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  • Shooting a wedding - indoors - no flash

    Sorry to add -yet another- wedding thread! I've been reading through all the others and have gotten some great tips! But I didn't find too many tips about shooting a wedding indoors with no flash and with a dark-skinned bride. I'm helping out a friend of a friend by shooting their wedding this weekend for a very low price. I've done a couple weddings, but not as a main photographer. I would have told them to find a photographer with more experience, but it is such short notice and they are having a very small wedding (one bridesmaid and groomsmen) and didn't want to pay a lot.

    I just got the new Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II, so I'm *hoping* this will be sufficient without flash! I haven't done too much shooting with it yet, but so far I'm not super impressed as far as indoors with no flash. I'm still getting blur and the quality doesn't look the best which I would expect from paying an arm and a leg for! I'm doing a senior shoot tomorrow so I'll get some practice with it, but I'm still nervous about it.
    { captured by brooke } Photography
    http://www.capturedbybrooke.smugmug.com
    “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson[/I]

  • #2
    dark skin is tough to shoot... even with flash.

    what body are you shooting with?
    High ISO will be more valuable than f/2.8
    if your body can go ISO1600-3200 or more with not a huge abount of noise you might stand a chance.

    mainly because @f/2.8 one of them will be in focus, and the other OOF
    thats not good. and thats the reason i shoot between f/3.2 and f/4 on my 24-70
    on a 70-200 your DOF will be even worse.

    personally, I turn down weddings that dont allow flash... some celebrants dont let you move during the ceremony either. (almost always the same ones that dont allow flash)

    Who said you cant use flash?
    Most likley its the celebrant... You could talk to the bride about it, and she can put the "bridezila" onto the celebrant.

    if you feel strongly about it, let them know that you cant guarantee any shots without flash... maybe they can even find another celebrant
    http://www.flashpointphotography.co.nz/
    D300s | D7000 | D80 | 17-50f/2.8 | 50-150f/2.8 | 24-70f/2.8 | 10-20 f/3.5 | SB910 | SB900 | SB600 | SB28 PhottixStratos

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    • #3
      Originally posted by candleman View Post
      dark skin is tough to shoot... even with flash.

      what body are you shooting with?
      High ISO will be more valuable than f/2.8
      if your body can go ISO1600-3200 or more with not a huge abount of noise you might stand a chance.

      mainly because @f/2.8 one of them will be in focus, and the other OOF
      thats not good. and thats the reason i shoot between f/3.2 and f/4 on my 24-70
      on a 70-200 your DOF will be even worse.

      personally, I turn down weddings that dont allow flash... some celebrants dont let you move during the ceremony either. (almost always the same ones that dont allow flash)

      Who said you cant use flash?
      Most likley its the celebrant... You could talk to the bride about it, and she can put the "bridezila" onto the celebrant.

      if you feel strongly about it, let them know that you cant guarantee any shots without flash... maybe they can even find another celebrant
      I have a 7D that goes up to 6400 ISO, I believe. I can't stand having to deal with noise, though but there may not be another option. The rehearsal is the night before. I told her before that I couldn't make it, but I'm going to call and tell her I can, since it may be essential to seeing what my equipment is capable of without flash. And then I can show them the pictures so they know what to expect.
      { captured by brooke } Photography
      http://www.capturedbybrooke.smugmug.com
      “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson[/I]

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      • #4
        iso 6400 on a 7D (much like a D300s) is really emergency only
        stick to 3200 and you should be OK with a bit of noise reduction.

        all the best
        http://www.flashpointphotography.co.nz/
        D300s | D7000 | D80 | 17-50f/2.8 | 50-150f/2.8 | 24-70f/2.8 | 10-20 f/3.5 | SB910 | SB900 | SB600 | SB28 PhottixStratos

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        • #5
          Originally posted by candleman View Post
          dark skin is tough to shoot... even with flash.

          what body are you shooting with?
          High ISO will be more valuable than f/2.8
          if your body can go ISO1600-3200 or more with not a huge abount of noise you might stand a chance.

