Beginner Eeek, me wedding photographer?

is a battery grip essential for shooting events

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • No

    Votes: 37 94.9%

  • Total voters
    39
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51
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Alan
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#1
So I have be asked by my wife's cousin if I would be the wedding photographer? Ok do like the take photos at events, but usually as a casual guest, and I have been asked to the photographer at a kids 1st birthday before, other than that as father for my own children.

Ok so where do I start if I do this for a wedding. They say they really like the photos i do take, but I wasn't under pressure then and certainly wouldn't want to mess it up.
 

MWHCVT

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Matthew
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#2
Do you have a fire and bullet proof romper suit? If so put on now


To answer your poll, no you don't..

To answer your thread, best cause of action is to say no your glad they asked but you couldn't do it because of XYZ, unless you want to do it of course...

But bare in mind it's a high pressure situation that's fast pased and will be stressful, you need to be skilled at so much more than just portraiture, you need people skills, back up kit, and most important a wafer tight contract, oh and insurance at the minimum to cover PLI
 
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John
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#3
I know the feeling I have been offered a couple of weddings because "we like your photos", I have declined I am not in a position to guarantee great photos, and what photos I have taken at weddings including one of these were as a guest without pressure.
 
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Ned
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#4
Oh dear god, normally we get at least a week break between these type of threads :LOL:

First thing is to have a quick search as this subject gets covered a lot and always, without fail, ends up in an argument. I am not a pro and have shot a few weddings for mates and it is, to say the least, a little bit stressful, especially if you're riotously hungover from the night before :D I actually think that whether or not you do it is as much down to the type of people your friends are, not just yourself.

To answer your specific question, no you don't need a grip.
 
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owen
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#5
if you own a sony a7 series then yes....................... I needed 8 batteries if its a dslr no lol
 
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Phil
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#6
Only you know what's happening here:

They really like your photo's might mean, they genuinely like your photo's, or simply that you have a camera and a 'wedding photographer' will cost £1000, how hard can it be?

Are they the kind of people who'll fall out with you if you provide something less than they expect?

But at the end of the day, if you're not charging - go for it, you might get the bug

ETA - At least you can focus, compose and expose competently, so that puts you head and shoulders above the last 2 'pro's' round here :D
 
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big soft moose

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Pete
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#7
to be fair hes just asking advice about doing it as a one off for family , not staring a business with a point and shoot and a magnifying glass or whatever so there's no need for this to go sideways

grip wise , its not essential , I like to use one as it means longer between changing batteries (and also i have large hands) , third party grips are so cheap there's no reason not to if you want to

that aside general advice

two bodies (you don't want to be left with your cock in your hand if a single body dies)
something short on one (like a 17-50 or a 35mm prime)
something long n the other one (like a 70-200 or an 85mm prime)
Flash gun (but you won't be able to use it in church)
plenty of spare cards and batteries
Do plenty of people practice before hand
Be honest with the B&G about your lack of experience
get a list of the shots they want
if possible visit the venue before hand and scope out shot locations (not forgeting a plan b for when it chucks it down)

On the day remember you can be the photographer or a guest but not both (don't drink alcohol)
check if they are feeding you and if not take some scran with you
when organising groups start with the big group and whittle down so people don't get bored and wander off
check with the vicar/celebrant what the rules are about photography during the service - comply with their wishes

split the shoot across several cards
afterwards back up as soon as possible and don't delete the images off the cards until you've made multiple back ups

End of the day try to have fun, if you are nervous it will come across to the guests - happy tog =happy guests= good photos

any questions ask - we don't bite when people aren't pretending to be something they aren't
 

big soft moose

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#9
Since when has that stopped it? :D
that is true - but its less likely than when someone is saying "i'm going to start a weddings bizness with my Eos300D etc"
 
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Alkins
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Alan
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#10
I know them well enough, they are causal easy going folk. They do not want stages photos, and the wedding will be small (ish well we will see). Is is some thing that does get may fancy, obviously the main things in order of priority that bother me are:
1. I am not crowd leading sociable.
2. My gear has not let me down yet ( except batteries) but you know sods law.
3. I am one person, I had two good photographers at my wedding.

I have said they would be better with a pro, but they are insisting they really want me to do it, maybe after a cheap deal?

Well I better see the other threads to see where they ended up.

