Low-light Wedding Tips

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Clawed, May 7, 2009.

  1. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Hello there!

    I have a coule of weddings slated for early next year and as a newbie to the wedding photography business, I need some tips for shooting a night wedding (inside a church with an indoor reception).

    My goal is to go to these locations and snap a couple of shots to post here to give you an idea of what I am looking at, but for now:

    · ANY lighting tips / suggestions will be appreciated (including gear I should consider bringing along - lighting, lenses).
    · I have a pretty good artistic eye, but I definitely would like some shot ideas if you have any.
    · Camera / flash settings (obviously tough to give specifics without knowing details but some general tips would suffice.
    · Post shots of your own!

    Also, keep in mind I am not an absolute beginner or even completely new to helping out with a wedding.
    *I am looking for a mentor, and I will probably post separately for this, but let me know here if you (or someone you know) would be a willing mentor*

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lighting tips in a church are 100% the same as in *any* low light situation. Only exception is that in most ceremonies lighting is not permitted at all times so fast glass and cameras good at high ISO are mandatory.

    The strobist method, though is very good to know... go to www.strobist.com and read/learn/master lighting 101 and 102.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    The big issue will be whether or not you will be allowed to use additional lighting like flash (or if you even want to).

    If you can, then you don't really have to worry too much about the light levels...and you can concentrate on your techniques for using that light.

    If it's not allowed, then it may be a struggle just to get shots that are not blurry. As mentioned, this is where it pays to have a fast lens and shoot at high ISO.
     
  4. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    From what I gather this early, I will be able to use a flash during the ceremony. However, is it even a good idea to use a flash at that time or is it frowned upon because it is distracting? I have always wondered this... personally, I would like to, as I know how much easier my life will be.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I almost always use flash at wedding ceremonies. To some people it might be distracting, but also, most people understand that weddings are a time when people want to have photos taken.

    I think it's more important to be aware of where you shoot from, because it's a lot more distracting if you are standing in front of the couple during the ceremony, than if you standing to the side, firing your flash.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Even if it is allowed, it is a question of style and ability. Personally, given the choice, I would go without flash than with. The flashless ones seem to have so much more personality (and this is a personal choice and opinion)... however if your camera is noisy at ISO 1600-ISO 3200, you may not have the choice and need flash.
     
  7. johnbergsing

    johnbergsing TPF Noob!

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    I use it if it's allowed. It beats the inevitable .... missing an important shot! One thing you should remember is not everything you shoot is going to be a portfolio shot, especially at the ceremony. Artistic style is important, however, there are times during a wedding shoot when I simply do not have the time to think things out. As a paid professional, priority number one is to serve your client. And that means document the event they hired you to document! And if the use of flash is allowed at the venue, then why not use a tool that almost ensures those moments will be documented? So yes, I use my 580EX II, in "Aperture Priority" during the ceremony when it is allowed. :)0 ... did I really just admit that???)

    Now this is what I've been doing lately. I'll snap those shots using the flash then, if times allows, I'll shut off the flash and switch it to my C1 setting I've preset to a higher ISO/adjusted color balance and see what I can get that way. That way I've got something to fall back on. And that's a good thing for me right now because, at least with the limitations of the 40D, I go with the flash shots most of the time.

    Gee, I just argued against what I originally said! My advice is this. Play it safe. Get the shots you can't miss with the flash and, if time allows, play the artist role. The worst thing would be to miss shots that you know the couple wants.
     
  8. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Good advice... and I think what you mentioned about 'simply getting the shot is priority' makes sense. Of course, as an artist, I think we all want something unique and striking evey time. That is precisely why I am inquiring, since I know having such low-light conditions seems stifling. Also, I have a second shooter, and that is obviously a great reassurance.

    You speak of the limitations of the 40D, precisely what limitations are important to consider with this camera when shooting this type of event?

    Oh, and what gear do you take with you (and which lenses) when shooting a wedding?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  9. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get NoiseNinja and Don't forget that you need to know what your prints are going to look like.

    In other words shots that pixel-peepers would rail against (not saying that you are one ;)) because of the noise make perfectly fine prints. There is an amount of noise that crosses the line and you have to know where that line is. The Only way to do this is to take a range of shots and have them printed at the lab you intend using.

    Mpix is a good one if you haven't settled on one yet.

    You will need to know about dragging the shutter (planetneil.com is a good start for info on this), gelling the flash (please don't use a bare flash in a dark, tungsten lit room it looks like a cross between bad scifi and a photoshop joke), panning, GOOD hand holding technique and where your wide angle f/2.8 is. (BTW a wide angle lens doesn't cause close in distortion, shooting too close does)

    Be well versed in shooting for 8x10s and 5x7s and know ahead of time if there will be larger prints required for which shots. --Talk to the Bride!!

    Get a contract and get it signed!!! Even if it's your brother or sister- Have a contract and go over it with them both!!!!! This will save you more grief than you could imagine from the front end. It also helps to deflate bridezillas.

    That'll do for a start.

    Good luck!

    mike
     
  10. johnbergsing

    johnbergsing TPF Noob!

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    Of course we all want something unique and striking. I agree. The more you shoot events the more defined your style will become, even when you don't think so!

    I find the 40D's ISO1600 rather limiting. I don't have a copy of Noise Ninja yet so my opinion could change when I start using that, but images look too noisy for me at ISO1600.
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Before investing in Noise Ninja, check out Imagenomic's Noiseware Pro... I own both and Noiseware is far better.
     
  12. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Mike_E, thank you for the advice. I do have a hard time figuring out what an ideal amount of sharpness can be added in Photoshop before it becomes noticeable in print.

    I am pretty well versed in dragging the shutter, and personally have found it to be imperative when shooting weddings. As far as a contract is concerned, what is typically contained therein?

    Johnbergsing, it's too bad, I thought the 40D would perform a bit better than my Xsi (which is decent, but probably not great for anything larger than a 5X7).

    JerryPH, thanks for the alternative suggestion. I will try to find out a bit more about each before making a decision.

    Also, I am about to purchase a really good wedding lens, but I am torn about which is the best investment. I figured maybe the Canon EF 24-70mm L f/2.8. Any suggestions?
     

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