Yet more wedding questions . . .

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by GMan_nz, May 29, 2007.

  1. GMan_nz

    GMan_nz TPF Noob!

    Jan 2, 2007
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    Wellington, New Zealand
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    Hi folks, apologies in advance for the lengthy post:confused:

    I have been asked to photograph the main event for friends too - seems like there's a bit of that going around. There's a few books and places online to go for tips etc but I was hoping I could get some constructive advice for my particular case.

    The couple have seen a few photos I've taken and were impressed - but then it's easy to impress people who don't understand how shallow DOF makes such a difference between dSLR photos and 'flat' P&S photos. At any rate, I'm confident & happy enough to 'have a go' and they understand I'm no professional -but I'd like to do my very best so they at least get a handful or two of images thay can enjoy.

    The wedding is not until September so I have a while to get things sorted. I will be shooting with my D50. I currently have the kit Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 70-300mm, and the 50mm 1.8 prime. I only have the built in flash at present. I have a 2Gb and a 512MB SD card.

    The couple are working to a tight budget and she's already been through the whole 'big wedding' thing once before - so it's going to be a relatively low-key event and there will only be 40 or so people attending (they're thinking about not even having a cake to cut!!). A restaurant will serve as both the wedding and reception venue, with tables shifted (I think) accordingly for the two parts of the evening.

    I understand the venue is quite dim, and it will be a 5pm service so any natural light throught the small front windows will be of no use whatsoever. I am going to check out the venue next week to get a feel for how dark it will really be, if there are mirrors that will upset flash, if there are lighter areas to bounce flash off, etc.

    Now, for my questions:

    1/ I'm not expecting great results from a pokey D50 flash, so I'm expecting to purchase the SB600 or SB800 between now and September. Is it worth spending the extra on the SB800 - ie what additional benfits will it bring? any other suggestions for speedlights, or should i stick with the best? Keeping mind I'll be travelling in Africa next year and will be taking the same kit with me to use there.

    2/ Because the venue is quite dark I get the impression that even with a prime lens some additional lighting will be required - or will I get away with using a wide aperture and slow shutter? I have a shakey cheap aluminium tripod but I'm thinking it'll be more of a hindrance than a help in a small venue, so I should probably look at getting a monopod instead, perhaps?

    3/ Given what we know about the venue, are my lenses going to do the job? I'd love to invest in the 18-200 VR but that may stretch my budget too far given I probably need to spend NZ$400-600 on a speedlight as it is. So should I keep an eye out for a secondhand 18-135 or similar - or will this not really make much of a difference?

    4/ It sounds like I should be shooting in RAW - which I haven't gone near even though I've had the camera for a few months . . how much memory do I really need? If I get a 4GB card with my existing cards as 'backup' will I probably have sufficient storage?

    5/ Assuming I take maybe 300 - 500 RAW shots, how much work will be involved afterwards in postprocessing, and am I setting myself up for a couple of weekends' graft for nada?

    6/ It's sounding like they don't want much in the way of the standard outside wedding party photos between ceremony and reception, but any that we do decide on will probably be in a small square with traffic going by, with headlights and so on, and it will be either deep dusk or black by the time we are outside. Is this inviting disater?

    7/ What are your biggest DONT'S when it comes to this sort of thing (besides warning n00bs against taking wedding photos for friends!:p )

    Thanks in advance . . . standing by for words of wisdom!

  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Oct 26, 2003
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    1. SB-800 has a higher power. At my aunts wedding it only just managed. I'm glad I got it over the SB-600.
    2. Go in and take test shots. Maybe just readings. It's hard to say what will happen but natural light is always better.
    3. Ignore the 18-200VR. Firstly it's not a very good lens, it's not a very fast lens either. Also VR will not stop the action only your hand. If you shutter speed is too slow for handheld shooting it probably will be too slow to photograph people who don't stay perfectly still.
    4. With compressed RAWs I can fit 230 RAW frames on my 2gb. You camera probably makes RAWs half the size. Either take a laptop, more memory, or sort and delete on the fly.
    5. Depends. If they are all exposed perfectly you can just run a batch conversion which will be done in seconds. I suggest select the best 50 and process them the best you can.
    6. Yes. You will need to use direct flash. Direct flash is bad but unavoidable in this case. (don't forget if you use flash inside check if you can use indirect flashing).
    7. Don't go in without sussing the place out first at the appropriate time to check how the light will work. Also ask the organiser if flash photography is ok. Do NOT jump around like a monkey infront of the service taking pictures. Try not to get in peoples way.
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

    Feb 15, 2007
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    I shoot about 8Gb at a wedding in RAW. Depends how you shoot but you may be OK with 6Gb if you are not shooting all day/night.

