Wedding photo shoots

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Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:32 am

I'll be shooting a wedding in October for a friend. Their budget is very limited so $1800 for a photographer is NOT an option. I was in that spot before and luckily for me my wife had a friend that was a photographer o he only charged us for the film and the darkroom usage.

My camera is the Sony Alpha A200 that came with a 18-70mm lens. I am looking at either the 16-105mm lens or the 18-250mm lens. The reviews on both lenses seem to be positive. Has anyone here ever done wedding shoots? Which lenses did you find most useful?
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:44 pm

I imagine you'll be using more telephoto than wide, so the extra reach of the 250 will be very handy (I shot a buddy's hitch with a 70-300 IS and found myself in the upper echelons more often than not). Does the 105 have a wider aperture? Depending on the situation that may be more crucial. If it's an outdoor ceremony then aperture doesn't matter nearly as much.

*I should also say that was the first and last wedding I shot. I quickly concluded it's not for me; I dislike photographing people I don't know, probably because I have a stupid "tailor the shot to their personality" kinda thing in my work. Or maybe I'm a snobby elitist bastard or something. Anyway, the point is be prepared for semi-formal to semi-casual candids... again, depending on the specifics. They may be having a very informal setting, in which case you might wind up going wider.
Last edited by SPOOFE on Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:48 pm

I would agree with SPOOFE that you will be in the upper focal lengths quite a bit (especially during the ceremony). I have done five weddings, and if possible, look into renting a 70-200 f/2.8. I live by mine, and its great for candids/portraits as well as low light shooting.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:18 pm

It depends on your style and what sort of setting you're shooting in. As much as possible, try to know going in what sort of shots the bride wants and what you want to deliver. Consider shots that she wants or you want to provide. Practice, and figure out what you're going to want in terms of glass to accomplish what you want to accomplish.

Honestly, I'm not sure that either one of those lenses is a great choice. They're largely more-expensive versions of your kit lens with a bit wider range of zoom - same slowish apertures. I'm more biased toward larger-aperture glass in general, and that's what I'd tend to go towards. Also, if you're going to be shooting indoors, at least have a hot shoe flash that you can bounce. I've shot photos at friends' weddings. They had "real" photographers, so I did quite a bit of "let's do things differently" rather than produce an inferior duplicate of photos they'd already have and focused more on staying out of the way than what I knew would get a better shot.

Anyway, stuff I've found useful:
telephoto zoom. Useful for lots of the standard ceremony stuff, portraiture. Used a slow 70-300 and an f/2.8 80-200. The f/2.8 lens is flat-out better optically than the slow 70-300, but the extra 2 stops of speed were also extremely useful when needed. Most useful and least replaceable.
fast prime. My cheapo 50/1.8 can be useful for things like low-light natural-light photography. Getting focus right at wide apertures can be a challenge. Also useful as a portrait lens, although I normally just use the more flexible 80-200 for that now unless I want a larger aperture or wider field of view.
midrange zoom for candid stuff in closer quarters, group photos.
wide zoom - fun for dance/reception photos, obviously way more specialized than the above
macro good for ring close ups, detail shots, etc.
speedlights: at least one can be pretty essential, depending on setting. Multiples + triggers can be handy as well.
light modifiers, reflectors, etc.

In short, most of what's in my camera bag, to varying degrees.

Out of those lenses, the 18-250, but I'd lean more toward faster glass than wider-ranging glass.

The reach of long glass is nice, but getting closer and using less focal length will tend to give you the better photo much of the time. Get yourself positioned where you have a good angle on the action and aren't trying to snipe from long-distance. Capture the right moments.
...
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:07 pm

If you want to save some cash and try out my lenses, I have no problem with you using them. We can make arrangements to meet. LMK.

Sigma 70-300 (f4-5.6)
Minolta 50mm (f1.7)
Minolta 85mm (f1.4)

edit - changed the f stop info for the Sigma from 1.4-5.6 to 4-5.6. Sorry about the confusion if there was any.
Last edited by Hoser on Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:03 pm

JustAnEngineer
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:13 pm

That 85mm Minolta that Hoser mentioned can be invaluable, though I confess that I'm a whore for fast primes.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:30 pm

SPOOFE wrote:That 85mm Minolta that Hoser mentioned can be invaluable, though I confess that I'm a whore for fast primes.


I haven't used mine too much, but the shots I have taken with it turned out really well. It would be a good lens for group portraits.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

You cannot replace a fast prime for indoors. f/1.4 wouldn't be overkill.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:46 am

Well . . . tomorrow and Saturday are the big event.

I found a rental place that I am renting a two items from:
- a 70-200mm G-series lens f/2.8 - Link
- a high powered flash - Link

all for a very low price.

My question is: Since the f-stop is a "locked" f-stop, would I only have to adjust the aperture? I am under the impression that the flash would eliminate the need to adjust to a higher ISO setting, and if enough light is present at that lens' speed, I shouldn't have to drop my aperturs setting below 100, so I would eliminate alot of the possibility for a blurry picture due to any slight movements. Am I correct in my assumptions?????

Any explanations is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:31 pm

lex-ington wrote:My question is: Since the f-stop is a "locked" f-stop, would I only have to adjust the aperture? I am under the impression that the flash would eliminate the need to adjust to a higher ISO setting, and if enough light is present at that lens' speed, I shouldn't have to drop my aperturs setting below 100, so I would eliminate alot of the possibility for a blurry picture due to any slight movements. Am I correct in my assumptions?????

