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David Banner November 27th, 2018 06:29 PM

wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Hi all. I've been doing wedding video for 2 decades and often take some photos for slideshows, DVD case artwork etc...but not serving as the official photog. I keep getting requests to do photography so I'm thinking of starting to offer both. So I've invested in a couple remote speedlights and mono light.

I have an A7Sii, A6000 and FZ2500 bridge camera but am thinking of getting an A7Riii for my main photo camera and use one of the others for a backup or 2nd shooter.

I don't need 42MP for weddings if I shoot the way I normally do, but I'm thinking of using it to shoot mostly wide and then crop in post when I need a tighter shot. So I end up with 2 photos for each one taken.
I realize that for creamy more shallow DOF, I'll need to frame and shoot traditionally, but for most of the other shots why not just deep focus and shoot wide?

Roger Gunkel November 28th, 2018 05:05 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
I've been shooting wedding videos since 1984, and have also been a photographer for non wedding work since the mid 1980s. I added photography as an add on to our wedding video work a few years ago and it was the best move I could have made. We have taken a lot more work as we offer a joint photo and video package which has encouraged many who would not have considered a video, to have both. We also take video only and photography only bookings.

As my wife is also a photographer and videographer, we are both able to take on combined packages solo, although the work load is less when working together. We both have identical kit, and are geared up to work fast and light which has worked very well for us.

We use Panasonic FZ1000s for A&B cams shooting in 4k, with a Panasonic VX370 for a C cam also in 4k. We also both have a couple of Yi 4k GoPro clones for remote positioning a 4th camera if required or for when space is tight for the B or C cams. If we are working solo, B&C cams are locked off, but shooting in 4k allows for pans and zooms in post. Sony pocket sound recorders and Zoom H1 take care of audio. For stills, we both use Canon 5ds with speedlite flash and remote flash as needed. We also have camera mounted LED lights for the Pannys and Rode video mics with fluffy wind shields. Tripods are light fluid head Velbons, plus clamps etc for other camera positioning, and light stands for small cams and lights if needed. We also carry umbrella reflectors and studio lights just incase of poor lighting or situations that require lit group shots.

Using full frame dslr cameras is by far the best bet if you are offering photography and want to be taken seriously, although taking stills from 4k video is sometimes a life saver when conventional photography is not allowed as in some church services.We also sometimes use one of the Pannys for occasional stills when there is no time for lens changes on the dslr. Weddings though give plenty of time for taking stills alongside video, as even during the ceremony it is straight forward to lift the dslr from around the neck for stills without disturbing the manned video A cam. I actually find it easier to do a solo combined package than working around a separate photography company, as I am then in complete control.

I would say though that taking stills and taking video requires two different heads on, so you need to be very experienced at both to be able to do both together, or of course use a second shooter all the time.Group stills and romantics in particular both need a good head for stills composition and being able to organise the subjects well. You can't just video the action and expect to get serious group and romantic stills from a screen grab.

Those are my initial thoughts based on what I do and hope they help a little.


David Banner November 28th, 2018 12:45 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Thank you Roger.
Good info.

The main things keeping me from doing wedding photography all these years are having to position and direct people for all the tons of group photos. The other is I never wanted to deal with delivering printed photo books, online photo purchases and all the possible deliverables. So I thought I would just offer digital delivery with release and they could just go print whatever they want.
I thought I'd talk with the bride ahead of time and make a checklist plan for what she wants and make sure to shoot all that and leave nothing out. That would also provide a plan to follow when shooting all the various combinations of people in the group photos.

Through the years I've often taken better / more creative photos than the hired photographer so I think with some more practice I can do pretty well. Certainly will be an ongoing learning experience.

I also like the idea of not having to work around the photog but rather have my own in-house team help each other. For instance if we are hired to do both photo and video, use continuous lighting for the video which will also help the photo cameras.

Offering photos will bring in many more leads and potential work.
Another great challenge is training someone that can fully replace me for video while I do photos, or finding someone that can fully handle the photo dept while I do video. Your husband and wife team that can do both is a good setup.

