Wedding Gear Question

Started Jun 30, 2013 | Discussions
bobgeorge
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Wedding Gear Question
Jun 30, 2013

Hello all,

A colleague of mine got married yesterday & I attended. I noticed the photography was shooting with what looked like a Nikon D3200 or D5200. n addition she had a flash light on her camera.

I talked to her for a minute and she said lens was a Nikkor 18-200 F3.5-5.6G ED VRII & she told me she had done over 200 weddings & normally averages 2 per month.

The wedding was in a Catholic church & the reception was outside under a tent.  I don't know what she charged, but it that typical gear for a wedding photographer?

Thanks!

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BobGeorge
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Nikon D3200 Nikon D5200
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CraigBennett
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jun 30, 2013

bobgeorge wrote:

Hello all,

A colleague of mine got married yesterday & I attended. I noticed the photography was shooting with what looked like a Nikon D3200 or D5200. n addition she had a flash light on her camera.

I talked to her for a minute and she said lens was a Nikkor 18-200 F3.5-5.6G ED VRII & she told me she had done over 200 weddings & normally averages 2 per month.

The wedding was in a Catholic church & the reception was outside under a tent. I don't know what she charged, but it that typical gear for a wedding photographer?

Thanks!

-- hide signature --

BobGeorge
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Nikon D600
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Perhaps for a third backup camera, otherwise no. With that said though, when I shot with DX cameras, I have used the Fuji S2Pro, D1x, D2x and D90. But hey, the Nikon 5200 might be a better camera than the D90?

I had a guy walk around snapping all my shots back at a March wedding. He had a Nikon 5200, his LCD screen showed it was taking nice photographs, so I would not be overly concerned about it.

As far as the lens, I liked the Nikkor 18-200mm zoom and used it with my D2x's, it is a good all around lens and widely regarded as a good DX zoom lens. With that said, I had an able supply of other good lenses. Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8, Nikkor 85mm f/1.4, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 DX, and several Tamrons (never liked them).

Hard to say what the norm is, but I would want my wedding photographer to have several FF cameras with several good lenses.

I carry two D800e with different lenses on them through out the day.  As far as flash on camera, I do it all the time, but use flashbenders to do it right. I also have several SB-910s and SB-900s, Einstein E640 monolights, Flashpoint monolights, and PocketWizard radio transceivers for formals, outside portraits, fun shots, and reception.  Lighting is very important.

I love shooting in a tent.  You can get very effective bounce flash off of the tent ceiling.  If needed, one or two remote flashes provide a very nice and even light without killing the ambient.  But it sounds like she did not do this.

If she is using a Nikon 3200 or 5200, she most likely never takes it off the Green Auto mode.  This might be a good thing!  Hopefully she knew how to capture the right moments and posed them well?  Where you there at the formals?  How were the poses?  (I assume no off camera lighting?), how was she during the ceremony, get the shots?  Reception, get everything?

My wife shoots with me at most weddings.  Never bill her out as a second photographer, she just likes coming with me for the pre-ceremony and ceremony.  As hard as I tried for 20 years, she just cannot understand the technical aspects of photography.  She has a great eye though and takes wonderful detail shots.  I keep her camera either on Program mode or A mode set on f/5.6 and auto ISO.   She does understand the importance of picking the AF point and proper composition.  She shoots with the Nikon D90 with the SB-900 (with flash bender...she understands light).

So the real question.....Did the photographer perform well from your observation with the candid shots, ceremony coverage, and posing?

Regards,

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jun 30, 2013

Depends...on style.

I know many an 'old' photographer that uses a crop body and F4 lens(es). They shot in film days and posed everything (few candids) and used flash and low ISO (as that was all there was). In capable hands it can do fine.

An 18-200 isnt' IMO a great low light lens - at the outer end it's gonna be 5.6 aperture.

If you're working $1000 weddings it's hard to justify $1500 lenses and $3500 bodies - and often the low end consumer isn't that discerning to know or care.

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bobgeorge
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to CraigBennett, Jul 1, 2013

CraigBennett - She seemed to be taking good photos, but I was wondering about that combination of camera/lens & how good it would be in low light in a church or tent.

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BobGeorge
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bobgeorge
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, Jul 1, 2013

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

Depends...on style.

