First Wedding

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jocelyn_smith|2, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. I need major help. I am shooting my first wedding ever next month and need to know what equipment you would recommend. I know I need to buy a lens and a flash and am willing to spend the money to get those. The wedding is at 3:00 in a small chapel. Followed by a trolley ride of downtown Nashville. The reception will be in a dimly lit bar (Roberts Western World) from 6:00 - 9:00. They do not want me to bring a light in. I need to get a flash for my camera so I can bounce it off the ceiling, right? What lighting do I use during the ceremony? Do I use a flash?
    Here is what I own:
    Canon Rebel XSI
    Canon Kit Lens 18-55 0.25m/0.8ft
    Canon 50 mm 1:1.4
    Do I need one of those big long canon grey and black lenses? What flash do I need? Any tips you can give me are appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Wow - I know you are doing this to help a friend. But unless you are doing it for free, and your friend cannot afford a more experienced photographer, this sounds like a straight recipe for disaster.
  3. Please tell us how advanced you are with photography and whether you have done professional work before, either in portraiture or people related photography.
    Just from what you've said, you will need an external flash--430EX or 580EX, you won't necessarily need a big grey and black lens, but you will need a back up camera body, lens and flash, along with plenty of memory cards and batteries for both the camera and flash.
    I would suggest you use Program mode and learn how to tell if you are underexposed or overexposed in both ambient and flash, learning how to compensate both. Use One Shot focusing, and don't use AV or aperture priority inside with flash.
    Whether you use flash during the ceremony depends on what the church allows--find out. If they don't allow flash, that is usually confined to right after the hand off of the bride to right before the kiss at the end. Processionals and recessionals are usually OK to cover with flash. If you can't use flash, you may have to get access to a tripod.
    You may be able to bounce off the bar's ceiling, but then again, you might not. It depends on the height and color. You can use a white card modifier or use the flash direct. Look up Neil van Niekerk's site and start reading all the articles about using on camera flash.
    If you buy a lens, I'd suggest the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, regular or VC.
  4. Nadine - thank you for being kind. I have been shooting portraits, mostly babies and families for the last 5 years. I am trying to learn as much as I can. I will definitely check out Neil's site. You do not think I need the Canon 70-200? Also when you say "use the flash direct" do you mean the 430EX?
  5. "Do I need one of those big long canon grey and black lenses?"
    Not a good sign. Please find someone more qualified to do the wedding and be the second photographer. Otherwise this will be bad! You need a 580ex flash and use the bounce card or direct flash at least! Your rebel doesn't have good iso capabilities so I would recommend you use flash at the ceremony because if you shoot with your 50 1.4 and you don't have experience with it, you may have images out of focus. You could rent the 70-200 and I would recommend renting a better camera body.
  6. Would you recommend a Canon 5D?
  7. Jocelyn--Neil van Niekerk has a book out too. You might start reading the archived threads (shown to the right of the list of threads).
    No, you don't need the 70-200mm. Your 50mm f1.4 is great on a cropped sensor body unless you are banished to the back of a very large church. Then rent an 85mm f1.8 or the 70-200mm, but if not allowed to use flash, it is best to still bring a tripod.
    When I say 'use the flash direct', I mean any flash. This is also unmodified, with the flash head pointing straight forward toward the subject. It isn't the best, but if you are not practiced with bouncing flash, it would probably be necessary.
  8. The 5D is a fine camera--I have one. However, unless you plan to go into wedding photography, or were going to buy one anyway, the Rebel should be fine.
  9. What restrictions, if any, are there at the church, particularly regarding flash?
  10. Nadine - Thank you! It is a very small chapel and I can use my flash, they just don't want me to distract from the ceremony. I think I will stick with my rebel, buy a flash and learn how to use it. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.
  11. The couple is very non-traditional and there are no restrictions in the chapel. They do not want a bunch of posed pictures at the ceremony or reception. Do I need to bring my light for any posed that they will let me take in the chapel after the ceremony? Or should my flash be ok?
