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Archive 2013 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?
  
 
Sjjindra
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p.1 #1 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


I am an amateur (mainly shoot birds and nature) and have been asked to shoot a wedding in a month for a nice young couple who are good friends on a very limited budget (for life, not just wedding). So it is my gift to the couple. I will lurk the FM wedding forum for tips, but probably not post since it is for professionals. Both the wedding and reception appear to be fairly well lit with primarily fluorescent lighting. Haven't used a flash much, so don't plan to try here.

Plan an afternoon/evening trip to their favorite park a week or two before wedding for a few less formal shots.

Of the hardware in my profile, what hardware would you recommend having on my person during wedding? Reception? Available in vehicle?

What shutter speeds do you find best? Shoot Manual or TV mode? Auto ISO or manual? Auto white balance or fluorescent? Any other tips?

Thanks
Steven






Jan 21, 2013 at 05:27 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #2 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


Nice collection of gear but none of the lenses are ideal for weddings / events and I don't see any flash gear listed. The problem with ambient is while there might be plenty of light for exposure the direction is usually not very flattering (shaded eyes).

A gear combination I find overs all the tasks in a event like a wedding (albeit not ideally for all of them) is:

24-70mm or 24-105mm (You don't want to be swapping lenses. With your bring the UWA for room shots, 35 /50 for candid and groups and 85 for couples portraits. If photography is allowed during ceremony a longer lens with IS will be helpful. Put a second body in back of church for wide establishing shot when people are not moving to avoid blur.

580ex or 600ex RT Master flash on a camera filp bracket (e.g. Stroboframe) with scoop type diffuser

580ex or 600ex RT slave flash on stand with umbrella bracket, cold shoe to hold flash, scoop diffuser for candid reception shots and white umbrella for posed portraits.

Equipped with dual flash you have the option to use the ambient (if it's flattering) or over-power it with more flattering flash lighting when necessary. For insight all how to use that gear see the "How I use Canon Flash" tutorial on my web site: http://photo.nova.org

The more difficult part of weddings, which comes with experience, is the logistic of managing the people for the posed shots and knowing how to set up the candid events like the toasts, cake cutting, flower/garter toss, etc.

If shooting ambient and the room lighting is consistent manual exposure will yield more consistent results. In Av mode light fixtures on walls, reflections on mirrors, changes in scene context (big white dress) will have you chasing correct exposure shot-to-shot with EC. If the room light is consistent once you find an M setting that works it should work for most shots in the same lighting.

The same is the case with flash indoors. With flash I use M with ISO 200 - 400, 1/125th @ 5.6 as a starting baseline and adjust as needed for creative reasons. I keep the flash in ETTL mode for candid shots, adjusting exposure with FEC per the clipping warning in the highlights.

With ambient in M mode select the aperture desired for DOF, the shutter you can hold without blur and adjust ISO to obtain correct exposure. Keeping the clipping (black-out) warning on in the playback will tell you when and where you are losing highlight detail and when exposure adjustments are necessary.

Shoot RAW and don't use AWB. It changes WB shot to shot. Pick the nearest preset for shot-shot consistency. You can then batch correct color in PP. See my site for tutorials on this in the technical / post processing sections. Using gray card in test shots of portraits will make color adjustment easier.

Practice technique around the house and scout the reception and test shoot if practical so you are not trying to figure out the technical stuff at the wedding. Throw a white shirt / black suit on a chair and try to expose for detail in both.

Google for a list of standard wedding shots. Discuss it with the couple. Ask them about any "must have" shots they want with grandparents, friends, etc. and add it to the list so you don't forget.

Ask them to get a relative, not in the wedding party, like an sister of the bride's mother to assist you in wrangling the people for group shots. You want someone who knows everyone. Have a printed list of the shot you need to take.

At the reception coordinate with caterer / planner so you know when things will happen. You don't want to be in the bathroom or taking a smoke break when the best man is toasting or the couple is cutting the cake.

Don't shoot to the last frame on the card or when the batteries are low so they don't die unexpectedly. Swap out during breaks in the action.






