Would appreciate wisdom on shooting wedding pictures w/Nikon D40x
I am a new SLR user. I would appreciate any help I can get on shooting a wedding. At this time I can only get clear pictures using the auto function on my new Nikon D40x. But it doesn't seem to take continues pictures. I can get it shooting a little faster when I use the sports Digital Vari-Program but the pics are very very blurry. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also what would you suggest as the best setting to take wedding pictures??.


Comments (10)

I assume that you are not going to be the principal photographer but just want some shots as a guest. (Don't even THINK about being the principal photographer.).

You normally have 3 situations in a wedding: the room/church in which the ceremony takes place, shots outside (no problem) and shots at the reception afterwards..

For the reception you really need an external flash that you can bounce off the ceiling. An internal flash will produce very harsh lighting. If you have to use an internal flash make sure that you get very close..

Most of the problems occur during the ceremony because the lighting conditions may be very difficult and because you may not be able to use flash. Also you only get one opportunity for some of the most crucial shots..

If you cannot use flash for the ceremony switch to aperture priority, set the largest aperture possible (lowest number) and put the ISO up to at least 800. You may well need to go to 1600 depending on how good the light is in the room. Hopefully you will then get a shutter speed of at least 1/50th sec and preferably higher especially if the subjects are moving. This should be enough to avoid blur for most shots. If you are still getting blurry shots you need a faster lens - one with a larger maximum aperture. Unless you want to spend a lot of money your best bet is probably a Nikon 50mm f1.8 which should cost well under $100..

Your camera should be able to shoot quite a few shots in quick succession, much faster than the Panasonic. If it can't then you probably have focussing problems. The 50mm lens above might help with this but you probably need to ask for help on the Nikon 40X forum.Chris R..

Comment #1

Thanks Chris:.

You are right I am not the principal photographer. They did ask me to be the photographer due to limited funds but someone stepped in to help in that area and they are hiring a professional photographer. They did ask if I would still take pictures as the professional may miss some shots and I will be the only one taking pictures of the bride preparing for the wedding..

Thank you for all your wisdom..


Comment #2

Weddings are extremely stressful if you are an inexperienced photographer because (1) you are photographing the most important event in their lives for the couple, (2) you only get one opportunity for some shots, (3) lighting conditions are often extremely difficult and (4) a lot happens in a very short space of time..

The professionals earn their money!.

Have fun and takes lots of shots. You only improve by practice.Chris R..

Comment #3

If you're not sure than stick to the "P" or "AUTO" mode, it's more important to get the shot you want rather than to disappointing the couple who counted on you for their life time experience..

You can start trying not very important shots by using Shutter Priority if you have a fast lens and good ISO, and manual mode with a speedlite..

I have plenty of wedding pictures in my gallery, take a look to get some idea..

CheersNo hesitation when capturing moments..

Helping other is doing good for yourself, and treating the earth a little better will help the next generation.

Comment #4

Wrote the following for another person who was talking about shooting a wedding.i realize there are many pros who are wedding phtographers, so ignore this..

Many yrs ago I shot 2 weddings; one for a friend and one for my brother in law. afterwards I made myself a promise that I have kept: NEVER AGAIN.if you must-.

-do your research. there are plenty of web sites available. find out what scenes EXACTLY to shoot and what to shoot it with. make yourself a list of expected shots and take it with you. make it in order of the shots..

-check out the church and check out the reception hall. this means go to them. can you use flash in the church? ASK the minister without fail before the ceremony starts, preferably when you check out the church. are you supposed to be at the brides home BEFORE everything on wedding day for pictures? which pictures,of who, are they going to be there,who tells them to be there? I was for one of my weddings. my day started at 5:00am and I didn't leave the reception till past 2:00am. it was almost 24hrs on my feet.

At wedding and reception, pop or water only. you will be the soberest one there. your job is to produce pictures nothing else. what shots are needed at every place? of who are the shots at everyplace needed? where are these people? you are going to tell/ask anyone that you need after the ceremony to remain? if you do not ask them, who is?.

-get a external flash, as big as you can buy. also brackets,cables, more batteries(if flash takes extra), any other needed accesories. you do have more than one camera battery, right? and charger? do you need a12volt charger as well???-again. read. research so you know everything about taking wedding pics.-after reading. do you need any more lenses? what kind, what size, what fstop?.

- memory cards. do you have enough gb? if no, buy major brands only. do not take a chance on any great deals on memory cards. if you have el chepo cards do not use them, replace them. in all respects this is when you go with the best and most dependable equipment you can find.- consider a backup dslr. if you do not have one-buy, rent, borrow..

-you mentioned setting up your tripod and taking many pics with it. do you absolutely have permision of the priest/vicar to use a tripod at that location. do not assume. also the same question about flash in the church..

