Wedding Photography

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by FootNote, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. FootNote

    FootNote Member

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    Alright, I just got invited to shoot a wedding.

    Its mostly a chance to visit my friend again who is the brides maid. I say invited because its one of those "everyone brings a camera" thing. But my friend is paying for my film so i do have to put my best foot forward even more so. Not really payed but it some what is.

    Anyhow. On to the questions. But first the info.

    Its going to be in GA here:
    http://www.cavendercastle.com/
    The wedding it self is aprox 6PM

    I welcome any information tip's to improve my photos for wedding photography, besides the fact i always want to do good, eventually i would like to be able to show that i am capable as a second shooter for a pro-wedding photographer.

    For the most part i will be shooting B&W but i will also shoot some color too and thats where my ignorance really is.

    The formats i will be using are 35mm, 120 (6x6 and pinhole), and 4x5.

    I already have Delta 100 and Provia 100 for my 4x5 and am not planning on buying anything else for it. But will happily take any advice for all formats
     
  2. FootNote

    FootNote Member

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    Also, can someone recommend a good ball head or cheaper for my 4x5, i have a ball head which is good for 35mm but cant handle 4x5, it always moves just enough to make my shot out of focus. Thanks.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    K.I.S.S.

    Don't bring so much 'stuff' that you become a distraction.
     
  4. Rick Floyd

    Rick Floyd Member

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    Hey FootNote:

    I started shooting weddings in 1972 and the best shooting advice I was given then by a wonderful photographer friend concerned the kiss shot. He told me to trip the shutter just before their lips meet instead of while they are lip locked. When I asked my friend why, he told me, "One's an action shot and the other is a still life." Best light to ya.

    Rick Floyd
     
  5. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I advise you to get some practice shooting the color films you are unfamiliar with. The Fuji ones are very nice, and quite popular with wedding shooters.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Unless you can bring the action to you (i.e. to your own studio), or have a slew of assistants, don't shoot three different formats.

    If everyone is invited to bring their own camera, you should do your best to shoot what others are unlikely to. Unless everybody there are all avid photographers, it is likely that almost everyone will be shooting digital, or possibly 35mm, so I would suggest shooting 4x5 if the circumstances permit (depends on setting, light and schedule) or MF.

    As for colour film recommendations, the Kodak Portra NC films are made for portraits and weddings - 160 if you have the light or flash, 400 or 800 if you don't.

    I've one lots of weddings (mostly using a Mamiya C330) but heven't shot any in the last two years, and relatively few of them in the few years before that. I like them, but they are a real challenge, and you need to be very comfortable with your equipment and materials when you shoot them.

    Have fun - it shows in the results.

    Matt
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I did this for the first time last month. I don't know why but when people see that you take pictures of trees, rocks, old rusty machinery, etc. they think 'you can photograph my wedding'.

    The most important think (I think) I discovered when I did some research and got plenty of good advice here was to use fill flash outside and to use some sort of diffuser or bounce attachment.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum57/49997-fill-flash-advice-wanted.html

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum57/50175-home-made-bounce-flash-adaptor-vivitar-285-a.html


    Steve.
     
  8. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Steve's advice is worth following. I shot a wedding several months ago, and it was about my sixth one. We did a test shoot and one of the scenes was stained glass windows and I realised that the only way to use them as a backdrop would be to use fill flash.
     

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  9. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I did some shooting at a wedding and reception last fall. While I wasn't the primary photog, I learned a lot by doing it.

    It was my intention to shoot it all natural light, mostly B&W (Tri-X and Delta 3200), with some Portra 800 thrown in (metered for 1600 ISO and pushed 2 stops, it actually still looks reasonably good). I went with all 35mm.

    Things I learned:

    - it was an evening indoor wedding and reception. Both the ceremony and reception ended up far darker than anticipated. A lot of my shots (and, embarrasingly, some whole rolls of film) were unusable due to low-shutter-speed-related camera shake, or in some of the B&W rolls I shot, I grossly underestimated the EI necessary to get a usable image. In future, if I ever do this again in similar circumstances, I will definitely use a flash as the primary light source (diffused in some way). The guests, especially at the reception, were by-and-large feeling very little pain and wouldn't have noticed anyway :smile:

    - bring a variety of lens lengths, and/or a decent zoom. I was primarily using my favourite portrait lens, an 85mm Jupiter-9 in M42 mount, with some 50mm as well - I found a 28mm or 35mm would have worked better for some things, including general atmospheric shots at the reception (more "photojournalist"-style things).

    - something I still struggle with, as I tend to prefer lower-angle shots, but I found that many women, particularly middle-aged women or older, aren't flattered by low-angle shots (chins, etc). If at all possible, shoot them from a higher angle.

    - it's difficult to focus in darker situations - if you're using manual-focus cameras, do your best and stop down to f/8 at least to have DoF help clean up any minor mistakes (works well with flash if you're close-to-medium distance away), or consider using hyperfocal distance. Some advice I got from a pro: focus on the eyes if you're doing a close-up portrait.

