Shooting my brothers wedding reception - Tips?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JohnS., Jun 3, 2019.

  1. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    Hey all,

    My brother is getting married in a couple of months and he's asked me to take pictures for him at the reception. I am by no means a professional, this is merely a hobby, but he knows I have a DSLR and can take "decent" pictures. I've done some Googling and have gotten an overall gist to what I "should" do but I've had great experiences getting insight from some of you here and would love a few pointers.

    I have a D7000, SB-600 & diffuser, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 (not sure if I'll like the wide angle for a ton of shots but the f/2.8 sounds appealing), 50 1.8D, 70-300 AF-S VR, and 18-105. I have 2 memory cards and obviously extra batteries will be brought for the flash. He said the reception should go around 3-3.5 hours so one full charge should suffice? Based on personal experiences with the few weddings I've gone to and from what I've been reading online and due to being limited to one camera body, I figured the 18-105 and trying to limit the amount of zoom I'm doing (moving myself rather than relying on the zoom) would be enough. And with 18-105 limitations, Aperture mode and Auto ISO seem to be a must.

    :)


     
  2. Raw photographer

    Raw photographer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am an beginner and have never done a wedding before but all i can suggest is bring as many battery's, spare SD cards ect... as you can even if you don't think you need them. Better be safe than sorry.
     
  3. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not have any experience with Wedding photography. However, if your brother also hire a professional photographer at the reception, I think it will be nice to communicate with the photographer because he/she has a job to do.
     
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  4. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I went as a friend with a camera to a wedding to take photos I had a canon 17 85for outside and a nifty fifty f 1.8 for the low light inside. I tried to take the shots that everyone else missed. The natural moments, all in all I took 1200 over three hours. As in post 2 take as many cards batts you can not forgetting a couple of lens cloths. You will be under stress and if it’s warm as well you will have to wipe the camera and lens down. Rem to bin the cloths at the end of day. Dry salt in the cloth will scratch hell out of lens.
    Look for the moments that make memories. A grey card to establish the colour balance of photograph something known like a white ribbon.
    Eyes open finger and camera ready
    Ps wine ,beer and fizzy drinks don’t mix well with camera kit, watch out for the kids and others who may spill over you
     
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  5. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Agreed some can get quite grumpy if you keep getting in the way
     
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  6. dunfly

    dunfly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am no professional but I was asked by my sister in law to shoot her son's rehearsal dinner. I arrived at the restaurant to find if very dark with dark walls and high dark ceilings. It was a difficult shoot to say the least. First suggestion, visit the venue well in advance to plan your shoot. This will tell you a lot about what you will need. I had 2 cameras, one with an 18-140 lens and one with a 35mm f1.8. I used both but the 18-140 was used the most because you are continually changing vantage points. I did not shoot at the wedding or reception since there was a professional photographer there and I didn't want to get in his way. So, If there is a pro, keep your shots to a minimum and stay our of his way.
     
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  7. Tropicalmemories

    Tropicalmemories No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    John - I'm guessing from you post that you are the photographer and that's there's not also a pro there?

    If that's the case - then I recommend you say 'no thank you'.

    I've never done wedding photography, as I believe it to be a very specialist skill set that includes communication skills as well as the photographic skills to perform with 100% reliability under challenging conditions. It's almost like being a movie director, ambassador, marriage counsellor and photographer all combined.

    I've done some 'pre-wedding' shoots as a favour for friends - but if they go wrong they can be repeated, not so with a wedding.

    But if you are determined to go ahead - then you need a second body in case of technical issues, plus an assistant. And scope out the venue in advance plus check the weather forecast.

    If you are the second shooter, then use a long lens, keep out of the way, and catch those special private moments.

    Good luck either way!
     
