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What camera for a wedding?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by InfoH, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. InfoH

    InfoH Member

    Hi all,

    My friend has had trouble finding a photographer for a wedding and I've always been fairly good at taking pictures but never something I really done professionally or anything like that..

    I currently have a lumix so thats not really ideal for weddings.. that I know lol
    but what camera would be good?

    I've always thought about doing weddings for some extra money on weekends, I'm a bit of a geek so the computer side of things is fine but when it comes to camera's I've no idea what is best.. so a bit of advice would be good..

    I'd ideally like a camera that I could perhaps hire at first and then buy once I have the money, something easy to use and what type of lenses I might require?

    I saw on a hire website the Nikon D3X, but that's like £5,000 for body only (which I assume means no lens?)
    is this a bit overkill for weddings?

    Sorry for posting loads but as you can see I'm a bit lost at the minute lol

    Thanks in advance!
  2. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Why would think a G2 would not be suitable for a wedding?

    The kit lens is about the focal lengths needed for wedding ie 28-82mm

    Actually the favourite wedding photographers camera is the Canon 5DMKII which gives 21MP and very good low light performance.

    Bear in mind you going to have learn how to get the best out of any camera you hire.

    How long have you had the G2?
  3. InfoH

    InfoH Member

    G2? Lumix?

    I've had it for about 2 years now.. my sister had the previous model.. dont get me wrong its a nice camera
    however I think the it takes too long to actually take a picture
    and it doesn't look very professional if I'm using it for a wedding..

    Thats why I'm researching camera's now so I can hire the same one I intend to buy so I'm learning more about the 1 camera rather than several, if I always hire and eventually buy the same one i'll know a lot more about how it works and how to get the best pictures out of it (hopefully! lol)
  4. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Sorry but if you're going to act as a "professional" at an event as important (to the bride and groom) as a wedding, you really do need to be at one with your camera - you're not going to have time to faff about with it. That means using it daily for years, practice that professionals get at the expense of their customers but you probably don't have the time or the opportunity to acquire in the time available (assuming that a date has been set).

    I'd respectfully suggest widening your search for a professional to cover the event for you. They do exist!
  5. InfoH

    InfoH Member

    I have asked them to find someone else as I wasn't entirely comfortable having that pressure on me, however for their budget they cannot find anyone..

    I don't plan on hiring the camera just for the day I was going to hire it for a weekend before the actual wedding to get use to the camera..
    obviously this is a freebie job so their expectations are not too high, I think they are just thankful to have a few pictures taken..

    But I figured I could use this as a good bit of experience as well hence the hiring of a decent camera

    I know getting use to the camera will take time which is why I'm wondering what the best one would be for ease of use, photo quality, focus etc..
  6. InfoH

    InfoH Member

    just to clarify, I just had a look on google at a G2..
    yeah I don't have that one lol
    that wouldn't look that bad..

    I've got a Lumix TZ18.. now you see my problem hehe :)
  7. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I admit it was over 10 years ago. But I shot a wedding on a MTL5 with a manual 28-70 zoom using film so no double checking I got the shot. The result were more than pleasing and the bride and groom were very happy.

    Like beejaybee says you have use your kit like second nature. That comes for shooting every day or once a week for a year or so. Plus know what works post shooting on the computer.

    IMHO wedding photographers are spoilt today with instant playback to confirm shot, post shooting tweaks of raw files. Also great noise performance even in the most basic model of dSLR.

    That is why the bar is quite high now. :)

    Only the other day a relative hinted that their offspring might be asking me to do their wedding shooting as they are remarrying and having a tight budget. :rolleyes:

    Before I shot the MTL5 wedding I read up on the subject alot especially on fill-in flash work which might be needed on strong light day.
  8. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Perhaps you could suggest to them that they ask all the guests to bring their cameras and just snap the day (within reason of course), and then they could put the best shots from all into their album. I've heard of people putting out disposable film cameras on the tables at receptions back in the day and then collecting them afterwards; this could be an extension of that idea. It would certainly be less pressure on you. ;)

    You could maybe have 'exclusive' rights over certain parts, like during the ceremony itself etc.
  9. InfoH

    InfoH Member

    the wedding isn't till December but figured I'd better start looking into it already..
    glad I did now!

    The 5DMKII looks pretty much what I was expecting price wise, would this even be overkill or is this about the spec I should be looking at?

    bearing in mind I plan to do this more often as well after this wedding...
  10. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for what follows but someone has to be honest.

    If you knoow so little about photography that you have to ask these questions then you shouldn't be allowed within 100 miles of a wedding (certainly not for money).

    I'm quite surprised that some of our more opinionated members haven't already said it.

    Search threads on this forum for wedding photography and you will find out why.

  11. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Aw c'mon ... go to the wedding by all means, and take your camera with you, but get a professional to cover the thing.

    You can certainly hire a professional for the day for a small fraction of the price of a Canon 5DII, a decent lens like the 24-70 f/2.8 and a decent flash gun. A professional will certainly bring some backup kit as well, at one-off events you simply can't rely on everything working 100%. The worst that could happen to you is that you spend well over £2000 on kit only to find that something doesn't work or accidentally gets broken on the day. If that happens, or your non-professional skills aren't up to the task, your name will be mud.

