What I think I'm good at, and what impresses ppl enough to say "oh, I need XXX doing, are you available?", is getting surprisingly decent results in sub-optimal conditions. So, y'know, a few choice shots in the noise and chaos of a kids' party. But formal portraits? Stock-quality product shots? Landscape/architectural stuff? I'm just another guy with a prosumer DSLR and some software. Plus aforementioned confidence issues ordering about/getting in the face of adult strangers. I'm good with kids!
― Michael Jones, Thursday, 3 May 2012 11:35 (ten years ago) link
I DJ weddings, fuck it, I'll even play "I've Got A Feeling" if they're paying me.
― Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Thursday, 3 May 2012 11:43 (ten years ago) link
Did I ever mention that I shot a friend's wedding with my shutter speed set wrong for the flash? For multiple rolls?So glad I had a last minute volunteer to shoot additional coverage (thanks dad).
― lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Thursday, 3 May 2012 15:17 (ten years ago) link
Right, this is a good place to beat myself up about technical FAILS at the recent wedding I did...
Shooting group shots outside in the hotel grounds at f/4 rather than f/8. Idiot. They're soft zoomed in. Shooting with the borrowed 5D2 in sRAW1 in some misguided attempt to (i) spare my aging laptop the pain of trying to process 28MB full-RAW images, (ii) approximately match the image size of the 40D I was also shooting with. sRAW exhibits some downsampling artefacts (that probably disappear when rendered out as JPEG), which I already knew about. What I didn't realise is that hot/dead pixels (and every sensor has some, I guess), which routinely disappear when the RAW engine converts the image, *remain* in sRAW images. So that's a lot of spot-fixing to do.Way too much fill-flash; I was totally in love with the 580EX + bounce card and I was shooting against bright backgrounds/in heavy shadow a lot of the time, but I should really have had more faith in the 5D2's evaluative metering. They're among the best flash results I've ever gotten, but the no-flash shots look much better.
Having said all that, they're going to be OK, I think. I got myself in the right place at the right time, mostly. I just could've made life easier for myself on the processing front.
Something else I've discovered: using the lens correction profiles in Lightroom can be a bad idea when there are people in the frame. Yes, you'd want to eliminate barrel distortion and flatten a horizon in a 24mm full-frame landscape shot; but if it's a large group of people at a wedding, the folks at the extremes will suddenly gain 40lbs. So I'm applying the profiles and then dialling down the distortion correction.
― Michael Jones, Friday, 1 June 2012 09:06 (ten years ago) link
For group shots in daylight, 24-35mm, f/8-f/11, depending on whether or not they're in direct sunlight. Aperture priority setting. For portraits, f/5.6-f/8, optimally about 50-85mm. I love my 70-210mm zoom, because right at about 85mm, it has no distortion at all. Such a fine piece of glass. (And weighs almost 3 pounds, but fuck you, get some triceps.)
― cue "White Rabbit" (kenan), Friday, 1 June 2012 21:36 (ten years ago) link
f/4.5, 70mm, +1.3 exposure bias, 1/50 shutter.
― cue "White Rabbit" (kenan), Friday, 1 June 2012 21:39 (ten years ago) link
― cue "White Rabbit" (kenan), Friday, 1 June 2012 21:42 (ten years ago) link
For portraits, f/5.6-f/8, optimally about 50-85mm.
f/8 for portraits? I would never do that. Headshots, f/2.8-f/4.0, wider if the lens allows it or the light demands it. Or, put another way, if the lens demands it (e.g. 85L - it's sharp at f/1.2, so why not).
― Michael Jones, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 16:20 (ten years ago) link
I dunno. f/8 at 85mm gets you a nice DOF. Depends on the glass, I suppose.
― cue "White Rabbit" (kenan), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 16:30 (ten years ago) link
Not for a moment suggesting f/5.6-f/8 is "wrong" - most lenses are in their sharpness sweet-spot there - but I'm all about pulling the subject out of the background and I usually use 28 and 50 primes, so 5.6 isn't going to do me any favours. f/4 for group shots was just a brain fail on my part.
DoF for a Nikon crop sensor at 85mm, f/8, subject three metres away = 39cm. Less than I thought actually. Good for duos or trios if the background isn't too distracting. Shoot something like the 85/1.4 wide open and it's 7cm. That's what I like!
(Don't usually like posting pics of friends on here, so I might break the link later, but this is 85mm f/1.2):
― Michael Jones, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 16:39 (ten years ago) link
(EXIF data tells me she was 1.44m away, so that's a DoF of 2cm. Hurrah!)
― Michael Jones, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 16:41 (ten years ago) link
That's a good one.
If I've got enough DOF for eyes and face to be sharp, depending on distance and focal length, I try to open up as wide as possible. Bokeh's nice so long as you aren't melting your subject's ears.
― Millsner, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 16:44 (ten years ago) link
Don't ever do a wedding, even your best friend's. Only do it if you are a wedding photographer and are being paid, and preferably don't know the couple too well. Say no if your friends ask you to be the official photographer. You won't enjoy the wedding at all, as there will be too much pressure to be out snapping. If the pics turn out badly, and they often do, they'll be a simmering source of resentment for decades. Take your camera, enjoy the wine and get some great shots but leave the pressure of doing it right, to someone else. Well that's my two cents.
― Proger, Sunday, 10 June 2012 16:33 (ten years ago) link
Proger - having never done a wedding, my outlook is the same as yours. Took a few informal shots I was happy with at my Mum's, but wouldn't want to have done any more. A couple of friends were going to ask, then got me to DJ at the reception instead - still stressful, but much more fun.
― michaellambert, Sunday, 10 June 2012 18:46 (ten years ago) link
Oh, I got paid (and it's the third one I've done for which there was payment or payment-in-kind) and they've all turned out OK. The couple were ultimately delighted with the 230 shots I whittled the day down to. I've got a (small) bottle of rum from their Mauritius honeymoon on my desk as extra thanks!
Yes, there's definitely an argument for leaving it to the pros (and I've said as much to three couples in the last two years who made enquiries regarding my services); this time around the couple very sweetly said that they'd "only be asking the pro to get photos that look like (mine)", so they hired me.
I do occupy that grey area at the moment where I'm good enough to charge but not top pro rates. I look at the work of a colleague who runs a wedding photography business with his wife and I think I'm some way short of that. The greater leap is not in terms of quality of work but in terms of attitude and selling yourself and dealing with several dozen strangers on the biggest day of their lives. It's only been friends/colleagues so far.
― Michael Jones, Monday, 11 June 2012 11:50 (ten years ago) link
(And I've just been offered another one. Erk...)
― Michael Jones, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 09:48 (ten years ago) link
being paid can help nudge it a bit more into "good idea" territory. just be sure to check and re-check every conceivable setting on your camera! and bring an extra camera! and have a friend help out too! these are things I've learned.my friends paid me to do their wedding. basically enough to be able to fly out and attend, plus some spending money. since it was on the other side of the country, their offer was my only chance at getting out there anyway, so it was kind of a no-brainer (I never really have enough money for travel).
― lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 12:37 (ten years ago) link
This just happened to me.
A coworker's due to be married in a month, and she just asked if I'd like to shoot it. Gave a tentative yes, but I'm still not sure how I'd feel about charging for what may turn out to be crap (nor do I have any clue what a fair rate might be).
OTOH, it'd be a fun day's challenge. I think part of the reason she's even considering me is that most wedding photographers I've seen in Seoul tend to be obnoxiously intrusive.
― Millsner, Monday, 25 June 2012 12:12 (ten years ago) link