Beginner Wedding Photography

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by jmwilburn, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. jmwilburn

    jmwilburn TPF Noob!

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    I've been playing with photography for a good while now. I don't consider myself pro at all. But I've been wanting to get more into portrait and wedding photography. I don't feel comfortable to be someone's only photographer yet but my sister is getting married this summer so I am going to do some for her. I was seeing if anyone had any tips for getting good pictures. More than likely it will be an indoor wedding and reception. I have a Nikon D40 with standard falsh and 18-55mm lens. I do not know if I will have any new equipment by the time of the wedding but there's a chance. If anyone knows of things I should look for to buy or things I can do to improve these shots I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just to be clear, are you going to be doing some photography for her wedding? Or are you going to be the photographer for her wedding. It may seem like a small difference...but it's not.

    You have a good camera and an OK lens. When you say 'standard flash'...do you mean the built-in pop-up flash? If you do, My suggestion would be to pick up a hot-shoe flash...something like the Nikon SB600. Along with that, my suggestion is to never ever use the pop-up flash unless you have no other choice.

    If you already have a hot-shoe flash...then you are off to a good start. A better lens may help...but not as much as practice and knowledge. If everything will be indoors...then flash will probably be needed. It may or may not be allowed for the wedding ceremony so that's something to find out. Anyway, even when it's up on the hot shoe...direct flash still isn't the best light. It's much better if you can diffuse or bounce the flash somehow. That's why it's good to have a hot shoe flash that can tilt and swivel.

    How much memory do you have? More is always better. An extra battery or two wouldn't hurt either.

    If you are going to be the primary photographer...then you will need back up equipment...at least two of everything; cameras, flashes, lenses etc.
     
  3. jmwilburn

    jmwilburn TPF Noob!

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    Wow, awesome reply.Right now I just have the standard pop-up flash. I do not think I will be her only photographer. I hope not, that's a lot of pressure. I will hoever be the only photgrapher for my friend Kelly's wedding but I think I have more time for that one. I try not to use the built-in flash ever. I will definitely look into the hot-shoe and another battery, I didn't think about that one. Thanks Big Mike.
     
  4. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Mike. We don't want to **** off the family. :)
    A cheap way to do it well, is to rent the stuff. Rent some good quality fast lenses, 2.8 or lower (preferably 1.8 or lower), and a nice external flash.
    A small reflector too. You can definately get away with that.
    Good luck! Please share the photos!
     
  5. jmwilburn

    jmwilburn TPF Noob!

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    I'm not very familiar with how to use the reflectors. Not to sound dumb but is it as easy as it sounds? Just bounce the light to soften the shot or is there a skill to it?
     
  6. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    A very easy thing. It took some good explaination for me to get it too, so don't feel bad.
    Grab a reflector of any kind. Tin Foil will work. Have someone stand out in the sun, or shade, and then just hold that tin foil up and down, slanting here and there until you see light start to reflect back into the face.
    Wiggle the tin foil up and down until you see the light going on the face, off, on, off.
    Then back the reflection off. You don't want to blind them. You are looking for "a KISS of light" here. Just a little dab will do you!
    Go play with it, and you will see what I mean.
    A reflector is a life saver!
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's about it, pretty simple. It's not really to 'soften' the shot...it's all about the light and the shadows. If your light is coming from one direction, lets say the left side...then that side of your subject will be brighter than the right side. That's OK...in fact it's great...but maybe you don't want the right side to be quite that dark...so you use the reflector to bounce some light to 'fill the shadows'.

    Try it with an orange, or a ball etc. Set it on a desk/table and get a small lamp set to one side. Notice the difference between the light and dark sides. Then take a white piece of paper and move it closer to the dark side and watch how the shadow changes.

    *edit*
    Or you can use a reflector to 'kiss' the subject, like elsaspet said. There really isn't one specific way to do anything...the more creative you can be...the better. Often, photography is about doing what you can with what you have to work with. Sometimes you can use a person in a white shirt as a reflector...if that's what it takes.
     
  8. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Fill cards work good too. and yes, make sure you're not THE photographer. They'll be much happier if they hire someone with experience and better equipment.
     
  9. jmwilburn

    jmwilburn TPF Noob!

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    I'll definitely try the reflectors. Thank you all for your response. If anyone else has suggestions please let me know.
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A 50mm 1.8f AFD lens. It's about $115 new -more or less. It works out to about a 75mm lens with your camera which will make a good short/medium tele for portraits and will give you about as much speed as you are likely to get for indoors.

    You will also want the flash, SB600 is fine. Then go to http://www.planetneil.com/ and check out the part about 'dragging the shutter'. Then practice, a lot. (even if the church won't let you use flash during the ceremony, you can before and after and at the reception.

    Also check out http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/ and when you get through all of this, you'll be good to go!

    Best of luck

    mike
     
  11. NYBrit

    NYBrit TPF Noob!

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    I would scout out the church beforehand to see good places to pose people. If they are hiring a professional then maybe you could try taking more candid shots. Whatever you do don't get in the photographers way as he is being paid to do this and I know from experience how annoying it can be when you're trying to take a formal photo and people keep butting in with their cameras, but you could watch the way he works. Keep your eye open for more informal shots you can take. People are more relaxed then and those shots often come out better.
    If your sister does want you to be the main photographer don't panic! Explain to her that you're nervous at the prospect. If she wants you to do it then that means she has faith in you. You could enlist the Best Mans help in organising the groups and getting everyone in each shot as needed.
    As I said before scout locations in advance preferably around the time you'll be taking the shots so you'll know where the sun is for any outdoor formal portraits.
    Oh and if you can try to bring a back up if you can. You never know when something might fail. And if you do buy any new equipment make sure you test it well in advance.
     
  12. jmwilburn

    jmwilburn TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely look into that lens.
     

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