground shipping always gets my orders to me (in Nevada) in 4-5 days. If cost is an issue, discuss how much better it will make the photos with your friend and if he's smart he'll buy it for you.
  11. Hi Russel. I have shot a zillion weddings and still love doing it.

    The wedding planner's advice above is pretty sound.

    I would only add that it helps first time wedding shooters to go to
    the rehearsal. There you will see what lighting and distances
    you'll be up against, and see the flow of action before hand. Plus
    the Priest/Pastor/Rabbi or Offical will be there to tell you what
    their preferences are concerning photography.

    Only you know your friend, so you should sit down with the
    couple and discuss their expectations. Then you can plan your
    gear around that information.

    The other piece of sound advice given here is to get a flip flash
    bracket and off camera cord. I'd add getting a diffuser also. Raw
    flash has the potential of giving the new Mother-in-law a chin that
    looks like a pack of hot dogs as well as putting 10 years on her
    face. The flash bracket eliminates red eye, and produces a
    slightly downward light that sculpts the face and gives it
    dimenson. The Diffuser softens the light and wraps it around the
    face while minimizing wrinkles.

    I'd also take a tripod. During 90% of those zillion weddings I've
    shot no flash is allowed during the ceremony. Shoot from the
    tripod using slow shutter speeds (they're not playing soccer up
    there, so it is easy to do with a tripod). Film? ISO 160 (Kodak
    Portra 160NC) and a 400 speed film is all you need. And if you
    think you can get away with just shooting a handful of films, you'll
    be out of film before you leave the church...and you'll then use
    what at the reception?

    Go to and look through some of the info to get
    up to speed on current weddings.
  12. This may be a little late for you, but it would help you greatly to go the nearest Barns&Noble or Borders book store and find the 3-4 current books on wedding photography. The two that I just "browsed" in the store were excellent and covered all aspects of wedding photography. If you're serious, then buy one and study it. If not, browsing will give you great ideas. You don't sound like you are experienced with weddings either, let alone wedding photography. It would help you greatly to serve only as the backup or second photographer the first time, especially if the primary (professional?) photographer is friendly. This way you can observe the standard "set up" or classical poses being shot at the wedding, and you can also be free to shoot it as a wedding photo-journalist: wandering around photographing every interesting event and the most interestion people you can get your camera on. And there's lots of 'em; they even dress up for you. You didn't mention lenses, but if you can get a fast fixed lens, and some faster 800 ISO FUJI press film or 3200 B&W then you can photograph the actual ceremony when flash is not appreciated. I've done all of this myself with great success, producing the photographs favored bv the bride and groom later. You can just pick out your favorites to make 8X10s or larger, double so one goes to the bride and one to keep. Then let them go through the 4x6 prints themselves with the prices for copies and decide themselves what they want to pay to have printed and for whom.
    After doing this twice as a secondary photographer, I've just been asked to become the only photographer for a friend of my daughters. As happy as I've been with my previous experience, I have to admit it worries me to be the only one responsible for someone's wedding photographs even if they say ahead of time that they really only want 2 or 3 good photographs from the whole thing. Why not invite another friend of yours or theirs to share the job? Also, better borrow a second camera in case one malfunctions, or you want to shoot two different kinds of film.
  13. Hi Russell, It looks loke you got a lot of great advice, but the one thing I might add is that if you have a tripod, definetely use it. A previous response said to use Fuji 800 press film in the church where you cannot use flash. I agree and have used 800 with great success, but if you can put your cam on a tripod and set if for apeture priorty and let your cam pick the shutter speed, you will get some great church shots. I personally do not like the "flash" look in everything, so by using the tripod, you will be able to get a lot of great shots without flash throughout the day. Good luck and let us all know how you made out.
  14. Great tips above. The only other one I can add is the processing of film. Get a good local one who processing the film in-house. Having the film send to say A&E or others might get lost. Plus, you can talk to the person processing films directly, if you want highlights, corrections of color cast, etc.
  15. If I were to give you one tip it would be to get someone to act as an assistant to organise people for the formal shots. It is very difficult to take the photos and run around organising people as well. Particularly if you are not used to it.

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