(Closed) I know amature photogs “shouldn’t” do weddings, BUT….

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
1000 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Hmm, tough call on renting the better camera. There would be a little transition if you did. I feel like the biggest thing you would need a better camera for would be the reception so you could use some of the ISO and preserve the natural light. Also receptions are pretty much the same or similar settings the whole night through, so one option would be to just use it then so you have plenty of time to tinker with the settings til it’s right, then stick with it. Just throwing it out there, also depends what the bride wants to spend on rentals.

As far as the lenses go, I would just rent a nice 24-70mm F2.8 (not kit) and a 70-200mm, which is important because it will allow you to stay a good distance from the proceedings and not be disruptive. As for a flash, SB800 or SB900 maybe? Whatever you feel comfortable with. Also, maybe some cheap macro filters for details is a thought.

I wish you luck!

Post # 4
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

An absolute must-have for portrait shots (which I’m sure you’ll be taking many of) is a good macro lens, like the 100mm f/2.8, and if you aren’t using a tripod, I’d say to get it with IS. You might want to get a wide angle too, for taking in the scenery and groups of people.

I once shot a wedding with a point and shoot. Yikes!


Post # 5
2271 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Quite frankly, I liked many pics taken by my guests better than the photographers!  I have no advice except maybe to go to the site beforehand and take some practice shots if at all possible.

Post # 6
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

My first wedding I was only asked because I had a DSLR & had experience with photography. I don’t think I had even been to a wedding before this either. I researched A LOT on google, went onto flickr.com & looked up weddings there. You said you’re not a pro, but have you been playing around with photography? Done any portraits? I recommend taking pics outside of maybe their engagement pics to get a feel of how the wedding would be. I would just use your own equipment for that thou.

Renting equipment: If you really know your XT, than you may not have a problem with renting equipment. I wouldn’t rent a Mark camera body because I believe those are full frame & you can’t use the same lenses as you can on your XT plus I believe its much more advanced & everything is completely manual (no preset modes). I may be wrong, but that’s what I’ve researched. I would go with the 7D. Go to your local photography store & look around at camera bodies. I think walmart & target & bestbuy all sell canon DSLR so I’d highly recommend looking & picking them up in person before renting.

I recommend renting better quality lenses over the camera body. I’ve taken pics with the kit lens & then used a pro quality lens & I could definately tell the difference. I also used the same lens on both my cameras & I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two unless I went into sizes over 8x12s & such.

Make sure that you have backup batteries along with your rental camera. Bring BOTH cameras to the wedding, back up equipment is important!

Also, what type of card is used to save the pics? Is it a CF card or an SD card? You’ll want a few of whatever card type you need. Its best to get a few 2GB cards over 1 8GB card (just in case the card fails, its best to have it split up between cards).

Great website for comparing Canons (side by side) & also with reviews


EDIT: You likely won’t need flash if you’re outdoors, so you can save money there. With flash, you need walls or something to bounce off of. You don’t want to use the flash that’s built into your camera. If you don’t know about flash & haven’t really used it, than its probably going to be difficult to learn it in a short amount of time. Keep in mind, if there’s bad weather the wedding could be moved indoors & so you might want to practice the flash just in case?

Post # 7
5984 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1999

@kate – I don’t have any advice for you, as I only take pics for fun.  I just wanted to tell you that your super sweet to help out!!  Cheers!

Post # 9
1251 posts
Bumble bee

I shot my cousins wedding as a wedding gift, and I just have a lower-entry level Nikon DSLR. She also would have had no photographs had I not shot it. 

I wish I would have also had them printed, because I recommended a pro-lab to my aunt, but instead she had them printed on cheap ass glossy paper at Wal-Mart.

Post # 10
739 posts
Busy bee

Definitely get more CF cards and shoot on RAW. I would also invest in extra batteries too. I would definitely rent something long enough to play around with it for a couple of days before the shoot. You don’t want to miss moments because you are trying to figure out how to do something with the camera. I second on 24-70 and 70-200. L series if you can swing it, those are the best. My fav place to rent is lensprotogo.com their prices are pretty great and shipping to and from is included in the price.

Post # 11
1405 posts
Bumble bee

In addition to the advice above, here are my comnments:

The 24-70 is an awesome lens, however, it will not be wide enough on a crop body camera (7d, XT,etc).  I suggest getting the 17-55 F2.8 which is the crop body equivilent.  It also has image stabilization which the 24-70 lacks so shutter speed is one less thing you have to worry about (unless the subjects are moving).

The 70-200 is an awesome lens too, but on a crop body, I think it’s going to be too long a lens.  Both these lenses are ideal focal lengths for a full frame camera.  Since you are shooting outdoors in good light consider the 24-105L F4

The 50mm F1.8 is a sharp lens, but is useless for anything other than still portraits.  It hunts in low light and focuses extremely slow.  You will not capture all the action if you use this lens during anything dynamic.

