how would you handle a big ball room type wedding?

QarikQarik Krazy KoreanRegistered Users Posts: 4,959 Major grins
edited April 30, 2009 in Weddings
with 60 foot ceilings.

I imagine a fong lightsphere pointed up is not going to be very helpful in that regard because the ceiling will be too high? I will have an sb800 on camera and possibly and slaved sb600 off camera if it is warranted but I need to be mobile...hmmm
D700, D600
14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
85 and 50 1.4
45 PC and sb910 x2
http://www.danielkimphotography.com

Comments

  • urbanariesurbanaries hoosier grins Registered Users Posts: 2,690 Major grins
    edited December 15, 2008
    Qarik wrote:
    with 60 foot ceilings.

    I imagine a fong lightsphere pointed up is not going to be very helpful in that regard because the ceiling will be too high? I will have an sb800 on camera and possibly and slaved sb600 off camera if it is warranted but I need to be mobile...hmmm

    You are right, the only thing the Fong will be good at is draining battery power! rolleyes1.gifD

    How large is the room itself? You could position 2-3 additional off camera flashes in several spots in the room, and command them with your on camera speedlight. Or you could have an assistant follow you around with the second light on a stand/monopod, and command with your on camera master turned off. Or just use on-camera flash only and try to drag the shutter as much as possible, depending on how fast your glass is, and how high ISO you can go.
    Canon 5D MkI
    50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 24-70 2.8L, 35mm 1.4L, 135mm f2L
    ST-E2 Transmitter + (3) 580 EXII + radio poppers
  • jeffreaux2jeffreaux2 Grinning...and bearing it Registered Users Posts: 4,762 Major grins
    edited December 15, 2008
    Convert an IV cart into a light stand and throw an umbrella on it. You could use that to light your near subjects with an oncamera flash pointed straight up to give the ambient a boost. Ive bounced a 580EX off a high school gymnasium ceiling plenty. It's not impossible to do it with just a pair of flashed. Just roll the cart wherever you go.
  • ChatKatChatKat flash frozen photographer Registered Users Posts: 1,359 Major grins
    edited December 15, 2008
    Monolights maybe
    Depends on the room size, but,multiple monolights/strobes might be a good answer with softboxes on them would work strategically placed and a pocketwizard on camera. Umbrellas wouldn't give much direction to the light. In addition, an off camera flash or a video light on a stick could be the fill.
    Kathy Rappaport
    Flash Frozen Photography, Inc.
    http://flashfrozenphotography.com
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Registered Users Posts: 4,959 Major grins
    edited December 16, 2008
    urbanaries wrote:
    You are right, the only thing the Fong will be good at is draining battery power! rolleyes1.gifD

    How large is the room itself? You could position 2-3 additional off camera flashes in several spots in the room, and command them with your on camera speedlight. Or you could have an assistant follow you around with the second light on a stand/monopod, and command with your on camera master turned off. Or just use on-camera flash only and try to drag the shutter as much as possible, depending on how fast your glass is, and how high ISO you can go.

    hmm..that is an idea. I can just slave an sb600 on a stationary tripod in strategic location(s). I will have a d90 and 18-200mm VR and 85mm 1.4 so that may work. Thanks for the tip. I have thrown caution into the wind and agreed to do my cousins wedding as the main after a lenghty "are your sure.." discussion. heh
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Registered Users Posts: 4,959 Major grins
    edited December 16, 2008
    jeffreaux2 wrote:
    Convert an IV cart into a light stand and throw an umbrella on it. You could use that to light your near subjects with an oncamera flash pointed straight up to give the ambient a boost. Ive bounced a 580EX off a high school gymnasium ceiling plenty. It's not impossible to do it with just a pair of flashed. Just roll the cart wherever you go.

    hmm..not sure about the IV stand but good to know about bouncing off the high school gym...there is hope
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • sherijohnsonsherijohnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 310 Major grins
    edited December 16, 2008
    you could use a bounce card or a diffuser straight on for closer shots

    I tested a bounce card in complete darkness outdoors to see what it would do. I honestly couldn't even see the people at all when I was shooting, but you sure could see them in the pictures.
    Sheri Johnson
    Atlanta, GA USA
    my smugmug
    Atlanta Modern Wedding Photographer
    SheriJohnsonPhotography.com
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Registered Users Posts: 4,959 Major grins
    edited December 16, 2008
    you could use a bounce card or a diffuser straight on for closer shots

    I tested a bounce card in complete darkness outdoors to see what it would do. I honestly couldn't even see the people at all when I was shooting, but you sure could see them in the pictures.

