Equipment for first wedding?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by michael ( lee, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. Hello all,
    I posted a thread a little while back about whether to take on the
    responsibility of shooting a friend's wedding (my first). Since I did
    the engagement shoot for her, I've thankfully received a lot of
    compliments from folks she and her family have shown the photos to.
    Now, her mother is personally asking me if I will do the shoot for
    her. I certainly want to do it, but it's a big responsibility, and
    it's not just me, here, who'd be dissapointed if it didn't work out
    Okay.... given that, I'm trying to determine what equipment I'll need
    to get it right. Here's what I have: <p>
    Canon EOS 10D <br>
    BG-ED3 battery grip w/ two BP-11 batteries <br>
    512 MB CF card<br>
    Sigma 28-300mm 3.5-6.3 zoom<br>
    Sigma 105mm 2.8 portrait/macro<br>
    A friend will let me borrow his 10D as a backup (thanks, Josh), so
    that's covered.
    Now, here's what I think I'll need in addition to what I actually
    have (I highly doubt I'll even bring my 28-300mm to the wedding): <br>
    Canon 17-40mm 4.0 L USM <br>
    Canon 50mm 1.8<br>
    Canon 550ex flashhead<br>
    two extra batteries<br>
    1 gig CF card<br>
    Quite an expensive 'wishlist', I know, but it seems that it'll help
    me capture the wedding the best that I can. What do you all think?
    Will that be sufficient? Is there other equipment you'd suggest? I
    don't plan on bringing a tripod. Bad? Okay?
    Do you think that's enough battery juice (a total of four)? Will the
    512 MB + 1 gig of memory be enough if I shoot all high quality JPEG?
    Thanks in advance for any feedback. It's very much appreciated.
  2. Personally, I wouldn't shoot j-peg large or any j-peg. It's similar to shooting slide film for a wedding... pretty unforgiving of exposure error. Also, digital is notorious for blowing the highlights which cannot be recovered like they can with neg film (which has a greater latitude for over-exposure). Sooooo, I recommend that you shoot RAW... which means 1.5 gigs of CF cards may not be enough storage. I'd buy or borrow at least two more 512 meg cards for a total of 2.5 meg. Flip Flash Bracket and off camera cord. (See attached pic. and all the threads below for more info). A diffuser for the flash. A tripod and the electronic cable release for the 10D. Bring your 28-300 just in case. Consider the Canon 50/1.4 instead. It is a much better lens. Borrow a second flash (a 420 will do, and it balances on the 10D better than the 550) If you get a set of batteries with the borrowed 10D (4 total) that should be enough. The 10D is easy on batteries. But bring the charger with you. If it looks like you may need more juice you can start charging right when you get to the reception.
  3. Oops, make that 2.5 gigs. 2.5 meg won't even get you out of the starting gate.
  4. Marc is spot on...shoot RAW. assuming 10 rolls of film, that's 360 pics. A 1 gig card holds around 140 RAW pics.

    The stroboframe camera flip from tiffen is also a good PJ bracket. You need the OCS cord too. You may want to consider two 420's instead of one 550 for redundancy.

    Other advice for a first timer:

    Shoot flash in manual mode! f 5.6-11 depending on DOF. Portraits up close f2-11.

    Consider renting if you cannot afford the gear, tell the couple/mom that to do it RIGHT this is necessary. Pass the rental cost to them. If you rent get the gear one day before the event and test it out.

    Attend the rehearsal to plan the shoot, bring a film body if you have one and shoot a coupe rolls for insurance and a different effect.

    Burn your images to CD before you erase your CF. Always have two working copies in case one blows up.

    Prepare a shot list.

    Get 'Color One' RAW converter.
  5. William, what is Color One RAW converter? Is there a web site to take a look at it?
  6. I read the response about shooting flash in manual mode. I am learning to use the 10D
    and the EX550. What is the reason for shooting in manual mode?
  7. This really sounds like a bad idea.However,if you must go forward,shoot 200 pictures everyday of people with the intended gear.When all 200 come out perfect over a weeks time,you will be ready.As far as backup gear,have 2 of everything and have both rigs ready to fire.If the primary rig fails to go bang when you push the button,you dont want to be fiddling with gear.
  8. I would skip the 17-40 an just go with a 24mm and if you really want a 35mm lens, much cheaper and quite a bit faster. 24-50-105macro is quite sufficient for most anything at a wedding. If this is your first wedding I would highly suggest skipping any manual and flash use unless your familiar with it already. I would think one flash would suffice in a pinch so go with the best you can afford and just let the camera do its thing. Not like you can't review your shots, thinking the only must have shots that will demand a flash is the formals. Everything else can be natural light or just shoot heavy checking the viewer occasionally to make sure your in an exceptable range of exposure. Outside of that go light as possible and have some fun!
  9. A few thoughts that some may not have taken into consideration: "I would skip the 17-40 an just go with a 24mm" This would be excellent advice for a full frame sensor or film camera. However, the 10D Michael will be using has a 1.6X lens magnification factor... making a 24mm in effect a 39mm. A 17-40 is actually like a 28-65/4 zoom. If wide angle coverage is desired, a 24mm won't provide it. "This really sounds like a bad idea. However, if you must go forward, shoot 200 pictures everyday of people with the intended gear. When all 200 come out perfect over a weeks time, you will be ready..." Steve, this assumes a beginner at photography, which a trip to Michael's PN folder dispels. However a trip to your PN folder shows that you know what you are talking about (Nice stuff Steve). Your advice to practice with the gear under a bit of pressure ain't a bad idea. " I read the response about shooting flash in manual mode. I am learning to use the 10D and the EX550. What is the reason for shooting in manual mode?" Well, if you set AV mode, when shooting flash at a dark reception, the camera will set the shutter speed as if there was no flash being used... resulting in really long "hand held" exposure times. If you set Program mode, the camera takes over and won't allow any control of ambient light levels (which is fine, IF a wall of black behind the subject is okay). If you set Tv mode and then set a lower shutter speed, it is similar to Manual mode up to a point, but the aperture LED will be flashing in the view finder warning that the lens can't open up enough, and the ETTL flash tends to become dominate producing an image like the Program mode, with a "wall of black" background. Manual mode lets you pick the exposure for the background ambient light, while the ETTL flash exposes for the foreground subject matter. It is easy to do, especially with a digital camera & LCD review. Plus, you can quickly alter the degree of flash with the on flash compensation buttons. If subject is close, alter it toward -, further away, alter it toward +. Here's a close up example of the control you can exercise in Manual mode. A detail shot of a Goblet the Bride hand made for every one of her guests. Canon 10D camera on Manual mode, set aperture and shutter speed to capture the candle lit ambient background, and the ETTL flash set to -1.5 because I was so close.
  10. Thanks for the very helpful explanation about the EX550 flash. Your image of the candles
    and the glass is excellent. Did the meter show proper exposure at the f stop and aperture
    you selected? And I also wonder what metering mode you used? I've got a lot to learn
    about flash photography.

