Help with 1st Wedding...
I know this can be a touch subject, based on what I've read online so far (pros telling us amateurs to leave wedding to the pros, etc). A friend who is on a very limited budget has asked me to photograph her small wedding. I've never done anything like this before.. and she is aware of this. If I decline, she plans on asking her sister or even possibly forgoing a photographer all together. I'm not taking any money for this, however, if I accept, I want to treat this like a buisness and her like a paying client.

My question is can anyone provide me with some resources for wedding photography? There is just so much information out there I was hoping someone could recommend something that they found useful..

I also wanted to know what equipment I may need that I might be overlooking and any other issues that could be easily overlooked. I have the following relevant equipment:Nikon D200Nikon SB 600 w/diffuserNikon 17-55/2.8Nikon 80-200/2.8.

I plan on buying a flash bracket in hopes of avoiding those ugly shadows when taking vertical pictures. Also on the list, the MB200 battery/vertical grip to make sure I have plenty of juice since I know I'll be reviewing a lot of the pics I take over the long day. Also thinking about investing in the SB800 to try and speed up my recyle time (I read the high performance battery pack it comes with really helps in this area). Would a Lumiquest promax kit be useful if I know I may not have ceilings to bounce the light off? I'm not sure whether this should be a consideration at this point or not. I have 2 CF flash cards (1G and a 4G) and 40G photobank to dump my pictures in if I need more room on my cards. Wedding's not til May so I have plenty of time to get ready.

I've asked for a family member to help identify the VIP family members and ensure I take their pictures. I've asked for the 'must have' shots from the bride and groom so that I can make sure I captures those for them..

Again, we both know what we're getting into and I think with preparation, I can deliver something she'll be pleased with. I just want to make sure I am as prepared as I can possibly be. ANY help you all can provide would be GREATLY appreciated.Thanks!.


Comments (5)

There was a very good discussion about this in this thread:

Comment #1

You don't need any more equipment, but you do need backups - camera body, main lens and flash. Try to borrow them from somebody, and make sure that the backup is a Nikon - you don't suddenly want to be struggling with a strange camera in the middle of a wedding? Make sure that you have lots of batteries for your flash. Make sure that you know exactly how your equipment works, especially the flash..

Make sure that your friend knows your limitations. Reducing her expectations takes the pressure off of you and she may then be very pleasantly surprised at the quality of your work. Don't get too hung up on shooting the throwing of the bouquet - tell her in advance that you may not be able to get a good shot. And don't get hung up on getting all of the "essential" shots that the professionals will tell you that you have to get. Simplify things and slow them down if necessary to take stress off yourself..

Make sure that you know the sequence of events and what key shots you need to get. Ensure that somebody, not you, is tasked with getting everybody together for the formals..

The ceremony is the stressful part of the shoot because the light may be difficult and you don't get a second chance for some of the shots. (Having said that, IMHO you can put together a very enjoyable album without too many shots of the ceremony.) In your preparation take lots of care over planning this part of the shoot. Decide on your camera settings in advance and check and recheck them. You should have time to take some test shots before the bride arrives. Check the histogram after every shot - your flash may not be firing, you may have forgotten to turn up the ISO, etc. Put fresh batteries in the flash before the ceremony if you are going to be using flash..

Once the ceremony is over, start having fun. You can't have too many shots of the bride. Take lots of close ups. Take lots of shots of the families and friends. Taking everything in landscape mode makes putting the album together much easier (and avoids the problem of shadows with flash in portrait orientation)..

Make use of photos from other people with cameras at the wedding. Even technically poor shots can be fun in an album. Get somebody to talk photos of the bride and of the groom getting ready. Maybe even include some shots from the night before and the morning after. Make the album fun with lots of pictures of family and friends - IMHO ceremony shots get boring pretty quickly, but remembering your friends can be very rewarding many, many years later..

Decide beforehand who is going to produce the album(s) and how. In my experience with these kind of family shoots, the most difficult task of all is getting somebody to decide what shots to include in the album, and the more shots you take the more difficult it gets!. It may be easier if you do this yourself. Having the right software, e.g. Lightroom, makes the task much, much easier..

