2nd shooter at a wedding and need some help!! Finally telling my terrible situation!!

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Debbie H, Jul 8, 2008.

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  1. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri
    I'm going to be a 2nd shooter at a wedding July 26th. But it really sounds like they are making me the main photographer. Oh and let me tell you I have known this girl and her family since she was 5 years old.

    Outside under a HUGE company pavilion ( it is as long or longer than my house and 35ft or more in width) at 7:00pm and the sun is setting fast. The roof is at least 30ft. so bouncing flash is out of the question.

    I'm worried about the formals after the wedding. They want their formals way inside the pavilion so it is quite dark and up against a backdrop that they are renting also where they will be standing when they get married.

    Well this is my combo for the formals D300,17-55, flash bracket, SB800 on a tripod. The largest group I have will be 10 people. Do you think that with the SB800 at 1/250sec and my ISO up to about 800 at an F8 should light them all?
    I told her that I could set up some umbrella's with the SB600 and the SB800 both about 45 degrees to help light them but I told her it will take about 15 minutes or so to get it them set up and my lighting right. She really doesn't want to take that time out. She just wants to get on with her wedding:confused:  Well what do you do?? HELP!!!:eek:  Thanks!! Debbie

    For update check on pg. 4 or 5.:frown:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2008
  2. Run away VERY fast ...

    Other than that, have the Sb-600 setup as a remote with the umbrella ready to go, if you practice before hand and your using iTTL with the 800 in commander mode, you should be able to walk in with the umbrella and be ready to shoot in 2 minutes vs 15, esp if you have someone helping you.

    If you have access to pocket wizards and some studio stobes, you could fire them at the roof of the tent to just help increase ambient light levels as well.

    Gary

     
  3. You're probably more accessible than the pro they've hired, and they feel more comfortable talking to you, but unless you have a lot of experience, you should explain why they need to include the prime photographer in the discussions.

    First of all, if it's relatively dark in the pavillion, you don't need such a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. The strobing action of the flash will take care of it. And there's no need for such a tight aperture. I'd try 1/125 f/5.6 iso 400 for starters, and then chimp my way to a final setting.

    Pack your group shots tightly, and you should have no problem with flash coverage, but your best results would come if you used the approach you suggested.

    You need to establish yourself as an expert, and tell the client how the photography should be handled. If she's in a hurry, she should forego the formals and settle for table shots at the reception. But if she wants good formals, it needs to be done right.

    Since there will be two photographers, one of you can take some snaps of the bride and groom while the other sets up the lightstands, which will be most important for the group shots.
     
  4. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri
    I don't have access to pocket wizards or studio strobes or I wouldn't be worried at all. :frown: Thanks!! Debbie
     
  5. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri
    Thanks for all the good advice Frank!! Debbie:smile:
     
  6. jlmoon

    jlmoon

    59
    May 13, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Hi Debbie,
    IMHO, you will need both flash to cover 10 people, and I hope you have somewhat large umbrellas to cover the ambience requirements, what color is the inside (underroof side) of the pavillion and also what color is the backdrop?


    Jon
     
  7. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri
    Hi Jon, the pavilion is a dark brown, but the backdrop is white:smile:
     
  8. jlmoon

    jlmoon

    59
    May 13, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Dark Brown, hmmmm that is going to hurt your ambience lighting quite a bit. Your going to need that double flash set up for sure. If you could somehow get a third light between the backdrop and your subjects it might help you some. Try to obtain F8 level around your frame, that is key! I know it gets quite difficult when under time crunch, but just a thought!
    (I just realized you were going for F8 level, so you can ignore the last part of my statement, my bad!)
     
  9. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri

    Oh I know!! Nothing is working out!!:frown: Can't afford another light, this wedding has already cost me a fortune and the only reason I'm doing it is because they begged me.
     
  10. jlmoon

    jlmoon

    59
    May 13, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Well you can always just "wing-it" and hope for the best. Since you have known for a while, if things are not perfect, they will understand your predicament. If I was in your area, I would offer you my studio strobe system.
     
