Which wedding setup should I use?

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  • lindseynh
    I was recently asked to photograph a very low budget wedding. They know I am not a professional, but after seeing my work they still would like me to be their photographer.

    The wedding is going to be outdoors if the weather permits. I have a Canon T3i, the kit lens and a 50mm f/1.8. I'm also borrowing a Nikon D3100 with kit lens and an 18-200mm lens. I plan on using my Canon and 50mm f/1.8 for the more artistic and candid shots, but I am still debating which camera and lens I should use for the actual ceremony. Any ideas? Tips?

    Thank you so much!
  • Moose
    Howdy @lindseynh - Wow, that's a fantastic opportunity for you. In looking at both options, I would lean towards the Canon T3i with the 18-55mm (kit lens) and the 50mm f/1.8 and bring the Nikon D3100 as a backup in case something goes wrong with the T3i.

    The decision is based more on your lens selection, than anything else. You'll be able to take the majority of your shots using the "nifty fifty" (50mm f/1.8), everything from portraits, intimate moments, hands, rings, flowers, food, centerpieces, etc...

    There will be some situations, where you'll need wide-angle as well, like group shots, interior decorations, outdoor church shots, etc... This is where the 18-55mm comes into play.

    Unless you're restricted from getting close to the stage, you won't need a telephoto zoom lens like the 18-200mm for your Nikon.

    With this being your first wedding, I would focus on getting as close as you physically can to the subject, rather than trying to shoot from a distance.

    In addition to your current setup, I highly recommend a second battery and a second memory card. These are necessities.

    If you have room in your budget, it would be extremely beneficial to rent, borrow or steal (just kidding) a Canon 580EX II speedlite (see here). If you can't get the 580EX II, then go for the 430EX II (see here). An external speedlite will help you out immensely, especially if the reception is indoors or in low-light.

    With an external speedlite, you'll be able to bounce the flash off a ceiling or through a diffuser to provide more natural looking light.

    As for settings and other ideas, I highly recommend the Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby (see here). Chapter three is all about wedding photography. His books are great because each page focuses on a specific tip or technique, complete with a photo example. This makes it easy to reference when you're out in the field or experimenting with various settings.

    Hope that all makes sense and happy shooting! :)
  • WallMiester
    I have a wedding to shot in March. This will actually be my second time using my T3i. I tell all my friends and family that I am more semi professional than professional, but they, like your fam and friends, love my work and still want me to do thier weddings. Having a good lens helps a lot, or just knowing how to use the one you have. I would love to see some of the shots you've got from the wedding you are shooting.

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Moose's Cheat Cards for the Canon T3i

If you've ever been in a situation and wondered which settings to use with your Canon T3i, these nifty little cheat sheets will tell you exactly which settings I would start with. Click here for more info.