The reason I want to use mirroless is I already have a bunch of lenses and am used to the Sonys now. I used to use Canon. The small size does look less professional to clients though. The A7Riii sounds like a good choice as far as capabilities now.

David Barnett November 28th, 2018 02:00 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
David, I considered the same thing & did 2 sorta budget weddings last fall where I did photo & video. Both went, fairly well. The first was a referral, older couple, second marraige. She had no idea 'Wedding Videos' were a thing let alone online highlights. So, being her 2nd wedding, that was all she wanted. Seemed like a good opportunity to offer photos too, as she wasn't intending on hiring one. She had a nephew who opted to shoot/2nd shoot as well, which helped. I took charge or more the arrainging & timeline, but knew for all shots there was a good chance he had a 'backup shot'. He had never shot a wedding before & was in college. We talked & I think he was in awe he was dealing with 'a professional' haha. I think he majored in video but it was good to talk with him & mention about the wedding industry is a good one to be in, all things considered.

Second time was just a budget client. It was a winter wedding, slow time, cash is king. So I too offered to shoot photo & video Went well, couple was very aware I was limited in what I could do (timelines, family shots) and appreciated my efforts.

In the end, it seems like a very dicey thing to offer solo long term. You can either price high, yet possibly deliver average/below average photos/videos then turn around and say "BUT I gave you photos AND video, for less than most photographers", or price lower, and just do video with more work on top of it (photos). Like you, things like arranging families, getting all shots in within timeframes, or figuring out where how to shoot in a sunny park the couple wants to shoot in, things like that I'm not too interested in. Definitely alot of work. Also, I wasn't a fan of leaving my videocamera on a tripod so often when I'm away & my mind is elsewhere, just afraid of someone tripping over it, or grandma or kids.

It takes a special bride to sell this to imho. If you charge $4000, that's a photographer for $2500, and a videographer for $1500, thats a pretty good deal. But miss a few photos or not get that shot of the bride & her sister (When sister was never around during formals/families etc), or have it rain & all photos taken indoors & shoddy, and there go the bad reviews. Price yourself low and you're just working you a$$ off. I considered hiring decent 2nd shooters to assist, but that just seemed to eat into profits and some 2nd shooters might intentionally not take charge of the formals & family shots, leaving me alone or in charge of them still.

Anyway, just one thing I wanted to point out, I had an a6000 for the first one. Granted, I was still learning it out in regards to wedding photography, but it was bad. Didn't stand a chance. I shot wide & higher ISO etc, but afterwards I sold it & purchased a FF a7. The difference was night & day. I gotta say, those photos I have from that wedding are pretty good imho. I still have a good amount of respect for decent photographers as alot of it (personality, creativeness, an eye for the best shot in each scenario) are skill sets, but having decent (albeit 5 years old) gear helps keep up with them tremendously.

David Banner November 28th, 2018 03:19 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Thanks David,

Good info.

I was thinking of offering a special deal on my website for either free or a special discount for the next bride who adds photography to their video package. Limited time offer. That way I am getting some income to pay the labor and gain more experience for the other crew. I almost always overdeliver, sometimes a LOT. So they would get a good deal for sure and we would all gain experience.

I have shot a lot of weddings solo and now that I'm older I do not want to attempt doing both video and photos solo. Too much work and risk. Can't protect the gear. Too many things to keep track of.

Like you said, one can charge cheap and work way too much or charge high and not do good enough producing an unhappy client.
I'd rather charge a healthy amount and then over deliver, but not grossly over deliver.

It can become a challenge to keep a good attitude when you are doing tons off great work for extremely cheap.

The right bride is key for this. A high demanding bride is one that you need your operation already finely tuned for. A humble grateful understanding bride would be happy that you made a special deal for her so she can get her day captured even though it isn't all going to be perfect.

I decided a while back I am not going to contribue to this business going down the toilet as we've seen in the last decade with a whole lot of super cheap work. So now I try to charge a fair rate for my time since time is running out and is extremely valuable.

Good input on the A6000. I didn't really trust it anyway.
Are you using the regular A7 or A7ii?

