[BTS Video] Mounted GoPro Captures The Life Of A Wedding Photographer

With just under three weeks left until the deadline of our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest, our readers are really hitting it into high gear by turning in some awesome videos! Some of the ideas you guys come up with are really clever and a refreshing alternative to the boring "glamorized music videos" we receive daily. Wedding photographer Jaroslav Repta (based out of Bratislave, Slovakia) recently filmed an entire wedding from the perspective of his camera by mounting a GoPro Hero on his DSLR. Having started off as a wedding photographer myself, I found it really interesting to watch some of the conditions Jaroslav had to work in, and how his creative eye made the most of every situation. Weddings are tough with harsh sunlight one second and low light action the next, but Jaroslav shows how he (and tons of other fstoppers) work quick to find an interesting image. Love or hate weddings, I think everyone will get a kick out of seeing the hustle and bustle required at every wedding.

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A question to those of you who shoot weddings.

Since there are such differences in light from one moment to another, how do you shoot?
I don't shoot weddings myself, but just thinking of it it seems a good idea to shoot in aperture priority and set ISO to automatically switch to auto once the shutter gets to slow, as to not spend time with settings (aside from EV +/- and aperture) during crucial moments and just shoot and controlling the aperture by hand and let the camera do the rest. Do I make sense? :P

Fabiano Silva's picture

I use Aperture priority with some EV+1/3, flash in TTL mode.

Laurian Ene's picture

I could never get the flash right in TTL, i'm always bouncing it and it never seems to be consistent :( I always go manual and keep my distances similar then adjust shutter for ambient to register.

i once used the manual mode, the speed at 1/8 to 1/10, the aperture between 7.1 and 6.3, the flash between 0 and -1, and the iso at auto, sacrificing the image cuality but getting the moment. of course those pics were for practice (i was really invited to the wedding). but those seting gave me good pics. after that some retouch only with lightroom, and thats all.
ofcourse my theory neewds perfection (if anyone wats to invete me to a wedding jajajajaja), and i tried to take some pics with AV but the camera probably will put a slow shutter speed, unles you want to make a creative picture.

Patrick Hall's picture

I used to shoot aperture mode and leave the camera on 2.8 the entire time.  Now I've pretty much moved to Manual the whole day but still shoot at 2.8 99% of the time unless I'm doing outside portraits where I've maxed out the 1/250th sync and need to kill more light with the aperture.

As for missing critical moments, I think the more experienced you get the easier it is for you to 1) know and dial in the correct settings in a matter of seconds, and 2) anticipate when moments are going to happen and prepare for them fast enough (sometimes 2 mins max).

TTL bounce flash works amazing indoors (at least with Nikon, Canon....er not so much) so once you dial in your ISO and shutter, I can literally hand my camera to a bridesmaid and she will take great photos as well (as long as I teach her to focus properly).  

It's all about doing it a lot and becoming comfortable with your camera gear and comfortable with absolutely any situation that is thrown out at you.  Some are trickier than others for sure but after about 2 - 4 years of shooting weddings there really shouldn't be anything that throws you for a loop too much.  

Interesting. Could you please explain what the reason would be to shoot manual the whole day?

Patrick Hall's picture

I've just found that my camera's metering system is never good at exposing for faces when there are white dresses, black suits, and bright skies in the frame.  Until very recently, I shot all my weddings Jpeg so getting the shot perfect out of the camera was critical.  It takes only a second to dial the camera in perfectly for a specific angle and then wait for a good moment to happen.  

Weddings happen so fast that trying to focus, recompose, and consider a specific metering mode (spot or matrix) just makes everything so complicated.  I'd rather dial in the exposure perfectly and then know that unless the sky changes then nothing is going to mess up my settings.  

As for indoors, once you get your TTL bounce set and your overall exposure you never had to even touch anything.  The only thing you might have to ride is the exposure comp for your flash depending on if you are shooting  black or white clothing.  

Thanks a lot for your answer.
I'm usually happy with matrix metering, though sometimes -2 or +2 EV are required in extreme conditions.
Using RAW allows me to correct -1/+1EV in Lightroom without too much loss of quality. I correct exposure in less than 5% of my shots anyway...

thanks patrick


outside I always shoot at Av priority, ISO as I see, how much light is (between 100 and 800).
When shooting bride and groom, I compensate EV +1/3 to + 1 stop, because of white dress.
I always use Average metering, look, what is in my whole image and compensate EV.

When shooting inside, I use mostly manual exposure, sometimes Av priority.. depends on light uniformity.

Alex's picture

I'm most likely late for this discussion but here's preferred setup . . . I use Shutter Priority with Auto ISO and E-TTL.  I trust my 7D's low-light capabilities so I don't worry even if that ISO rises up to 1600 or 3200 to get the exposure right - I don't know I don't really bother checking how high it  goes.  I usually get usable results anyway.

Previously, I would shoot with Aperture Priority like many of the respondents here do but, in many cases, the camera with set the shutter speed so slow, even at the widest aperture.  I would get good exposures but motion blur would be totally unacceptable.  So I gave Shutter Priority a try and found that I'm getting better results.

Sometimes I am compelled to shoot with Aperture Priority and Manual.  For such situation where I have to toggle between the 3 modes, I simply register my settings for each mode into the camera's 3 'C' Modes.

A few examples from past weddings:

*) In and out of the church : You gotta be ready anyway, know where you'll be, where the brides will be, and meter and focus manually. Use higher iso and close the aperture a tad in order to get more DOF. An assistant could work the other angle, and work in manual as well. I never tried AF or auto-exposure for this moment.
*) Dancefloor : Aperture mode minus a stop (give or take) and TTL flash plus a stop in a small softbox held in left hand. Manual mode if the room is so dark that it gives crazy exposure times.
*) Outside in half-sunny/half-overcast conditions : shoot with a diffusor or in open shade/against the sun as in the video.

Otherwise, I work in Aperture-mode 99% of the time. I can change ISO & EV compensation without leaving the viewfinder. The camera does the rest, and it does a pretty good job.
For very low light, a good full-frame camera is very useful companion, as some 1.4 primes.
2.8 pro zooms sometimes don't cut it when you need more separation or more light.
Finally, wide angle lenses help to gather more light and get sharper pictures.

Very interesting video BTW.

Cool! :)

Samuel Joubert's picture

Very nice video! Good idea with the GoPro.

A job well done. Good job. Thanks for sharing that with us.:-)

Filda Konec's picture

good stuff, jaro!

Skvělé video/Great movie ! 

Erik P's picture

Ps. Didn't you mean 135L 2.0 instead of 135 1.2 or did i misunderstand something? :)

He said 85 1.2

Thank You very much.

I meant 85mm and when putting it on 7D (1,6 crop), it's roughly 135mm view, but still getting f1.2

Ghislain Leduc's picture

I really love this photoshoot! Great job! Great idea!!! Wow

Great video! Nice to see the action behind the camera. Thumbs up!

Ofir Abe's picture

very cool video!

Sean Shimmel's picture

Ahhh... like a more modern version of James Nachtwey in his War Photographer DVD.


Excellently done. Inspires the viewer that we, too, can see just like the seer shooting the frames.

BRADY OSHIRO's picture

That was awesome! good job for shooting it by yourself. reminds me of my day but just in a different place. i love go pro cameras they rock! 

Great concept and execution. Great wedding photography. 

Good job Jaroslav :)

James's picture

If it was up to me I give this guy the price ... 

85L on the Crop 1.6 senor of the 7D is roughly equal to 135mm field of view

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