BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Michele King

Wedding Photography: Tripod Vs. Monopod

I will be using a Canon Elan 7N to take some wedding photos for a friend of mine. My lens is a 28-135mm zoom. I was wondering if anyone had input into using a tripod versus a monopod for taking the photos inside the church. A tripod would be quite cumbersome to keep moving around, but a monopod would be better. The film I will be using is Kodak Portra 400VC and Kodak T-max 400. Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with this? The shutter speeds will be quite slow and I'll be using 85-100mm most of the time shooting at f/4 or 5.6.

To love this question, log in above
6/26/2005 3:12:06 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
John's Gallery
  Using a tripod is always a positive recommendation. Using a monopod is the way to go when a tripod can't be used.
Having said this, based on the weddings I've shot, you may not be able to use either. They're just too awkward. And, you won't generally have the time to properly "set up" due to the action of the event.
Because of distance involved, I've used a "big flash" - GN greater than 100 and haven't had a problem (if flash and/or photographs-during-the-ceremony are allowed). However, with ISO 400 film, I've fought reddish skin tone in candid shots.
I haven't used ISO 800 film to shoot a wedding, but I had great results shooting "hand-held" in Rome's basilicas and the indoor museum in the Greek Isles. This might be you other option. (I think you'll find ISO 1600 films too grainy.)
Remember, you're shooting the Special Day. Don't get trapped by equipment like tripods/monopods. Be flexible so you can move around the church and reception hall.

To love this comment, log in above
6/27/2005 4:59:32 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Michele, I have used a tripod for weddings, only for the shots in the church when flash is not allowed. You will have to set it up quickly and take it down just as quickly. I would like to make one suggestion, though. Don't use Portra VC film. The colors are great, but it is not really good for skin tones. I use Kodak Portra NC for weddings.

To love this comment, log in above
6/27/2005 8:49:03 AM

Maria Melnyk   You didn't mention whether or not you'd be using flash. I suggest that, if flash is allowed, shoot with 2 cameras. Have 400 speed in one (and yes, NC is better than VC; VC is also noticeably grainier), and either 400 or 800 speed in the other. Have the 2nd camera on a tripod and do your available-light shots with that. If flash is not allowed, you must use a tripod, as f/4 or f/5.6 is not fast enough to hand-hold a camera inside a church, even perhaps if you were to use 3200 speed. A monopod will only give you an extra stop or so, so make it a tripod.

To love this comment, log in above
6/28/2005 10:48:47 AM

Scott Pedersen   I would use the tripod first, and only as a last resort pull out the monopod. I just don't feel you can keep your shutter speed up enough inside the building for the monopod.

To love this comment, log in above
6/28/2005 11:26:11 AM

Michele King   Thank you everyone so much for your responses. This is the first time I have used this format and it is very helpful!

To love this comment, log in above
6/29/2005 7:16:01 AM

Gregg    Do you have a big balky tripod? Digital is light, a lighter tripod works great. Also a place to put the camera when setting up poses.

To love this comment, log in above
7/5/2005 5:58:36 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.