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Wedding Photo Tips? (As a non-pro)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by starlabs, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles

    I will be attending a wedding tomorrow as a guest. This will be the first time I'll be taking photos at a wedding with my m4/3 kit. I'll be bringing my E-PL1, Panny 20mm and the Oly ZD 50mm f/2.

    I'll appreciate any tips and insights on taking pictures at my friend's wedding.

    I'm thinking the majority of my shots will be candid pics, preferably with the 50mm. Given the slow AF of the 50mm, I might have to switch to MF for this (will be enabling MF focus assist). Probably switch to 20mm for group shots.

    It looks like tomorrow will be overcast. I expect most of the wedding will be indoors - not sure on the lighting conditions as I haven't been to the venue (probably not brightly lit given my experience at weddings in the past!)

    Thanks in advance. :smile:
  2. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I dunno, in your shoes I would probably use the 20mm more. Fast, little, unobtrusive. Especially better indoors. I like doing candid people shots, even portraits, with the 20mm. Also the DOF can make for some really nice dreamy closeup. Then go for funky and unusual angled shots when the party starts jumping.
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    1. Stay out of the pros way and be aware that there may be more than one.
    2. Shoot mostly wide open.
    3. Look for details and expressions that's what Brides love in their photos.
    4. Take lots of memory and spare batteries.
    5. Extend the time before your camera goes to sleep as it will help you avoid missing moments.
    6. Don't shoot everything from eye level. It gets boring.
    7. The longer lens will be more flattering. The 20mm is closer to a wide lens than a standard (40mm) and the ladies don't generally like the way it distorts them. So keep the 20 for the more environmental stuff.
    7. Stay out of the pros way.
    8. Make sure you occasionally lower the camera to really enjoy the day.

  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    leave the 50 at home

    I would go with just the 20 and go for informal moments

    stop looking at the LCD and framing .. hold the camera low and high... get in where the action is... dont try and replicate the wedding photographer...capture the moment... and make sure you get a drink and some food and enjoy yourself

  5. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for all the tips!

    Yeah the 20mm is definitely more convenient but does introduce distortion so I'm hesitant to use it for portrait shots (which so far, is what I enjoy shooting the most)...
  6. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
    Photograph the bride in a compromising position/situation.
  7. Exposed

    Exposed Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2011
    Central Washington State
    Randy dawson
    I use a longer lens for wedding candids, something in the 105-200mm range. I try to stay away from close candid shots if possible. Remember, you are trying to capture spur of the moment shots, being right in the bride/grooms face, those type of shots might not happen.

  8. Look for the types of shot that the pros might not be paid to get. Intimate shots of family, friends, special moments, interactions. That way you'll have something unique to show the newlyweds and their family/friends.
  9. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    Remote-controlled IR camera? :shock:
  10. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    I would have fun and really engage people--you are a guest and so you shouldn't be working. If a pro was hired, the couple will get all the formal photographs they need. Look for the small personal moments and not always the ones happening around the happy couple. Many weddings are big the the couple don't always get the chance to see everything the guests experience. Those images can be really nice for the couple to have.

    Ditto on the 20mm. The 50mm will not be a good lens here. A 14mm may be good also, but you need to throw yourself into the scene--no standing back trying to be unobtrusive. If you distance yourself, it will show in the images.
  11. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I figure an update is in order, since you guys were nice enough to take time to post to this thread - the wedding went well and everyone (including me) had fun!

    It was interesting to see the wedding photographers plying their trade. It is a hard job and I have to give them mad props for what they do and what little relative thanks they get.

    Two pics from the wedding (the cupcakes were quite yummy!):

    P6115107-M. P6115111-M.

    I ended up taking both the 20mm and 50mm lenses. Overall, I had more keepers from the 20mm, almost exclusively due to the faster AF on it.
    The 50mm did prove useful, but I think if I had treated it purely as a MF lens I would probably have better luck with it. I eagerly wait for a native m4/3 mount 50mm with fast AF. Hurry up Oly!!!

    One interesting tidbit that I encountered about using fast lenses wide open in taking pictures of 2 or more people - it's quite hard to get all the faces in focus when you have razor-thin DoF. Of course the faces all look in-focus when you review them on the LCD (or even with the VF) but once on your laptop you realize it's not all sharp. Just something I have to keep in mind.

    I really wish cameras would get high-density displays (a la the iPhone's "retina" dpi screen).

    Here's the gallery of the pictures I took from the wedding, if anyone's interested:
    Susan and Hyun's Wedding 2011 - hiep's Photos
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