I've only done two weddings plus an assist, but I have done quite a lot of parties, anniversaries, etc. for friends. The ceremony was stressful in the first wedding, but after that I found it very enjoyable, especially putting together an imaginative album. However, a nephew of mine, who is a good photographer, got so stressed out when he was asked to shoot his sister-in-laws wedding at one week's notice that he forgot everything - didn't notice that his flash wasn't firing, forgot to turn up the ISO for non-flash shots, had the aperture set at f2.8 for all of the formals and didn't have enough DoF, etc. Fortunately lots of other people were taking photos and we still managed to assemble an album that the bride was delighted with.Chris R..

Comment #2

Forget the self help books and websites on posing and technical details of camera operation under differing circumstances, such as RAIN!.

Go to a professional photographer in your community and ask if you can shadow them on a wedding shot for the day. Focus on the type of shots they take and how they take them..

Keep it simple! Use automatic settings unless you have 100% confidence in your manual over rides!.

Give your friend the images as a wedding gift. Do NOT expect payment as this creates a formal CONTRACT to which you could be held liable should the pictures not meet family expectations..

KISS - keep it simple stupid. That's the mantra you need to use in preparation, during the shoot, and in post shoot image processing..

JohnJohn S. Marczyk..

Comment #3

Top of the list - make sure your client ( think that way ) understands that printing the photos and so forth will still cost money. Give them ( and yourself ) an estimate of this. Professionals can do some of this at lower costs ( volume of business ) than you can, so don't be surprised if it's more than you expected. You can make this your present ( and probably an expensive one at that )..

At the risk of insulting you, shoot RAW ( or RAW+JPEG ). At least this gives you the largest margin for error with things like exposure and white balance. You won't get a second chance with these shots. This may be very useful inside, where the lighting is mixed..

Although your equipment seems OK one of the hardest things to get right is the wedding dress ( white with subtle patterns and highlights ) and skin ( highlights especially ). I'd suggest conservative metering to ensure you don't blow highlights. A touch of exp comp will do no harm ( especially if you shoot RAW ) and may save you grief later. Again with the idea that it's easier to fix a slight under-exposure later and more so with RAW..

And / Or.

Bracketing Use it. Plenty of memory cards and batteries. You don't have to use everything you shoot, but if you don't shoot enough you loose the ability to select the best. Again, gives you a margin for error..

If you were used to this kind of shooting then you could shoot with more assurance, but as you are not a little conservative safety net won't do any harm..

Tripod(s) + quick release plate + remote(s)..

Borrow and Assistance..

If you know someone who has similar equipment you can use, ask them to borrow it ( and even act as an assistant ). For backup at least. An assistant will also help with "trivia" like keeping kids and adults from knocking over and mauling your kit. Even a non-photographer will be able to help. Do not ask e.g. your spouse as they will be replacing you in your social role.

Recon the church and reception area. Be aware of potential pros and cons in the location. Bring a camera with you when you recon. This with a view to spotting potential issues and improving your margin for error. In particular where inside and outside can you set your stall so as not to interfere with proceedings. If you are involved in the rehearsals that would be good, but remember that these may be at a different time ( lighting ) from the real thing..

Before shooting check your settings. It's easy to accidentally change a setting, especially when you are stressed. The routine of checking will help with nerves as well..

Emergencies :Know the nearest camera shop if it might help.Bring your humble P&S compact..

You almost certainly won't need these last two backups but it's amazing how comforting it will be knowing you can answer the question should it arise. It will help your nerves..

And lastly ... Plastic Sheeting and washing pegs or similar. Water, water everywhere, and not a hope of a shot if your kit kit is drowned..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #4


I am just like you...Photography is a hobbie and now has turned into a business. I done several weddings with a low cost because of friends and family..

If you like what you see on my site then I can share with you what I equipment I have and done..

Http:// Check out the wedding photos.....

Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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