If you rent gear, arrange to get it a day or two early and practice a lot. Nikon and Canon manuals are available on-line so you can download and study them weeks ahead, for as long as needed. Some people don’t feel photos are important. Some budgets are small. The thing with wedding photos is the recording of history. You spend a lot of effort taking great photos, editing, printing. The bride, groom and their parents glance through the photos, yawn, and put the album on a shelf, where it collects dust for 20 or 30 years. Then a child is getting married, and suddenly there is interest in those old photos. Lo and behold, there is a picture of Mary and Phil, who were divorced 15 years ago, there’s Uncle Fred who passed away 3 summers ago, and there’s Joan who was only 5, and she just got married last year … You get the idea.
The background is not as bad as it could be. But, also perhaps not as good. If you have a really nice background, or the background is important to show where it was taken, like a photo of me standing in front of a glacier, or Niagara Falls, I need the background details to be clear so the viewer can at a glance see where I was. If I am standing in front of a couple of garbage cans and a rusty car, perhaps I don’t need a nice sharp background to show where I am. Those are extremes. Your photo has a lot of plants that are just “busy work” for the eye. In focus so it is easy to see individual branches and leaves, but also a lot of distracting detail. By moving your subject further from the background and positioning yourself properly, a wide aperture will cause the background to be out of focus. This works better with longer lenses. It will work at f/5.6 but it is a lot easier at f/1.4, too.
Compare this version of your photo to the original. What do you think?
Untitled was a photo for a friend who wanted it so he could have a computer background, I think the photo could be great without those dead limbs, or the building, maybe just the moon…. I’m being facetious of course.
Uhmm… The other Untitled. It’s nice you have a sense of humour about this though!
Thank you for the time you took to address my photo’s. Obviously I have a lot of room to grow, I would ask if I was to buy equipment first should I invest in a better body or lenses first?
It depends. What you want to achieve and budget have input into the decision. Basically, a great body and cheap lenses will under perform. A great lens and a cheap body may also under perform, but to a lesser degree and in different ways. A great lens and a great body will deliver the best result, most easily. I shoot with Canon, you could translate this to Nikon, I’m sure: I have a 5D Mk III, which is one body from the flagship, and which for a number of reasons, I like better. I also have a 550D, which is older, plastic, and a step or two from the bottom of the dSLR line. This month I have shot 1500 frames with the 550D and 25 frames with the 5D. Some photos are just easier with the 5D because it has a much more robust auto-focus and is a stop or two better in low light. The 5D is full frame, so lenses are bigger and heavier. The top photo here: http://cameraclicker.com/Compare/Sensors/Sensors.html, shows a couple of my favourite super zoom lenses. The lens on the left is on my 550D most of the time. To get an equivalent zoom range with the 5D, I would have to use the lens on the right. If I have to carry it all day, I will choose the 550D unless I really need what the 5D can do for me. A difference between Canon and Nikon is that Nikon crop sensor lenses mostly work on full frame Nikon bodies and Canon crop sensor lenses cannot be attached to Canon full frame bodies.
Nikon and Canon both make inexpensive 50 mm f/1.8 prime lenses. Build quality is what you would expect for around $130, but optical quality is reasonable. If you have little budget, I would start there, then build a collection of lenses and upgrade bodies based on what the upgrade would do for me. Also, check the used market. Study before purchase. Nikon have some odd rules around auto-focus. Look through lenses from the front with a light at the back, you should be able to see the walls inside. You want to avoid lenses with mould inside.