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Discussion in 'Weddings' started by cjbecker, Jan 27, 2011.
What setup do you use for weddings. What camera, main, backup, lenses, film, how do you carry it?
I'll take a crack on this one.
My main camera is still a digital Pentax camera. Pentax K-7 usually with DA*55 F1.4.
I have now include a Pentax 645 and Bronica ETRS (both with 75mm F2.8 lenses).
In essence I have 2 film main cameras and the digital is a main, but also a backup.
I'm using Kodak Portra 400, Ilford Delta 400 and Ilford Delta 3200. Love the colors!
For the two weddings I have done (friends only) I have used a Mamiya RB67 with a Vivitar 285 mounted on the left hand grip.
I did about ten weddings (friends). Always carried two 35 mm bodies (contax 167+contax S2), three fixed lenses (35,85 and 135) and, sometimes, Hasselblad with standard lens (80 mm). I took most of the shots with the 35 mm (my stile is very close to street photography). Used a bag and a phot jacket (for filters and films).
I've done a few now (family & friends) and I'm gaining a reputation as a last port of call for desperate mothers alarmed that their children haven't booked a proper photographer. Maybe it's the crowd I hang around with, but no one I know has gone for the 'fairytale' wedding that costs over £15,000; they're always either registry office then pub or really eccentric. I like shooting the latter more. I don't get paid, but I do get to eat some nice food and meet interesting people.
I use two FM2 bodies, one with a 50, one with a 24. I use Fuji 400H and have a Vivitar 283 which I bounce off the registry office ceiling if I'm forced to shoot indoors. I send the films to a pro lab for 6x4 proofs and usually there's no reprint requests (the couple usually don't care about photos and the relatives are using a flat bed scanner). I hand print one or two nice photos myself. I normally shoot four rolls of film, so 144 photos.
One of mine was both Registry Office and really eccentric!
Way back when(visualize primordial forrest)I shot weddings with a pair of Olympus 35mm's(FTL & OM-1)and a Yashica D. I shot all the action with the 35's and all portraits with the Yash.
Basic wedding setup: Two N90s's, two SB80 strobes, 28-80 2.8, 80-200 2.8, Kodak Porta 400, Delta 400.
Don't you feel that they are taking advantage of you, people used to invite me to weddings when they realized how much a wedding photographer would cost them and as an afterthought asked me to shoot the event for free, I did fall for it a few times in the past I admit, but nowadays if I'm invited to a wedding I only go as a guest.
I sometimes feel the same about parties I get invited to when I am asked to bring my guitar with me.
For the eccentric wedding I mentioned above, when asked, I told my friend that I had decided never to do wedding photography but in his case I would make an exception. The other one was someone at work who just wanted a few snaps of him and his wife after the service.
Neither of the weddings I have photographed could be described as 'normal' and in both cases I had the negatives processed and printed to 5x7 and gave them letters transferring copyright so they could get their own prints made if they wanted to.
Yes, I suppose they are. But I do enjoy it and I find that the couples do reciprocate with kindness afterwards - I wouldn't do it for strangers, but for family and close friends mutual exploitation is what binds us! I'll scratch their back and further down the line when I need mine scratching...I've never approached photography as a money making exercise even though there are clearly many opportunities to make money if I was so inclined.
I do understand your point of view, and I have been happy to volunteer to shoot the weddings of family members, and close friends without being asked and give the couple the pictures as a wedding present, but that's been my choice, it's the acquaintances who once they know you have a skill who try to exploit it as of right who piss me off.
Yes, I'm the same. I wouldn't shoot for someone who was clearly looking to save a few hundred quid. Again, perhaps it's the crowd I'm hanging around with: I shoot for my hippy, bohemian, drop-out friends and they do reciprocate.
At least make sure you have a backup for everything.
I've only done this once so this is not an "advise" but sharing my experience.
I pretty much took everything I owned but at the end of the day, these are equipment I actually used.