    I imagine that might work but you might get well exposed subject but very dark background.
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • mmmattmmmatt Big Grimace Registered Users Posts: 1,347 Major grins
    edited December 16, 2008
    Qarik wrote:
    I imagine that might work but you might get well exposed subject but very dark background.

    It will work fine if you shoot at a slow shutter speed (drag the shutter a bit) and shoot a higher ISO. You can easily shoot down to 1/15th with a stationary or close subject. A busily moving background will blur if it is out of the range of the flash but that can be cool sometimes. You may get a little "party in a cave" effect but It should be fine unless it is really dark in there. you would be surprised the size room you can bounce in let alone using direct flash if you take advantage of whatever ambient light is available. You don't always have to bounce up either. You can bounce behind you in about any room if you are a reasonable distance from a wall/subject. As an added bonus you don't get the racoon eye thing like you do with a simple ceiling bounce.
    Best is if you have a handle on multiple techniques and try them all until something works the way you want it to... welcome to wedding photography! Bring extra bateries... your flash will be working hard, and if you are getting poor backround lighting you can just plan your compositions that way. Do a lot of close-ups and frame filling vertical shots. Focus on the emotions and compose around that. That is mostly what you want from a reception anyways. If you have a fong or an omnibounce you should be just fine for direct flash. If you try to bounce off of rear walls you should go bare flash though, as the difusers will suck up 1+ stop of light. You may try to get into the venue before hand and try a few things.

    Hope some of that helps!!

    Matt
    My Smugmug site

    Bodies: Canon 5d mkII, 5d, 40d
    Lenses: 24-70 f2.8L, 70-200 f4.0L, 135 f2L, 85 f1.8, 50 1.8, 100 f2.8 macro, Tamron 28-105 f2.8
    Flash: 2x 580 exII, Canon ST-E2, 2x Pocket Wizard flexTT5, and some lower end studio strobes
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited December 17, 2008
    A couple of ideas come to mind:
    • My first thought would be to position a couple or three strobes about the room. Accessorize with PWs and umbrellas. In a large room, you need the umbrellas to soften the light and, across distance, you will still get good directional lighting with the umbrellas in place. If you can, inlude a little on-camera flash for fill - a technique I'm still working on.
    • You could use on-camera flash with a light scoop. It looks a little ungainly, but it really works well when you have nothing else off of which to bounce your flash. This, with or without liberal use of shutter-dragging and second curtain synchronization will work wonders. A higher ISO (800 or so) will help avoid the "party in a cave" feel in your shots.
    • jeffreaux2 has done some amazing work with Light on a Stick. I remember seeing a post from him with something close to a dozen shots using this technique - very cool.
  • sherijohnsonsherijohnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 310 Major grins
    edited December 17, 2008
    Qarik wrote:
    I imagine that might work but you might get well exposed subject but very dark background.

    in this instance, the people knew they were in complete darkness and the background would not have been an issue. I honestly was pleased with the results of several of these. here is an example of what I was talking about

    DSC0093748.jpg

    and I was quite far away from them. I was up on a deck and they were down in the back yard. I was just practicing and testing out the flash and new bounce card to see what it could and couldn't do.
    Sheri Johnson
    Atlanta, GA USA
    my smugmug
    Atlanta Modern Wedding Photographer
    SheriJohnsonPhotography.com
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Registered Users Posts: 4,959 Major grins
    edited December 17, 2008
    not bad at all. thanks sheri
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • jeffreaux2jeffreaux2 Grinning...and bearing it Registered Users Posts: 4,762 Major grins
    edited December 19, 2008
    A couple of ideas come to mind:
    • jeffreaux2 has done some amazing work with Light on a Stick. I remember seeing a post from him with something close to a dozen shots using this technique - very cool.

