Pre wedding panic!

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by wiseowl, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Next Saturday I'm shooting a wedding as a favour. (Long story.)

    The way the weather's been looking (rainy, dark and more rain) there's a strong chance I'll be shooting indoors at the venue. Being indoors will necessitate the use of flash, I strongly suspect that it will have to be on camera for various reasons, no one to assist, only 1 tripod, time constraints etc. The ceiling is too high and dark for bouncing.

    I have 2 questions,

    1. How effective at reducing the harshness of shadows are the metz bounce attachments? (A bracket which attaches to the flash and holds a card.) Or any other suggestions.

    2.Any suggestions as to how I can effectively use flash to light a group of 80 people? I have at my disposal 2 metz 45-ct1's and a vivitar 385.

    Thanks

    Martin
     
  2. 127

    127 Member

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    It does help. Two things to watch are:
    The card can fall out! Play with it before hand - a few subtle bends of the clips should sort it out.
    It uses a LOT more power. Make sure you've got a couple of spare battery packs, and watch your cycle times - the flash takes a LOT longer to charge, so if you're rushing it can fail to go off for some shots.

    Less effective, but less troublesome, theres Metz also make a diffuser, which just clips over the front, and softens the flash a little.


    With 400 film a metz should be able to handle it easily (that would give it a guide of 90, so at f/8 it goes 11 Meters!). It's not pretty/artistic/studio lighting, but it's never going to be - you just need to make sure it's decently exposed. A bigger problem is getting everyone in - make sure you've got a reasonably wide angle lens, and stand on something to get up as high as possible (if necessary take a step-ladder!) so you can group everyone in close.

    Ian
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Martin:
    Would it be possible to slave the metz units & trip w/the vivitar?
    You may have trouble w/light falloff(vignetting) using one flash.
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I photographed a bat mitzvah two weekends ago, and at least the weather cooperated for the beginning of the party. It was at a place with a great view to the west, and we had great sunset. The party went into the night, for two hundred people, ugh. Anyway, I have a bracket attachment and I bought a small 'softbox' that velcros onto the flash, (A Metz 54 MZ ). A small step ladder was very useful too. This is not my area of expertise at all, but that softbox really softened up the shadows. I managed to get some really nice photogaphs with it, and they were happy. I did not do a group photo of the whole party, but did do a bunch of 'table shots" which I found deeply boring, but the clients were really happy to have them.

    Good luck with it, I got roped into it too, another long story, and hats off to the folks who do these things all the time. Too much stress for these once on a lifetime events for me!
     
  5. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Ian, thanks for the information, it sounds as though you've experience. Do you have an example you can show me?

    Shaggy, I'd been considering this, but without the benefit of modelling lamps or of experimenting beforehand I'm not too keen on the idea.

    Suzanne, you've mentioned the 2 reasons I gave up doing weddings over 10 years ago, stress and not very enjoyable from a photographic point of view. I've seen the softboxes you refer to, but my metz doesn't support ttl so it would have to be manual, and I don't have a flash meter.

    Cheers

    Martin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2004
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    HI Martin,

    What your talking about is really, not that difficult, what camera system are you shooting? I have a couple of cameras that I use for Weddings that work quite well as they have correct flash exposure information displayed in the viewfinder LCD.

    Using a two or three light set-up mounted on tripods can be very effective, with a slave, and can also be done without a flash meter.

    Let me know if I can help. I will be happy to let you know some of the 'spur' of the moment put together set-ups that I have done and helped me save a few shoots.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  7. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Hi Dave,

    I'll be shooting with a Bronica SQb (Rolleiflex T as backup), so neither of these offers the correct exposure indication.

    Thanks for the offer of help, but all things considered I'll stick with kiss (Keep it simple, stupid!) I'll have enough to contend with without a multi flash set up to worry about. Having said that, if it's not a lot of hassle for you I'd be interested in learning what multi flash setups you've used. It could well come in usefull in the future.

    Thanks again

    Martin
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hi Martin,

    I will put together a cheat sheet and send to you in a private message.

    I would definately recommend picking up a flash softener if possible, if not you can pretty easily make one, a couple of minutes with a good single ply cardboard and some soft white tissue paper and a little scotch tape can go a long ways to help with the harsh shadows, I just recently had to throw one together for a shoot at a hotel a couple of hundred miles away from my studio and had forgot to bring one of my small soft boxes, but esentually you can make a small soft box with 4 small pieces of cardbord about 2 inches in front of the flash formed into a box and then tape a piece of white kleenex or toliet tissue on the front, they work great and don't really cost anything, and can save the day.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  9. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Thanks Dave.
     
  10. fred

    fred Member

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    Some advice:

    Go metering all the locations today at the same hour of the wedding.

    Use a f1.4 lens if possible.
    If necessary use a 3200 film @E.I 1000
    Use the 1/15 or 1/30 frequently.
    Take a tri-pod if not enough light.

    Go at the locations and go looking for the right point of views.
    Do some test films.

    If you can, don't use a flash.

