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Thread: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

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    experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Hello!

    I'm shooting a friend's wedding in the summer (yes, i know what i'm getting myself into - there wasn't going to be a photographer before they asked me and it's fairly informal)

    I will have access to two d3100 bodies and a d60 as backup.

    I will be doing mainly portraits of people at the wedding, spontaneous shots and general around the wedding stuff plus a few portraits of the bridge a groom. I'll be looking for a natural, wholesome feel so although I will take a speedlight I won't be planning to use it that much.

    i'll be going down to the wedding a few days early so will have a lot of time to practice and plan my shots.

    I was planning on using my nikon 35mm 1.8 and hiring a sigma 50mm 1.4 (+NDF if it's bright) for most shots, with my nikon 18-200 for a few wide angle shots I will need.
    (I might also borrow a friend's sigma 30 1.4 for the evening)


    However I was wondering about hiring the 17-55 instead of the 50. The advantage of the 50 was going to be shallow depth of field head/shoulder portraits. Will I be able to achieve nice bokeh/shallow depth of field at the 50 end of the 17-55? any other general comments about this lens?

    cheers

    rich

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    I haven't shot many weddings, but my first thought is that 17-55 seems on the short side for a lot of wedding photos. I'm sure someone with more experience can give better input, though.

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    I haven't shot many weddings, but my first thought is that 17-55 seems on the short side for a lot of wedding photos. I'm sure someone with more experience can give better input, though.
    A medium zoom is a good wedding lens. The last wedding I was at, the photographers were using full-frame D700 cameras and were shooting with the f/2.8 24-70mm Nikkor. The 17-55mm lens you are looking at will have a similar field of view on your crop frame camera, and at f/2.8 is fast enough to give you a reasonably shallow depth of field especially when shooting at the longer end of the range. The focal length is a bit short for head shots, but you have got that covered with your18-200mm lens.

    I personally would probably not use the Sigma, as I find the it is a bit on the short side for head and shoulder shots. On DX cameras I tend to be in the 70mm range for head / shoulder shots and might use the 50mm for 3/4 to full body shots. I own the f/1.8 50mm Nikkor and hardly ever use it on my D90 crop frame.

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    although I will take a speedlight I won't be planning to use it that much.
    Hi Rich,

    So you're planning on taking a lot of bad photos then?

    Sorry if that sounds blunt, but for the life of me I just can't understand how it's possible to shoot all phases of a wedding - expecting a quality result - and not make extensive use of flash (both on and off camera).

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    I'm shooting a friend's wedding in the summer . . . and it's fairly informal) . . . I will have access to two d3100 bodies and a d60 as backup. I will be doing mainly portraits of people at the wedding, spontaneous shots and general around the wedding stuff plus a few portraits of the [bride and] groom.
    I suggest planning to use two only lenses: one on each d3100.

    'Portraits' are "pictures of people".
    So I assume 'portraits of people at the wedding' means 'posed or set-up in some manner'
    As contrasted to 'spontaneous shots' - which will also be portraits, but more candid in nature?
    (Mentioned only to ensure what precisely are the outcomes required.)

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    I'll be looking for a natural, wholesome feel so although I will take a speedlight I won't be planning to use it that much.
    If you want reasonable results, that idea is very likely fraught with danger: unless you are very experienced and also very skilled in Available Light Portraiture whilst shooting on the hop.

    Outdoors use the Flash as Fill; Indoors use the flash bounced or diffused.

    I advise to learn these two techniques.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    I was planning on using my nikon 35mm 1.8 and hiring a sigma 50mm 1.4 (+NDF if it's bright) for most shots, with my nikon 18-200 for a few wide angle shots I will need. (I might also borrow a friend's sigma 30 1.4 for the evening).
    IF you hire anything then the best items to hire (or borrow) will be the AF-S 17-55mm Nikkor f/2.8G ED IF DX - AND – a SECOND SPEEDLIGHT.

    On the items individually:

    You own the Nikon 35/1.8 – use it as your Standard Available Light Lens: This lens is suitable for Portraiture.

    Hiring a Sigma 50/1.4 – you’ll not convince me that, for the duration of any (typical) Wedding a fast 50 is more useful than a fast 35, especially on an APS-C camera: the very first fast lens you require is a slightly wider lens rather than a telephoto lens.

