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My first wedding (assisting/second shooting) - few thoughts

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by NickCyprus, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Following my earlier thread
    Like a sheep led to the slaughter - Anxiety caught on me
    I want to report that in the end everything went ok (given the circumstances) with no major dramas and I sure had a lot of fun and gained some very important knowledge :D

    This thread is to share some thoughts about how I, as a beginner at wedding photography, dealt with it and how to A7/lenses worked for me, so I hope some will find it interesting.

    For this first part I'm gonna concentrate on how my gear worked (or didn't) and what I would like if I ever do it again.
    The second part will be some thoughts about the different sections of the wedding (from the dressing of the groom/bride to the final party).
    The third part will hopefully be sharing some photos/examples - I actually handed the memory card to the photographer (because the photos belong to him technically) and when he hands them back and get approval to post some, I'll surely do!

    I'd like to give special thanks to my good friend @Alex_Apo@Alex_Apo who literally saved me and lend me his Sigma 60 2.8! So thank you very much Alex ;)

    I believe I did ok, from what I only seen from the camera screen. Having said that, when viewing the images to the computer it might be a whole different thing though...
    I'm very curious to see what the photos look like and also what the photographer thinks...
     
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  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Camera settings wise, in the end I decided to go with Single Shot drive mode, AF-S, Flexible spot L, Manual mode, auto WB and multi metering mode.

    AF-S and Flexible spot work great for me since my initial tests with AF-C and Wide (and also Smile/Face detect) prove to make the camera confused and where to focus and lock making it unpredictable and unreliable to me. I was able to change my focus point pretty quick with flexible spot although a dedicated joystick would have been faster. The A7’s poor tracking capabilities are noted here – if I had an A7-II/R-II or an a6000/a6300 I would definitely work with focus tracking!

    With single shot drive mode (and 2 sec preview) I was able to instantly take a second photo with a gently half press of the shutter when something didn’t work (which happened a lot) as opposed to continuous shooting that would make the buffer fill and lag the camera (“writing to card” warning).


    Gear wise, I used my 70-200 f/4 G for the dressing of the groom/bride (16:00-18:00) which worked great since this was mostly outdoors on a (very hot) evening and just for a few (low light) shots with my MD 50 1.4 (indoors but with A/C :D ). I also used the two for some close up shots of the clothes/accessories. I was mostly free to photograph whatever I like but my role here was to photograph the groom and bride from a different distance than the main photographer (the first one I believe used an ART 35 1.4) and also the guests from a distance. The second photographer was either using an 24-70 - or an 70-200 when he saw that I had some pretty nice angles with mine :D

    I also took a few family/friend group shots behind the main photographer again with the 70-200 f4 G.


    For the church decoration (indoors and outdoors) I used my MD 50 1.4 again which worked great for it shallow depth of field and bokeh and only took 4-5 shots of the church building with the MD24-35 @24mm (unfortunately due to planning not going…well, as planned, the time was very limiting but fortunately the main photographer had already arranged those shots beforehand).


    For the ceremony at the church (19:00-20:30), I also used the 3 lenses mentioned above (70-200/50/24-35) but 90% were with the 70-200 which worked ok. Again my role was photographing from a distance (couple and guests) but the main photographer once asked me to take specifically portraits of the parents. I used the 70-200 wide open but due to the church not being well lit (and it was also quite late in the afternoon) I had to bump my ISO I think to 800. At least I didn’t had to lower much the shutter speed (1/100-1/250) since there wasn’t any very fast action going on. This is where a 70-200 f/2.8 lens would definitely come handy since I wasn’t using a flash too.

    I used the MD24-35 for some low angle wide shots behind the couple and for some shots from high above including some of the church interior.


    Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take good shots of the groom’s or bride’s arrival due to time constrains again and that’s something I feel sorry for also because the main photographer assigned me that role (not exclusively though fortunately)


    At the reception/hotel (21:00), I was assigned to photograph the decoration/food/table/details which I achieved (with success I want to believe) with my trusty MD 50 wide open at 1.4 or f/2 with its beautiful bokeh!


