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Wedding Photography

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by *fiona*, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. *fiona*

    *fiona* New to Mu-43

    8
    Aug 6, 2010
    Halifax, UK
    HELP!!!! Hi all, hope someone can help me out here. Earlier this year I was asked to photograph a colleagues wedding, I declined and suggested she get a professional photographer as it's such a big responsibility and to be honest it frightened the life out of me (me just being an amateur and photography being a hobby). Anyway I did go along and nipped in here, there and everywhere with my shots, keeping my distance and making sure I didn't get in the way of the pro of course. After taking about 500+ shots with my 45-200mm lens on my G1 (which I did think was the wrong lens but having to avoid getting in the way was ok) I then selected around 100 ish, edited some with fancy stuff and produced a slideshow and prints, to my amazement the bride, groom, family and friends preferred mine to the pro's :confused:.

    That's all good but now I've been asked to do a further 2 weddings in June next year! My dilemma, which lens/es??

    My equipment:- Panasonic G1, Pan 14-45mm, Pan 45-200mm & Olympus MF 50mm F2.8 (would prefer AF version) & Vivitar TTL Flash.

    I will have time to save up for a new lens or 2 (nothing ridiculous though) but having looked on other forums and read all the debates/arguments/pull-downs about M4/3rds, I have to say that, that is the camera I will be using and won't be going out to buy a Nikon or Canon!!

    I would be grateful if you could help and advise me as to which lens/es you think would be best and what else I would need? Please? Many thanks, Fiona
     
  2. johnc

    johnc Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Oct 20, 2011
    Hi,

    First off, congratulations on doing a good job (and if everyone you mentioned liked your images, then you indeed did a good job). :)

    Are these two additional weddings going to be done for free? Or will there be money involved (in other words, will you be the principal photographer responsible for documenting the event)?

    If yes, then imo you need to take certain precautions. Do you have a backup camera body? Or a backup flash? These are things you may want to consider (always take Murphy's Law into account). And enough batteries for camera(s) and flash(es) to get you through the day? Have you thought about a bracket and TTL cord to get the flash off the camera (I got a Flip Flash from ALZO Digital, which works great).

    As for additional lenses, I'd suggest two, those being the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. I myself am currently lusting after the Olympus 12mm f/2.0, although I'm making do with the Panasonic DMW-LWA52 Wide Conversion Lens on a Panasonic LX5, which gives me the equivalent of an 18mm f/2.0--relatively affordable, and it works surprisingly well, albeit with the smaller-sensored LX5.

    Pretty much the same thing happened to me this past summer--after a rather long hiatus from wedding photography (and photography in general), I agreed to photograph a friend's wedding (on the provision that she hire a pro so I wouldn't be solely responsible for her having wedding photographs). The outcome was similar to yours. I've since acquired a new camera (Panasonic GF2--used an LX5 P&S for the wedding), the above-mentioned lenses and a Metz flash. I'm still wanting a second m3/4 body (maybe an Oly E-P3) and a backup flash before next spring (so far, I've agreed to do two more as well--this time as paid first-string photographer).

    Have you posted any of the images? Would love to see them ...
     
  3. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I will echo the need for a backup. Maybe pick up a G3 (or maybe rent a GH2) to take care of some low light as well. I would say you need this regardless of being paid or not. In my book, if I'm asked to be primary photog, for whatever reason or cost I agree to do it for, I'm doing the job I'm asked. And that means having a backup plan.

    The budget addition to your kit.. 20/45/14, in that order I think. Maybe flip the 20 and 45, depending on your style.

    If you can budget it, I would also say the PL25 over the 20. I'm not convinced IQ is worth the extra money (yet)... but the AF (to me, for events) is. But if you can't, the 20/45 combo is far more important I think.

    12/2 would be nice, but maybe if you can get it used. But honestly, most people would say grab a 9-18 for versatility at a wedding. It just really depends on what you're comfortable with. Personally, I'm good w/ 12 as my widest.
     