  12. rebel xsi is a capable body... i wouldn't have any issues shooting a wedding with it and producing good results. heck..i shoot weddings with my 5dm2 and i rarely go above iso 400.
    your lenses is more of a problem...maybe rent a 20-70 or the 10-22 ef-s. go rent a flash too.. you don't need to go 580ex.a 430 would suffice.
  13. Mark and Nadine - if you had to pick one lens that I need the most, which would it be?
  14. the rebel is OK but you still need a backup camera. So I think you should rent one.
  15. I agree Missy and I will rent a back up for sure. I loved your website and wondered which lens you use most often when you shoot a wedding inside?
  16. If you're going to buy one, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, regular or VC. If you're going to rent, go for the 24-70mm f2.8 or 24-105mm f4, since you can use flash during the ceremony.
    Bring your 'light' if you have an off camera flash--what is it? Usually, you can use one after the ceremony for the posed photos, although if the couple doesn't want any posed photos, why do them?
  17. if i could only have 1 lens for a wedding... 24-70 2.8 would be it. but thats my shooting style.. the lens really depends on your particular shooting style.
  18. They want a few, just not many. I have an Alien Bees B400 light. Will that work?
  19. Sure. Be aware that during this time, you are really stressed due to time constraints, but things should be easier if they don't want a lot of posed images. I'm talking about set up, take down, figuring exposure, etc. You just don't have time to waste. You also should be aware of running cords around--liability. Don't be surprised if people ask you to shoot a lot more posed groups than you think. The couple usually have one idea, but their parents and other family have other ideas.
  20. "They do not want a bunch of posed pictures at the ceremony or reception. "
    I suggest you look into a contract right away, and get the above put in writing on it.
    You'd be amazed how many people say one thing before the wedding, and another afterwards. Tie them down to a contract.
  21. I use the 24-70mm 2.8 and shoot Manual with a 580ex bounced or natural light depending on how dark the place is. If it's too dark I throw on my 135mm 2.0 or my 50mm
  22. Hi Jocelyn,
    You may want to check out the Fong Dong for your future flash vs bounce cards. I think you may find it easier to work with for your first wedding. It sounds like a very casual couple and I'm sure you'll do fine. I look back and can't believe I shot my first wedding without a back up camera, because if something can go wrong will, but if you can even borrow one from someone just in case something goes wrong with yours that will help.
    Anyway, good luck the first is the hardest! I had nightmares for weeks before hand that I showed up without my equipment, no batteries, no memory cards, thought it was the wrong get the idea.
  23. Ugh there are so many things that can go wrong which is why its important to second shoot and assist for a while.
    -Make sure you have enough batteries and don't use lithium for the flash
    -Check your iso every time you go inside and outside
    -Check your WB
    -Make sure you dont use a shutter speed lower than 1/60 if it's handheld
    -If you're in the sun use fill flash
    -If you can try to go for shaded areas to shoot in.
    -Make sure your images are in focus, chimp and if one is out of focus take it again
    -Check the pictures every 10-15 shots to make sure they are good, use the histogram, look for blown out highlights. Re-take anything that you don't think looks good. Just say to them "lets do it again, I need to get another angle". They won't know what you're doing.
    -Dont miss the first kiss in the church!
    There are so many things you have to prepare for.
  24. Jocelyn,
    I havent read alll the comments, i dont have time for that. What i can tell you, is to get a couple of books about wedding phtography. They give out really good explanation about it.
    If you are not taking this scenario as business, and you are just doing this to help out a friend, dont invest any money. If you are looking forward to get some kind of business about this, you better read some books about lighting, wedding, prints, etc.
    A lot of people will tewll you "dont do this for god sake" blah bla blah.... Just be honest to your friend and tell them to do not expect anything else great, but you are going to do your best.
    One advice, Best pictures you capture them moving around a lot, but dont make noise, dont be in the middle of the way.
  25. I gotta agree with Nish, this is nothing but a recipe for disaster. If you don't know what equipment you need or how to use the equipment (I have an Alien Bees B400 light. Will that work?) then merely having or renting the equipment isn't going to do you any good. i could go to Lowes and buy power tools till I max out my credit card but I still couldn't build you a house- i'd be lucky to hobble together a coffee table! It's not about the equipment, it's about what you know. And if you are asking these questions you don't have the knowledge. I am not trying to be rude, just realistic. There is no way anything anyone writes here can prepare you for a wedding in a month. If you do decide to pursue this, I agree Luis G get EVERYTHING in writing.
