Sister wants me to shoot her wedding (someone talk me out of this)


TPF Noob!
Oct 17, 2011
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Starkville MS
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Ok here's the situation; My sister is getting married on April 28 and hasn't found a photographer she likes (one she talked with couldn't remember what was included in his packages and another didn't even bring a portfolio). So instead she has asked me to do it for her. I initially said yes thinking it would make a good wedding present but the more I think about this and the more research I do on wedding photography, the more I think this is a REALLY bad idea.

I am not a pro by any means. I only really got into photography as a hobby about a year ago and I've only done one other wedding and that was as the second shooter. If I do go through with this and I'm going to have to rent some equipment (ok a lot of equipment). Here is what I own:
Canon 60D w/18-135mm "kit" lens
Canon 28mm f/1.8
Canon 100mm f/2.8L
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Master Collection - just ordered this taking advantage of their 80% off educational software marketing screwup

I'm thinking at a MINIMUM, I need to rent the 24-70mm 2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, and a second body. I'm not sure if flash is allowed or not during the ceremony but it is in a church with high ceilings, dark wood, and lots of stained glass windows. I haven't visited the location yet but I plan to in the next two weeks. So here are my questions.
1. Should I try to get out of this?
2. If not, is there any other equipment I should rent/buy? I don't own a speedlight but I'm looking for an excuse to buy one.
3. What about additional lighting for the formals? Speaking of formals, I'll need to be in some of the shots which is another problem.
4. What should I rent as the second body? I thinking either another 60D since I'm already familiar with it but I'd really like to get my hands on a 5D mkII.
5. Are there other questions I should be asking that I'm not.

Maybe I should just hire a pro and go along as the second shooter.
I've seen similar questions from ppl who were asked to shoot weddings for friends and acquaintances based solely upon the fact that the person owned a dslr. The responses from the senior members here was uniformly "get a pro."

It's your sister's wedding. It is nice to think of your services as a gift, but people look at their wedding photos for the rest of their life. I'm not trying to knock you, I'm sure you're very practiced, but there are several reasons, and very good ones, to leave this to a pro. If it was me, I'd think of two things. First, that's a LOT of pressure. Second, it's my sister's wedding; I don't want to remember it as a photo job. I want to share in her joy.

Just my two cents. (feel free to apply it to the cost of a decent wedding pro)
I agree. This is your sister's wedding, you should be enjoying it, not feeling so stressed that you'll want to puke.

I'm guessing she hasn't had any luck finding a photographer, because he budget is too low. Maybe convince her to increase her photography budget, maybe contribute to that yourself as a gift.
Another option, would be to suggest that she hire a pro, only for the most important parts, the ceremony and the formals, and that you will shoot the rest of the wedding. This might save her some money on the pro, and it will allow you to help her out. Plus, it means you won't have to shoot the high stress parts of the wedding. I did this for several family weddings before I started taking wedding clients.
I'd offer to second shoot whomever she hires, but I would NOT be solely responsible for it come hell or high water. It's a recipe for a family feud-even if you do the best possible job you can do.
The very fact that you're having second thoughts should be your sign not to do it.
I'd offer to second shoot whomever she hires, but I would NOT be solely responsible for it come hell or high water. It's a recipe for a family feud-even if you do the best possible job you can do.
This, to the nth power!!!!
Leve the camera at home and help your sister enjoy her day. Instead of shooting it, lend a big hand helping her to locate a decent photographer. You might be able to to the photography, but man, if something goes wrong you will hear about it every Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
So let the other photographer stress and do all the work. Stand back, support your sister, and make a great toast at the reception.
RUN AND HIDE as soon as possible. This is a nightmare in the making
Just say no!
Better equipment doesnt necessarily you will shoot the wedding better. Trust me on this one. Wedding photography is pretty hard especially if you want to produce something better than craiglist photographer. PLUS... you are her brother!!!!! You should be enjoying the wedding and be on the photos! I am pretty sure if someone had given me (2) 5DII, nice lenses, nice flash on my first wedding gig, the result will still look the same.
Ok, I'm going to try to get out of it and just help her find a good photographer.

She has also asked me to do her engagement portraits (and I assume her bridal portraits as well). I think I'm ok with that (as there are do-overs). What do you guys recommend using for outdoor portraits? I see a lot people using the two lenses I mention renting along with the either of canon's 85mm lenses. If course these guys are typically shooting with a FF camera and I'm not.

I figure I'll have to invest in some lighting equipment (been looking over the strobist website and may go that route).
Beside the fact that you're hesitant about shooting a wedding at all, it's your sister's wedding, you should be able to enjoy it. Just tell her you really want to be part of her big day, not running around with a camera. I think she'll understand that and it gets you out of it.
Everybody's first wedding is a disaster. Don't make it your sister's. There are a lot of quirks with shooting weddings that you can't pick up from a forum.

My biggest warning to people trying to get into weddings is that it's one thing to be able to handle a camera, and even capture the shot when the moment is right. It's an entirely different job when you're coordinating and posing people.

Engagement photos are good practice for shooting people. When we first got into weddings we shot about 15 couples for free engagement photos. Easy, no-pressure work, good portfolio builder, awesome practice.

As for the lenses, the 85mm 1.2 is great for making any location look good (the background just melts into mush). On a crop sensor it will be a little awkward for portraits. It'll be the equivalent of 135mm and a little too tight for couples if you ask me. I pretty much only use our 85L on a 5DII, not our 7D. The 50mm 1.4 is great for portraits on a crop body, and super cheap to rent (it's about $15 here for a weekend).
I'd tell your sister that if you were to shoot her wedding, it means you wouldn't be there to enjoy it at all. That also means that YOU wouldn't be in any pictures of her special day, and also, you don't want to screw up her memories! Be honest.

Do you have any friends that shoot weddings that you trust? Maybe you could recommend one of them, and offer to be a second shooter. That way your sister gets peace of mind when it comes to hiring someone she trusts, and you don't have to miss everything.

I think down the line you'd regret not being at your sisters wedding. Because even if you're physically there, you will NOT be a guest if you're shooting the entire thing.

Good luck!
Don't do it, it's asking for trouble. I'd bring your camera with the 28mm lens and maybe the 100mm, nothing else, and try to get a few nice shots but let a pro handle the majority. You won't enjoy the wedding otherwise, and you'll cop nothing but sh*t for your troubles.

Have a read through this thread if you need any more convincing.

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