  11. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri
    That is really sweet!! I'm telling you there is hardly anyone in my area:frown: Yes they don't seem to be concerned at all. And I have explained the whole lighting situation to them. :eek: 
     
  12. jlmoon

    jlmoon

    59
    May 13, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I don't know if you can pull this off, but you might try a local camera shop (if one in your area) are you near Bransom? (Love that place!)
     
  13. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    To be honest, I think that you can do it with your equipment, but that right now, you are lacking a little confidence. It need not take long to set up two stands with umbrellas, and the beauty of CLS is that the exposures will probably be well in the ballpark. If you haven't shot groups that large before, assemble a bunch of friends, coworkers whatever and take some time to practice.

    A simple setup is having the two lights either side of the camera and feathered slightly out towards the edges of the group. Have both lights at the same power and make sure that they trigger reliably with your popup flash in Commander Mode. Since your venue should be fairly well shaded, that should not be a problem. Once you are comfortable with that lighting setup, you can get in in position for the formals in under 5 minutes.
     
  14. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri
    We are supposed to go to the place where she is gettng married this week, the bride and a friend of hers and I will see how long it take me to set up the umbrellas and speedlights and get the power to where it need to be. I wish I could get a bunch of friends or some of my daughters friends together but everyone is just to busy.:rolleyes: 
    A photography girlfriend of mine shot a group of 30 with a SB800 and it turned out fine:eek:  so we will see. Thanks!! Debbie
     
  15. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Don't worry too much about the 'power'. Make sure that your aperture is sufficiently small to cope with DOF issues if there is more than one row of people. Then just shoot . . . it will most likely be OK.
     
  16. A sample might help, Debbie. The ambient light was pretty low when I took this 11 person formal. The main illumination came from a single sb800. It was on an 8 foot light stand at camera left, and the flash was fired through a white umbrella.

    Nikon D200 1/60s f/5.0 at 28.0mm iso160
    original.
     
  17. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    You don't even need a group. Just two people standing (say) 6-8 feet apart with one 1-2 feet behind the other might suffice for practice. Anyway, as Frank demonstrates, the Speedlight has ample power for the shot.
     
  18. Debbie H

    Debbie H

    Aug 23, 2007
    Missouri

    Thanks Frank and John for your very appreciative advice!!! Like taking a stress pill:smile: It's nice to have great people to spend time giving helpful advice.
     
  19. Hi Debbie , good to see you have posted this question here eventually . I think as demonstrated here by Uncle Frank 10 people is not a very large group and even when fired through an umbrella at iso 160 there is enough power . iso 400 would halve the power needed from the flash and iso 800 again would make the flash appear twice as powerful as at iso 400 , nobody would notice the noise at iso 800 either .
    Sometimes when I want to reassure myself I do some tests beforehand .
    Go outside at night where there is nothing to bounce off and fire the flash at full power
    with the camera set to F4 , iso 100 , and any shutter speed that will cut out the ambient light . Stand at a distance [ that you would be standing from the group ] from an object , and see how much light there is from the flash alone .
    With flash power distance is what's important , not the number of people in the shot .
    Keep adjusting the aperture down until the object is properly lit and you will see how much power you have to play with and what your best aperture you can reach is .
    Then again you could set it at F5.6 and walk back until is is properly lit at full power and that will show you what the maximum distance is that you could cover .
    These are not necessarily settings you would use but you will gain more confidence in knowing exactly how much you can accomlish with regard to flash power , aperture and distance [at iso 100 , you could easily take it up to 400 and try again ].
     
  20. Tpsfoto

    Tpsfoto

    307
    Jun 15, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    Hi Debbie,

    As a wedding photographer for over 30 years.....I hate to say ....this is not for you....make sure the Bride & Groom knows that you are 2nd crew....shooting photojournalism .....not main shooter.....until you do that for many events & see how it is done. It sounds to me that they have the $ to hire a traditional photographer....and because you are lacking the gear & experience....you don't want to loose these guys as friends. I was an assistant for a year before the studio I worked for (back in the 70's) would let me shoot small easy events.....prove yourself & then advance.
     
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