Congratulations, I'm the last-minute wedding photographer!


TPF Noob!
Feb 1, 2010
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Monroe, Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
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So I have some friends of mine who are getting married tomorrow. They're having a fairly interesting and unique wedding, having one of our friends ordained, getting married in an old movie theater, etc.

A few months ago they, knowing I had a "good" camera, wanted me to be the "back-up" photographer. Meaning, in the course of my enjoying the reception, I was to take some "interesting" shots during the wedding and reception. They had another friend, doing her first-ever wedding. No biggie, sounds like good practice, plus I'd still get to enjoy the revelry of the night without getting too bogged down with pictures.

So today I get a message from them... their friend has babysitting issues, and thus can't leave her kid. Suddenly, I am now responsible for, at least, the pre-wedding shots, including bride and groom, and the bridal party. God knows if I'll be responsible for the ceremony shots, too.

So.... yeah.

I have one day to prepare (less, I have to go to work today).

My equipment is thus:
Canon Rebel XTi with an extra battery
18-55 non-IS lens (stock lens basically)
A tripod
Two eyes, a mouth, and a goofy smile

...anyone have any suggestions? :)
Well, do your best! And remember that red-eye could potentially be an issue at longer distances if the built-in flash is used.
Get sick!


First thing: Don't stress about it. Go out there and do the best job you can. Talk to the couple, make sure they understand the limits of your equipment (make sure you understand the limits of the equipment in this case), find out if there are any 'must have' shots (ie, Aunt Martha who no one has seen in 25 years has flown in from Pumphandle Junction for the wedding.

Arrive early if possible, scout the venue, find out where you want to stand for what shots. If you can beg/borrow/rent a flash and possibly a fast zoom (24-70 and/or 70-200 2.8).

Good luck!
Since this is such a unique wedding, remember to take pictures of all the big and little details that went into it. The bride and groom will be too busy to pay much attention to them, and your pictures will be their memories! It's not just about the pictures of the people. :thumbup:
try to get a flash - maybe a 430. they usually stock them at best buy.
if you are into it, try to show the whole day; tell the story...
get a list of shots that they are interested in
get artistic with your poses & placements
and have fun!
Here are a few quick things I learned doing my first wedding last month.

Bridal party shots - Stop down enough to make sure all rows are in focus...but DO NOT over do it.

Try to get there very early or prefferably today to see where you can be, 180-55 means your going to have to stay somewhat close without being obstructive.

Plan ahead, all the shots you want. Then see if the bridal party has any more they must have.

Only one lens?? Keep ahold of it, My camera, on tripod fell and I lost a new lens (well its out for repair now) during the formal shots when I went to grab another CF card.

Movie Theater - Dark...keep it at f3.6 if thats all you have, but flash is almost certainly a must with an XTi and low lighting. You are not going to be able to use high ISO and get away with much.

Use a tripod, you're going to need it if its as dark as I am imagining.
Plan on countless hours of PP and editing. You dont want to give them SOC shots of their wedding.

You really need a faster lens, I would suggest looking on craigs list and picking up a 50mm 1.8 you should be able to find one for 80.00 or so. Best money you will spend in this situation, and you will actually like it, great lens.

Take control of the shots, someone has to be in charge and it may as well be you. You have to learn to direct where everyone is, posing, details (hair, dress, train, etc) in your shtws. Bringing a girlfriend? Use her to help.

Have fun while doing it, but remember you are capturing the memories for them, try your best. It's actually exausting and you will soon see why Wedding photogs charge what they do. Let us see the results when you are done.
Man...can you come up with a decent shoe-mount flash by the day of the wedding???? it could really spell the difference between success and failure...
Well, I dunno if you are willing to spend a little money for a little extra gear or not but I think there are a few things that could help. Like someone else said, get a flash. Also, maybe get the nifty fifty. It would definately help in low light situations which I assume it will be since it is in an old movie theater? Or you could hire some better lenses for the day too. I would normally say a few days before so you can get used to them, but you don't have that kind of time. I don't know how many memory cards you have, but you'll want extras for sure. Are you planning to shoot in RAW or just JPG? Maybe, if you shoot in RAW, they can find someone to do the PP for you if you aren't comfortable with that. I think PP is pretty important as it can salvage a lot of otherwise ruined pictures of mine.

Good Luck!
Hi guys, thanks for the suggestions... I'm unfortunately very broke (minimum wage job and college degree loan payoffs will do that to a man), and I doubt I'll be able to snag a flash by sometime tomorrow.

Tripod is definitely on my list of "bring its". I'll do my best with the on-board flash, but I know the power of it is going to be garbage. I'll make do with what I have, in the spirit of all broke amateur photographers before me. Sally forth!

I'm not too worried about PP... it's my favorite part of any photo series. :)
May the Photography Gods be with you my friend! Let us know how it goes tomorrow.
The only option you have on your minimalist budget that will produce decent snapshots is to go to your local camera rental store and rent better gear. Such as a fast zoom lens, 5D or 7D body and a flash. Tell your friends that are getting married you need the cash to pay for the rental :er:
Since this is such a unique wedding, remember to take pictures of all the big and little details that went into it. The bride and groom will be too busy to pay much attention to them, and your pictures will be their memories! It's not just about the pictures of the people. :thumbup:

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