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Shooting at a wedding

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by italy74, May 20, 2007.

  1. Hi all there,
    Since a friend of mine is getting married in the next months I proposed him to shoot, but even if I meant to be the 2nd photographer (my message was: I'd like to come to your wedding and as a gift, shooting some pics where the main photographer is busy with other stuff), since he HADN'T a main photog, shortly I came onto the line of the fire and now that's ME who has this hard responsibility. I warned him: "I'm still studying, and even if I could take good pics, by myself I recognize that there are much better and experienced photographers you could ask: a wedding is always a wedding, an extremely important event in one's life" But he said "We don't want pro photog, it's something done "in family", with friends". Well, I hope he won't regret later of this choice... BY THE WAY (and here is the reason why I'm here): look at it: this is the church where they will marry: http://www.cristinaedavide.it/cerimonia.htm
    1) My gear is what you see bottom, my two flashes have a GN of 58 (Metz) and 30 (SB600)
    2) I haven't ever been there since is quite far (500 km) and I will be just able to give a look at it the day before, but:
    3) as you see, it looks like having a high ceiling while being narrow too: I guess at most i'll have 3-5m from the couple, if I put my gear where is the green plant / white column on the left side close to the altar (assumed the priest will allow me that, otherwise it's all useless). I see there are two halogen (?) spots - and just that, I don't see anything else - at the arch base, one on the left and one on the right.
    4) Notice also that the upper "altar" zone looks physically divided by the "people zone", by the wall standing over the arches, and this could be a problem for flash too, since if I choose a "bounce" flash it simply doesn't work
    ...other following...
     
  2. Here I am, sorry but my wife called for dinner.. I ALWAYS thought to be too long ! :D  :D  :D 

    If I'd like to take a shot with the whole church, not to blow just the couple, I guess I shoud take a slow sync.. For what I see, There's no great light in the church, just some small windows and those two spots..

    Any advice, until a new question arises to my attention?
     
  3. Well, effectively, after listing all that, I guess none has understood what I need.. as usual, I'm too prosaic.. :) 
    Joking aside, I really need some advice on how would you manage such ceremony in a small environment and any other useful tip you could think of..
    Seen the distance involved, which kind of setting would you use for flash and slow sync? Would you place the flashes on their own near the couple for bounce flash, to avoid the upper wall?
     
  4. Dino, you present a very difficult question. It's not that I don't want to help but frankly I do not know what would work best. I would probably practice with the two flashes up near the front and pointing upwards with a white card to throw some light forward as well. Trigger these with the on board flash in commander mode. Next I would practice with the two flashes near the rear of the church, pointed forward and again triggered with the on board flash. As I try to envision this I think the front alcove being lit with the two flashes and the people section of the church being darker would look the best in a photo. I really wish I could be of more help but even if I were there I would practice to see what worked best. The beauty of digital is that you have instant feedback.
     
  5. Arif

    Arif Guest

    Hi Dino,
    I think the situation is quite difficult with lots of unknowns and risk of an angry friend. I had to do something similar three weeks ago and I was lucky that I took many shots so I could give the Bride and Groom about 130 odd pictures and they ignored the quality. If it was me in your situation, I would spend some time asking/watching others who would be getting married there in the interim. You can probably ask the priest for some practice shots for some other kind of ceremony but spend some time there on a weekend around the same time of the wedding to understand the light and to imagine where you may want to have the couple pose for you. It may be difficult to get some good contrast if the bride is wearing white so you may consider some non-flash pictures as well to create a mood.

    I wish I could be more helpful!

    Good luck!
    Arif
     
  6. Domo arigato, Arif-san! Ogenki desuka? (stop Japanese :)  )

    I'd do that really gladly, the problem is that the church is 500 km far from my actual location, and I don't know the priest... (it could be an american priest come for the happening!!! :eek: ) All will be arranged just the day before. Fortunately for me I have very good lenses and could get good times to shoot with environment light, but of course I'd need to have at least the couple well enlightened, otherwise I just risk to get a lot of dark or backlit shots.

    Sayonara!
     
  7. My dear friend, your offer to the bride and groom is heartfelt and generous, but I fear you're taking on more than you're equiped to handle. Without the opportunity to meet with the minister before hand, or to take test shots at the sites of the ceremony and the reception... at the same time of day as the events will be held... you are at a severe disadvantage before you start. And while you have more than enough good glass, a mismatched pair of strobes and little experience with flash photography, puts you in a very deep hole.

    Since the wedding is several months off, I'd suggest you find a local wedding photographer, and volunteer to be a free assistant/apprentice for a couple of weddings. Afterwards you might be prepared to assume the role of prime wedding photographer. Hint: there is much more to the job than taking good pictures.
     
  8. Ciao Frank
    thank for your suggestion and what is exactly what I was thinking of. There's a colleague of mine much more practical than me about flashes (he has 4 o 5 among torches, flashes and side lamps) so probably i'll ask him to come with me. Let's see what happen, if I should be able to persuade him, most of my problems would be solved :) 
     
  9. Ah, yes. In the case of photographers 1 + 1 = 4. In other words, two photographers make a very powerful approach. It takes the pressure off each of them, allows them to shoot everything from 2 unique perspectives, and increases the odds that no critical moments will be missed. I shoot normal events solo, but always hire a backup for a wedding.
     