          mainly because @f/2.8 one of them will be in focus, and the other OOF
          thats not good. and thats the reason i shoot between f/3.2 and f/4 on my 24-70
          on a 70-200 your DOF will be even worse.

          personally, I turn down weddings that dont allow flash... some celebrants dont let you move during the ceremony either. (almost always the same ones that dont allow flash)

          Who said you cant use flash?
          Most likley its the celebrant... You could talk to the bride about it, and she can put the "bridezila" onto the celebrant.

          if you feel strongly about it, let them know that you cant guarantee any shots without flash... maybe they can even find another celebrant
          According to Bambi Cantrall, Flashless weddings are the latest fad-If you can't do a wedding without using flash,what happened to photography 101? The whole idea is to spend time learning technique,lighting,exposure,composition-so that when you have something new to deal with,you are able to apply what you have learned,and manipulate these techniques to solve the dilemma-in other words- Experience.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by candleman View Post
            dark skin is tough to shoot... even with flash.

            what body are you shooting with?
            High ISO will be more valuable than f/2.8
            if your body can go ISO1600-3200 or more with not a huge abount of noise you might stand a chance.

            mainly because @f/2.8 one of them will be in focus, and the other OOF
            thats not good. and thats the reason i shoot between f/3.2 and f/4 on my 24-70
            on a 70-200 your DOF will be even worse.

            personally, I turn down weddings that dont allow flash... some celebrants dont let you move during the ceremony either. (almost always the same ones that dont allow flash)

            Who said you cant use flash?
            Most likley its the celebrant... You could talk to the bride about it, and she can put the "bridezila" onto the celebrant.

            if you feel strongly about it, let them know that you cant guarantee any shots without flash... maybe they can even find another celebrant
            Dark skin isn't tough-if you use incident metering,it's easy as can beazy,or if you are up to it, Zone IV, using the Weston/Adams Zone System.

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            • #7
              Wasn't Adams thing, "expose for shadows, develop for highlights"? I mean that works great for negatives, but digital is more like slides and you will blow the highlights working that way.

              And incident metering is measuring the light falling on the subject, while our cameras use reflected light metering. When you and the couple move around the church, it would be rather obnoxious to continously run up front, and press a light meter against the bride's cheek to ensure proper exposure.

              I am failing to see how this helps the OP. Maybe you could go into detail a little, so that they (and us) can see how you would put these into practice in the real world.
              Scott
              Nikon D700, D300, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 105mm f2.8, 28-75 f2.8, 35-70 f2.8, 80-200 f2.8

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              • #8
                Originally posted by scootermcq View Post
                Wasn't Adams thing, "expose for shadows, develop for highlights"? I mean that works great for negatives, but digital is more like slides and you will blow the highlights working that way.

                And incident metering is measuring the light falling on the subject, while our cameras use reflected light metering. When you and the couple move around the church, it would be rather obnoxious to continously run up front, and press a light meter against the bride's cheek to ensure proper exposure.

                I am failing to see how this helps the OP. Maybe you could go into detail a little, so that they (and us) can see how you would put these into practice in the real world.
                The zone system was developed for pre-visualising the finished image and had nothing to do with exposing for shadows-developing for highlights
                This is how the zone system works:

                Edward Weston/Ansel Adams developed the “Zone System”
                To control exposure and contrast for black and white film photography
                And To pre-visualize finished image after post processing in the darkroom,

                There are11 zones black to white-each zone represent 1 EV (exposure value) stop:

                0 Total black

                I Almost black-no detail

                II Dark grey-black -very dark detail in shadows

                III Very dark grey-shadow detail-dark animal fur

                IV Medium dark grey-dark green foliage, shadow side of Caucasian face
                Dark stone-landscape shadow-dark skin-details plainly visible

                V Medium grey-green grass-grey stone-dry tarmac-excellent detail

                VI Rich mid-tone grey-Caucasian skin in sunlight-light stone and sand

                VII Bright light grey-white with texture-silver hair

                VIII Almost white-Delicate texture-no detail-reflected highlights on Caucasian skin

                IX Nearly pure white

                X Absolute white


                Each zone is a tone between black and white

                Each zone is either half or twice the exposure of it’s neighbour, depending on whether you are going up or down, For example Zone III is 2 stops darker than zone V, and zone VII is 2 stops lighter than zone V-As you move your exposure one stop (ev) say, from f 8 to f 11,or from 1/60sec to 1/125sec, you will have moved the exposure one zone

                Although developed for black and white film, it can still be useful for digital imaging, and once you get used to using it, your resulting images will be superior to anything you have done before..

