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03/20/2008 08:22:07 PM · #1
I want to take more creative photos at weddings; but, though I have the eye for them, I find I have trouble executing them.

For instance, I have a Canon 20D, a 70-200 2.8L and a 24-70 2.8L that I use at weddings. I don't really have a wide angle, hmmm. I often want to take shots of the cake close up, but with the couple in the background, also in focus. Impossible it seems. I stop down to f11, holding tight as the light goes down and shoot... still, a blurry background. What can I do to get more in focus, I wonder!?! I zoom out completely, increase speed to 400 and stop down to f16, still... blurry background. I know I'm too close to the cake - but that's just it... I want to be!

What are my options here? I can't afford a new lens right now, nor a new body; so, how can I get more artistic with the lenses I have. They are great lenses, but I seem limited to out-of-focus backgrounds (which I don't always want, even though they are gorgeous).

Any suggestions?

When I can afford a new lens or camera, do I buy a tilt-shift or a full-frame camera? They're about the same price?! Please, put that question 2nd, with a focus on the first... as, I can't afford to buy right now, and I have a few weddings coming up.

Thanks a million, friends!
Arie :)

Message edited by author 2008-03-20 20:23:32.
03/20/2008 08:47:10 PM · #2
Photoshop to the rescue! Take 2 shots - one of the cake in focus and one of the bride and groom in the background and combine them to get the effect you want.
03/20/2008 09:12:16 PM · #3
macro lens for close focusing... small aperture for greater dof, oh yeah a tripod as well!
03/20/2008 09:32:20 PM · #4
Ummm... if you're up close, you're not going to get both the cake and the couple in focus. You'll have to pick one. What is the story about? The cake? Or the couple? (there's no wrong answer here, maybe you'll take both shots)

Notice how, on this image, the ring is in focus but the bride isn't? And yet ... that's okay! The image is about the ring. And the bride and her smile as she looks into her man's eyes complete the story.

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Or in this one... the bride is up close. And typically I would have had the bride in focus and the groom out of focus. But I reversed it for this image... and in doing so, the image is now all about the groom and the love in his eyes.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19982/120/605580.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19982/120/605580.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Or speaking of taking two images to tell the story, how about this pair of images:

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03/20/2008 10:40:01 PM · #5
Damn I'm kicking myself because I can't recall the word that describe this 'issue'. It's related to Depth of Field.

Off to Googleland I go...

HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE!

//www.dofmaster.com/hyperfocal.html

Message edited by author 2008-03-20 22:42:48.
03/21/2008 01:45:17 AM · #6
I may have to do this in photoshop until I can afford a tilt-shift. I've been looking at a lot of photography that I like of weddings that the photog uses a tilt shift, with the cake/ring/glasses in focus as well as the background in focus. I can't afford one of these, but I can take multiple shots and do photoshop work I guess.

I was hoping there was some new technique I could use to get the effect I wanted without photoshop editing, but I guess that's my financial burden... which I'll hopefully solve in a year or so, with the luck of finding a new job soon!

Thank you all for your advice. My wedding photos are very much what you have mentioned and shown below (lots of rings and flowers in focus with the couple out of focus, or bride in focus with groom out, etc. I've done those, and I love them... I just want to expand, ya know what I mean?! :)

Thanks again everyone!

Arie
03/21/2008 01:49:30 AM · #7
I do have a question for you, dwterry. What lens/fstop are you using to get the whole hand in focus with the couple out of focus? Usually, my shots end up with the ring in focus, but part of the hand is out of focus. I also see lots of bokeh and extreme out of focus subjects in your other photos, but I can't seem to get that "on purpose" very easily. How did you accomplish the extreme out of focus / bokeh effect (lens/fstop/distance from subject)?

I LOVE your ring photo, by the way! Brilliant focus and composition!
03/21/2008 03:02:02 AM · #8
Originally posted by mirdonamy:

I want to take more creative photos at weddings; but, though I have the eye for them, I find I have trouble executing them.

For instance, I have a Canon 20D, a 70-200 2.8L and a 24-70 2.8L that I use at weddings. I don't really have a wide angle, hmmm. I often want to take shots of the cake close up, but with the couple in the background, also in focus. Impossible it seems. I stop down to f11, holding tight as the light goes down and shoot... still, a blurry background. What can I do to get more in focus, I wonder!?! I zoom out completely, increase speed to 400 and stop down to f16, still... blurry background. I know I'm too close to the cake - but that's just it... I want to be!



