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Help with wedding photography

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by icecavern, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. So on Saturday we're off to a wedding of some friends. My significant other has said she wants me to take my camera to try and get some photos as well. Now most will be at the reception afterwards inside, but I'd like to try and get a couple after the ceremony.

    The presure is on a bit after being told last night "You've got some good pictures of animals and touring cars, and you've probably got a better camera than the photographer so you'll have better pictures..." I don't think she quite grasps the concept that wildlife photography and people are different things entirely.

    Anyway I'm planning on taking the D2x, The Beast, and my SB600. So could anyone lend any advice on settings etc that might help me along? I've only used the flash a couple of times and the flash always seems overdone, so I must be doing something wrong.

    Help! :biggrin:
  2. mr2monster


    Jun 29, 2007
    when all else fails, bounce the flash on the ceiling...

    Personally, i choose to shoot in manual with the flash off camera although I'm unsure as to whether you'll have that opportunity with a hired photographer there. He might feel as though you're stepping on his/her toes.

    I generally keep my flash at 1/16 or 1/8 to keep recycle times moderately fast and bump the ISO to get the shutter I want while shooting with aperture in mind. Some people work opposite put the shutter as fast as it will sync, then work out the aperture and ISO if needed (namely strobist)... it's all preference.

    If you must keep the flash on the camera you can use EV compensation (on the flash not the body) to tone down the level of intensity in TTL, or you can use the adjustment on the body to lower the flash level if it's coming on too strong.

    I'd play with it a little before you go. try to replicate what you think the room might be like light wise so you can walk in semi-prepared.
  3. Agree 100% with bouncing flash. Have a look here http://www.planetneil.com/faq/flash-techniques.html
    you will find lots of good advice.

    One big problem you will find is that the pro will rightly be in pole position throughout, and you will not want to disrupt proceedings. And if the bride and groom are not the ones who have asked you to take photos that makes it a little more awkward still.
  4. I should make it clear I am not looking to take the normal "staged" photos, so will not be getting in the pros way at all. I'll more likely be after more casual shots, but having not done this before have no idea how to set the camera/flash up.
  5. I understand that Pete. I was asked to do the same thing as you last year. Unfortunately, I didn't really know many people and just didn't feel I could go round imposing myself. If you know the people well that should solve many problems.

    I'm in the early stages of learning about on camera flash myself, so take this for what it's worth.

    If the ceiling is relatively low, angle your flash at 45 degrees and pull out he white card to try to get some catchlights in the eyes. If you're relying on the flash as the main lighting, set it to TTL. Set WB to flash (but you may have to adjust white balance later in PP). Check the histogram and dial the flash up or down as required. If shooting out of doors in daylight, point the flash head on and set to i-TTL.

    You could do worse than checking out posts in the lighting forum (especially Uncle Frank's).
  6. klnyc


    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wooopsy!!......I brought back a dead thread to alive. Okay, if you guys are using speedlight and bouncing off the ceiling. I dont know how many feet is the ceiling you guys are bouncing off. The church, Im going this weekend, I must say is like 30feet high. How a speedlight would help in a case like this?

    I have SB-400 and Im going borrow my buddy SB-600(just in case).
  7. Tom Young

    Tom Young

    Aug 10, 2007
    Both flash heads could be handy. The SB-600 will give you some more options for bouncing in more difficult situations like that high ceilinged church.

    If you're the primary shooter, having some additional light sources available would be a good idea, but if you're just taking some photo's at the wedding and want them to look nice, there are plenty of options with a single on-camera flash.

    Provided that the ceiling is a good neutral white, it's additional height will require the flash to use a higher output level than otherwise but as long as you have a good supply of spare batteries, that shouldn't be a big problem. Just be sure to give it some time to cool off here and there since it's going to be working pretty hard.

    The "standard" point the head at 45 deg. will provide a fair amount of direct light, but not too much bounce. Consider pointing the flash straight up and strapping a something like a white business card onto the back side (the one facing you) so that it's positioned straight up over the edge of the "window" of the flash as much as possible. You shouldn't need to angle it forward over the flash heads "window" but you can. Doing so will limit the amount of bounced light and increase the amount of frontal light. By not bending the card, most of the light will project straight up to the ceiling, spread out and reflect straight back down. A portion of light will reflect off of the white card, providing some direct illumination as well. If you're working relatively close in, an omni-bounce type diffuser could also be helpful. It provides a sort of "bare-bulb" effect that spreads the light in all directions providing some bounce from any nearby surface such as walls, tablecloths, etc. That usually works best using a 45 deg. tilt, but you can experiment a little as needed.

