I said yes...

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JDBabyHopes's picture
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I said yes...

... to photographing a wedding! :eek: Okay, I must've been smoking crack when I agreed to it, but I'm doing it. I was a *teensy* bit afraid when I shot the engagement photos (yes, that couple I posted the other day) that they might ask me to shoot their wedding, considering they don't have a photographer yet and are getting married in less than 4 months. She beat around the bush at their engagement shoot, but I told her she really ought to hire a professional for her wedding day because that is just SUPER stressful for a beginner who knows zilch, like me.

Anyhow, she has asked me three times now, and I have told her she really should hire someone else because I don't really want to get into the whole wedding photography mess. I really just want to stick to maternity, babies and children at this point. She called today asking me again, and I finally caved. :doh:

The wedding is very small (~75 people), has no wedding party, and is going to be outside in a garden. She told me she's NOT a photo diva and doesn't want millions of "perfect" shots, but moreso wants me there, as a friend, to document her day. Since photos aren't her number one priority, and since it will be a mid-afternoon outdoor wedding, I figured I would go for it. I'm up for the challenge, and she knows fully well I have never done it before! She wants me to shoot just like I did for the engagement pics, so I caved for a moment and said yes. She told me if she gets one good shot of the day, it will be worth it. Yikes. I hope I can deliver at least two. Smile

Okay, now that I have the noose around my neck, can you guys help me?! I'm going to do a 10-day rental on some lenses and a second camera body (to give myself a week's worth of play time before the wedding), and I need to know what to get. From the research I've started to do, I've narrowed it down to these two:

-24-70mm 2.8L or 16-35mm 2.8L (thoughts?)
-70-200mm 2.8L

I want to stick to 2-3 lenses for the night so that I don't get even deeper in this hole I've dug for myself, so I'm trying to keep it simple. From what I understand, the 24-70 is the "perfect" wedding lens and a lot of people seem to use it for 90% of their shoot. I'm going to keep my 50mm on my camera, and use a rented 5D for the other two lenses.

Is this insane? :eek: Help? Tips? Lens suggestions? Straight jacket? Wink

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Like I told you last night, yes, you're insane for even considering it Wink LOL! No advice at all, but just want to say good luck! I'm sure you'll do fine!

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No advice, I've turned down a lot of wedding offers. But it looks like you're going about it in the right way.

I think the 24-70 and 70-200 are great lenses and will get you whatever you may need in that range.

Good luck!

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I sure hope you're getting paid for this. Especially if you will be renting lenses for the event! You definitely need to draft up a clear contract as well.

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Amber, she is a close friend, so I hadn't ever thought about a contract. What sort of thing needs to be in a contract? And she is paying for the rentals! She is actually stopping by on Friday, with her mom's credit card, to rent the lenses, camera body, batteries, etc. so that we don't have to worry about waiting and possibly not being able to rent them. Am I right to go for the full-frame 5D with the L lenses? Is there a learning curve to a full-frame camera? I'm worried a week won't be enough time to learn the new lenses (particularly the 70-200mm) and camera.

She asked me what to charge her for me (lens rentals aside) and I honestly couldn't come up with a number. How can I? This is my FIRST attempt and she is a dear friend. I told her I couldn't give her a number and that I would leave that up to her to make the choice on what she feels is the right number. She paid me $100 for the engagement pics after I told her NOT to, so I know she won't stilt me. Not that I'm looking for money, but I trust her that she would be fair. I would honestly do it for free. I'll be there, anyhow! Smile

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I didn't realize she was a really close friend. Can you call it a wedding gift? Honestly, it's a pretty huge wedding gift when you consider all the work that goes into wedding photos...but if you don't feel comfortable charging her that's what I'd do. I did my cousin's very small and informal vow renewal for the cost of my motel room. Smile

My contracts usually just outline what people can expect to get so that they can't turn around at the end and be mad about anything. You may want to say you don't guarantee a certain number of shots....that you will only give them shots that you determine are up to your standards. A model release if you plan on using the photos for portfolio purposes. Outline any printing or copyright infringement info that you want them to adhere to. Stuff like that. The contract is just to prevent arguments. They are actually really a good idea especially with friends.

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Yeah, I will see about doing the photos as a wedding gift! I hadn't thought of that.

I may do a contract, then. When I did their engagement photos, I verbally asked if I had permission for FB, my blog, etc., which of course they said yes to. The groom (I'm not particularly fond of him just yet) ended up lifting the 4 photos from the blog and putting them onto his FB page. He did credit me, but I was surprised at how protective I suddenly felt of my work. I mean, I know I did that for them as friends and stuff, but I guess I was hoping to be asked to use the pics before doing that. I have no formal agreements or copyrights or anything, so I know fully well he's 'allowed' to do that, but I guess I was just hoping for a little two-way respect with that. I asked them, I wish he would've asked me! So maybe it's best to do that for something like wedding photos. It's not her I'd be worried about, it's him.

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For PB'ing I always had people sign a contract. The friends that i shoot for free even now just for practice i make sign a contract. I learned to watermark everything i post where the watermark can't be cropped out for the very reason you stated above. I've had a couple people do that to my photos on facebook already. Make sure you protect yourself...would hate to see a friendship dissolve after the fact because of misunderstandings that could've been clearly explained previously.

A friend of mine swears by the 70-200 and 24-70 for weddings, they're on the 2 bodies that she carries. She only switches out priot to the reception to get the detail/macro shots. Good luck! Smile

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Thanks, everyone! I'm definitely looking into contracts now.