Jan 22, 2013 at 02:40 AM
big country
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p.1 #3 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


mix it up between tv/av and manual. use auto ISO quite a bit unless i am in manual.

maybe add a couple of 600 ex flashes, one for on camera and one for off.

no auto ISO at the reception, as it wil max out at 400 w/ a flash mounted. so run iso between 1600-3200 and then have it in tv mode between 60-80 unless you need more light coming in.

you have a nice collection of lenses.



Jan 22, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Sjjindra
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p.1 #4 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


Cgardner and Big Country, I appreciate the tips. I intend to use the 35mm 1.4 and the 70-200 2.8 IS lenses the most on the 5DIII and maybe the 11-16 on the 7D for widest shots. Looks like 60 to 80 and up to 125 for shutter speed. I will need to sit down with the couple to plan key events, people, and shots.

How much will I lose without the flashes?

Thanks
Steven



Jan 22, 2013 at 03:23 AM
AlexF
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p.1 #5 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


I think you are covered for the gear, except as was mentioned the flash would be good to have, even if the venue is well lit. 24,35 and 70-200 will get you through it perfectly well.
Keep WB on auto, shoot raw, with mark III I prefer to keep iso on auto but thats up to you...

Double check that the lights will be turned all the way up and will not be lowered during the reception if they are having music and dancing the lights almost always are lowered....
Consider renting EX600 - it works really well with Mark III. Better then any other combination of canon camera and flash I have ever used before. If you rent a flash keep camera in manual mode, iso high enough to allow ambient to bleed in and leave the flash on auto. Never point flash directly at the subject, always bounce ... unless you have nothing to bounce off....

Some people do fine the first time they shoot a wedding and some people flop - make sure your friends understand that you can not offer a guarantee just so it does not spoil a relationship...

If I were you I would be mostly concerned about portraits as those tend to require the most skill as long as you are not dealing with situations where you have a light issues.

Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

Best
Alex



Jan 22, 2013 at 03:57 AM
AlexF
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p.1 #6 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


And by the way make sure that the venue does not require insurance from the vendors. If they do make sure that the couple notifies them in advance that you are a family friend. With you gear you will look like a pro and dont want any problems from the management on the day of the wedding....


Jan 22, 2013 at 04:06 AM
timbop
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p.1 #7 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


1. Shoot raw; white balance and exposure can easily be fixed with raw
2. Absolutely learn to use your flash; for the reception and during the processional at ceremony you'll need it. chuck gardner above has great tutorials. Camera should be in manual for flash work
3. If you don't have experience doing portraits, get some by practicing on family
4. Do your homework: look at shot lists on bridal sites, work of wedding photogs here
5. work with the bride on the timeline, what her "must have" shots are such as family members, shots she's seen on pinterest, etc. find out whats important to her
6. Weddings are hard work, be sure you really want to do it and they really can't afford someone who's done it before.



Jan 22, 2013 at 04:23 AM
timbop
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p.1 #8 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


AlexF wrote:
...
Some people do fine the first time they shoot a wedding and some people flop - make sure your friends understand that you can not offer a guarantee just so it does not spoil a relationship...
...


Truer words have never been spoken.



Jan 22, 2013 at 04:25 AM
CW100
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p.1 #9 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


cgardner wrote:
Nice collection of gear but none of the lenses are ideal for weddings / events and I don't see any flash gear listed. The problem with ambient is while there might be plenty of light for exposure the direction is usually not very flattering (shaded eyes).

A gear combination I find overs all the tasks in a event like a wedding (albeit not ideally for all of them) is:

24-70mm or 24-105mm (You don't want to be swapping lenses. With your bring the UWA for room shots, 35 /50 for candid and groups and 85 for couples portraits. If photography is allowed
...Show more

looks like good advice there ^^^
be sure to practice with the flash!




Jan 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM
PhilDrinkwater
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p.1 #10 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


So my view is kind of different to many. I dislike flash and do anything I can to avoid it and never use it outdoors when there's enough light - I find it makes eyes look unattractive, lights open mouths and creates extra unattractive shine on the skin. Realistically you don't need to use it outdoors, especially if you're willing to post produce.