    Borrowing the 30/1.4 ‘for the evening’ – WHY? - To shoot available light in the evening? The 30/1.4 only provides ⅔ Stop increase in speed and is 5mm wider: not worth it.

    Hiring an NDF - I don't think you'll convince me that it would be anywhere near worthwhile - but I'll engage in more specific rationale, if you wish.
    I assume you are thinking to use the NDF outdoors on a 50mm lens so the lens might be able to be used at F/1.4 or thereabouts, to have allowed you to make a very shallow DoF.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    However I was wondering about hiring the 17-55 instead of the 50. The advantage of the 50 was going to be shallow depth of field head/shoulder portraits.
    DoF is directly related to The Shot.

    The Shot you are discussing is an Head and Shoulders Shot

    The details:
    For an H&S Portrait using APS-C in Vertical Framing at FL = 50mm, we are at SD ≈ 7ft: Typically for this shallow DoF W&P shot we would be at about F/4.5

    For an H&S Portrait using APS-C in Horizontal Framing, we are at SD ≈ 9ft: Typically for this shallow DoF W&P shot we would be at about F/2.8

    Even if you shoot wider (i.e. make a 'Wider Shot') and move to make the HALF SHOT, typically the two apertures to use for very shallow DoF would be: F/3.5 and F/2 for a Vertical Framing and Horizontal Framing, respectively - so the F/2.8 Lens will just suffice for very shallow DoF up to and including an HALF SHOT, framed in either orientation for an APC-S camera.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    Will I be able to achieve nice bokeh/shallow depth of field at the 50 end of the 17-55?
    Yes you will.
    See explanation above: and you do not have to be working the 50mm end of the zoom, either.

    Bokeh is different to DoF.

    Bokeh is the Subjective appearance of the OoF Background.
    Bokeh has many elements and NOT only limited to the lens's optics.
    Once a shallow DoF is achieved, 'good' Bokeh is more a product of the lens's iris shape and often more importantly:

    > The Subject to Background distance
    > The Direction and Intensity of the Lighting on the Background, relative to the lighting on the Subject.
    > The Texture of the Background.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    any other general comments about this lens?
    I haven’t used the lens. I haven’t used very many Nikon DSLRs – if I were using a pair of Nikon APS-C for a Wedding I would use that lens as the FIRST acquisition for any Wedding Job: the next two lens acquisitions would be a fast normal to wide – like a fast 28 or 24 and a fast 85: the fast wide is more important for most Weddings – with those three lenses and two cameras and two speedlights: one should be able to cover almost anything, at a Wedding.

    WW

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    I haven’t used the lens. I haven’t used very many Nikon DSLRs – if I were using a pair of Nikon APS-C for a Wedding I would use that lens as the FIRST acquisition for any Wedding Job: the next two lens acquisitions would be a fast normal to wide – like a fast 28 or 24 and a fast 85: the fast wide is more important for most Weddings – with those three lenses and two cameras and two speedlights: one should be able to cover almost anything, at a Wedding.
    William - thanks for the detailed and helpful comments. I'm currently out of the country with limited internet access but do have a quick question.

    What benefit will a fast 28 or 24 have in addition to the 2.8 17-55? Do you mean a 24/28mm or the aps-c equivalent (15/17.5)?

    Is this just to allow lower light wide shots? Or because it allows more flexibility with a strobist set up? Or something else completely?

    sorry for being fairly ignorant

    thanks again

    rich

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    What benefit will a fast 28 or 24 have in addition to the 2.8 17-55? Do you mean a 24/28mm or the aps-c equivalent (15/17.5)? Is this just to allow lower light wide shots? Or because it allows more flexibility with a strobist set up? Or something else completely?
    OK.
    I understand the question; your question is well received.
    Just firstly mentioning it is sometimes impossible to fit a truckload of information and all the reasons for it in one reply.
    Also, please note two points –
    I have no idea of your skill levels AND
    (not a criticism) there are only SCANT details supplied about the Wedding.
    (which is to be expected because you do not shoot Weddings . . . because you might do brain surgery for a living and I might ask you, “gee Doc I’ve got an headache, what should I do?” and you would say . . . “well I can only answer in a general sense without more information . . .”)

