Need advice for a lighting setup

Joined
Jun 15, 2008
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Boynton Beach, FL
So its my mother in law's 75th birthday next month and I got tagged as the resident photographer to take the pictures. The event will take place in a decent sized banquet hall with fairly high ceilings (I think the ceilings were white). My wife wants to setup a dedicated area, like the cruise lines do, to take the pics as the family members come in. I have a 2 umbrella flash setup that I can bring but Im not sure if I even need it. The banquet hall is pretty dark so if I dont go umbrellas I'll have to bounce it off the ceiling with some kind of diffuser. If I do go with the umbrellas, should I just go with 45 deg angles for both or is there something better. Just looking for any ideas here. Thanks.
 
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Joined
Jan 15, 2010
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UK
'Fairly high ceilings' sounds potentially problematical for most bounce flash work with many flash units - will there be enough power to have any effect?

A dedicated area using umbrella setup sounds good if perhaps a little formal, although this may be desirable?

Have you considered using a bounce flash adaptor such as Demb or similar ( or even a white card attached to the flash by rubber bands).

Perhaps even consider both - umbrellas while the guests arrive then revert to flash on camera with bounce adaptor for informal stuff around the hall and tables?
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2011
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SW FL
I have been on, they have an area outside the dining area for formal photos etc. Umbrella, softbox and barndoors or beautylights for each of the setups with a nice backdrop ( stairs or a nice villa usually). However, for dinner when they come around and snap photos, they usually have just a bracket with a bare flash pointed at you. I've not seen a bracket such as this before, it holds the flash pretty much beside the body parallel with the lens. Last go'round the bodies with D300s'.

As said above, white card etc. will probably be your best bet for just going around getting candids.
 
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Part me wants to use the umbrellas for experience. The other part says I have 2 small kids and they are going to drive me crazy while Im doing this hahaha! Im thinking the bounce card / diffuser will be the best way to go.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
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Texas
Part me wants to use the umbrellas for experience. The other part says I have 2 small kids and they are going to drive me crazy while Im doing this hahaha! Im thinking the bounce card / diffuser will be the best way to go.

Bounce flash on the hot shoe is very mobile, and with TTL, can follow kids moving all around the room. Seems recommended.

Umbrellas are not mobile, but are excellent for the fixed studio situation you described at the entrance of your party. Seems recommended.

Not sure it was appropriate here, so I instead just added a philosophy section about lighting, HERE
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
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Kennewick, WA
Take your umbrellas. Worst case scenario they stay in your trunk and you make do without em. I like your wife's idea of setting up and doing "studio" type portraits for people. Plus depending on the height of the ceilings you could end up having terribly ineffective bounce capabilities. Having to switch to direct flash will look nasty in a dimly lit room.

Or you might just put a flash or two on light stands, extend the stands all the way up to within a few feet of the ceiling. Point them upwards bare (presuming it's a white ceiling) and pop them all night with your wireless triggers. Might catch some cool shots that way if you strategically position them. You could always use a little on camera flash at very low power as well for fill and catchlights.
 

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