Heres some thoughts on lenses:
http://www.phildweddingphotography.co.uk/2011/10/the-best-lens-for-wedding-photography/

I reckon I could get away with the 50mm 1.2 for pretty much the entire day except for formal groups if I had to and I'd produce some stunning results. However, as this is your first time, I would recommend keeping it fairly simply.

http://www.phildweddingphotography.co.uk



Jan 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM
 

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samwise
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p.1 #11 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


You should have posted this over in the wedding forum, might of got more responses. The concepts of lighting, composition, background is all the same from birds to people portraits actually.

The best wedding lenses to use are the 35L and the 85L which you have... Swap them back and forth for the majority of the day, use the 70-200 for ceremony, reception (bounced flash would be helpful here) and some portraits.

Try Av mode or manual mode at f2.0 with the 35 and 85 they really shine... Open it up to f1.6 if you need more light... Manually change the ISO. Just keep it on auto WB and fix it in post.

Hope that helps, good luck!




Jan 22, 2013 at 01:31 PM
timbop
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p.1 #12 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


PhilDrinkwater wrote:
So my view is kind of different to many. I dislike flash and do anything I can to avoid it and never use it outdoors when there's enough light - I find it makes eyes look unattractive, lights open mouths and creates extra unattractive shine on the skin. Realistically you don't need to use it outdoors, especially if you're willing to post produce.

Heres some thoughts on lenses:
http://www.phildweddingphotography.co.uk/2011/10/the-best-lens-for-wedding-photography/

I reckon I could get away with the 50mm 1.2 for pretty much the entire day except for formal groups if I had to and I'd produce some stunning results. However, as this is
...Show more

Sure, outdoors you can get away without flash - it helps when it's cloudy or you have nice high trees for shade. It's not the formals that require the flash, it's the ceremony and reception. At the reception, not having flash is a really bad idea.



Jan 23, 2013 at 02:38 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #13 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


timbop wrote:
...It's not the formals that require the flash, it's the ceremony and reception. At the reception, not having flash is a really bad idea.


I agree. Better to have a flash and not need it than to need a flash and not have it.

One caveat: check with the clergy/officiant regarding flash use during the ceremony. Some allow it, some don't, and some will allow one or two (during the kiss for example) but none during prayers and such.



Jan 23, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Sjjindra
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p.1 #14 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


Great tips all. Seems to be that a flash is highly recommended. I have a Sunpak PZ40X II I purchased used, but have never used it. Would the Sunpak do the job or be more trouble than it is worth, especially with no flash experience. It seems the Canon 600EX-RT is the top tool. What are the advantages/disadvantages, if I using 1 flash on camera?

I can use a flash during the ceremony, only not during the actual talk and prayer.

Thanks
Steve



Jan 23, 2013 at 03:08 AM
timbop
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p.1 #15 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


You are much better of with a 600ex or 580ex - they will have faster recycling, more power for bouncing, and most importantly e-ttl auto flash exposure. You can also get a cp-e4 or cp-e3 external battery pack for them that really helps recycle times.

As for the ceremony, definitely use flash for processional/recessional and for the kiss. If it's catholic and they do the peace then I would use flash as well for that. Otherwise, try to be respectful and not use flash.



Jan 23, 2013 at 03:16 AM
ggreene
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p.1 #16 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


I did the same thing last year for friends of ours. I shot it alone with a little help from my wife for formals to group everybody. Definitely a learning experience and while I was glad to have the chance to do such an event I was also glad when it was over. It's a hectic day and you need to be prepared to get your shots and move on. The bride and groom will usually have a list of shots that they would like so you need to be able to quickly and quietly position yourself as the events unfold. Having a checklist of all the shots I needed was a big help to me.

Definitely shoot RAW to give yourself as much latitude as possible in post. White wedding gowns can be a real challenge. Mirror your shots on 2 storage cards if you can so that you don't lose any photos. I wish you the best of luck. I am primarily a sports/equestrian photographer and it was certainly a step out of my comfort zone.



