Dark Church...lighting questions...

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by AprilRamone, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so I am probably going to get hired to shoot a wedding about 4 hours away from me and the Dad of the bride has told me that the inside of the church is rather dark. He's already willing to pay for lighting rental, but I was looking at rental prices and it seems the better way to go would be for me to buy my own lights.
    Now then, do you think I could get away with having just one 800 flash unit? I was thinking of getting this:
    http://www.alienbees.com/beginner.html
    But, then I was also looking at this one:
    http://www.alienbees.com/digi.html
    This one gives you two flash units, but they are only 400w compared to the 800 or 1600 w I could get.
    I guess I'm just looking for some advice on what I should do about this situation!
    Thanks,
    April
     
  2. woodsac

    woodsac TPF Noob!

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    First, and most important, make sure you can use flash inside the church. Some don't allow flash during the ceremony, (some don't allow photos during the ceremony...period) and some don't allow flash indoors at all.

    If you can use flash, you'll probably need at least two lights for large group photos. But it all depends on how many will be in the shot? It's better to buy too much power, than not enough. Of course, ideal is two AB800's to start. But, if you can only afford two AB400's you can make them work.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    First thing, if you haven't already...is to find out if this will be allowed in the church. Many don't allow flash at all.

    Will this be for the ceremony/formals or both? You will probably want or need some type of fill light...and a reflector may not be the best or even possible, so two lights would certainly be better than one.

    Will the AB400s be enough? That's hard to say...it will depend on the placement (distant to the subjects) and the diffusion. Using just the reflector dishes will be the most powerful...but that's not very soft. Reflecting out of silver or white umbrellas would probably make for better light quality...but that's up to you.

    If you are shooting the ceremony with the lights...how do you plan to trigger the lights? If you are plugged into one light, you would be limited by the cord. You could use a hot-shoe flash (with no preflash) to trigger the AB lights...or you could get some sort of radio trigger. Also, if you are relying on optical triggering...then you will have to make sure that no guests use any flash...because that will also trigger your lights.

    I have seen a few weddings where extra 'hot' (continuous) lights have been set up. Usually these are set up by the videographer...because flash won't do anything for them.

    Another option for you, would be a couple remote hot-shoe flashes. These can be mounted on stands or tripods and fired remotely. The advantage is that they are small and light...and they work on batteries rather than AC power.
     
  4. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Thanks you guys, this all sounds like very good info. Of course, I need to check with the church before I make any purchasing decisions, but I was just starting to look just in case the church is fine with flash lighting.
    I was also thinking that this would be more for the formals after the ceremony. I personally think it would be rather distracting to have all of that equipment set up and my flash going off all the time during the actual ceremony. So, if I can get away with it I'm going to try and just use natural lighting for the ceremony portion.
    Once I find out about the church/pastor limitations, I'm sure I will be back with more questions. Thanks for taking the time to answer!
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I applaud your wanting to use studio lights for a wedding. Most photographers, that I have seen, just go with on camera flash...up on a bracket at most.

    Studio lights will certainly give you many more possibilities....but is not all that convenient to use. It's fairly common for wedding formals to be shot in an outdoor location...or in a few different locations. Moving studio lights around can be a pain in the butt...and take up plenty of time...which is usually at a premium on the wedding day.

    Or you could go all out...and get a portable power supply and use your studio lights outdoors as well. Jason Cole, a photog down under, uses a portable studio light and a big softbox for most of his wedding shots...and they look great.
     
  6. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    I just found this info about the church:
    http://www.firstumcpueblo.org/weddingphotopolicy.pdf

    That kind of sucks that I'm not allowed to move around at all during the ceremony! And, it looks like I will just be using natural light during the ceremony as well. And only 3.5 hours for everything! Yikes. Obviously, I'm going to have to contact the coordinator to find out about using flash and studio lights for the formals afterwards.
    Thanks for the link on Jason Cole. He has some inspiring stuff on there!
    As far as setting off the lights, I'm kind of confused. (Wish my college had spent more time with us on the studio lighting aspect of photography!) When I used lights before they were all connected to the camera I was using. Couldn't I still do it this way? I'm assuming that I'd just be using the lights for this formal part of the day. Unless the reception is horribly lit as well!
     
  7. woodsac

    woodsac TPF Noob!

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    You can keep one light connected to your camera. The others will have to function as slaves. That means that nobody else can take photos with flash while you're doing this.

    If it's just the formals, and if they are in one location...it will work. But for larger group shots, you're going to need some space. The PC cords that come with the lights are only 15ft long.

    If you go with the AB's, look at their RFT1TX Transmitter and RFT1RX Receiver. One major advantage, besides no cords, is you can change the frequency on the receivers, so other camera flashes don't interfere. I've been using both for a couple months and they work great!

    Oh...and the receptions are almost always horribly lit!!! But you can use always use hot shoe types for the reception :D
     
  8. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For this situation really the only way to go is a fast long lens with your camera set at a high ISO this is the reason I purchased the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR.
     

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