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Thread: Lighting Suggestions for Daughters Wedding

  1. #1
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Lighting Suggestions for Daughters Wedding

    My daughter is getting married next year in July. They have decided to do a destination wedding in Jamaica. It sounds like the resort could provide a photographer, but the cost is pretty steep and you get what they have. It does not sound like she is planning on hiring it out... so that leaves me holding the bag. For a long time now I have worked up excuses in my mind that I could pull out if anyone asks me to take pictures at a wedding, and have been somewhat successful in avoiding event type photography (just not my thing). The few times I have taken "people" pictures at events, I have not done horribly; but it has also highlighted the need for better lighting and posing. As for the knowledge base... I do not currently process this, but I do have time to learn and think I can at least get to the point of somewhat competent (not good or Sean worthy, but hopefully passable). However, wadding through the plethora of lighting options and modifier options can be a little tedious at best and a bit intimidating.

    I have been wanting to expand my abilities in portraiture and lighting anyway, and this gives me a good excuse. So what I am asking for is a little guidance on what lighting and accessories I would need for a wedding.

    Some back ground on what I currently have:

    • You can see what lenses I have available. I think I would plan to bring my 24 f/1.4L II, 16-35 f/4L, 100 f/2.8L IS macro, and the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. I am debating on the 24-105 f/4 IS... I do not want to bring it, and I want to sell it; but it is a hand range.
    • I will be bringing my 1D X, and maybe a 7D as back up.
    • I have not decided on how to back up files yet, but will probably use cards so I do not have to bring a computer
    • My tripod is a heavy beast, and does not pack away very well (it needs to be totally disassembled to fit into a large suit case). I may be looking for a smaller/lighter travel tripod... which would come in handy as I get older.
    • I currently have a Canon 580EX-II flash.


    Some initial impressions of what I think I need:
    • Anything I bring needs to be somewhat compact and flexible since it has to be carried on the plane or shipped to the hotel.
    • I think I would like to bring some lighting stands with modifiers (soft box or umbrella). It would seem to me, the umbrellas would be easier to set up and pack. Set up and tear down needs to be simple and quick... I want to enjoy the wedding as well and not be fretting about equipment if I can help it. The hustle and bustle of it all does not bother me, but messing with something that is a pain in the rear would bug me.
    • I would think that speed lights would be best just for portability, but some day I would like to get some moonlight strobes.
    • I found this, but the "cheap guy" in me keeps looking at the price. Speed Light Kit with Modifiers and Transmitter . Would I be better off (or acceptable) with cheaper flashes and pocket wizards?
    • A flash bracket that is flippable with a sync cable. I have no Idea what to buy on this one.
    • My thought would be to have my 580EX-II on the camera flash bracket and use a couple of flashes/modifiers off camera for the portraits and group shots. Since it is in Jamaica, I assume the group shots will be fairly small.


    I am a real novice at this, and could really use a little guidance.

    Thanks

    Pat
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  2. #2
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Will the wedding and reception be indoors or outdoors? Do you have pictures of where the events will take place so we can get a better understanding of what might work best?

  3. #3
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Setters View Post
    Will the wedding and reception be indoors or outdoors? Do you have pictures of where the events will take place so we can get a better understanding of what might work best?
    From what I understand - The wedding will be outdoors, and there will be a short reception indoors. Since the time of the reception is limited, we will then move out to the beach for an evening bonfire. I do not have pictures of the reception area, but will see what I can get.

    I assumed any pic's during the wedding would be with on camera flash or no flash at all depending on the intimacy of the moment. And thought the extra lighting could be used for portraits and group shots afterwards. I will have the macro for rings, flowers, etc., and the need for extra lighting would minimal for that.

    The portraits and the group shots I assume would be outside and is probably where I need the most help. This is called a "twilight wedding", but starts at 5:00 PM. So after the wedding the sun should be low. I like the look of back lighting (hair light) with proper lighting for the main light and fill light. Hopefully, I can use the sun for the back light and then augment with one to two lights.

    I am just starting to think about this, but wanted to figure out lighting needs so I can get what I need and have time to practice so I do not screw this up. This is planning way ahead, but it does give me a chance to experiment... which is how I learn best. I have been looking at your shots for some time now, and I like how you leave some shadows but they are not to harsh and features are still clear (e.g., your avatar). I would also like to get some well lite group shots which I see as being difficult w/o at least a couple of lights.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Pat
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  4. #4
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Ok, that helps. From my understanding, you're wanting to do the group shots outdoors near sunset. Keep in mind that sunset in Jamaca in July will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 6:45pm, so that gives you a an idea of the timeline you'll have to work with.

