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Thread: Ok, anyone heard of a newbie main wedding photographer?

  1. #21
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    Did one for my best friend, but in tandem (maybe even competition) with the official photog. Don't want to do one anymore. Too much running around for old ah pek like me....

  2. #22
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    You need a backup photographer?

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin
    First off, thanks very much to all those who have given me the pointers. No tert, you are not longwinded at all. I was hoping to read more posts like yours.

    To others who have expressed concern about the "catches" surrounding this shoot, I thank you for that too. I have no illusion about taking Pulitzer prize winning shots on that day, heck, even decent ones too, and I have long conveyed this fact to my friend as well. It is her (and her hubby's) understanding of this matter, coupled with their willingness to still ask me to shoot, that made me decide to go for it.

    As for her reasoning, motives, whatever behind this decision, I have already mentioned in my first post that I do not want to discuss into that. Frankly, I am not interested in knowing that as well. It is my intention to shoot the best I can, and present to her the pictures as my wedding gift to her.

    So having cleared that up, I will surely appreciate more advises and insights from you guys.
    better don't do it. it requires more than just photographic skills...

  4. #24
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    I have attended some weddings of friends where the photographer screwed up.
    DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING
    1) Photographer used slides for table to table shots!
    It later cost a bomb to do reprints to give out to relatives.
    2) Photographer who do not know how to arrange the ppl standing for the table to table shots and unable to catch their attenting. Ended up with people looking all over the place.

    I have also done 2 weddings as a backup. If you are using digital, get a portable harddisk where you can download your photos. Typically a whole day event would have you abt 600-700 shots.
    Table to table shot, I used a 19-35mm and its only barely sufficient (1.5 x ). Note that dinner ballrooms is usually high ceiling, so bounce is useless. Use bounce card or direct. Bring lots of batteries for your flash. Put in a new set in your flash before you start your table shots. Wouldn't want to have shots where the flash doesn't come out.

    You have to be alert and also know the program for the night, i.e. know when the couple entry, change of gown, toasting etc etc.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin
    I have long conveyed this fact to my friend as well. It is her (and her hubby's) understanding of this matter, coupled with their willingness to still ask me to shoot, that made me decide to go for it.
    I've been asked recently by a friend to cover her 21st birthday party as well. I told her staright that I do not have a complete equipment setup to do events photography, don't own an external flash for my DSLR ( with internal pop-up flash) for goodness sake, needless to say a backup body. Still, she insisted, so I asked her if she can take the chance of not having a single photograph coming out right for this once-in-a lifetime thingy. With the fact of the worst case scenario conveyed, and my ass covered , she was still fine with it so I agreed to help. What I'm trying to say is that I'm very keen to photograph this event, and why not, I believe I can make use of this opportunity to gain more experience and learn. However it is my responsibility as a photographer to communicate my limitations to my "client" and if she's fine with it, then go ahead do my best and have a ball of a time! Hope u will too!
    Last edited by Noir; 2nd September 2003 at 08:48 PM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    With the fact of the worst case scenario conveyed, and my ass covered , she was still fine with it so I agreed to help. What I'm trying to say is that I'm very keen to photograph this event, and why not, I believe I can make use of this opportunity to gain more experience and learn. However it is my responsibility as a photographer to communicate my limitations to my "client" and if she's fine with it, then go ahead do my best and have a ball of a time! Hope u will too!

    Noir... good for you but it would always be good to remember that success has a thousand fathers while failure is always a ******* orphan child. For official event coverage, you can convey your limitations but ultimately the photographer share as much responsibility since you are technically more sound to make the judgement call.

    anyway Good Luck Gremlin... and try to get a competent backup if you can.

  7. #27

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    I assume you will be covering the whole day event. Be sure to eat breakfast, and during any breaks if you can. You will feel hungry in no time running around, and with gear at that!

    You probably would be the one directing group shots. So learn how to do that to get the shots done efficiently.

    You probably will use less gear than you think you need, but backup gear will save the day when required.

    Brides always have this thing with kids. Lots of wedding photography portfolios have kids in them. Kids are spontaneous! You know what to do.

    If reading love poems help you to prep... why not!