  4. taran

    taran Mu-43 Regular

    90
    Oct 19, 2011
    (I am coming at this from the Olympus side of things, I have only shot a few hundred frames with panny m43 systems), so please take this with a grain of salt.

    The m43 system is not ready for weddings yet. I don't mean that to be snarky, just stating the obvious. Seven reasons factor into this:

    1) The cameras do not have high ISO enough to shoot in settings typical to weddings.
    2) The shutter slap of my olympus m43 cameras is 2-3X louder when compared to, lets say, D3s on "Q"uiet shutter mode. It's simply too loud for weddings.
    3) Shot to shot time is too long and buffers too small for a bouquet toss or a walk down the aisle.
    4) There is only one telephoto prime of 1.8, and no 70-200 FX equivalent f/2.8 zoom, a very useful length for ceremonies, and no 24-70 2.8 zoom, essential for walking down the aisle.
    5) Flash systems are extremely robust on the Nikon side, including creative lighting systems that are easy to place remote strobes and have them fire accurately, with TTL metering that is light years beyond Olympus (I have yet to use panasonic m43 systems for weddings yet, but I trust the systems are not so different, ymmv).
    6) Ever try doing a group photo with an m43 camera as your "main"? Get ready for pointing and laughter. Whether you are the greatest photographer in the world or not won't matter, nobody will take your direction because you are holding a camera that won't be serving as an anchor on the Titanic anytime soon.
    7) As a corollary to the last point, when shooting a precious moment do you think someone is going to get out of your way when you have a m43 camera? No. From experience I can tell you good shots at a wedding come a variety of ways. When I carry a D2X and an SB-900 with an extra strobe in my hand I can part the Red Sea (so to speak) at a wedding... while using a m43 for the exact same shot, I would have to fight the crowd, who were drunk and couldn't identify me as the main photographer vs one of the guests. It is a pain in the butt you cannot imagine.

    -------

    Now, this is just what I can think of off the top of my head. There are myriad other reasons why m43 just can't cut it at this stage, some of them, completely out of your control (public perception of small cameras being the one I have mentioned).

    As individual bullet points, many of these obstacles can be overcome by a seasoned wedding pro (someone, lets say, who has 50+ weddings under their belt). But, as a collection, there is simply no way I would trust anyone who shows up at a wedding with just m43 gear.

    As a matter of fact, if I liked the bride and groom, I would take the m43 photographers kit, smash it on the ground, hand him/her $2000 (I mean, its m43, so that's the most it could cost, :p) and go home and get my D7000 to shoot the wedding myself.

    Now I am sure I am going to get some heat for what I have stated here, but I feel I should warn you, as a professional wedding photographer, you should not be accepting these gigs.

    Good luck, whatever your choice.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    That's odd, I thought the OP just shot a wedding with M43 and the bride and groom really liked the photos...
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. johnc

    johnc Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Oct 20, 2011
    LOL ... excellent way of putting it.

    One of the added benefits in my getting the Flip Flash bracket (other than to get the flash off the camera) was to make what I was holding look "bigger." I got the model with the optional umbrella bracket--the camera, bracket, flash and small umbrella combo, while a bit unweildy, does look rather serious (although I'd hesitate to go outside with it in a strong wind). :)
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Dude, stop trying to complicate things! These are obvious facts which Taran is sharing, so don't try to confuse the matter with real-world "results". Obviously, the impressive no-lag response time of cameras like the E-P3 is simply WAY too slow to shoot a wedding, the 12,800 ISO sensitivity of the camera totally sucks when you're only using a fraction of that value (ie, like ISO 1600-3200 max), lenses like the Zuiko 50-200mm somehow can't be mounted on the camera, the standard-sized hotshoe can't fit any kind of regular, cross-compatible flash systems, and the retro styling which makes you look like an old-time photographer with knowledge and experience will only get you laughed at (many people still think these are film cameras when they see them). These facts are OBVIOUS! How could you miss them?