    While a couple of light stands, speedlights, umbrellas and remote triggers may produce pleasing results, there's something else to consider - wind. I now live about 30 minutes from a beach (Tybee Island, GA), and I can say that it's usually very windy there (same was true on my visit to Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago). That makes using an umbrella challenging because of its sail-like characteristics. I'm not saying it won't work, but you'll likely need a) a lot of weight holding your light stands down or b) at least two helpers to keep the light stands from tipping over (an issue if everyone needs to be in one of the shots). Another concern is that if you stack people in rows, the people in the back may be shaded unless your lights are positioned relatively high. And it gets tough to pack light stand that can reach a decent height while remaining airline pack-able.

    You may want to invest in some colored gels, too. By using a CTO (or 1/2, or 1/4 CTO) to match the ambient sunset (or indoor tungsten for the reception), then the color of the light hitting the subjects will more closely match the ambient. Otherwise, the color hitting the subjects will be very cool/blue in comparison. Also, I've found that for indoor locations (where the ceiling is a relatively normal height), bounce flash works very well. I'd suggest picking up the Rogue Flashbender 2 Small to kick a little light forward while using the ceiling to do the heavy lifting. I like the Flashbender 2 small because it's really easy to pack and it isn't bulky in-use, and you get the benefits of on-camera ETTL for exposure calculation.

    Those are just some thoughts off the top of my head.

    PS: On the topic of backup solutions, I ran across this interesting article today. I did some investigating, and it looks like a pretty cost-effective solution. Though, you'd likely want to make/design a case for the circuit board.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Pat,

    If out of line I apologize, but if reasonably possible I'd suggest you not photograph your daughter's wedding given you have a much bigger role as father of the bride.

    I'm not a father so I can't fully relate, but if I had a daughter who was getting married I'd want the traditional role in the wedding.

    If you do proceed as the photographer I wish you the best.

    Dave

  6. #6
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Throgmartin View Post
    Pat,

    If out of line I apologize, but if reasonably possible I'd suggest you not photograph your daughter's wedding given you have a much bigger role as father of the bride.

    I'm not a father so I can't fully relate, but if I had a daughter who was getting married I'd want the traditional role in the wedding.

    If you do proceed as the photographer I wish you the best.

    Dave
    I don't think I will be taking pictures to much during the wedding, but I do want to get some nice photos afterward. A few descret shots during the ceremony shouldn't be to taxing. It is going to be a small wedding with family and close freinds. We will see how it goes, but I am no wedding photography, and I have no intention of taking it that far. The camera is not going to take over and keep me from enjoying myself, and I definitely have no intention of keeping her from having a happy and memorable day.

    Beyond the wedding (which I am very happy about), I see this as an opportunity to learn a new aspect of photography that I don't currently do very often (portraits), and hopefully come away with a handful of decent shots.

    No worries.

    Pat

    Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  7. #7
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Thanks Sean. I do like the Flash bender (better than my bounce card), and it is a fairly low cost opption. Do you think it is worth while investing in another flash and stand to get at least one light off camera? Or is the gain minimal if I am bouncing off the ceiling anyway?

    Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  8. #8
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    I agree with Sean. I think for outdoors radio activated speed lights with umbrellas will be easiest but you will need to recruit some help to move these around. I have a pocket wizard mini TT1 and some of the TT5 units. They work very well. Make sure to bring or purchase on site a load of AA batteries.

    If you decide to go with monolights/strobes I can recommend the Einstein units from Paul C Buff which are very nice, very powerful and you can get umbrellas, battery packs and radio triggers that work with Pocket wizards. They can also be slaved optically to your on camera flash except then any flash will set them off. You Could easily put two of these lights with batteries, cords, chargers and small umbrellas in large suitcase.

    Since you are on a beach maybe bring some sandbag type light stand weights too....

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Sa...3/N/4062040365

  9. #9
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    While there's a ton of things you can do with a single light [flash], on and off camera, I think it's best to have at least two when shooting groups of people.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    If bouncing the flash make sure the ceiling is white or you can end up with a weird color cast.

    Dave

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