Wedding photography- how to cope in church when flash is prohibited

PaulSR 14 511 England
26 Jun 2011 10:31PM
The title says it all. I have been talked into doing my first wedding. Luckily it is for a family member so i will know most people there. I am a bit worried about taking shots inside the church if flash is prohibited. how is this problem solved. the wedding is two months away so i havent found out if it is allowed as yet. i will be finding out at the rehearsal in a few weeks time.
The other problem is my camera, i will be using a Canon 400d with a Canon 28-135mm IS USM . I Know the camera will not be upto handling the low light of a church without a flash, anything from Iso 400 upwards causes noise. I am hoping to purchase the canon 50D before the wedding but that is not guaranteed at the moment. Would the 50D be any better without the use of flash.
All help appreciated

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Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
26 Jun 2011 10:39PM
Turn up, enjoy yourself, and leave the camera at home its family.
justin c 16 5.1k 36 England
26 Jun 2011 10:50PM

Quote:Would the 50D be any better without the use of flash.

Not really. Full frame camera's are generally what's needed if you want better quality at higher ISO's. Although saying that, you should be able to get decent results with what you've got as long as you expose the scene correctly and are competent at processing the images to get the best out of them.
PaulSR 14 511 England
26 Jun 2011 10:53PM
"Turn up, enjoy yourself, and leave the camera at home its family."
I have promised now after a long time refusing and trying to convince them that using an experienced pro is the best route to take. So i will be doing it and hopefully flash will be allowed. Clearly you agree with me that the camera isnt up to the job.
scottishphototours 16 2.6k 2
26 Jun 2011 11:35PM
Neither the camera, lens and maybe even you, are up to the job. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you're on here asking questions like this, you shouldn't be doing it IMHO.

Yesterday we shot a ceremony handheld at 1/60th at f2.8 at ISO 12,800 - could you do that??. I'd convince that BG that your kit is not up to the job and that to get there will cost you several Łk's that you're not prepared to invest in - that should be your get out clause.

Sorry, but there's no Church in the land that'll allow you to use flash during a ceremony. It simply won't happen.

Here's another thought that you may want to entertain - a family member is the LAST person whose wedding pics you want to be screwing up....


PS - 2 weeks ago, for the first time ever, I was asked to provide a copy of my PL Insurance details to shoot in a church I've shot in dozens of times. Apparently this will be the norm very soon across the CoS, though the reasons why still seem to be a mystery.
ianrobinson 10 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
26 Jun 2011 11:39PM
with out doubt you need a full frame camera to handle noise at high iso, something along the lines of a 5d mark ii would be a good idea, you will not get good images in a church in low light with a 400d or 50d simple fact is the iso on these cameras only go up to 1600 iso and at 400 iso they are very grainy indeed whereas the 5d mark ii can handle iso of 1000 or more before it registers as grain.
The 5d mark ii iso can go all the way to24000 iso.
If you can't afford the route of a 5d mark ii or the lenses to go with it then don't risk your reputation as a photographer and try to persuade the marrying couple to get a pro in, this is there one day they will remember through photos way after the event so they need to be good.

Sorry if this sounds harsh but it's the cold hard truth.

Put it like this, a lot of shots will be taken in church and some very important ones at that, if you can't use flash you are not going to get those shots period, and your family will not thank you for that because they probably think your good and maybe you are, but what they don't realise is you don't have the tools to do the job properly.

Like paul said leave the camera at home and enjoy the day because quite frankly if you take what you have then you'll be out of your depth very quickly.

I hope this helps.

PaulSR 14 511 England
26 Jun 2011 11:42PM

Quote:Sorry, but there's no Church in the land that'll allow you to use flash during a ceremony. It simply won't happen.

Is that true, i heard that some do and some dont.
monkeygrip 11 574 6 England
26 Jun 2011 11:50PM
I wouldn't say just the camera isn't up to the job the 50D may not be much of an improvement over the 400D if you are using the same lens.

There is a good reason why wedding photographers use cameras that are better performers at high ISO but even the high end pro cameras cant magic light from nowhere so fast lenses are essential.