    ...I'm sorry for being so sarcastic, but somebody totally missed Fiona's (the OP) comment that she has been through all the debates/discussions/pull-downs on m4/3 and that is the system she WILL be using and she will NOT be going out to buy a Canon or Nikon! Yet there always has to be a "professional wedding photographer" to start crying and flaming m4/3 with senseless internet drivel whenever somebody dares to claim they can shoot anything professional with the system, no matter how many times the OP says not to bother trying to convert them to a Canon or Nikon (or full frame or APS-C). In fact, I was hesitant to open this thread because I knew that would happen just by reading the title of "wedding photography". Fact is, there are plenty of professional photographers of all types from wedding to commercial to fashion to editorial to journalistic to everything else who use all different kinds of systems, but they're just not as out-spoken as Canikon fanboys.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The small size of the m4/3 cameras only make your big, high-quality glass look MORE impressive.Nobody has ever looked at my mico four-thirds system fitted with my quality commercial lenses, and called it anything but professional. Yes, I do also use a flash grip and flash with modifier when on assigment, and it does help the look of the overall system.Nothing wrong with that! Nobody pays attention to what kind of body you have and unless they are a photographer they wouldn't have a clue what's what in the first place! A fine piece of glass however can be spotted even by most neophytes.
     
  9. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Apr 7, 2011
    Hi fiona,

    I've recently taken shots at weddings at a couple of friends' request, with results similar to yours. Obviously, m4/3 can do a fine job at a wedding, depending on the circumstances.

    If you are indeed getting paid for these weddings, I would suggest getting a second body. It makes it easier to use multiple lenses and gives you redundancy in case something goes wrong. You can now get a G1 or E-P1 for under $200.

    The needed lenses will depend on the setting of the wedding. However, if I were in your position, I would obtain first the 45 and also the 20, as they will give you the best low-light performance, and the 45's mild telephoto is extremely useful for weddings. The 12 could also be useful, but that's quite a bit more money. Stick the 45 on one camera and the 20 on the other, and you'll have a good start.

    If there happens to be a lot of light, then you'll be able to use your zooms. However, there are plenty of wedding photographers these days using Nikons and Canons who are going with primes only. You may just have to work a bit harder to get in position to take shots without being obtrusive.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. taran

    taran Mu-43 Regular

    90
    Oct 19, 2011
    Could you show me some of these "results"? I searched the forums and couldn't really find too much in the way of professional wedding photos with m43 system, but I am new here. I am anxious to see what can be accomplished. Thanks in advance. Perhaps fiona will indulge us with her successful photos?
     
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    If I were to shoot an m43 wedding I'd probably use the 12/25/45 trio and probably use an Oly FL-50R flash so I could hook up a lumedyne to it. I'd probably use two E-P3s, one with the 45 1.8 for (close-ups) and a VF-2 and the other with the 12 f/2 and FL-50R hooked to a lumedyne (group shots). I'd then have an E-PL3 with the PL 25 1.4 for some candids. For video I'd have a GH2 hooked up to a boom mic, steadicam and external light while using a 7-14 and 14-140.

    If I'd plan to shoot professionally, that's how I'd roll! Yup that'd be my m43 wedding setup! :wink: :biggrin:
     
  12. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    As a full time wedding photographer I'm going to chime in, if I may.....

    I shoot m4/3 as my autofocus system alongside a manual focus system of fast primes. I shot Canon pro for nearly 20 years and recently dumped the whole lot. My shooting partner still shoots with his Canon gear but I'm the front of house guy. He's the candid guy.

    Being the "professional " (I'll use that word to mean the main dude or dudette, not whether you're getting paid or not) has less to do with cameras and photography than you think. A good wedding photographer is all about working with people and time. You manage that well and handle stress and nerves well, then you'll do just fine. If you crack under pressure then the wedding turns to poo.

