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Photographing My First Wedding

From Frequently Asked Questions at ATP

Photographing My First Wedding

Photographing My First Wedding - Help Needed

Q.

I just read wedding photo tips for amateurs. I've been asked by a friend if I can be her photographer next month. I have a Kodak Easyshare DX6490, 4.0 Mega pixels with 10 X Optical zoom. Do you have any other helpful hints?

A.

If you are being paid for it I would be a little concerned if that camera is your only piece of kit. At the end of the day it is the photographer and his/her skills that make a good photo. However, you might be a little restricted as to what you can get from that camera.

If you are not being paid and are shooting the wedding as a favour, it might not be so bad.

In either case, I would explain to your friend that you are not a professional. Let them know that the images may not be up to the same standard that a professional photographer may get (ARE you a professional?).

The reason pros use the kit they do for weddings is this:

  • 1
    High end DSLR or Medium format film camera: Have low noise or "grain" in dark areas with high ISO such as the church and more manual features for creativity and dealing with tough situations.
  • 2
    DSLR with 8mp or above: More megapixels mean that you have more room to play with. With a larger image file you can compress and reduce the file size to kill some "noise". You are able to crop a bit of the image away and still get a highly printable photograph. 4mp is right on the edge.
  • 3
    Pricey, quality lenses: You get what you pay for and these produce cleaner, clearer images with excellent colour reproduction. They also have constant fast apertures of around F2.8 or higher for dark areas where faster shutter speeds are needed.
  • 4
    Off camera, dedicated speedlight: These produce more power when needed and tend to work a lot better that on camera flash units. You have a lot more manual features and creative ability with a dedicated off camera flash.

If you are definitely going to shoot the wedding with that camera, my advice is this;

  • Have plenty of media storage (SD cards) available and take lots of images!
  • Set the camera to shutter priority and set the shutter speed to 125th-200th/sec minimum. This will ensure that auto mode doesn't set a slow shutter speed meaning camera shake and blurred images when things get hectic.
  • Depending on the weather, set the ISO to around 200 and leave it there. If it is really gloomy, set it to 400-800.
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    Get a tripod and use it…especially in the church if they are getting wed in a church.
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    Try not to use the full extent of the zoom too much…get physically closer if you can. It will prevent camera shake when off the tripod.
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    If it is bright and sunny outside, keep the flash on all the time to "fill in".
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    Have spare batteries, SD cards and a back up camera if you can.
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    Enjoy it!
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