“I’ve been asked to take pho­tos at my friend’s wed­ding… what equip­ment should I get” is a ques­tion that pops up fair­ly often from non-pho­tog­ra­ph­er friends.

Remem­ber this is for some­one who is total­ly not a pho­tog­ra­ph­er and is try­ing to be nice to a friend… bet it’s hap­pened to many of you  🙂

She already has a basic DSLR (Canon Rebel), which is the first good thing. Once you get a cam­era with inter­changable lens­es and can add a flash, you have more options and the pho­to sen­sor inside is much big­ger than snap­shot cam­eras.
Here’s what I sug­gest­ed for equip­ment & strat­e­gy:
You might do bet­ter to plan to do 100% of the pho­tos out­side and then tell the cou­ple ‘no promis­es’ on any­thing inside.

Set up the groups outside/in nice shade so you have some safe, nice shots… then the rest is snap­shots that you and oth­er peo­ple can be asked to do.

If you stop in to a good cam­era shop, they’ll show you options on flash and lens. Flash you’ll use the rest of your life  and is real­ly worth hav­ing. The lens, can be pret­ty pricey for one to zoom in enough, and either not need flash or be as bright as pos­si­ble zoomed in with flash.

For a long zoom lens, if you aren’t going to use it for­ev­er (most­ly just enjoy snap­shot), it’s so hard to spend the mon­ey.

A ‘cheap’ basic lens is around $200. They make one for $135, but it does­n’t have image sta­bi­liza­tion, and you’ll real­ly want that if you are try­ing to keep from shak­ing doing wed­ding pho­tos and prob­a­bly many with­out flash of the cer­e­mo­ny.

Flash is Power for Life:

The Canon Flash­es are $150 or $250 and since it’s some­thing you real­ly can use for­ev­er, the $250 might be good even if you don’t buy a lens, get the flash. Flash info HERE on Ama­zon.

The advan­tage is more pow­er, but more impor­tant­ly, it is high­er, which cuts red eye, and it can point at the ceil­ing and bounce the flash, which looks very nice for pho­tos at events (no shad­ows, etc).


Online Rental Rocks:

Think­ing about it, you might do much bet­ter to do an online rental like BorrowLenses.com, etc. And ask the bride to cov­er the cost.

You can get a flash and a lens for around $100. Or like I said, buy a flash and have them cov­er a lens rental. Ask if you decide to do this and I’ll send links.

This would be a great flash and great lens­es at BorrowLens.com HERE

It’s Not the Equipment… It’s the Photographer:

And as always, for the most part, it’s not the equip­ment, it’s the pho­tog­ra­ph­er… so a bet­ter flash can give you more light, and a good lens will help you zoom in with­out the pho­tos get­ting too dark… but if you have a good eye, and under­stand the cam­era set­tings well… you can get great shots with almost any equip­ment.

Warning! And an Option:

Frankly, if you aren’t sure you can take great shots, be very care­ful, because there are lots of mis­takes that can mean the cou­ple gets hard­ly any, or no good pho­tos… and they’d blame you… the nice per­son who’s just try­ing to help.

I sug­gest if a cou­ple can’t afford nice young pho­tog­ra­phers, then rather than put all that pres­sure on a friend, they should just be OK with a bunch of snap­shots that they ask every­one to take. And you work real­ly hard at get­ting them great pho­tos, know­ing you have a bit of a safe­ty net.

To the pro’s read­ing this…yes, I know we all get snot­ty and say that every cou­ple should hire a fan­tas­tic pro pho­tog­ra­ph­er… but in the real world this request hap­pens a lot, so I hope it helps some­one who’s stuck in the same sit­u­a­tion.


Comment: Working Around a Hired Pro:

I had a com­ment from my Google + Canon group about this, where some­one not­ed they took some pho­tos along­side the pro at their child’s request… and I said:

You’ll total­ly be the hero if you get some great shots they would have missed. Or the dis­count ‘pro’ turns out to be awful.  And you can save them some mon­ey by doing the lat­er part of the recep­tion say, or some ‘before’ shots if they don’t hire some­one for that.

Many eager ‘friend pho­tog­ra­phers’ make this mis­take  if a pro is hired, and just plain get in the way.  Please do give her space to do her job. It can be real­ly frus­trat­ing to be doing an event and have oth­er peo­ple in the way, or worse yet hold­ing your sub­jects up for ‘just one more pho­to’.

And I don’t do wed­dings… but it hap­pens at PR events too.

So what can you do to help with­out get­ting the way? Try a longer lens and take a shot from a dif­fer­ent angle from the pro… while he does the nor­mal group, you can skim the side of the group with tight focus on your kid, etcTake some cool wide shots show­ing the con­text of the whole event. Take shots of key peo­ple that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er may not know, but you know since you are fam­i­ly. Maybe doc­u­ment a shot at each table if the pho­tog­ra­ph­er is just hired to do ‘cre­ative’ can­did pho­tos… he’ll appre­ci­ate your doing the ‘dull’ stuff.


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