My first wedding is coming soon

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by lukasgunar, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. lukasgunar

    lukasgunar TPF Noob!

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    Hello guys,
    I've been reading all the posts regarding wedding photography. Many advices are really great but I still don't feel confident enough :D.
    I've been taking pictures for almost 14 years, but all the time as amateur only. I started with Practica, then I had Canon EOS Rebel 2000, then some digital point&shoot Sony camera and recently I've bought my first serious camera - Canon EOS 30D with EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM Image Stabilized Lens. To be honest with you, I've never or almost never taken pictures with flash. So this is what scares me the most. I'm planning to buy Canon Speedlite 580ex flash which I should have only very few days (maybe 3) before the wedding will take place. As it's going to be my girl-friend's best friend's wedding (my first one, and probably I'll be the only photographer), I really would like to do a good job there.
    What I'm looking for are some camera settings. I have really no idea what settings should I use when using a flash. I understand that I should use the lowest possible apperture no., but what exposition times should I use? What about white balance settings, ISO, camera picture style etc. should I use? I guess exposition meter won't tell me a lot so should I pay any attention to it or not?

    Thank you very much for any recommendations. Hopefully I'll do a good job there.

    Wish all of you all the best, especially a good light.

    lukas
     
  2. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Make sure you are honest with them... you just explained to everyone here why you shouldn't do it. You don't have the equipment, and you're telling us you don't know how to use a camera with a flash but you want to shoot a wedding. Does that not sound silly to you?

    Go buy a book and start reading! Learn that camera inside and out. Knowledge from the forum is great, but it can't teach you how to shoot a wedding. Go buy some wedding books or go to the library.

    I'm not trying to be too critical - we all will have or have had a first wedding at somepoint - just be careful because you are heading for trouble.

    Good luck.
     
  3. lukasgunar

    lukasgunar TPF Noob!

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    Dear Dewey,
    many thanks for your "advice".
    I wouldn't ask for advice if such a book would be easily available in my country. I'm trying to read as many articles as possible on the internet but none is talking about the settings of the camera when using a flash.
    I'm not saying I'm going to be their professional photographer and they're not expecting any miracles from me. I'm just very critical to myself that's why I would like to make a good memories for the couple.
    Maybe my article sounded like I've just bought my very first camera and I'm trying to be the most professional photographer in the world. As I mentioned, I've been taking pictures for awhile but never with flash indoors. That's why I was asking for some advice.
    Thanks anyway for your effort to reply. I'll definitely take a bunch of pictures there and I'll be happy to share some of them with you.

    Take care and if you have something valuable you could share, please do so.

    lukas
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The usual advice is to decline shooting a wedding if you don't have the experience or equipment to do it properly. This is supposed to be a once in a lifetime event and 'sorry, I've only had my flash for 3 days' isn't going to cut it, if you screw up.

    That being said, everyone has to start somewhere and if you have been shooting for 14 years, helpfully you know your way around a camera. If you are unsure about the flash and don't have a lot of time to practice, I suggest just keeping the camera in Auto or at least Av. Try to bounce the flash off of a ceiling if that possible. I believe the 580EX has a white pull out panel, so use that or something that will throw some light forward while most of it bounces off the ceiling. Look into products like the Omnibounce, or the Gary Fong Strobosphere. Also, Google 'A better bounce card'. Anyway, this should give you nice save results.

    The real trick to good flash photography is to balance the flash and ambient light so that they don't look like deer in the head lights. To do this, use settings that will give you a decent exposure, as if there was no flash...then turn the FEC (flash exposure compensation) down. Experiment on just how much you need to turn it down. You still have to watch your shutter speed because you don't want to get blurry photos.

    The lens you have is pretty good but the biggest problem is that it's got a small maximum aperture. This will make it harder to get a good shutter speed. The IS will help to avoid blurriness from camera shake but it won't help with moving subjects.

    So if you want to try to balance the flash and ambient, you will need to determine just how slow of a shutter speed you will be able to use and just how to set the FEC.

    Also, take backup equipment. You don't want to get caught with a malfunctioning camera, flash, lens etc. Make sure to have plenty of memory and extra batteries. Shoot in RAW so that you have the most leeway with the images.
     
  5. lukasgunar

    lukasgunar TPF Noob!

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    Many thanks Big Mike,
    I'll try to test everything you've mentioned in your post before the wedding takes place.
    Btw, I was reading the whole forum about summer meeting in Alberta. Man, I spent the whole summer of 2003 in Jasper. It was the best summer of my life. I wish I could spend the summer with you guys. I would suggest to have that session in July cause in August days were getting shorter very fast. Wish all of you who will spend this summer over there all the best, good weather and specially great pictures.

    lukas
     
  6. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Lukas
    Sorry to say this but someone with 14 years experience should really know more. With a slow lens like the 17-85 flash will be a must indoors and this is not a great idea for wedding photography as you lose all the atmosphere from the image. Also is the wedding in a church? Most religious centres do not allow flash to be used during the ceremony! What if this is the case?? I'd say buy a faster lens and use a high ISO. The cheapest Canon lens (the excellent 50mm f1.8) is better than that slow f4-5.6 zoom you have. IS sure is great but is not so much use shooting moving subjects in low light.

    I too would advise against doing this but so long as the couple are aware that you do not have adequate equipment or the knowledge to use what you have (flash) then it's fair game but you may look really bad if the shots all turn out poor? Have you considered this distinct possibility? Remember this is the most important day of their lives!!

    Having only 3 days use of the flash is not enough I'm afraid. To be honest I struggle at times and have been using my 580EX and a Sigme DG500 Super before that for over 2 years now!!

    Exposure (not exposition) is a tough thing to talk about as I'm sure you will know - every situation is different. Light (amount/colour etc) is not constant so giving settings is not easy.

    Widest aperture is probably a must. You need a faster lens than that 17-85 though or your flash range will also be severely limited. High ISO will help but this will mean noise. My last event I had low light - 70-200 f2.8L IS (shooting at f2.8, 1/30th sec and ISO 800 and was still underexposing images with flash)!!! f4.5-5.6 ---- Not enough I'd say.

    Shoot RAW and have lots of memory. You can either use a custom white balance or shoot in Auto and correct later. Custom is best but you'll need to do a custom setting every time you changet.

    Forget picture styles if you can as I say - shoot RAW! You may want to leave the Camera in P and the flash on Auto.

    But my advice is DO NOT touch this without proper equipment and some basic knowledge on how to use it.
     
  7. lukasgunar

    lukasgunar TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much EOS_JD.

    This is kind of information I was looking for.
    Guys, do not take my position so serious :) . I know that all of you are advising me the best and I definitely wouldn't do it if I don't know the couple. They have really no big expectations. I believe they'll go to atelier to make a family picture so at least couple of pictures will be great :) .
    In my country, it's not so common to have a photographer during the whole wedding. Professional photographer usually takes pictures during ceremony in the church, then couple of pictures in atelier and that's it. I'll definitely buy some faster lens (many thanks for advice) and I'm 100 % sure that my pictures will be better than from other family members who'll take pictures with their point&shoot cameras.

    After the event I'll post some pictures and you can decide if I should rather clean toilettes or to continue in photography :) .

    cheers

    lukas
     
  8. JonnyVPA

    JonnyVPA TPF Noob!

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  9. lukasgunar

    lukasgunar TPF Noob!

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