I am getting ready to shoot my first wedding as a favor for a family member. Can anyone give me some helpful tips. I will be using a Sigma SA-7 camera with a Sigma EF-500 DG super flash and omni bounce diffuser. I need advice on what type of film to use and what kind of settings to set my camera and flash on. The wedding will be mostly indoors.
You can do the couple and yourself an even bigger favor by NOT shooting the wedding.
Having said that here is what you need to know/do:
1-Use 400 iso and have some 800 handy, perhaps in a back up body.
2-I use the flash in manual so that the exposure is based on the distance and not the white dress or dark backgrounds of the church. If you know how to drag the shutter, you can catch more ambient light in the picture(suitable only if the people are stationary).
3-a lens that covers 28-105 mm should give you the ability to cover groups and closeups.
4- there are "must have shots" that you will need to take; pick up a book on wedding photog. at the library to get a list of them.
5-Your lighting and equipment is inadequate for formals, so concentrate on framing up the best candids you can. Altar retuens are as close as you can get to formals, the wedding how to books usually tell you how to stage them. Use a tripod for the returns and pray the venue has enough light.
I agree with Ronk. Better don't do it.
Additionally to Ronk's lens choice, you should have some 80-200 glass available. Not every priest/minister will like it when you fall over his altar.
Go to the the wedding rehearsal, and shoot some rolls there to get the feeling for the ceremony. It is also a good opportunity to talk to the priest/minister about do's and don't-do's.
If you have the chance, go to another wedding and watch the photog there (but don't stand in his way, that guy has a tough job to do).
Choice of film: Kodak Portra 400NC or thereabouts.
For the formals, try to get some stained glass in the background, so you'll have some nice ambient light, or think of shooting them in a park (there was a nice series about that in the SB - I think it was called "walk in the park").
Have nough spare batteries (and preferrably a sparebody, flash, lenses) with you.
Oh, and make a list with the bride, what shots she wants and which not. Set up a script.
Good luck! You'll have lot of stress that day!
I find it amusing when the "pros" tell you not to shoot a wedding. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I'm sure the other responders first weddings didn't look the greatest either. 25 years ago, when I shot my first, I had a pretty lean setup like yourself.
The couple must think enough of your shooting ability to ask you to do it-even as a favor.
Learn the capabilities of your equipment, and do the best you can. Buy some books on shooting weddings, and practice, practice, practice. This is very important especially if you plan on shooting weddings in the future.
Find a good pro lab in your area. They can often make the day in getting good looking photos out of over/ under exposed negs. Have a list of the shots your friends want,
and follow it. Be friendly but firm in getting the job done.
Try to have backups for everything, most important lots of batteries. Use your creativity and have fun.
People get up tight when they can see you are nervous, and it will reflect in your shots. Best of Luck
Whether it is the 1st time or the 1000th time get an assistant to help with the details. Someone to help change film, batteries, hold a light, or to keep the list straight. They will help take a little stress off your shoulders.
Pauleye, with all due respect, if a poster asks questions like what film do I use and what/how do I set my flash, the photographer doesnot seem to be confident of his abilities.Acting like you know what you are doing is 1/2 the deal when it comes to weddings.
The truth is that most people think that anyone whose camera is not in a cardboard box is a photographer capable of handling any assignment and that the camera does all of the work. For this reason,many people will go with one photographer over another based on price alone.
Any one engaging a photographer should see some of their previous work. There is no crime in not having wedding experience, yes one does have to get it someplace. At the very least a portfoilio of portraits, both formal and informal should be presented by the photog.
I know 2 "pros" with about 100 years experience together. Even these guys would never shoot a wedding. They say it is too risky. If something goes wrong during a portrait session, then you still can reshoot that one in most cases ... you don't want to restage a wedding.
If you want to make a career as a wedding shooter, either start up as assistant or as the inofficial photog, until you are confident enough to shoot one officially.
I shoot my first wedding accidentally 1987 in Turkey. I was invited by a friend. All I had was a Mamiya ZE with a 50mm lens, loads of films, and the "knowledge" that you've always to shoot with 1/100. Looking back, I think the results were crap, but the couple liked them and ordered like crazy (after all, there was the close family of 2000 folks). Later on, I was asked to shoot more weddings by their friends ... the results became better from event to event.
However, nowadays I'm happy not to shoot weddings anymore. Well, some now and then for a family member, but not as the official anymore.
I've done several weddings for friends and relatives with pretty satisfactory results. The mistake I made on the last one was letting a national retail photolab drum scan the negatives for posting on the internet. I thought that would be a good way for anyone anywhere to view the pictures.
