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Thread: Photographing weddings

  1. #1
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    Photographing weddings

    Hi,

    If you were to photograph a wedding that was held inside a church and you had sufficent lighting which ment you didnt need to use a flash would lens would you recommend to use?

    Thanks

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    OMG, you said the "W" word

    Stephanie, I do hope this is just a theoretical question.

    We're quite big on advising new people not to contemplate 'doing' a wedding for real - too much stress and chance of things going wrong, or even if they don't B&G, or their parents having unreasonable expectations. So don't take it as a personal insult (I'm sure you won't) - we're only trying to avoid grief later.

    So, as long as you're not the bride & groom's main photogrpaher ....

    If you were to photograph a wedding that was held inside a church and you had sufficent lighting which ment you didnt need to use a flash would lens would you recommend to use?
    Whatever suits the distances you'll have to shoot at, I've been in some very small, some average and some large churches, for small, any kind of telephoto lens would be too long. I hasten to add, I wasn't shooting a s amain photographer, and it was back in my film days, so many moons ago.

    What do you have available?
    Or is this actually very theoretical?

    I have an 18-200mm which will cope with anything, although it is f/3.5-f/5.6, so does need good light, or high iso.
    With a lens like that, or a kit lens on a DSLR, you're going to want to use f/8 anyway for optimum quality, but don't rosk blurred shots by trying to get away with too low a shutter speed, bump up the iso, shoot RAW and deal with the noise (if necessary) after in PP.

    Assuming a typical crop factor camera; any lens that goes down to about about 24mm and up to about 100mm should be versatile enough for most occasions.

    Some may suggest a wide aperture prime, but in my opinion, not knowing the location or your camera, I'd say that could be too restrictive (being fixed focal length) and not provide enough Depth of Field (DoF) if used wide open, for many shots.

    Hope that helps,

  3. #3
    rob marshall

    Re: Photographing weddings

    Steph

    We have a tag word of weddings (that's how bad things are with weddings ) Just go to advanced search and type 'weddings' in the tag box, or select the tag at the bottom of this page. I have added the tag to this thread of yours.

  4. #4
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Thanks for the replies and yes it is just a theoretical question. I dont think I could handle throwing myself in the deep end that much. But thanks for the advice

  5. #5
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    There are two ways of considering this problem. Your camera type and format would probably make the most impact on the type of lens you would select. I cannot speak for the Nikonians but, I am pretty familiar with most Canon gear (although Colin is the resident expert on the 1D (series cameras).

    Generally, there are two different views on available light shooting: the first being the use of a prime lens or lenses which obviously have the widest apertures available and the second being the use of a zoom lens or zoom lenses which will restrict you to an f/2.8 aperture at best.

    The prime lens or lenses will allow you the least freedom because you need to be in the right place for the shot which is not always possible. Additionally, using a very wide aperture such as f/1.4 or even f/1.8 often results in razor thin depth of field which is difficult with which to work. IMO, the way to work with primes is to have a pair of cameras (A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST TWO CAMERAS ANYWAY) mounted with lenses of different focal lengths. For a 1.6x system, one of the best low light lenses might be the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. For a full-frame system, one of the best low light lenses might be the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. I am not an advocate of Sigma glass but, these two lenses appear to be the cream of the crop (providing you can get a good copy). They would provide a normal angle view. For a longer prime, I would suggest the Canon 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2 and for full frame, a good choice might be the Canon 135mm f/2 (pretty expensive but sometimes available used). If you need a wider view, the Canon 28mm f/1.8 might be a choice...

    If you go the zoom lens route; the absolute best lens for a 1.6x system is the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. It is a stop slower than the prime f/2 and two stops slower than a prime f/1.4. However, it is equipped with Image Stabilization which will allow a steady hold at a slower shutter speed. Luckily, most shots during the wedding ceremony are of either still or relatively slow moving subjects. There is, unfortunately, no full-frame equivalent for the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS that can be used on a camera which cannot accept EFS lenses. I would probably pick the 24-70mm f/2.8L as my mid range zoom. The extra ISO capability of full frame equipment might make up for the lack of IS capability. For my longer lens on either 1.6x or full frame equipment, I would select the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Mark-II lens.

    You ask, "What about a wide angle glass?" IMO, 17mm on a 1.6x camera and 24mm on a full frame camera is the widest I would want to go shooting a wedding. Even so, I would try to stay away from the widest ends of those lenses...

    I don't really think that a person could get along adequately using a kit lens for available light indoor shooting. The very popular Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mk-II (Nifty-Thrifty) is another lens which I would tend to stay away from. The image quality is decent but, the low light focusing capability (especially when using a wide f/stop) leaves a LOT to be desired...

  6. #6

    Re: Photographing weddings

    First why is everyone terrified of Weddings ?
    the lenses I would take are 17/40 f4L 24/70 f2.8L 70/200 f2.8L and 100/400 is L
    or the Nikon/Pentax/Sony/:::: equivalents

    john

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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by john w revie View Post
    First why is everyone terrified of Weddings ?
    Hi John,

    Probably because they're where the theory meets reality, and often the result is a train wreck. B&G don't want to spend a lot of money on a professional (or don't have the money), so they ask their good friend "Phil the Photographer" ... after all, Phil has some expensive looking lenses - has some great landscape shots - and everyone knows that modern cameras "do everything for you anyway". Like "how hard can it be"?

    Photographer Phil on the other hand has been shooting landscapes for a while now, and "knows his way around a camera pretty well". Perhaps he sees it as a way to help out a friend, or perhaps make a few $$$ on the side (pretty easy to get the jobs since those other guys charge thousands of dollars to shoot a wedding).