    I understand you have limited internet access, so I will attempt to assume nothing and guide the conversation as best I can for the best outcome.

    ANSWERS:
    I mean a 24ish mm lens.
    I do NOT mean 15mm lens.
    I mean this is a most valuable next lens to the zoom, for two reasons: both of which are equally important.

    The first reason is SYSTEM REDUNDANCY:
    Basically you have a 35/1.8 and I suggested you borrow or rent a17 to 55/2.8.
    The 35 is a bit longer than a ‘standard lens’ on your camera.
    The 50 is a short telephoto lens on your camera.
    The 17 to 55 is a ‘standard zoom’ on your camera.
    You have two cameras (and a spare).

    A DSLR camera is more likely to go down, rather than a lens: but IF the 17 to 55 goes down (if you also rented the 50/1.4) you would have only two Primes to complete the job (yes I know you have the 18 to 200 – I’ll get to that in a minute).

    In the situation that your main working zoom goes down, a slightly wider than ‘standard’ Prime Lens is the next best fallback (unless you have another duplicate zoom), because although you might be working very hard, you will still be able to make mostly every shot, as you can always move fast and get closer, but with your 35mm lens there might be times when you cannot step backwards to make the shot, (using a 50mm lens wpould be more difficult).

    AND a just slightly wider than ‘standard’ lens is NOT TOO WIDE to get you all snagged up in distortions such as Foreshortening IF you need to make a ‘must have’ Tight Shot – for example of the ring exchange or a tight half shot.

    The Second reason is LENS SPEED:
    (As mentioned) I have no idea about details of the Wedding – but what IF there is a ‘no flash rule’ during the Ceremony Proper?
    The d3100’s are good to ISO1600, maybe you can bump to ISO3200 - IF you know what you are doing and are good at it.
    So inside a Church’s typical Available Light you’ll be pulling F/2.8 @ 1/8s~1/100s @ ISO1600 . . . a Fast Prime is handy – AND that Prime needs to be a bit wider than longer, for example, what if it is a little Chapel – only eight Pews long – the 35mm lens will be next to useless for that Ceremony.

    Maybe it is not a Church Wedding, maybe inside an house or even outdoors, but there might be clouds or even rain and the Priest / Minister / Rabbi / Civil Celebrant says NO FLASH . . . the point is a just wider than standard lens fast prime lens is very handy.

    Also especially as you state ‘Sheffield’ – I assume England? – and therefore the possibility of an old stone county Church – very dark – and the Vicar says ‘no flash rule’.

    But what if the Priest says “you Photographer person can’t get closer than the front Pew” . . .
    well for your purpose you already have the 35/1.8 so you would use it . . .
    but for my hypothetical example (with only two lenses and assuming the 17 to 55 was too slow) I would crib as close as I could and use the 24mm lens and then crop in Post Production.
    Also I DID mention the next lens to get would be a fast 85.

    Also – I haven’t yet mentioned a “FAST” 24 or 28 is . . . F/1.4~1.8 – the same aperture pertains to a “FAST” 85.

    Anyway, you mentioned you wanted to do Available Light Shooting and I did NOT discount the possibility that you would be very experienced at it . . . so you do need a fast, slightly wider than normal Prime for that, for exactly the same reason: if you need to shoot at close quarters . . . Get into a small low light area with 10 people around the B&G and with the 35/1.8 on your d3100 and just see how difficult some shots really become. . . or try to shoot an impromptu casual group of eight people, sans flash, in area of typical home's lounge room with the 35 . . . a 28 or 24 is much easier.

    ASIDE: (I was a guest at a wedding a couple of weeks ago - I took my 35/1.4 and 5D, I was very happy shooting everything I wanted Sans Flash and 35 is a very flexible FL - which is the same as a 24mm, on your camera. I am not saying you should shoot the Wedding with one Prime lens and no Flash . . . just saying if everything goes belly up I know what I would want as the "one camera one lens answer no flash answer").

    OK – now to your 18 to 200: after digesting the above: I expect you understand that I treat the 18 to 200 as “it will be good to have as a standby” – but without detailed information about the Wedding, I discounted it as ‘useful’.