I know many an 'old' photographer that uses a crop body and F4 lens(es). They shot in film days and posed everything (few candids) and used flash and low ISO (as that was all there was). In capable hands it can do fine.

An 18-200 isnt' IMO a great low light lens - at the outer end it's gonna be 5.6 aperture.

If you're working $1000 weddings it's hard to justify $1500 lenses and $3500 bodies - and often the low end consumer isn't that discerning to know or care.

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My opinions are my own and not those of DPR or its administration. They carry no 'special' value

What is the biggest difference between a $1,000 & up wedding & a lesser one.  I live in the Washington, DC metro area & I see people offing 6 hours of wedding photography starting at $450 & they provide the edited photos on a CD.

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BobGeorge
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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jul 1, 2013

To pay yourself/the labor, overhead, pay for equipment, etc in any business means you need to charge enough.

Many part timers fool themselves by not counting most of their expenses (and many just ignore insurance or perhaps don't claim the income and skip the taxes).

They try to make a few bucks off their hobby.

I'd say 20% of the time you can get a competent photog with decent gear and results that are good in a timely manner. But the other 80% of the time...there are many horror stories out there.
The norm is just mediocre to bad pics - lighting, posing, backgrounds not up to par - but most folks don't know the difference. 99% of the pictures they've ever seen are family snaps and figure 'a good camera' will make the pictures better.

Few seem to consider that anyone can use a visa card to buy a camera - or tools to fix a car or pots and pans - yet few would expect good car repair or haute cuisine from a newbie that has ' a good wrench' or 'a good pepper grinder'.

Like any service, say car repair or furnace repair, a business needs to get $75 plus per hour, for every hour of labor involved. A wedding may appear to be 7 or 8 hours on the day of, but there are meetings/consults, prep, travel, image culling of bad shots, editing of the keepers, backup of the files, time to put them online or burn a disk, etc. This can easily double the time involved in a wedding.

So what you end up on the low end is poorly paid, part time workers - think mcdonalds or walmart. Or you get a business that 'just doesn't make any money' so they close up shop. Or they're part time so if they boss says 'you will have to go to phoenix...' they'll skip out on the wedding (seen this all too often) or try to find someone to cover for them.

As for gear - under perfect conditions any camera can take beautiful pictures. But live all day events like weddings rarely present perfect conditions the whole time - so when things get marginal unless you have top level gear the images will drop in quality and you get a very uneven quality.

few part timers have a clue how to pose to make someone look good - thinner, prettier, compose an image properly. No matter how good (or bad) a camera it's only a tool - like a screw driver or spatula. It's up to the person using the tool to determine what kind of results you get.

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Biggs23
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, Jul 1, 2013

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

To pay yourself/the labor, overhead, pay for equipment, etc in any business means you need to charge enough.

Many part timers fool themselves by not counting most of their expenses (and many just ignore insurance or perhaps don't claim the income and skip the taxes).

They try to make a few bucks off their hobby.

I'd say 20% of the time you can get a competent photog with decent gear and results that are good in a timely manner. But the other 80% of the time...there are many horror stories out there.
The norm is just mediocre to bad pics - lighting, posing, backgrounds not up to par - but most folks don't know the difference. 99% of the pictures they've ever seen are family snaps and figure 'a good camera' will make the pictures better.

Few seem to consider that anyone can use a visa card to buy a camera - or tools to fix a car or pots and pans - yet few would expect good car repair or haute cuisine from a newbie that has ' a good wrench' or 'a good pepper grinder'.

Like any service, say car repair or furnace repair, a business needs to get $75 plus per hour, for every hour of labor involved. A wedding may appear to be 7 or 8 hours on the day of, but there are meetings/consults, prep, travel, image culling of bad shots, editing of the keepers, backup of the files, time to put them online or burn a disk, etc. This can easily double the time involved in a wedding.

So what you end up on the low end is poorly paid, part time workers - think mcdonalds or walmart. Or you get a business that 'just doesn't make any money' so they close up shop. Or they're part time so if they boss says 'you will have to go to phoenix...' they'll skip out on the wedding (seen this all too often) or try to find someone to cover for them.