  8. #28
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    i think if your friend has asked you to take his/heer wedding photos then they must really trust you be proud, have a list on the day speak to bride and groom find out what photos they would like you to take and take a few of each shot also look for candid shots these can be fun too. i,ve recently taken photos at my sisters wedding and had a great time doing it, and as a result am taking photos at one of the bridesmaids weddings next year. i've looked at a few of your photos in your album and think you should stop worrying, they are great

  9. #29

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    A wise man know what he doesn't know.

    I m sure there will be a lot CSers cheering for you. Now, even if you fail, we will still be here for you. Hopefully, your friend too.

    Tips??
    Backup camera.
    Backup flashes.
    Backup batteries.
    Backup film/CFs

    Enjoy it.
    CS says, "We can't help you ignore yourself."

  10. #30
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    Visited your albums Gremlin and they're great!

    No wonder your friends have confidence in you. I think all you need is to be alert to catch the crucial moment. You may have to orchestrate and slow down some of the function e.g. team ceremony just to let your flash recycle and for composition.

    Believe you can do it .. just know when to press the button!!

    Good luck!

  11. #31

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    Just another typical example: I just covered my friend's wedding as well, as the main photographer, but with a 2nd photographer shooting b&w film of candid/abstract shots. Which means, I'm the only one taking those "standard" wedding shots, and I can't screw up. This is my first time being the main, my only experience was being a side photographer just once. My friend said she trusts me, and that she doesn't demand alot, just want photos for remembrance sake. And since I shoot digital, she considers it a cheap option.

    And so I did it. When things will go wrong, they DO go wrong. First mistake I made was to be late at the bride's house. Thankfully the groom hasn't arrived yet. Imagine the loss of some impt shots if I were later. Then I started taking some make-up shots, and I was very shy. I didn't take control. I just stood at the side, too far away from action. Gradually I picked it up, and gained more confidence. Eventually, I managed to get 95% of the impt standard shots plus some bonus nice shots to top it off. Some lessons learnt I have for you:

    1) be VERY sure of the procedure of the entire day. It helps if you try to recall the weddings you have attended before. And make sure you have the complete schedule of the wedding event.

    2) Once you know what is going to happen, anticipate it and act fast. Don't wait for it to happen. For e.g. I knew I wanted a shot of the groom opening the car door for the bride. I was in the front passenger seat of the wedding car. And guess what, I got out later than the groom, just one second later than him, and I missed the shot. I could have prepared to get off the car beforehand, and do it once the car had stopped.

    3) Take control. As the photographer, you have some sort of "commanding" presence. Don't let pple dictate how you take your shots, if necessary, tell them nicely how to stand and what to do. Some simple amendments can make your shots a whole lot better. Most of the time, pple will listen to you. Look confident and important.

    4) Practise and practise! Take some sample shots at home especially with flash. Know what are the scenes to be expected, e.g. church, ballroom etc. Then know exactly what mode, how much adjustments made, where to meter, for the anticipated scenes. If you have to think and consider on the spot, most of the time you will miss many precious moments.

    5) If you missed any impt shots, sometimes it is ok to ask the couple to re-enact again for you. For e.g. kissing shots. Some couples are shy and they only do a quick peck, which is hard to capture that right moment. Well staged shots like these may not look natural, but at least you have something that shows the intention, and the couple will be thankful for that.

    That's all I have so far....many people have advised you on the technicalities, but I think "soft skills" like these are equally important. Good luck for your shoot!
    Last edited by Tweek; 3rd September 2003 at 12:20 AM.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    1) Charge all your battries
    2) Prepare enough storage
    3) Prepare a 17-35, 28-135mm lens

    That should kick you off, you might want to capture the bride's makeup session early in the morning before the groom is there to pick her up. So I don't know who's going to cover the bridegroom's side.

    This is the headache part because you have to shoot inside and outside when the bridegroom comes to fetch the bride, other things I think as you go with the procession flow, you'll snap as you go. You should be able to do it
    that only covers the amount of time you need to spend for that one day. and you haven't even started with the lack of rest the few days after doing postprocessing from all the shots! *yikes!*

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitybix
    I am an optimist. But you should not do this assignment.

    Wedding photos are for keeps.