    .....Thats me!!!....

    ...and were it me shooting the event that is how I would do it!mwink.gif

    If you can get past wanting the background brightly exposed(why is that a requisite anyway?), read on...


    The ambient light at this location was pathetic. I remember my assistant nearly having a breakdown at the rehearsal. Aside from the dim light, the walls and ceilings were all natural wood surfaces allowing very little return from a bounced flash. F4, 1/80, ISO800
    293159388_bg9Kx-L.jpg

    I have found this to be a very good technique for extremely dimly lit receptions and parties. I use a camera with a stabilized 17-55mm lens and a Canon STE2 transmitter attatched. For the light, I use a monopod (extended) with a 580EX flash attatched. I use a Fong lightsphere "cloud" and CTO gel(matched to ambient conditions) on the flash. The lightsphere will play out in the room much like the old bare bulb flash units. I have used this set-up with...or without the lid on the LS with nice results either way.

    The lighting here was even worse than the first situation. There were wall sized stained glass at the ends of the room....backlit with flourescents. Aside from that only Christmas lights for illumination. Add to that the flags hanging on the ceiling to prevent the use of bounced flash,dark brick walls, and....well you get the picture.

    Also F4, 1/80, ISO800
    339336990_WsLoT-M-5.jpg

    For camera settings with this set up I choose 1/80, F4 or 4.5, and ISO800. I know that at 1/80 with my 17-55mmIS lens I can be reasonably sure that I can handhold the camera without causing any blur...one-handed....especially since the flash will freeze my subjects. F4 or 4.5 on that lens will give me the sharpness and DOF that I want. Most of the shots will be taken in the 17-30mm range on the zoom. At that wide end, it is pretty much a given that if I get a decent focus on my subject, I will have enough DOF to get what I want reasonably sharp. As for ISO...I choose ISO800 because experience has shown me that combined with those other settings, ISO800 will expose the background nearly true to life. That means, in the photos the background will be exposed pretty much the way I saw it. Also, at least for my camera, stepping from ISO800 to ISO1600 there is a big jump in noise, a nasty return for what little exposure gains I might reap.

    This was a 50th Birthday party held in a local wineroom, Aside from the candles, there were four sconces on the walls and the ceilings were black. I used the same techniques and settings already mentioned.
    353572240_xubJm-M.jpg

    Aside from the settings mentioned, I set the flash for ETTL (automatic) control. It doesn't get any easier than that. The only thing you have to remember there is to keep the flash itself out of the viewfinder or the rest of the shot will be grossly underexposed.

    The toughest part really is getting comfortable with holding/ propping the monopod and flash in one hand while shooting/ using the camera in the other. An alternative here would be to have someone hold the light to assist you, but Id rather do it myself. Doing it myself gives me more flexability to grab quickly unfolding action without having to explain to another person how I want the light to strike my subject.


    I have used this technique enough now that I am extremely comfortable
    with it. I prefer to use the light on a stick as my go-to set up when flash is needed indoors even in better lit situations.

    The required parts.....STE2 Transmitter, Quick Connect that fits my ballhead, flash and the stand that came with it, Lightsphere, Monopod with ballhead.
    439917129_HHN36-M.jpg

    The rig put together... I use the ballhead to tilt the flash 90 degrees to the shaft of the monopod. This keeps the IR window on the flash aimed back at me...and the camera so the STE2 can see it properly. Then I swivel and tilt the flash head however I want, but straight to the axis of the pod works fine.
    439916753_Vuwx7-L.jpg
  • bob swansonbob swanson bsvirginian Registered Users Posts: 138 Major grins
    edited December 19, 2008
    :D I believe your question concerning "ballroom" might be the key here. Quite a few have mentioned mono lights on stands around the room. I've done this before and it worked great plus having a flash on the camera. It's not the individual's lighting that presents the problem but the whole room as in the ceremony, reception, dancing, bouquet toss, etc. I've used Photogenics and I've used on occasion Quantums all triggered by radio slaves. It sounds as if this might be a high budget project whether you are doing it as a gift (or family member) so I think "flash on camera" alone might be a bit lacking.
    bsvirginianmwink.gif
  • NateWNateW Major grins Registered Users Posts: 137 Major grins
    edited April 28, 2009
    jeffreaux2 wrote:
    .....Thats me!!!....