  26. How confident are you? I agree with Mark T and would lease the equipment you need. I am not a wedding photographer but can imagine their being a lot of pressure involved. Like other people have said it may be a good idea to assist this wedding unless you are very confident. Good luck.
  27. My first wedding was super casual, no money involved. It was an experience gained for me and some nice pictures gained for them. As long as they know you love the experience but are not....experienced that is. Your 1.4 will be great! Good luck and post some pix.
  28. Jocelyn, I know you didn't ask, but I third this sounds like a recipe for disaster. For many, weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime event, and in any case, they will look at and share these images for years and decades to come. Your inexperience with weddings makes you more likely to miss key moments, and your inexperience with on-camera flash makes you more likely to not adjust to surprises quickly enough. Definitely reconsider this idea. You don't want to ruin a friendship or drag your name through the mud on social media sites.
    If you decide to go through with this anyway, I hope everything turns out well. A few more tips:
    • Get more CF cards, camera batteries, and flash batteries than you dream you'll need.
    • If you're using multiple lenses, plan how they'll be stored and swapped.
    • Don't let 'guest photographers' prevent getting key shots.
  29. I agree with Mark T and would lease the equipment you need.​
    Personally, I only rent lenses I don't use too frequently like the 10-22mm EF-S, although I would have no qualms about renting backups. For the speed required to shoot weddings I would aim to know key gear intimately, especially if one doesn't have the experience to anticipate what's coming next.
  30. Jocelyn: do not let all these "recipe for disaster" posts bother you. You have received some very good "positive and helpful" comments from some very accomplished photographers. Yes, you should do your due diligence to learn as much as you can about the equipment you own or will acquire. Will you make mistakes...yes! Will everything turn out! I was asked to do a wedding for a family member about two years ago..and I am not a wedding photographer. I almost let these same "recipe for disaster" comments compel me to turn the opportunity down. I even offered to pay for a photographer as our wedding gift. Here was their answer...our wedding is a celebration..we will have family members/friends sing and they are not professional, we will have family members/friends participate in all aspects of our marriage...the groom's father performed the ceremony, the family members provided the food. It is more important, to us, to have our family share in all aspects of our wedding than to have "professional" be involved. After this, I told them I would be pleased to do the very best I could for them. My equipment included a D80, SB-800 flash, 24-85mm & 50mm 1:4 lens, as well as my wife assisted with her D40, SB-600 flash and 18-200mm lens. We took lots and lots of pictures and had more than enough really nice keepers to produce a 10 page (20 side) album. In fact, the bride and groom could not decide on what pictures to exclude from the album. I will sum this up with this...learn all you can about your equipment, be the very best you can be, loosen up, have fun...and take lots of pictures. You can do this for them!!
  31. Sorry, another one for the 'think twice before doing this option'. Its not that people are wrong in encouraging you, its just simple business sense. It might all work out, the clients might be totally happy with the results. What do you gain? some valuable experience. What does your client gain? Probably some nice shots. BUT if you were a second shooter, you would gain better experience, as you would learn from someone who does this all the time, also if your shots werent up to scratch, it would not be the end of the world.
    In this case, if you dont get the results, you do no favours whatsoever for your reputation, and no favours for your client. It takes a while to build a reputation, but you can ruin one in seconds. You should really not take on jobs that you dont know that you can definately do. well. My friends and family were sick of me practising on them, but it was the only way that i could get the experience so that when it mattered and my first client was paying me, and expecting good results, i knew i could deliver.
    Also, you must have seen in the forums the number of cases of angry customers harassing photographers who often did a fine job, people may be all smiles before the job, but sometimes things can turn nasty very quickly, and the best way to cover yourself is to know your trade inside-out and get everything in writing, and decline a job if you arent 100% confident of the results.
    I am sorry, with the questions you are asking, it sounds like you just dont know your equipment nearly well enough. Being bold and optimistic is a great overall trait, especially in business, but be realistic too, get some second shooter experience, where the stakes are not so high.