    Not one of my cameras looks like your typical professional rig. My biggest camera is the GH2 with a Zuiko 14-54 II and Metz flash over my left shoulder. My "good cameras" are smaller than that and I have shot a wedding with an EP2. Not once in the last 6 months have I had an issue being recognized as "the guy". No one has questioned the cameras. Want to look like a pro? Stick a flash gun on the hotshoe and you're done. Actually the reality is if you want to be treated like the pro then act like the pro. Cameras have nothing to do with it. Dont let the uncle Bobs push you around. I was very concerned about the perception but it's been a non issue. I also know of a photographer that uses nothing but a Nikon D somethingorother and a 28-200 lens and shoots awesome weddings. We guys tend to carry too much gear at weddings and the girls not enough. Sure it's a generalization, but that's the way it is. Here's what you'll need.

    -2x bodies. Don't even think about turning up as the main without a backup. Eventually a camera or lens will go out on you.
    -At least one camera with a both viewfinder and a hotshoe. Squinting at an LCD on a sunny day just won't work. Think G3 or GH2.
    -At least one hotshoe mounted flash. Fancy off camera rigs are great but now's not the time to have to learn it so learn how to get the most from a hotshoe flash. It MUST have both tilt and swivel. But Niel Van Niekerks book on On Camera Flash. It's brilliant.
    -Double the memory and batteries you think you'll need.
    -I'd rent/steal/buy a 20mm 1.7. Not only is it sharp, it's fast small and makes a half decent macro lens as well. Brides love detail shots and this is a good lens to get them.

    Image Quality:

    I'm still showing images shot on a Canon 10D in my portfolio. M4/3 thumps that easily. The reality is even a well exposed compact camera shot will print to 8x12. And 99% of the photos will never be printed. They'll be on Facebook and personal blogs. The critical thing with m4/3 is to get your exposure right when you shoot. Then you can safely shoot up to 1250 ISO. Get your exposures wrong and even 320 looks awful. M4/3 doesn't have the "save it in Photoshop" latitude that full frame systems have.

    M4/3 lenses can't do the shallow depth of field isolation stuff that full frame cameras can. Even if you do spring for the excellent 45mm 1.8 it's still going to have the DOF of a fast zoom on a Canon or Nikon. So just be ultra aware of your backgrounds. Keep them simple and clean. Cluttered backgrounds are your worst enemy and clear blue sky is your friend.

    When you use your new hotshoe flash, don't use it on TTL. M4/3 TTL sux. Use a TTL flash set to auto. Why? Because if you use TTL then the sensor does the work for the ambient and the flash. This leads to long shutter lags and poor exposures. Use auto and a m4/3 flash still reads aperture and ISO from the camera but sets exposure using the sensor in the flash. This is actually closer to TTL on the other brands than using TTL is. strange but true. The only downside is that you'll have to set flash exposure compensation through the flash.

    For posing the easiest way is to steal other peoples stuff. Look at lots of websites and get some ideas. Practice them on family and have a small shot list ready to go. You do not want to be working this out on the day.

    Lastly, practice, practice, practice. You need to get the gear you need and learn it inside out weeks before the big day. If you take unfamiliar gear on the day you will fail.

    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 9
  13. johnc

    johnc Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Oct 20, 2011
    "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
    --Henry Ford

    Perhaps the OP meant HE wouldn't/couldn't photograph a wedding with m4/3 (or perhaps HE wouldn't want his wedding shot with m4/3), and he's certainly entitled to that opinion. That being said, I've found that all people don't necessarily share his mindset (or even make that distinction). I personally think for many today, the entire paradigm of what constitutes "good" photography is shifting (insofar as ultra high resolution is concerned). The two weddings I did this past summer (again, both with an LX5--hey, it's all I had) were, at the request of the bride(s) and groom(s), not shared by passing around a proof album of photographic prints from one relative to another, but instead, uploaded to an album on Facebook, viewable simultaneously by ALL friends and relatives, including those who, for one reason or another, couldn't attend, regardless of geographic location.

    Enlarged photographic prints seem to be (at least to these two couples) an afterthought.

