Candle lit wedding in historic thowback style – questions

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by casey mcallister, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. Wedding party is wearing circa 1810 clothing and so am I. Bride is wearing old world shinny silk hand sewn dress. I've already explained to her about flash reflection and she understands. See pic the bride sent me of the 1804 church...old for the US and Virginia because of the civil war. center issue for formal group portraits afterwards. No where to set up. Any ideas? Anyway, since it's a historical throw back type event the bride has requested candle light only for her 7PM ceremony. I expect ambient light to be VERY low. I can shoot both film and digital, and have two Canon 550's and one 420. I'm thinking Fuji B&W Neopan 1600 for film with a 50mm 1.4? Yes or no? What if AF fails? I plan on attending the rehearsal and pre measuring distances from planned shot locations and marking them with small pieces of masking tape with the distance written on the tape. Then set lense to MF and manually dial in the distance if AF fails. Overkill? Based on her snapshot of the church, where would you place the slave lights, and what settings for the slaves would you suggest. Upper balcony angled down? One will be a 550 and one a 420…balance problems with differing GN’s? I'm probably going to rent a fourth 550 (One ea for two bodies and two slaves for background) I do not have access to a spot meter. Partial meter only on a Elan 7E/30 Given the available light I'm also concerned about: One. digital blowout. Two. Blinding the pastor, bridal party, and guests with a three flash set up used in near total darkness. Three. Light fall off if I diffuse the bracket 550 flash to aid in preventing blowout. I'm considering asking the bride to allow some church lighting during the ceremony assuming it has dimmers, and recreating staged shots after the ceremony with better light for fall back. Any ideas, warnings etc. Thanks, Casey
  2. Here's her photo of the alter. Casey
  3. Here is a suggestion: use a tripod, ISO 800 (or ISO 1600) film, and a decent f2.8 zoom lens. This will give you 'candle light' effect for the ceremony rather than a ZAP of flash for a decent, clear photo.
    (I had the 'pleasure' of shooting one candle-light wedding: the 'goof' with the headlight on his video camera provided all the wrong light for a candid service....)

    Do you have a sample of your work to show the bride that is 'just available light' vs. with the effects of multiple flash units?

    You would do well to discuss the plan with the bride before the wedding date.....
  4. Noctilux.

    Leica M.

    Fast b/w film, like TMZ 3200 rated at 1600.

    Of course, this is not for the formals. You're on your own on that one.
  5. Casey, you lucky SOB. I live for romantic weddings like this 1800s one you got. A couple of suggestions if I may. The bride has gone through a lot of trouble to re-create a period wedding. Candle light is so romantic. Why force full modern lighting onto it? Suggestion: go rent Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (sp?). All of the interior night shots were by candle light alone to portray the feel of 17th century France. He used a Zeiss 0.85 lens. Most cinematographers consider it the most beautiful film ever shot. So the suggestion of renting a Leica M with a Noctilux f/1.0 wasn't so off after all (Canon makes a 50/1.0 also ; -) But I assume that isn't in the cards, so your 50/1.4 will have to do (great lens BTW). Just put it on a tripod and use slow manual shutter speeds to capture the ambient light in conjunction with a diffused 550EX to provide subject fill. A 35/1.4 will do also. AF shouldn't be a problem, IMO, if you are using one 550EX on a camera bracket. Or, once again, I strongly suggest looking at the addition of only one piece of gear: the Canon ST- E2 transmitter. It allows ETTL control of up to 4 EX flashes right from the camera while emitting the AF beam from the camera position. You can also use one 550EX on camera as the master, with other EX flashes as ETTL slaves. Is flash allowed during the actual ceremony? If so, use it as fill with slow shutter speeds to capture the ambient feel (camera on tripod). You didn't say how many are in the wedding party, So it's hard to figure out the formals. It appears that you can't shoot from the balcony because of the light hanging there. I would look to a small step ladder or standing on a pew with a tripod jacked up high enough to avoid the front pews. With the 50/1.4 back far enough, depth of field becomes less of an issue. Also use a cable release. With an ST-E2 on camera and two diffused 550EXs on stands placed about 5 feet on either side of you, you' ll have plenty of fill. Personally, I'd just shoot it with one diffused 550EX on camera using manual at 1/10th and the aperture set for just enough DOF (depending on subject to camera distance)... Then let the flash do the rest. Try it with your digital camera, this technique rarely blows out the whites. BTW, shoot only RAW digital files. Where is this wedding? Need an assistant? I'd kill for that wedding ; -)
  6. Give the bride the phone number of your least liked competitor.
  7. jbs


