Wedding Lighting

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by EAC, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. EAC

    EAC TPF Noob!

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    Hi there,

    I worked for a company shooting weddings for two years, and my lighting never seemed to be quite what the lead photographer was. I knew enough about what I was doing and wanted to start my own, so I started booking weddings on my own. I'm also a student, and have learned quite a bit that way, too. Here's my problem... I know what settings to use manually, I thought, and have a great flash, but my photos don't seem to be as bright or vibrant as others I see in wedding photos, more specifically during the reception when it's a little dark. Here's my equipment:

    Canon T2i with a Canon 580EXII flash and gary fong diffuser. I usually have my settings at 800 iso (for less grain) and around 30 shutter speed, 5.6 aperture. My photos seem to come out kind of yellowish. Maybe my flash isn't set high enough? I need some help here. Thanks!
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To start with, lose the Fong Dong, secondly, some example images would help greatly. You don't mention your WB - are you shooting a custom WB, setting it to 'Auto' (My preference), or using a pre-set mode?

    Your settings aren't making sense to me; ISO 800 and 1/30 of a second? I'm not a Canonite, but I believe the 580 EXII is a pretty powerful flash. I would suggest shooting at max sync speed (1/250) in RAW with auto-white- balance. Clean up the colour casts in post, as well as increasing the saturation and contrast. A lot of the 'pop' that digital images have is a result of skilled work in the pixel room.
     
  3. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My Turn.... :) It might be a bit long so bare with you.
    *What equipment is he using?
    *What is your responsibility? I've assisted a wedding photographer for about 3 yrs (and 4yrs wedding videographer) before I began shooting (best high school job in the world).
    *What did you learn?
    *Are you replicating exactly the same settings as your photographer? If so then you should have the same results.

    I'm not 100% sure on Canon T2i, But I believe shooting at iso 800 would be clean enough images for decent results BUT I'd stick as close to 400 as possible.
    1/30 of a sec? WHY?! Why oh why drag a shutter unless it is too dark of a room or you want to get motion blur? 5.6 ok...
    Fong Diffuser - It is a decent enough equipment with limited use. Some ppl swear by it and others hate it. I use it at certain times but not always. So, do you know when TO when NOT TO use it?

    I don't know your typical wedding but will give you two types of my typical weddings.
    #1 - all day event: Most of the time these take place in hair saloon, home, park, church (other religious establishment) and finally a hall or a restaurant. Up until ceremony (that is indoors) and the restaurant I don't really need strobe lights but if I do, then I have my portable mounted with a small umbrella. In doors I use strobes to illuminate the background and give me spill on the foreground.

    #2 - all in doors: starting with formals to ceremony to reception. Strobes to the rescue. Depending on the job or who i'm working with it depends what units I'll be using. If my job, then my ABs will do the job. Some photographers I work with use Dynalites (my personal favorites), others use white lighting. There's a whole debate on which strobes are better. My personal preference is Dynalites but they are out of my budget.

    Few personal points. The fact that you realize that you have a problem is good and fact that you want to fix it is EVEN BETTER but are you really ready to book your own jobs? These are memories/moments that cannot be repeated, are you sure you ready to capture them alone? You mentioned your gear, what is your backup? You got to have backup! If you present your self as a professional, you have to have pro gear, at least a backup. I have a personal problem shooting wedding with a rebel (at least keep it as a backup). Not as a primary. I'm not going to say go Full fame and nothing less, I use crop sensor and happy with results but again, you must have backup gear. Please don't respond that your equipment is brand new b/c Murphy's Law will come and find you when you LEAST expect it.

    If you have any specific Qs or want to discuss things in private, feel free to PM me.

    good luck

    EDIT:
    You mentioned about the color - as you slow your shutter speed you allow more ambient light to get in (which usually is disgusting yellow color) thus you have to compensate with WB. What is you WB settings?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  4. EAC

    EAC TPF Noob!

