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Archive 2013 · Would you do it?
  
 
hijazist
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p.1 #1 · Would you do it?


Hey ya'll. So my gf's friend asked me to be her wedding photographer because she liked the pictures I've taken. I mostly do landscape and street and never did weddings except casually. I explained that to her and highly recommended that she hires a professional wedding photographer to no avail. I told her this is a heavy responsibility to take on my shoulders since this is a once-in-a-lifetime event (at least hopefully) but she's insisting and even worse, my gf is on her side.

We concluded that I'll do it for free, I thought that this lifts some pressure off my shoulder and we will do some pre-wedding photo shoot and see how they'll like it. I hate to be in this position especially that she's a friend and my gf is involved and you know how business/friends is usually an oxymoron

The wedding is three months from now and till then I will spend some time reading and training more about wedding phot. I've been following this great thread for a while and I learnt a lot already. I need your advice on which gear I will need to build on my current gear (I can rent or buy equipment). I feel I need to add a 70-200 VRII, another DX body, a couple of flashes and a light meter. Also, do you think a Sigma 85 1.4 on a DX body would compensate for the need for the 70-200 VRII?

My gear:
Nikon D600
Fuji X100
Zeiss 21 2.8
Zeiss 25 2.8
Zeiss 50/2 Makro
Sigma 35 1.4A
Sigma 85 1.4
Nikon 24 3.5 PC-E
Nikon 28 1.8G
Nikon 70-300 VR

Any advice however small will be highly appreciated!
Hussain



Apr 28, 2013 at 01:25 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #2 · Would you do it?


You could shoot the entire wedding with the X100. Or the D600 and the 35. Or, if you wanted some luxury, with the 35 and the 85. It really has nothing to do with the gear.

Edited on Apr 28, 2013 at 01:31 PM · View previous versions



Apr 28, 2013 at 01:30 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #3 · Would you do it?


I would rent another D600 and just go 35/85 all day. Simplicity will definitely help when you have little/no experience.


Apr 28, 2013 at 01:30 PM
hijazist
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p.1 #4 · Would you do it?


Thanks guys, that's comforting. tobicus, I've seen some wedding photos shot with only the X100 and they're really nice especially the B&W ones, but I don't think I'll take that risk with my modest experience. It seems that two bodies with the 35 & 85 is a feasible option.


Apr 28, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Daboyle
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p.1 #5 · Would you do it?


take a second to search on FM for resources and material on this subject. I promise there is a ton out there - this topic happens regularly every month....and every month the advice is still pretty much the same.....


Apr 28, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Beni
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p.1 #6 · Would you do it?


Mate, I think you did the best thing doing it as a freebie, expectations will be as a result possible to keep under control.

I will share with you however something my mentor told me after I'd been dragooned into doing some portraits in a sub optimal position by a pushy client. He said 'you are in control, you have to be in control, the buck stops with you so unless you take full control of the situation you are going to be the one who screwed up'. I've lived with that for a decade of wedding work. It has never once let me down.



Apr 28, 2013 at 03:32 PM
nolaguy
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p.1 #7 · Would you do it?


Maybe just me but unless you're scouting ahead of time with the precise lighting you'll be dealing with during the wedding and reception, I don't see a light meter helping much. No time to futz around with it during the event.

Good luck and have fun with it.

Chuck



Apr 28, 2013 at 06:24 PM
BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #8 · Would you do it?


I agree with Mike (Tobicus) that gear isn't the biggest issue. Most church weddings are open for anyone to attend, so go to one or more and do your own critique on what the photographer does before and during the ceremony. If they don't run you off, hang around for the formals.

Since you asked specifically about gear, it's one of those "less is more" situations. You could easily shoot everything with your 35 & 85, and use the X100 as your backup. Maybe take the 70-300 VR along if distance is going to be an issue and you want to maintain a low profile (highly recommended) during the ceremony. VR is beneficial, but it won't take the place of a tripod in dim light.

Here's a few things that might not be covered in typical wedding blogs:

1) As shipped, Nikon's default setting for "Slot Empty Release Lock" can ruin your day because it allows the shutter to be actuated when the card slots are empty. If you haven't already done so, be sure to change it so that the shutter is LOCKED when the SD slots are empty.

2) Consider how you want to use your SD slots. My preference is to write RAW files to the primary, and JPEG's to the secondary.

3) As a first-timer, you'll probably capture far more images than needed, so take that into consideration when deciding on the size & quantity of SD cards.

