New to weddings. Which lens to use for ceremony?

Discussion in 'Weddings' started by Arjuna, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. Arjuna

    Arjuna Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Location:
    Near Chicago
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi all,

    I'm getting into wedding photography, don't have any booked yet just a bridal portrait coming up). I'm going to be using an old Canon FTb with a 35mm 2.8, a 50mm 1.8 and a 90mm 2.8 prime lenses. Will this be enough for the actual ceremony or will I need a 135 or longer maybe? I have a Minolta SRT-102 for a back up with primes and a 70-210 3.5 and a couple of rangefinders and a Holga.

    Also, how do I handle the ceremony? It seems I need to be in two places at once. Both in the back of the church or venue, and from behind the minister and then back again when they walk down the aisle at the end. I'm considering second shooting for someone to gain some experience first.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  2. wendy g

    wendy g Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi Arjuna, welcome! I'm relatively new to APUG but have been a wedding photographer for 6 years.
    The only time having 2 camera bodies is really important is during the ceremony. And the fastest lenses possible (2.8 or better). One body with a wide-normal focal length and the other body normal-telephoto. Your Canon lenses are plenty and with the Minolta and fast primes you should be set. The 70-310/3.5 would be great for an outdoor ceremony but not indoors. By all means bring your RF and Holga for alternative looks and for back up (backup is really important in weddings b/c things move so fast; there's no time to fiddle around if something's not working right).
    If at all possible, second shoot with someone at a few different weddings before doing it on your own. It's very challenging and there's so much to learn about timing, logistics, portraiture, available light +/- flash, what lenses, camera settings, film emulsions, etc work at all the various segments of the day. Each segment of the day presents different logistical challenges/problem solving opportunities :smile:
     
  3. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Prospect (Lo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The second-shooting idea sounds like a good one, before you accept money to photograph what is the most important day of many of your clients' lives.
     
  4. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,533
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    my honest advice if you don't know what lens to use is don't do it, shooting weddings isn't for novices, the first thing to ask yourself is what are you going to do if it all goes wrong ?, as Mike writes "It's the most important day in the couples life".
     
  5. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,419
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary AB,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    What Ben and Mike said in spades. Unless you are equipped to fight a lawsuit if something goes wrong you better let the pros deal with the wedding and work as back up for those funky artsy shots. Even if these folks are close friends things can get ugly real fast if the bride is not happy with the shots. Just check out some of the tales of woes on Photo Net.
     
  6. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,177
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Washington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Anyone who is even toying with the idea of shooting a wedding needs to be seasoned enough at shooting people that they need to know "their" gear inside and out. Things just happen too fast. Nobody wants their wedding album to look like a bunch of Uncle Charley's snapshots.
     
  7. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,410
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver B.C.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For a wedding I would be choosing a little faster camera. You have a very short time frame with which you can take photographs that will last them a life time. Something with a power winder or use a T90. Sure the FTb is a great camera but it is a FEW years old. Just your luck to get a few shots and the shutter jams. I can happen.. Murphys law works for photographers too. Even with all that equipment I would seriously get some hands on experience for such a photo shoot.
    :D :D :D :cool:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2010
  8. heespharm

    heespharm Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    look at the church restrictions see if you can be in the aisle or up front... if not you'll need about a 200mm for closeups and 70mm or wider for the wide shots... sometimes 2.8 isn't enough for really dark churchs... also look to see flash restrictions.. I've done many many weddings (side job) and those are our first questions..
     
  9. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,279
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Get some experience with a professional wedding Photographer,It will open your eyes to a realty that, what lens and cameras to take are not as important as dealing with people ,posing,understanding what the couples want,also taking charge at certain times of the wedding and reception if there is one.During the 80's worked as a wedding photographer and the guy that owned the studio toke my to about 3 or 5 weddings as his assistant be for letting me go on my own,and boy was I grateful for that! After I shot a few they became much easier and relaxed.Mostly used normal lens with a flash for fill or extra light.Hope I did not scare you ,but there is not much time to fumble with camera lens and try and think how to pose and arrange if you have no experience.
    Mike
     
  10. Norway786

    Norway786 Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    HI Arjuna,

    I am Leigh from Brisbane, Australia and am a specialist wedding photographer, with assignments all over the world. I do admire your courage in taking up your first bridal portrait coming up shortly. Wedding photography is totally different from other kinds of the same discipline and must have a blend of time, light, aperture and more than everything, experience. Though my prayers are with you for success, my heart tell me to ask you to gain a little experience as a wedding photographer, before you embark on your crusade.
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's a bit of an extreme response! We don't know enough details to make a claim like that. For all we know, it might just be taking photos at a friend's wedding as a favour as they can't afford a pro.

    If you look on Photo.Net, you will see that you have to have experience shooting weddings before you should ever shoot a wedding!


    Steve.
     