    The ‘system redundancy’ reason was also why I mentioned a SECOND Flash was important to rent or borrow: as a Flash is more likely to go down than a DSLR.

    OK - BUT please do NOT go out and buy a 24/1.4 . . . and do not get nervous if you can't or don't . . .

    the above is general applied theory: I trust you are sensible enough to apply what is ONLY relevent to this specific shoot, which you have undertaken.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 24th June 2012 at 02:59 PM.

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    sorry for being fairly ignorant
    Please, never ever apologize for asking an honest question.

    WW

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Rich,

    So you're planning on taking a lot of bad photos then?

    Sorry if that sounds blunt, but for the life of me I just can't understand how it's possible to shoot all phases of a wedding - expecting a quality result - and not make extensive use of flash (both on and off camera).
    I totally agree with Colin (I usually do). Having a decent flash AND KNOWING HOW TO USE THAT FLASH is, IMO, a very necessary attribute of any wedding photographer.

    Many photographers say that they "don't like using flash" when what they are really saying is that they don't know how to use flash creatively. Flash doesn't have to result in a DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS LOOK! It can be as natural as ambient light but, is usually better (IF DONE CORRECTLY) than the available light in many venues...

    However, I shoot with a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens on my Canon 1.6x crop cqmeras and I don't consider it long enough for head and shoulder portraits. But, combined with the 70-200mm f/4L IS it is an excellent all purpose duo...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 25th June 2012 at 03:35 PM.

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    William W, Thanks again for your detailed reply and sharing your expertise.
    I would have been polite in offering more information about my situation but I am currently working on the Burmese border; internet access is not very regular or fast.

    I've got a couple more questions but will try and provide you with an overview of situation and my thoughts. I've underlined the question bits so they are easier to spot.

    My Experience
    I am very much an amateur photographer, I learned mostly through travel photography. I would say I am an experienced natural light photographer, though i'm sure leagues below many on this forum, and have most of my portrait experience with my nikon 35 1.8 and also a 50mm 1.8 on a pentax K1000. I either work at being quick at capturing candid moments or feel I am good at resourcefully using the either a window, the enviroment and maybe a reflector or two to light a portrait.

    I have a fair amount of experience using a single speedlight although mostly in a nightclub setting, either on camera or on a lead held in my left hand (not much good for a wedding I know).

    The Wedding
    I realise that in most cases someone with my level of experience would not normally be considered near qualified to shoot a wedding (I would agree with this myself). However the wedding, while not low key, is not going to be the most conventional; The bride and groom are young students (such as myself) with little money. The wedding is going to be a very much a community feel. Friends are doing the cooking, some of our friends' (excellent) folk band are providing entertainment. There is no car to take the couple from the church to the reception, but the groom will be giving the bride a lift on his bike. It may not be many people's idea of a traditional wedding but I think it will have a very wholesome feel. The bride is very artistic and makes a lot of things so there will be lots of pretty decorations.

    They had decided not to hire a photographer, and simply ask friends to bring their cameras, however decided to ask me (as they liked my photos) to bring mine and be the closest thing to an 'official' photographer. While I am not a professional I passionately enjoy photography and, having discussed the limitations of my ability, the bridge and grooms' expectations and that they must not expect professional results, agreed to do it (for free, and obviously I want to do my very best). They know what they are getting themselves in for; so do I.

    An example of how this is not a traditional wedding shoot is that we have already purchased a polaroid camrea (and a spare) and a load of polaroid film - this is going to be at the reception with a large scrap book, tape, pens and some (tasteful) dressing up accessories for guests to photograph themselves with and leave the bride and groom a message. This is one of the reasons why exploiting every single normal wedding photo op with a technically perfect photo is not going to be my end goal, instead it will be creating a collection of pictures that tells the story of a lovely, special day full of lovely people. I also feel that as a guest at the wedding, already knowing many of the guests and being good with people I will be able to exploit a good rapport with the guests and understading of the the bride and grooms' tastes and wishes.

    The venue: the wedding is in a beautiful church and the reception is the rectory, the bride's parents' house, right next to it.

