Eek! A wedding... Help!

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Andrewteee, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    So my sister-in-law has asked me to take pictures of their wedding day :eek: There will be an "official" photographer for the more ceremonial part of the evening, but it's an all-day affair with lounging by the pool and games on the grass during the day and then a short ceremony and dinner at night. Plus the rest of the weekend. She was clear that I was to enjoy myself first but since she likes my photos she asked if I could capture moments here and there.

    However... I am not set up to shoot a wedding! I have sold off a bunch of stuff and I'm basically down to my Ricoh GRD4 and Ricoh GXR A12s and A16, none of which is well suited for wedding photography (for one thing, AF is slow - my own photography is more methodical and speed is not an issue). My question is, can you recommend the right camera/lens combinations for my needs? I can rent gear (and rent it long enough to practice with it first), but I may also take the opportunity to try the Olympus E-M5 if one can be had. I would prefer a serious compact but perhaps a smaller DSLR is the right choice? A zoom lens is probably the right approach with fast prime use here and there. Good higher ISO performance is probably a wise choice.

    I'm more than happy to help take pictures at the event, but I want them to turn out good, plus I don't want to burden myself with too much gear. Your recommendations are appreciated! Thanks.
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Andrew, to date I have done 11 weddings with my GXR a 12 units. I have no issues other then you might need a flash. I use a Nikon SB22s and it does a great job.
    I have also done many events at the Museum with the same cameras and so far, there's no lynch mob at my door.
    Next time, I'm going with just the GRD4 because they just want B&W.
    Relax, your a real good photographer. Just tune the BS out and go do what you do so well. No doubt you'll do a great job and all will be happy.

    Remember something. You bought all this gear to make photos. Subject matter is subject matter. NOTHING can repeat the moment. Weddings, landscape, portraits,'s all about how you see and not what you see with.
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  3. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks Don, that gives me more confidence!
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    The best part is that you are NOT the official photographer. You don't need to herd groups of people and or tell the bride to twist her head just so. Actually you won't need to tell anyone to do anything other than be natural. Usually the most valuable photos from a wedding are the casual and candid snaps. It actually sounds like the gear you've got could be just right.
  5. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Truth is, my favorite kind of "wedding photography" is documentary style. The kind a photographer with an M6 and Tri-X might capture.

    I'm not good at herding...
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  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    I'm glad my wife and I never had a proper wedding and even more glad I never had to do all those awful posed shots. Get me good candids of the day and that's it. Have fun!
  7. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Well my sister-in-law and soon-to-be husband had the kid first and now the wedding. Both planned, just not in the usual order. Thankfully, no one really cares.
  8. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm there with you, Andrew. I shot a wedding as a guest in documentary style while the official photographers did all the herding. You have the opportunity to get all the behind the scenes shots that the official guys don't capture. I know I did!

    I would take the GRD and GXR with all modules. The 50 will be great for more intimate captures and the 28 is fine for groups. Mind you, I found that my most used focal lengths were 50 and 75, which I gained from the GXR-M and the Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5.

    GRD III:

    <a href="" title="GRD III - Waiting for the Bride by Archiver, on Flickr">[​IMG]"500" height="500" alt="GRD III - Waiting for the Bride"></a>

    GXR-M with Zeiss Sonnar:

    <a href="" title="GXR - The glass stands on its own by Archiver, on Flickr">[​IMG]"500" height="332" alt="GXR - The glass stands on its own"></a>

    <a href="" title="GXR - Signing In by Archiver, on Flickr">[​IMG]"500" height="332" alt="GXR - Signing In"></a>

    It's a shame that you sold the M-module as I found it almost perfect for a non-paying wedding shoot! The shot to shot slowness annoyed me, though. There were many times when I lost an even better moment because the camera was busy processing the last image. This can be worked around if you use both the GRD and GXR at the same time, dropping one and shooting with the other while the buffer clears. I learned that trick from an article about Alex Majoli, who used to shoot Olympus compacts in that manner.
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  9. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Archiver, cool. Great shots! And I still have the Mount unit! As long as I have the Zeiss 50mm Sonnar I'll have something to stick to it.
  10. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Andrew, since you still have the M-module and the Sonnar I think you are set. Just be mindful of the shot to shot time as you can lose shots if you don't have another camera ready.

    If I was going to shoot a wedding with the GXR, I'd use the 28, 50 and M with Sonnar. I'd keep the GRD III in my pocket just in case. Swapping modules is a lot easier than changing lenses, IMO. Just treat the Sonnar and M like a separate prime module and you are set. I use Mode 1 focus peaking generally, and I find this adequate for most situations. As you would know, the longer focal length and wide aperture of the Sonnar make it easier to focus when there is a lot of detail in the scene.

    I would not, however, shoot a paid gig with the GXR, no matter how much the bridal party loved my documentary style. It just won't capture fast enough between images for my liking. In that wedding I also used the M9, but I used the GXR just as much, hanging two bodies around my neck and moving from one focal length to the other as required.
  11. Country Parson

    Country Parson SC Top Veteran

    Apr 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    Andrewtree, I have lost track of how many weddings I have photographed. Probably about 100. You have all you need in both equipment and skills to do what you have described. On the other hand, if you need an excuse to buy more stuff, have fun. Just about anything you would choose will do the job, given your knowledge and skills. The GXR is a wonderful camera system. I doubt that you will even need flash.
  12. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Real Name:
    Great advice here as usual. I have a differing point of view though.

    If it were me, and there weren't any pressure on me as the primary shooter, I'd take this opportunity to test out the D800E with a couples of lenses. One would be a wide angle lens and the other a classic 100mm prime for portraits and maybe a fast 50mm.

    This would make it a lot more fun for me! As opposed to using my regular gear.
  13. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thank you again everyone. You are all so encouraging :biggrin: Reminds me that I should stick to what I know and allow the pictures to reflect what I see.

    Yes, perhaps, but probably more camera than I can learn in a short timeframe (and that camera may be expensive to rent right now). And anyway, I think I'm done with DSLRs unless I have the time to commit to "serious work," meaning I want to squeeze out every pixel of quality in the kind of work that I do (the landscapes). Maybe when the kids are older...

    Agreed though, that could be fun... I just might rent one for a weekend and take it to my usual haunt.
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  14. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    My 2 cents: Get yourself as second GXR body. Use one with the 28mm and the other with the m-mount module and the Sonnar glued to it.
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  15. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    That would be the Ricoh GXR Sonnar lensor... :biggrin:
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