First Wedding Jitters HELP


Link Posted 24/07/2014 - 22:58
I finally decided after turning down four other weddings that this time I would go for it...

And now I am crapping myself.

Fair enough, its a small wedding in a registry office but nevertheless its still going to test me. The thing is i can take people portraits, do landscapes, street, etc etc but when that word "Wedding" comes up I run and hide.

Can someone give me any tips?

Heres the low down on my gear


Kit lens 18 55
DA* 50 135
Manual 28mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.7
*I have no dedicated flash

The question is can I rely on the k-5 and the 18 55 inside the registry office> Yep its noisy (screw drive) but the tracking worries me

Exasperated carrot needs advice!
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Link Posted 24/07/2014 - 23:27
Hi Alistair

I would think the lenses you have will be OK, where you may have a weakness is in your camera bodies. Another K-5, or preferably a K-5II or a K-3 would be better than the K-5 / K-x combo, especially if there is a requirement to shoot in low light (as is the case at most weddings). The AF on the K-5 and earlier bodies really struggles in low light with any lens, but is much better from the K-5II onwards. With weddings it is critical that AF is nailed, especially on wider aperture shots.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'the tracking worries me' as most shots will be of fairly static subjects, unless you are referring to the Bride and Groom walking down the aisle, in which case you need to take control and make sure the pace is appropriate to what you are trying to shoot.

Regards flash, I think you should avoid using it if possible, if it is needed, make sure it is fill in flash only, turned down to an appropriate level, otherwise you risk destroying the atmosphere in the shots. A cheap manual flashgun that will do a sterling job can be bought from Amazon for £30 upwards, this is probably your best and safest bet if you really need it. I have a couple of Neewer TT560 Speedlights which are excellent, also Yongnuo get good reviews but are little more expensive. Buy yourself a softbox that fits over the flashgun, again these are cheap on Amazon and ebay. I would do a reconnaissance of the venue if at all possible, at the time of day you will be shooting the ceremony, to see what the lighting conditions are like and to establish if the flash can be avoided. It's better to up the ISO a bit if you need to; on the K-5 you could go to 1600 or even 3200 if necessary.

Finally do you have a 'second shooter'? If not, try to get one you can rely on. Two good photographers are far better than one, you will be able to organise things better and get better coverage on the resulting images. You'll also have someone to give moral support and 'bounce things off of' when necessary. The second shooter can also help with portable reflectors, diffusers etc. which are well worth having, especially if you're doing outside shots in bright sunlight.

Hope this helps.


Edit: Forgot to mention that I would stick with the AF lenses and avoid the MF ones, you won't have time to faff about with manual focus and it's a risk too. If you can get a better short zoom to replace the 18-55, this would be an advantage, something like a Siggy 17-70 or Tamron 17-50 which will give better IQ and better bokeh than the Pentax kit lens does.

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Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 24/07/2014 - 23:31


Link Posted 24/07/2014 - 23:38
Umm - I the idiot who can't possibly do that sort of thing , but did take some at my younger daughter's wedding for fun [ they had a 'Pro' there, was well warned that the registrar did not permit flash to be used ! Something to check ?

It was clear that the Registrar gave the 'Pro' a clear run - other guests were told their chance was at the end AFTER the register had been signed - till then the only camera she wanted to see in use was the Pro's
let the education continue

proud owner of a couple of cameras and a few bits and bobs


Link Posted 24/07/2014 - 23:58
The first wedding can be very daunting, but there's been some good advice given, so just go for it. It's essential to prepare everything you can, have spares of everything, have an assistant to help organise the guests at least, and practice, practice, practice with your kit so you know it totally.

If on the day something appears amiss you need to be able to spot it very quickly and correct it, so being familiar with your kit is fundamental.

The actual day's shooting is half photography and half the ability to control groups of people and keep things moving along. To make sure you cover every shot needed, then make a list and tick off each picture as you take it.
Best regards, John

Link Posted 25/07/2014 - 09:52
The place where I work puts on a lot of weddings and most of the Pro togs take a kind of documentry/photojournalistic approach to the event (I think it's the fashion). They take shots of the bride and groom getting ready before the ceremomy right through to them leaving at the end of the night. They're very busy all through the reception taking candid shots of whatever's going on. They seem to prioritise shots of kids and granny and grandpa as well as the B&G.

The offical photographers always seem to carry hundreds of SD cards and as soon as a card fills up they have an assistant download it to their laptops; those full frame cameras gobble up cards really quickly.

Get a couple of copies of Bride or Wedding magazine so you can pinch a few ideas. Try to scout the venues well in advance so you know where you're going to set up your tripod and cable release well in advance.

I've done 2 weddings using a GX20 & a KR, results were not as good as a Pro but I made sure the B&G new I was no Pro and scrapped through on that excuse.

Do rope in a 2nd shooter if you can because you can't be everywhere at once and just accept the fact that you wont be getting drunk with the rest of guests.

