Shooting Weddings Without An Assistant

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by MKB31, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. MKB31

    MKB31 TPF Noob!

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    I usually shoot weddings with an assistant, to hold and keep track of my gear, but I have one coming up that I will have to be shooting alone. Has anyone on the board done it alone? If so, how do you handle your gear alone? My camera bag is big, it would be pretty difficult to have that around my shoulder in addition to the two cameras around my neck, the two flashes and the lenses... anyone have any techniques or tips?
     
  2. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Im sure if you really need one it would be easy enough to find someone looking for some experiance to do it for free.
     
  3. Aggressor

    Aggressor TPF Noob!

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    I sometimes shoot alone, but I don't really mind the weight on my shoulders.

    I try to pack light, using two lenses that cover everything from 17-200 @ 2.8 I carry a couple of primes, PW's, and flashes in a waist pack.

    At a cost of flexibility, you could shoot with one body and use something like a shootsac to pack your lenses and flashes. It's designed to have your gear accessible to you quickly, so you may be able to go to a single body.
     
  4. MKB31

    MKB31 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies! That shootsac is a great idea, I like that! I posted my question on some other boards too, so in the interest of passing along the info, here's some other tips I got:

    • from time to time have managed to enlist the help of a wedding guest. There's usually someone bored enough to volunteer with enthusiasm. I have a standard clause in my contract which calls for a 'guest wrangler' and helper (to be supplied by the client) in times of need and it seems to work. The clients have all appreciated the move to keep costs down too.

    • I bought the ThinkTank Airport Security rolling case:

    http://www.thinktankphoto.com/produc...amera-bag.aspx

    • fanny pack for small stuff like cards and batteries.

    I'm still interested in hearing what everybody else does though, I think this is a useful topic... :D
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I've shot weddings alone, it's usually not a big deal.

    For the ceremony, I set up a base camp where I can drop my bags etc. It might be an empty pew or in a corner etc. You don't want it out in the open, but you don't want it out of site either. I know a couple photographers who carry cable locks in their bags, so they can be secured to something sold to prevent someone just grabbing them and dashing off. Bags like the ThinkTank can be locked right up.

    Same for me. I always request a 'guest wrangler' and sometimes that person can double as an assistant. Although, the best 'gear guards' tend to be someone like the boyfriend of a bridesmaid. They are usually not in many photos, if any, but they want to (have to) hang around because the bridesmaid is in many of the photos.
    Ive even had one guy stay longer to help while I was just shooting the B&G, I then gave him a ride afterward, even though I was done shooting for the day.

    I do carry the important things on my person though. Like the full memory cards. The gear is replaceable but the photos may not be.
     
  6. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    +1 !!
     
  7. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Big Mike. Find a place to store your gear that you can easily come back to when needed. You can throw a couple of bodies on your shoulder if you would not be able to switch for a period of time, and in that case, I would use a couple of primes to keep the weight down (if you can get away with not having a zoom). It's worked okay for me, thus far.
     
  8. BLD_007

    BLD_007 TPF Noob!

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    I will do it for free as I need the experience. Just pay for my plan ticket lol
     
  9. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    $200 for that Shootsac? :lol:

    WOW
     
  10. Renol

    Renol TPF Noob!

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    I'm tempted to volunteer too :p
     
  11. dzfoto

    dzfoto TPF Noob!

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    Hey, I can comfort you, that I NEVER done any weddings with assistant. I always work alone. I agree that work with assistant is handy one, but working alone I can concentrate on my work more.

    Sorry of my english
     
  12. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

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    I too find a good hiding spot. I keep both cams on me at all times and put the bag in a concealed area in the church, usually under one of the pews (sp) where no one is sitting. or, under a pew in the organ loft where no one is definately sitting. at the reception i make friends with the DJ of course, and usually keep the bag behind the table where his gear is setup on. they are always willing to help. other times i put the bag under a table that's covered by the table cloth, like the gifts table, and one that won't be moved. when doing this i move it to a couple locations through the night if there is no DJ in case someone sees where i put it in the first place. usually i have a 2nd shooter with me, not an assistant. we help to look out for each other's gear so i never really have a designated person to assist. we work together / individually. where is your wedding in chicago?
     

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