    Also, if the walls are white, consider setting up near a corner of the room with your back towards the wall. Flip the flash around so it's angled up and "backwards" facing a nearby white wall but somewhat behind you. That will help to give the light a soft but fairly directional quality, similar to what you'd get with an umbrella.

    Once again, if you're the primary photographer, you'll be awfully busy and under a lot of pressure to get everything right. But if you're just taking some photo's, let the main shooter worry about all that. You'll be free to experiment with any ideas that you come up with on the spot.

    Have fun!
  8. Tom Young

    Tom Young

    Aug 10, 2007
    One more thing....

    Use a fairly high ISO. 400 or even higher if your'e comfortable with that. As well as a reasonably wide aperture. You don't need to go too wide as you'll usually want to have a reasonable amount of depth of field. f/5 or so would be about normal. That will help to limit the amount of power required by the flash. Also, as long as you're not using too fast of a shutter speed, it will help to blend more ambient light into the photos giving them a more natural appearance.
  9. klnyc


    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY


    No, Im not the primary shooter. They going have a pro shooter there :) 
    Im, just trying get some nice shots(my daughter is a flower girl). Okay, thanks for the info and tips.

    Sorry to the orginal thread starter.. I didnt meant to hijack your thread...sorry about that.
  10. jeremyInMT

    jeremyInMT Guest

    I heard a recommendation that ISO 400, f/4, and 1/60 is a good start. I took this, and wanting to use my 85mm I changed it to ISO 400, f/2.8, and 1/125, but you could always do ISO 800, f/4, 1/125 or something like that. Anyway, it seems to be a good starting point.
  11. klnyc


    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    What mode you guys can recommend? It seem like in low light area, if I shoot a P mode, I get a better shots. The S and A, didnt go well..I get alots of blurry shots. At M mode, is decent(I need to fiddle with setting more). So, shoot at P mode is adviseable?

  12. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
  13. " P " mode is the safest in tricky situations . The last few weddings I have done with the D80 have been "A" mode , around F2.8-5.6 , the D80's function button programmed to "cancel flash" so I can take one picture without flash and one with to compare , and indoors usually iso 400 set to auto if it drops below 1/125 th . It sometimes goes up to iso 1600 with no flash but there are no blurred pictures and nobody has ever mentioned noise .
    The customers even like a blurred picture that I would delete because it has "uncle Bob " in the background laughing his head off . Obviously not all pictures you would put in a portfolio but save them to the disc as well and let the customer decide .
    With the flash settings it is not really worth bothering about auto fp high speed , rather just stay within the synch speed of the camera . In this picture I had auto fp on and you can hardly see any flash because so much gets wasted trying to synch at 1/1000th

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  14. Lots of folks have been seeking advice on wedding photography and portrait photography. I might have missed it but is there a photography "technique" section anywhere other then the software one?
  15. I like to think of wedding photography as taking people pictures (duh). The difference is that in wedding photography things come at you very fast and you have ton's of pressure. One must be on top of their game and technically know how to use your equipment without thinking about it. To make it even worse you are in a fish bowl with everyone watching you.

    To prepare for a wedding the best thing you can do is to practice, practice, practice, with your flash(s) and/or strobes. Learn to control the background, learn how to place your lights, learn how to place your subject for best photographic advantage. Practice shooting inside and outside until you can produce a well exposed image under all the varied conditions. It is only then that you can truly begin to catch the moment, pose your subject, be a director, and concentrate on the emotion that a wedding brings. If you are worried about your camera settings you will not be able to do the things that set a good wedding photographer apart from the mediocre crowd of photographers.

    That said, I am not there yet.
  16. I've missed a ton of opportunities just lowering my body to change one setting. I really do respect those guys who can do a whole wedding in manual mode.

    To add to what Gordan said change our your batteries at regular intervals. DO NOT WAIT FOR THEM TO GO DEAD. Batteries always go dead at the worst possible moment.
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