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Re: Shooting a wedding
Old 05-04-2009, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
TomRobin
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Oh Boy,
A wedding is lots different than studio. With a studio, you probably have everything set up the way you like it and have tested the lighting, etc. on numerous occasions. You don't have that luxury with a wedding. Aside from photos before the wedding and 'formal' photos after the wedding, things can happen pretty fast. Unless you have an assistant, working with multiple lights can be cumbersome. Here are some (I think) good tips.

1. Check out the location before the wedding, and preferably about the same time that the wedding will take place. That way you can judge ambient light, find locations for portraits, know where to be, etc.

2. You only get one chance. Make sure you have a backup for everything -- camera, lens, batteries, film/memory cards, etc.

3. At the wedding & reception, check with the wedding planner or DJ/announcer to make sure you know the sequence of events for the day and make sure they notify you to be there.

4. NEVER drink during a job (wedding), because 'Aunt Mary from Kentucky' will point out every bad pose or photo and remind the bride about the booze.

5. Make friends with one of the wedding party or close friend of the couple so you can ask about people attending the event. This way you don't miss the important relatives visiting from out of town, etc.

6. Get a bracket (I use a Stroboframe) that will position your flash 8-12 inches above the lens (4-5 inches higher than the shoe flash). This will keep the flash directly over the lens and minimize shadows cast by the subject. Nothing is worse than a shoe mounted flash with the camera turned vertical and a big dark shadow on one side or the other.

7. Did I mention back up all of your equipment?

8. Assist another photographer at a couple weddings OR attend weddings and follow the photographer around. You will pick up some neat tricks.

9. Lighting? Shooting RAW will allow you to correct many cases of mixed lighting. A meter will naturally be a plus if you have time to use it. If you are using multiple flash, the auto systems from Canon, Nikon and others are incredible.

10. I try to arrange it so I eat (it can be a long day) at the same time that the newlyweds are eating. If you get served last, chances are you will skip the meal to photograph the couple as they circulate through the room.

11. Most of all: Don't forget to have fun.

--Tom
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