    Things got really difficult at the party!(21:30-12:00) Outdoors with basically no lights except for the DJ’s desk/dance lights L The 70-200 f4 G was useless :( Even bumping ISO to 6400 (3200 being the max I can personally tolerate) wide open at f4, I would have to lower the shutter speed a lot which wouldn't work for such fast action going on. So, I used @Alex_Apo@Alex_Apo Sigma 60mm 2.8 90% of the time, ISO3200 wide open at 2.8, and my shutter at 1/125 or less (which probably will get me some out of focus photos since there’s a lot of action going on – we shall see). Still, photos were -0,3-0,7 underexposed but I had to balance with all I had. Alex really saved my day!!!
    With no flash, I think even a 2.8 70-200 would not work. You need fast primes for these or flash.

    Also used the MD 50 1.4 a little but no AF is difficult at these situations…

    Definitely need a flash for this type. Only in the end I discovered that I could have used a flash! The main photographer was using a set of 3 Yongnuo’s that he asked me to mount the trigger on the hotshoe of my A7 out of curiosity – and it worked!!! He showed me flash a bit. I was able to lower the ISO to 640-800 and keep the shutter at 1/100. Too bad it was time for me to leave as the event was coming to its end. Next time I’ll know ;)


    I didn't for once used the Nex-6 (or the 16-50) or the fe28-70 (the latter one being a surprise for me). I totally forgot to bring the MD35-70 :D


    I used a 32gb cf card and took about 700 shots total (only RAW) but I kept shooting at single shot drive mode. What surprised me is I used 3 batteries (change them at 10% remaining power, airplane mode and all) which sounds a lot for only 700 shots :confused-69:. I took 5 with me and when I saw my first battery going empty just at the beginning of the wedding (grooms dressing) I surely felt afraid...:D

    So one thing to note first is the battery life of the A7. Bring batteries....lots of them :D I always had a spare in my pocket so I can changed them fast. Or either get a battery grip.


    The lenses I would need if I wanted to attempt something similar would be definitely a fast 50mm (I’m opting for the zeiss 55mm 1.8 –next of my buying list - for its affordable price, great IQ and fast AF rather than the very expensive new 50mm 1.4 or the poor AF 50 1.8).

    Maybe also a fast 85mm (no way I’m spending that much for the GM 85 1.4 so its either the Batis 85 1.8 or the 90 Macro 2.8 G- opinions?)

    A 16-35 would be nice but only for certain type of shots so I don’t know. A fast 35mm too but the Zeiss 35 1.4 is very expensive, the Art I don’t think it AFs fast (?) and I think the Zeiss 35 2.8 is rather slow for this type of event.

    The 28mm f/2 should be nice because its fast and not very expensive. A dedicated macro lens for the close ups/macro shots but you can do that for cheap either with extension tubes (that’s what the main photographer was using btw or with an old mf legacy macro lens)

    A 2.8 70-200/24-70 combo is a no brainer but no way I have the funds for the GM’s nor I want to lug around some much weight and bulk.

    Certainly, the most important accessory I need is a flash! There were times where I could use my existing gear if I had some light assist so that’s definitely my no.1 priority.

    I’m also getting a Peak Design Capture clip because its so convenient for carrying and changing lenses on the go.


    Am I going to do it again? If asked, hell yeah! I had a great time, fun times, spend my time with great people, learned a lot and gained experience! I returned home at 01:00 (about 45 min drive) and wasn’t feeling tired at all – nothing – even if I was standing from 16:00.

    Hope he likes some of my photos and asks me to join them again. I’ll keep you posted ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Good to hear it all went well :bravo-009:
     
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  4. SamSS

    SamSS TalkEmount Regular

    166
    Oct 11, 2014
    I'm glad that you made it through.
    Next Saturday I'm shooting a charity event totally indoor at a Chinese restaurant that has entertainment, auction, food and plenty of people. Unlike before, this time I'm the main shooter well prepared and knowing what's to expect.
     
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  5. pbizarro

    pbizarro TalkEmount Veteran

    354
    Nov 24, 2014
    Portugal
    Glad to hear you were more or less ok.
    I told you about the flash:)
     
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  6. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Yes you did :D
    I could have loaned a cheap trigger and use his flashes afterall... Next time I'll know :)
     
  7. soeren

    soeren TalkEmount Top Veteran

    651
    Dec 12, 2014
    Næstved, Denmark
    Soeren
    Went back and read it all, the original thread too. Very interesting, good info and a good story, thanks

    Vaquely related but interesting and informative.