    ...and were it me shooting the event that is how I would do it!<img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/mwink.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >

    <ed></ed>
    Question for you jeffreaux2 (or anyone else who's become used to this method):
    How do you handle zoom lenses? Skip 'em?
    I tried the method out at a birthday party this past weekend (in prep for a weeding this summer) and found zoom (or lack of a 3rd hand to do it) to be the biggest problem with the setup.

    I'm considering a fixed lens/light-on-a-stick setup for a first body and a more traditional setup (zoom + optional bouncing speedlight) for a second body for other shots.

    As well, I have a question for people using Nikon's CLS wireless built-in lighting control system: how do you (or do you at all?) get past the blinding (blink-causing) preflash that triggers the off camera CLS controlled light? I'm considering getting a TTL wire (9' Adorama branded) to avoid it, but am interested to hear comments first.
    As well, some of the shots look like they got on-camera flash as well as light-on-a-stick flash in them; I'm not sure why this is; I didn't change the settings for the on camera to be off....

    Example results from the weekend birthday shoot:
    (few things already known: CTO gelling to de-blue my subjects, WB to a preset if I can, wouldn't hurt to go to full manual, ....)
    523759105_2ioKk-L.jpg
    #1 Birthday girl

    523802712_Kes7G-L.jpg
    #2 "F....ine!"

    523800728_ovSgN-L.jpg
    #3 Surprise

    523797715_MaDin-L.jpg
    #4 Thoughtful

    Thank in advance for your answers/help!
    NateW
    NateW

    NTWPhotos.com
    Member, Livingston County Photographers Group (http://livcophotographers.com)

    If responding to a picture I've posted: please, provide constructive criticism. Destructive criticism can go take a flying leap.
    If we don't know what could be improved or could have been done differently, we'll never know how to get better at what we're doing.
  • zoomerzoomer Major grins Registered Users Posts: 3,688 Major grins
    edited April 29, 2009
    Demb flip-it with diffuser and flash bracket. You can direct the light forward, up, or to the side as the situation merits.
    Increase your iso (I shoot at iso 3200 with the d700)to keep the background from turning dark.
    Shoot manual set your shutter speed at about 100-120, f4.

    Anyway that is how I do it.
  • MitchellMitchell Major grins Registered Users Posts: 3,503 Major grins
    edited April 29, 2009
    I would use one of two options.

    Jeff's light on a stick would work, but you will need an assistant to follow you around. Perhaps your son is available?mwink.gif I would suggest the Nikon SU-800 to trigger the flash on the stick. This will avoid your preflash concern. I'd be happy to let you borrow mine if you go this route.

    Your second option is a flash bracket. This will provide you with quick and easy illumination of your subject with either camera orientation. You will need a flash cord.
  • jeffreaux2jeffreaux2 Grinning...and bearing it Registered Users Posts: 4,762 Major grins
    edited April 29, 2009
    NateW wrote:
    Question for you jeffreaux2 (or anyone else who's become used to this method):
    How do you handle zoom lenses? Skip 'em?
    I tried the method out at a birthday party this past weekend (in prep for a weeding this summer) and found zoom (or lack of a 3rd hand to do it) to be the biggest problem with the setup.

    I'm considering a fixed lens/light-on-a-stick setup for a first body and a more traditional setup (zoom + optional bouncing speedlight) for a second body for other shots.

    As well, I have a question for people using Nikon's CLS wireless built-in lighting control system: how do you (or do you at all?) get past the blinding (blink-causing) preflash that triggers the off camera CLS controlled light? I'm considering getting a TTL wire (9' Adorama branded) to avoid it, but am interested to hear comments first.
    As well, some of the shots look like they got on-camera flash as well as light-on-a-stick flash in them; I'm not sure why this is; I didn't change the settings for the on camera to be off....