Chris Harding November 28th, 2018 05:43 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Hi David

We actually use 2 x FZ1000's for photography .. even though they are bridge cameras the Leica optics are super sharp and I have often been able to crop right down to as little as 10% of the image (where we couldn't get close for ring shots etc etc) and the final result is still crisp. We still get referrals from brides who are delighted with their images so the cameras must be doing a good job!! Admittedly I don't shoot full wide (apart from big group photos) so I crop in camera to minimise post work as the lens does a better job than a crop in post processing software! I actually sold my Nikons and case of lenses to move to bridge cameras cos I was so delighted with the result. However I see you mention the FZ2500?? I sold mine as it was nowhere as sharp as the FZ1000 ... I have an idea it's something to do with the fact that the FZ1000 is manufactured in Japan and the FZ2500 in China but the difference is chalk and cheese!!

David Banner November 28th, 2018 10:57 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Hi Chris. Thank you. Wow that's interesting. I figured the fz2500 would be as good as the fz1000. It was supposed to be a step up. I'm not thrilled with the photos from the fz2500 but I take it along because it's convenient. The fz1000 is cheap now but I didn't consider it since I figured it was a little step down from the 2500. Sounds like built in ND for video might be the only thing actually better.
How do you do receptions indoors? On -camera flash, radio flash or ?
A bridge camera would be a lot more convenient than changing lenses.

Roger Gunkel November 29th, 2018 04:28 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
I find the FZ1000 good for indoor video work, even in quite low light, better than anything else I have used. An LED on camera light covers instances of very low light. For photography though, a flash is essential, but a full frame dslr with low light lenses is always going to give you better low light performance for stills, particularly where you just don't want flash. For first dance and other quickly changing indoor still shots, I would use a triggered, off camera flash in addition to the onboard speedlight to give wider flash coverage where needed and of course higher shutter speeds.

The comments about security of equipment and unmanned tripods is always interesting, as the only time I would have a camera mounted out of reach would be during the ceremony and maybe speeches. They are always in view and always clamped or securely fixed, so I have never had a problem. The most part of the day only needs one camera for video anyway which is always with me. I always work with a tripod for the main video cam and the dslr round my neck. I film the video in the same way whether I am also doing stills or not, the only difference being with group shots and romantics. In those instances, the photos have the priority and the video clips will just be longer and require more editing as I set the pose, trigger the video, take the stills then stop the video. Just means top and tailing each video clip as a constant stream of group pictures in the video is pointless. The interesting video shots are the bits in between the stills whilst people are getting into the groups I am arranging, and what else is going on.

I have been shooting combined packages for a long time now and would emphasise that you really need to be totally confident with both your video and photography, plus being able to move and set up equipment quickly. I don't come across others that are able to do both solo, although many of those that say neither will be done properly have little or no long term experience of doing both and are are making assumptions. It's also true to say that I could give many examples of expensive photographers and videographers having very dissatisfied clients as well as the very good ones. Basically if you can't do both to a high standard, you shouldn't offer a combined package or the couple will live to regret it and your reviews will be poor.


Chris Harding November 29th, 2018 06:04 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Hi David

We use Olympus FL50 TTL flashes on both FZ1000 even during photoshoots where we need to light the couple a little better It's the same flash as Panasonic makes but with the Oly logo!! same factory produces them so they are identical but the Lumix ones are called FL500 and cost more!!!

I really got tired finding dust spots on sensors on my Nikons and Sony's so went the FZ route and it solved everything (Roger and I changed over around the same time I believe and have been delighted ever since!

Yes I had 3 cameras .. 2 x FZ1000's and 1 x FZ2500 and quickly found the 2500 simply wasn't nearly as sharp as the 1000's ..it might be the lens of the 2500 has extra elements to to enable it to do dolly zooms that makes it less sharp but it's probably the fact that the ND's are not as good as expected ..Anyway I sold mine. You can actually try your FZ2500 in Portrait Mode and set Noise Reduction to -5 and Sharpness to +5 ..it does help but still nowhere as pristine as the FZ1000!! The 25-400 zoom is more than enough but admittedly I would have loved a tad wider for Real Estate work but it's fine for weddings!! Sell your 2500 and get a 1000!! You will be amazed at the clean image it gives you!!