  32. The only thing I would change is the kit lens 18-55mm. Get a decent lens on there, at least for the day. If that means renting the 24-70, so be it. As for the light: probably stick to just one for simplicity. Having two lights doesn't mean you will know what to do with them. Bring along the Alienbees for the formal shots, and definitely get a Speedlight (430EX) and plan to bounce. Maybe get the Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce to assist.
    Don't listen to the nay-sayers. Everybody has to start somewhere, but we don't all get a second chance. You'd have to be nuts to turn down your first opportunity. Just make sure you can handle it and don't embarass yourself. Do some scouting at the venue beforehand and decide where you're going to set up for formals. See if you can get permission in advance to take some photos in the venue, so you can make sure your lighting is going to turn out. Do this several weeks in advance, so you can be there at the same time of day as the ceremonies. Scouting out the morning-of will be too late to make necessary changes, plus the natural light will be different anyway. Things will move way too fast on wedding day, so rehearsal is key. There's an idea: get involved with the wedding rehearsal (if they are having one) and use it to finalize your process.
    Keep your lighting simple, and there's less chance you'll muff it in the end. Preparation!
  33. Buy a flash.
    Some extra batteries (NIMH) for the flash. An extra battery for the camera.
    Buy a couple of extra 4 gig memory cards (should be good for 800+ pictures).
    Use program mode on the camera as this is your first wedding.
    Ignore those that say you should not. If you have been doing babies and families for 5 years and the people are happy you will do OK.
    Have fun.
  34. Sorry--correction to my rental recommendation. If you are renting, it would be the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS, not the 24-70mm, which would be a bit long to be an all purpose zoom.
  35. You should definitely warn the Bride and Groom of your inexperience, and make sure they are prepared to accept the results whatever they may be. You may be a naturally gifted photographer, and they may love your photos, but Wedding Photography is a highly specialized field. The nature of your questions indicates your inexperience in this area. Just make sure they know this going in, and accept the risks.
  36. I have to ask, to all of those suggesting the OP shoot the wedding.... where did it say they were doing this as a favor for a friend or family? I suppose what ruffles my feathers is that there is a post elsewhere in which the client wants a refund because in the clients opinion the photos aren't very good. And the client is right. But the that isn't the issue. The issue is expectations.
  37. Indeed, it is all about expectations. One day we read about how everyone's become a wedding photographer, with rates falling like stones, along with qualifications, and the next we read about just what it takes to be a real wedding photographer, and the consequences of being a poser in the profession. There are elements of truth in both. The fact is that wedding photography (at least in the US) has become a big business and one predicated on what may often be storybook expectations of glamour. What concerns me is that the OP didn't say that the gig itself was informal or free, just that the couple was unconventional. I'm not sure what that means...
    This doesn't say much about their expectations, which I think are really critical. If they expect the kinds of images they've seen on the web, or at places like PNET, the OP is not going to achieve them with her experience and gear. On the other hand, if they have stated modest and attainable goals, then perhaps all will be well.
    Fact check: My mom and dad had exactly one picture from their wedding ceremony. Then again, they got married in 1943. Two of my nephews got married last year and the resulting images would clog a TB drive.
    Different's hoping that the OP and her friends are of like minds and expectations.
  38. I don't think Jocelyn said whether it is for friends and family or not. To me, it doesn't matter, because she is going to do what she is going to do, whatever the case. I usually just try to answer the question(s)--I am not suggesting that she shoot or not shoot the wedding. This doesn't mean that warnings about being unprepared, or not finding out about or meeting client expectations aren't good--they are. The thing is, we can't know for sure what the exact situation is--so how can we judge whether she should or shouldn't shoot the wedding?
  39. Hi Nadine
    I agree entirely. My only point is that there could be a significant difference between what the couple expects and the OP can deliver. The OP would be wise to have a pretty good sense that she can accomplish what the couple wants.
    Hopefully, she does...