-find some way to talk the couple into using a wedding pro. this couple may not be your friends AFTER the wedding.try this web site-.

[URL is in our block list, either at the request of the site or due to spam] try this. it is a pdf file, 79 pages.

You should read the following web site. very interesting.

Where do wedding photographers learn their trade???.

By being an assistant to a PRO wedding photographer. do it without fee if you have to but get the experience.- and very lastly. THE VERY VERY BEST OF LUCK. you will need it..


Another reply-.

At the wedding I was refering to I was in the house with the brides and all the bridesmaids at 7:40am, haveing arrived 10min earlier. at the reception I was shooting till about 2am when the bride/groom finally left. that ended up at just under 18hrs shooting. when I did this it was with film, not digital..

Though I have been asked, the one thing I learned was never again. the 2 weddings were done gratis, no fee, that was the wedding present..

If you want to do more weddings I suggest glen johnson's book "digital wedding photography". not cheap, but well worth it. I have not read it all the way yet, but my conclusion is anybody who reads the book will never do a wedding. he simply tells what you have to do to photograph a wedding...

Comment #5

I took pics of my daughter getting ready for her wedding, along with her cousin the maid of honor. After that, I put my camera away to enjoy the wedding and reception. Here are a couple of my "getting ready" shots..

I hope you have a good time helping with the pictures!.

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Comment #6

At least you aren't the principal photographer..

The nikon d40 should have much faster autofocus than any point and shoot.something is wrong maybe with the way you have set it up?.

Can the Nikon be switched to Manual focus? Then do so and ignore Autofocus all together..

The Nikon should take a burst of shots a whole lot faster than a P&S but then will need time to clear it's cache. The only reason a P&S would be faster than this camera would be if you had the quality turned down on the P&S so that the camera's internal memory (cache) is never really filled..

If inexperienced, I agree, stick to program modes..

Does the d40 have a built in flash? turn it on onl in sunlight (it will fill dark shadows).

Camera shake can be a problem shooting indoors. Dial a higher iso (i think the nikon can safely(?) do 800 without too much noise but that is a suibjective opinion..

Of Course, the most important part of any camera is the lens..

I am assuming that you have a kit zoom lens that goes from sort of wide to not quite long enough..

The Not-quite-long-enough end is the best for portraits the trouble is there is a cost in light transmission. What happens is that you will not be able to get those higher shutter speeds just when you need them the most..

This is why pro's use tripods or have those really expensive FAST lenses..

So, use a tripod (with quick release) or be like me and brace the camera against an immovable object (such as a lightpole or a pew).

The sort-of-wide can be useful for all sorts of scenes..

I suggest specialising for this wedding in candid 'moments' like the 'first' kiss.Or cute little bridesmaids/flowegirls being cute and little.when the bride sees her mum outside the churchThe handshaking/hugging queuewhen the bride notices (and looks at) you..

I suggest keeping an iso of 400 for all photo's not quite fast enough for the (non-flash) church interior and maybe a bit fast for sunny(?) outside..

Be cool.AndyDalineanconvertcrikey!Sigma sd10etc..

Comment #7

I shoot weddings occaisionally for friends as an amateur (with Nikons) and for the bride getting ready shots I normally use flash (SB800) and bounce it from the ceiling. My camera is almost always in aperature priority to control depth of field. I've got a few wedding photos in the link below with a some of the bride getting ready which might give you some ideas. Every wedding is different so you kind of just go with the flow..


Duncan Bristow

Comment #8

As said above. Don't ever accept the photographer role until you've invested the time and the money..

People say that expensive equipment doesn't make the picture. Well in wedding photography, not having that expensive equipment will create a disaster. There are some professionals that can get by with slower lenses and amature equipment, but most all have something in the F/2.8 range or lower. These are not cheap..

Second note. Buying fast lenses and quality flash guns won't make you a wedding photographer..

Practice and time management skills will. They move fast. It happens once. Its hard..

With that said. As I said above, don't be THE photographer, but definitely feel free to explore. Everyone has to be a rookie sooner or late. So many people on this forum discourage people from photographing a wedding, but how are you ever suppose to take your first swing if you never give yourself the chance to setup?.

Years down the road if you decide to shoot a wedding for a friend, I suggest that you start out by charging for the print, and not by the hour. That way the newly weds won't be upset because they paid you to much. In reality, they'll get what they paid for...

Comment #9

New to slr wrote:.

Thanks Chris:.

I will be the only one taking pictures of thebride preparing for the wedding..

At your level ..... I would not even do that. Those can be some of the best photos, and are IMPORTANT. I would insist on the pro doing them also ... with you "watching" and maybe taking some side or practice shots..

Thank you for all your wisdom..


Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #10

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