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Thread: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

  1. #1

    Default advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Hi guys/gals,

    will be helping a friend of mine to cover the wedding tea ceremony at one of their houses ... and was wondering what do i need to look out for ... and what type of shots will be appropriate ...

    would be using 20D + 17-40L and external flash =)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dennislim
    Hi guys/gals,

    will be helping a friend of mine to cover the wedding tea ceremony at one of their houses ... and was wondering what do i need to look out for ... and what type of shots will be appropriate ...

    would be using 20D + 17-40L and external flash =)
    are you the main photog for the day?

  3. #3

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin
    are you the main photog for the day?
    yes main photographer

  4. #4
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dennislim
    yes main photographer
    are you familiar with the customs? or at least what the couple's family's practices? different dialect groups have different practices. maybe will be good to find out from your friend.

    otherwise i think there are a couple of pros who do wedding on a regular basis here on CS, maybe be more specific with your questions to solicit better responses

  5. #5

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    I am no pro but I've tried this before and I list down my difficulties here. It may help you in some way.. maybe.

    1) Position - 2 people in chair, 2 people kneeling or standing. The dynamics change here and position of the camera will have to change. Lighting in some way will be affected also. All this in very little time so have to prepare for this eventuality in advance. The angle where you shoot from is also an issue when the positions change. I found it dead difficult to be in the right position/angle to capture all the action especially when the important subjects are facing each other and not the camera. I once saw a cameraman position the bride and groom so that one is slightly in front of the other to get it all in. This helps 'expose' the exhange of tea/angpow without obstruction. Test this out before the tea ceremony with some volunteers.

    2) Since you are the main photog, you gotta make it known to everybody there. The couple must be aware of your existance and that you are capturing a memory for a lifetime. Make sure everyone else gathered there do not get in your way. Especially when they want to see the proceedings up close. An assistant can help ensure that the view is cleared for you.

    3) Timing. Tea ceremony is a very meanigful thing so you have to make sure you capture the moments of giving tea and angpow. If the people involved are not aware of your existance, they will proceed very quickly giving you very little time to shoot. There can be emotional times as well esp when parents of the groom/bride is involved. They may hug and there will be tears sometimes. Look out for these are they can be poignant moments worth capturing forever. It may also be worth having a second camera man to capture these from behind.


    Just some thoughts.. I'm not a pro. I had an unsuccesful one before and if given the chance again, this is what I would like to do :-(

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    As what eikin says, different dialect groups have different “pattern”, some drink “dry” type, some drink “wet”, who drink first and who drink last, must kneel or not to kneel, how to sit and where to sit... Nobody can give you all the answers..

    Sometime the family members even consult the photographers for some wedding rituals and customary practice.

    If you didn't photograph tea ceremony before and want someone tell you how to shoot without any hands on practice and observation.... I don't know what to say....

    Anyway, just try to shoot it like award presentation is the safest, ALL HANDS HOLD THE TEA CUPS/ANG POW, EVERYONE LOOK AT THE CAMERA AND SMILE.

  7. #7

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Yeah.. you won't know the true value of a pro wedding photographer until you try it out yourself!! Not easy!! But good luck.

  8. #8

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Tea ceremony is tricky business. Sometimes you just dont really get the shot you want.
    Forget about telling when to position temselves, once the frezy starts they may remember for 1 or 2 frames and then they bo chap already heh heh I personally try to

    get all 4 faces in for at least 1 shot.
    A low perspectives helps.
    Watch you depth of field, a higher aperture is needed at least 5.6
    Go for variaty in the shots.
    The excahnge, the expressions. the process of driking, handling and receving of gifts. Try to capture the people around too. The auty or friend pouring the tea washing the cups etc..

    Also I have now made it a point that in future I will ask non offical photographer to Get lost..
    Till now I have been too nice, till the last weddign one of the brother kept getting in my way utimately you have thre responsibility as the main to deliver. So dont be shy be polite.

    All the best

  9. #9
    Senior Member Virgo's Avatar
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Make sure those holding cameras stand BEHIND you. It's such a distraction having 'photographers' in the picture!

    Hope that helps, and have fun!
    Kind Regards
    My Picture Website

  10. #10
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsangstudios
    .......................

