Help! Choosing lenses for photographing a wedding for a friend.

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by STLgirl, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. STLgirl

    STLgirl TPF Noob!

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    [Please forgive me if this is not posted in the right topic, I was unsure where this fit.]

    Hi! I would really appreciate some guidance. One of my best friends of 25 years has asked me to take photographs on his wedding day, April 21st this month. I am an amateur still learning my way around my equipment. The wedding will be at the courthouse, and we will proceed to a nearby park for some family shots, and afterwards we will be off to a casual restaurant for a dinner. The next day they're having a reception/barbecue at a park pavilion with 100+ people. So, as you can see it's not a traditional church wedding, and I believe it will be very laid-back. However, the more I think about the day, the more pressure I feel to get it right... although he fully understands that I am not a professional and still learning. (I will not be paid, but I am excited to do this.)

    For the group family portraits there will be no more than 6 adults, and 3 pre-teens/children (9 total).

    I've been trying to figure out which lenses I own will work for which situations… and if I need to purchase another lens. I saved a couple checklists of the types of photos I should try and capture. I certainly can't run out and spend $1500+ on a new lens right now, so any additions would need to be budget friendly.

    The camera and lenses I own are:

    Canon Rebel T6i

    Kit Lenses:
    EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
    EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens (nifty 50)
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
    Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM (pancake)
    Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM (macro)
    Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

    I have 2 flashes, 2 reflectors & a stand:
    Canon Speedlite 430EX II
    Neewer TT560 Flash
    Westcott 9910 Stand
    Neewer 43-inch / 5-in-1 Collapsible Light Reflector
    Westcott Omega Reflector Kit

    Can you provide guidance on which lenses I should use for which situations? Do I bring everything? Should I buy an additional lens for a group shots?

    I welcome any other feedback as well. (As I mentioned he doesn't expect me to yield professional results, as I am not a professional. Just a friend doing a friend a favor! If I were not volunteering, he would have no photographer that day.)

    Thank you very much in advance for your help!!


     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You have a good assortment of lenses available to you! The 18-55 ought to be useful for a lot of situations. I can see that each lens "could be" useful for at least some of the wedding and reception. The 24mm pancake and the 50/STM would be handy for a lot of stuff. The 10-18mm would give some nice very wide-angle looks. The 100mm macro would be nice to shoot the rings, some close-ups of the flowers, the cake, the food, etc.. You ALREADY have a 24mm/2.8 pancake, which is just fine,so definitely do NOT buy another 24mm prime lens. 24mm for group shots is sort of a mixed bag: it over-emphasizes things that are closer to the camera, and makes things farther away seem a bit smaller than they are in real-life, but not to too bad of a degree, as the 10-18mm will definitely do.

    You ought to have this covered. Work out of a small shoulder bag, or have a friend/assistant carry the gear for you.
     
  3. STLgirl

    STLgirl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Derrel!
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You didn't mention lights and modifiers.

    IMO you already have enough lenses, and some nice ones, IMO, but to get your photography up to "professional" level, you should be learning and using flash.

    At the minimum, I would get one speedlight and perhaps an umbrella and stand along with some way to fire the flash remotely.

    Unfortunately, I don't think there is enough time to obtain what you need and learn how to use it effectively before the date. Maybe, but you would have to get it right away and learn intensively for the next two weeks.

    Step two would be get two more speedlights and modifiers.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sucks you wont get to enjoy in the festivities of your friend's wedding day...
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Post now edited to i nclude modifiers, flash, grip equipment. I dunno...you have seven lenses already, two zoom, five primes. Surely you can shoot a little bit, right? I woulkd say, keep your wits about you. Focus on what you are capturing. Keep track of the memory cards. Format all cards before the event. NEVER format a card on a job, to prevent accidental deletions. Secure shot and filled cards with all due diligence and caution. VERY important to keep track of shot memory cards!

    Really,really look at what you have during the shoot (and no, I do not mean chimping and reviewing for long periods of time, I mean paying attention). Look for the opportunities, look at the lighting, pay attention to ugly eye shadows and so on. Shoot the important stuff, keep your head in the game, ensure that you maintain a sufficient shutter speed. AVOID the ISO 100 is best trap! Use and ISO level that gets a shutter and f/stop pairing that gets CRISP shots. AVOID shooting at f/2.8 if there is more than one person in the frame! SHooting wide-open is the single biggest noob/intermediate mistake, and then the second biggest mistake is shooting everything at lowest ISO, "to avoid noise".
     
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  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think it is becoming a "style" these days. Even some new smartphone has a "portrait" mode that emulates a very shallow DOF, so the phone shooters can copy what they see on Instagram.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The new smart phone mode apps however have a BIG advantage over a d-slr: even at f/2.8, a smartphone's tiny sensor has DEEP DOF, even on a portrait at closer ranges, so there is plenty in-focus. The software then blurs the background areas, doing a remarkable job with creating bokeh/shallow depth of field effects. It is really quite amazing how well this software works nowadays. Much of Instagram is phone shooter work, but there is also a substantial segment done on "regular cameras".