Jan 23, 2013 at 04:20 AM
PhilDrinkwater
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p.1 #17 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


timbop wrote:
Sure, outdoors you can get away without flash - it helps when it's cloudy or you have nice high trees for shade. It's not the formals that require the flash, it's the ceremony and reception. At the reception, not having flash is a really bad idea.


I'm not suggesting not having a flash or not knowing how to use it.. I'm just saying - for me - I use it as little as possible. First dance is always done with a lighting setup but other than that for many weddings I don't use on camera flash all day. Generally I dislike the look.

There are some venue lighting styles where flash is relevant though - top down spotlights being the worst for panda eyes and bright noses. Ill fill flash there, but always with a 1/4 CTO to make sure I'm keeping it as unobvious as possible.



Jan 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM
timbop
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p.1 #18 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


PhilDrinkwater wrote:
...but always with a 1/4 CTO to make sure I'm keeping it as unobvious as possible.


Actually that's a very good point. I generally gel my flashes with CTO indoors to match ambient lighting, so that it does blend in and you don't have a WB problem between subject and background, or even parts of subect. Honl makes a handy set of small gels that go on a flash; they're expensive for what they are but extremely handy and have an assortment of CTo, CTG for matching various tungsten and flourescent fixtures.

As for on-camera, yes it is a more harsh look than off camera, but unless he is willing to invest in strobes and triggers it is a necessity.



Jan 23, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #19 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


I recommend that you keep it as simple as possible for a first wedding. Camera-wise, I would suggest your 5DIII and your 7D as backup. If you want to be ready for just about anything, something like the 70-200 on the 5D and maybe the 24 on the 7D would be a good mix. If you had access to a wide-aperture mid-range zoom, that would probably be ideal for a first wedding and would alleviate having to have 2 cameras on you all the time.

Regarding flash, unless you have a LOT of time to practice before the wedding, I would just use on-camera bounce flash with maybe a gel if necessary. You can accomplish a lot with bounced flash unless the venues are very large with large ceilings. Even then, you can often get creative (bouncing off someones white shirt, for example).

One of your challenges with flash will probably be balancing the flash with ambient to avoid "cave" photos. This alone has a significant learning curve for folks not used to shooting flash. This is another reason why I suggest to keep it simple. Multiple flashes might be nice in theory but in practice I suspect it is going to be too much for a first wedding outing.

I wouldn't use flash during the ceremony, even if it is supposedly allowed, unless it is at a very informal location and it is either flash or nothing. It can be very distracting to the people attending.

Part of the reason I suggest keeping it simple equipment-wise is because weddings are all about moments and people. This is going to be out of your comfort zone and you need to force yourself to stop thinking about your equipment and focus on what's happening and do your best not to become the center of attention instead of the bride and groom.

Study up on posing. Even if the posed shots are minimal it will help sensitize you to what is flattering and not flattering for a subject. Start reciting "head in a clean place" as a mantra.

To the extent possible, do your best to find out what's going to be happening when and where. One of the most common mistakes of a beginning wedding photographer is not being in the right place at the right time.

Keep your cool. You are going to make mistakes. You don't need to telegraph those mistakes to everyone in the room.

Before you seriously consider buying new equipment that you might never use again, consider whether it might be better to chip in and help the couple hire a pro. There is responsibility involved on a number of levels that may be stressful for you and others. If these are "good friends" as you say, you may also be missing the opportunity to enjoy the celebration with them.

Weddings are the Iron Man of photography. I suspect you are fairly decent on the bicycle. Now you need to concentrate on the running and swimming.

Good luck.



Jan 23, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #20 · Wedding Hardware and Settings?


Humans look much better in overhead lighting with a bit of fill-in flash (reduces wrinkles, rough skin texture and dark eye sockets). If you can manage an assistant you can quickly use off-camera flash without messing with stands.


Jan 23, 2013 at 05:16 PM
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