  12. guitstik

    guitstik Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Eads TN.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Horror story alert: back in the 80's I was making good money doing architectural photography as well as some portraiture on the side. I was newly married and wanted to try and supplement my income by adding wedding photog to my resume. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing from the "cattle herding" that would ensue. First: I did not know that consulting with the couple would be important and having a rock solid idea of what prices to charge. Second: I felt comfortable enough with my photographic skills that I could handle just about any situation that should confront me, wrong. Third and most important, dealing with a large group of people that alto well meaning we're non the less simply mead long and trying to control everything. And then there are the drunks who jump I front of almost every shot. Needless to say, underexposed, out of focus, off kilter and total bedlam would be some of the best descriptions of the brides wedding album. Find a well seasoned pro that would be willing to take you under their wing and second shoot for a few years before you jump into it with bothe feet.
     
  13. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,368
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Agreed. I shot weddings for many, many years and now do maybe one a year only for friends and family, as a gift. Although I was quite good at it, wedding photography is difficult to make profitable, as it is a time vacuum: all the meetings, plannings, calls and emails before; usually I miss a decent night's sleep on Friday as I'm so stressed about the wedding; the whole day of Saturday is nervous until I get started; can't wind down on Sat night after I'm finished and then Sunday is wasted because I'm exhausted. So the whole weekend has been ruined by this wedding.

    Then, on Monday, I have to download files, start editing, dealing with family who want to see everything on a website by noon on Monday after the wedding, designing an album, and on and on and on. Most brides now have completely unrealistic ideas of budget due to the endless parade of weekend photographers who think they can charge $1000 for a little pocket money, not realizing that by the time they finish and pay all their cost of sales, they are making McDonald's money.

    My life is so much happier without weddings.

    Now, when I shoot for friends and families, they pay me a nice, but reduced rate, and they get a box of proofs with no retouching and a DVD with all the high res files. I would do the same for film. And, yes, there are insane lawsuits over wedding photography. You really need indemnity insurance.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do shoot wedding photography and I have something I can say about this topic as well, but really, why do people offer advice to someone who asked a question one and a half years ago, and was adequately answered back then? Isn't Arjuna a reasonably competent wedding photographer by now if all the advice was read and worked hard on?
     
  16. guitstik

    guitstik Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Eads TN.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I never check the dates on threads, I saw it pop up and since I have had experience in this arena I put my two cents in. Sometimes these threads have a tendency to crawl back into the social conscience for some odd reason.
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,514
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1

    Arjuna,

    I have shot entire weddings between 35 and 85. I'd say you have plenty.

    The choice of lenses is two fold. 1 is artistic, 2 is technical.

    1 Your eye/style, what do you like shooting?

    When you sell a wedding package you should be able to do enough show and tell for the client to understand what they will get from you.

    You need to understand what you can do and what you are willing to provide before you can explain that to a client. That understanding allows both you and the client to make good decisions.

    For example, for wedding work, I won't do any back end work as I might for a portrait sitting. All my back end work is hired out for weddings, no exceptions.

    2 Your access, where do you need to be and will the bride let you get there?

    This is a compromise, if you really need to be at both the font and back of the church at nearly the same time you either need long lenses or the ability to move. I prefer and negotiate for the latter myself.

    Your answers to these questions will come with experience and experimentation.
     
  18. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,514
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Doh, I got caught on that too. :laugh:
     
  19. guitstik

    guitstik Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Eads TN.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And the OP only had one post since.
     
  20. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you think that's because he was discouraged enough or he just didn't want to hear any of that stuff and wanted to do it anyway?
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,514
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I know I didn't want to hear that stuff when I started.
     
  22. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,198
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes it all went wrong at the first wedding and he's doing a stretch in Lebenworth. Well he can't say we didn't warn him:D

    pentaxuser
     
  23. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,080
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    Castle Rock,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why not? The OP isn't the only person on earth who might want and benefit from the information.
     
  24. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Or maybe he could be highly successful working with 50 couples/year ... that he does not have time to waste here. (well, that's not likely but you know)
     
  25. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,368
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So, 50 couples a year means all but two weekends of one year of your life are spent stressing out over wedding photography; or, you are double-booked on a Saturday, running on fumes and risking a bad performance due to exhaustion, and then your whole Sunday is spent in recovery.

    It's not being negative to point out the fatal flaws in that business model. I'd rather go out and make $2000 in four hours shooting Santa portraits, walk away and be completely finished with it than "make" $3500 to shoot a nine hour wedding (which, believe me, is the high end of average wedding $$$), with 20 hours of post-production and $900 cost of sales.

    I did weddings for at least 15 years, and they are THE highest stress, lowest margin jobs a photographer can have. I'm glad I don't have to fool with them any more, unless you are one of my good friends and are flying me down to Mexico for a week in February. Then we can talk. :cool:
     
  26. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,075
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Two bodies hanging off the body with rubber lenses, one body wearing a 24-70 , and another body wearing 70-200. Shooting with both. That's how we did it downtown in the day.