    Speedlights
    I may have sounded dismissive of using flash in my original post, i didn't mean to. I am fully prepared to use off/on camera flash when i feel it's necessary. Although not the most experienced strobist I have read most of the strobist blog so am familiar with the concepts. I will also be at the venue a few days early and have plenty of time to plan key shots and practice with the gear I have available to me.

    To my mind there are four main ways I might be using flash at a wedding (i know this is very simplified, please add if i've missed a major category):

    1) Fill flash in hard direct light (e.g. sunlight)
    2) To add better quality light, depth, etc to available flat or boring ambient light; or used creatively to make very interesting dynamic lighting
    3) For situations where the ambient lighting is not bright enough, good quality enough or falling where I want it to (e.g. later in the evening, shots indoors. both 2&3 might apply at the same time)
    4) Creative use of speedlights to create very interesting/dynamically light shots, regardless of available light

    As I said, I am prepared to use speedlights when needed. However I feel that one of the limitations using flash will cause is that of the cameras I have available is that I will only have a max sync speed of 1/200.

    The service is at 4pm (at the end of July) so that, although it will depend on the weather, at the end of the service it will still be reasonably bright and therefore any speedlight work for the first couple of hours after the service will require use of a small apeture. Particularly if I do not have any lens longer than 55mm (apart from my backup 18-200), I will be relying on large apertures to create shallow DOF for portraits and other shots. I know that a shallow DOF isn't what makes a good half length portrait, but particularly as I will be wanting to pick out candid moments and won't always want to rearrange where individuals for portraits (probably half length) during the reception I feel that being able to blur out busy backgrounds will be an important option to have.

    Additionally, I tend to use shallow depth of field a lot in my photography, and out of the large amounts of wedding photography that I have looked through, right back from my Grandparents' albums, my favourite work tends to have simple, relaxed portraits with nice blurry backgrounds as the staple shots.

    I would also love to use some creative off camera flash for the portraits of the bride and groom, however I worry that I will be significantly limiting myself by having to keep the aperture so small. (I also will have to plan any significantly off camera flash shots as I will have to set speedlights in manual mode when using triggers)

    I realise that a shallow DOF is pointless without good light, I just intend to use flash when it's needed rather than as a matter of course.

    If anybody has any advice as to how to work around this problem it would be appreciated. As far as I can see I could either borrow a D40 (which I can probably get my hands on) as these have a max sync of 1/400 and go down to iso50, but obviously is an old 6mp camrea, or try and use a NDF (as mentioned in my first post) but am not sure how much of a good idea this would be.

    Also, I have only borrowed flash stands/umbrellas/diffisers from friends and my uni in the past, and not used them that much. I was thinking that a simple flash stand and shoot through umbrella may be sensible to have should I need to add to flat light. Is this sensible, or would there be a more sensible diffuser to puchase?

    As for during the service I already know that firing a flash is a no no. However i've already had a quick scout out of the church; it's actually surprisingly bright inside and I know that 2.8 will easily be able to cope with it. I also have access to a cannon 70-200 2.8 lens on a 1100D body that I was going to put on a tripod and use quietly for a few close ups of the bride and groom during the ceremony. (I didn't mention this in my original post to avoid confusion; not keen to use it for much else as it is a huge long lens and using a canon camera is not second nature to me as it is with the nikons)

    Lenses
    Thanks again for all the great advice regarding the lenses. Indeed, if I could get my hands on a fast 24 I would be over the moon. However I have to be realistic, and don't want to be spending enormous amounts hiring gear. Helpfully the reception is to be in the garden of the rectory; I think in most situations I should be able to take a few steps back (I know that this doesn't replace other advantages of a wide lens).

    Putting redundancy to one side, if I were to be using two bodies with a 35mm 1.8 (or my friend's sigma 1.4) and the hired 17-55, do you think I would really feel the lack of anything longer?

    Final question: In case of rain, I already have the bride and groom covered - a large nice umbrella and a pair of wellies (and I absolutely would be using speedlighting in this case). However, if it does rain a lot, most of the reception will be a marquee; any tips for making things look good inside a marquee?


    Thanks again for reading, sorry for so much text. I know that I probably have highlighted a ton more gaps in my knowledge/experience/preparation but please let me know any thoughts.

