Asked to photograph sister in law's wedding - tips please

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Asked to photograph sister in law's wedding - tips please

Unread post by cenwyn »

Hi all,

I have been asked by my sister in law to photograph her wedding in July. I have always used my camera for my own pleasure and so I'm very nervous having finally agreed to do this so that they can save some money.

I have begun to scan the web for some help and advice, but thought where better than here as the equipment I will be using is Alpha/Konica Mintolta. I'm really after the basics as well as other general advice. So is there standard camera/flas/lens settings that work best for weddings? Indoors in a church, outdoors for family photos, and evening dinner and dance! Yes, quite a lot to be thinking about! eek

I own an Alpha 700 (with the vertical grip), but will also have at hand as a backup my wife's Dynax 5D (may possibly have my father in law's Alpha 200 too). The lenses I have are the Sony 16-80, Tamron 18-250, and Tamron 90 Macro. I may also have access to a couple of Minolta lenses too.

I have two flashes, the Minolta 2600HS, and just purchased the Sony HVL-F58AM.

Any advice for setups, what when where, and technical camera setup would be appreciated.

Maybe websites which give this sort of advice?

Thanks everyone.

David Kilpatrick
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Re: Asked to photograph sister in law's wedding - tips pleas

Unread post by David Kilpatrick »

Quick advice: use the Alpha 700 and the HVL-F58AM flash. Set the camera to ISO 320, which is a bit of a sweet spot for the 700. Set DRO Advanced to manual level 3, and shoot JPEG+RAW sRGB using Standard picture style. For any shots in church, at the reception or where you have stained glass windows etc in the background use Night Portrait mode; for shots where there is nothing interesting in the background, indoors with flash, just use program mode or A mode set to f/8. Shoot with the 16-80mm and don't worry about the other lenses - unless maybe you use the Tamron for some creative shots of flowers, the ring/s, etc.

It would be neat to suggest using the second flash off camera but at weddings, unless you are very experienced there is not the time to mess around. As for set-ups, I suggest you just search for wedding photographers, and look at their portfolios. You will find plenty of ideas. For what/where/when you need a book; there are dozens out there.

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Re: Asked to photograph sister in law's wedding - tips pleas

Unread post by pakodominguez »

Hello Cenwyn,

The "standard settings" will depend on your style ;-)
Basically, the A700 + 16-80 as the main lens and the Tamron 90mm for portraits is all you need. And the flashes, of course...
A "safe in camera settings" would be going up to ASA 800, Color Space (creative Style) on Vivid or Portrait, -1 contrast +1 Sharpening and I would prefer to play with the Zone (so no more contrast settings...) than using DRO as David suggested: DRO works great in most cases, but if your background is dark (wood walls, or far backgrounds, or outside in the night) you'll get LOTS of noise and color shift, even at ASA 320. But it will work perfectly if you have light and/or closer backgrounds. If you don't have time for giving it a try, shoot RAW+JPG and you'll be safe.

Try to do all the family portraits outside and with daylight, back light work the best because no odd shadows in faces. Try to "close" the background with a nice house or a tree(s), not that much sky otherwise you'll have to deal with flare. Be aware that, if people are in the shadow, you have to set your White Balance according.

During the Party (indoors) use a white card as a reflector and bounce your flash when doing tables or groups. Same if you want to do candids. In the dance floor you can try different stuff, like using a very low speed (1/15 or less) in order to let the available light getting in your picture.

The best way to achieve great pictures on a wedding is leaving the stress at home and just go and look for the pictures that will make you happy: face the wedding day with an "idea" and develop it -don't even think on the Bride's "happiness" because that is one of the mayor sources of stress!

Enjoy the wedding and don't forget to show us the results!
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Re: Asked to photograph sister in law's wedding - tips pleas

Unread post by Dusty »

There's newer styles of covering weddings, such as "photojournalist style", to consider, but most people still want the traditional approach. For that, get a good paperback book on doing it, mostly so that you will have a checklist of all the shots to get. David already gave you good advise on cameras/lens/flash setup and use.

When setting up for the processional, (bridesmaids and bride coming down the aisle), I always either put a small piece of masking tape on the floor or used another marker, like a candelabra, and told them to pause for a second until they see the flash go off. In the film days I was always pre-focused there. Also, take those shots very wide, so you can crop them either way. Most people will want them portrait orientation, so hold it by the Vgrip and you'll loose less pixels.

Remember when doing all your posed shots that the bride is least able to move because of the dress, so do all your shots with her first - bride with attendants, her family, his family, both families, Bride and Groom with hers, his, and both, etc.... Use a tripod and a remote for these shots.

Next remember that anyone not officially in the wedding feels imposed upon to be there getting their pictures taken when they could be drinking at the reception, so get them out of the way next.

If you can set a tripod in the balcony for an assistant to capture the lighting of the unity candle w/ a long lens, great.

Don't forget to take the rings laying on the program, the signing of the license, and all the little ones that make it a big deal for the couple. Take extra shots because there's not cost for film or developing. In the film days we were told to get it right the first time, and don't shoot another unless you think it was a bad shot, to keep the cost down.

Take a deep breath, suck it up and go for it, unless you trip over a candelabra and catch the church on fire, the wost you can do is give them crummy pics. :wink:

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