    Fred
     
  11. 127

    127 Member

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    My girlfriend is a wedding photographer - I tag along to fetch and carry sometimes, so I've picked up a few tricks, and seen the pitfalls. You're on the right lines with Keep It Simple - things are VERY intense, constantly changing, and you don't want to be worrying about things you don't need to. The most scary thing is the pace that everything needs to happen at - you need to be fast, mobile and flexible.

    On a recent job, the bride kept postponing the "big group shot", until it was pitch dark outside. In the end it had to be done indoors with flash - definalty not ideal:
    <link removed>
    This was just a Metz 45cl4. It's not clever, and it's not pretty, but it got the shot that was needed in difficult circumstances. The client doesn't care that the light isn't perfect - they care that Auntie Mavis looks nice, and they're having a fun day.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2004
  12. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Thanks for the advice Fred. While I would certainly prefer to shoot without flash, it's what I always try to aim for. However, having it shot using a high speed film wouldn't give the results the couple are expecting, (much as I'd love to do it in the reportage style that Cheryl Jacobs posted a short while ago.)

    Thanks,

    Martin
     
  13. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Ian, thanks for posting the photo, do you have any technical details to add, focal length, film speed and aperture would be helpfull. (If only to help put my mind at rest.)

    Hopefully the big group will get done very early on, at least that's what I'm planning for.

    Regards

    Martin
     
  14. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Martin, I just did another wedding about a week ago. I did 99% reportage B&W, pushing film as needed. I did, however, need to get at least a few color shots of the ceremony itself, which was in a very dimly lit, large church. While I love ISO 3200 B&W and shot lots of it, I don't love high ISO color films, so I had to resort to my flash. I simply used a bounce flash, and bounced it off my hand. Much softer light, and no attachments and cards to fuss with. I'd attach an image, but I haven't had an opportunity to scan them yet.
     
  15. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I don't understand the resistance to flash, I have been shooting wedding for years and as long as you understand the the correct ususage of flash and how it interacts with the film, the results can be quite pleasing.

    Most of the top wedding photographers in the US, use flash all the time.

    At least it works for the type of weddings I do, I would rather work with a flash that with the other problems associated with not using it.

    Not a complaint, just wondering though.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties.
     
  16. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I simply prefer the look of natural light. I do understand correct usage of flash, and the look is quite different to me. There is a large, and growing, number of wedding photographers who avoid flash unless there's absolutely no way to shoot with available light. Jeff Ascough is a noteable example.

    Not sure which "other problems" you're referring to?


    - CJ
     
  17. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    I've shot three weddings in my life. Fortuately, I did OK on all of them. I had a flash meter and used it for every different group shot. IT WAS WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD. I'd humbly recommend you beg, borrow or steal one for the day. The reduction in angst will be considerable.
     
  18. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I would certainly recommend having a bounce flash unit on hand, because when you need it, you need it. I just am not one of those that believes you cannot do wedding photography without flashing every image.

    Tom, do you mean a flash meter, or a flash unit?
     
  19. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Okay Cheryl,

    I was just asking and I will keep putting money in the bank, as I said, if you know how to use your flash, the natural light look is quite easy to achieve.

    No argument, just a differance of opinon.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  20. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Personally, I find the natural light easiest and most rewarding to achieve with actual natural light. :wink: One important difference is the direction of the light. Unless you have an assistant running around holding the flash for you, you light is going to come from very close to your camera. Even if you hand hold the flash, you can't get it further away from you than arm's length. That's a big difference right there.

    Of course.
     
  21. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Okay We agree to disagree, and really it does not matter that much..

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  22. 127

    127 Member

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    It was definatly 400 film. Probably Kodak Porta VC.

    It was shot on 35mm - The big group would have been better on 120 - you'd normally plan to do them outside, and get plenty of height, but in this case, due to circumstances it HAD to be done indoors with flash, and there wasn't enough space to fit everyone into the MF lens field of view.

    As I didn't actually take it (I was at the side trying to get everyone to squeeze in), I'd have too guess at the exact settings. It was a regular Canon Zoom lens, so it was probably 28mm (maybe 35mm depending on which of the two zooms she was using) at about f/4.

    The flash was a 45ct4, used directly without any diffuser. to get maximum power.

    I do feel slightly guilty posting her work in this case, as it was in a make-do situation. Most of her stuff is MUCH better than this, but I'm showing this as a worse case, to reasure you that you can get the shot in difficult circumstances.

    Ian
     
  23. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Pushing Film for Low Natural Light

    Hi Cheryl, could you give a bit more detail on why/when you might decide to push i.e. TriX 400 film and how do you best record it for processing later? Can I see some of your examples at various 'pushes'?
    Kind regards
    Nicole
     
  24. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    "I do feel slightly guilty posting her work in this case"

    I completely understand that this is a far from perfect situation to be in, and I understand your reticence in posting and that makes my thank you even bigger.

    Thanks also for the tech info.

    Cheryl, thanks for the tip about bouncing off your hand, I hadn't heard of that one before. Looking forward to seeing some examples from the latest "I don't do weddings" shoot ;-)

    Dave, my aversion to flash is down to laziness, lack of experience and lack of skill with small flash. I've seen examples shot using multiple flash and it can be very effective, but have never really put any effort into learning the technique. I can't help but feel a wedding is the wrong place to start.

    Cheers

    Martin