4) Get in the habit of NEVER deleting anything with the camera's delete key.

5) Learn to use AUTO-ISO when (a) you're not using flash and (b) the lighting is constantly changing. It works great in Aperture Priority and Manual modes. Your D600 should be good up to ISO 6400.

6) Flash? Many 'tog's shoot without them, and it's not allowed in quite a few churches anyway. Generally speaking, exposure (with or without flash) is a little more complicated because you're shooting the extreme of white dresses and black tuxedo's. Without supplemental fill light, you can end up with dark eyes, especially with people that have deep eye sockets. The problem is exacerbated when the floor & walls are dark and the light source is directly overhead. It helps to stand on a ladder, chair, pew, or anything that causes the subjects to slightly raise their chins toward the light source.

7) Light meter? They're useful for formals, otherwise not of much value.

8) You didn't mention a grey card, but it's a cheap investment that can save you a lot of time and grief with white balance settings in post-processing.

9) If you're shooting in a church, be sure to contact them ahead of time to get their rules.

10) Have a game plan, and then relax and enjoy the experience!!



Apr 28, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #9 · Would you do it?


These first wedding questions always seem to be about gear and I'm not sure I will ever understand why. Lighting and being able to pull out shots under constraints and pressure is the primary concern imo - practice lots.


Apr 28, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Brad Barr
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p.1 #10 · Would you do it?


Or....defer, and recommend that for such a precious occasion she actually hire a true WEDDING professional.


Apr 28, 2013 at 07:39 PM
 

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amonline
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p.1 #11 · Would you do it?


First, I looked at what you've posted in the past. You have a good eye, and you are obviously very adept at working in low light. I think you have what it takes from that perspective. Do what you know. Don't try too much new stuff with lighting. Only what is needed. Remember, she's already seen your style.

I understand your hesitation, but you should also ask yourself if you want to do it. Documenting a wedding can be more than just about a desire to make money. I do it because I love to experience the connection between people. If this is important to you, then that should weigh in a little more in your decision.

Finally, if you do decide to do it, I'd suggest getting the second body of your favorite as well. You're already going to be under pressure. Work with what you know best, but have a backup to it. If you feel fine with two different bodies, and it adds to your ultimate result, then so be it. It doesn't hurt to have a third body.

With your shooting style, I think the 85 would be fine. I wouldn't even worry about the long zoom.

Meter however you like. Using spot meter on your palm or hand works just as well.



Apr 28, 2013 at 08:08 PM
hijazist
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p.1 #12 · Would you do it?


amonline wrote:
First, I looked at what you've posted in the past. You have a good eye, and you are obviously very adept at working in low light. I think you have what it takes from that perspective. Do what you know. Don't try too much new stuff with lighting. Only what is needed. Remember, she's already seen your style.

I understand your hesitation, but you should also ask yourself if you want to do it. Documenting a wedding can be more than just about a desire to make money. I do it because I love to experience the connection between people. If
...Show more

Thanks a lot for the vote of cinfidence amonline and all the great advice. I agree that the most important thing is loving what you do and enjoying it. I've invested much time, effort and $ into photography even though I only ocassionally get paid for my work, but the return is more on the intangible side, and it's defintely worth it. I love the guys who are getting married and we get along great so I guess that will facilitate my work.

Beni, that's exactly the kind of advice I am looking for. The one which cannot be written in ink but rather comes from experience. As a landscape photogrpaher I never thought of taking control of the situation due to the nature of my subjects

Brad, asI mentioned, I already suggested that to no avail. I even declined at first...

John Karasch, thanks a bunch for spending the time for such a detailed reply. Many simple points you mentioned we take forgranted but they come back to hunt us when we're not paying attention such as the "Slot Empty Release Lock", grey card, rules of photographing at the place, etc...

I guess I'll try my best to use the fast glass and avoid using the flash unless necessary due to my limited experience in flash photogrpahy. I have a decent background but ya'll know how mastering it takes so much experience and I am no where near that except some background in macro photography. I might use bounce flash but nothing fancy. I will also stick to my glass and maybe add a D7000 for my sigma 85 1.4 for canidids and use the D7000 also as a back up. I will keep it as simple as possible, the Zeiss 21 & 50 Makro will come in handy for some creative shots I guess.

Much much appreciated guys... Really



Apr 28, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Brad Barr
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p.1 #13 · Would you do it?