As for gear - under perfect conditions any camera can take beautiful pictures. But live all day events like weddings rarely present perfect conditions the whole time - so when things get marginal unless you have top level gear the images will drop in quality and you get a very uneven quality.

few part timers have a clue how to pose to make someone look good - thinner, prettier, compose an image properly. No matter how good (or bad) a camera it's only a tool - like a screw driver or spatula. It's up to the person using the tool to determine what kind of results you get.

Exactly correct. The tools aren't half as important as the people behind them.

As for your initial question, I'd say that similar gear is pretty typical for low end shooters. The fact that they had an actual flash bumps them above the average entry for the low end of the market.

What I'd typically expect (speaking in Nikon terms):

Low-end: Nikon D3100/5100, perhaps a flash.

Middle: Nikon D600/D700 + backups, a flash or two.

Mid-high: Nikon D800 + backups, several off camera flashes.

High-end: Nikon D4 + backups, as many flashes as needed.

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Any opinions I express are my own and do not represent DPReview. Have a good one and God bless!

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hirejn
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jul 3, 2013

That's Uncle Bob gear. Not saying you can't do good stuff with it, but your description makes her sound like an amateur. Two weddings a month is nothing if you're charging $500. After expenses and taxes that's losing money. So numbers themselves aren't impressive.

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Michael Thomas Mitchell
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jul 8, 2013

bobgeorge wrote:

Hello all,

A colleague of mine got married yesterday & I attended. I noticed the photography was shooting with what looked like a Nikon D3200 or D5200. n addition she had a flash light on her camera.

I talked to her for a minute and she said lens was a Nikkor 18-200 F3.5-5.6G ED VRII & she told me she had done over 200 weddings & normally averages 2 per month.

The wedding was in a Catholic church & the reception was outside under a tent.  I don't know what she charged, but it that typical gear for a wedding photographer?

Thanks!

-- hide signature --

BobGeorge
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Nikon D600
Visit my Flickr page.

Is this professional quality gear for a wedding photographer today? Not really.

Is this "typical" gear for a wedding photographer today? Unfortunately, yes.

Today, wedding photography seems populated by just as many amateurs and part-timers as full-time pros. Some are good. Many are not. No way to tell here, of course,

However, a few things can indicate STLE on this photographer's part. First, the lens isn't the type which is going to provide a lot of soft bokeh. And her cropped sensors aren't going to help any. I'm quick to say that blurred backgrounds are probably OVER-USED today, but this girl isn't in danger of being one of those who does that. (I actually quite often used cropped sensor bodies during receptions, when I WANT a broader depth of field for most of the shots. Ths not only provides contrast with those from earlier in the day, but also helps to insure sharp, useable images which are frequently captured in challenging environments.)

Second, we have the on-camera flash. Hopefully, she was at least bouncing. But on-camera flash is quite limited compared to off-camera, especially with an assistant involved.

I have to question the "2 per month" and "200 total" claim. If she were working EVERY month of the year, those figures would represent more than eight years in the business. That's a LONG time to be doing this as a hobby. And yet her approach doesn't exactly suggest that she's getting high dollar. So, understanding possible backlash from others, I'm calling BS on her claims. It just doesn't add up.

In the end, what matters most are results. I hope you will eventually be able to see some for yourself. Then you'll know if she's the real deal or not.

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ryansholl
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to CraigBennett, Jul 8, 2013

CraigBennett wrote:

If she is using a Nikon 3200 or 5200, she most likely never takes it off the Green Auto mode.

You're absolutely right.  It wasn't until after my string of SLRs and DSLRs, when I bought my first full frame digital camera, that I learned how to use the damn thing.  They ought to send out DIY tattoo kits with expensive cameras with stencils that say "Real Photographer".

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BAK
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to CraigBennett, Jul 8, 2013
No text.
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brokensocialscenester
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to Michael Thomas Mitchell, Jul 9, 2013

Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:

I have to question the "2 per month" and "200 total" claim. If she were working EVERY month of the year, those figures would represent more than eight years in the business. That's a LONG time to be doing this as a hobby. And yet her approach doesn't exactly suggest that she's getting high dollar. So, understanding possible backlash from others, I'm calling BS on her claims. It just doesn't add up. In the end, what matters most are results. I hope you will eventually be able to see some for yourself. Then you'll know if she's the real deal or not.

