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> Hi I just purchased a D70. Please give advise on what the best type of > lens would be for wedding pictures. Bride, Bridal parties and after > wedding?
I may be reading too much between the lines, but this is one of the scariest messages I have seen for a long time. Please tell me that I am wrong.
It sounds like you are not very familiar with photography, have purchased a very complex camera with the intention of doing a wedding shoot with it.
Realize that there are only experienced photographers who do this - the Mother-of-the-Bride ritually kills and devours those who are not. A first marriage happens only once in a lifetime, and the MotB is determined that it will not be a lousy, fouled-up occasion like her's. Macho limo-drivers and caterers cower before her fury.
Seriously, anyone who is capable of handling a wedding shoot would have answered that question years before. If the question must be asked, the experience to take on such a crucial shoot is probably not there. Unless you are so competent that you can assure professional results, don't even think of trying it. A blown wedding shoot is NEVER FORGIVEN.
The choice of lenses depends greatly on the way a photographer works, and there are as many approaches to wedding photography as there are wedding photographers. It can range from almost 100% set-up pictures of great formality with the majority shot in a well equipped studio to a free-flowing photojournalist's on-the-ground approach and everything in between. The studio photographer may have a dozen or two designed shots that are the wedding in total. The photojournalist may shoot hundreds as they happen. Each will determine the choice of equipment. High end shooters tend to work with assistants, who handle lights and cover critical shots redundantly. Which ever approach, the shooter will carry redundant equipment. Equipment failure is not an excuse, and the MotB will do the ritual consumption.
Almost every branch of photography requires specialized knowledge and experience, whether you are a product photographer, new photographer, scientific photographer, portraitist or wedding photographer. Many start out with four years of education and training, followed by a few years of working as assistants. Wedding photography is perhaps the most demanding of all, because it not only requires flawless photographic technique, it demands great people-skills under the highest stress conditions in photography. Great wedding photographers make huge incomes, deserve and earn every penny.
Unless you have the professional chops to do this, save your money and spend it on someone who has the years of experience and the talent to do it right.
Thanks to the 2 individuals who were helpful. Larry ...I am just beginning in photography. I am a back up for a wedding and this will be my first test shoot. It really kills me that those who have been in photography a long time seem to have forgotten that it all had to start somewhere. And every city is not as opportunity filled that you can work with a photographer or even get the education. I am older, married, and working on something I love. I would think older photgraphers instead of trying to discourage would use their knowledge to help. Im working on my professionl "chops", using my money and time to do it and I do not apologize about seeking knowlege from others. Thanks!
[Some people think they have all the answers and some think they are just too darn good to give any pointers. That says a lot about someone's skills when they can not accept that the digital age is here and many of the photographers seeking answers are former film shooters just looking for a little information to ease them into digital. I find it very refreshing that an older person is taking on such an endeavor. The only way a person will ever improve in many cases is to ask questions, read and shoot a lot of images. I make a good living with my camera and have not at this point been placed in a position that I have to shoot anything I don't want to. Most of my work revolves around Nature/Wildlife or Art Nudes - I do not shoot weddings, just do not have the patients for it - however I am totally confident that placed in that position I could do very well (or at least as well as some that call themselves wedding photographers) I have also seen a lot of photographers that think they are the tops fall flat on their faces when a real challenge is thrown their way, but have plenty of advise for others! I have went behind several so called wedding photographers in this area doing color corrections, printing and editing on images some other photographer shot and charged top price for! You just keep snapping and learning - the ones that give you grief are for the most part wanna be's and if presented with a real challenge would run the other way - try sitting in a pirogue for 9 hours waiting on the correct light for a shot in a sw& full of insects and humidity that is a constant 90% for a few images - then tell me your a real photographer!]
Wedding photographers are well paid. When people are well paid they tend to become arrogant. I ask this question to you how many times have you been forced to look at highly paid costly wedding pictures of your friends and have thought to yourself. They paid that much for this?
I think a person who loves photogrraphy can do as well as many of the well paid pros who love marketing and are good at it.
