Need advice for flash during a wedding

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by roxysmom, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. roxysmom

    roxysmom TPF Noob!

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    Hello! I'm new to this site and I'm trying to get into photography. I've taken pictures for years with point and shoot cameras but I just purchased my first SLR the Nikon D80. I purchased the body and the 18-135mm lens, an extra battery and a carrying case. I have been practicing with setting up subjects and sceneray but now I finally have the camera to take great shots!

    A friend of mine is getting married in two weeks and asked me to take pictures. They were not going to hire a professional photographer so anything I get will be more than they were going to have. I'm going to do very basic automatic shots b/c I don't know how to do manual shots yet. I'm excited for the opportunity and I want to give her some nice pictures.

    I need advice on what else I should purchase. I am looking at shoe flashes but don't know which one to get. I also want to get a rotating arm. Do you think I need to upgrade my lens or will the one I have work? Anything else I'd need to get started?

    Thank you!
     
  2. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    I'll tell you what I was told.

    Get a 50mm 1.8 lens. This will be MUCH better for interior shots and allows you to use less light for pictures... they run about 120 bucks I just got mine in and its awesome.

    For Flash get a sb-600 or sb-800 Nikon Flash.... the swivel and tilt. I dont have one, but the key here is to BOUNCE the light off the ceilings/walls instead of right in their face. At least diffuse it with a diffuser. The Sb-600 can be had online for about 220... the 800 I dont know.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    RM is right on this one, you Definitely need at least an Sb-600. Anything else will not really allow you to put the camera in P mode and shoot unless you get the Sb-800. Nikon has come out with a smaller flash called the Sb-400 http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=4&productNr=4806 .

    The 400 is rated @ 98 feet @ ISO 200 which is about 1/2 as powerful as the 600. The 400 tilts for bounce but will not swivel. (swivel is very important too- sometimes you can't bounce off a ceiling but you can a wall)

    All in all if you can afford a 600 get that (or the 800) so that you will have enough power to take group photos.
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    BE CAREFUL.

    I've seen friendships ruined because the bride and groom thought just because their buddy has a big camera, they can automatically take amazing pictures. I've never been the shooter a wedding, and when any freinds/family ask me to be the photographer, I say "i'm sorry, but no. If you want a wedding photographer, hire a professional. I'll attend and take pictures, but It's going to be on the back burner and one of my last priorities" I know that I can't shoot a wedding with any shred of confidence, and it's my ethical duty to tell people that. I'm not about to possibly ruin memories of one of the best days of two peoples lives by taking mediocre shots of it.

    And if it's a wedding of one of my freinds/family, I don't want to be taking pictures all the time, i want to socialize.

    In short, I wouldn't do it.

    BUT if you're up to the challenge, buy/rent a 2nd body, a 16mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, and a 70-200 f/2.8 or 80-200 f/2.8. Or you can pack your bag with zooms like the 17-55 f/2.8 DX and 80-200 f/2.8 with an 85mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.8 for when you want shallow DOF. You'll also want 2 speedlights, one for each body. A monopod is a good idea, not as obtrusive as a tripod, and still gives support. For formal shots with posing, if it's outside, you'll want reflectors and fill cards for outdoor lighting.

    Shoot in Aperture priority and always at your lens's widest aperture to ensure the fastest shutter speed, shortest DOF and the most bokeh.
     
  5. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    Sw1tchFX There really is no need for all those primes... Ideally you'd want some wife/telephoto, but the difference between a 50mm and a 85mm 1.8 is really not that much, and only a few steps in either direction.

    I understand your concern with wedding photography, but a great many friendships are open enough to tell the person that, and the OP might find she has a talent and confidence enough to become a wedding photographer.

    Interestingly enough I know some local wedding photogs, quite succesful who use only two lenses for the entire ordeal, a 18-200mm VR and a fisheye wide... that's it. I don't think any photographer wants to change their lenses more than once during ANY shoot, and not at all if they can afford it.