    - I have since gotten more into medium format. A couple of flash-assisted formals/group shots with a quality lens on B&W of some sort has a certain quality that's difficult to emulate in 35mm (I've had good success with C-41-processed B&W such as Ilford XP2 or Kodak BW400CN, although the latter seems to be harder to find in 120, at least in my locale) - although maybe it's because I've pulled out TLRs the last couple of times I've tested this, and people have no idea what kind of camera it is, so they relax a bit more.

    Anyway, good luck with this.

    I'm all for using the 4x5 if you can travel with it - although depending on what it is exactly, handheld is unlikely to be an option, so I would suggest scoping out a photogenic area and set it up ahead of time, and have the wedding party go to it at some point (but make sure everyone knows that's what's going to happen - no one likes to be surprised or rushed at a wedding).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2008
  10. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Forget the 4x5. Shoot one format only - either 35mm or 120, whichever one you are more comfortable with. You do not want to spend a lot of time messing around with your equipment. People get impatient very quickly at weddings. Try to work hand-held as much as possible; the more time you spend setting up a tripod shot, the more people will step in front of you and shoot the group first, and just otherwise get in your way. Then you will find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to yell at people to get out of your way... or risk never getting your shot.
     
  11. FootNote

    FootNote Member

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    Hey three, So far it seems my ideas are inline with yours, most my photos are going to be in B&W and i do have a decent amount of tri-x left so i was planning on using it. D3200 is also a favoret of mine and was planing on useing this for the indoor part. My real consern was the color.

    lol thanks for the warning, it always does seem to be darker then you thought when you need it to be light

    I was actually thinking of renting a 85/1.4 lens for this, one so i have some fast glass, two i really am interested in buying this lens some time so i got no problem trying it out first. I have a 20-35/2.8 Tam for wide angle

    The good news with this is for the most part its going to be a younger crowd. But i do need to remind myself that i need to get down more, i always have flash backs of some photos i took before where i was standing up taking a photo of these kids and the angle was horendis so i am deffently going to need to keep this in mind.

    I have deffently had this problem before (not at a wedding, but in general) I do always tend to focus on there eyes unless its a distance then its just there face in general.

    Im not planning on takeing any formal shots, but i might, like i said its a bring your own camera thing. My Medium format camera is a Mamiya C330 TLR so i am deffently planning on useing that a few times at least.


    I have no problem with getting the 4x5 there but im not to sure how i feel about lugging it around when i get there. More then likely it will stay in the jeep.


    Thanks a lot for the advice.
     
  12. FootNote

    FootNote Member

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    Yeah im not considering the the 4x5 to much, im planning on bringing it but im not to sure about useing it.

    Well i do want to use my 35mm camera and i do want to use my med format camera i am hopeing i wont have to use a tripod for either. I also have a nice idea for a pinhole shot but things never go as planned.
     
  13. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Something else I just thought of - flashless pushed Portra 800 works, but the colour balance is sometimes an issue - I ended up scanning and colour-correcting most of the shots anyway due to the very yellow colour of the lights and walls :smile:
     
  14. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    eddym has it right - shoot one format. It makes for some peace of mind if you have available a backup camera. If you feel the need for two backups, you should replace the two primaries with something more dependable.

    Once everything is finalized, remember - the wedding party all have contracted a bad case of cranial rectosis so you'll have to think for them. Nobody will have a clue what they told you, where to go, what they said the day before. Make sure you know who the people are of which photos were requested. Keep your laughs to yourself (and you'll have plenty).

    Ask if they'd like a "good" shot with the 4X5 a few days before or after the ceremony but not on the wedding day; you ain't got the time nor do they. They're too busy putting on a show and feed for the guests.

    Remember to tell a story with your photos - bride arrives in cutoffs and sandals, groom arrives in some "other than perfect condition, ending with bride and groom leaving together in their finery and while you're at it, catch everything else in between. You have to be everywhere at the same time.

    By the way - if you do this for pay, for real, you should feel like you earned your keep the next day.
     
  15. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    Leave the 5x4 at home, concentrate on one format- I always use 6x6, shoot only colour neg., you can print B/W from it if required but you can't print colour from B/W. Your biggest problem will be crowd control ie. getting the right people in the shot and those not required out of it, unless you're going totally informal of course, which I wouldn't advise. You need shots of the arrivals of the main participants ie. Brides mother, bridesmaids, bestman and groom and of course Bride and father, pictures during the ceremony if allowed, and groups afterwards, not forgetting shots of the groom alone, the bride alone and naturally, together. This can be done on 3 rolls of 120/12, 4 if really needed. I remember once being crowded by friends and relatives 'poaching' a particularly nice shot I had set up. The Bride said she didn't know which way to look - I said - 'Look at the one you're paying for', I'm assuming you're being paid, if not, you can do whatever you like.
     
  16. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    Try to have an organized friend or family member choreograph the set-up shots. Develop a list of must-have shots. It's surprisingly easy to miss a shot of a guest who flew across the country and have no record of them even being there! Formal shots look best when done well before the ceremony instead of rushed through after it... plus everyone looks fresh, the mascara is still in place and the hot-church/room, shiny skin effect is minimized.