Outdoor v Indoor wedding

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Johnboy2978, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have been approached to serve as photographer for an outdoor wedding in May. Before everyone freaks out and gives me the usual warnings and tries to persuade me not to do it, I'm not asking for that. This would be my 4th solo wedding, and I do have the pre-requisite gear (Pentak K10D w/ backup DSLR body, Sigma ex 500 dg super w/ back up, Pentax 77mm f/1.8 Limited, Pentax 50mm f/1.8, Sigma EX 24-70mm f/2.8, Sigma EX 70-200mm f/2.8, Sigma EX 70mm Macro).

    Now all of my previous weddings have been indoors. I've not been hired to shoot an outdoor wedding, so the only thing that I've really thought of so far is potential lighting problems. I haven't accepted the job yet, so I'm not sure of all the particulars. I do know that the couple is having the wedding at their home, b/c they just bought a house (early 30's) and are trying to put money into renovating/repair instead of a "fancy church wedding". I'm not sure what their Plan B is if it rains, as we haven't gotten that far in the discussion yet.

    My main concern will be lighting. Assuming the worst case scenario, I'll say they are having the wedding at 12 or 1 and sun will be harsh. The speed of my lenses will obviously not be an issue, but rather toning down the contrast between shooting in bright light and trying to get a nice even exposure will.

    I assume that my circular polarizer and ND filter will be of benefit if I choose to do this. What other issues have you more learned ones faced in shooting an outdoor wedding as opposed to indoor? Any comments would be appreciated.
     
  2. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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    Studio lights and reflectors for the "posed" shots. If they have a planner they will (usually) set it up so that the sun is to the guests back, which will help you. IMO polarlizer is most important filter wise.
    Maybe you'll get lucky and it will be slightly overcast.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Everything will depend on the light and that will depend on the weather so you really won't know until you show up on the day of.

    If you are going to do this, try to steer them in good directions in terms of where to set up and for them to think of light when they plan their layout. Most non-photographers think that being out in the sun would be great but we know better.

    Typically, when the wedding is outdoors, I just do my best to document the ceremony as best as I can. If it's in terrible light, then just go with it and don't be afraid to try a lot of different exposure settings. Use the high contrast to your advantage and get artistic with it...and don't forget to back up and get the whole scene in.

    When it comes time for more formal photos, then you can take control and get them out of the sun or at least set them up where it's best for you. Bright sun doesn't have to be terrible if you can fill in the shadows with flash or reflectors. Also, for shooting smaller groups or just the couple, you can try to use a diffusion panel to block the direct sunlight...that can often give you studio quality light.

    One of my biggest concerns when shooting in bright light, is my flash power. In order to keep from blowing the highlights, I might need an exposure of F16 and 1/250. It takes a lot of flash power at F16 but the flash sync speed is maxed out at 1/250 (on my cameras). This will mean the flash is working really hard and recycle times will be longer, so I keep the batteries fresh. Using an external battery pack would be a good idea as well.

    My flash (and several others) does have a high speed sync mode, but that really limits the range, so it's a trade of. I usually just stick to the max sync speed in this situation.
     
  4. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow TPF Noob!

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    Mike,

    F16 means diffraction with most lenses so I stear clear of it mostly.

    Buy an external battery unit that can be hung off your belt. Makes for super fast recoveries even if the flash is often shot at full power.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I don't hesitate to shoot wide open or at F22 when I need to. The ever-so-slight quality difference isn't something I think about...99.9% of clients would never know the difference anyway. Besides, exposure is more important that avoiding diffraction...IMO.

    Also, when shooting outdoors, into the sun (with the sun in the image)...you can control how the burst looks but adjusting the aperture...smaller apertures tend to look better IMO.
     
  6. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow TPF Noob!

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    That's interesting. In the many years I've shot weddings I never needed to be stopped down past F8. If I need to slow the shutter down, I'd rather use an ND filter, or lower ISO. But then I don't often shoot into the sun, although I do from time to time.

    I provide a lot of enlargements so diffraction will be very noticable past size 8 x 10's. Sure the client will often not see the difference, but you and I will.

    For me, critical focus is 2nd only to composition. And with raw shooting one has lots of flexability in regard to exposure.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Putting a filter in front of the lens degrades quality as well...and it's more time consuming that just stopping down the lens.

    To be fair, it's rare that I will stop down past F8 during a wedding either. The exception being when I am shooting into the sun or when I need a really deep DOF.

    You sound like you know what you are doing, so I certainly won't tell you to do it any differently. Just goes to show that different people do things their own way, there isn't really a right or wrong.
     
  8. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow TPF Noob!

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    I never shoot with a filter, not even for the purpose of protecting the lens, unless I need the effect of a polarizer, graduated ND, or regular ND. I like my lenses "naked", and although the degradation in quality is slight, I refuse to use a sky or UV filter for the purpose of protection...I think a lens hood serves that purpose better. I like hoods even indoors as they can make a small increase in contrast, as they keep a lot of the ambient peripheral light away from the lens.
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    I'm the same, I don't bother with UV filters at all....and hoods are always on.

    I do use a CP filter when shooting outdoors and the conditions are right, but otherwise I 'shoot naked' for weddings.

    I do use a CP and ND filters quite a bit for landscape photography though.
     

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