Saturday, May 1, 2010

First wedding shoot done!

My first wedding shoot is done and I am currently uploading the pics to my computer so no pics. I did however want to record my impressions of the day while they are still fresh in my mind. (The impressions are fresh however my mind and body are quite pooped).

First of I really really want to thank my wife for her help. She performed admirably as a MILS. (Mobile Intelligent Light Stand). Actually that was the least of her contributions. She gave me confidence in my abilities when I doubted myself. She pointed out things for me to shoot and gave ideas on how to shoot. She thought of things to bring like blankets which turned out to be brilliant. (12 degrees isn't bad but you are wearing a sleeveless dress? Chilly!) She has that remarkable attention to detail that most women seem to have.

I was able to go to the rehearsal which was great. I was able to speak to the gentleman who was handling the music and he was able to get me some more light. I did a few test shots without the lights on and I was shooting wide open (f/1.8 on my 50mm) and 3200 ISO and I still couldn't get a decent shutter speed. With the lights on I was able to shoot at around 1000 ISO with no problems so it made a huge different.

I know photographers don't normally go to the rehearsal but it really helped me out. I was able to know the sequence of events and where everyone was going to be coming in from and where they were going to stand. It also gave me an opportunity to figure where the heck I was supposed to go.

No one ever tells you that sort of thing by the way. Here's how to pose them. Here's how to light them for the formals. But for the actual ceremony? No chance. Its something you have to figure out yourself. The biggest concern I had was getting the shots I wanted without blocking the view of the ceremony.  While I might have buzzed all over the place hopefully it was as a fly on the wall.

The gear? Very nice. I rented an extra body and a 24-70 mm f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8.  An extra body was a must I think. True, I didn't shoot nearly as much with the 70-200 as I did with the 24-70 however there was no way I was going to be able to switch lenses that quickly. For some of the procession shots I would shoot with the telephoto and then drop that body to my side (thank God for the Black Rapid strap!) and grab the other camera and start shooting again with the wide angle.

Speaking of the telephoto. That sucker was heavy. In an attempt to lay back and get my shots from further away I ended up using it a lot for long (or what seemed to be long) stretches. My arm would tire and my hand would start shaking.

There were some tricks I tried out and some I figured out. The first one was one of the cooler ones. My friend Sig is often hard to photograph because he always seems to have his eyes closed or closing. One trick I read about was to have them look down and then after a count of three look at that camera all the while keeping your eyes open. It worked really well. Nice big open eyes without having a crazy surprised look.

One problem I had which I came up with a trick for was getting everyone looking at the camera.  Kids especially seem look every where which of course is what kids do.  I had everyone actually point at me and look where they were pointing. When they put their hands down everyone was looking right at the camera. It was amazing! Not sure if it was fluke or this brilliant idea I came up with is anything new or not but I am going to put it in my bag of tricks for future shoots.

What else? I learned you have to move and shoot very quickly. Everything happens quickly regardless of how slow people try to do things. Kids get impatient as do their parents. Heck I wouldn't want to sit around watching a guy fiddle with the controls on his camera either.  Again, the two camera system for the ceremony was a god send. My wife helped keep things moving quickly and efficiently for the formals.

Some final thoughts. It was a great day and I couldn't have asked for a better couple to work with. Devon and Brenda were so much fun and had so much energy it made my job so much easier. Clearly, the two are in love with other and I hope the images I took today reflect that.

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