    Also I have now made it a point that in future I will ask non offical photographer to Get lost..
    Till now I have been too nice, till the last weddign one of the brother kept getting in my way utimately you have thre responsibility as the main to deliver. So dont be shy be polite.

    All the best
    For me I hack care lar, I will make sure ˝ of his face, part of his hands or body or camera appear in every photo I shot. and I deliver this kind of photos to the couple without cropping.

  11. #11

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    ha ha.. Steady, I darn not leh heh heh ... Sometimes it not just using that fellas body to frame. Being a photographer you want give quality work its a pride thing, its just not song after the shoot when you feel you could deliver better work if not of an extra arm or shoulder in the pictures. Or in narrow situations when you need to quicky move to get ceratin angle then sombody blocking. Lagi best during table to table shot he repeated every table!! Non pros have no idea the aim is to get the tables done before the guest finish the desserts and leave. Then the couple will have time to be at the door to see the guests off. The guests wont wait till the photography is done before going.. Anyw this quite OT :P
    Last edited by Tsangstudios; 7th December 2005 at 12:21 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin
    are you familiar with the customs? or at least what the couple's family's practices? different dialect groups have different practices. maybe will be good to find out from your friend.

    otherwise i think there are a couple of pros who do wedding on a regular basis here on CS, maybe be more specific with your questions to solicit better responses
    hmmm ... got examples for me so that i can take note ?

    teochew , cantonese ... hokkien got what type of practices ?

  13. #13

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dennislim
    hmmm ... got examples for me so that i can take note ?

    teochew , cantonese ... hokkien got what type of practices ?
    you need to worry too much cause there not much difference between the dilect groups. Bottom line 4 people and either 2 cups or 4 cups. 2 cups trickier caase things happen very quickly and tea only server by 1 person. Some traditional people wil speek words of blessing to everybody around before drinking, some just wack, ang pao and next in line.

  14. #14

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    The traditional Tea ceremony is actually the easiest part to capture during any wedding ceremony if we are talking about the traditional shots. You can move on to other artistic angles when you get proficient enough (eg f2.8 arty farty). It is pretty static, standard and not really fast. Like catchlight said it earlier on, i think it's appropriate to get some practice first by tagging another guy. Else how to deliver other types of shots esp you are the main? You are going to be the guy giving out instructions, comments to help out and be in command you know, not the other way round.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dennislim
    Hi guys/gals,

    will be helping a friend of mine to cover the wedding tea ceremony at one of their houses ... and was wondering what do i need to look out for ... and what type of shots will be appropriate ...

    would be using 20D + 17-40L and external flash =)

    yo dude, you worry too much. I felt the need to post this. I am glad you are already aware such thingy happens pretty quickly. Cant afford to take your time to frame but remember you are still in CONTROL unless you choose not to - give directions. Slow them down a little if they are going too fast.

    Let me share with you the following :

    1. Who is the 'star' ???? The couple ? wrong ..... it's the people drinking the tea ..they are the happiest people during such ceremonies as they have WAITED long enuff to see the couple before them tie the knot.
    2. Point 1 should answer ALL your doubts

    In every change of guest/ relatives/ parents, you should be able to capture the following :

    1. First frame to get every1 in the picture ....e.g. couple + 'tea drinkers'
    2. Zoom in to capture the expression of the 'tea-drinkers' ..... not too tight tho ..not head shots la
    3. Zoom in on the hugs, red eyes, tears rolling, wiping of tears ( i call it tears of joy ), exchange of angpows...avoid too many 'awards style'
    4. Capture the exchange or wearing of special items e.g. necklace, gold chain, bracelets
    5. If you can move your position, MOVE .....vary your frames
    6. Of cos, dun forget to take the tea-set used ..this is basic lo. I know some like to take the tea-pouring process
    7. if the couple exhibits some strong emotions, of cos...you must capture it lo
    8. NO NEED TO FRAME EVERY1 IN ALL YOUR SHOTS LO


    Just remember ...capture the emotions and joy of the drinkers ..It's like maths, the couple is constant in such scenarios They dun change only those on the seats

    ENJOY !

  16. #16

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Just my two cents worth, perhaps discuss with the couple what they are comfortable with. Are they the safe, all must be in photo, everything full colour shots type or willing to experiment? For example shots showing only the hands exchanging the angbaos. The smile on the bride when she drinks the tea, the tears rolling down an grandmum's hand. Cos you will be having problems getting all 4 people in. So perhaps can think about cu or ws shots? Will be more interesting but again couple must be able to accept it. Some people very traditional one.