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  8. texxter

    texxter No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Excellent advice above! Count me as someone who doesn't do event photography for a living, but has some experience. My tidbits:

    • If possible visit the reception venue ahead of time to get an idea of what you need to deal with. This has saved me in the past, as it helped me determine a lighting strategy and help with lens choice. Reception halls are going to be dark and people will be moving, so this is very challenging without the assistance of supplemental lighting.
    • Unless you're very confident about your abilities, you may want to set low expectations with your brother - out of 1,000 clicks you may get only a few keepers if conditions are difficult. That's why it's important to scout the place ahead of time so that you can assess the level of technical difficulty involved.
    • The 18-105 AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G is fine for daylight conditions, but you'll be bumping the ISO to the max if the reception hall is dark and you only have one small flash. The 50 f/1.8 would be preferable but not wide enough. If I had to do this I would go with a 35mm f/2 for 90% of the work. The Tokina is way too wide in my opinion, and the 70-300 probably not needed. Even if you use flash, having an f/2 on a moderate wide angle lens will bring the ISO to decent levels, and more importantly, will allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds.
    • Check to see if bouncing the flash is a possibility - if the ceilings are high or colored this is not going to work. But bouncing will give you diffused light at the expense of reduced power. Let TTL do its thing. Raise the ISO or set it to Auto. If you're dragging the shutter to capture ambient you may need a tungsten color correction sheet for the flash - again, visit the venue to learn what kind of ambient light you have, and whether you want to use it. Nothing looks more amateurish than a dark tungsten background with a daylight flash look on the subject. Moving the flash off the camera, like holding it with your left hand and letting Nikon's remote TTL do its magic can work but you'd better practice before trying.
    • When people are dancing you'll need a decent shutter speed and also a bigger aperture is light are low and you don't want to use flash. This means very large ISO. It's better to get noise than blurry images. It the equipment doesn't quite reach, it is better to use flash than to get dark and blurry.
    • Watch for reflections on windows or mirrors that may show your flash firing and cannot be easily removed by postprocessing
    Good luck!

     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    _If_ you agree to shoot, and I am not saying you should, then preview/reconnoiter the venue(s). Check for potential shooting impediments.

    The 18-105 and the 50mm AF-D sound like workhorses for indoors. The 70-300 ought to be okay for some outdoor shots.
     
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  10. JohnS.

    JohnS. TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone!

    There will be a professional photographer for the ceremony but he asked me to shoot the reception. Like I said before, he knows I dont know a lot about post-processing and that its just a hobby. Hes not expecting amazing photos.

    The problem with checking out the venue is that its 5 hours away and I'm going down the day before the wedding. I'll have to ask for the website. I didnt think about the high ceilings or weird colors.... Hopefully that isnt the case. He said it's going to be a very simple wedding so I'd assume hes not going to be paying for much like a professional DJ, open bar....things that usually are associated with weddings. Both of them are very cheap and want a quick and simple wedding.

    I really wish I had money for a 24-70 f/2.8 but that will never happen .... One day.

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Soocom1

    Soocom1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I will avoid the camera side because I don't shoot Nikon.

    texxter has some good points and I will enhance based on my infrequent wedding gigs I USE to do.


    1. Defiantly visit the site WELL ahead of time and get readings, light conditions etc.
    2. figure out the flash issues ahead of time.
    3. If you can shoot in lower light do so, but expect certain results.
    4. Find out about the flash side, because there is nothing more annoying than a flash going off in someone's face unexpectedly.
    5. AVOID AT ALL COSTS EATING ANYTHING GREASY!!!
    6. AVOID AT ALL COSTS ALCOHOL WHILE YOU ARE SHOOTING!!!
    7. Do not eat anything with chocolate because it causes your mouth to salivate and you will be running for water, and then the bathroom, missing shots.
    8. Stick with the theme of the wedding in attire.
    9. If you have the ability, line up a spot for a tripod OUT OF THE WAY!
    10. If white, DO NOT EAT RED! The reason why is that stains on your clothing will cause distractions. Remember, this is THEIR day! Not yours!
    11. Shots to consider: The garder, rice throwing, flower throwing, best man's speech, etc.
    12. Talk with the couple to get what they want especially and keep open the candid shots.
    13. LOOK around while getting the pre-planned shots for the candid shots and goofy picture opportunities.
    14. DO NOT try to compare notes with a pro photographer on site if one is there. trust me, there is nothing that can start a fight faster than a pro and amateur going at it.
    15. have fun and be ready for all kinds of goofyness.
    16. if you have it open, take an extra camera with you. Nothing is more annoying than having a camera fail at the wrong moment.
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    No alcohol.
    Stay sharp. Watch your memory cards....keep close tabs on WHERE they are.

    Every 15 minutes, reassess things.
     
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