    And above all else, as I stated in my previous post, if they're happy, then you did a good job. If others who've seen your work express interest, all the better.

    I still think that Titanic analogy was pretty funny though. :)
     
  14. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Fiona, its going to be the Lighting you need to worry about 1st. I do not know what model Vivatar flash you got, but we will assume it is a good one. Your lens Line will work for now but Weddings are mostly indoors and flash is almost always used. since your budget minded, for now you need to get these 3 items. First you need a soft box attachment for your flash. Direct flash lighting is very harsh and you will notice how much better it is diffused once you use something like this here. Then you want to get a Off camera TTL flash cable like this. The last you get a off camera flash flip bracket, but you can get away with holding the flash up in your hand if you want to wait a bit before buying some thing like that.
    So the links i attached were for reference and not necessary the exact item you should buy or vender you should get it from. You can look around for yourself, and deal with a place you feel comfortable with.
    But yea you really need the softbox/diffuser attachment. The one I 1st purchased was disappointing, i got it off eBay, the sides were too flimsy and i had to make some reinforcement for it. Because of this you might want to ask Adroma what theirs is like here they had no photo , but at-least i know with them you can return it if your not satisfied.

    You can go a long way with what you have and just those 3 extra things.
    Ohh yea almost forgot.. Batteries.
    Get yourself another battery for your camera, you do not want to run out at the wrong time. And get your self Some rechargeable NiMH batteries and a travel charger for your Flash. Figure if your flash takes four AA get your self twelve.


    As for lenses , Ill write back in a day or so. I'm sleepy now :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. I got asked to photograph a wedding for the first time earlier this year (as opposed to flitting about and probably annoying the professionals). At the time my only m4/3 camera was an E-P1 and despite brief thoughts of using the glorious combination of the it and a (gulp) FL-36 I played it safe and went with my Canon stuff. Even after that one experience, Gordon's (Flash) advice rings true: I had two bodies that I knew and trusted, two flashes, more lenses than I needed, more batteries than I needed, more memory cards...et cetera. I think if was doing it again with m4/3 gear a fast zoom like the 4/3 14-54mm would be a must, even if it is bigger than it has to be.

    I found that there was a big difference between just helping out with some random shots compared to being asked to take THE shots. Everything turned out fine but it isn't something I'd be very keen to do again, and of course after the wedding there was the collating and processing to do. It wasn't all bad but not exactly my idea of fun.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Here are a few from the last month or so... Sorry to those that have seen some of these.

    020-Flash_Gordon_Photography-3.

    020-Flash_Gordon_Photography-2.

    020-Flash_Gordon_Photography-4.

    020-Flash_Gordon_Photography-6.

    020-Flash_Gordon_Photography1.

    013-AMSRS_by_Flash_GordonPhotography.

    [​IMG]


    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 6
  17. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Superb stuff, Gordon!

    Fiona, thanks for starting this thread. This is a great thread! Passionate debate, real life experience sharing and samples! This is the internet at its best! I love it!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Massachusetts
    Herbert
    Great stuff.

    I'm trying to see the arguments against m43 system in a detached sort of way, trying not to let the fact that I am an owner of this system get in the way. Just when I'm about to concede that m43 cannot do this or do that, I get to read somewhere about that photojournalist winning a prestigious award using only an iPhone - with the Hipstamatic app to boot!

    And it all goes back to one thing: it's not the gear, but the one behind the gear.

    And you wedding photographers, keep this story in mind. His idea just might spread, signalling your doom. :biggrin:
     
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 and the Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-:5 SWD are both my primary lenses for weddings. The FL-36R, as much as I loveit for portrait work, doesn't get much use for wedding due to slow recycle time. The FL-50R is the important flash for me there.
     
  20. Just two more batteries and the FL-36/36R would have been a great flash. It's not really a size issue either; the Canon 220EX is probably 2/3 the size (being non-tilt/swivel) and yet still takes 4 AAs.