  10. Ciao Frank
    your math is really funny :)  Of course I hope to be a good photographer by the time and have the luck to shoot solo (Did you know "solo" = alone it's an italian word?) but at the moment I prefer being realistic and admit my limits. Anyway, I'd be more displeased for him for a bad service but he expressely asked for something "unofficial", the pressure has been put by his father in law who came out with an excel table even too accurate :) 
    Don't worry, usually we italians are able to manage almost all :) 
     
  11. Hi all there,
    another question for lighting pros :) 
    I know I'll have to shoot in an olive grove during day (around 16.00-18.00 with plenty of light) and someone told me to use flash not only for "fill-in" but also for the fact there could be some kind of green cast induced by olive leaves reflecting light which could make an awful result on the bride white dress and face which would become olive-coloured. Is that true and really a problem? Any filter to use? (I'll shoot also with film camera) I think to shoot with one front and/or one 3/4 side flash to cut off shades and give a correct white balance. Any tips on the correct WB to set on the camera (K or specific setting) assuming the weather could be really sunny or sunny but overcast? With so much light, would you advice the use of a diffuser and if yes, which other tips can you suggest me?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  12. Not a problem, but even if you did get a green cast, it would be easy enough to remove in Photoshop.

    Go to the site a few days before the ceremony, and take test shots. Settle all of the technical issues ahead of time so you can give all of your attention to the bride and groom on their magical, once in a lifetime day!
     
  13. Grazie, Frank,
    you're always there when I need you.. another beer for you (or wine, would be better here) next time you come here :) 
     
  14. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    650
    Nov 7, 2005
    Thailand

    Dino, I agree with Frank 100%...and would also add that you're most definitely going to need some more flash power. Buy, rent, borrow, or steal a couple more SB-800's...ok, maybe not steal, but you get the idea. :wink: Then you also need to think about stands, diffusers, where to place them, etc. and practice, practice, practice...

    I don't envy you my friend, weddings are an absolute, royal PITA...and that's just the first five minutes with the bride! By the time the actual wedding day rolls around, its hard to decide what to shoot with, the Nikons...OR... [​IMG] [​IMG] something with a little more rounds, er, I mean...frames per second...:wink:
     
  15. Not necessarily, Ray. Many wedding photographers work with a single flash on a bracket... even for the formals. Here's an example from one of my weddings.

    47069682.

    Since he'll be shooting in good light, he can position his subject in the shade and use the ambient for fill and his off camera flash for his key. Or he could go the other way, and use the sunlight for the main and a strobe shot through a modifier as fill, as I did in the example.

    I did my first multiflash setup for the formals last September, and it was a grand pain. Seeing how this is Dino's first wedding, and that he's not very comfy with flash yet, I think he should keep it simple.

    Now where did you get this awesome emoticon, Ray?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    650
    Nov 7, 2005
    Thailand
    Frank, I was talking about photos inside the church of the link provided...

    As for the emoticons, I got them from a friend's website, http://www.robhalford.com.
     
  17. Well, I think my greatest problem in the church will be moving. The space is so little that I'll have to plan carefully every topic moment where I have to be, hoping that noone else is there with its small compact camera.. Then I have also to understand if placing the flashes so back compared to the supposed bridegroom location, I couldn't induce by myself some shadows cause of the priest that will be surely closer than flashes in those moments. I'm seriously thinking (the most important thing is that the bride's father agrees, since the groom is an old friend and very easygoing on it) to keep - even if could be an heresy for you, just one flash and avoid any kind of remote activation.. As Frank said, I'd like to keep it simple, since I could be much more in trouble if I find myself alone to work with a set up I'm not used to. As you see, the church looks narrow but with relatively high and dark celiling, but I guess with a slow sync for the whole church and at full power for some quick and important moments, I should anyway be able to manage that. As I said, my greatest problem is the lack of space to move from or to the couple.

    Thanks again you all, though. If you plan to come here for July 6-7 well, I've still a bed free in the hotel where I booked the room.. :D  :D  :D 
     
  18. Actually, your biggest problem in the church may be the priest or pastor. Many of them will not allow flash photgraphy during their services. You need to have a discussion with him to understand the rules. But even in flash is allowed, they will not let you turn the church into your personal studio, so you will be stuck with one flash, and if you're going to move around at all, it will have to be mounted on your camera... hopefully on a flash bracket.

    If that small church is filled with people, you won't be able to move around. That's why it will be important to have a second shooter. One of your can shoot the procession and the ceremony from the front of the church, and the other can shoot the ceremony and the recession from the rear of the church.
     
  19. There is a lot Uncle Frank can teach you, Dino. Perhaps if you fly him there, he can give you a one on one tutorial?

    (How's that Frank?:wink:) 
     
  20. Ciao Larry...

    I wish I can... :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
     
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