Sony A7R for wedding

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
ianbrown
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Sony A7R for wedding
11 months ago

My wife has volunteered my services for a friends wedding!

Now I have just got familiar with the camera so that's not a problem, I would say I am a seasoned photographer but mainly on landscapes and city stuff etc!

Now my wife said those fatal words " they only want snaps" well that maybe the case but they need to be in focus and the vast majority will be taken in doors so I need to brush up on my flash skills.

My main question is what lens should I use?

I have the 28-70 f3.5 - f5.6 and also a Zeiss 24-70 f2.8 on loan. My thinking is the 55mm f1.8 and 35mm f2.8 would cover most of what I need. But these are almost 2k and not lenses I would use after the event.

So given that I will be using mainly flash inside as it's 3.30pm on the 22nd December (shortest day of the year in UK) when they come out of church, would the kit lens do?

Also it's a "mature" couple so I will be avoiding looking for bleeding sharp images anyway.

Any thoughts appreciated

Ian

Sony Alpha 7R
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Stu 5
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

ianbrown wrote:

My wife has volunteered my services for a friends wedding!

Now I have just got familiar with the camera so that's not a problem, I would say I am a seasoned photographer but mainly on landscapes and city stuff etc!

Now my wife said those fatal words " they only want snaps" well that maybe the case but they need to be in focus and the vast majority will be taken in doors so I need to brush up on my flash skills.

My main question is what lens should I use?

I have the 28-70 f3.5 - f5.6 and also a Zeiss 24-70 f2.8 on loan. My thinking is the 55mm f1.8 and 35mm f2.8 would cover most of what I need. But these are almost 2k and not lenses I would use after the event.

So given that I will be using mainly flash inside as it's 3.30pm on the 22nd December (shortest day of the year in UK) when they come out of church, would the kit lens do?

Also it's a "mature" couple so I will be avoiding looking for bleeding sharp images anyway.

Any thoughts appreciated

Ian

Turn it down and recommend they get a professional wedding photographer. You would also need a longer lens which you don't have either. This is the most important day of their lives so nothing can afford to go wrong with the photos.

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zilver
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to Stu 5, 11 months ago

Stu 5 wrote:

Turn it down and recommend they get a professional wedding photographer. You would also need a longer lens which you don't have either. This is the most important day of their lives so nothing can afford to go wrong with the photos.

Good advice, if you are asking if you can use kit lens for a wedding shoot, I think you better turn it down, no offence but it's just too much on the line in my opinion.

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netquity
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

You are asking a photography forum so there's a good mix of professional wedding photographers as well as hobbyists that think they are professionals.  No one can answer your question better than yourself.  You know your friends, their budgets, expectations etc.  As long as they are aware that you aren't a professional and they still want you I say go for it.  You will have challenges but the experience would be fun.

FWIW I hardly purchased any prints from my "Wedding Photographer" but the cheap disposable film photos that we left on the tables were the ones we kept and cherished.  IMHO it's 10% equipment and 90% the person behind it.  Look at it this way, this day and age I find people's acceptance of a good photo could even come from a camera on an iPhone.

Life's short, have fun!

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andrewD2
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

I usually photograph a few weddings around this time of year, last year I did 21st, 22nd, 28th.

In a dim church with a lack of light coming through windows f5.6 at the long end of a kit lens and you'll be getting 1/20th second during the service At ISO6400. The A7R shutter sound isn't going to make you want to shoot a lot of images in a burst to try and get one sharp. I never use a flash during a service but you might have to.

Last weekend was particularly grey, I shot less than a third of the images slower than f2.8 and my most common aperture was f1.6 (35/1.4 and 85/1.2)

Group shots and couple shots - 600EX radio triggered shooting through an umbrella or 60cm ezybox.

Reception was brighter than usual, f2.8 would have been possible.

Here is an example from the 21st last year, the next two post should be winter weddings too.

http://photoluminaire.co.uk/wp/weddings/uppermill-winter-wedding-photography-abi-dan/

I couldn't shoot a wedding with a kit zoom and an A7R and get the same sort of results.