Any explanations is greatly appreciated.


I don't mean this in any mean way, but you seem to be in over your head on this one. A wedding is definitely not the place to learn how to use your camera and gear. That being said, let's see if I can try to help you out here...

1) 'Perfect' exposure is always going to be based on 3 things: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. The constant aperture of the zoom you rented still means you're going to have to adjust the 3 things I listed. Granted, I'm sure there are modes on your camera that will help you not have to think about setting one, two, or even all three of those settings. It just depends on what mode you shoot in. Just make sure your shutter speed is fast enough so that you don't generate blur from your own movement. Blur due to your subject movement may be desirable based on what you're trying to do, but usually you'll want most shots sharp, off course.

2) A flash does not necessarily mean you don't need to worry about the ISO. It all depends on location, present lighting, and what kind of feel you're trying to accomplish with your photos. If you've got the gear in hand now, take lots of practice shots now and see how the flash can alter the look.

3) If you can, bounce the flash. But this really depends on the venue and if there's anything good for you to bounce the flash off of. Direct flash can be harsh and ugly, but may be the only way to light a subject. If you've got the time, learn how to control flash exposure compensation.

4) If you haven't held it in your hands yet, be warned that the 70-200 f/2.8 zoom is going to be heavy.

5) Carry extra batteries for the camera and flash! Carry extra memory cards too.

6) Learn which modes of your camera will try to properly expose for the subject or for subject and background when using a flash. If your camera is like Canon, then Av mode will try to expose for the background as well, while P and Tv will expose for just the subject.

7) Some tips: don't be afraid of higher ISO speeds. Just be aware of what ISO on your camera produces too much noise and try to stay away from it. Depth of field at 200mm at 2.8 is narrow, so keep that in mind and adjust accordingly. You're the photog, so don't be afraid to get into the action or tell folks how to pose when doing posed shots. You can always turn your camera! Not everything has to be shot horizontally or even vertically! You don't always have to be standing to take a photo -- get down on a knee if it makes the photo look better. Get low when photographing just kids. Have fun and relax.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:41 pm

Too late to get into anything major so the highlights:

1) Shoot tons and tons. Combine your skills with luck.
2) A noisy high ISO shot is better than no shot. Graininess has its place too.
3) If outdoors avoid shadows. Full light or full shade. No one looks good with lines on their face.
4) Ever seen the disposable cameras on the tables at the reception? People just want memories of the occasion. If they want 'perfect professional' shots they can pay the thousands and thousands of dollars everyone else does.
5) Relax and tell the bride she is gorgeous.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:04 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:How about the Sony 50mm f/1.8, Minolta 50mm f/1.7, Minolta 50mm f/1.4 or the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8?


I had the 50 mm sony show up in the mail today. Havent had a chance to play with it much yet but the few test shots I have taken look promising.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:25 pm

SnowboardingTobi wrote:
lex-ington wrote:My question is: Since the f-stop is a "locked" f-stop, would I only have to adjust the aperture? I am under the impression that the flash would eliminate the need to adjust to a higher ISO setting, and if enough light is present at that lens' speed, I shouldn't have to drop my aperturs setting below 100, so I would eliminate alot of the possibility for a blurry picture due to any slight movements. Am I correct in my assumptions?????

Any explanations is greatly appreciated.


I don't mean this in any mean way, but you seem to be in over your head on this one. A wedding is definitely not the place to learn how to use your camera and gear. That being said, let's see if I can try to help you out here...



No mean way taken . . . .as I said in my original post, I was in the position my friend's friend is in now, so I'm doing this as a favor. I figure since I have the camera and have been practicing outside shots, why not use this as a learning experience - it either works or it doesn't.

Thanks for the replies. I'll be reading over them again later on tonight to see where I can fine-tune my exposures.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:47 am

Things didn't work out well with the rental, so I'm using my normal lens and the built in flash.

Last night was O.K., I'm hoping that today goes much better.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:08 am

I know this is 2 months after the fact but how did the pictures turn out? Were you in over your head or did everything come out okay?
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:02 am

Gigadafud wrote:I know this is 2 months after the fact but how did the pictures turn out? Were you in over your head or did everything come out okay?


I wouldn't necessarily say in over my head - seeing that this was her third wedding and the nostalgia was not important - but it is alot of work.

Standard camera equipment (the lenses that come with the camera) is o.k. if you move around alot and have a good bit of natural light. Once you go inside and don't have a proper flash, then it gets problematic. Unfortunately for me, I am still in the learning process (especially when it comes to setting the correct aperture, f-stop and ISO numbers that the picture won't look to grainy or artificial). I'll post a few of the better ones when I get home later.
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Re: Wedding photo shoots

Postposted on Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:17 am

I wouldn't necessarily say in over my head - seeing that this was her third wedding and the nostalgia was not important - but it is alot of work.

Standard camera equipment (the lenses that come with the camera) is o.k. if you move around alot and have a good bit of natural light. Once you go inside and don't have a proper flash, then it gets problematic. Unfortunately for me, I am still in the learning process (especially when it comes to setting the correct aperture, f-stop and ISO numbers that the picture won't look to grainy or artificial). I'll post a few of the better ones when I get home later.



Very cool. Sounds good. Look forward to seeing how they turned out. I am relatively new myself to the DSLR world and just got my first one last month. Got the kit lens and a 55-250 lens also.
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