    She and the husbando will tell you "it's OK" and "we trust you" and "just do your stuff" and "we really liked your zoo/children/party photos you have taken".

    But what Always happens is that the moment the photos are delivered, the first question is "who tooks these" and "why is it like this"
    this is also "bo-bian" one. shooting as a main photog will increase your stress level, will get you more white hair sooner...

    sebastiansong, the likelihood of the camera giving up is very scary indeed... gremlim, you may want to carry around a notebook or a portable drive for storing of your digital photos - so you could make adjustments when you are "free" (if you are *ever* at all LOL). also i believe technically speaking, you must be VERY familiar with the controls of your camera before you go and shoot...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tweek
    4) Practise and practise! Take some sample shots at home especially with flash. Know what are the scenes to be expected, e.g. church, ballroom etc. Then know exactly what mode, how much adjustments made, where to meter, for the anticipated scenes. If you have to think and consider on the spot, most of the time you will miss many precious moments.

    5) If you missed any impt shots, sometimes it is ok to ask the couple to re-enact again for you. For e.g. kissing shots. Some couples are shy and they only do a quick peck, which is hard to capture that right moment. Well staged shots like these may not look natural, but at least you have something that shows the intention, and the couple will be thankful for that.
    4. sounds to me like people like me have to practice a LOT on flash metering...

    5. sounds very handy. i was too paiseh to ask my friends who were ROM'ing to smooch again..........

    oh, and gremlim, i usually carry around my camera's battery charger when i'm shooting for a full day of sports (e.g biathlon from 5am-1pm or 7am-4pm), so you might want to carry around a lightweight charger for your camera's batteries as well as the respective chargers for the notebook, hard drives, flashes etc... know it's gonna be heavy... wonder if any wedding photographer has been spotted working with a Super Trekker before?
    Last edited by sehsuan; 3rd September 2003 at 12:29 AM.

  13. #33

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    wow very useful post, I too will be shooting a friend's wedding this sat as a favour. My 1st time. No backup man ...just 1 man show ..me ! Worse case, I'm very new to photography.

    I hope gremlin dun mind me posting some techincal questions here:

    From what I gathered here in terms of techincal advice
    1) Church

    2) Tea Ceremony

    3) Dinner
    17-40mm lense should do
    Use M, f5.6, tv 1/60; iso 400, 800 Bounce or Direct where approriate
    FEL: Couple posing --> FEL to face ?
    Group posing --> FEL to anyone's skin ?

    Anyone can give some tech advice for points (1) and (2) ? Please ....

    Also, do most of you pros use AutoWB or custom white balance for (1), (2), (3) ?

    Best bet to shoot an A4 paper as white balance guide ?
    Last edited by myloplex; 3rd September 2003 at 12:55 AM.

  14. #34

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    I realized I had a copy of Amateur Photographer (12 April 2003).
    Page 32 talked about wedding photography. The photog is Danish Majken Kruse. Check this mag out at your library (kinda tedious nowadays with internet and all). Avoid Tampines Regional, I have theirs.

    Essentially it says:
    1. Discuss with the bride/groom their expectations. What are the MUST HAVE shots and what are the GOOD TO HAVE shots, and finally, what are the NICE TO HAVE shots. With this in mind; next
    2. Know the programme well in advance, and plan according to point 1.
    3. Be assertive, not bossy. Tell the people to do it again if required.
    4. Arrive early (?? Presumely she drive ahead, setup and wait?)

    My only addition
    -for most if not all REQUIRED (as in point 1) shots;
    5. use fill flash (High speed flash if needed)
    6. watch your dept of field. f8 and tape it there sharp.sharp.sharp.

    For the ARTISTIC shots, your call.
    CS says, "We can't help you ignore yourself."

  15. #35

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    What can I say? Thanks a million for the loads of tips and encouragement you guys gave. I think I have learnt much (in theory at least) from what has been written here. Well, I dunno if I will experience ball shrinkage on that day, but I will definitely keep the tips you guys gave in mind

    The wedding's still sometime away, but I will let you guys know how it turned out.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caspere
    A wise man know what he doesn't know.

    I m sure there will be a lot CSers cheering for you. Now, even if you fail, we will still be here for you. Hopefully, your friend too.