    Is there any chance of doing a shoot prior to or after the event (outside). in a dim restaurant you will struggle with the lenses you have. The 50mm f1.8 will most likely be your best friend.

    Buy the best you can afford.

    Remember that using wide apertures close up, seriously reduces your depth of field. Make sure you get the required subject(s) in focus and use an appropriate aperture for the image. If this means using flash do so. Shoot in manual and set the aperture shutter speed yourself. The flash should expose the subject. Fast shutter speeds may mean a very dark background though so remember the more ambient light you let in (slower shutter speed) the brighter the background will look.

    You need fast lenses - Primes may be your friends. look at the very least for an f2.8 zoom (Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is a pretty decent performer for the money). I have the 28-75 f2.8 and it's great but in a restaurant you may need a wide lens. 30mm f1.4 may also be a good lens in this tight environment.

    I use Canon so can't comment on the flash but do use bounce flash where possible and it might be worth considering a bracket or diffuser of some kind. Watch out for the shadows that the flash creates behind the subject which can be very unsightly. the bracket should eliminate these.

    Certainly shoot RAW and keep your eye on your histogram at ALL times. make sure you are not underexposing/overexposing your shots and use the flash exposure compensation to maintain good exposures. If the light is consistent shoot in manual, set the FEC and you should be able to get pretty consistent exposures that will be easy and quick to edit in ACR or lightroom.

    Depends on how consistent your exposures are and how quick you are with ACR (or other RAW converters). Remember to go through and delete all the really useless shots first.

    You can be crative in a situation like this. Dragging the shutter (slow shutter speed like 1/15th) and using flash can bring in some funky looking lights. Better than a plain black background but have a practice beforehand to see how it works. Use different angles - try to be creative....


    1. PANIC!
    2. Get in the way
    3. Panic
    4. Be rude
    5. Panic
    6. Blast every shot with direct flash

    1. Check your ISO (you'll probably need to be using 400 or 800).
    2. Check your histogram constantly
    3. Be polite but firm when posing people
    4. Make sure you know how to use your camera inside out
    5. Understand exposure and flash
    6. Watch out for shadows cast on the backgrounds
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Aug 29, 2006
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    Pittsburgh PA
    1. You are right about the pop-up flash whatever you do do not try and use it long term you are better off if you can afford it with the SB-800

    2. Bring your tripod if nothing else it might be a good place to set your camera if you have a quick-release on it but you will also find some times where it is necesarry and it is better to have it and not use it than leave it home and wish you had it.

    3. Absolutely positively DO NOT waste your money on an 18-200 some people may like this lens for it's versatility but you already have lens speed problems do not make them worse with this lens. If you want to spend that kind of money on a lens try he 35-70 2.8 a much higher quality lens and even less money.

    4. If you really know your post-processing well shoot Raw otherwise I wouldn't worry about it but you can find alot of discussion on the pros and cons if you do a search on the forum.

    5. RAW or JPEG you are in for alot of post processing so be prepared.

    6. Yes but do your best to try and get them togethr as much as you can. If they try and rush the group shots oay more attention to the 2 of them than the whole wedding party it is very easy to get caught up in shooting the couple with other people and forget to shoot just the 2 of them and really 10 or more years down the road these are the pictures they are going to want to remember.

    7. That is far too large a topic to cover here #1 i say don't worry too much about it relaxe and have fun with it.
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Jan 26, 2007
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    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
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    Hi, I am only going to add one thing. Supprise to some. ;) No matter what flash you get, get a bracket to go with it! A flash on the hot shoe is better than the pop-up but not by much. A lot of the detail that you are going to need is obtained by the contrast between light and shadow and the 6 inches between your lens and the flash on the shoe isn't enough. You need at least the 12 inches that a frame will provide! If you do get the Sb 800 you might want to look into getting a stand to go with it for the posed shots- it'll make a world of difference. oh yeah, posed shots, look here for some info on posing.. Joe Zeltsman is probably the father of modern clasical portrature. You can read his book here (you will want to download and print it- he gave permision before he died)


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