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Church lighting question
  
 
divamum
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p.1 #1 · Church lighting question


Long-time lurker; first non-gear-purchase-related post.

I've been shooting portraits for a while, but have my first-ever wedding on Saturday - a friend finally talked me into it. I have an experienced co-shooter joining me (there is NO WAY I'd do my first wedding solo!), have had loads of experience in poor lighting conditions (theater/performance photography), have quality low-light gear + backups (and insurance) and am spending this week doing my final prep leading up to the weekend.

In doing so, I'm wondering HOW we should light this altar for formals? I've asked my co-shooter to handle those as much as possible, but I feel it's my responsibility to be prepared!! I can do some tests at the rehearsal (which I will be attending), but I'm unsure of the best way to handle this dark church; I'd have preferred to bounce, but the dark paint and wood will make that less than ideal (read: impossible!)

I have: 2x speedlights (580ex + 430exII), 2x 45" shoot-thru umbrellas 2x 24x30" softboxes (that can have the fronts removed and used open).

Photo Blog



Sep 17, 2013 at 03:44 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #2 · Church lighting question


Two speedlites and shoot thru umbrellas does the trick nicely. May want to gel your flashes with CTO or half CTO most likely as well.

Placement of flashes for me is generally in the aisle on the left and right, decently high so people in front and back get nice light on them. Aim then straight ahead maybe slightly downward to get nice even light on the whole group.


If you step way back from my church formals the lights would split the group into thirds basically.

======================



_________X_________X_________



Sep 17, 2013 at 04:05 PM
divamum
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p.1 #3 · Church lighting question


Thanks!!! What happens with cross-shadows with that kind of arrangement, or does it throw the shadows behind them instead?


Sep 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #4 · Church lighting question


Cross-shadows is only a problem if the lights are far apart. It's a non-issue in this arrangement. If the lights were way out on the ends then you'd definitely have an issue.




Sep 17, 2013 at 04:26 PM
jeremy_clay
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p.1 #5 · Church lighting question


I just shoot basking in the glow of the Lord, man. Natty light!


Sep 17, 2013 at 06:38 PM
divamum
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p.1 #6 · Church lighting question


"I just shoot basking in the glow of the Lord, man. Natty light!"

Did you click the link in my original post to the shot of the sanctuary?! lol I totally prefer natural light too, but this church is DARK - it'll be like shooting in a cave.... I have a 5dII and no worries about hiking the ISO, but my guess is it's all going to be at 3200+ - fine for the ceremony and candid shots, but probably not so good for the posed stuff......

TTLKurtis, thanks so much - super helpful!



Sep 17, 2013 at 06:43 PM
jeremy_clay
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p.1 #7 · Church lighting question


I still would shoot it natty, seriously. Just how I handle it I guess! I'm sure you'll do great either way!


Sep 17, 2013 at 06:45 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #8 · Church lighting question


I do exactly what Kurtis described...works great for even lighting.


Sep 17, 2013 at 06:51 PM
jcolman
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p.1 #9 · Church lighting question


People pay us to create good photography. Telling the OP to shoot all the formals in natural light isn't doing him any favors JC. Whatever happened to "good photography techniques". Did it get lost somewhere down the line? Might as well tell him to shoot the wedding with an iPhone too.


Sep 17, 2013 at 06:51 PM
jeremy_clay
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p.1 #10 · Church lighting question


Wtf That's what I would do, wow. OP do whatever they recommend and disregard my opinion on the subject.


Sep 17, 2013 at 06:56 PM
 

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jcolman
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p.1 #11 · Church lighting question


jeremy_clay wrote:
Wtf That's what I would do, wow. OP do whatever they recommend and disregard my opinion on the subject.


JC your work is steller, but seriously, you would shoot family formals without any light on them except for what you happen to find in a very dark church?



Sep 17, 2013 at 06:59 PM
jeremy_clay
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p.1 #12 · Church lighting question


jcolman wrote:
JC your work is steller, but seriously, you would shoot family formals without any light on them except for what you happen to find in a very dark church?