                It can be difficult to understand that when working in color, that black and white and tones of grey can apply. Your camera’s meter sees in black, white and tones of grey in between.

                So to help you understand:

                Your camera’s built-in meter will average everything it sees as mid-grey (18% or 13%-whichever you believe to be correct) > ZONE V!

                To prove that this is so, try this experiment:

                Get a piece of white paper and a piece of black paper ( A4 sheets) take separate photo of each sheet, filling the frame, in the same lighting conditions, using the camera’s meter - Surprise, Surprise! They both came out mid-grey. This is because the camera’s meter averages out the scene, giving an average exposure for the scene at ZONE V.

                The camera’s light meter will measure and average everything it’s pointed at

                So it becomes necessary to switch to spot metering-a spot meter will measure only a very small angle (1-2 Degrees)-spot metering will let the camera know the most important part of the scene in front of it.

                Ok. Let’s assume you have a Caucasian model against a relatively dark background-So you assess the scene before you, and decide that the model’s face is the most important part of the scene.

                Usually Caucasian skin registers at Zone VI or Zone VII, (Even though we are looking at a color scene, the camera only sees light and dark.) When we spot meter for model’s face, this will register on camera as Zone V.We have decided to rate the model’s skin at Zone VII, and this means we must open up 2 EV stops to achieve this:

                If we are in manual shooting mode, this will require us to either a) Decrease the shutter speed from, say 1/250th sec to 1/60th sec, or b) 0pen up aperture from, say F8 to F4.

                If you are in auto mode/scene exposure mode, set exposure compensation to +2


                Always do a final check using your histogram: In some situations, by placing the subject at a certain zone, could result in other areas of the image being under or over exposed.

                Once you learn photography,you will understand that lighting in a certain situation doesn't change much, so once set,exposure only needs checking every 15 minutes or so, and you can do this with exposure compensation.

                Enough Detail for you?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by kencaleno View Post
                  Enough Detail for you?
                  That sure helps us understand what you were alluding to in the previous post. Thank you.
                  Scott
                  Nikon D700, D300, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 105mm f2.8, 28-75 f2.8, 35-70 f2.8, 80-200 f2.8

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scootermcq View Post
                    That sure helps us understand what you were alluding to in the previous post. Thank you.
                    From what I have read, your comment would be more correct about being more like slide film. Zone III to Zone VII is about all you can squeeze out of it. It's very linear, with no rolloff past those two points. Some cameras may have more lattitude than others, but this has been my experience with my budget gear.
                    Luke.
                    500px
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gturner
                      , then surely the flash must be allowed.
                      No flash allowed & quit calling me Shirley
                      Scott
                      Nikon D700, D300, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 105mm f2.8, 28-75 f2.8, 35-70 f2.8, 80-200 f2.8

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                      • #12
                        I appreciate the detailed explanation of the Zone System, Ken! But I still don't completely understand it. I might need to get a book on it.

                        Anyway, the wedding went GREAT! The lighting situation wasn't too bad at the church- I was at ISO1600 or 3200 most of the time at 2.8 and shutter speed 100. The bride had a veil on from the whole ceremony, so I didn't have to worry so much about having her in focus, just the groom. One problem I had during the formal shots was that the highlights were blown out on the dress in some of the photos when I focused on her face. I posted a couple sneak peeks here: { pauline + john = married! } sneak peek! - Captured by Brooke Photography - Brooke Reynolds. I don't have any of the ceremony or reception up yet though. Will be posting more soon!
                        { captured by brooke } Photography
                        http://www.capturedbybrooke.smugmug.com
                        “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson[/I]

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by capturedbybrooke View Post
                          One problem I had during the formal shots was that the highlights were blown out on the dress in some of the photos when I focused on her face.
                          Congrats, those look nice. : )good looking couple too
                          crudely speaking thats basically trying to expose for a highlight and a shadow at the same time... you just need to find the middle ground between between the dress and the skin tones, and a touch of PP on the faces later will have them looking just peachy. But it looks like you got some nice shots there.