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    Before I answer some of your questions, maybe a little background on the old wedding company I worked for. This may answer a few of the questions. They used all Nikon equipment, as well as Nikon SB800 flash units and the gary fong diffusers, thus my use of them as well. I started shooting my own weddings (with a backup photographer) in Fall '09 using a Nikon D70. This didn't work well for me, so I researched and got what I could afford, which was the Canon Xsi. I actually bought 2, and used my Nikon as a backup. The old company I worked for also shot receptions at 30 or 15 shutter speed, mostly because of dancing so that there was a little blur motion. I've been shooting auto white balance, which I suppose isn't working as well as it should. I purchased the T2i after selling the Nikon, and have used that as my main now for a few months. I'm not shooting weddings a lot, just a few a year until I get my degree in the spring. The lighting/color have been throwing me, though, and I thought a trip to the forums was in order. I also have Lightroom 3 software, so that's helped some, and I always shoot in RAW, but I'd rather not have to edit quite so much.

    I definitely plan to upgrade my equipment when I've saved enough. I know the rebels aren't permanent. Thanks so much!
     
  5. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You Nikon traitor :lmao:
    Good for you on the backup (just shows that there are people who think b4 go to work) - see its important to specify these things :D
    I mostly shoot b/n 1/125-1/200sec only to knock of the ambient light and only light-up the scene with the strobes. By decreasing majority of ambient light my color comes from strobes (as well as on-camera flash and assistant's light). Shooting at shutter speeds as such you'll get dancing blur, even with the flash. Although flash will freeze the motion some movement will be present. At times it is a nice effect :) (saves time in PP).
    One Q you didn't answer was what lighting gear, besides hardcore SB800s other photogs used?
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The D70 has a synch speed of 1/500s if I'm not mistaken. that's a bit unusual and desirable to be able to synch that fast.

    My understanding of the Fong Dong is that it is a waste of power on your flash. There is a diffuser out there named something like 80/20 which send 20% of the light forward and the remainder can be bounced off a ceiling. I don't own one, just passing info. I don't shoot weddings, but I imagine bouncing the flash off the ceiling, near wall or a patron's white shirt might be something to try. I've also gotten good results with firing the flash backwards when in close to your subject.

    I agree with tirediron that post work can yield that 'pop' and vibrance you're looking for.

    Auto WB is okay, but if you're shooting flash, why not set your WB to flash (5500k)? At least there will be consistency and the post work can easily be synched in LR. Are you using TTL or manual settings on your flash?
     
  7. EAC

    EAC TPF Noob!

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    The other photographer I worked for used only the SB800's at weddings, with gary fong diffusers. I use auto balance on everything, and TTL on flash. You guys are really helping out... I really appreciate it! It's really frustrating when I'm sure I'm doing well and the lighting just doesn't work out. I'm sure I'll learn a bit more in my other photography classes, too, but i know nothing speaks better than experience.
     
  8. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    SB800s and nothing else? How many were out there? I know a guy who shoots w/ only on-camera flash. His foreground is well lit but background is very dark as if he's shooting with a PS. GF does add a bit light to the room but not enough to light up the back.

    I was hesitant of getting fong b/c of the price, until found it on craigslist for half the price.
    The bad part about it is that you need to put about 1/2-1 stop of light MORE then you would with a stofen that comes with most flashes. The light is soft but flat and dull. Not so much the color cast but definitely warmer then usual.
    The good. It does spread light relatively even and it is soft - so when by the wall w/o a second (cross light) you don't get harsh shadows on the wall.
     
  9. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    I think I just stepped into some alternative universe.
     
  10. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Where's your home planet? :D
     
  11. JamesMason

    JamesMason TPF Noob!

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    my guess, is probably kit. Normally im of the opinion that you can make great images with most cameras. At 800 iso, a 5D or something of that ilk, with some great glass on it. Is gonna be more sharper clearer and more vibrant than t2i (think it s a 400d in europe).

    Are you doing the same things in post ?
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd lose the tupperware.

    Then if you haven't read Neil van Niekirk's articles on flash photography, you should.

    http://neilvn.com/tangents/

    enjoy
     

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