What I find and OPs pic are different; re op's pic I would. But seriously OP, do what they say and m apologies for saying otherwise.



Sep 17, 2013 at 07:02 PM
divamum
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p.1 #13 · Church lighting question


No apologies needed, although I think it's unrealistic to expect to do traditional formals in that light without flash. Seriously - IF there's enough light to do them with what's there (or simply by adding a bit of fill), I'm all over that, which is way more my usual style.

But my gut hunch is I need to have more than that ready and available - getting my lighting ducks in a row so I have options. Hoping that preparation and knowledge will help make up a little bit for my lack of wedding experience.............



Sep 17, 2013 at 07:16 PM
jeremy_clay
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p.1 #14 · Church lighting question


divamum wrote:
No apologies needed, although I think it's unrealistic to expect to do traditional formals in that light without flash. Seriously - IF there's enough light to do them with what's there (or simply by adding a bit of fill), I'm all over that, which is way more my usual style.

But my gut hunch is I need to have more than that ready and available - getting my lighting ducks in a row so I have options. Hoping that preparation and knowledge will help make up a little bit for my lack of wedding experience.............


Why not take
Someone there before Hand and try it out?



Sep 17, 2013 at 07:19 PM
divamum
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p.1 #15 · Church lighting question


No opportunity. I'll be at the rehearsal on Friday and can figure it out then, but no chance to get in there before. I do know the church from other events, however, which is helpful (and why I'm pretty sure I'll need extra light)


Sep 17, 2013 at 07:45 PM
amonline
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p.1 #16 · Church lighting question


Not sure how many people you have for your largest formal, but I'd rock 1 Speedlight off cam right/left with a 1/2 CTO. Expose about 2/3 under ambient and bring the Speedlight up to proper exposure. Done. Just watch for drop off and eye glass reflection. Easy peasy.


Sep 17, 2013 at 08:12 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #17 · Church lighting question


So that sample photo was ISO 800, f/4, 1/30. Are you shooting on Rebels or have something that handles high ISO better?

Typically I'd be shooting the ceremony with zooms at f/2.8, might stop down to f/4 for the formals, but I'd probably be at ISO 1600 to have shutter at least 1/60 and preferably 1/125.

As a side note it's shocking for me to read that JClay would shoot the formals with existing light when he lights basically everything I've ever seen from him lol.

I have shot formals in a church with existing light before, but it was particularly nice theater-style lighting in the church instead of this dark muddy kind of thing.



Sep 17, 2013 at 08:23 PM
divamum
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p.1 #18 · Church lighting question


That linked shot is not my own photo - just one I found online to demonstrated what I"ll be dealing with. I didn't see the exif, but that's a good point. Looks like it's a wideangle, however; I'm sure I'll be using a zoom since we're limited to the side aisles and balcony during the ceremony.

I'll be shooting with a 5dII and a 7d, with a 24-70 2.8, 70-200is Mk II, 135L, 85 1.8 etc etc. We already know we can't use flash for the ceremony so high ISO is kind of a given; not worried about that so much (especially with experience shooting underlit performances lol). Formals are a bit different, however - from all the (zillions) of samples I've been looking at online, people expect them to be more, um, "formal" lol. Which means more formally lit unless you have good light to work with.

Edited on Sep 17, 2013 at 08:32 PM · View previous versions



Sep 17, 2013 at 08:30 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #19 · Church lighting question


Yeah I'd guess with a 5D II you're going to want to shoot 24-70 @ 2.8, ISO 1600, 1/125 and then push exposure maybe a stop in post.


Sep 17, 2013 at 08:32 PM
divamum
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p.1 #20 · Church lighting question


I'll push it to 2000+ as long as I can get a clean to-the-right exposure, and am happy to go 1600 even with the 7d (I've taken clean onstage performance shots with it at 2000, so not too worried.... IF I can nail the exposure).


Sep 17, 2013 at 08:34 PM
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