The controls on a full frame are just about identical as that on a crop body as far as shooting modes.  There is no difference, and one isn’t more difficult to use than the other.  As LBPHOTOGRAPHY said, the full frame will allow you to shoot clean at a higher ISO to preserve natural light, however if you don’t know about techniques like “dragging the shutter” while using a speedlight, none of this will really matter.  Sounds like you will have decent light too shooting outdoors during the day.

Ideally, you will have two bodies…in case of failure, and to have two different lenses on you.  A macro lens is nice, but not required.  The 17-55 is a decent, sharp, portrait lens as long as you shoot closer to the 55 end.  A fast prime would be nice too….35, 50, 85,etc.  Unless you have EF-S lenses (like your kit lens), they will fit both the crop body and the full frame.  I wouldn’t use your kit lens for a wedding.

You will want to use fill flash, especially to overpower shadows on the face.  The 430EX (I think the one you have??) is too slow for weddings.  You have to press buttons to adjust the flash exposure compensation.  The 580EX has a control wheel and it’s much faster.  You will also want a battery pack for your flash.

Get a large memory card.  They rarely fail, and changing them typically comes at the worst time.  An 8 Gig would be good, and get a lot of them.  If you rent a 5D MII you will only fit about 300 images on an 8 gig card so you will need at least 3.

Learn how to position people in the sun, you may want to bring an assistant and a large reflector for doing afternoon portraits. 

Honestly, I am not trying to burst your bubble, but this doesn’t seem like something you are ready for.  If she really has a budget of 2K she should be able to find someone with decent equipment that has experience shooting weddings.  Definitely something to keep in mind if you don’t want to deal with the pressure.  There also will be a big dent in the pot once all the necessary equipment is rented and purchased.

4 Day Rental Fee’s

7D – $140

17-55mm – $70

second lens – ~$70

Canon 580EX – $75 with battery pack

Decent high speed flash cards are going to cost at least $50 each.

So here you are at about 500 assuming 2-3 memory cards, and there is still stuff I am probably missing.



Post # 12
3049 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I don’t know anything about photography… not one thing at all. So take this advice or leave it. But if she is asking you to take her pictures, and she is already probably thinking that the quality will be less than hiring a wedding photographer (not trying to be mean, just realistic) then you probably shouldn’t rent anything. Let me explain. I don’t WANT her photos to be lower quality. But you already said you were more comfortable with your own camera. I think you would do way better shooting her wedding with your equipment than with fancy rented equipment. I think the photos will just be better since you already know how to work it. Like I said, take it or leave it.

Post # 13
42 posts

Congrats! Someone asking you to be their wedding photographer is an honor, you should feel awesome. Smile

All the above pro-advice is sound – it’s coming from folks that know what they’re doing.

Don’t know how much your friend is willing to pay for rental equipment since the whole wedding (I’m assuming) is 2K. Could you tell us? It would help us make sound recommendations on gear to pick up. 

My advice to you, regardless of her budget, is do some research.

First, buy a book or two on wedding photography: see this one (little dated, but good advice) and this one.

Next, watch some wedding photogs in action. Apprenticeship is the best experience you can get… and since you’re on a time crunch, watching online videos will help. Go to Kelbytraining.com and watch videos by David Ziser and Cliff Mautner.  You can also go buy Jasmine Stars wedding photography video at creative live.com. Lots of gems in these videos.

These two steps should get you on the right foot…So check these links out, tell us what you think, and let us know what your friends budget is.

Happy learning!

-Christopher Schall


Post # 14
1000 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I agree a budget would help, then maybe we can help you prioritize? As USER did, I was also going to suggest a reflector in case you end up having to shoot at high noon or other bad times of day for light, but also as was mentioned, with that comes the need for an assistant. My reflector is like a kite when you put it on any kind of stand I swear. Reflectors are cheap, assistants are not! lol. Since this gig is basically free, maybe a wedding guest volunteer selected by the bride to hold the reflector?

I also think someone else made a good point on here about being comfortable with your equipment, we certainly can’t expect you to rent ten new pieces of equipment and be able to use them all no problem, including knowing how to mix the ambient with the flash from your speedlight at a reception. Can you go to a camera store and get a customer service rep to let you test some things out with your particular camera? Are any local pros in your area available for a private wedding crash course? Especially if you can have them give you a quick lesson in some of the pieces you are planning on renting, that would be great. I think you want to have the best equipment you can handle comfortably for this. No more, no less. 🙂

Post # 16
923 posts
Busy bee

You need to go get the Scott kelby phtographer books 1 through 3. It’s $50 for the whole volume at Barnes and Noble. there are chapters in all 3 books about flash outside, and what to do with different cameras, along with how to pose people….and gasp…how to photograph weddings!! they are easy to read and funny! Not technical at all. He just tells you “to get this shot do this”. I read the 1st book in about an hour and a half. spend some time practicing after you learn the techniques and I think the pictures could come out really great!!

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