I wonder how a close-up & split field filter or Cokin calls it Split Field + 2 filter.
03/21/2008 03:26:05 AM · #9
Expressions, odd angles, selective focus/depth of field, motion, and of course some Photoshop fun,
or even combinations thereof keep it from being same old same old:

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651255.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651255.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651310.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651310.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651346.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651346.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651353.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651353.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651207.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651207.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651261.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651261.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651345.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651345.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651354.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651354.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/652849.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/652849.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651204.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651204.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/654198.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/654198.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/653740.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/653740.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651233.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15000-19999/19708/120/651233.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Two lenses used in these, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II

Message edited by author 2008-03-21 03:29:48.
03/21/2008 06:28:29 AM · #10
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' grigrigirl = The Most creative Wedding Photographer I know!
03/21/2008 07:36:52 AM · #11
On the ring shot, I added details to the image to answer your question. But it's really nothing special. This was shot using the 70-200mm lens fully zoomed (200mm) @ f/2.8 and up fairly close (the closer you are, the shallower the DOF), in this case at least 4 feet as that's the minimum focus distance for that lens.


Message edited by author 2008-03-21 07:41:33.
03/21/2008 08:41:58 AM · #12
don't be afraid to stand on a chair. :)
03/21/2008 08:59:03 AM · #13
A tilt shift won't give you more DOF and a FF body will give you less DOF at any given aperture compared to your (ancient) 20D.
Get a 40D - you can USE ISO3200, as opposed to the 20D you have now that gets noisy at 800 and too noisy above that.

For a cheap play thing get a Lensbaby. The 3G is the nicest, but the 1.0 is $100 or so and will do the same things.

The wider angle the lens the more (apparent) DOF you have. So you'll get more depth at 24mm than you will at 70 or 200. The canon 10-22 is awesome. My current portrait image challenge entry was made with this lens and I love it for creative images, and it's great for what your describing you want to do with the cake. I hear the tokina 10-17 fisheye is good too - i'll be able to test one in a few weeks.

Most 'creative' wedding shots/photogs are focusing on shallow DOF - the 85 1.2 is a fave lens of many top shooters. I got the 50 1.2 and when shooting at 1.4 to 1.2 it makes wonderful images.
03/21/2008 09:25:37 AM · #14
The only way to increase your DOF is to back up & zoom in. Think about it - use a wide angle lens up close (say, 6 ft. away) with a small aperture (say, 2.8) The shot will have a wide view (side to side), but a narrow DOF (maybe a couple inches deep at most).

Try doing the opposite (step a LOT further away, zoom in, and increase the aperture), and your DOF will greatly increase. Go to DOF Online Calculator, enter your camera & lens information, then look @ the differences between close-up work & shooting from further away. Besides your aperture, the distance between you & your subject are critical in figuring the DOF. Why do you think truly serious photogs used to use a measuring tape for their images? (Hint - it wasn't because they were amateurs!) TRUST me - it will make sense with just a few simple test shots. :D

Good luck, and let us know what ya get!

Message edited by author 2008-03-21 09:31:44.
03/21/2008 10:05:09 AM · #15
Originally posted by doctornick:

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' grigrigirl = The Most creative Wedding Photographer I know!


[thumb]660368[/thumb]

Stolen directly from the Julia Bailey Playbook...but not done half as well. (eta:not a great edit)

Message edited by author 2008-03-21 14:10:10.
03/21/2008 10:34:19 AM · #16
Also, consider Eric Limon ( ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' mrorange002 ) and a link to the Wedding Photo Journalist Assoc. . And definitely Julia.

Message edited by author 2008-03-21 10:46:27.
03/21/2008 11:55:21 AM · #17
Julia's work is gorgeous! I do a lot of shallow DOF work at weddings, and I do love it. I just want to expand past always using shallow DOF for artistic shots and start getting more in focus. It seems that I'll need a wide angle lens or some PS work to do it. That Cokin split filter seems pretty cool too! I wonder how pristine it is, and can it be used for weddings over my 24-70 2.8L without degrading quality? Hmmm

I always play with distance, but I've never used a tape measure... I'll have to look into the math deeper and start experimenting with that! I don't think it's appropriate at weddings, because everything moves soooo fast; but, I'd like to try it otherwise.