  40. To chime in here, I'd say get everything in writing, signed by both you and the client(s). I agree with Paul and others, you MUST manage client expectations vis a vis your own skills. As far as equipment, I would also advocate for either the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or Canon 17-55 f/2.8, as well as an on-camera flash like the 580 EXII. Learning to use bounce and/or diffused flash can do more for your photography than purchasing top-end lenses. Niel's site is indeed staple reading. Practice as much as you can, at the venue and approximate event time, well before. <p>Read and re-read the excellent posts on about advice for beginner wedding photography.
  41. I was thrown into my first wedding over 10 years ago by family. I had never used a flash. I had never shot an event. I borrowed a semi-wide to semi-tele lens, put it on put it on shutter-priority for most of the event (without flash), and shot. I used a tripod in the balcony for the ceremony- avilable light in a dark church. I used a flash on a bracket for the group shots. My advice about the flash was "put it on ttl, 60th at f/8 and the flash will give you the right exposure." This was film, so I used low-contrast fuji. ISO 400 I think...
    I shot the wedding, the results I was rather pleased with. It wasn't anything spectacular by any means, but I got some candids I would still use in my portfolio today, my group shots were in focus, reasonably arranged, and decently lit (meaning you could see everyone and most of the alter! LOL), my ceremony shots were on, and my ttl-cross-your-fingers flash shots of the processional/recessional were properly exposed.
    One advantage I had was that I worked in a professional studio as an office clerk during high-school, and I had grown up around photography. I was used to seeing the entire wedding as shot by our photographers. I knew what shots to look for because they had been drilled into my head by numbering proofs/negatives. I knew what the group shots "should" look like.
    What I'm trying to say, is keep it simple. Don't take your alien-bee unless you know WHY you would need it. If you don't know why, you'll be fighting with the light instead of concentrating on the wedding. Rent a good lens with a constant aperture (ex: an f/2.8 instead of an f/3.5-5.6)- this will help in low light situations. Rent a flash you can use on a bracket and use it on ttl. Switch to your 50mm for some good close-up detail shots (without the flash), but use the zoom and flash during the action. Even if you aren't shooting at the optimal focal length for some shots, it will cover your butt as far as coverage goes.
    Use the 'net to your advantage. Search for photographers that show the entire wedding sequence as a portfolio rather than just the best from their coverage. Pay attention to what they shoot. Drill some key shots to remember.
    I might diffuse the flash and use it straight on. Try bouncing it off the ceiling, but make sure you are getting an accurate exposure. I wouldn't get too much crazier than that. More complex techniques can yield excellent results when executed properly, but if you mess up just a little bit on a more advanced technique, it can offen screw you up royally.
    My advice, keep it simple. Be creative when you can afford to be, but keep it simple and concentrate on shooting what you need to shoot and shoot it well. Take a second or two longer to get one great shot instead of firing off 15 with the hopes something will come out.
    Good luck, and please post again and let us know how it went! A lot of us have been in your shoes. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. You can do things to prepare yourself to put the odds in your favor.
  42. I got the impression the OP wasn't doing this as a favor or for free. If that is the case, then I do apologize. But if the OP is accepting money for this then I stand by every word I've written. She has been doing family portraits for 5 years but doesn't know what lens to use, what flash to use, what camera to use to shoot a wedding? I know we all start somewhere but the first weddings we shot we did for free as an "add-on" to the primary, paid, wedding photography. The OP has already gotten any advice I might have given had I been so inclined. However, I feel that giving advice is silently giving my stamp of approval. The Op may do what she wants regardless, but she will do it without my advice. Or rather against the advice I did offer! I love to help people with their photographer just as others have helped me. I teach several community education types of classes. So I am not against helping others. If this were almost any other profession, people would be shocked that a professional would attempt this with so little education on how to do it. If I were say a doctor, who had been practicing for 5 years no less, and came to my colleagues with such basic questions (what tools do I use), I doubt I would get much help. I might even be referred for disciplinary action! But since it's not life or death, it's ok. And I will grant you that's an extreme example but I am just trying to illustrate my point: as a professional it falls upon we professionals to defend our profession from would be imitators. Not to offer advice and be party to their lack of professionalism.
    Rant over! Again, maybe the OP is doing this for free for the experience and that's great so long as everyone knows the expectations. And if so I do sincerely apologize.