Steve Burkett November 29th, 2018 08:51 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
I've only done 1 case of Photo and Video for a Wedding. With modern cameras it's quite doable but not without some compromise. There's an old adage of trying to do 2 things at once, you end up doing neither very well. Not to say you can't do both, but it does depend on what level of Photography and Videography you're aiming for. And I say that knowing that even my own work is often compromised, simply by the fact there is just 1 of me. I can't be in 2 places at once no matter how much I plan, schedule and work the day. A 2nd person can provide an extra range of footage I simply can't always achieve on my own. Same goes if providing photo and video.

Now on the other side, Yes I can achieve a lot on my own. With skill, confidence and practise, I've done a Wedding this year pulling off in a single day drone shots, enough footage for a 2 hour plus Full Length Video, Marryoke, Video Booth, and did a same day edit displayed on a 4K TV I set up. Very little was compromised that day, but I was fortunate. The Wedding schedule was on my side. Same venue throughout. Enough time for me to give my effort to each task.

But... not all Weddings are equal in that regard. Some are not so kind, not so forgiving and it's here, where trying to do too much can lead to compromise. I'm not saying I can't deliver everything in such cases, because I have. I work hard and quickly, but when the schedule does run badly behind, time is very short, my work is not always going to be to the same standard if I divide my efforts too thinly.

A busy and frantic Wedding schedule often means hard choices even if I am just handling the filming. As I said before, you can't be in two places and some Weddings, it would be nice if you could.

Hopefully those coming to you for multiple services do so knowing this. Anyone booking someone to handle two jobs must accept that you're not going to get as wide a range of photos or videos as if there are 2 of you. It's why some couples ask for 2 Photographers. You can't be filming and photographing the couple and her family and grabbing nice shots of the Guests seated elsewhere. Does that matter, well it depends on the Couple. I have a request for a Wedding I'm filming this Saturday where they want me to film less of the photo shoot and more of the Guests as they mingle. Stuff they're not going to see as they are busy elsewhere. That's hard to do if you're the one taking the photos.

Much of our work is some sort of compromise. There's no reason you can't do both, but unless you're really lucky, some days you'll carry it off better than others.

David Barnett November 29th, 2018 10:32 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?

Originally Posted by David Banner (Post 1948019)
Good input on the A6000. I didn't really trust it anyway.
Are you using the regular A7 or A7ii?

Regular a7, bought it used on ebay. I have a VG900 so I had FE lenses already. The IS (Image Stabilization) plus Full Frame just blew the a6000 away. Things like the first dance, with the a6000 it's just the couple, flash lit, with little guests in the background as its so dark, with the a7 the guests are easily seen. Things like that.


Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel (Post 1948036)

The comments about security of equipment and unmanned tripods is always interesting, as the only time I would have a camera mounted out of reach would be during the ceremony and maybe speeches. They are always in view and always clamped or securely fixed, so I have never had a problem.

Roger, I think some of this is probably just the litiguous society we in the US live in. Imagine photographing the family portraits at a church, and the kids & parents are on the altar getting their photos taken. Grandma starts walking up & her foot trips over your tripod leg?! Or, a kid running around during the 1st dance and in the dark doesn't see your tripod & camera. Bang! there it goes. Having my equipment break is only part of the fear, being sued is the other (and somewhat larger) fear. I do have insurance, but, I wouldn't want to go down that road.

I worked with a photographer last year who gave video a try. I think a reverse way where a friend already hired a photographer (I think the bride did), so being friends with the groom he offered to shoot video. He wasn't a big fan of it, the 'constantly shooting' thing was different, he had a revelation of how to treat video people as he said the photog was challenging to work with (always in the way, didn't allow him time etc), and he felt he had a pile of 4-5 hours of mess to clean up. I kinda laughed and said that's kindof how it is & just trim it up & set it to music as creatively as you can, to which he did admit he found there's alot more ways to 'cover up' things in video than photo. (Things like people getting in your way, cutaway shots, covering up times when you awkwardly zoom in & out etc). Overall tho he felt it was something he considered offering, but didn't sound like he would. I think video editing was new to him so it was taking him alot longer to edit than he thought it would, I think he mentioned if there is a next time he'd outsource that part out.

