Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question
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Old 05-30-2011   #1
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Default Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

I'm working a deal with a JP who owns a strip of land with a pier on a local lake - she wants to promote weddings and is going to link me from her website. So, I am hoping to get more of these really soon.

The sunsets will be beautiful but they also will cause me to use some kind of lighting to fill in the shadows on the faces. For this particular wedding, I'm doing that in post - see below:





But I'd rather not have to do that.

So my question is - should I take my 60" softlighter out there and use it with my speedlight, or just use my bracket for the speedlight? I'm thinking the softlighter would give better results but it of course wouldn't be as easily portable as using the bracket...

What would you do?

Thanks in advance,
Sis

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Old 05-30-2011   #2
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

Adding some additional light to the subjects via a flash unit would give you some leeway to darken the background which will enrichen the colors of it. As it is now, the background is quite muted due to overexposure.

Neither subject in this shot has their weight transferred to the rear hip/foot which gives a stiff straight up and down unposed feeling to this image. Also he has his head tilted to the feminine shoulder.

Benji
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Old 05-30-2011   #3
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji View Post
Adding some additional light to the subjects via a flash unit would give you some leeway to darken the background which will enrichen the colors of it. As it is now, the background is quite muted due to overexposure.

Neither subject in this shot has their weight transferred to the rear hip/foot which gives a stiff straight up and down unposed feeling to this image. Also he has his head tilted to the feminine shoulder.

Benji
I think you're wrong about the groom in the 1st image, Benji, he is leaning ever so slightly into the bride and therefore has a teensy bit more weight to his rear foot. I think the bride is standing with equal weight on both feet.

As much as I appreciate your input here, and I really do, you didn't answer my question. I was asking whether a softlighter with a flash, or a bracket unit with a flash, would be a better solution to the problem of needing more light. It's good to know that I could darken the background more with a flash, so thank you for that. Now I am trying to determine which method of the 2 I have available would give the best shot with the most ease and portability.
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Old 05-30-2011   #4
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

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I think you're wrong about the groom in the 1st image, Benji, he is leaning ever so slightly into the bride and therefore has a teensy bit more weight to his rear foot. I think the bride is standing with equal weight on both feet.

As much as I appreciate your input here, and I really do, you didn't answer my question. I was asking whether a softlighter with a flash, or a bracket unit with a flash, would be a better solution to the problem of needing more light. It's good to know that I could darken the background more with a flash, so thank you for that. Now I am trying to determine which method of the 2 I have available would give the best shot with the most ease and portability.
Sis,

I don't know what a softlighter is, but I assume it is a light modifier that has provisions to place a speedlight into it to soften the light. Whether it will provide sufficient light to get the desired effect is unknown because I don't know how powerful your speedlight is. My 580 EX is quite powerful, but I've never used it in the above manner as I have a 150ws d/c powered flash unit I use instead.

This is where it gets tricky. Depending on the time of day the wedding is scheduled, the position of the sun at that time (and the position of the sun will change every day) and there will be days when there will be no sun at all. So you will need to be able to quickly meter the ambient light, set the flash up, meter it and adjust the shutter speed and/or aperture so you will get about two stops more than the ambient aperture meter reading was, and get it all the way across the largest group you anticipate to shoot. My best guess is the speedlight will work for one or two people but when you pull it back to get the entire wedding party it won't have enough power. You could use an a/c powered unit but I would be scared to take a/c power out onto a pier where an accident could be fatal. If you absolutely have to take a/c power out across water make sure it is plugged into a circuit with a ground fault interrupter which will shut off the power before the current can kill anyone should there be an accident (like someone slips or trips on an uneven board, grabs the light stand that is plugged into a/c power and then falls into the water.)

The pose. Yes the gent is leaning over a little bit from the waist, and his legs are spread apart but he still has all his weight equally distributed on both hips/feet. If he has his weight shifted like it is supposed to be his shoulders and hips will be canted. If you look ,his are perfectly level as are hers. After 30 years of looking at poses I'm an expert at judging them!

One more thing. The bride is always at her groom's right hand side. Always, always. There are several reasons for this. First, his flower is always above his heart on the left lapel. If he is posed like you have him posed above it will be hidden from view. Secondly, tradition and scripture has it that the most important person in one's life will be on their right hand side. Scripture states that Christ is seated at the right hand of God. We even have a saying that demonstrates this; "He is my right hand man."

Benji
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Old 05-30-2011   #5
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

Another thing you might try is exposure bracketing and combining in Photoshop or Photomatrix to manipulate the light, Nik software Viveze 2 control points with Photoshop is very helpful in adjusting small areas of light in the post processing.
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Old 05-30-2011   #6
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

I agree with Benji. Another consideration is that if you want some consistency and don't want to move the flash off-camera, you can position yourself at 12' from the subject(s) and use your zoom to compose closeups and group shots. That way your on-camera strobe is always producing the same amount of light...and as Benji suggests, you can adjust the shutter speed as the lighting may change.

Regarding the posing, since this couple is a bit older and she's not wearing a gown, you don't need to do many (if any) full-length of the bride and groom together. In the composition you have here, you can have them step away from each other by a few inches and force them to lean in toward each other. This tends to force them to put their weight on their inside legs as Benji suggests. Have the bride turn her shoulders a bit more toward you and turn her head to her left. If you use off-camera strobe you can place the strobe on that side so she's turning her head into the light.