  43. I haven't much to add, since I haven't ever shot a wedding (other than my private photos) but I wish you luck. Make sure you go in with your eyes wide open and -- since I assume your "client" understands your inexperience -- your client's eyes wide open, read lots of books, practice shooting in the locations you'll be shooting, look at lots of wedding pictures online and in other places, focusing on things like perspectives, white balance and lighting, and have fun. I suspect the client wouldn't have asked you to do it if they didn't find your work to be good enough for them.

    And ignore the nay-sayers. They're answering a question you didn't ask, so their advice is not constructive. I am confident that you've given this thought and understand what you're getting yourself into and all I can say is, you are brave. Good luck again.
  44. Hi Jocelyn,
    I'm located in the Nashville area.
  45. Jocelyn, let me get off the beaten path for a moment. First off, learn to work with what you have. For if you don't, you'll always feel that you never have enough--of anything. And that's a recipe for frustration.
    Let's assume you're doing this because you enjoy it. Then by all means, do so. For example, if you're burdened with dark environs, then petition the subjects for their willingness to remain still for long exposures, or move to a more adequately lit area. Trust me; most wedding subjects will cooperate with you--for the fear of looking like 'dolts' in a wedding album will apply all the 'gentle persuasion' to your subjects that you'll need.
    Doggone it, remember that photography started out absent of electronic flash (and other 'wizardry' that we take for granted today).
    This event should be no reason for you to spaz-out, stress-out, or work yourself to death. Just remember to keep everything simple--composition, lighting, movement, shutter and apertures, etc. I think if you remain a photographer that is engaged with the subjects and occasion, you'll be able to take superb photos even with a Kodak "Brownie".
    C'mon, now: under the circumstances, compromises must be accepted, if I'm understanding your situation correctly. Understand and accept the limitations of your skills, time, and other resources, and by all means--have a good time!
    All the best to you.
  46. Jocelyn, I really want to discourage you from being the primary photographer but, that will probably not work.
    Instead, email me and I will send you a script that will cover most of the important shots in an American wedding and reception.
    BTW: The Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro produces great results, is very versatile and doesn't cost a grunch of money.
  47. I am not doing the wedding for free, but for a very small amount. I have asked a professional photographer to let me be the second photographer with a wedding the weekend before mine, so at least I have one under my belt. Thanks for that advice.
    I am confident in my skills as a photographer and I am confident with the equipment that I currently use, but am going to rent a few of the lenses suggested to see what I like best.
    Does anyone have a sample contract that I could see in helping develop my own? That is definitely something I need. The couples know that this is my first and they are paying for their own wedding and cannot afford a more expensive or experienced photographer. But I am interested in pursuing wedding photography further.
    To those of you who offered your advice: THANK YOU. It has been a great experience using this site and reading what you wrote. The information I received has been extremely helpful. I am excited about this and will keep you updated on how I do.
  48. I don't do any sort of commercial photography, so take my advice as coming from a complete hobbyist.
    Is there a way that you can get access into the church now - even for 30 mins or so to test various settings, exposure, flash etc. you should fairly quickly get to know whether you have adequate lenses / flash setups to light the scenes. Even a walk-in to examine the conditions and then try to find similar setups to fire some test shots. Anything to familiarise yourself with the lightening and try to foresee any potential problems.
    Good idea to be the 2nd photographer at a wedding before this one - any chance of getting one further away than a week ?
    I guess alot of it also comes down to confidence - being able to herd cats is probably high on the list of required skills too.
    Good luck,
  49. Sigh.. get a contract. It might be your best friend, it might be your brother. Doesn't matter. Get a contract. I refer you to other posts as regards equipment choices, because I don't really know.
  50. Jocelyn--I would do some online research. There are sample contracts out there, and there are sample contracts in books too.
    It is good to be confident in your gear and skills, but let me say that shooting portraits and shooting weddings, while both people oriented, are different. If you haven't shot a wedding before, you will not necessarily know the techniques needed (different than portrait photography sometimes) and mainly how to anticipate what will happen and be able to respond instantly. Time management is hugely different. Even people management may be hugely different. With all of this, you must remain calm enough to remember what you need to photograph because, for instance, once you leave the church, obviously you can't take any more photos that involve it. Say you missed an important shot, and you forget to take it right after the ceremony and then go to the reception. You've basically lost that shot. Lots of pressure.