I agree with you, everyone does start at a point with less experience. Had you stated in your original post that you were a backup photographer, the reply you received would probably have been much different from Larry. I am surprised though that the photgrapher that you work with had not given you suggestions of his own to your question, or perhaps you wanted other photographers point of view from this forum. The way you phrased your question, to me at least, gave a sense that it was coming from a novice.
The reponse Larry gave is one that every new wedding photgrapher should take heed, as weddings are a very serious matter. He merely was trying to help out by pointing the seriousness of wedding photgraphy (and saving you from the Mother In Law wrath that comes with it).
To be very blunt, with over 40 years of photography under my belt, I still refuse to be the main photographer at friends and families weddings. I play a support part totaly independant from the photgrapher being paid. And to those that do it as their main regime in photography, I take my hat off to you. I would rather make my income in a less stressfull mannor.
Well said Paul. The Mother In Law factor never leaves in my experiences...lol What is not being said here is almost as important as what has been IMHO. To go out and shoot a wedding (back-up or main photographer) requires a certain eye for composition to be successful - the real job is only about 1/4 finished at that point - the other 3/4 concerns editing the images for whatever application you will be utilizing the images for [IE: Large Format Prints, Wedding Albums, Display on web or other screen resolution application]. With a little luck and a keen eye most anyone can get the shots that will really count [standard poses] - but the editing has to be top rate for a project to be finished. A good photographer will spend much more time editing the images as opposed to shooting them in most cases and he/she must use some creativity to present the images in a format that will be pleasing to the client. This could be anything from rendering an image to a sepia tone or a Black & White silver fine art print from a digital file to cropping an image for placement in a Wedding Album collage. This is the area where most photographers let a client down, he/she can shoot the most technically correct images on the planet and if they are not edited properly you still have not done the very things the client places most stock in... PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING! Keith
> I wanted to try to respond in a way that would upset no one but entice a > bit of mentoring and comraderie.
Felix is right. We all have to learn somewhere, somehow and thank goodness he wants to learn! I would like to believe that if I wanted to tackle a difficult job of any kind that was foreign to me that I could get some good advice from fellow pros instead of condescending lectures. Yet I knew where the response was coming from. There are far too many people hanging shingles out these days calling themselves photographers who don't even have a clue what an f-stop is and more importantly, they don't care!!! It's mind-boggling. And this is really hurting the business of serious wedding photographers doing good work. It's a tough business and the ones I know I hold in the highest regard because they are great technicians and magicians in dealing with MOBs! (grin) I couldn't handle the stress!
But you also can't become a 'real' photographer by sitting in a sw& with mosquitos for long periods of time. That's no more real than someone who takes a split second shot of an historic event that lands on the cover of Newsweek. The 'time' involved in taking a shot is irrelevant. The feeling an image evokes is what we all strive for, dream of, and sometimes achieve. That is the ultimate test of what sets a great photographer apart from the others in my humble opinion. Ansel Adams said he merely wanted to make an image that 'felt' like it 'looked' to him. He said that Alfred Stieglitz told him that making a photograph was like making love. Making a photograph comes from within. Taking a photograph is task-oriented. Learning these techniques make our work, our art real.
It is essential to learn the basics of our craft. And I try to do everything I can to encourage new digital enthusiasts to get the basics from a good program under their belt if they have a serious interest in our field. Our fellow photographers should be our peers, our students, our mentors, our friends, our teachers... not our worst critics. There is a saying 'each one, teach one.' We would do more for our craft, ourselves, and each other if we would remember this and act accordingly.