A body with 70-200 f/2.8, potato masher flash
Another body with 24-70 f/2.8, flash on a bracket
105 f/2.8 macro lens
Spare for every stupid thing
I carried two setup at all times with me. Rest of the gear was in groom's room. I had an assistant to do "chores" when I needed. She (my girlfriend) was probably the most useful "equipment" I had of the day. Lining up guests, finding someone, fetching what I need, I couldn't have done all this by myself.
Did I tell you this was my first time? Did I tell you to have backup for everything? Well... the ONLY thing I didn't have a spare of was a cord that goes from flash to camera body because the flash was on a bracket. This was purchased new and tested for few weeks. Guess what failed.... an hour before the "show" starts.... I had to troubleshoot it quickly and remove the bracket, smile, and get ready.
I did most of the shoot with digital gears. I had one film camera for few shots. I may get a flack for saying this on APUG, but be very careful about selection of your media... this is THE day for the couple, family, and all the guests. Not a day for our hobby.
Because film isn't as popular as it used to be it's suddenly not as good for weddings as it was twenty years ago?
For an interesting perspective on weddings, equipment, and other things check out http://www.aljacobs.com/
If I decided to shoot weddings again, I would probably go back to the equipment I used to use:
Mamiya TLRs - C330 main body, C220 backup;
65mm, 80mm and 135mm lenses
Metz 60CT2 and Metz 60CT1 flashes
Gossen hand meter
Portra film - 220 and 120 - mostly ISO 160
Pro lab proofs - 5x5
I never said quality of the product was the reason I chose the other media. I have significant investment in film and film equipment here, and I do most of my "artistic" work for myself on film. My point was to think of the couple first - not the hobby. Being the first time wedding shooter that I was, the ability to view the result - to at least make sure half way decent image was recorded was high on my mind. Great tonality and artistic expression was far down the priority. So once the official wedding started, I used the "instant" method. During the low time before the "show", I used my film to shoot what I'd like to keep and enjoy.
The point I was making was, it is a serious business to be a wedding photographer - paid or otherwise. (I was a volunteer photog for a couple who had very limited $$)
If you are only shooting weddings occasionally then this does give you a bit more peace of mind as you can check the images. But people used to do occasional weddings before digital.
With either method you just need to know exactly what your camera and film/sensor is going to do to have the confidence that what you are doing is right. Once you have that, everything will be fine.... even the digital user will not need to look at the back of the camera after every (or any) shot!
My primary gear is Digital, just because that's what people expect.
But when I do bring a film camera along I use the following.
Portrait Work - Pentax 645 with the standard SMC Pentax-A 645 75mm 1:2.8 (I will be investing in a 150mm this year). Then usually Portra 400 or 160NC depending on the lighting. Then a Nikon F4 with a 50mm and 105mm lenses and various films, indoor Ilford Delta 3200 or TMZ. Or Portra 400 for better lighting.
From OP's question, I got a sense that this IS his first time. It was my first (and probably only) wedding, too. My aim was to avoid absolute worst outcome at any cost.
I have actually shot weddings before just they were all digital. My setup as of now for my upcoming wedding is going to be a fe, rolleicord, 500cm. all have there uses. portra 400. Natural lighting as much as I can then some strobes when its gets too dark.
I surprised they didn't ask you to do both Steve.
For my welding set-up I like to use a CO2/Argon mix and moderate wire feed . ....... oh! must get my eyes checked ... WEDDING.
I've ended up covering a couple of weddings purely because the people involved were a) friends and b) cheapskates. One I did on an 'at cost' basis and the other I did as my present to the happy couple (who are since even more happily divorced, though my photography was not to blame for that). On those occasions, shooting 35mm, I used the standard 50mm lens and a wide during the ceremonies, but for the alcohol-fuelled receptions, a 135mm lens came into its own for candid shots. Flash was my ancient Hitachi. For one, I also shot a couple of rolls at the reception on my Pentax Espio 105SW P & S and the results from that proved very popular with the punters, many of whom had what appeared to be quite high end d*****l cameras but not a clue how to use them.