Fluorescent Lighting and Ceremony

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by kristina_kendall, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Hello
    I am taking pictures of my brother-in-laws wedding in May during the
    ceremony. The ceremony is not your typical church but rather a building with
    no windows and fluorescent lighting. I know fluorescent lighting can sometimes
    be difficult. It is out of state so I'll only really have the rehearsel to
    practice. So i just wanted some thought before hand what is the best approcah?
    I should be allowed to use flash. I'll be using a d200/back-up d70. the d200
    should have flash bracket with sb800 attached. Thanks All help is appreciated!

    -Kristina (new to photo.net, my first 'real' wedding also, can't wait to be
    more part of this site..love it)
  2. Expodisc works really well in setting white balance in mixed lighting:


    You can use a white or grey card if you have time to set your WB with test shots before-hand, but I like the disc method. Get one in advance and practice with it if you decide to go that route.

    Also, shoot raw. Easier to adjust WB later. JPG allows adjusting WB, but sometimes it is too far gone to be adjusted.
  3. Your SB800 came with gels that attach over the unit.... that might help a bit!
  4. Use the flash as your key light and adjust the shutter to control the ambient.
  5. Just a reminder you can also use the CLS (Creative Lighting system in the d200. Set the 800 on a stand and control with the on camera flash. Be sure to bring the compensation down on the on camera flash as fill only or only to trigger the 800. If you have or can justify getting a 600 the 800 can be the commander and the sb600 remote. The remote can give you wireles ttl and compensation control from your camera. You could bounce them off walls and get an ambient look with a 2.8 lens. Works like a dream, just watch the dress don't want to blow it out.
  6. If you're shooting without flash, simply set WB to flourescent. If you're using a flash, gel your flash with a 1/2 or full Plusgreen gel from Rosco/Lee (free samples available from their website). If you don't gel your flash, you'll get a weird color mix that is almost impossible to compensate for unless you merge two images with different WB settings in Photoshop.

    Also, shoot RAW, which will allow you to tweak your WB later.
  7. In addition to the advice already given, be sure to keep your shutter speed at or below 1/60. Flourescent not only has terrible color balance, but its color balance is continuously changing through the AC power cycle, 60 times a second. If you want to convince yourself of this, use a fast shutter speed (1/250 or so), and take ten photos under flourescent lights of the identical subject under identical conditions. They'll show color variations, since they'll be picking out different portions of the AC cycle at random.
    By setting the shutter speed to 1/60 or slower, you'll capture a full AC cycle, and thereby average out the color variations over the full cycle.
    Or just shoot Black & White!
  8. I agree with Jason - gel your flash so that you get uniform lighting temp and can avoid mixed color temps.
  9. I 2nd Jason's post- it's the only way - WB for fluorescents, then gel flash to match & keep shutter to 1/30 inside. Make sure you re-set WB as soon as you leave the building or everyone will look like Xmas. Gelling is not that difficult, just get close and you'll be OK.

    Only other option is to not use flash, then you can WB on fluorescents and correct raw in post-processing.

  10. Black and white would work great!
  11. As a previous post stated - shoot RAW. I can't emphasize this enough. Easily adjustable after the fact no matter what the lighting.
  12. Steve...

    That's only true if the lighting is the same throughout. When you mix colors (flash and tungsten, flash and flourescent, etc), you get a mix of color casts which can be impossible to correct, depending on their strength and where they're focused.
  13. I just shot a quick portrait for a local newspaper the other night in a 100% fluorescent situation and thought "nah, I won't gel my flash". *slaps forehead* It came out ok, but I was reminded once again why I should listen to that little voice in my head (the one that talks about photography...not the other one...but I digress) when it tells me to do things while I'm shooting.

    Gel your flash - having a SB800, you even already have the gel for it included in the box your flash came with. You'll be very happy and so will the bride and groom. :)
  14. "Are you gellin'? My feet are swellin'....."

    It's a stupid commercial, anyhow --- Dr. Scholl's....

    Is there a easy resource/list/site/reference toward getting the right strobe gels to counteract/balance lighting, or is it a simply answered question where there are 2-3 gels, tops, that'll see you through?

    That said, where/how might one find such lovely little sheets of plastic?

  15. Mike...

    CTO/CTS is used to balance your flash to tungsten lighting. You can stack these filters, so 1/2 plus 1/4 CTO would equal 3/4 CTO. This would be sufficient in most situations, and would still leave the background *slightly* warm (pleasing effect to most).

    Use a plusgreen filter to balance your flash to flourescent lighting.

    In either situation, whatever you're gelling your flash to match is what you would set the WB to on your camera.

    You can get samples from Rosco/Lee - also, I sell a "kit" that includes 1 4X6 sheet each of 1/2 CTO, 1/4 CTO, 1/2 CTS, and 1/2 Plusgreen for $8.95. Everything you need for most situations. Contact me offline if you're interested.
  16. I noticed that Sto-fen sells a green omni bouncer. Does this work the same as "gel"ing the flash? Anyone try it?
  17. Richard brought up an excellent point above. Definitely worth a quick experiment!
  18. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    > a building with no windows and fluorescent lighting. I should be allowed to use flash. <

    I take the attitude that it is necessary to get exposure and colour balance as accurate as possible at the time of exposure. I am not familiar with the nuances of the d200 however the theory remains the same whatever camera one uses. Therefore these are the points I would consider important if I had this assignment:

    1. Ascertain if flash WILL be allowed.

    2. Shutter speed: the electricity mains cycle effects the colour cast of fluorescent lights. During the mains cycle the colour of the light changes.

    To adequately compensate for this it is necessary to shoot at or slower than the mains cycle thus getting an ever colour cast throughout the exposure and a consistent colour cast across all images taken under the same lighting conditions.

    Most mains power is either 50Hz or 60Hz, thus shooting at 1/50 sec or slower will compensate for colour variance in most circumstances.

    3. Mixed lighting: you must strive to make all lighting equal colour.

    3. Mixed lighting part (a), important: Assuming you will be able to use flash, then the flash colour must be made as close to the fluorescent as possible. Gels are commercially available for this purpose, a pro camera store in your area will advise

    3. Mixed lighting part (b) important, but a bit pedantic: Note that all the fluorescent lights will not be the same colour, there are different types and as they get older they change.

    Under the circumstances you will be limited to getting as close as you can, so at best: a colour temperature meter; next best grey card; at worst set `fluorescent` in camera. I add, `worst` does not mean `bad`.

    As this will be an average anyway; what you are striving to do is get as close as possible for all the indoor shots to be the same balance, to limit post processing. It is unrealistic to assume you can balance each frame.

    [I have seen mentioned `expodisc` mentioned, on this website, for colour balance; it comes with high recommendation, but I have not used it.]

    4. Reset (crucial), this is not as silly as it sounds: Make sure you reset your parameters when you get outside.

    6. Shoot RAW.



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