Where in the UK is the wedding?

Andrew

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pmow
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to andrewD2, 11 months ago

So basically this is the standard "should I shoot a wedding" question, but with a new camera with a decidedly limited choice of lenses.  Yes you would've shot it anyway, but as the main photographer you are now expected to get the shot.  This means dealing with family and friends, and this is much more difficult than what lens to use, especially since you shoot landscapes.  Also, since you are now not a guest, and are now working for them, you will want to "get the shot".  This means standing around shooting when you could be eating cake, drinking (heavily if it was me), dancing, or talking to said wife.  Then again, having been recruited by her to work a wedding, you may already want to avoid her.

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Fred Briggs
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

Hi Ian

I was in a similar situation a year or so ago when my nephew asked me to do the photography for his wedding which was an otherwise fully professional affair with specialist wedding venue , catering, etc.  He also said he didn't mind how the pictures turned out - he just wanted me to do them. I was kind of pleased to be asked but also, like you, very apprehensive and wanting to produce some good quality pictures. In the event, despite all the angst, it went very well and even though I say so myself the pictures were pretty good, and everyone else involved was very pleased with them also.

I am also not a wedding photographer, and had only done something similar once before when I took pictures for a friend at her Indian wedding. I will try to give some pointers from my experience, but hopefully some pros will chime in too.

The first point I would make is, if it is at all possible, visit the venue in advance to work out what the lighting situation is and therefore what settings you will need on the day.  You also need to work out where you will need to be physically to get the shots you want. Take as many test shots as you can on the pre-visit, with someone standing in as the subjects if possible. I found this invaluable. Not sure if you will be able to do anything outdoors on that date and time as it will be virtually dark by the end of the ceremony!

Regarding equipment, I had recently bought a Nikon D800 and 24-120 VR f/4 lens and used this for almost all the photos except for a massive indoor group shot when I used my 16-35 VR f/4. I used flash in conjunction with manual shutter and aperture settings indoors and mainly aperture priority outdoors. Focal lengths were mainly in the 24-70 range, but I made use of the extra reach of the 24-120 above that for some close-ups.

I think most wedding togs tend to use a 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 so you might want to consider what you will do if you need more reach - though as I found with the D800, you will have a lot of crop-ability in your 36MP output.  I would strongly advise shooting in RAW for maximum flexibility in post-processing.  I found it particularly useful for lifting shadows to even out the lighting between the main subjects and people further away.  I also used 200-400 ISO rather than 100 with flash so as to reduce the intensity of flash used, which also helped.   Generally I found the minimum f/4 of the lens no problem, and in fact shot mostly in the f/5.6 - f/7.1 range, but the light was not too bad which helped.

You may well need f/2.8 if the light is bad which will put a premium on accurate focus due to the reduced depth of field.  I generally use back button focus with no focus on the shutter button and used this for the wedding.  This meant I could get the focus set in advance in each situation, and then just wait for the right moment to hit the shutter button.

The other thing I was very conscious of was trying not to forget to change settings when moving between different environments as I am terrible for this normally.  I actually got my wife to keep asking me if I had checked!

Hope that helps, and good luck!

Fred

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ianbrown
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to andrewD2, 11 months ago

andrewD2 wrote:

I usually photograph a few weddings around this time of year, last year I did 21st, 22nd, 28th.

In a dim church with a lack of light coming through windows f5.6 at the long end of a kit lens and you'll be getting 1/20th second during the service At ISO6400. The A7R shutter sound isn't going to make you want to shoot a lot of images in a burst to try and get one sharp. I never use a flash during a service but you might have to.

Last weekend was particularly grey, I shot less than a third of the images slower than f2.8 and my most common aperture was f1.6 (35/1.4 and 85/1.2)

Group shots and couple shots - 600EX radio triggered shooting through an umbrella or 60cm ezybox.