    Thje biggrest issue with shooting at f/2.8 with many lenses is too shallow a depth of field zone, which can lead to out of focus people, out of focus clothing, and just a bad "look" on some types of shots. F/2,8 screws up more close-range shots than almost anything else. Seasoned shooters recognize that f/4.8 to f/5.6 is a better range of f/stops for much professional-type work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes indeed. I am not a fan of that look, but I see quite a few examples of the shallow DOF being the desired effect. For whatever reason.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Thinking about the OP's questions a bit more, I come up with a few potential ideas. Not that this is the only way this could be approached, but just some ideas. I would lean on the 24mm f/2.8 pancake prime and the 50mm f/1.8 STM lenses for the indoor during-the-ceremony shots. Semi wide-angle focal length and short telephoto focal lengths for sharp, crisp shots. Use whatever ISO is needed to get good images indoors. You've just GOT to get good, sharp shots, so ISO 400 or ISO 500 or 640 or 800 will be better, safer bets than is ISO 100 or 200.

    At the event the following day, it's gonna' be like covering so many types of big, crowded events. Small groups of people, 3,4,5 people quickly jammed together for a posed shot, or 3,4,5 people with drinks, standing around sort of close to one another or posed at tables: these can be done "okay" with some flash and a diffuser on the flash, if you like that look, and frankly, I see nothing wrong with sharp, clear, no-redeye flash shots on grip-and-grins and "table shots" or "cocktails shots". (I am not one who thinks that off-camera flash is 100% required for these for every wedding event.)

    If you want to, set up the stand and a reflector and bounce a powerful speedlight off of the reflector, and have a sort of on-site photobooth, but beware of eyeglass glares! Make sure the light is soft, and pleasant, and comes from an acceptable direction, and see if you can enlist a helper who can facilitate bringing people up to be photographed in small, logical groups at the reception/dinner event.

    After getting some well-lighted small-group shots, maybe switch to telephoto-type, candid shooting from 15-20 feet away for a while, looking for people in groups, talking, laughing, etc, using the 50mm for 20 feet away, or the 85mm lens from 30-40 feet away. On the long axis, the 85mm lens at 35 feet will cover 8.5 feet, so two-person convos with the 85. You'll be outside of their personal space and almost invisible. If the light is good and bright, the 55-200 might actually be the best lens for this.

    I would definitely try to get a sherpa for all that gear; you've got a lot to carry there...

    Before you formulate the final plan, discuss what kinds of photos the wedding participants want and expect! They might want a lot,lot less than you imagine. No matter what you do, try to keep it within your wheelhouse; stick with what YOU are comfortable with.Do not be convinced to try stuff yuo are not familiar with or confident in doing! If you want to Go Basic, I would lean heavily on the 24/2.8 pancake and the 50/1.8 STM lenses. After an hour, you'll have the field of view of each prime burned into your mind's eye, and those fields of view are good at weddings! 35mm e-view and 75mm e-View.
     
  11. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I certainly would not buy any equipment.

    What Derrell mentioned about using a high ISO is a very good point. Nothing worse than getting back and seeing a few people farther back in the shots are out of focus, or there is motion blur.

    At the courthouse and restaurant, probably the 18-55mm with a flash would be my choice.

    At the park you can certainly use the 50 or 85mm and one or both flashes off camera. Keep it to what you are comfortable with. These days everyone can snap off a photo with their cell phone in a second and they don't want to wait around for a photographer to set up or fiddle with their equipment. While it sounds like you have known the groom for a long time, the bride is usually the one that is going to want some specific shots, make sure your on the same playing field so you are not the one that ruins her wedding day.

    For something like the reception I like a prime lens, but best to go take some shots at a birthday party or evening out with friends a few times to be very used to the distance you need for having different numbers of people in the frame. Then at the reception you just walk to the spot or tell the people to stand in a spot that you already know is the right distance so they are all in the shot. I would tend to go with the 24mm so it limits what can get between you and the subjects. I would use the flash on the camera with bounce, start out with the flash so the guests know you are the photographer.

    Also, if you friends are asking you for this favor then have them ask one or two others to assist you. Sometimes informal weddings are difficult as they don't have a set ritual, so you need to know the person that is planning the events so you know what is going to happen next and can be in position. If your friends have not asked anyone to plan the wedding then you could also volunteer to do that, then you will know everything that is going to happen.

    Know that this can take up a lot of your time, you have basically two full days with them and then going through the images. I would go through the images a number of times, knock it down to the best images. Think ahead of time what you are going to present them, prints or files or combo. Do you have a post processing style or an idea of what kind of style you want to use, that can affect how you shoot the wedding.

    Have fun.
     
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  12. Cody'sCaptures

    Cody'sCaptures No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless you feel the need for two bodies, everything else you have buttoned up
     
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