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First wedding shoot experience

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by AceStar, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just got back from my first wedding as a wedding photographer. I was second photographer and neither of us were being paid (bride/groom couldn't pay someone, and hey at least it gave me experience and they didn't go without). Other guy was also amateur but had worked in TV before...

    Took along my E-P2 with 20mm, kit zoom, adapted Pentax-M 50/1.4 and 100/2.8. Also the FL-36R flash unit. Also had a teeny little Canon compact as backup but didn't really use it.

    For outdoor shots, had the most success with the 20mm and the flash as FP fill flash, allowing for a wide(ish) aperture. Some of the best shots were on the beach with sun low, long shadows, and fill flash pointed at them. Until now I'd been a "natural light" person but using a flash in combination with the sun can get really nice "glossy" results. I tended to shoot wider than the other photographer and we both had some winners at that location.

    Did some shots with the 50mm and 100mm, but quite a few with these were missed due to depth of field being too narrow. Learned some lessons here - at such a long focal length, even f/4 or so has such a narrow depth of field that focusing on the bride's hair/eyes and the groom standing right with her will be blurry. It was hard to get a sense of this when reviewing on the camera screen. Manual focusing wasn't too much of a pain as people stand still most of the time - for walking on/off though MF was tricky and I wish I'd had a longer reach autofocus lens.

    Indoors, I had a lot more winners than the other photographer, with similar sort of camera and flash except his was Nikon DX - my success mainly attributed to my fast prime (20mm) but may also have been my different flash technique - I boosted ISO to 500 and with bounce flash, a little flash card it blended well with the existing light and looked good. I also favoured bouncing straight up (white ceiling) with a small white card to bounce, over the 45 degree angle with a little diffuser that the other guy had.

    I gotta add - the auto white balance on the E-P2 is amazingly spot-on. Even though I could easily correct it in RAW, not a single shot in all locations including indoors isn't perfectly white balanced apart from a couple of indoor shots where I tried to get arty with the light.

    A lot of shooting weddings is about trying to organise people and tell them what to do, and that's not really the part I enjoy, so being the "other guy" saved me much of that stress. On the other hand, at times I would have liked a little bit more freedom to come up with some creative ideas myself while the models were lined up. I did get a lot more background/candid shots and that was more my role, really.
     
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Pictures, or it didn't happen. :)

    Gordon
     
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  3. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Here's one - maybe not best example

    8j1h9.

    This one is f/1.7, 1/4000s, ISO100 with flash in FP TTL AUTO mode.
     
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  4. joele

    joele Mu-43 Regular

    161
    Dec 12, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    I like the shot in general good background ;-)

    If you don't mind me saying I would have framed it putting them off center (to the right) so the shadow isn't cut off..

    Weddings are hard situations I think, I also agree with the not liking to have to 'direct' everyone with what to do, something I avoid (have been asked a few times to do it as the paid photographer)..

    If the ceiling isn't too high I agree 100% bouncing always looks more natural..
     
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  5. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    892
    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Nice light. The only way I can see it improved is by using a kind of golden reflector to equalize the light on both faces (the cardboard foiled in aluminum sold under plastic wrapped salmon slices and other fishes does that very well once cleaned :rofl:).

    Otherwise, I concur : you might have framed a bit to the left to keep the bride shadow complete.

    Just nitpicking, those are complicated pictures.

    Cheers,
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. cbrock

    cbrock Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Feb 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I think a lot of the best pictures from a wedding are the behind the scenes or candid moments that aren't posed. The posed shots are nice to look at and have, but it's the candids that really bring back the memories and put you in that moment, which I think is the best part of photography.

    I shot my step-brother's wedding in a similar situation quite a few years back. I think I was too young to feel any pressure/understand the complexity at that time. Now that I look back though, it was very difficult to get in the right place and position myself for those must have moments.

    It would be great to see some of the other behind the scenes shots if you wouldn't mind sharing. Glad you were able to have fun and enjoy the experience. There are several good books that you could probably go down to the library and rent on wedding photography if you ever find yourself in the situation again.
     
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  7. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah, well it was difficult what with a lot of things happening at once and I wasn't the one calling the shots. The main photographer was going in closer so I thought I'd get some wider shots that included the full dress because that's what I preferred. For that shot I was thinking of maybe even cropping much of the left off and having them left of centre.
     
  8. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yes, I definitely agree. It was extremely true of, for example, the ceremony. Lots of people, and things are happening fast and don't wait for the photographers.

    Thanks - I might hold off on putting many more pics up yet, gotta at least get em nice and ready for the bride+groom first. But hopefully more to come.
     
  9. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Another two - sorry these are hardly "behind the scenes"

    UCWKw.

    lSl1X.

    The windswept look is incidental - it was an extremely windy day!
     
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  10. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus Loser

    931
    Nov 16, 2010
    Finland
    In both photos there seems to be blown out highlights but I guess you can save some of the details from RAW. Anyway, in the group photo, I like the high key exposure and am amazed that the FL-36R is capable to give such a nice fill light that far from the subjects. :2thumbs:

    EDIT: Ok, it seems that you added one more photo and I can't complain about that, AT ALL! Great success!
     
  11. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the comments!

    It's hard to tell how much effect flash did have on that group picture. It was 1/4000s in FP mode so I wasn't expecting miracles, but it seems to have some effect (it was f/1.7). But I should mention that on that version I've thrown a little more light on their faces in post. ;)

    That last photo with the trees is quite heavily edited... here is a version closer to out-of-camera.