Reception was brighter than usual, f2.8 would have been possible.

Here is an example from the 21st last year, the next two post should be winter weddings too.

http://photoluminaire.co.uk/wp/weddings/uppermill-winter-wedding-photography-abi-dan/

I couldn't shoot a wedding with a kit zoom and an A7R and get the same sort of results.

Where in the UK is the wedding?

Andrew

Nice shots.

Thanks for the advise, looks like I may use a 50mm f1.5 on the LA EA4?

Cheers

Ian

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ianbrown
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

Maybe I should have clarified that their expectations are extremely low!!!, just as well!

They really just want some snaps of the day!

I have taken portraits before (sample below) but a studio set up is a hole lot different to taking shots in mixed lighting and in the dark outside!!

I guess I would be better using the 50mm f1.4 with the LA-EA4

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D Cox
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

ianbrown wrote:

Maybe I should have clarified that their expectations are extremely low!!!, just as well!

They really just want some snaps of the day!

That is what they say now.

Is that what the bride's mother says ? Is it what she will say if the "snaps" are blurry ?

You should be OK with the f/1.4 lens.

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anagram4wander2
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

It's going to be hard without something with a bit more reach.. Say a 70-200. The rest you might be able to get away with, assuming you are willing to go to ISO 3200 or even 6400 inside.

What flash options do you have ? You're going to need it for the formals and the reception.

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boardsy
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

It'a all about expectations - it can be done. I was a volunteer second shooter at a family wedding last summer and did it entirely with a NEX F3 and Canon FDn 35/2. I fully partook in the event as guest, partying etc but also took the time out to snap every step of the way. They and I were pretty happy with the results.

I don't want to post too many personal/portrait shots, just give an impression of the event. (As you will notice, I'm going for a muted look on some of these, they weren't under-exposed, and any vignette is deliberate!)

The venue:

Chefs at work:

Dance tent and guests:

Flower arranging:

Her results:

Beauty check:

The ceremony:

Dining:

Dancing!

The inevitable conga line:

The morning after:

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Alan
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Stu 5
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to D Cox, 11 months ago

D Cox wrote:

ianbrown wrote:

Maybe I should have clarified that their expectations are extremely low!!!, just as well!

They really just want some snaps of the day!

That is what they say now.

And this is the problem. That view will change at some point. Maybe before, maybe during or maybe afterwards.

Is that what the bride's mother says ? Is it what she will say if the "snaps" are blurry ?

You should be OK with the f/1.4 lens.

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sp1te
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to Stu 5, 11 months ago

I think with that 24-70 your set. If what you say is true, most the time when I shoot for friends, I just clarify the kind of shots I'm good at taking. I let them know what to expect up front and if there ok with that I've shot entire weddings with a 24-70 2.8 using different cameras, but if your familiar with the camera and know how to eek the performance where you need it. I see no reason to need anything else except the 24-70 and one fast prime.

It can be done for sure, is is ideal? no but when has that stopped any of us from doing anything?

Id love to see your results.

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Djnww
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to boardsy, 11 months ago

Didnt you say the 24-70 is on rent ? Or will it not be available by then ? It's the obvious choice.
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Allochka Emiliana
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

ianbrown wrote:

My wife has volunteered my services for a friends wedding!

Now I have just got familiar with the camera so that's not a problem, I would say I am a seasoned photographer but mainly on landscapes and city stuff etc!

Now my wife said those fatal words " they only want snaps" well that maybe the case but they need to be in focus and the vast majority will be taken in doors so I need to brush up on my flash skills.

My main question is what lens should I use?

I have the 28-70 f3.5 - f5.6 and also a Zeiss 24-70 f2.8 on loan. My thinking is the 55mm f1.8 and 35mm f2.8 would cover most of what I need. But these are almost 2k and not lenses I would use after the event.

So given that I will be using mainly flash inside as it's 3.30pm on the 22nd December (shortest day of the year in UK) when they come out of church, would the kit lens do?