    If it's a question of cost and a friend or relation had asked me to cover their wedding, I'd rather invest my own money into professional services than do the job myself, even though I have everything that would be needed. At least that way I'd be able to enjoy the event myself.

    The idea of asking guests to bring their own cameras and/or distributing single use cameras to the guests is probably a good way of supplementing the coverage, but is unlikely to be an adequate substitute for a professional wedding album service.

    I hope that makes things abundantly clear, and I reckon that what I've said will be supported by the vast majority of the active users on this forum.
  12. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Sorry about that must have got my wires crossed. :eek:

    If and I stress IF you still are going to try and do this weddling you have to consider getting a dSLR or something better than the TZ18 and then really using it over this year. December in the UK is a tough month for weather. So low-light performance is something that might need factoring.

    It not than the TZ18 is a bad camera but you need something with more control and performance to cover your bases so to speak.

    PS: don't forget the secondhand market, you can get some serious performance for good prices if you look and research.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  13. Alex1994

    Alex1994 Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's not just the kit, you need to know what you're doing with it! Not just technically - you'd need to do some research on how to take wedding photographs.

    I did some wedding photography many, many years ago. Luckily for me, just after I was asked to do my first wedding a photo magazine (not AP, I fear :)) had a series on wedding photography. As I said, it was not just technical, it included advice on how to pose the subjects etc, and tips on things to avoid.

    I used a Mamiya medium-format film SLR, and for one wedding a cheap Cosina 35mm SLR, so it's not altogether about the kit.

    The other thing is to be sure you'll enjoy doing it before buying expensive gear - I came to hate weddings, but you may like them!
  14. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    The Canon 5D2 is a fine camera. The minimum you could get away with would be with the 24-70L lens and a flash gun. However, it might not be a good idea to buy it at the moment, unless you are buying second hand, as the Mark 3 is expected soon. You can't expect to be up to speed with a week of hired use. You have time before the real wedding so you might be able to get yourself invited to another function to practise. You also need a backup - what if you get a mirror jamb or something. Such things are rare but sod's law and all that. An "assistant" is a good thing to fill in. Make sure you have plenty of memory cards. Learn all about shooting raw. Read up on it.

    There was someone on here a couple of years ago who had done a first wedding and the results were fantastic so it is possible.
  15. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I am doing my best not to be opinionated, but I am tempted to express an opinion, very tempted.
  16. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin


    1. There are lots of other cameras which are equally fine ... the one that's best for you depends far more on how it "feels" in your hand than the make & model. The best way to research this is to go to a real camera store that keeps a reasonable stock and try some. You'll likely find that all DSLRs feel pretty big and heavy, if you're used to compacts.

    2. The fact that the 5DII may be reaching the end of its sales life doesn't make it any less capable. In fact, if it is replaced in the near future, it should be possible to get a new example of the "old" model at a heavily discounted price, which is Good News.

    3. Do consider a used camera from a reputable dealer. You can save quite a lot of money that way.

    As for the "true professionals": I don't come across many wedding pros, but I do frequently meet professional press photographers, and they're often using pretty elderly cameras, some of which look like they've gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson ... an "ancient" 1DII may look a bit battered but so long as it still works properly, they're happier to keep using it than buy a new one. The main difference between the expensive "professional" DSLRs and the cheaper "consumer" DSLRs is the build quality - the amount of rough handling they'll survive, especially when rained on - rather than sheer image quality or feature count.
  17. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    There is plenty of good advice here but you should also be aware that many a wedding has been shot, professionally, with a single Hassleblad body and one lens. You don't need a pile of kit you need something good that you are familiar with and can operate almost without having to think. You will not be in that position with a camera you have owned for a week of hired for the job.

    If you are determined to shoot this wedding buy a camera now, with a really good lens, and use it at every possible opportunity. If by, say, July you aren't entirely comfortable with your camera tell the couple that you may not be the best person to take the photographs.

    In answer to your question, "what camera for a wedding?" someone elses would be the best advice.

    That isn't to say your photography isn't good enough, it is entirely possible that you will produce some super images, shooting weddings is stressful and the results really matter. If you aren't under pressure you will perform better, letting a professional have the stress may be just what you need to deliver your best.
  18. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I am sorry to say that in all honesty I have to agree with downers on this one. I don't see why within the budget for a wedding they cannot pay a photographer, instead trying to bounce it onto you at no expense to themselves, but at a considerable cost to yourself, both monetary and in stress terms. Simply it has to be something you are happy with and clearly you are not.

    What camera you use, within reason, is irrelevant, this simply is not worth the aggravation and I feel you must tell them that. I don't like to appear so negative, but this field is a minefield.
  19. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    Quick question. Have you ever used a DSLR before, and do you understand the basics of exposure?
  20. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    It's not so much the kit as the organisation and direction that is important. You need to take control of the situation and have a clear game plan before you start. While I don't use one, a tripod might be a good idea as it gives you some authority and marks out your space. An assistant is invaluable, your partner or a friend would do fine. They are needed to check your shots against your prepared list and to shunt people into position and keep them there.

    You only need an exotic camera if you intend to produce large prints, or take natural light photos in dim conditions. Better to use something that you know and understand, and don't be frightened to use the flash on auto. Take at least two shots of each grouping and do check the histogram. You probably won't make a work of art but they shouldn't be expecting that as a freebie, just a record of the day.

    Go for it!

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