Jill I agree with most of what you said - I do take issue with the statement that sitting in a sw& for 9 hours under the conditions that are common there will not make you a better photographer... then you mention my idol Ansel Adams who packed a 40 pound camera and tripod up many of the peaks in the western USA and sat for hours waiting as most light chasers do. I spend more time with my camera than most people do - I use it as a tool and have tried to learn everything I can about it technically. What do you think I am doing the 9 hours I am waiting... twiddling my thumbs? I paddle considerable distances often c&ing because to get to an area in the time frame to shoot is not feasible, during the trip I have one thing on my mind and that is shooting awesome images that truly reflect the surroundings (That can't help but to make you a better photographer any way you look at it) - Being in the right place at the right time has more to do with photography than most photographers will ever admit. I have seen award winning shots produced from a throw away point and shoot film camera shot by an ER Nurse who could not tell you what a F stop is - so to discount the fact that a snap in the right time is not a huge part of photography only proves to me that you have not totally indulged yourself in the craft! The point I was eluding to with that statement was that the more time you spend with the tools you are using benefits you immensely whether it is in the comfort of a studio or location shoot out of the weather and elements or in the sw&s dealing with them! Studio situation can be controlled and when you are at the liberty of Mother Nature you have to know how to offset certain problematic situations you never will encounter in a studio! To me and most people I associate with (pro photographers) it is an invaluable tool in learning - maybe you missed something in the translation? Keith
Excellent! That is the way to do it. Working with an experienced shooter can teach you much of what you need to know. Certainly one of the best ways to start.
I was not trying to discourage you from photography, but rather showing the pitfalls of diving in over your head into an emotionally charged pool. I could not possibly even approach the discouragement you would feel if you took on a wedding on your own, and failed.
Wedding photography is a very specific specialty, and working as a backup is a great way to learn. I would recommend that you try to work with quite a number of photographers if you can. Try to build a rapport with them, so they will be open to conversation off the shoot. Much can be learned through talking to experienced shooters.
As I indicated in the previous message there are many approaches to wedding photography. Those about to get married should take the time to shop around and find the shooter or studio that has the approach they want. Any wedding photographer worth using will take the time to show a portfolio and discuss not only the range of services, but their philosophy of wedding photography. For the bride, the choice of photographer is only second to the choice of groom! ;-)
Again, the choice of equipment will be dictated by the approach one takes to the task. For someone coming out of the more formal style with film - using Mamiya RZ67s in the studio and Mamiya7II cameras in the field - the move to digital would likely be either to a digital back on a medium-format body, or to the Canon 1Ds which is built on a 35mm camera chassis, but is much more akin to medium format in every other way, including a 16.6MP resolution CMOS sensor that produces images very much like medium format film images.
With a digital back, zoom lenses are few, so the choice would probably be a moderate wide angle for groups, a normal lens for most candids and a moderately long lens for formal portraits. The actual focal lengths would depend upon the size of the sensor, but in 35mm terms they would probably be equivalent to a 28mm/35mm wide angle, a 50mm/60mm normal and an 85mm/135mm moderate tele for the portraits and for use in the church. Some film might be also used.
On the other hand, someone taking a photojournalist's approach, would likely carry a considerably expanded arsenal of glass and a Nikon D2X body - the choice would depend a lot on how the individual shooter works. There would almost certainly be a top quality wide to moderate tele or wide to normal zoom and another with a bit of overlap and extending to perhaps 200mm. The first would be for use outside the church and at the reception with flash. For churches that allow photography during the ceremony, a very fast lens in the 200mm to 300mm equivalent focal length would be ideal for closeups of the couple without intruding. Were I doing it with film, I would also always carry my f-1.8 105mm lens - perfect for getting a somewhat wider view.
On the other hand, a Nikon CP8800 would be a lovely camera for church, since it is silent and has image stabilization built in. If rumour is to be believed, Nikon is about to announce its successor with the APS-sized Sony sensor. With the low noise and added sensitivity, along with a wide-angle to extreme telephoto zoom, it could be ideal for in-church photography. The big problem with the CP8800 is its lack of high sensitivity coupled to a rather slow lens at telephoto settings.
The D70 is a great camera with which to learn. The field of view is the same as that of the D2X so lenses would work identically. The weakness of the D70 is primarily in its construction - it is built for hobby shooters and it will break far sooner than the DX2. The D2X CMOS Nikon-designed sensor provides a very smooth, film-like image with double the pixels of the D70.
Learn the D70 to the point that you never have to fumble to make a change of settings. Go through the manual - page by page, every page - with the camera in hand and actually shoot with the feature being described. Don't go to the next topic until you are clear and familiar with the current. Once you have done the whole manual, don't expect to remember everything. Now use all your spare moments to shoot with it. After a few weeks of frequent shooting, once again go through the manual and review everything. With the experience you have gained, stuff that may not have been clear in the beginning will be clear this time.