     
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  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Thanks for that detailed rundown, Nick. You've just reinforced my aversion to ever, ever do anything of the sort. :laugh:
     
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  9. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    Firstly. I'm glad everything basically went well Nick. :2thumbs:
    When I first read your post, I was tempted to mention the flash because it is needed even when shooting fast primes. It just sounded like you didn't have an opportunity to get a flash, so I chose not to make you sweat about something you can't fix.
    For the record, I never formally shot a wedding, but I do shoot some of my kids functions in similar venues. School dances, graduation etc. Without a flash you will leave a lot to be desired because of the shutter speeds required to freeze action. Most pros will have both on and off camera flashes. So start saving your bread for next time. :)
     
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  10. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Thanks Gary!
    Definitely getting a flash next and already started saving for a 55mm 1.8 ;)
     
  11. Alex_Apo

    Alex_Apo TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Jul 18, 2015
    Cyprus
    Well done Nick :thumbup: Glad everything went well!!!
    As for the lens, I am glad to help. Anytime!!
    Now for the flash we had again discussed in the past but probably will not remember. You can use flash from any company and just work it manually.
    Remember me using a nikon sb-700 ;)
    12068495_10208306321198556_706405582710247009_o.
    ( My suggestion for a small budget is a Yongnuo 560 iii). Also i can lend you triggers :)
     
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  12. SamSS

    SamSS TalkEmount Regular

    166
    Oct 11, 2014
    Nick, I would recommend the Godox V860II-S for Sony.
    Around $150, it has lithium-ion battery for very quick recycling time which is very important for shooting at events.
    This Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 TTL is the exact as the Godox listed above from Adorama.
    A full charge would probably lasts a whole night.
     
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  13. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Thanks @Alex_Apo@Alex_Apo -yeah now I remember talking about the flash but at that time with all the things happening so fast, I forgot it :D

    @SamSS@SamSS that's exactly the flash I'm going for!!! I also looked at the Godox tt685s but I do believe the only difference is the smaller AA batteries?
     
  14. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    488
    Nov 21, 2014
    I have both the tt685s and the v860iis and the v860iis is well worth the premium. Battery lasts forever, doesn't leak power when off and recycle times are at least twice as fast. You can shoot continuous low non- stop on the A7rii with the v860iis at 1/4 power...


    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount mobile app
     
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  15. soeren

    soeren TalkEmount Top Veteran

    651
    Dec 12, 2014
    Næstved, Denmark
    Soeren
    Well the TT685 can hook up with the large power packs like the ad360 and 180 use. Ofcourse that's an extra weight to haul around.
     
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  16. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    488
    Nov 21, 2014
    True but those power packs are not exactly cheap and even if you have an ad360/180 you need a different lead (CX) for the tt685s

    The battery that the V860iis uses has exactly the same specs as the Godox PB820 battery pack.
     
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  17. soeren

    soeren TalkEmount Top Veteran

    651
    Dec 12, 2014
    Næstved, Denmark
    Soeren
    Yes and the PB960(4500mAH) is about the same price as the TT685S. Just thought Id mention it since it could be of importance to some.
     
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  18. SamSS

    SamSS TalkEmount Regular

    166
    Oct 11, 2014
    That's right. Go for the Lithim-Ion and you won't regret.
    If you must, opt for the AA later on if you want a secondary flash.
     
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  19. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Looks like the v860iis is the way to go then :)
    But its about 100euro more (both with the X1T-S transmitters) so I'll see how much I can stretch my budget ;)
     
  20. nidza

    nidza TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Nov 1, 2013
    Serbia
    I've been in your skin quite a few times, and must admit, however Sony is more and more capable in every possible way, for a quick reporter-like shooting I would not use Sony. :) I would use Nikon FX, as it was my previous system. I had D700, and even with cheap FX lenses it worked great, focused great in low light conditions.

    Sony (A7ii of mine) is okay, but it is not great. Can be done, but will be a bit frustrating.

    What is the most important skill on weddings is not all about the gear, but your ability to influence the situation. Yes, photographer has the right to influence situation and to put some action "on hold". Meaning, it is okay to come to agreement with the newlyweds that they also cooperate and from time to time exaggerate the situation. At the end, many of such a partially staged scenes can be most favorite photos. If it is a bit bigger wedding, two cameras simply cannot cover everything, so cooperation is essential.

    I am sure they will be very happy with the photographs. Believe me, when I read your text I feel your responsibility and enthusiasm, you were all into it, and this will be seen on those photos, I am 100% sure.
     
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