    So he posts a few posts on sites like this - gets the usual advice about getting the usual "Nifty 50 1.8" and reads the manual on how to use his on-camera flash ... and off he goes.

    On the day he finds that he's not allowed to use the flash in the church - he gets camera shake due to the low light - the AF struggles to lock on due to the low light (and often locks on to the wrong focal plane). The backlighting causes the camera to under-expose, and their isn't sufficient safety margin in his JPEG captures to recover anything. Everything moves so fast, and he has no idea of what critical shots to capture - he knows none of the tricks of managing and posing people for the formal shots - and the recording of the whole "once in a lifetime / failure is not an option" event results in bitter disappointment to the B&G and the confidence of the 'tog totally destroyed.

    But apart from that ...

  8. #8

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    Re: Photographing weddings

    "First why is everyone terrified of Weddings ?"

    Because the expectations are so high, often unrealistically so. And because if things do go wrong, if luck runs against you, there is no second chance. And because wedding photographs are around for such a long time, and you will be judged by them for years to come.

    I have done a wedding with a borrowed Olympus Trip 35 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_Trip_35) - and many more on a variety of equipment. One of these weddings still haunts me,and that was in 1987!

  9. #9
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    How times have & are changing. Many (many) years ago my father used to photograph a lot of weddings as a good amateur with a film Rollieflex, a tripod and luck. No second camera to fall back on, no instant review of image. Then he occupied his home made darkroom to develop and print ... my age was such that I got the job of twiddling the black plastic film canister to process the film development I don't recall any drama's, though I may have missed the punch ups!

    Isn't it nice for us today to be so spoilt

  10. #10
    rob marshall

    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by john w revie View Post
    First why is everyone terrified of Weddings ?
    The only thing I'm terrified of is my wife when I purchase some new camera gear and I forget to pre-inform her. But the thought of doing weddings comes a very close second.

  11. #11
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    I was at a wedding reception this summer watching the photog work.I looked at my wife and said "I don't think they're going to be happy with the results".
    Last month the mother of the bride brought me the disk from the wedding asking if I would go through the images and see what I think.
    268 images and there are 12 or so that I can rescue and make decent prints with.All the photos taken in the church are beyond saving.Terribly underexposed and OOF.
    Mother paid $500 for the work.
    Photographing weddings
    Mother said the photog went to school for this! ALL of the flash shots look like this.The ones I can save are in better focus,but I'm having to replace the BGs to eliminate the shadows and the BG clutter.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Mother paid $500 for the work.
    That is horrendous. I'd be tempted to use whatever means were open to me to name and shame someone who had the nerve to call themselves a wedding photographer and then produce that rubbish.

  13. #13

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    Re: Photographing weddings

    "Mother said the photog went to school for this! " - graduated, or expelled?

  14. #14
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Bride and Mother are very upset.I told mom I'd be happy to go with her and see about getting her money back.People go to small claims court over this sort of problem.

  15. #15
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by proseak View Post
    "Mother said the photog went to school for this! " - graduated, or expelled?
    That's a good question!

  16. #16
    rob marshall

    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Last month the mother of the bride brought me the disk from the wedding asking if I would go through the images and see what I think.
    268 images and there are 12 or so that I can rescue and make decent prints with.All the photos taken in the church are beyond saving.Terribly underexposed and OOF.
    Mother paid $500 for the work.
    Think I can beat that one, Jim.

    Last year a friend of a friend asked if I could do some reprints of her recent wedding shots that were done by a pro wedding photographer. They were shot on film. I asked for the negs, but the tog had kept them (of course) as he wanted 20 per 10x8 print. She wanted 5 prints so that's 100. The original cost was 600 for a registry office wedding and reception. I asked for the prints instead. They were pretty dreadful - under-exposed, horrible shadows, strange red colour cast. Awful.

    I scanned them on my cheap Epson scanner (3490) at the highest resolution and modified them in CS4 and printed them. My friend said they were considerably better than the originals, and she wished she had asked me to do the originals. I wouldn't have done them. I charged her 60, but only because it took me so long in CS4 to rescue some appalling shots.

    Photographers! Can't live with them, and can't live without them.

  17. #17
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Rob,
    Definitely glad I'm dealing with digital files and not film negatives!
    Only plus here,I'm learning to work more with layers and masking.

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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    Hi,

    If you were to photograph a wedding that was held inside a church and you had sufficent lighting which ment you didnt need to use a flash would lens would you recommend to use?

    Thanks
    That would be a VERY brightly-lit church, Stephanie. What levels are you reading?

    How large is the church, and how is it laid out?

    I'll have more questions for you later

  19. #19
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    After reading all the replies to Stephanie's question, I'm having second thoughts of going into weddings. I think I'll just stick to corporate events, product launches, and real estate brochures & websites for now.

  20. #20
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing weddings

    Quote Originally Posted by meltimtiman View Post
    After reading all the replies to Stephanie's question, I'm having second thoughts of going into weddings. I think I'll just stick to corporate events, product launches, and real estate brochures & websites for now.
    Mel

    I know I've sometimes been the first in line to say to people 'Don't do it, unless you really know what it's about' and that's maybe felt like someone trying to stifle enthusiasm.

    At the moment, I'm deep into reading Syl Arena's new book, Speedliter's Handbook and on page 339 he writes, "Without a doubt, wedding photography is the most challenging type of event photography ever invented." He goes on to effectively say, as Colin has on here many times; - It's a one shot chance. You can't re-shoot it tomorrow.

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