    I just get offended with people who seemingly try to scare others out of photographing a wedding... I don't know why they do it. Is it out of fear of their own incompetence? Or is it still a hold over of the days when people thought equipment made the photog. This isn't something against you personall SW1tchFX, just a general observation. Someone mentions "My friends wedding" and the photogs phreak.

    Essentially, for even a semi-pro, all you'd need is this:

    A Body
    A Backup body
    A fast prime medium range
    A fast Wide angle lens
    (MAYBE A fast Zoom, something 70-300 would be ideal, or even a decent 55-200.)
    A Speedlight (Sb-600)
    Batteries/memory cards galore
    Tripod and/or a Monopod
    Various Reflectors.

    All that said, it is a ONCE in a lifetime event. Make sure your friend knows that you can do what you can the best to your ability, but you cannot promise anything... maybe even get that into a written contract.

    Oh and if you can... convince her to go with a professional. USUALLY they are WELL worth the cost, even if a recent study named Wedding Photographers the most OVERPAID job in America!
     
  6. roxysmom

    roxysmom TPF Noob!

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    I'll admit I did get scared reading these messages! I want to get into this field but I know my limits. I also know some people can't afford to hire professionals because it's not in their budget. So they need someone with a good eye and decent equipment. I believe I can offer this for her.

    I have been VERY open to my friend about this and I feel comfortable with the discussions we've had. She could really care less about the pictures so much so that she wanted to do group shots in the parking lot! I convinced her to go to a park before the ceremony so we could get decent shots. In addition there is not a reception but cake and punch. That's why I feel even if I get so-so shots she will be happy with them.

    As for the advice I do really appreciate it. One more question on the lens. It was mentioned to get a fast prime medium range & a fast Wide angle lens. Would you use the medium range inside and the wide angle outside? I don't think I'll have time during the ceremony (it's going to be quick) to change the lens. In summary the lens I do have (18-135) won't work.

    I have several batteries, several memory cards, a tripod, a small ladder, and access to a Nikon speedlight but it's older (Nikon AF Auto 433AF). I'm researching to see if I need to upgrade this one. I took a basic lighting class so I got to see first hand examples of what to do. I do want to invest in a rotating arm so my flash is always in the right spot. I also am purchasing a set of round reflectors (one white and one silver).

    My husband is "assisting" me so I stay relaxed and focused. He is going to help ensure I get the normal photos checked off our list.

    Thanks again for the advice.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi again, Roxysmom.

    One other thing, you might go to a full service camera store and buy a book on wedding photography. There are enough to question whether it's more lucrative to shoot the weddings or to write about it. ;)
    There should be enough tips, examples, and how-tos to make it worth your while.

    As long as your friend and her finance know exactly what kind of coverage they will be getting and are happy about it then you should be fine. And you are right, not every one can afford a wedding photographer, but everyone should have wedding pictures!

    mike
     
  8. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    Well, where is the wedding? If its INSIDE somewhere, I really would not use the 18 - 135. The short response is that this lens is not FAST enough to handle the darkness of the room.

    BUT Lets say you wanted to stick with it during the ceremony. I would get a MONOPOD or TRIPOD that is light enough to move easily, and zoom in and get some shots, assuming there is SOME light or they dont mind flash. (ASK FIRST)

    During the outside shots you could really get away with the 18-135 too, set at the wide (18mm) side, but youd get better results with a 50mm 1.8D (But its not that wide, so your going to have to step back)...

    The "reception" (party) Keep the 50mm on, its a great distance for snapshot style pics, more closeup then people are used to, and great BOKEH. The flash will help here, assuming its not outdoors and bright.

    Wouldnt it be great if all weddings and receptions where on bright but slightly overcast days? lol The lighting would be soft and diffused!

    EDIT: I want to add that I've never actually shot a wedding myself, but I've done other events in a similar situation with the WRONG equipment, and the results were terrible.
     

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