Freezing motion at wedding receptions

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by melandkeifspics, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. So I shoot a lot of Jewish weddings as a second photographer and I usually shoot the men's side. Yes, I shoot weddings in which the men are separate from the women. I will say this much, moshing was invented by the Jews. Or at least the roots of moshing come from Hora dancing.
    Anyways, I shot at a synagogue that had a 25 foot white ceiling with an on camera flash bouncing off of it. I only have one flash and this is all I can do for the moment. I also have a lighsphere collapsable attached to said flash. My camera settings are 5DMIII, ISO 1600-2000, f4.0, at 1/80-1/100 sec using a 24-105mm lens (the Canon kit lens). I use a Canon 600exrt set at 1/8 power. The room is pretty well lit with the room lights on (as in I can easily read a book or see the food I'm eating without any struggle).
    The issues...
    1. It's pretty difficult to focus on the groom when he is constantly running in circles. I shoot with one shot and continuous focus, but even in one shot and AF assist, I have a hard time focussing. Any suggestions?
    2. With my camera settings, and even my flash set to rear curtain sync, I get a lot of ghosting. What am I doing wrong?
    3. I'm having a hard time getting my images tack sharp. Blur, but I wouldn't say it's all camera shake. Is it focus? Is the subject just moving too fast?
    4. I noticed when I threw my 70-200mm and shot at f2.8, shutter speed at 1/200, ISO 4000, my images came out much nicer, sharper, and captured the moment better. Is the fact that I had to pull away from the crowd playing a factor? Even though it is only the reception portion of the evening should I not be worried about noise from using such a high ISO?
    Guys, I need your help!!!!
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    1. "Continuous Focus" doesn't make sense to me. The 5DMkIII has specialist/specialized "AI Focus AF Characteristics" User Settings. I have not used them enough, to answer the question adequately, but best if you more clearly define what AF focus mode you are actually using - in any case someone who has used the AI Focus AF Characteristics, hopefully will advise which if any is best.
    2 & 3: I’d guess that ISO 1600-2000, f4.0, at 1/80-1/100 sec is very close to the correct exposure for the AMBIENT LIGHT which is illuminating the SUBJECTS: therefore you are capturing Subject Movement.
    4. If the room ambient light was the same as for the shots using the 24 to 105, I suspect the sharper images has more to do with the shutter speed being made shorter, than mostly anything else. Provided the exposure is spot on, then ISO4000 should be a breeze, with a 5DMkIII
  3. Perhaps you can also post some shots here that show the issues you are having.
    Your shutter speeds of /180 - 1/100 are still not sufficient to freeze motion IMHO, especially if the dancing is very animated/fast-moving. I would not hesitate to go to ISO 4000 or even 5000 on the 5D3. I often shoot at ISO 6400 on my 5D2. As long as exposure is right, the noise levels are very well controlled.
    Another suggestion, since subject motion is the challenge, perhaps set a slightly smaller aperture to increase your DOF, increase flash power a tad and then try to pan with the groom in the direction of motion.
  4. Shooting conditions seem to be against you. Your subject (groom) is moving too fast so you will have to set a shorter shutter speed. Apart from using a higher ISO value, als consider using primes; a fast prime will give you the opportunity to use wider apertures and shorter shutter speeds. Of course at the cost of depth of field, which will be shorter.
    Or make use of the movement; having movement in the picture will probably result in pictures that capture the atmosphere of the wedding better than pictures where the subject is frozen.
    Flash at 1/8 power with diffuser (manual?). Why not use E-TTL with proper settings or a higher power setting. More flash power will probably freeze your subject a bit more and give you less effect of the ambient light.
    WRT autofocus setting: AI focus was next to useless in previous Canon bodies so one shot or continuous focus are good to start with but I'd further test all AF options since this is one of the big improvements in the mark III.
    edit: Mark Anthony beat me by a few minutes. I must improve my typing skills :)
  5. This will surely be a long answer. Orthodox Jewish weddings are very hard to learn.

