I need some help.

vikingtyty

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My sister is getting married at the end of this year, in south carolina(we live in texas, her fiance's family lives in SC). Now, before they were even engaged, my sister told me she wanted me to photograph her wedding. I've never done portraits before.

They had a couple options:
A) Fly one of my mother's close friends who is a photographer out to SC and have her take the pictures. Would have to pay for her lodging and meals.
B) Hire a professional... the ones we found charged an arm and a leg.
C) Have me bust my ass and try to do the best job possible. I'd already be flying out there anyways.

Now, back to me never doing portraits. Can someone provide me with either information or links to information about taking portraits? My camera isn't "top of the line" or anything, it's just a digital rebel XT.. would that be fine? I'm assuming I will have to at least invest in some more lenses, and better lighting. Any tips for that?

I know it probably doesn't seem like the best idea for me to do this, but I think my sister would really like it if I did...and I have a few months to prepare. If you guys could help me out, that would be amazing.
 

Azuth

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Grab a book on portraiture - read & practice. Get / borrow a decent flash for your camera, like a 420EX or similar (580 even better). If the bride's in white she becomes a good portable relector. Avoid harsh shadows on faces or people squinting into the sun. Find shots that you want to emulate, study them, figure out how they were lit and try to replicate them.

Good luck.
 
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vikingtyty

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Sharkbait, it's in september I believe, but:

I think that she's cutting down on the budget now, like she told my mom today that she might just get the guests to take pictures, in which case, I'd definitely be taking pictures. And also in that case, I'd like to do my best to make sure it's memorable, since I doubt the average schmo with a cybershot will take the best pictures.

Also, her dress won't be white, I think it's like a light brown color.
 

Sharkbait

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I think the biggest keys for a camera suitable for shooting weddings are:

1. Fast glass. AT LEAST f/2.8. I recently purchased an image-stabalized f/3.5-5.6 and while it's nice and pretty decent for portraits, I'm back to my old f/1.8 50mm prime for reception stuff.

2. Good response at high ISO. Our new MkII-N bodies show almost no noise at ISO 1000. That makes wedding stuff SO much easier.

3. Quick AF, especially in low-light. This is partially dependent on the lens, but cameras are the major factor.

4. Run the camera on manual, especially in darker locations. If you let the camera do its own thinking (ie Program mode), you're going to have very nicely exposed subjects on totally black backgrounds (think snapshot). IMO one of the marks of professional wedding photography is keeping at least some light in the background in reception photos. Typically my settings at receptions are ISO 1000 (or 1600 if it's really dark), f/2.8, 1/30 to 1/50 sec shutter speed.
 

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