    William, I think Marc has the right Idea here. I can only re-enforce what he has said and add that flash should be used very, very little, if at all. Your fastest lens and depending on the actual meter readings perhaps 1600 film rated at 800 fstop as fast as possible and shoot some practice shots without flash. This could really be a great shooting experience. If this is in the Texas area I will (like Marc) be happy to assist. ....;)...J
  8. The Pastor will be happy to re-stage the ceremony. Don't make it "your show." Use a
    tripod and get the natural light photos that you are able. Don't alter the lights during
    the ceremony. This is not your own Hollywood set. This is a real wedding. Let it be
    that. You can tape your lens for 1/2 body shot, too for other shots afterwards. Your
    posted photos are already in need of repair. You need to do some testing, and
  9. Ditto Marc and Jay's offers to assist (if you are in Missouri). This sounds like a blast.

    I think you have to do this without the flash. Or at least try it out during the rehearsal. If you can work with the ambient light you are going to get some beautiful effects. And it would seem that ambient light shots on highspeed, grainy B&W would be very much in keeping with the theme of the wedding. On the positive side, there's a difference between the light of a few candles and whole church full of them. The light levels may not be as low as you fear.

    Neopan 1600 in Microphen by the box time can give pretty good results at light levels that make focusing even a 1.4 tricky. Another option is Tmax 3200 or Ilford 3200. Both are great lowlight films. How long do you have to prep for this? And do you develop your own B&W? If not, now's the time to start.

    Man I'm nerding out just thinking about this.
  10. David Carson.

    “Noctilux. Leica M.”

    …Nice Rig! Wish I could afford one!

    Marc Williams:

    Thanks for the input I think your right! If you were to come it would be me who was your assistant! Your more than welcome to join in and I’d share the bounty 50/50…Michigan is kinda far though, the bride would be shocked at the travel reimbursement request.

    Steve Levine:

    “Give the bride the phone number of your least liked competitor.”

    Funny you say that! The bride lives about two hours south of Washington DC. In the rural ‘Northern Neck’ of Virginia. All the locals refused when they found out it was ‘Candles Only.’ She had called a lot of photographers out of her area and they were either too expensive for her budget, would not travel two hours to do the shoot, or ran when they found out what was involved. I jumped on it when she first called me! I’m a big history buff, it sounds like a blast, and it has significance for me cause I have a slew of distant family that lived in Northumberland county from the 1640’s to the 1750’s.

    ... Timber:

    “Your posted photos are already in need of repair.”

    The bride emailed those pics to me. My photos are somewhat better ;~}

    Thanks to everyone else for your insight!

  11. Regarding the Leica M and might try to rent one at Rich is
    a nice guy. Of course, you'd have to practice quite a bit before the wedding so you'd nail

    I kinda wish I had a Noctilux, but my 50 'lux will have to do at this point :)
  12. Oh, I'd stick with the 50 Lux. The Nocti is a demanding beast. The camera's rangefinder
    has to be dead on or any close ups will be totally OOF. I love the lens, and miss mine, but
    then again, I don't.
  13. If you can't spring for (or rent) the Leica & Noctilux, you could try a Bessa-T and a Nokton - much cheaper, and still very good. Also easy to focus if you get the hang of the external viewfinder. However, an 85/1.2 (or /1.4 if you're a Nikon shooter) should also be great. 50/1.4 will also be useful for wider shots.

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