    Knew of a friend who wanted everything in black and white. Had a big arguement with his family and the bride's family. Cos they were super traditionalists.... thought he was mad and that it was bad luck. Black and white for funerals only. But in the end he managed to win them over... and the wedding pics were really nice!

  17. #17

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Agree with the advice on hands on practice as a 2nd photographer. I screwed a couple of shots as a backup during my first one or two outings. The first few shots with the parents are crucial, and if missed, would spoil the entire section of photos on tea ceremony.

    Think of where you'll be positioning yourself and your subjects. How your flash will react with your subject distance? How's your composition going to be like (have everyone in? Just the ones drinking tea? One or both of them? Which variety to employ for which subjects?) Just shoot drinking tea? Or shoot them giving angpaos? Or just shoot everything, and try sorting out later? If the wedded couple is standing, would you be standing, bending or kneeling? Why do you decide your shots this way? If they are kneeling?

    Of course, you can always just shoot. It's not difficult to get the correct exposure and and "ok" composition. But in my personal experience, each shots I went through thought me something I could do to improve the next time. There's "take two" for me, but as far as the couple is concerned, they're only going to do it once. Nothing can replace practical experience imho.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Some pointers from my experience:

    1. Position the chairs, so that you have a good coverage and there're no distracting background (e.g. reflective glass cabinet doors!!!).

    2. Stand on the opposite side from the aunt holding the tray for the tea, so you're bot blocked for every shot!!!

    3. Usually, some interesting close-ups to take too (e.g. tea cups, ang baos, gifts, wedding shoes).

    4. There would be some opportunity for candid pics especially when the younger generation offer tea to the couple.

    5. You can gather the friends and relatives for groups pics after the tea ceremony (with the couple of course!).

    6. You can also gather the couple (and brothers/sisters) for some posed pics, either in the bedroom o outside.
    Last edited by mpenza; 7th December 2005 at 03:25 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Quote Originally Posted by AhV
    yo dude, you worry too much. I felt the need to post this. I am glad you are already aware such thingy happens pretty quickly. Cant afford to take your time to frame but remember you are still in CONTROL unless you choose not to - give directions. Slow them down a little if they are going too fast.

    Let me share with you the following :

    1. Who is the 'star' ???? The couple ? wrong ..... it's the people drinking the tea ..they are the happiest people during such ceremonies as they have WAITED long enuff to see the couple before them tie the knot.
    2. Point 1 should answer ALL your doubts

    In every change of guest/ relatives/ parents, you should be able to capture the following :

    1. First frame to get every1 in the picture ....e.g. couple + 'tea drinkers'
    2. Zoom in to capture the expression of the 'tea-drinkers' ..... not too tight tho ..not head shots la
    3. Zoom in on the hugs, red eyes, tears rolling, wiping of tears ( i call it tears of joy ), exchange of angpows...avoid too many 'awards style'
    4. Capture the exchange or wearing of special items e.g. necklace, gold chain, bracelets
    5. If you can move your position, MOVE .....vary your frames
    6. Of cos, dun forget to take the tea-set used ..this is basic lo. I know some like to take the tea-pouring process
    7. if the couple exhibits some strong emotions, of cos...you must capture it lo
    8. NO NEED TO FRAME EVERY1 IN ALL YOUR SHOTS LO


    Just remember ...capture the emotions and joy of the drinkers ..It's like maths, the couple is constant in such scenarios They dun change only those on the seats

    ENJOY !

    Hmmm AhV ... one thing which comes to my mind ... U say to capture the drinkers ... if i am standing infront of the drinkers ... I could only capture say from chest level onwards as lower than the chest i would be blocked by the groom and the brides head ...

    if i go diagonal it would b the best but then either cannot capture the groom / brides faces ... only the drinkers expression ... or only groom / bride faces but not drinkers

    are u implying the 2nd paragraph is better option ?
    Last edited by dennislim; 7th December 2005 at 08:23 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: advise needed in tea ceremony ...

    Hmmm think the best position to stand during the ceremony is stand on the opposite side from the aunt holding the tray for the tea and from there ... to 90degress left and right of that position ... hope u all know what i am trying to imply ...

    am i right ?

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