    I bring the above to your attention while still saying that I am neutral as to whether a person in your situation should or shouldn't shoot a wedding outside family and friends. The reason I do so is to ensure you realize the above. Also, there is one factor which is the wild card in debates about whether a photographer without a lot of experience should or shouldn't shoot a paying wedding job (non family and friends). That is the person him or herself. Some people can translate concepts from one situation to another. Some people learn very quickly. Some people have extremely good logical or intuitive skills. I believe a woman has more of a natural understanding of a the wedding process and a better idea of what might go on behind the scenes. You can't quantify these factors enough to give a definitive answer as to whether the outcome of the shoot will be successful.
    Then the question would be, successful by whose standards? You also have to take into account the client's expectations. Wedding photographers don't like to think this way, but some people are just not that interested in the photography. Their standards of what is acceptable could be way lower. I am sure there have been many weddings shot where some things were missed or the images were not the same as you'd see from the latest trendy wedding photographers, but the big question would be--did the client care? I'm not saying you'll be producing photography at a lower standard--just using that as an example.
    As I said above, I'd start reading the archived threads under the Newcomers section on this forum. There is a lot of good info there.
  51. I am not sure as to what you have to gain from all of this. It doesnt sound to me like a worthwhile event to gain practice as a wedding photog. This whole thing smells of cheapness and low class new-age hippy type wedding, or whatever it is they wish to call it. I'd it call it bs and a waste of time for all concerned.
    If you are looking to get shots from this for your wedding portfolio, guess what?! you WONT! I suggest you pass this one up for a more real and pro and traditional type of event.
  52. Although I am firmly in John Deerfield's camp on this one (and similar posts) this seems like a done deal.
    IMO you should not use a contract I use or others use. You should not download one from the internet. Go to a lawyer that has done contract law and knows how to write one for your skill level and clearly stating expectations etc. Cover your butt or you'll be in small claims court. That's a guarantee. What a bride says she wants before the wedding is not what she expects after wards. The photography is one thing that the couple will either hate or cherish for a lifetime.
    As for gear, keep it as simple as possible. You've been given some good lens suggestions but don't make the mistake of carrying 4-5 lenses you've never shot with. You'd be better off with 3 that you know how to use. Get the flash early and learn how to use it. Do not depend on the auto settings. Learn how to use that flash in full manual as well. Practice a lot before the first wedding so you can actually learn something there, which you won't if you're trying to figure out what setting to use while the action passes you by.
    Same for your shot list. Keep it simple. Have a short list of "Must Have" shots for each part of the day. Brides home, Service, formals, reception. Going out and trying to replicate the 80 great shots you see in wedding galleries is not possible. Have 3 or 4 key shots/poses memorized for each section of the day that you need to get. You are far better off providing them with 100 good photos than 300 crappy ones. The day moves fast, the lighting sucks, people don't cooperate and it's a very fluid day that often follows the cliche "what can go wrong, will go wrong". You will never remember the big shot list you wanted to get if it's too complicated.
    2 reminders to the couple. When they take the first kiss, tell them ahead of time to take their time. They want that shot in the album but often kiss so fast you miss the shot. Same for the walk up and down the aisle. Have them take their time so you can get decent shots.
    Have backups for the wedding. An absolute must in my kit is, duplicates of the primary camera body and primary lenses. So I'll have 2 complete kits with me and a spare 3rd body in the trunk of the car. That includes flashes.
    Finally go to each location a few days before and do some test shooting (that means all the locations for that day). Pick all your locations for formal photos, take a friend to model for you and do test shooting at each spot around the same time of day when you'll be doing the wedding. You are studying for an exam and skipped all the classes. Treat it that way or you'll be in trouble.
    I hope, more for the couples sake and also for you that this turns out well. Please share your results/experiences after it's done.
    After it's all over. Don't take another wedding as primary shooter till you've done at least 10 as a second shooter. Get some experience and work with a pro even if for free. This will also help you build a portfolio and be better prepared when you are ready to do weddings on your own.
  53. Thanks Peter. Good stuff.

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