Pray for Sun.
As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.


Link Posted 25/07/2014 - 10:07
Personally I have never done a wedding shoot. So cant really offer advice. But on the face of it. I cant see how you can contemplate going without a flashgun. Even on outside shots in my opinion this would be the first thing I would be putting in the bag. Davidstorms advice on manual flashes is a good one..
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses



Link Posted 25/07/2014 - 12:49
+1 for a flash - if not dedicated P-TTL, then a manual one - there is no excuse for missing a shot, and you can't control the available light.

Even if it's a bright sunny day, there could well be a need for fill in flash to eliminate shadows on faces.


Link Posted 25/07/2014 - 13:38
Important consideration Alistair. Is it a freebie, or a paying job?

If its a freebie, and expectations have been set that you'll do your best, etc. all well and good.

If its a paying job, then you have to deliver.I think you need something that lets in a little more light than the 18-55. Like, as has been mentioned the Tamron 17-50. The 18-55 then becomes emergency back up in case anything goes wrong with the main lens. You should actually have a back up for everything

Last Edited by Blythman on 25/07/2014 - 13:39


Link Posted 25/07/2014 - 13:41
Now the technical stuff has been covered above here is my addition to this,

1. Take control yet be relaxed, speak up and make your instructions clear - such as when you want photo's close up of the couple signing the register etc ask everyone else to wait to take pictures until you have done so - otheriwse you will have flashes going off over your shoulders etc and creating shadows.

2. Backgrounds - check these - a poorly chosen angles can mean hours in post processing - move anything that you can which you don't want in the shot, bags, coats etc within reason.

3. Keep and eye on your shutter speeds for the walk in an out etc

4. Once outside there is often nothing you can do about backgrounds other than choose your angles the best you can, shots of the couple by the car, other objects etc can be improved by kneeling down and cutting out many background distractions doing so.

5. Engage your subjects, talk to them, put them at ease and most of all ask that they make time for the shots they want (by a pool, tree, monument etc) and take your time - a rushed shot will be a potential disaster.

6. Once you have your stock shots so to speak be creative, close ups of cake, rings etc - use strong window light creatively around the reception etc - you can get grest results from this.

7. Always remember number 1

Hope this helps

K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

My Flickr site link


Link Posted 25/07/2014 - 17:00
It is a really good idea to know what photos the couple want - especially the group photos, then make a list, in a logical order, and have someone with a loud voice call up the group as appropriate. It will be like herding cats but ultimately means you get all the photos the couple were hoping for, including the one of the bride with great aunt Matilda and the groom with all his siblings (for example!).
Do not take too long over the groups - people get bored and wander off.


Link Posted 26/07/2014 - 10:54
Lots of good advice above.

If this is a favor - - you need to manage expectations and make sure they are not expecting the same results they would get from a team of pros costing £thousands

Biggest mistake I made first time was that I inadvertently did not get a single shot of the Bride's mother. Had plenty of shots of who I thought was the bride's mother but discovered later that her father had re-married and that was her step-mother!!

So - make sure you know who you need to include!

What Gwyn says about group shots is absolutely true - if anything - herding cats would be easier. After my first one - I decided to completely abdicate all responsibility for this area and have subsequently made it clear to anybody else I have done this for as a favor - that it is their responsibility to ensure they define who they want in the group shots and elect somebody to make it happen!

If it moves - shoot it! By that I mean - this is one of those times that UN-planned 'grab shots' can pay off big time and even save your bacon - they did for me!

Get as many long distance candids as you can - especially outside where people tend to mill around waiting - these can really work and if there is opportunity to do so - get shots of the bride and groom before they arrive - getting ready for the big moment etc.

Most importantly - play to your strengths both in terms of skill and gear - and do not worry about what you haven't got!

If it were me - with the gear you have available - I would stick the kit lens on the Kx and leave it in portrait mode - use the K5 and other lenses 'creatively' and back up every 'key' shot with an 'auto' shot on the Kx.

Better to have an OK averaged shot than no shot at all if you get it wrong on the K5.

Most importantly - enjoy the experience!

No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more


Link Posted 26/07/2014 - 11:45
Don't try this without a flash. Buy one, borrow one, rent one but get one and learn how to use it.

Sometimes I'm serious and sometimes not, but I consider sarcasm an artform. Which is it today?


Link Posted 26/07/2014 - 11:50
I'd have thought flash was a fairly essential requirement here ... Nor the least to a avoid facial shadows. I think you'd want a little catchlight for portraits also? (ie from gentle fill flash).
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver


Link Posted 26/07/2014 - 13:04
After the event can you tell us the positives and negatives you found during the shoot as a further guide to the uninitiated. Very best of luck



Link Posted 03/08/2014 - 19:42
Good to see the support and varying opinions offered in this thread. Wonder what Alistair thought?

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