wedding photogs: monopod and head choice?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by holga girl, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. holga girl

    holga girl TPF Noob!

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    so i have decided to purchase a mono pod and head rather than continuing to borrow from friends. i shoot mainly weddings and my largest gear is a d700 with a 80-200 2.8.

    which head/leg combo has worked best for you?
     
  2. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Do you really need a monopod for weddings?
     
  3. sambrody44

    sambrody44 TPF Noob!

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    You shouldn't but you definitely need a good exterior flash for low light churches and receptions, and to just even out the shadows from inconsistent lighting.
     
  4. TUX424

    TUX424 TPF Noob!

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    ya instead of a monopod which u shouldnt need b/c u have the 80-200 2.8 u should look at a SB-600 best value for flashes or maybe go for a step up with the SB-800
    People remeber that the SB-600 is getting replaced by the SB-700 sometime soon
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Actually I know several wedding photographers in this area that use a monopod when shooting weddings/engagements. Now for the bad news. Most are using a sturdy monopod like the 680B from Manfroto. It's the head that is the killer. All of them use the Custom Bracket Pro-M on top. Quick to release for handheld shots and the rotating mountaing plate allows for an easy switch from horizontal to portrait while keeping a flash directly above the lens. Not a cheap option though.

    As I was typing this I realized that If memory serves me correctly all of them were also trained by Monte Zucker. Don't know if there is a connection or not.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am just thinking about my experiences... the only times a monopod would have any easy reason to be used is for in places where I needed stability *and* had the time to use it, like formals or in the church. And if in those conditions I had the time for a monopod, I had time for a tripod and it's superior results.

    Under these conditions, a monopod is just useless compared to a tripod. X10 if you have a camera like a D700/D3 that has incredible low noise at high ISO and can take advantage of faster shutter speeds with little to no loss in quality, you can negate 90% of the reasons why to use a tripod in the first place... making a monopod even further useless.

    I've done a few weddings... my take is go tripod or or nothing. I leave the monopods at home unless I am doing my outdoor nature walk and need a walking stick and do not want to lug a tripod outside for hours on end. :)

    Just my 2 cents. :D
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Practice good technique and work out with a 10 pound bag of flour or something.

    You should also look up techniques for shooting a firearm if you don't already know. Breathing and heart rate are as important for photography as for shooting a rifle.

    Do this and be at least moderately fit and you should be able to hand hold to 1/15 seconds with little trouble. Any slower a shutter speed is useless for a photo with living (awake) beings in it anyway. ;)


    OOOPS, I hope this didn't sound sexist, I didn't mean it to be. I actually used a 10# bag of sugar because the flower tends to leak after a while and gets dust all over the place (I just had bread on my mind). Try holding it like you would a camera with long lens and do curls with it (absolutely no pun intended! :)).
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  8. holga girl

    holga girl TPF Noob!

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    i have 3 sb-800's plus external lights to set up. some churches don't allow flash, and some just have great natural light. when shooting a wedding, i prefer to be 'ninja photographer'. the less obvious that i am the better. a mono -pod allows me to maneuver around the church, in-between pews and down the isles with less chance of banging a tripod leg on something while being less obtrusive. it is also easier than a tripod to move quickly with if i need to get from one end of the church to another.

    I have bogen tripods that i use for the balcony shots and the standard back of the church shot, but i like shooting with a mono-pod for my no flash weddings or weddings where the church has dramatic available light. I work in baltimore and Annapolis and many of the older churches here have dramatic lighting.

    it is simply quicker for me and less obnoxious looking than a tripod during a no flash ceremony.

    as for technique, i have not looked into rifle techniques, which actually sounds interesting and i may look into. after 15 years of shooting I do know to hold my breath when i shoot, and when possible i lean against a wall or pew and stabilize my gear with my hand/arm as much as possible. but my gear is still heavy at sometimes with a 2.8 200mm i get some mild shake at 1/15. why not use a monopod and get clear shots?

    all that being said, after all these years, i have found that i prefer to use a mono-pod for my no flash wedding ceremonies. I Have had so many this year, that instead of continuing to use an old one with a crappy head that i borrowed from a friend 4 years ago, now that i have a chance to buy directly from bogen, I Have decided to go ahead and order one specifically for that purpose.

    so if anyone can recommend a head that they like using for shooting wedding ceremonies, that would be fantastic.

    and if i have any flour left over from baking my cake i'll be sure to 'work out' with it. i am sure it will benefit me more than training for that silly marathon anyway ;)
     
  9. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    I tend to agree - but then again I never tried it either - thus mu questioning.

    Also something to consider is that with just one or two pieces of velcro tape almost any tripod can be used as a monopod - or by extending just one leg. If the legs collapse/spread-out independently you can even extend one leg to the floor and use one or both of the other legs to pull into your torso for extra stability.

    But even a tripod at a wedding seems kinda out of place. I can see it for still subject shots like the cake, the alter, some of the food, decorations, etc. But a pod (I think) is mostly for still subjects where you need a long exposure. At a wedding long exposures are going to work as people can't and don't want to try to freeze for 1/2 a second or whatever - and 95% of the shots are of people.

    Now, I could totally see a monopod if I were using 2 or 3 flashes on long extension brackets or some other heavy rigging where weight were an issue. ;)
     
  10. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    I love the manfrotto joystick head:





    [​IMG]
    Image courtesy Manfrotto (www.manfrotto.com)​


    http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/non-nikon_articles/manfrotto-222-grip-ball-head.html

    Now if only the pod height were adjustable with a hand squeeze in the same way! :thumbup:


    .
     
  11. holga girl

    holga girl TPF Noob!

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    yeah, i am currently considering the joystick. i have never been a big fan of ball heads, but i think this may be the most suited for wedding ceremonies.

    again, i am not using the mono-pod for reception shots, candids, formals or anything where the subject is in full motion. i am using it for available light ceremony shots of the bride and groom at the alter, heads bowed after prayer, pew decorations, candles etc. most of my subjects are completely still (other than breathing) and are unaware they are being photographed.

    i don't think that velcroing the legs together would work for me as then it would still be as heavy and as cumbersome as a tripod. and well, if i didn't care about weight and bulk, i'd just use a tripod. i am going for quick, light, and simple added stability.

    i think it is interesting that there seems to be so much resistance to someone using a mono-pod at a wedding ceremony. it seems a shame really that one would choose to wash out interesting lighting with flash, restrict themselves to a cumbersome tripod and unnecessarily jack up ISO when simply putting your camera on a monopod allows you to avoid all of those things!

    over the years i have worked with many photographers. and while no flash weddings are not as common, in the ones i have shot with other photographers, a monopod was common place. i guess it is just the way i was brought up.

    to each his own i guess...
     

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