    Tips??
    Backup camera.
    Backup flashes.
    Backup batteries.
    Backup film/CFs

    Enjoy it.
    I recommend backup friends as well.

  17. #37

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    Just shoot....


    ... your current style might be what your friends are looking for.

  18. #38

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    gremlin, since your friend's wedding is not in the near future, why not make full use of the time in between now till then and volunteer your serivices as some kind of backup wedding photographer? You could pick up a few tips on what kind of standard shots most couples would want, some tricks on how to get the best lighting and angles, the wedding process so as to anticipate which lens to use or where you should be positioning yourself (in short know what to expect next) and most of all know what not to screw up and how not to screw it up. Like most other have mentioned, and as a personal opinion, wedding shots are once in a lifetime thing (sometimes twice). Even as this couple say it is not important for reasons unknown to anybody but themselves, and if you do a good job out of it, they will be very grateful to you in future when they realise the importance of the occassion.

  19. #39

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    Yo Gremlin, Remember shoot in raw. And bring external storage if possible (xdrive, notebook, or extra high capacity CFs). So that you'll never run out of exposures. Needless to say extra batteries.

    I've personally seen a First time wedding photographer- Morning cemermonial and wedding dinner coverage, with really good output which pleased everyone (couple and their relatives)

    Doesn't mean that if you've never done wedding photography before == crappy shots which your friends will blame you for the rest of your life, and even lose them.

    We both know this person personally and is no stranger to forumers here too, but has MIAed recently . Basically this friend of ours has the basics of photography at his finger tips, so whats left for him is to capture the moments (which he's not very experienced in). But hey, I saw the prints and the couple were very very impressed with the pictures/prints (he shot in both digital and film) and were both grateful to him.

    For the wedding dinner
    Probably you could practise more low light photography and getting ambient lighting captured with properly lit subjects in the foreground - before the actual day. Learn to control shadows with flash photography.

    Don't be afraid to pump up your ISO. ISO800 pics on 4R aren't that grainy And like what someone else here mentioned, make sure you line up the people (preferably in a V manner, tallest on the outside) in those table to table shots and make them look at the direction or into your lense before you click your shutter - really good advise taught to me by the above mentioned photog.

    Purchase those wedding magazines and rip off the poses and compositions which you like and deploy them in your exposures.

    Got plenty more to share with you, maybe during our ah-balling session soon


    oops, forgot to add that the photog i mentioned, shot with a NIKON

    *tsystem runs away

  20. #40

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    Ok I just thought of a few more points:

    1) If you're using direct flash, omnibounce or bounce card, try to take your subjects from an angle such that most of your subjects are of similar distances from you. In other words, try to line them up as perpendicular to you as possible. This is to reduce the chance of uneven flash exposure. For e.g. you lock your flash metering on the guy 5m away from you, the guy 7m away will be slightly underexposed and the guy 2m away from you will be overexposed. I realised in a wedding shoot, very often you don't get time to think about composition so much. So keeping this point in mind may be helpful. If you use ceiling bounce, I guess the uneven flash exposure won't be that bad.

    2) In low light conditions, depth of field is a luxury. Sometimes you just have to use F4.0 to take a group shot in low light. Try to maximise the DOF by using the principle of hyperfocal distance. Try to focus on the subject in the mid-distance from you. In that case the people slightly before and after him won't be that much out of focus. This is related to point (1) too. Flash meter on the center person can reduce the effect of uneven flash exposure.

    3) For dinner table-to-table shots, try to take 2 shots per table. This is provision for any screw-ups not visible on the tiny LCD, for e.g., people looking away, blinking etc. In fact, if memory space allows, try to take 2 shots of all impt posed pictures.

    4) In low light environment, like ballroom, good to use high ISO to allow ambient light to show through. If possible, meter for ambient light and use fill flash. My practice was to use Tv with ISO400 or 800, 1/40s (I'm using a 17-40) with flash. I decided to forgo the control of DOF. This config saves u the time to think about settings and lets u concentrate more on the composition and capturing the moment.

    5) I didn't shoot in RAW (shudder at the thought of processing so many RAW pictures), and I used AWB all the way. So far so good, the WB has been pretty accurate. So for this point, it's up to you lor.

    that's quite a mouthful. hope this is helpful!

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