With the high ceilings in most churches even if you can use flash it is still a challenge you didn't mention if you had a speedlight or not as the pop up flash will most certainly fall short in performance.

If your family members understand the limitations of your kit and still want you to do the wedding then dont put yourself under too much pressure you will get loads more interesting and brilliant shots if you are relaxed no matter what camera you use but if there is any chance you can beg, borrow or steal the best equipment for the job then get it.

Oh and in my experience it is always better to wack the ISO up and get the shot you want rather than miss it all together if all else fails it will make a decent grainy black and white lol.
PaulSR 14 511 England
27 Jun 2011 12:04AM

Quote:Sorry if this sounds harsh but it's the cold hard truth.

I agree totally. i know my kit isnt up to the job, but i was pestered for weeks to do it, despite me telling them the kit wasnt ideal. after tonight i have really gone off the idea.
strawman 16 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2011 12:13AM
Paul go back a few years and lots of weddings were shot with 10D's, and I find it hard to believe your 400D is not at least as good, plus I also think you ought to be able to get to ISO800 at least with your current camera. So my view is go back to them and just state what you and your camera can do, and get them to think on are they happy to accept that. It is probably not dull church interior shots though.

Some people think that any old camera and any old photographer is good enough. Some will be happy to get photos with faces they recognise others will expect to pay nothing and expect works of art.

So tell them outdoor shots, reception shots with flash etc and see how they feel. It is possible to hire lenses and cameras, but will you be able to work with kit you have never used before. Like the others I doubt the 50D will be big step on from your existing camera.
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
27 Jun 2011 1:32AM

Quote:The other problem is my camera, i will be using a Canon 400d with a Canon 28-135mm IS USM

You have a couple of months to make up your mind, in the mean time get and practice with your camera and lens combination, and get to know the IS capabilities of that camera body, go and visit empty churches and practice using available light.

Its pretty much as John says, but I reckon you should be able to get away with 400 iso. And don`t rush out and buy new kit, the chances are you will regret it.
User_Removed 18 2.8k 11 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2011 7:13AM
Get yourself down to the church (Any church) with your camera and find out for yourself.
Have a session with nobody around and play with the settings.
It's the only way to find out.

Good luck.

PaulSR 14 511 England
27 Jun 2011 7:39AM
thanks for the advice. think i will visit a church and try the camera out.
pulsar69 16 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2011 7:45AM

Quote:Sorry, but there's no Church in the land that'll allow you to use flash during a ceremony. It simply won't happen.

Is that true, i heard that some do and some dont.

It is almost true , i have come across the odd one that does allow anything including flash , but to be fair your never going to bounce a flash in a church with any success and would you really want to blind the b&g !

Civil Ceremonies differ greatly with a mix of dos and donts dependant upon the registrar , from my own experience Catholic Churches are pretty relaxed with rules , methodist can be pushed into submission Wink and church of england are probably the strictest.

RoyBoy 15 303 2 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2011 7:52AM
My thoughts are:

1 - Make sure that the B&G fully appreciate that you have worries and reservations about doing the job. Tell them that you have neither the experience or equipment to match that of a professional.

2 - If they still want you to do it and accept the risks involved start to prepare yourself and try and relax.

3 - Get some experience within dark interiors. If you can, visit the actual church and experiment but do it on dull days. This way if the day in question turns out a bit brighter its a bonus. Practising in the actual church will also prepare you for the big day and the venue will be familar. Also think about where you wnat to place yourself and intended angles. All this will help reduce the pressure on you.

4 - The use of a tripod will not generally allow you to be flexible enough. However a monopod will. Try this as it will help steady the camera and allow a lower iso/shutter speed than would otherwise be the case.

5 - Remember that you don't need a good camera to take a great image. Its not the camera, its what you do with it thats important. Think creative.

6 - You may have to accept that, given the limitations of the camera the image will be noisey. Don't then worry about it. Turn it into monochrome and mayby try adding "film grain". Sometimes the result will surprise you. Black and white images frequently look better anyway and over a period give a timeless appeal.

Hope this helps.


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