    Rich

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    I either work at being quick at capturing candid moments or feel I am good at resourcefully using the either a window, the enviroment and maybe a reflector or two to light a portrait. I have a fair amount of experience using a single speedlight although mostly in a nightclub setting, either [USING A SPEEDLIGHT]on camera or on a lead held in my left hand (not much good for a wedding I know).
    Good.
    The skill of capturing the moment is very useful – combine it with anticipating the moment to capture - and that means being in the right position to make each shot, as the day unfolds.

    Do NOT underestimate that Flash Technique for a Wedding (inside use). If you are good at it, use it: I have and I do - I suggest a Bounce Card.

    I use this gizmo often:
    experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding


    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    An example of how this is not a traditional wedding shoot is that we have already purchased a polaroid camrea (and a spare) and a load of polaroid film - this is going to be at the reception with a large scrap book, tape, pens and some (tasteful) dressing up accessories for guests to photograph themselves with and leave the bride and groom a message. . . it will be creating a collection of pictures that tells the story of a lovely, special day full of lovely people. I also feel that as a guest at the wedding,
    This (artistic) concept and the B&G’s expectations are understood, completely. I have performed similar commissions.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    To my mind there are four main ways I might be using flash at a wedding (i know this is very simplified, please add if i've missed a major category):
    Etc – {LARGE OMISSION explaining Flash}
    I feel that one of the limitations using flash will cause is that of the cameras I have available is that I will only have a max sync speed of 1/200.
    Etc - {LARGE OMISSION explaining Aperture and DoF}
    If anybody has any advice as to how to work around this problem it would be appreciated.
    The Max Sync Speed is partially irrelevant, if you can use HSS (High Speed Sync). HSS will rob you of about ⅓ to ½ of the available Flash’s Working Distance. I am not suggesting you use HSS – I am not sure if HSS is available for you to use with the gear you have – merely I am mentioning it.

    Referring to my previous Post #5 and addressing the DoF for an Half Shot with and F/2.8 Lens – typically for side lit Subject in FULL SUN you would pull the shot at about: F/11 @ 1/100 @ ISO100.

    Assuming the D40 – (6Mp is fine) ISO50 is your limit and the Flash Sync is 1/400s – you will pull the same shot at about: F/4 @1/400 @ ISO50.

    Your Max Flash Working Distance will be about 12ft.

    Shooting Horizontal Format - and with those shooting specs as ‘typical’ - you can pull Half Shots of Groups of Four or Six with a DoF about 3~4ft - those groups about 12ft or more away from the background would assist..

    Shooting Vertical Format - and with those shooting specs as ‘typical’ – you can pull Half Shots of one or two People with a DoF of around 2~3ft.

    The two reasons why I am not keen on using an ND Filter are: the Filter attenuates both the Ambient AND ALSO the Flash illumination – so the ratio required (i.e. the AMOUNT of flash power required) remains the same and secondly it is fiddly and takes time – screwing the filter on and off.

    If you are comfortable NOT using flash as fill in bright sunlight – then don’t: but I do suggest you consider (a) generally backlighting and (b) shooting tight to avoid - (a) squinting and harsh shadows and (b) large areas of Blown White.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    Also, I have only borrowed flash stands/umbrellas/diffisers from friends and my uni in the past, and not used them that much. I was thinking that a simple flash stand and shoot through umbrella may be sensible to have should I need to add to flat light. Is this sensible, or would there be a more sensible diffuser to puchase?
    Considering everything you have disclosed – I suggest you use Flash on Camera or Off Camera Flash in Hand, with Bounce Card.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    Putting redundancy to one side, if I were to be using two bodies with a 35mm 1.8 (or my friend's sigma 1.4) and the hired 17-55, do you think I would really feel the lack of anything longer?
    NO – and that is a definitive: NO.

    From what you have disclosed I strongly suggest you work at a closer Camera Vantage Point and the FL range from 17 to 55 will be IDEAL.

    This is an emphatic comment predicated upon the PERSPECTIVE which will be provided by the typical Shooting Distances whilst working within the Focal Length Compass that Zoom Lens and noting the fact you SPECIFICALLY stated the magic word ‘rapport’:

    “it will be creating a collection of pictures that tells the story of a lovely, special day full of lovely peopleI also feel that as a guest at the wedding, already knowing many of the guests and being good with people I will be able to exploit a good rapport with the guests and understading of the the bride and grooms' tastes and wishes.”