    Example results from the weekend birthday shoot:
    (few things already known: CTO gelling to de-blue my subjects, WB to a preset if I can, wouldn't hurt to go to full manual, ....)


    Thank in advance for your answers/help!
    NateW

    I use the 17-55mm F2.8IS Canon zoom when using this method. It is cumbersome at first, but I have no issues handling it. I usually use the zoom somewhat as a prime. Setting it around 30mm and then only adjusting it if needed for a particular shot.....generally by letting the camera hang from the strap while I rotate the ring a bit. Forget two hands on the camera.

    To get rid of the "flashy" look....you have to...
    -Allow more ambient light into the exposure...usually by upping the ISO as your shutter speed and aperture need to already be set to allow you a decent DOF and a handholdable shutter speed.

    -Use a diffuser. I use the gary fong Lightsphere. It has a removable lid that I take off to let some stronger light bounce off a wall or ceiling back into the room while the diffesued part of it lights my subjects. I dont know of a different diffuser that can do this same trick.
  • NateWNateW Major grins Registered Users Posts: 137 Major grins
    edited April 29, 2009
    Thanks for the feedback, guys!

    Re: ISO & diffuser:
    I had the camera set to ISO1600 (no, not intentionally, just somewhat fortunately; it's a D80 so this is about max) and a Fong (Cloud) diffuser.

    I think the lightsphere angle should have been different (namely: up). It was probably pointing at them (through the top) for a number of these shots. Also will have to try the "no lid" technique (with angle=up).

    Light was also probably too close to the subjects.

    Re: shutter and aperture:
    Since it was an 18-200 3.5-5.6 lens, I'd guess I typically got about max out of shutter speed without going _too_ short on DoF.

    Re: Lens (zoom or no) and help
    I'm glad(?) to hear I wasn't missing something by struggling with the zoom, I just wish I had 3 arms or a camera meant to be used one handed. mwink.gif Someday I might be able to get my son to help out, but he's got a little maturing to do. Maybe in 10 years or so, when he's closer to 14 than 4. rolleyes1.gif

    Thanks again for the feedback! I'll give it another go and see how it turns out having learned all this from the first go-around.
    NateW

    Ed: checked: all the shots were at 1/60th and f5.6 (ISO1600) with lens almost locked to 18mm (max aperture: 3.5 or 3.6 depending on how locked to 18mm); must be the camera's default for flash based shooting. Looks like I'll be switching to manual next time to fix this too!
    NateW

    NTWPhotos.com
    Member, Livingston County Photographers Group (http://livcophotographers.com)

    If responding to a picture I've posted: please, provide constructive criticism. Destructive criticism can go take a flying leap.
    If we don't know what could be improved or could have been done differently, we'll never know how to get better at what we're doing.
  • beetle8beetle8 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 677 Major grins
    edited April 30, 2009
    NateW wrote:
    As well, I have a question for people using Nikon's CLS wireless built-in lighting control system: how do you (or do you at all?) get past the blinding (blink-causing) preflash that triggers the off camera CLS controlled light? I'm considering getting a TTL wire (9' Adorama branded) to avoid it, but am interested to hear comments first.
    As well, some of the shots look like they got on-camera flash as well as light-on-a-stick flash in them; I'm not sure why this is; I didn't change the settings for the on camera to be off....



    Thank in advance for your answers/help!
    NateW
    That pre flash does more than just trigger the flash, the two flashes will talk to eachother in that micrsecond (or is it a nano second?) then talk to the camera and the flash adjusts itself for apropriate exposure. This is obviously dependent on what you have the camera set at. I've never used the SU800 but I was under the impression that the working flash would still fire a preflash to gain exposure readings. I use the CLS with the onboard popup as a trigger on my D300 and have never noticed more blinking than shots without flash. I'm not super famiiar with the D80 and you didn't mention whether you were using the popup or another speedlight as the master, but either way in the menu where you changed it to master it will start out saying TTL if you toggle that to --- then the master flash will only act as the master and not affect the exposure. Lastly if you are using an sb800 or sb900 as the master you can point the flash in the direction of the off camera flash, this may help with the blinding.
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