A bit of advice for a newbie lighting
/forum/topic/1163771/0



Red 90
Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Total Posts: 156
Country: Canada

A good friend of mine asked me to shoot at his wedding, which he was short on money and couldn't afford a photographer. I agreed to it with the stipulation that I am not a professional photographer and I cannot guarantee the results will be up to that standard. He understands that and is willing to accept whatever I take. Of course I'm doing it for free. Never the less, I still want to do a good job for him and it's a good learning experience for myself.

What I have a question on is the lighting for the dinner party. There will likely be a head table and approximately 10 guess tables. i don't think there will be a dance floor. I have in my aresenal of equipment 3 canont ettl flashes, light stands and simple triggers. Given how unpredictable where people are going to be relative to the lights, I was wondering how people figure out where to setup the lights and what power to shoot at. My initial thoughts are to place the lights in a diagonal cross lighting setup, and then have an on camera flash running on ettl for fill light. Maybe set the flashes that are on the light stands to about 1/3 power (I won't have the ability to remotely change the power). I'm not sure whether or not I should bounce or go direct flash.

Given that I'm using canon 580exII flashes, what would you say is the maximum distance I should allow between the two flashes? I don't think I'll be able to cover the entire venue like that, but probably just around where the head table is.

The other method is to forget about the off camera flash, keep on the on camera flash, boost up the iso to somewhere around 1200 to 1600 with some fill flash. However I usually find this setup pretty flat in terms of the results I get on people.

Also should I forget the simple triggers and go for the optical ettl?? It is indoors, but I've never found it to be very reliable.

I just want to see if I can plan out a setup to maximize the possibility of keepers for my buddy. I know I will have to assess the situation when I get there, but a general guidance on what to look for and keep in mind would be helpful for setup.

Thank a bunch.



Scott Mosher
Registered: Oct 23, 2006
Total Posts: 2377
Country: United States

Depending on the room size, lately I've been using 2 lights on stands and one on camera that I bounce. I also tend to have my flashes pretty low power, around 1/64 & 1/32. It sounds like it'll be a small wedding so you may just be able to get away with one on camera flash bouncing for fill.

Either way, practice as much as you can and keep it simple.



JakeB.
Registered: Dec 09, 2005
Total Posts: 3327
Country: United States

I've been using pretty close to the same method as Scott, sometimes with just one OCF.
OCF's in manual at pretty low power; On-camera flash in ETTL, sometimes -1 FEC.

Keeping it simple is definitely good advice for something you're jumping into.



jrs5fg
Registered: Jul 16, 2012
Total Posts: 109
Country: United States

Definitely bounce or direct through umbrella. I've shot a wedding rehearsal dinner based mostly on one flash, shot through an umbrella, and I've shot parties with one bounce flash (a TR-980 or a Yongnuo-560, a little weaker than a Canon 580-EX).

Try sticking to off-camera flash, and just use a 10-dollar remote trigger set to control the flash-- you'll have to change the settings manually but it's not a huge problem, really! (It's rare that you'd be off by more than 1.5 stops, and you can shoot in RAW. If settings are little off but you need to change settings right away, you can dial the aperture or ISO up/down.)

This is through one flash thru umbrella:



Inku Yo
Registered: Nov 29, 2007
Total Posts: 4433
Country: Afghanistan

Sounds like you're unfamiliar with OCF. I'd skip it this time and just bounce.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9916
Country: United States

Absolutely just bounce if you don't know what you're doing with off-camera flash



abadass
Registered: Feb 06, 2012
Total Posts: 205
Country: United States

I'd just keep it simple and bounce. If you start adding more equipment to the equation you might overwhelm yourself.



Red 90
Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Total Posts: 156
Country: Canada

I've used OCF, but not in a dynamic environment where the subject is moving around at different distances to the flash.

What I figure I'll do is setup the two flashes and one on the camera. If I feel the OCF isn't working I'll just not use it. I'm comfortable using bounce flash, but sometimes the situation doesn't allow you to bounce a flash depending on the ceilings.

Thanks for all the advice. I do want to give it a try as, it's an opportunity to learn a different technique. I don't get many chances to try out stuff like this.



friscoron
Registered: Oct 07, 2009
Total Posts: 5286
Country: United States


I think you have the right setup. Two OCF with cross-lighting, and use your on-camera flash at ettl for fill. Set the power so you can pick up the ambient light in the background, so I usually have it at a pretty low power.

By doing this, you can create a lighting zone in an area, usually the dancefloor. Good luck, and have fun!



jrs5fg
Registered: Jul 16, 2012
Total Posts: 109
Country: United States

Yes, it's better to pick a region and wait for people to cross into it. Don't chase people (unless it's the bride and groom).



Red 90
Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Total Posts: 156
Country: Canada

Thanks for the comments everyone. If I can get just a bit more advice this would be appreciated.

I went to the church rehersal and, the thing is huge... probably 40' high ceilings. I saw it during the night so I can't see how much light is there during the daytime. I think there should be sufficient light coming from the windows and they do have a lot of lights in the ceiling.

My question is when the bride walks down the aisle. I can use flash, but I don't think I'll be able to get much bounce off of it since the ceilings are so high and irregular shaped. I'm trying to decide which lens to use. I have a 70-200F4IS which I think should be the lens I use. However, I'm not sure if it's fast enough for available light. I have a 135F2, 85F1.8, 50F1.4, 35F1.4. I'm wondering if I should just stick to a prime lens rather than the zoom and open it up a bit.

The aisle is pretty long. I'd say there's a good 30' from the front to the back.

Should I still use the on camera flash for a minor fill. Maybe use a stofen diffuser on it, but still meter for ambient light.



jrs5fg
Registered: Jul 16, 2012
Total Posts: 109
Country: United States

If you use 135mm f/2, you'll get really awesome photos that way. I find it to be a suitable lens for most church scenes.



CoLmes
Registered: Oct 27, 2011
Total Posts: 328
Country: United States

Subscribing to this thread



Tony Hoffer
Registered: Mar 14, 2008
Total Posts: 8842
Country: United States

2 cameras. 35 on one. 85 on another. Bounce flash. Keep it simple. The more you think about your equipment the less you'll think about your images.

Same thing for the aisle. Shoot 85 for a few, 35 when she gets closer. Don't over think it. Do your best. You'll be fine.



Red 90
Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Total Posts: 156
Country: Canada

Just did the wedding this weekend. Went relatively good. I ended up using the 50mm on the aisle. I didn't have a second body with me so I could only choose one lens. The day was extremely cloudy and no light coming from the windows even at 2pm in the afternoon. The ability to bounce flash was very difficult as the ceilings were very high and also oddly shaped so the bounced flash was inconsistent and unreliable. I ended up having to just use a flash diffuser on the camera, bump up the iso and open up a bit more to shoot. I'll process the photos and see how things come out.



Andry
Registered: Aug 27, 2004
Total Posts: 1412
Country: United States

I'd like to see what kind of pictures turned out. Are you going to add some here?