    Also, imo you are being way too tough on your web site!
  11. The big fear is blowing out the highlights with digital.Shooting a wedding with digital is like using slide film,as far as exposure latitude is concerned.Also,wedding photography is a unique situation.The time is limited and the subjects are often impatient.The wedding shooter should have a plan to follow that comes automatically.Thinking about what you doing,and not going on instinct,tends to kill the emotion you are trying to capture on film.I would caution a 1st timer to assist at a few weddings prior to getting their feet wet.
  12. Thanks for all feedback. Revives my love of!

    I should say, I have actually shot a wedding before, sort of. A friend got married, but could only afford a professional for the ceremony. I shot the reception. I would say the hard work was done by the pro; shooting the reception put less demand on me, and was actually fun due to the nature of it being rather candid. The awesome thing about that 'wedding' experience, is that my photos made the front entrance of their house, whereas the pro's are a bit more hidden (album...?).

    I'll be quite honest, the only thing I'm worried about is the formal shots, which is why I'll visit the location with the gear I intend to use prior to the actual wedding. Perhaps I'm wrong, but there's less pressure in getting the 'getting ready' shots, and the fun reception shots. It's the freedom of capturing candids that I look forward to. With December still a bit away, I have time to get in gear (pun intended) and practice! Some of your comments are tough, which I expect, but we've got to start somewhere. More than that, my *express* reluctance and indecision is, by nature, apparent to all who are urging me to do the wedding. They know who their 'hiring' -- they know my wedding experience (lack thereof).

    Good or bad, I sincerely appreciate all the feedback. Practice is the modus operandi from here on out, I suppose. Another friend is getting married (gee, can you tell I'm around 'that age'..?!) in August. He's actually a member, and knows of all I'm considering and going through with my current decision. He knows my limitations, but has seen some of my shots and says he'd still like me to consider shooting his wedding. I'll practice before his big day, of course, but should I decide to shoot his wedding I'll no doubt gain experience there too.

    Thanks again, and please, the more feedback the better.

  13. btw,

    Mark, I definitely appreciate you sharing your knowledge and pics.

    Steve, though your comments might be a bit harsh ("bad idea"), they're real, and weathered, and teach me about the less desirable reality of the pressure at a wedding.

    I've looked at both of your PN portfolios, and if I aspire to shoot photos like that, I'll be setting myself up for potential success. Great stuff.
  14. Generally what ISO speeds on your digital camera are you using? Just curious...
  15. Hadji, believe it or not, I rarely if ever set any of my digital cameras on anything other than
    ISO 100.

    I tend to shoot f/1.4 L type Canon lenses wide open, and use slow shutter speeds
    like 1/15th for a 35/1.4 lens and 1/50th for a 85/1.2 lens. I do this because digital has
    made me confident that the ETTL flash will freeze the foreground subject due to the short
    duration of the burst of light, and the background is so out of focus that camera
    movement is hard to detect or doesn't matter.

    Another aspect of digital shooting is that it is better to underexpose than overexpose...
    the exact opposite of neg. film. You can easily lift shadow areas in a RAW digital image,
    but you cannot restore blown whites because there is no data to restore from.
  16. Oh, BTW Mike, I also tend to develop "flop sweat" over the procession and posed shots as
    opposed to the candid PJ stuff. I think part of it is that they don't interest me all that
    much, and to me are just a necessary evil with wedding photography. I have to force
    myself to concentrate on them when shooting.

    However, it CAN be done with real style. For example, I really like Mary Ball's approach
    group shots. She has a really terrific connection with her subjects and it shows in her
    results. They're so human in feeling compared to the usual "deer in the headlights"
    formals done by so many other shooters.

    My occasional shooting partner has the same kind of talent as Mary when it comes to
    group shots. He is the Executive Photographer to the Governor of Michigan, and has
    gotten some really stuffy politicians to relax in front of his camera in a matter of
    seconds... even Presidential candidate Kerry (who reminds me of the old Johnny Carson
    joke about ED Sullivan as being "the only man in show business that could trigger an
    audience to file past him" ; -)

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