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by RichBrown View Post
    In case of rain, I already have the bride and groom covered - a large nice umbrella and a pair of wellies (and I absolutely would be using speedlighting in this case). However, if it does rain a lot, most of the reception will be a marquee; any tips for making things look good inside a marquee?
    White Marquee? – Flash Bounce to into the ceiling and used as Flash Fill – push the ISO and use as any directional Ambient Light to create Depth, is a very nice starting point – e.g. Video Lights as Rim Lights . . . etc.

    OR Off Camera Flash and Bounce Card - the technique of which you are already proficient. . .

    ***

    This shot seems to fit a lot of what I have mentioned . . .

    experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding
    'Emotion at Valedictory'

    Off Camera Flash as Fill using Bounce Card (White Flash Glove as per above) White Marquee Sun Shades O/head - Bright Sunlight in Background.

    Working close (35/1.4 on a 5D, I think - that is a typical lens I would use) for an intimate and emotive perspective.

    There is plenty of Shallow DoF, IMO.

    I had to blow a tad of the white background - who cares? as there is not much of the blown area in the frame.



    WW
    Last edited by William W; 6th July 2012 at 01:20 AM.

  12. #12

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    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Hi Rich,
    18-135mm lens is as good a lens for portraits as you can get. It will cover any shot you need at a wedding.
    When the sun sets and you move inside use the 35mm 1.8 and your speedlight.
    You only need two cameras. One you will be using mostly and the other for backup.

    Shoot mostly in landscape and crop later.
    Practice the shot of the bride coming down the isle before the time. Do not mess up that one!!!!

    The biggest problem you will have is if there is going to be so many other "photographers" with cameras.
    Everybody want to get the shots and distract the couple from looking at your camera. Take charge and have the couple pay attention to you.

    Shooting a wedding is not as difficult as most think. Decide before hand on the shots you have to get and work according to a repertoire.
    Relax and shoot in your own style and enjoy it. (People do not look at a wedding photograph to see if it is technically correct, they just want a pretty picture of the bride.)

    Best of luck,
    Andre

  13. #13
    William W's Avatar
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    William (call me Bill)

    Re: experience with nikon 17-55 DX? considering hiring for wedding

    Concerning the use of the Nikon 18-200 F/3.5~5.6 lens (or the Nikon 18-135mm F/3.5~5.6) whilst specifically considering the objectives of the OP:

    > “mainly portraits of people at the wedding, spontaneous shots and general around the wedding stuff plus a few portraits of the bridge a groom”

    > “the advantage of the 50 was going to be shallow depth of field head/shoulder portraits.”

    > “I would say I am an experienced natural light photographer”

    > “I tend to use shallow depth of field a lot in my photography, and out of the large amounts of wedding photography that I have looked through, right back from my Grandparents' albums, my favourite work tends to have simple, relaxed portraits with nice blurry backgrounds as the staple shots.”




    The 18 to 200 lens will be a good back up lens and definitely should NOT be considered for use as the main working lens.

    Specifically test results indicate that the Nikon 18 to 200 zoom lens will be at a Maximum Available Apertures for the Focal Lengths Indicated below:
    F/3.5 @ 24mm
    F/4.5 @ 50mm
    F/5 @ 135mm

    Post #5 in this thread already outlines that for Shallow DoF - F/2.8 is required for an Half Shot Portrait, whilst F/4.5 is adequate for an Head & Shoulders Portrait.

    These comments do not entertain the comparative Image Quality between the 18 to 200 and the 17 to 55.

    The 18 to 200 will NOT cover ‘any shot’ at a typical Wedding.

    Certainly pretty pictures of the Bride are important: but I have found that an appreciation of the required Technical Aspects to make specific outcomes is also handy knowledge.

    Having shot a few Weddings myself, I have never approached any one of those Wedding Jobs as ‘easy’.

    (But maybe that’s just because I’ve always used more than one camera to do the job and I have been making the task just way too difficult for myself )

    WW

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