                          Looking forward to seeing the ceremony shots

                          Originally posted by kencaleno
                          When both candleman and yourself have finished laughing your asinine arses off,try to gain experience,you may even become photographers one day!

                          "Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser",-what a shame! When you know it all,,(and don't have a clue), Instructing you is a waste of time.


                          Nobody is arguing with the zone system.. its really basic stuff actually.
                          all it really is just basic metering & and switching between stops..

                          What I (we?) are arguing with, is your attitude towards it.

                          To properly expose for darker skin you need more light than people with a fair complexion.. and thats why i said its hard. Because you need more light in an already difficult situation. AND, as the OP has just pointed out (and you did in your post) if you expose for a certain Zone, you are likely to blow out others.. namely the dress.

                          SO!
                          You say here Caucasian skin is around zone V .....I would put a dark skinned person roughly in zone III

                          Originally posted by kencaleno View Post

                          There are11 zones black to white-each zone represent 1 EV (exposure value) stop:

                          0 Total black

                          I Almost black-no detail

                          II Dark grey-black -very dark detail in shadows

                          III Very dark grey-shadow detail-dark animal fur

                          IV Medium dark grey-dark green foliage, shadow side of Caucasian face
                          Dark stone-landscape shadow-dark skin-details plainly visible

                          V Medium grey-green grass-grey stone-dry tarmac-excellent detail

                          VI Rich mid-tone grey-Caucasian skin in sunlight-light stone and sand

                          VII Bright light grey-white with texture-silver hair

                          VIII Almost white-Delicate texture-no detail-reflected highlights on Caucasian skin

                          IX Nearly pure white

                          X Absolute white
                          Where is that extra 2 stops going to come from ?????
                          If the camera can’t get an ISO higher, the shutterspeed is so slow you’re getting motion blur, and aperture cant open up any more. .....there is NOTHING more you can do other than add more light to the scene to be able to properly expose.
                          If you cant understand that, should i refer you to this helpful guide?

                          Originally posted by kencaleno View Post

                          Usually Caucasian skin registers at Zone VI or Zone VII, (Even though we are looking at a color scene, the camera only sees light and dark.) When we spot meter for model’s face, this will register on camera as Zone V.We have decided to rate the model’s skin at Zone VII, and this means we must open up 2 EV stops to achieve this:

                          If we are in manual shooting mode, this will require us to either a) Decrease the shutter speed from, say 1/250th sec to 1/60th sec, or b) 0pen up aperture from, say F8 to F4.
                          thats all very interesting (exposure 101)....

                          I’ve never been in an indoor wedding ceremony where I have had the luxury of 1/250th and f/8 in ambient light. I wish i could find a venue like that.
                          I would suggest that you don’t insult people if you can’t back up your statements. I asked you how is it possible to get light in when there isn’t enough in the room.

                          Either answer the question.. or quit deriding other forum members & pretending to always have the answer.
                          Last edited by candleman; 08-05-2010, 10:51 PM.
                          http://www.flashpointphotography.co.nz/
                          D300s | D7000 | D80 | 17-50f/2.8 | 50-150f/2.8 | 24-70f/2.8 | 10-20 f/3.5 | SB910 | SB900 | SB600 | SB28 PhottixStratos

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by capturedbybrooke View Post
                            I appreciate the detailed explanation of the Zone System, Ken! But I still don't completely understand it. I might need to get a book on it.
                            That would be Ansel Adams's The Negative.

                            Today, with digital, we do something much simpler--we just look at the histogram.
                            I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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                            • #15
                              Keep to the original poster's topic, please.
                              Linda
                              My Gear
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