Of course they declined ....the alternative was a free photographer. Not trying to be a smart ass in any way shape or form....but thats the reality of it. Most brides dont know the nuances of what it takes to be a good wedding photographer....thus the hoards of brides who go with "uncle bob".

You might be well served to look at the reception shots specifically of any of your favorite members here....you'll notice pretty quickly that most if not all the good ones utilize off camera flash techniques. Just one of the things that you might want to consider.....



Apr 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #14 · Would you do it?



You're doing it for free, but treat the job as if you're being paid $5000. Like what Beni said, be in control. You're the man, regardless of the pay. Work hard, be diligent, and deliver the goods.



Apr 29, 2013 at 02:49 AM
jefferies1
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p.1 #15 · Would you do it?


Get a signed contract stating the price and limiting your liability in case they don't like the images. Notice I did not say if the imahes were bad, thery could be great but a family member may not like them. You might miss aunt Sally and now she is mad so takes it out on the brides mom so mom and dad go after you. People want free then expect perfection as if your were paid thousands.

The joy of free wears off fast because being free also devalues you and your work giving more to compalin about. People place quality and value with the price paid. Not right but true.

Not saying free is a bad thing to get a portfolio but it has its drawbacks. Protect yourself with a contract.



Apr 29, 2013 at 04:40 PM
GCasey
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p.1 #16 · Would you do it?


There are a couple of "stickies" at the top of the wedding forum that have an excellent collection of valuable ideas. Take a look.

You've received a ton of excellent advice and information via these posts. Add these ideas to your game plan.

Does the bride expect to give you a list of photos that she wants? Or, is she leaving that to you?

This discussion has not included what the bride wants to receive after the wedding. A CD with images? Album? Coffee table quality book? Images for Facebook? Parent's album? Framed photos? If yes, then who decides on the which images are to be used and where they are placed? Etc. Does your job end with presenting her with a CD? Or is she expecting more?



Apr 29, 2013 at 05:14 PM
CMB Photo
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p.1 #17 · Would you do it?


friends - worst clients...


Apr 29, 2013 at 06:30 PM
ktan7
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p.1 #18 · Would you do it?


Make sure you have a second backup body. I have 3-4 when I shoot a wedding. But definitely go ahead if you are trying to build your portfolio.


Apr 30, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Beni
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p.1 #19 · Would you do it?


I think my advice may have been slightly misunderstood, I was hinting gently to get out of the gig..


Apr 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM
MazeRunner
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p.1 #20 · Would you do it?


ricardovaste wrote:
I would rent another D600 and just go 35/85 all day. Simplicity will definitely help when you have little/no experience.


Ditto. Or the 28/1.8 (for wide-angle group shots if location is tight) and the 85.

Personally for weddings, I do the 24/1.4 and 85/1.4 or the 24 with a 70-200 if the space is a bit larger or I want more portraits.

Shoot in A mode.

And about that auto-ISO, what someone else said about the 6400--keep it as your MAX! And set the minimum shutter speed for 2x your focal length if possible (so if you have a 35mm lens on, set minimum speed to 1/70 if you can help it). Only time this doesn't work is if ISO 6400 and 1/70 speed doesn't let in enough light (when it's that dark... time to radio trigger those lights! . But in conjunction with a good bounce, softbox flash, or mounted + slaved flash, can produce quality results.

Highly suggest 1-2 softbox reflective umbrellas slaved or radio triggered for your group shots (and just adjust where they're pointed, and distance in case lighting is bad. Won't cost over $150-250 to add 2 decent stands w/ umbrellas w/ a radio trigger set (since you say you have speedlights already).

Might be a good idea to just shoot the entire wedding with the Sigma 35/1.4 so you won't have to worry about changing lenses all the time. I've always liked the 35 over the 50 for perspective. Don't bring more than 3 lenses with you, else you'll be swapping them and always worrying that you have the wrong one on.

And shoot in RAW (.NEF) format so this way you can fix white balance if you need to--it's a lot easier than fixing a .JPEG. Shoot in RAW + F (Large) and make sure you have some 2-4 of those 32 GB Sandisk SD cards (the 95 MB/s Extreme Pro ones). If you're ever unsure of a shot, can always set to CH setting and set it to 3 pictures. That helps if it's indoors party w/ changing dance lights and you're not flashing that quickly (or if you are, lower speedlight power by opening the aperture or upping the ISO so your speedlight won't burn out).


Edited on May 01, 2013 at 03:10 AM · View previous versions



Apr 30, 2013 at 11:12 PM
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