I have an Olympus omd em-1 with pro lenses so yeah plenty batteries, hence asking about the battery grip
 

big soft moose

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#12
1 - fake it til you make it - remember they expect the tog to tell them what to do and most people inherently want to be led

2- get a second body , even if it means hiring or borrowing it for the day

3 - no problems Ive done upwards of 70 weddings solo, 2 guys aren't needed (though its nice to have at huge weddings or where they need a lot of bridal prep)
 
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Ned
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#13
I have an Olympus omd em-1 with pro lenses so yeah plenty batteries, hence asking about the battery grip
In that case a grip would probably be a good idea, I recently shot one of my best mate's wedding with OMD cameras and I was glad I had the grip. I chewed through about six or seven batteries on the day (two cameras).

The one thing I would say is, if you don't have all the kit, to get to the venue and figure out what you might need. For example, you might need a flash and if there is warm lighting (as seems to be the trend) then you really need some flash gels to go with.
 
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Alkins
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Alan
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#14
I almost always use a bounce flash with gels in doors, well if there us a good ceiling. Fluorescence lighting also plays havoc with the TTL, the on flash sensor mode helps but still not as accurate.

Was initially thinking 4 batteries would be enough but maybe double up to 8, and AA's for the flash
 

big soft moose

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Pete
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#15
4 ought to be enough in a single body, with two bodies I'd take 8 - for the flash Ive never needed more than 1 complete set, but it does depend how much flash is needed so a spare set is sensible. Also work out a system for keep flat batteries seperate to charged ones so you don't put a flat one back in by accident (like charged ones in your left hand pocket, flat ones go in the right)

Ditto for empty and full memory cards
 
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Edward
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#16
I voted and got it right :D

When I was asked to do my first wedding I refused. They asked again and I refused again. Then they asked a third time :(

So, I went on a workshop and, okay I did learn a few bits and pieces but not much to be honest - YouTube is what saved me. I watched probably a week's worth of videos over the next few months.

Based on what I knew for my first one I'll offer this - it's not necessarily advice but more how I felt at that time and how I tackled it. Feel free to take it or leave it. In reverse order of priority:

4. This is a brilliant video - no camera involved either! And once watched and notes taken, have an engagement shoot practice with the couple so you can get used to them, have some practice with them and let them get used to you. And remember to talk to them during the practice. This is important as the easiest thing to do is clam up and concentrate on your photos and then they start wondering what to do and go silent and then you get a bit stuck and it becomes worse and then you freeze ... you need to talk to them then they respond and it's so much easier, and much more relaxing.

And at the wedding just try and remember a few bits from the engagement shoot that you learned and the video to try and improve some of the shots. It's not a modelling session; it's a wedding and the couple will be more interested in having a grand time than having their photos taken. The video is for your benefit just to watch for some of the details you can correct and how to improve the posing.

3. Exposure - you don't want to over expose the bride's dress and fill in flash can work wonders on faces. If you know what you're doing that's great but if you don't find someone to give you a lesson or two with this and/or watch a few YouTube videos - some are good but some aren't. And can you practice on your wife/partner wearing white clothing? A battery grip isn't essential but a flash gun is.

2. Take note of most/all of the above posts (and, presumably, posts following after this one) - there is some really helpful information on this forum.

1. Most important - ENJOY yourself!! This takes pressure off you and you relax and smile and talk, which makes others smile more and they feel more comfortable and chat to you which makes you feel more comfortable. And then the photos happen much more naturally. And some people just like to show off in front of a camera so you just click away!

And re the battery grip - I did buy one but hardly ever use it as it goes through batteries much more quickly than the single one in the camera.

Best of luck!!
 
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big soft moose

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#17
And re the battery grip - I did buy one but hardly ever use it as it goes through batteries much more quickly than the single one in the camera.
:thinking: it must be defective - that shouldn't be possible
 
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Edward
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#18
:thinking: it must be defective - that shouldn't be possible
That's what puzzled me too - I was using manufacturer's batteries too, not generic ones and they lost the charge much more quickly - having said that, files do write to disk much more quickly so presumably that's where the power is going.
 
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Hugh
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#19
If you wish to do it, do it. If the worst comes to the worst and you mess up no one will die, and the sun will still rise the following day.

If they're asking you to do it free then why incurr more expense and hire or buy extra kit. Don't take anything you're not used to, and relax and enjoy it should you want to do it
 
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Alkins
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Alan
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#20
Thanks everyone for the advice, and Edward thanks for the video, very informative. I have still time to response and the wedding date has not yet been set. Al though I would like this challenge I would still ask them again if they are sure and the potential risk of me doing it vs hiring some else
 
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Ned
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#21
Thanks everyone for the advice, and Edward thanks for the video, very informative. I have still time to response and the wedding date has not yet been set. Al though I would like this challenge I would still ask them again if they are sure and the potential risk of me doing it vs hiring some else
If you want to learn about posing I would HIGHLY recommend reading this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Picture-Perfect-Posing-Practicing-Photographers-Models-Voices/dp/0321966465

It will also teach you a lot about posture and body language.