Steve has a great post which sums up alot of my sentiments. It'll work for the right couple, and the right wedding. However start factoring in weddings with multiple locations, alot of running around, tight timelines, couples wanting specific shots & coverage, and you're doing MORE work than a typical photo/video package, while charging less. Think about that, the couple may be asking 1 person, to do the job of 2 people, yet get paid LESS. I had trouble justifying that part I think.

David Banner November 29th, 2018 12:08 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Thanks a lot for all the input everyone. You guys are great!

Quite a few things to consider.
Though I do a lot of weddings solo (up to 5 cameras) I do have several reliable people that help me through the years for the 2 and 3 person weddings. Problem is they are not at my ability level so I either have to train them more or find someone else who already is. And then I have to get really good at photography too.
So as Roger said each person needs to be really good and fast else it will come back and bite you and someone will be dissastified.

I find I like working with a female because I can send her off with the girls and she can stay there the entire time without havning to leave and return when they are getting ready.

So the FZ1000 is looking tempting (certainly the price). I'm thinking a FF might still be best for those lower light situations or when I can't use a flash. So for a main camera and backup/2nd what do you guys think? A7xxx and FZ1000? Or A7xxx and A7sii (I already have).
I think the A7sii is too low MP for cropping in which I like to do so probably not great choice as primary stills camera.

I've noticed in my area there are TONS of photographers and now there are a lot of video people too. But the photographers I've seen that also offer video often do a somewhat poor job on the video side. So that is one reason I think I see an opportunity to do both better.

Roger Gunkel November 29th, 2018 02:38 PM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?

Originally Posted by David Banner (Post 1948042)
I've noticed in my area there are TONS of photographers and now there are a lot of video people too. But the photographers I've seen that also offer video often do a somewhat poor job on the video side. So that is one reason I think I see an opportunity to do both better.

I think that photographers have an idea that video is much easier than photography and that all you have to do is point a video camera in the right direction. Probably why what you have seen is somewhat poor! Almost all of them also seem to feel that photography is the important part of the day and video is just in the way.

I have found over the years that there is more skill in getting good video than good photographs, with the exception that a good photographer will be able to set up good poses, which are normally less important to the wedding videographer. I enjoy doing both, but always have a much more leisurely day when doing photography only than if I do video only.

I worked with a photographer last weekend, who had a second shooter all day. They told me that between them they take 9-10000 shots for each wedding. What is the point? During the first speech which was about 7 minutes, I counted over 200 shutter clicks between them. Are the couple seriously going to want that number of pics of the speeches, or are the photographers simply not competent enough to take properly framed shots. Why bother with two shooters for something like that. More likely they are justifying their time during the speeches whilst I am working taking video.

Maybe I'm just a grumpy old man :-)


Chris Harding November 30th, 2018 07:59 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Hey Roger

I was shooting speeches with two photographers either side of me and they were shooting this guy talking at the lectern and doing at least a frame each every one or two seconds ..I was amazed ...I think I counted 140 exposures just from the guy on my left !! Do they seriously give the bride all those photos or do they work on the assumption that if they shoot 3000 shots they simply would have to get at least 100 good ones?? Maybe they are making the bride think they are working hard for their money???

I know a very popular guy I sometimes work with who stands against the wall at the reception when nothing is going on and presses his flash test button every few minutes so the bride thinks he is working!!

Luke Miller November 30th, 2018 08:53 AM

Re: wedding photography megapixel and wide shots?
Making an interesting and flattering still image of a dynamic speaker can be a challenge. Expressions and gestures can last for a fraction of a second and often less than my reaction time. So when I see what I want and release the shutter I regularly find the captured image was not what I was going for. So I take lots of shots (but deliver only a couple). One challenge is catching the speaker looking at the audience if they are reading from written notes. Often I catch the transition from one expression to another which can be very unflattering. This would not be noticeable in a video, but can be very unattractive in a still.

Lately I've been working on my video skills. I find the mindset difference between video and stills to be such that I try to avoid doing both at an event.

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