Advice on shooting a friend's engagement session?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by virginie24jb, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. virginie24jb

    virginie24jb No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi,

    A friend from college recently asked me if I was interested in being the photographer at her wedding. I told her that honestly I didn't have what it takes for the job as I have zero experience in portrait photography so I wouldn't want to ruin her day and I'm not comfortable with the pressure that goes with it. But I told her I'd be interested in trying an engagement session with them just to see what I could come up with. She liked the fact that I told her what I really thought about her idea (of having me as their photographer) and would be happy to do an engagement session. I've told her I know a park that would be a nice location for it. In the early morning on the weekend it should be less crowded that in the evening and we could get a nice light.

    First when it comes to gear: I have a 6D and a t4i (it will be in the bag as a backup just in case something happens with the 6D).
    I'll bring the 50mm 1.8. I also have the 24-105 f/4 and the 70-300 f/3.5.
    I'm thinking about renting the 70-200 f/2.8 for the occasion. I've had an eye on this lens for some time for sport and landscape. This would be an opportunity to try it out. Do you think I should also rent a wider lens (instead of using my 24-105), like the 24-70 f/2.8?

    Any advice on the shoot itself? It would be very welcome.
    She is very easy-going and fun, he seems more reserved and I'm less familiar with him. I'm planning on going to the park to scout the location more in details and choose some specific location within the park.


     
  2. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 50 f/1.8 (unless you have the newer "STM" version) has a "nervous" or "jittery" look to the background blur that isn't very flattering.

    The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II ... that's a FABULOUS lens. I own the original (not the "II") and I love using this even for portraits. The key is to use the lens at the 200mm end at a low focal ratio and walk back far enough to frame in your subject. It creates gorgeous blur.

    If there was one other lens I might consider renting it would probably be the EF 85mm f/1.2L USM. I rented it, loved it... but I probably don't shoot enough portraits to justify owning my own copy.
     
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  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You could do a lot of stuff with the 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens on the 6D. The 70-300 would also be usable.
     
  4. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You don't say what your main interests are in photography so it's rather difficult to say what you should know going into this.

    I would be looking at any tutorial on shooting a wedding. This isn't my specialty but wedding photography is often about anticipating the event and what is about to occur. Just as if you were shooting a ceremonial event, weddings have stages which come one after the other and the photographer wants to take photos of the important moments in the day. Yet, the photographer will be best advised to be prepared for those moments when you are taking less formal shots of more "candid" moments.

    While you are going to have the advantage of shooting mostly outdoors with (hopefully) good lighting and mostly posed scenes, if you can catch the couple in those moments when they are being their most natural and at ease, IMO you'll have many of your best shots of the day.

    Then I would be looking at how to shoot portraits using available light and the small tricks of posing and camera placement that up your keeper rate and turn out to be special as opposed to just OK.

    And I personally would be practicing in advance for a shoot I've never done before.
     
  5. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "The 50 f/1.8 (unless you have the newer "STM" version) has a "nervous" or "jittery" look to the background blur that isn't very flattering."



    "Jittery"?

    I've never seen that term applied to background blur in a still photograph.
     
  6. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    worry about the posing and variety of shots.
     
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  7. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I did a Pixel-Peeper search for an example... this is probably as good as any:

    All sizes | IMG_4600 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    If you shoot "wide open" then the aperture blades are completed retracted so the aperture is actually "round". But if you stop down just a little (the example linked above was f/2) then the 5-bladed aperture opening gives you pentagonal blur, isn't well-rounded, and you get the jittery effect in the background blur. What you probably want is a smooth-creamy effect -- that this particular lens doesn't deliver.

    The new "STM" version uses a 7 blade aperture and looks much better than the 5-blade version. I think the 50mm f/1.4 uses an 8-blade aperture and the 50mm f/1.2L uses a 9-bladed aperture .

    In terms of the "in focus" areas... all these lenses are about the same. It's the quality of the out-of-focus areas that improves as you get the higher-end 50mm lenses. (well... and the more expensive lenses have a noticeably better build quality.)
     
  8. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What's the story that you're trying to convey or capture? Everything you do during the shoot will be based on that (equipment, lighting, poses, etc).
     
  9. virginie24jb

    virginie24jb No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you for your advice.
    I think I'll definitely rent the 70-200 2.8, I can't wait to try it out. I'm still undecided yet for the 24-105 vs 24-70.

    I briefly mentioned it in my message: landscape and (motor)sport.

    How many locations within the park would you choose? There is so many different places that seem nice, I have a difficult choice picking just one or two spots. Should I just keep one or two spots or should I go for more? We probably won't have time for all of them. That being said, the good thing is they're only getting married in 2017 so we have time to try several spots and even use the different seasons. :1247:
    I'm thinking about sending her the list so they can choose what they like best.

    1.
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    2.
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    3. Photo: Yves Noto Campanella
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    4.
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    5.
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    and more not listed here...

    For the "fun" part of the shoot if they are okay for it, there's a playground and a fake "driving school" for kids. I thought it could be nice since she's very fun and she's a teacher.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A driving school of any sort doesn't strike me as very "engagement" oriented.

    The couple are your subject, not the backgrounds.

    Sounds as though you are trying to bring your other interests into this shoot.

    Make the couple the interesting story of your shots.
     
  11. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That is if there is such a thing as "engagement oriented". :D
     
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  12. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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