Beginner advice?

Discussion in 'Weddings' started by TRReichman, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. TRReichman

    TRReichman Member

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    Hello All,

    I've been lurking on APUG for a few months and I finally pulled the trigger and bought my first film camera. I have a fairly successful full-time wedding business but there is a part of me that has always wanted to try the workflow and process of film in the heat of the wedding moment. So I'm hoping to throw the film camera over my shoulder and start trying some things out while I still shoot digital as always.

    So my question to you guys would be for any advice you can give about work flow on the day (when to swap rolls, how to ration or plan shots) and film types that work well for weddings. I bought a 35mm Nikon to go with my d3s but I''m also thinking about finding a medium format film camera so if you've got any advice/encouragement/abuse/or anything else you'd like to send my way I'd greatly appreciate it.

    many thanks

    - trr
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Really, when I shot weddings, I changed the film when I needed to. I knew the progression of events fairly well and could plan ahead and change film when there were low spots. I would shoot a roll pre ceremony. I would shoot a roll coming down the aisle. I would shoot a roll during the ceremony. I would shoot a roll coming up the aisle. I would shoot a roll about the church after ceremony. I would shoot a roll of toast, cake (not the cutting), some candids. I never shot the announcement. The clients always bought the shots coming back up the aisle so announcement was a waste. The I would shoot the dances. The last dance I would shoot early on so I had time to change for the cake cutting and the bouquet/garter fiascos.

    Just plan ahead and time your shooting as best you can.

    Of course, in a perfect world that would work everytime. It was successfull enough, though.
     
  3. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I think for weddings you want a fast medium format system and Portra 800, though if you already have nice lenses for the full frame 35mm format I'd stick with 35mm and Portra 800. Portra is nice because if you need 1600 or 3200 ISO you can get the film push processed. If you like black and white you might try TMAX 3200 film. The F5 would give you a similar feel to the D3, but the N80 will work just as well and be cheap and light (there's no difference between cameras besides weight and frame rate.) If it's outside on a bright sunny day you can try Portra 160NC or VC depending on the saturation you want. Just experiment until you find films you like.
     
  4. OP
    TRReichman

    TRReichman Member

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    Thanks for the replies, fellas!

    I've picked up an f100 and I've looked at the f6 and f5 but never looked at the N line. In this arena I imagine the camera isn't as important as the technique and the film choice but does anyone have advice on good Nikon 35mm options if I do decide to expand the line and need to pick up a few more bodies?

    How about film brands? I've always had a fascination with Fuji but I'm not sure if Fuji is the choice for photographing people. Also, can anyone comment on Ilford films for weddings? Or should I stick with Kodak?

    many thanks again.

    - trr
     
  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I pretty much stuck with Superia in 35mm. The greens and blues were awesome IIRC.
     
  6. movingimages

    movingimages Member

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    Hi there, I'm with you on this one TRR. Having just spent too much time in front of the computer, I've dug out my film bodies and moved away from digital. My set up is two F6's and an F5. The F5 has 160iso C-41 for outside, the F6's have 400iso / 800iso C41 and B&W for inside / reception. All goes off to the lab and I get my life back! I got the F6's because I like m/f and the F5 loses a lot of its metering superiority with non-chipped lenses. However have started using the C/V lenses with it and now of course there are the ZF.2's as well....
     
  7. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    movingimages,

    How far do you enlarge the 400 & 800 speed colour negative film?

    Tom
     
  8. movingimages

    movingimages Member

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    Hi Tom,

    The 800 iso I mentioned tends to be TMY-2 the 400 is mainly fuji 400H and I'm happy with this up to 12"x10" for albums. I use Fuji 800Z from time to time and will go to 10"x8" although grain structure is understandably obvious at this level. However I think that it can sometimes be a point of difference from the overly clean looking files that the competition are offering...
    Chris
     
  9. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    You find the TMY-2 works well at ISO 800? Have you considered medium format for the higher speed colour work?

    Tom
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    When my father used to photograph weddings he always used Fuji Reala as it gave natural looking fleshtones and wedding dresses came out looking white (assuming they were actually white!).

    I often wonder about the rational of wedding photographers changing to digital for convenience. My father used to shoot the wedding, send off the films and get back a set of proofs which were put in an album. The family could then purchase more prints which the lab produced. I really don't understand why today's wedding photographers put up with all the post-processing time involved.


    Steve.
     
  11. OP
    TRReichman

    TRReichman Member

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    Thanks for the reply. How do you like the f5? I've got an opportunity to pick one up at a nice price. I'm mostly using current gen Nikon lenses (14-24, 24-70, 70-200, 50G) and my understanding is that everything will play nice. Will I miss anything that I'm greatly used to on the f5? Is the f6 really worth the extra cost compared to the f5 or f100?