I really do need to get my wedding site up and share my work with all of you, but in the meantime, thank you for your advice... great advice, each of you! I am truly appreciative of my fellow DPC'ers and your willingness to share and inspire!!!

Arie :)

PS. A full frame and 85mm looks amazing! I wish I could afford one! One day...
03/21/2008 12:34:34 PM · #18
Originally posted by muckpond:

don't be afraid to stand on a chair. :)


I will amend this slightly:

don't be afraid...period.

I comes down confidence and letting your natural inclinations take over
03/21/2008 12:47:38 PM · #19
Hi Cutter,

I'm never afraid (of almost anything). My confidence is damn high, but my finances limit me in a mm sense (as I don't have a wide angle). I was just hoping to learn some tricks to get around that.

I stand on chairs, lay on the ground, can direct people politely and firmly, love to try new things... I love photographing weddings and I have some great, artistic photos from weddings. I just want to expand! Chairs are great - hell... anything I can climb on or under! :)
03/21/2008 01:06:12 PM · #20
Originally posted by mirdonamy:

Chairs are great - hell... anything I can climb on or under! :)


Hmmm... as a "guy photographer", I don't think I'd dare try getting under the chairs. People might wonder what I'm shooting!

03/21/2008 03:19:00 PM · #21
Originally posted by dwterry:

Originally posted by mirdonamy:

Chairs are great - hell... anything I can climb on or under! :)


Hmmm... as a "guy photographer", I don't think I'd dare try getting under the chairs. People might wonder what I'm shooting!


those shots don't go in the album.
03/21/2008 03:24:49 PM · #22
Haha, hilarious! I try to get shoot the cake from the ground, the rings, flowers, rose petals, etc. I do like to get under glass tables sometimes too, but only when it's appropriate! :)
03/21/2008 04:12:22 PM · #23
This guy wins for the MOST Creative wedding photography I've ever seen

John Michael Cooper

He was the original "trash the dress" photographer -- now he's setting Vera Wang dresses on fire. Here's a link to an article about him in the recent Rangefinder magazine.
03/21/2008 08:48:24 PM · #24
He has a lot of great locations, and his skills are excellent. I don't really relate to so many photos of brides not smiling, even a little, though. I know it's his style, but it seems somewhat of a downer on the most memorable day of their lives (thus far). If he only took one or two shots of a bride that passive, I think I'd relate to it more, but there are so many!

His colors are brilliant and his locations are really great (and very apparent in all his work). It seems I always get stuck with the mother's house, full of crap on the walls and floor, bright-ass noon sun, and what not. I know all weddings won't be so difficult (lighting and background wise), but I think some photogs seem to get lucky (esp those that have very high end clients). The question is... how did they get there? ;)
03/21/2008 10:02:16 PM · #25
Have an idea and skills, and go for it. Shoot what you love and the clients will find you, so they say. Or at least the clients that like what you do.
//www.chrisgoodenweddings.com/ is a somewhat local photog to me. If he's at a bridal show you'll know - everyone talks about him, his work, his booth (yeah, the mucic on his site is played at his booth). Not everyone likes or hires him, but everyone knows him. He has Buzz.

//www.dandoke.com/ is more down to earth. I just watched a wedding of his (part of it anyway)on PhotovisionVideo and his approach is similar to mine- a notch above for sure, but I like his approach. The video showed the getting ready at the house stuff and finally a 'real' bride, real house, real bridesmaids and no sunsets or mansions, we got fat butts, bad teeth, tattoos- a real life wedding situation!! He was using the 50 1.2 a mostly, with some 70-200 2.8 and 24-70 2.8, and probably the 16-35 on a 1D body of some sort. He must be tired by days end - a belt with lenses and pouches and 2, perhaps 3 bodies slung over around his neck plus an assistant.

One neat thing he did and says he does often, is LOTS of posed/semi posed shots - every bridesmaid with the bride in addition to the group shots - more shots to sell, shots to sell to everyone. If there's 7 bridesmaids he shoots variations to the both looking at the camera shot so that when all 7 images are in the album they are not all the same pose with different faces - he gets them laughing, looking at eachother, one looking at the camera, etc, etc. Impressive.
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