Learning photography is no more difficult that learning to be a musician, and the approach is much the same. Daily practice for life with the occasional concert or shoot thrown in. NEVER try anything on a shoot that you have not perfected in practice. It is the time between shoots when you expand your vocabulary of techniques and familiarity with equipment. The idea is to reach a degree of fluency that you never have to think about technique on a shoot. Between shoots, you can take chances that you could not afford to take when others are depending upon your results.
Practice and testing is everything. Shooting weddings or anything else that can not be reshot, good technique is just the prerequisite. Groping for technique gets in the way of photographic seeing. No one chooses a photographer because they are technically competent - that is a given. It is your vision that sets you apart. Great technique is never visible, but poor technique overpowers even great content. Fluency lets you concentrate on making great images.
Secondly, while most film photographers used outside labs, Photoshop has become an integral part of the digital photography workflow. Not only does it let the shooter fully achieve their vision, shooting and processing become one and the same. What you do on location relates directly to what you do in the digital darkroom. I did a shoot a few months back under the most difficult of conditions, and planned precisely how I would work on location to achieve the images upon returning. This level of coordination allowed me to get almost "impossible" quality under these conditions. Photoshop is not for correcting your errors, though that is part of its capability, but rather the prime tool for achieving exactly what you pre-visualized.
Ask questions - but think how you phrase them. Had you said you were starting as a backup shooter in your first message, I would have given you this answer and any follow-up you need instead of hitting the panic button. Please feel free to follow up with further questions. I have a bunch of tutorials and tips on my web site as well, that may help you and I write on a regular basis in a number of forums.
I shoot a lot of weddings, with my wife using our D70s as a 2nd camera (lighter and easier for her to handle instead of my D2x.
The lenses that I use---for the faint of heart, these "ain't" cheap, but then again neither is a Porsche------buy a 12-24mm wide angle, you may need it for groupies, especially on a short stage. Also get as a minimum an f/2.8 (use the 17-55mm) and get the 70-200 mm VR (for receptions, low light, for stealth getting those candids.
The way we get around the mother and mother-in-law from hell problem is not too difficult. We arrange a meeting of both families and make sure that our personalities are perfectly compatible. We don't take just any engaged couple that comes in our door. We are extremely picky about who we contract with and only those families with outgoing personalities that can mesh with ours do we choose. There are certain professions that we avoid like the plague (but I won't mention, since there are exceptions, and it may come back to haunt me).
I hope that this info gets back to and helps that fellow who asked the question last week, since I deleted his original question.
> The way we get around the mother and mother-in-law from hell problem > is not too difficult. We arrange a meeting of both families and make > sure that our personalities are perfectly compatible. We don't take > just any engaged couple that comes in our door. We are extremely picky > about who we contract with and only those families with outgoing > personalities that can mesh with ours do we choose.
No one wants to lose a client - in any profession - but sometimes it is necessary for the mental health of all concerned. If the chemistry is off, no matter how well you perform your services, you will never satisfy. Better the client becomes your competition's problem.
> Wedding photographers are well paid. When people are well paid they > tend to become arrogant. I ask this question to you how many times > have you been forced to look at highly paid costly wedding pictures of > your friends and have thought to yourself. They paid that much for > this?
Which is precisely the reason for taking the time to shop with care to find the photographer to produce the images and presentation you want. The product does not exist until the wedding is over, and there are no reshoots. It is not enough to go with someone's recommendation or grabbing a name at random out of the telephone directory. The customer is buying the skills and talent of the shooter, in order that the product may follow and be what was wanted.
Engage the wrong shooter and it is money down the drain. Take the time to get to know who will be working with you. Meet them, see their work, pick their brain. Again, choosing the right shooter is the key to satisfaction.
> > I think a person who loves photogrraphy can do as well as many of the > well paid pros who love marketing and are good at it.
Absolutely - but the same criteria holds. If you are going to use the services of an enthusiast, make sure they have the competence, experience and above all compatibility with what you want in wedding photography.
> Fire away and enjoy yourself.
And do not DARE fail in any way. With wedding photography, there are no reshoots.