Do you guys think I'll need a prime for portraits, or will the 24-70 cover my butt on that? I own the 50mm 1.8, but I wasn't sure if I should rent the 85mm for the outdoor bridal portraits, seeing as my 50mm acts as an 80 or so on my crop body, anyhow. I was figuring if I wanted the true 50 focal length, I could put it on the EOS 5D. But I really don't want to be switching lenses a ton and collecting dusts and spots and the like. My head hurts. Smile

Any thoughts on the 16-35mm wide angle?

EL2
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Good luck. I do hope you get a contract together. I did a wedding once for a friend of a close friend of ours and it was a nightmare for me. She was a perfectionist and it gave me a headache having to shoot her.

She didn't allow enough time during the actual wedding to have shots of her and her groom. I stuck with my schedule but she was not happy she only have few shots of them together, so a month later she begged me to re-shoot the two of them. They got dressed up just as they did during their wedding - it was too surreal.

I used 16-35 and 70-200. The 16-35 was a great lens for crowded areas and the 70-200 had an awesome range!

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I did my brother's wedding and it was a pain. But, my daughter was in the wedding party and she didn't want to do it, so I didn't get the pics I wanted. Of course they are THRILLED with them, but me....NOT so much! HAHA!

As for getting your pics tagged and used on FB and feeling protective- I TOTALLY understand. The little girl I just took, her mom did the same thing without asking. I realize that I don't have a contract....need to do that, but I did tag my photography page it the pic. I was a bit hurt, but it was my own fault and I am just trying to get started. That was my first non-friend or family photo shoot.

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you're a brave soul!!! I just went back and looked at your engagement shoot, and I must say...there are some beautiful shots in there! I think you'll do great. Smile

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I know, I am either very brave, or very stupid. Only time will tell! Smile

We're renting the equipment tomorrow, so this is what I've got on the list. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

-5D camera body
-70-200mm 2.8L
-24-70mm 2.8L
-85mm 1.8
-extra battery

On top of that, I'll have my Rebel XT for back-up, along with my 50mm 1.8. I figured if everything I rented died on me, I could still shoot with my stuff! Lol I've looked at a few photography contract templates, but I'm really at a loss with that at this point!

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IDK if you want to carry around too many lenses, but I would maybe suggest a macro lens so you can get nice shots of the rings, flowers, details on her dress, etc. I see a lot of awesome wedding photographers do that and the shots are always really beautiful.

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Meagan, I have put the 100mm macro in my cart about 100 times! Lol I keep going back and forth on it. I've read the 24-70 acts pretty nicely in place of carrying the extra macro lens, so that's why I ended up taking the macro out. I guess I'm afraid of over-complicating it by carrying a ton of lenses I'm not very familiar with! I've heard it takes nice portraits, too, so I could skip out on the 85. Eh. I'm not sure!

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I've second shot a few weddings, and I'd ditch the 85 and get either a macro or a super wide angle. The 85 is going to be redundant. I actually have a friend who is in the wedding biz who used to carry a point and shoot to do his macro stuff, because they are really good for that purpose.

Edited to add...both the 24-70 and the 70-200 are SUPER heavy lenses, and the FX body is going to be WAY heavier than your current body too, so I'd get these lenses ASAP to get used to them!

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Thanks for the tips, Lisa! I guess I was going for the 85 for bridal portraits, but I could always pop my 50 on for that. Maybe I will go with the macro instead.

I'm getting this stuff a week before the wedding, so I hope to have some sort of handle on them by the time we're ready to roll! Smile

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The 70-200 makes a GREAT portrait lens!!! That is my favorite lens right now!

Also, see about renting a set of extension tubes (or buy a cheap set) for macro. They're light weight and easy to carry without having the worry of a whole other lens. They would work perfectly on the 70-200.

EL2
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I didn't see you renting a speed lite. If you will be shooting indoors, you might want to rent that too.

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I would do a little recon of the site beforehand, preferably at the same time of day, so that you can check lighting. Also, another tip I gleaned from a wedding site was to format all your memory chips before you go to the shoot. You wouldn't want to accidentally erase over shots from the event! Also make sure your batteries are fully charged beforehand. I charged mine before the one wedding I second-shot, but my camera still died toward the end (no biggie--I'd gotten reception photos already).

If possible, you might want to stage the "kiss" shot or putting on the wedding ring before or after the actual ceremony. For the first married kiss, you ideally want the couple to go in slowly and have it last a few seconds.

I'd also ask the couple go give you a lists of "must get" shots so that you capture what's most special to them.

Finally, don't repeat my mistake. If you do an informal family group shot outdoors, make sure everyone takes their sunglasses off! Smile

Have a fun time!!!

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I think you are both crazy and lucky at the same time. Its a great chance to learn how to do more with your camera, I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job on the pictures.

Sorry no advice here.

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Thanks for the advice and tips!! You guys have been great and I will be picking your brains for the next 3 months for sure!

Here is what I ended up with:

-5D
-70-200 2.8
-16-35 2.8
-extra battery
-extension tubes

I ended up with the 16-35 at the last minute! When the bride stopped by to pay for the rentals, pick up engagement pics, etc., I went over the reception site with her. It's going to be a small area (think small banquet hall), as is the "get ready room" small as well. I wanted to make sure I had enough room, so I went with the wide angle last minute. I'm crossing my fingers I have pretty much every base covered. As for a speedlite (I think El mentioned it?) it's basically an outdoor event, so I decided against it. I know NOTHING about speedlites and didn't want to attempt it. If it's super dark (I'm not betting it will be seeing as the wedding starts at 3pm, cocktail hour at 4:30) I always have my 50 1.8 for some extra speed.

I'm definitely going to be scouting the location sometime this summer. The wedding is in the Hershey Gardens, and the bride has free passes for whenever she wants to come by for wedding stuff, so we'll be making use of that this summer to scout. I'm kind of excited for the gardens! They are beautiful! And there are a ton of areas to shoot at.