The other thing I would say is that the more you read the higher the expectation you will have of yourself so be aware of this and reset your expectations accordingly, it is fine to read and know stuff but putting it all into practice on the day will be difficult. I find a good thing to do is to do all my reading a long way in advance and then let it sink in and then use some of the snippets that you remember. This way you'll be practiced at some of the skills and know how to use them without having a whirlwind of information in your mind.

For example, having read the above book which goes into a lot of depth and advanced scenarios, I picked out the basics of posture (shoulders down, chest up, back of the head to the sky) and explained them to the B&G beforehand who initially thought I was barking but I took some practice shots and they saw the difference straight away so did it throughout the day with only little reminders here and there. It's funny, I still see them use the technique when we're out socialising and taking FB photos or whatever :) I also remembered the avoidance of right angles and that if you're going to have your hands in the pockets it tends to look better if the thumb is in there too. Finally there's the good old 'ghost hand' situation to avoid. These four things, I believe, made a great difference to the photos and also, if you are a bit shy it gives you some information to use to interact with people - it's easy to shout to a group "shoulders down chests back" or tell the father to relax one arm and either hide his hand behind her back or give some space so you can see his arm.

edit: something else you could do is do a 'pre-shoot' where you learn to interact with them (do a bit on posture etc so they are already aware) and they will get to see the output and see if it's up to their expectations. It levels everyone's expectations and confidence in each other.
 
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Paul
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#22
What do YOU want to get out of this? I ask that because a friend asked me to take some shots of their boy's fourth birthday - he's also a friend of my son's, so it was a very low pressure situation. It was also the week before my son's birthday which we were having in exactly the same venue, so there were a host of "benefits" to me in agreeing to it.

In the end, I took close to 300 shots, which I refined down to 40 "ok" ones. The hall was horrible - vaulted ceilings with off-white walls and quite big, so I ended up with an on camera flash with mini softbox to diffuse (a bit). It was either that or ISO 3200 and a wider aperture than I'd have liked. Were the shots particularly great? Not really, but the mum and dad were delighted as it allowed them to enjoy the party without thinking they needed to capture it. To me, this scenario I've described falls into a "there's not much downside" situation.

I'd personally say a wedding is a completely different kettle of fish - hopefully this will be their once-in-a-lifetime experience of doing that and the thing I'd be nervous about is the potential for that uneasy position if they ever look back on their photos afterwards and aren't 100% happy. Unless you're wanting specific experience of shooting that type of event, to me it falls into a "there's not much upside" situation... Also worth bearing in mind you may well look back on your photos and not be happy with them (and therefore be slightly guilty), even if they say they're happy!
 
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Alkins
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Alan
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#23
Also worth bearing in mind you may well look back on your photos and not be happy with them (and therefore be slightly guilty), even if they say they're happy
I always feel like I could have done better, even when everyone says they are great, that's why I keep trying, and never stop learning. Well it a challenge I would like to do, and yes if most the folk I know asked me it would be a point blank no, but they are laid back and want a more candid style and in the moment ( which I like to do) rather set up posed photos.

The most important thing is if they smile when they see the photos
 

big soft moose

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Pete
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#24
tbh a lot of clients have much lower standards than photographers ... i remember a wedding i did for my wife's cousin which i shot while i was seriously ill ( I vividly remember having to repeatedly nip out of the reception to be sick - the second time I didn't make it to the bogs and chundered over the balustrade into the lake... the staff thought i was drunk) In my parlous state I left one camera on ISO 1600 all day and the other set to +2 EV

The brides portrait shots in particular were not anything i'd show on here , suffering patches of burn out in the dress and loss of detail on the train.... I was very anxious when i handed over the CD

However the bride absolutely loved them and wound up wanting one printed as an A1 canvas to go on her living room wall
 
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Alkins
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Alan
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#27
Well that's my first wedding done, they like wedding couple like the photos. I am happish with what I did though could have done better in a lot of places. I will admit I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of due to the flash issues like TTL and fluorescent lighting... argh. anyway thanks to you all for the help and advice.

here are some photos from the wedding

PB180034.jpg PB180045.jpg PB180058.jpg PB180088.jpg PB180092.jpg
 
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Alkins
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Alan
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#29
thanks Kingo. The photos in the park did come out good, just some under exposed ones (fixed thank god for RAW), and the wedding couple was a little bit ridgit, when directed but managed to get some nice natural reactions from them.

had more technical issues with photos in doors, that i needed to be more prepared for, and practised.
 
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