Here's an example just to demonstrate:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 34 4x6 copy.jpg (176.3 KB, 235 views)
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Old 05-30-2011   #7
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

I think you will have trouble lighting more than just the bride and groom with your 580 on a sunny day unless you have it off the camera and close to them.
With wind issues and tight space you almost need to have an assistant that can hold your light stand and move it around for your shots.
Either way, I think you are going to have to find a way to get your flash on a stand and close to the subjects in order to have any kind of flexibility in such a constantly varying condition.

You might be able to use a bungee cord to strap a light stand to one of the pilings or to the deck of the pier which would make it tougher to blow over and easier than carrying sand bags.
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Old 05-30-2011   #8
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

Sis, I do this stuff all the time at weddings. There are a half-a-doz ways to do it. Cheap o, or expensive o. What yo budget be?

You can do this with an on camera flash, kinda, but it won't look good.

A problem is, one day it will be clear blue, the next time overcast, etc... So, you have to be prepared for all of the above. On an overcast day, a speedlight and softbox will cut it. On a sunny day...nada, not gonna happen.

The only concern with bringing a softbox/umbrellas outdoors is wind. Are you going to have a full time assistant? If not. Don't do it! You will lose your lights/modifiers. It's just a matter of time. .....I speak from experience....

Here are some examples:
1. 2-Speedlights triggered with Radio Poppers.

2. 1-AB800 with no modifier at almost full power

3. 1-Speedlight in softbox. Triggered with Radiopoppers ettl.

4. 4-Speedlights (580exII's) on full power.


Hope this helps!....Chris
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Old 05-30-2011   #9
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

Quote:
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I think you will have trouble lighting more than just the bride and groom with your 580 on a sunny day unless you have it off the camera and close to them
With a guide number of 190 (10' at 100 ISO) you should have no problem getting enough light on the subjects from 12-15 feet (no diffusion). Assuming you have a zoom you should be able to stay that close with your camera, even for group shots. At 200 ISO, 15 feet at 1/4 power you can get about f8 on the subjects....at 1/2 power you can get about f11 on them. Even considering that many of the speedlights advertize over-rated guide numbers, you still should have plenty for fill even at 15'. I still like the idea of off-camera strobe.
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Old 05-30-2011   #10
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Default Re: Okay, wedding photogs (and portrait photogs), I have a question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji View Post
Sis,

I don't know what a softlighter is, but I assume it is a light modifier that has provisions to place a speedlight into it to soften the light. Whether it will provide sufficient light to get the desired effect is unknown because I don't know how powerful your speedlight is. My 580 EX is quite powerful, but I've never used it in the above manner as I have a 150ws d/c powered flash unit I use instead.

This is where it gets tricky. Depending on the time of day the wedding is scheduled, the position of the sun at that time (and the position of the sun will change every day) and there will be days when there will be no sun at all. So you will need to be able to quickly meter the ambient light, set the flash up, meter it and adjust the shutter speed and/or aperture so you will get about two stops more than the ambient aperture meter reading was, and get it all the way across the largest group you anticipate to shoot. My best guess is the speedlight will work for one or two people but when you pull it back to get the entire wedding party it won't have enough power. You could use an a/c powered unit but I would be scared to take a/c power out onto a pier where an accident could be fatal. If you absolutely have to take a/c power out across water make sure it is plugged into a circuit with a ground fault interrupter which will shut off the power before the current can kill anyone should there be an accident (like someone slips or trips on an uneven board, grabs the light stand that is plugged into a/c power and then falls into the water.)

The pose. Yes the gent is leaning over a little bit from the waist, and his legs are spread apart but he still has all his weight equally distributed on both hips/feet. If he has his weight shifted like it is supposed to be his shoulders and hips will be canted. If you look ,his are perfectly level as are hers. After 30 years of looking at poses I'm an expert at judging them!

One more thing. The bride is always at her groom's right hand side. Always, always. There are several reasons for this. First, his flower is always above his heart on the left lapel. If he is posed like you have him posed above it will be hidden from view. Secondly, tradition and scripture has it that the most important person in one's life will be on their right hand side. Scripture states that Christ is seated at the right hand of God. We even have a saying that demonstrates this; "He is my right hand man."

Benji
Now we're talking! Thank you for this information, Benji - you are so right about the a/c units, I would be terrified of that, especially since I am a bit clumsy myself! I'm thinking after reading what you said, I'll have to do some experimenting with the 2 softlighters I have, and see just how far the flash reaches with them. It's not one of the good ones, I think it's just a 420EX. I might need to stick with the bracketed flash...

Thank you for pointing out the pose details, I missed that about the waist; and I don't know if I just didn't know or knew it and forgot it, but that's great information about the right-hand side. Another benefit to this would be that she would get the short lighting in the shots that have the sun behind me and to my right.

Thanks again!

Edited to add: the softlighters are umbrellas that can be used as shoot through (by removing the black cover) or can be used with the flash shooting into the camera and a diffuser on the front of the umbrella.


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