This bears repeating.

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calson
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jul 24, 2013

It is if you are in the $700 a wedding price bracket as a photographer and are basically a shoot and burn where you hand the B&G a DVD with the images files on it after the wedding. Many couples cannot afford a professional wedding photographer and someone like this woman is better than nothing in their eyes.

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Max the Brave
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to calson, Jul 26, 2013

I do dvd's with pics and slideshows using Slideshow Creator from AMS.

If the budget is tight - i do slideshow for free, just to promote myself

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to Max the Brave, Jul 26, 2013

Promote to who? The couple that already hired you? Pointless.

To their friends? Out of 100 weddings I've done I think 3 brides have come here because of a sister I shot or being a bridesmaid in a wedding. I've had maybe 10 more that were referrals. I did get a call today for family pics from a bride of 5 years ago because she liked her friends wedding pics of 4 years ago.

But I've NEVER EVER seen anyone else 'give it away for promoton'. Try that with your dentist, dry cleaners, tomorrow at lunch, next trip to the grocery store, next time you need a hair cut, etc.
Not gonna happen. Ever.

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Zvonko
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, Jul 27, 2013

I usually use a Dolphin battery flash light held with sticky tape on my D70 for weddings.

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28to70
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to Zvonko, Jul 27, 2013

Zvonko wrote:

I usually use a Dolphin battery flash light held with sticky tape on my D70 for weddings.

That was my second digital camera after the junky Fuji S2.  I still have it as a backup to my backup D200.  I must admit it is a pretty good camera for 6 megapixels, but the LCD is so small,  and it didn't have a grip.  The color is superb and I recall doing quite a few weddings with it.  It's that CCD sensor you know. Try putting it on top of a Stroboframe bracket with at least an SB800 or an SB900 flash.

Before I forget, I have made plenty of 30X40's with that D70.

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RedFox88
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, Jul 27, 2013

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

Depends...on style.

I know many an 'old' photographer that uses a crop body and F4 lens(es). They shot in film days and posed everything (few candids) and used flash and low ISO (as that was all there was). In capable hands it can do fine.

An 18-200 isnt' IMO a great low light lens - at the outer end it's gonna be 5.6 aperture.

If you're working $1000 weddings it's hard to justify $1500 lenses and $3500 bodies - and often the low end consumer isn't that discerning to know or care.

The photographer in question could have been taking $500 even.  2 weddings a month on weekends or $12,000 a year not bad for a house wife.

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Gato Amarillo
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Re: Wedding Gear Question
In reply to bobgeorge, 11 months ago

It's not the gear, it's what she can do with it. Can she can deliver consistent results that please the bride? If yes then she's worth being paid and doesn't matter how she does it.

Some of the best and most creative photographers I know just don't care very much about gear. They bought something, figured out how to get the results they want from it, and will stick with it as long as it meets their needs.

But for a direct answer to the question, a good many wedding photographers are using crop sensor cameras. What she has sounds to me more or less typical for her price range. And as someone pointed out, 12 grand a year is not bad at all for a part-time job. Beats the heck out of working fast food.

Gato

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Just a Photographer
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Re: Not for a professional photographer
In reply to bobgeorge, 11 months ago

bobgeorge wrote:

Hello all,

A colleague of mine got married yesterday & I attended. I noticed the photography was shooting with what looked like a Nikon D3200 or D5200. n addition she had a flash light on her camera.

I talked to her for a minute and she said lens was a Nikkor 18-200 F3.5-5.6G ED VRII & she told me she had done over 200 weddings & normally averages 2 per month.

First its not about the camera but what you can do with it.
That said. Serious professional photographers don't use this type of camera or gear.
The gear used is more likely that of a low end amateur.

If (semi)professional and crop it would be either a D300s or a 7D. But still that is gear mostly used by advanced amateurs.

Most professionals would use a full frame camera 5D MKIII /1Dx nowadays or a D800/D4.
As for lenses definitely NOT zoom lenses as was used by the photographer you are mentioning.

For this type of work (weddings) you would either use a set of fixed lenses (24/35/50/85/135) or smaller zooms typically 24-70 in combination with a 70-200.

Now two month later I am curious if you were impressed with her pictures....

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