Also it's a "mature" couple so I will be avoiding looking for bleeding sharp images anyway.

Any thoughts appreciated

Ian

As long as the priest won't mind the loud shutter, you are fine with 24-70 2.8 and 55 1.8 for low light. No need to bring 38mm since you can use your 24-70. In addition, I hope you have a steady hand. I read that you really need a tripod to shoot really sharp photos when using A7r!

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tex
tex
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Innappropriate camera for a wedding today
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

You need a quicker device.  That said, it used to be that every decent wedding photographer around these parts used Medium Format---hardly speedy cameras.

You all can take that anyway you like!

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cosmonaut
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

Get a good flash, battery pack a Gary Fong and watch some YouTube videos. The 24-70mm would be your best bet.

Learn how to custom set the WB and skin tones will take care of themselves for the most part.

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RonFrank
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

Professional Wedding photographers generally use DSLR and strobes with various bounce lighting. I used a tripod in the church as maybe 50% do not allow flash. I carried two or more cameras and always had a backup.

Make sure you set the expectations up front and pray. I had a bride once who was really mad because I failed to get a shot of some distant relative. It did not matter that I had asked for a list of must have people shots the bride was very mad. At least until she realized I had all her wedding shots, and she never identified this individual in the many lists I gave her to help me at the event.

Screwing up the photography at a wedding is a good way to ruin friendships. OTOH some are very care fee about wedding photos. It really depends on the couple, the family, the friends, etc. Unfortunately once its done a reshoot is not an option.  Maybe the Bride/Groom are happy but both extended families now hate you....

My advice for would be photographers asked to shoot a wedding is run! Make it very clear you are not a wedding professional and that is what they want assuming photography is important.

Another view... are friends providing the flowers, the cake, the dress? Having a camera at the wedding can be a great asset if you get a few memorable shots. Being THE Wedding photographer without out any experience is foolish.

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BeeJee
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Re: Sony A7R for wedding
In reply to ianbrown, 11 months ago

It depends on the kind of wedding, and on the couples' expectation. Only do it if the expectations are low, get a professional if the couple cares about the pictures (for clarification: I am not saying that you will make poor pictures or that a professional will sure make good ones, but the chance of great pictures is just much higher if someone with a lot of experience makes them.)

If there is a church service, do not expect to get decent shots during the service, for a variety of reasons:

  • You would need a longer lens; a good choice is a stabilized 70-200 f2.8.
  • You need a bright lens, as you should avoid using a flash during the service. Flashing is not worth it, too disturbing, and the results won't be good anyway.
  • You need a silent camera, e.g. a Canon 5D MkIII. Absolutely not a Sony A7.

But you can make some nice shots before or after the service. I recommend "A" (or "M" if you want to go below 1/60s with flash), fully open aperture, flash set as fill flash (I assume you use a Sony system flash), Auto ISO with max. ISO6400. You should use as much natural/envirumental light as possible, as it looks nicer than the harsh flash light, and ISO6400 is still quite usable with the A7, better than more flash light.

If it is a reception or dinner event in a room with a (more or less) white roof, then use the flash (same settings as above) indirect (bouncing via the roof), ideally with a bouncer card to mix the indirect light with some direct light. See http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/ as a bouncer card example - if you don't have one, you can make one easily from white cardboard.

But what you will notice with the A7 under low light is that it sometimes has a hard time to focus on low contrast details - that includes face details. Set the AF to Direct Manual Focus (that's AF but with the option of a manual override if required), single focus point (maybe size M), focus review time 2 sec. You will need to prefocus (ideally on an eye, shutter half press), then recompose and then fully press the shutter for the shot. _Practice_ this at home with a friend in low light! (Coming from a DSLR, a mirrorless camera's AF system can be quite frustrating in low contrast low light, you will need significant practice.)

Then group two or three guests close together, ask them for a smile, make at least two or three shots with new AF per picture (AF might miss, a face expression might be poor, eyes might be closed, so you want multiple shots to later select from).

Good luck

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