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Archive 2012 · About reception lighting...
  
 
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · About reception lighting...


I would like suggestions for getting better directional light.

This photo reminded me that I am not satisfied with the shadows I get:

http://pics.meninenuotrauka.lt/7d8/7d863d5b5611be2915f7a681c1a2535e.jpg


How I usually shoot is to set up 2-4 light stands with flashes in subtle or hidden spots where the stands don't show so much, and the lights are typically about 8-10 feet high (as high as my stands will go), and are more or less in either opposing (1x1) pattern, triangular pattern, or square pattern depending on the number of flashes I put up. However, I always find that the directional light has many strong shadows that can be very unfavorable - if not to one subject in the frame, then surely to another in the same frame - and I have to be very careful if I want to avoid the harsh shadow cutting a face the wrong way. Yes, I can get good shots this way sometimes, but not 1. if there are other people nearby blocking part of the light, or 2. if my timing is off. It has many limits and I end up less than satisfied with the net result. Even using on-camera fill flash bounced somewhere obviously does not avoid the sharp lines of shadow produced with these bare flashes.

This brings up the question: When you light receptions, do you have multiple lights facing the SAME direction from different points in the room? Do you personally have a solution to those shadows that can very easily hit the wrong spots on the face? Do you have one or two lights set up to add "fill" to the room?

In the image I linked to, only one person has that kind of ugly shadow (the foreground person lower right) out of ALL those people...which IMO is a really good ratio.



Sep 23, 2012 at 07:48 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · About reception lighting...


I crosslight with two lights about 6-8 feet high and fill with one light on camera. The on camera light helps to alleviate those shadows when done correctly.

Your success or failure with this scenario is also dependent on where you position yourself as well.



Sep 23, 2012 at 07:53 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · About reception lighting...


Yes, I always end up shooting the scene at specific angles myself in order to utilize the lights as well as I understand how. I base my light placement on where I want to be able to look (and how I want to light the head table). But, I don't find the on-camera bounced fill very effective for avoiding those shadows - and in fact the eTTL reliability of my 580EXs has gotten extremely poor ever since I started dropping them (and getting them repaired by Canon). They overexpose so much more now than they ever did...I've started using them in manual mode more often now.

Tonight will be a tough venue, the space is cramped, the walls and ceiling are dark, and the ambient light is very low. I've shot there once before and ended up using an umbrella most of the time because nothing else worked very well.



Sep 23, 2012 at 07:54 PM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · About reception lighting...


I agree with Scott...
really you just have to deal with each wedding on an individual basis.
For instance.. yesterday we had a big white tent. I set up to flashes and aimed them straight up and just let the flash bounce around.. boom easy light everywhere.
Also ... what do you have your flashes setup on as far as power goes?
You have to keep in mind the inverse square law. The goal for me is to get that sweet spot so that literally anywhere I am on the dance floor the lights are the same power ... aka... fstop.
Mix it up too.. for instance at the wedding this past weekend I also tried a one flash setup so they were backlit and then I killed the ambient light via iso and shutter speed.

It is just a balancing act of distance, flash power, fstops, iso, and shutter speed.




Sep 23, 2012 at 11:11 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · About reception lighting...


When you're using on camera fill, are you doing so manually? I use a completely different system, but I've found auto too inconsistent.


Sep 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM
ShacharLee
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · About reception lighting...


hardlyboring wrote:
You have to keep in mind the inverse square law. The goal for me is to get that sweet spot so that literally anywhere I am on the dance floor the lights are the same power ... aka... fstop.


How do you do that? Are you placing your light stands really far from the dance floor making the differences in distance relativity shorter?



Sep 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM
 

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joelconner
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · About reception lighting...


ricardovaste wrote:
When you're using on camera fill, are you doing so manually? I use a completely different system, but I've found auto too inconsistent.



I use auto on my on-camera fill like...has always worked great for me



Sep 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM
RichardLavigne
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · About reception lighting...


There is no one answer fits all... like all things in photography, you experiment and play, you move lights around. I've yet to find two reception rooms that we've lit exactly the same. I get to a room and look at the angles, I see where the DJ is, I see where the couple is sitting, where they'll be entering from, where is the dancefloor?. If I can light all of those things with my lights in one spot, great... if not, I move them. If I start shooting and the lighting isn't what I want, I move them.


Sep 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · About reception lighting...


You have to figure out how big the room is and the dancefloor etc.
Then you can place the lights and work out the math and hopefully keep everything pretty close together.



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · About reception lighting...


Scott wrote:
I crosslight with two lights about 6-8 feet high and fill with one light on camera. The on camera light helps to alleviate those shadows when done correctly.

Ditto. The first time I shot cross-lighting, I did it without on-camera bounce for fill, and learned the value of this the hard way. It wasn't a disaster -- you can get usable results with no bounce fill, but the on-camera bounce is highly effective at balancing out images, allowing the off-camera lights to work at lower power.

You can shoot with the on-camera bounce set to TTL or to manual. I shoot both ways with good results. If I set the on-camera flash to TTL, I usually set it to -1 or -2 stops. I don't like using TTL to set the exposure (i.e., as key), because -- as you point out -- it is a little unpredictable. But as a fill light source, it seems more consistent (at least, that's how it seems on my Nikon bodies).



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · About reception lighting...


Of course, this does benefit from having a white ceiling or reasonably close white or light color wall. If you're working with a black or brown (e.g., stained wood) ceiling, bounce is obviously trickier, but I can usually still find something to bounce off of, such as a nearby guy-with-a-white-shirt, of which there are usually forty or fifty at a wedding.


Sep 24, 2012 at 02:20 AM
eNoBlog
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · About reception lighting...


In his book, David Ziser recommends a triangle configuration, each light at a corner of the triangle, subjects somewhere in the middle. The ideal is to have assistants that move your off-camera lights with you, while you slide with your on-camera flash, but that's not possible for those of us who shoot solo.


Sep 24, 2012 at 03:16 AM





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