    Are those of you that shooting weddings find that you use mostly B/W for interior work? Are there good color high-ISO films or is it better to stay monochrome? I've been so used to being able to go up to 6400 if I want that I'm trying to mentally reframe how this will work.

    I've been told that Richard Photo Lab in CA does great developing and can provide high-res scans. Has anyone used them? If so, are the high-res scans holding up to decent printing sizes? For me that would be between 10 and 30 inches?

    Again, many thanks

    - trr
     
  12. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Several wedding photographers have been interviewed on the Inside Analogue Photo podcasts, which you can subscribe to on iTunes. I recall that some of them use Richard's Photo lab; however, I think that they might be a sponsor of the podcast, so take that into account.
     
  13. OP
    TRReichman

    TRReichman Member

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    Thanks Charles, I wasn't previously aware of that podcast!

    - trr
     
  14. movingimages

    movingimages Member

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    Hi TRR - The F5 will play fine with all your lenses. The only thing that I miss when moving from F5 to F6 is the input dials on the vertical grip - the F6 has them, the F5 doesn't. The custom functions are much easier to set on the F6 than the F5, but once set I don't really change them so this isn't a big factor. Oh - and that annoying locking button on the F5's on / off switch! I also love using the Nikon EN-EL4a batteries in the F6 - saves carrying around all those extra AA's for the F5. However these are pretty minor points. In it's favour the F5 has a proper mirror lock up rather than one as an option on the shooting speed dial.
    Chris
     
  15. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Back in the day my Best Friend and shot weddings, initially with two 35mm SLRs and then with a Mamiya 645 with a couple of lenses, backed up with a 35mm SLR. The bridal portrait we shot in our "studio" with a Graphic 4 x 5. Film was Vericolor professional. We had the film processed by a local pro lab, and we did the printing ourselves - except for the 4 x 5 shots! We furnished the couple with a "proof book" as soon as possible after the wedding with an order form for prints. As I recall we had a set price for the shoot, and the ordered prints were extra. Some of the candids were priceless! one showed a groomsman being pushed into a pool, another had the groom smashing the wedding cake into the bride's face! Wonder how that wedding turned out!

    I'd suggest a pretty high speed film consonant with quality. 35mm was a little small for reliable 8 x 10 enlargements, in our experience. The Mamiya 645 was SO much easier in the lab! Of course with the essential disappearance of 220 film life is harder; have a couple extra backs pre-loaded and a gofer to reload as you burn the film!
     
  16. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I know a few photogs who shoot RAW and have someone else do the post for them.
     
  17. Halford

    Halford Subscriber

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    I would think the most important thing, if you want to use film for wedding shoots, is to have the right clients for it. Many couples expect a certain 'look' and certain package of outputs (social media, photobooks etc.) that tend to support a digital workflow. (The outputs are easy enough from film-originated images, but a lot of the look of modern wedding photography looks very digital-heavy for me). And many wedding photogs are used to editing from thousands of images per wedding, which would be an expensive proposition on film.

    Of course if you're confident in your craft (and I'm sure you are) you don't need thousands of source images, but I think it's important to work - at least to start with - with a couple who are comfortable with the workflow you plan and will be happy with the outputs you want to produce out of it.

    I'm involved with weddings from another angle, and boy is it clear how hard the photographers work for their money. (At least clear to someone who has an idea of the 'off-stage' work involved.)
     
  18. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I would recommend to use slow film like Portra 160 that would give film the best chance. ISO800 film can't compete with the D3 at ISO800. You have the D3 so whenever you need to shoot low light you have it. You don't need to use the film camera for that. Use film in good light.
     
  19. Halford

    Halford Subscriber

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    The practicality of that depends on the wedding of course. If it's outdoors in the spring sunshine that's one thing. Inside an dimly lit church and you'd really need something faster because even if you are willing to be bound to a tripod, human subjects move :smile:
     
  20. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Sure but in such a case the OP is better off using only his D3.
     
  21. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    After a little more than 7 years, I assume he is no longer a beginner :D I wonder what he did decide to do? We may never know as he was last on APUG in 2012. " You acted strange, you seemed to change and why I'll never know."

    We may all be lonesome tonight but even if we can't find a partner we can use a wooden chair :D

    pentaxuser
     
  22. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    I would most likely start ecxperimenting with a fine-grained ISO 400 film such as TMax 400 or Ilford XP2 to battle contrast and low -light situations I'd use a 50-85mm lens for 35mm or a classic Hasselblad for MF,but honestly, I'm too scared to do weddings. I leave that to the brave.