Help out a photo slacker

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  • nocomply

    I'm shooting my friend's wedding on Friday and I need some advice. I've been so busy with work I haven't had a chance to practice my portraits as much as I would have liked and I'm scurrrred.

    Here's my equipment and my game plan.

    Canon rebel XT w/ stock kit lens (18-55mm)
    Canon 430ex flash
    Borrowed Canon 30D as a back-up. (I know it's better but I am not comfortable with it)

    I am going to be shooting an outdoors from around 4:30-7:30pm. I plan on setting my camera to aperture priority mode, using the flash when necessary, shooting in RAW, and generally just taking a shit-ton of photos to make sure I get a few good ones. I am going to have plenty of memory cards, extra batteries, and my laptop on hand to dump the photos on to.

    I know at least some of you guys have done this stuff before. What else do I need to know?

  • ismith0

    Don't be timid.

  • ethanfink0

    rent a faster and higher quality lens... a 2.8 or lower.

    also, you want a medium range lens like 70mm on the 30d, these will produce good portraits. wide angle produces very distorted features, like long noses, necks, etc... ha

    flash is important. you have bounce cards, and other accessories to dim the harsh light?

  • nicnichols0

    Do you have access to anything longer then the 55mm? During the service, you'll be pretty far away... and for other tight shots from a distance, just so you are not right up on them..

    I would dig up a 80-200mm 2.8 if you can..

  • bananaman0

    Brain dump

    - You need to beg/borrow/steal a better lens. 17-85 would be good or a fast prime lens. If not, putting your lens to 55mm will be alright for portraits and you might get some depth of field if you have enough light. Portraits are usually better at 70-80mm. 18mm might be too wide - but maybe good for a nice, all encompassing crowd shot.
    - You need to set your aperture as wide as possible.
    - If it's getting dark, push up the ISO to keep shutter speed fast (and hence reduce blur).
    - To stop the flash being so harsh, wrap tissue paper over the built-in flash and sellotape into place - giving a more diffused light (nicer photos).
    - If you're going to shoot RAW, shoot RAW+HiJPG. Hi JPG is usually okay and means you won't have to process RAW.
    - Better to underexpose than overexpose (use Adobe Lightroom free trial afterwards to sweeten up the photos).
    - Think about each photo - the framing and subject - candid shots are always best
    - Don't worry about being the camera dude, keep snapping and about 10mins later no-one will care.
    - Have fun

  • bolus0

    rent a better/faster lense, 70mm or so as ethan said... and quickly learn how to use fill flash optimally

  • Meeklo0

    yeah, I have the same camera and lens, and I think you need to get a longer lens, not sure if you are still in san diego, but you could try

    university and 30th.
    (make sure you have a quick snack at rancho's across the street too)

    good luck!

    • actually my camera is an older version of yours, but the lens is the same.Meeklo
  • nocomply0

    Hey thanks guys. Seems like everyone is saying I need a better/longer lens.

    I do have a couple of old Canon lenses from the pre-digital era I can use:

    Tamron 28-128ish zoom lens
    Tamron 100-300 zoom lens

    Both of these were made non-digital so I got the conversion factor of 1.6 to deal with I believe, which could actually be helpful for portraits. Neither lens is very fast. We're talking max aperatures in the 3's and 4's.

    Should I go with the Tamron 28-128 as my primary lens?

    I'm also a little confused on what to do to diffuse the flash. I bought a cheap plastic diffuser cover, but when I used it the one time I got to practice the results seemed too dark. Does that thing just suck? Trying some tissue paper sounds like it might be just what I need. Maybe I'll give that a shot.

    Would you guys be using the fill flash on every shot? Or only when necessary because there is not enough natural light? The flash is probably the part freaking me out the most. When I do take photos I usually shoot architecture/landscapes. Never used a "real" flash before.

    Rehearsal is tonight so I'm going to bring all my gear and make sure to get a lot of practice shots in.

    Thanks so much for all of the help thus far!

  • omgitsacamera0

    I'd get a 2.8 lens at least.

    5POFF might still work as a coupon.

    • Kick-Ass customer service and i think they can do fedex overnight.omgitsacamera
  • technikiller0

    Get comfortable with that 30d. Rent two fast lenses, its going to be dark – so at least 2.8s at like 200mm and something like a 24mm+ zoom for the close stuff. I would only shoot RAW – with Lightroom, its nearly as fast as using just jpg, and you can shoot higher ISO with less noise.
    Get a diffuser for your flash.
    Don't shoot wide open for the wedding party shots, you definitely want everyone in focus.
    Remember, your are essentially doing this for the Bride, if she's happy, thats all that matters. That being said, take a ton of pics of her to increase the likelihood of getting a good one. And don't miss the parts with her daddy.
    Good luck.

  • MikeColdFusion0

    Yeah, tons of pics of the bride.

    And I also agree with getting the faster lens. I heard a horror story of a dark church and a nervous amateur photographer who was a friend of the bride. Long story made short: all of the shots of the bride walking down the aisle were total garbage due to camera shake.