Oly wedding photography – a non-pro’s experience

Started Jun 23, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Oly wedding photography – a non-pro’s experience
Jun 23, 2010

I wanted to post some thoughts on my recent experience of shooting a wedding (my first!) with Olympus gear, and since I don’t want to monopolise the discussion, I encourage you to show some of your own wedding photos - pro or not - shot with Olympus gear and share your experience. Ziggyzmund showed some great wedding shots here this week ( http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=35631186 ), and Brent promised to share some of his (right Brent?); anyone else please feel free to join.

I was asked ten days ago to photograph a friend’s wedding, since he and his fiancée only had a video guy and no stills shooter. Having spent enough time on these forums, I realized that I should really practice my flash photography skills beforehand, but I quickly got bored with practicing. So, I left the house on Saturday with a happy-go-lucky attitude instead, fortified by my confidence that I would manage something decent and wouldn’t have the pressure of being paid. But since confidence can quickly become over-confidence ( ), I carefully prepared my cameras and lenses (and flash) the evening before, charging all batteries and readying the settings.

I chose the following: E-510 and E-PL1 with 4/3 lens adapter; ZD 9-18mm, ZD 14-54mm, ZD 50-200mm, mZD 14-42mm, Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 . During the ceremony I mainly used the E-510 with the 50-200mm, with the 14-54mm on the E-PL1 for wider shots. For group shots afterwards I had the 14-54mm on the E-510 and the 9-18mm on the E-PL1 for the BIG groups. At the reception, I put the 20mm prime on the Pen. The 50-200mm and 14-54mm were definitely my workhorse lenses for the day, while the kit Pen lens never got taken out of the bag.

I had fun and I would actually consider doing it again, though the next day all my muscles ached! The experience showed me quite clearly both what I know and don't know how to do. Like flash photography. The ceremony and various grab shots and portraits etc. were fine with ambient light and actually looked better to my eyes, but the group shots and some reception photos unfortunately turned out to be a pain to PP: well-controlled fill flash would’ve been helpful! Spot metering on the faces was enough to get a good exposure on most portraits, and the skin tones are generally good and natural-looking (both the bride and groom are originally from Ghana and quite dark-skinned, which didn’t make things easier…). I'm glad I decided to stay on the safe side and shoot raw, 'cause I often needed the extra leeway when pulling up shadows or recovering highlights. The marks of a non-professional

I got to know my new E-PL1 a lot better. I found out that using 4/3 lenses with the adapter (plus the EVF) sucks up battery life: the camera barely made it to the end, with around 250 shots taken (I mostly used the E-510, which still had surprisingly much battery life left after more than twice as many shots. I hardly chimped, btw, to save battery life). Lessons learnt: I've ordered an extra battery for the E-PL1, and I'll seriously practice my flash photography skills!

Finally, although the high ISO on the Pen is miles beyond that on the E-510, with pleasing, even grain and good detail up to ISO1600, during PP I found that the E-510 seemed to retain more shadow detail. I think I have to fiddle a bit with the E-PL1’s settings to get smoother curves. Of course, pull the shadows too much on the older camera, and you get nasty chroma noise and banding, and the colours suffer... Correct exposure is the obvious answer. Another thing: either I had about a dozen hot pixels in rows, or my E-510’s sensor is going. I did a pixel mapping, and I’ll check to see if the problem persists. No big deal: visible at ISO 800 at 100% enlargement and easily taken care of with some spot healing if I feel picky.

Ok, enough text, here’s a shot, with a few more in the response (exif intact). The PP is what looked good to me for web presentation, but not all (shots or PP) will make it into the album I’m making as a wedding gift.


1. The bride’s entrance, E-510 w/ 50-200mm

 cnb's gear list:cnb's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Olympus E-510 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +11 more
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