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Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 04:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have shot primarily glamour.

I agreed to help out some friends and shoot their wedding and now am a nervous wreck. The only advice I can recall is Rolando's which was keep the bride in focus and make her look good.

I know this is not a glamour topic but does anyone have any hints or a system to get the shots expected for a wedding. The bride is not worried but I am.

At most weddings I am like the guys in Wedding Crashers so I never paid much attention to the details. LOL

Help appreciated.

Sherwin.

PS - I should have my Vagabond pack and ring light by the end of this week. Also have a few WL monolights. Should I schelp some real equipment or just shoot at high ISO? I am using a 5D these days. Also, which lens are good?
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Jeez dude, that's a lot of info. Here's my breakdown.

I shoot the posed family formals with two AB1600's. I light really flat. I use my 20D with a 50mm prime. I try to shoot at f8 ISO 100.

I shoot the bride and groom portraits with whatever floats my boat on that particular day. I might use available light with or w/out modifiers or use all artificial light. It really depends.

I shoot the candids during the reception with the minimum I can. I usually mount a 28-105 on my 20D and a 70-200 on my 10D. I carry both with me and use a speedflash mounted to each camera.

During the ceremony, be sure to turn off your focus beep. I also use as little as I can. I have been known to use a couple of AB's in the bouncing into the corner and to even shoot wide open with no fill.

The shots you don't to miss that you can't recreate are the first kiss, giving away the bride, and the grooms face the first time he sees her. There are also moments that are ceremony specific, like mixing sand, smashing the glass, and communion. I like to start with a fresh card and shoot as much as I can. I also instruct the groom and dad, to kiss the bride for two seconds more than they think they should. They usually end up kissing her for 2.5 seconds, which is long enough for me to get 5-6 good shots.

Go to the bookstore and buy some books on weddng photography. A few of them are bound to have a list of shots. It's not set in stone, but can be a good guide. Make sure to discuss with the bride, what shots she wants.

Lastly, take plenty of batteries and CF cards. I go to each wedding with 11 512mb cards and one 1 GB card. I back them up onto a Lashtrax before I leave. My goal is to not need to recycle cards at the wedding. You only have to screw that up once to learn the hard way.

Good luck.

Mike
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 05:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Mike. A lot of good info. Much appreciated.

I never felt any pressure doing glamour. But the fact that I have got just one chance to get it right is really bugging me. Plus the unknowns of the church (going to do some test shots this week) and lighting. I am studio spoiled I guess. I tried my flash at a renewal of vows thing my friends did a few months ago and the light was just plain weird. I have already decided to shoot high ISO (the 5D is pretty forgiving with noise) and try to use the IS lenses if possible. Also thinking about picking up the new 50mm 1.2 which I have always coveted anyway.

Do you think the ring flash would be of value? I have used them some with glamour but thought it might be the simplest thing to carry to this church. Wish the moondish attachment was already available.

Can you believe all this and this is a freebee? Just for friends. LOL
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 06:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Keep your flash above the lens for vertical shots as well as horizontal, even if you have to buy an off-camera extension cord and a Stroboframe bracket. Nothing says"amateur" like strong shadows to the side of everyone because the photographer turned the camera (and shoe-mounted flash) sideways for vertical shots.

Shoot with a slight wide angle lens, not a "normal," for all but the close-up portraits. For medium format, that would be a 55mm to 65mm lens; for 35mm film or full-frame digital, that is a 35mm lens; for digital cameras with a 1.5X factor, use a 24mm. Using a slight wide angle provides two benefits: (1) increased depth of field (and, therefore, decreased chance of out-of-focus subjects), and (2) increased battery life for your flash because your will be closer to the subjects (important when photographing the entire wedding party) and your flash won't have to put out as much light. You will not have any noticeable distortion when using a slight wide angle.

Use a good bounce diffuser, preferably one that has a solid bounce surface, on your fash. Don't shoot direct unless you are shooting a large group and you need the power from a distance. I recently attended a wedding where the photographers were using the Lumiquest bounce attachment - the 80/20 one with the "holes" in the bounce surface so 20% of the light goes forward and 80% was supposed to bounce off the ceiling. BUT ... they were shooting in a cavernous 3,000 seat church with a two-story sanctuary and black-painted overhead (girders, HVAC ductwork, catwalks, etc.) with NO chance of any bounce. They also use shoe-mounted flashes; no off-camera flash for vertical shots. I cringe thinking about how those images turned out.

Use the lowest ISO (e.g., 100) for all flash shots and any shots taken outside during daylight. Save the high ISO settings for available light shots during the ceremony.

Don't shoot just anything. Every image you take should be one that someone will want to buy a copy of. (For example, don't take endless shots of the backs of people's heads in the receiving line.) That is how I trained myself to think when I shot film. In the days of film, if I shot 100 images and only sold from 30 of those, then the cost of the remaining 70 images ate into my profit.

Remind the bride and groom (and their parents) that you don't know the people at the wedding and reception and you have no idea as to who the special guests are that you must get shots of. Have them help you get the shots they want. I once photographed five generations of women in one family at a wedding (great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter, and granddaughter). I sold more prints of that one shot than any wedding image I've ever taken. However, I would not have known to group and photograph those five people unless I had been informed.

Get there an hour before the wedding and plan on staying until after the bride and groom drive away.

I could go on, and Dynamike already provided a good start to this thread. I imagine you will receive a wealth of additional comments. Happy shooting, and please post a few.

Best regards,
Mike
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 06:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would stay away from high ISO. I don't about the 5D, but both of my Canons are 2/3 of a stop under exposed. I set my exposure comp to +2/3 and still end up pushing the images in post.
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Take a look at David Ziser's work and don't be afraid to drag the shutter to include some nice architectural details. His lighting is generally a T5D into a shoot through umbrella on a monopod held by an assistant. Longer shutter speed for reasons stated above.

R
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 06:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey guy, I have shot a lot of weddings. There are too many thing to tell you to post them here. If you want to call me maybe I can help an "Okie".
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 06:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coach View Post
Hey guy, I have shot a lot of weddings. There are too many thing to tell you to post them here. If you want to call me maybe I can help an "Okie".
I thought of saying that initially, but it's his first wedding. If I got on the phone with him, I would probably have scared him.

But, if he would like to speak with me, I'm more than happy to offer him any help I can.
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 06:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Your right. I didn't think about that
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Re: Help with wedding for a glamour photographer.
Old 10-17-2006, 11:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well one thing I find valueable is a lens or macro spacer that allows for some close focus shots on things like rings, flowers, hands with rings, small detail type of things.

Another extremely important thing for me is a powerful flash. I bounce my flash a ton. Recently my Sunpak 120j died (or is trying to) and I had to switch to a Vivitar 285 and it was just under powered for me. I know the guide numbers are the same but I think the Sunpak is stronger, my 380ex is definately under powered. Some of this perception might just be my missing the excellent juju of parabolic flash. So I broke down and got a 580ex, we'll see how that goes. I do use a JTL Mobilite 300 for formals and dance shots. For the formals I use a 46" white umbrella.

Finally look at a bunch a wedding shots before the gig to get some ideas in you. IMHO wedding photography is more of a craft than an art. People aren't looking for avante guarde stuff that's never been done before, they're looking for predictably good shots.

-James

PS Oh yeah, ask the church coordinator or the officiant what's allowed (flash, no flash, can you be in the sanctuary, can you move around). At the reception the DJ is your friend, have good communications with him and you won't miss any of the events at the reception. Good Luck!
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