I usually use the lab's 4x6 prints for proofs, scan the selected negatives on my Minolta Dimage Scan 5400 and planned to make prints on my Epson R1800. Heavens forbid, the negatives were oil stained. I've tried wiping them with Pec-12 with some success but they're still not good enough to make an acceptable print. I've about decided there's nothing to lose by wiping them until they're either spotless or destroyed. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to rescue the negatives.
Ronk and some others reflect my views completely. But I won't say "Don't do it!" Go ahead with it, but follow the advice given and do the best you can. Do get the wedding process in your mind, i.e. what happens when and where. A book on Shooting Weddings will have that info. It will help you learn where to be and when without getting caught off guard and have to sprint to another part of the church. Receptions are not as regimented, where you can have some fun if you can communicate. Just act like you know what you're doing, have plenty of film and batteries, and a backup camera on hand. But do the wedding. It won't be the best you ever do, but it will be a learning experience. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
It's for a family member? GREAT! Family members are very understanding. Just don't expect any dinner invitations soon after the wedding. You may be shunned for some time to come.
Shooting a first wedding is a lot like skydiving for the first time. The experience is a memory enhancer. Once things get started, you'll have to overcome the terror as events unfold; you'll have to remember everything you learned BEFORE you took the dive.
Like sky diving there are only two outcomes, and only one is good.
When shooting a wedding, unlike sky diving, if you scr*w up, you do have options, the first of which is to find a scapegoat. If you shoot film, blame the lab. (Note: if you do blame the lab, do a little research before you assign the blame. BE SURE that there's no such thing as "Poodlepuff Foto Finishers" anywhere in your hemisphere.
If you shoot digital, blame the CF card. WE ALL KNOW just how volatile those cf cards are, don't we?
With a little luck, you won't have to resort to these tactics, because (unlike sky diving) there are different degrees of success in wedding photography.
As suggested by another respondent, just looking as though you know what you're doing goes a long way toward convincing the B&G that you've done a good job. Think about it. Your family member knows what HER photographs look like. She may have come to expect green faces and red skies. If you can come even close to what she produces, you've scored a point.If anyone DOES complain about the terrible colors produced by your fifteen-cent-per-print one-hour lab, just tell your relative that someone must have dropped the roll of film, thereby causing a color shift. (See rule number one: have a scapegoat ).
After having shot a couple hundred weddings myself, I must admit that there's little to tell someone about how to shoot a wedding. Unless you have the good fortune of having a mentor who is near death and doesn't worry about creating another competitor, you'll have to learn it all on your own.
Good luck. I hope this helps.
I don't know how many times we've been heard "I'm having Uncle Ed take pictures at my wedding. He has a "good camera." Then a day before the wedding, and a few times, even an hour or so before the wedding, they would call to beg us to come shoot their wedding. It seems that those people with those "good cameras" got cold feet and disappeared when they found out what all is involved in shooting weddings, even with a "good camera".
A friend and fellow photographer, a fantastic sports photographer and Photojournalist who often did work for the likes of Sports Illustrated, and also Rock Concerts for Rolling Stones magazine. He worked in locations that were hectic and fast paced. This man once told me I was crazy to do weddings, and he wouldn't do one for all the money in the world. When I asked "Why?" He answered simply "I just don't think I could stand the stress." And he had some of the best camera equipment sold!
PLEASE: BE ADVISED:: unless you have shot a wedding b-4 undersome one else guide Do Not Do IT:::
IF THEY HAVE A PRO SHOOTING THE WEDDING FINE GO AHEAD AND WATCH AND SHOOT AND LEARN ???
Wedding is a one shoot deal there are not going back and reshooting it!!!!!!
Been there and done that, but got advise to shoot with someone else first for a while before doing myown work and stuff!!!!!
as far pauleye goes [you do have to learn but Not at the poor bride and grooms expense!!!!!]
there is so much to take in to consideration like setting it
up like a story shoot from begining to end some shots are a must and others take or leave and this depends on the bride
since's its HER DAY?????
I posted a second response yesterday, and now it's gone. Anyone have any idea of what's going on? It's the second time it has happened. If this is a by-invitation-only board, I'll split. No problem.
I think it's there. Click on the main topic heading, select all pages. Happens sometimes.....
Meanwhile, back on the topic: given a choice between shooting a wedding and re-enlisting to go to Iraq, I'd have to think about it really hard.
I don't see my second response to this thread.
Sorry, Bloo Dog, guess I hadn't had enough coffee yet the first time I looked. Anyway.....post it again?
I know this is a year old post but I jsut shot my first wedding. I think overall it was really well. The wedding itself was inside with poor lighting. We all have to start somewhere! But I did explain to the bride and her mother that was just getting started and that I would do the best to my ability.