    I shoot several of these a year. We get a lot of referrals.This is standard for the Orthodox Jewish style of weddings to cover one side, the male, or the other side, the females. There's no first dance, father and daughter. No public display of affection.

    These guys get wicked wild. juggling bottles that are on fire, throwing people up in the air on tables, lighting their hats on fire, just a few of the very fun things they do. It's a total blast for me and once the guys know you are around, close by, 5 or 6 feet away, someone will often guide you to the action. They may even give you that get out of the way sign!

    Lets address your hard time with focusing. With monolights, such as the White Lightnings they have modeling lights inside them and they can change from 250 watts to completely off. If you set up 2 or 3 of these you can put the modeling light on around 30 watts. Well take a guess what this does? Your camera will fire because there's light. In most of my posts I tell people that you can't crank up the ISO or the ASA to as high as 12800. We all need to understand that we have to make light if it's this dark. Lets get the monolights up and running strong. Your photos will go from a D rating to an A+. People tell me that they don't have any money. If you take the profits of just one wedding it may be enough to buy a lighting kit.

    It is never proper to show affection in public. This includes the bride and groom. NEVER touch the bride. Not even to adjust her flowers. Even for the romantic shots the B&G don't touch. Only once, when no one was around did the couple request closeness photos like holding hands and even a kiss. Those photos were never seen by anyone. Just them!

    As far as the mens side I use 3 White Lightning 3200 strobes placed on 13 foot stands. Once you have this set up and the men start dancing I give them distance, because if you don't you will get knocked over all over the floor. Because of this I use a ladder a lot of the time and the stage. Bands are always playing. I don't recall seeing a DJ. So you have a stage to work with.

    I'm locked in at ISO 400. 60th of a second and at F8. You should never get ghosting because the flash units stop most motion. I'll look around for an example of how I set up the flash units. Most likely tomorrow if I can find this one photo. I worked today shooting assorted models. They paid me! I would have paid them! Seriously it was a very high class charity fund raiser for a childrens hospital. The hospital got around 1/4 of a million in donations. Specially trained dogs were also donated as kids campanions. What a wonderful day. Anyway, I'm pretty exhausted.

    I feel, and of course this is me only talking, that your 70-200 at an ISO of 4000 is dreadfully a wrong setup so lets have some fun and talk about what you need to do and to enjoy photographing these one of a kind weddings. The first thing is this lens isn't the correct lens for this type of a reception. If your lights are set up well a wider lens will capture everything thats going on. Things move fast. With this zoom you don't really catch the mood. You need to be right in the middle of this action; mixed in with the guys. the zoom kind of puts you outside of the party.

    Some of these guys are big and strong. 6'5" 300 pounds. I always get knocked around a bit and I'm sometimes sore for a day or 2. Actually a year or 2!

    I am not a heavy shooter. I hardly ever go over 700 to 800 shots at a wedding. With this type of wedding I'm on auto pilot, the camera is set to 3 frames a second, just enough time for all of the strobes, including the camera stobe to recharge. My setting is always set to manual on the camera speed of 60th of a second. Not including the ladies side, just the mens side I will knock out 1500 shots and edit later, cropping mainly. Another thing I do, and I know I'm going to get bumped all over the place is throw on a 16 to 35mm lens, aim it over my head and try to aim the camera in the general direction of this craziness! It's really a blast. Just hold down the shutter and let it ride!

    Now for the ladies side. They can also get pretty active and as a guy you really can't do anything but shoot. Wave a lot to get there attention, again don't ever touch them. You can still shoot a lot, probably a little less then the guys, but not a lot. If you bump them or they bump you, no one has ever said anything to me. It's just an accident, expected at weddings in general.

    I'd safely say I've photographed 75 to 100 weddings, so I'm dialed in pretty well.

    Since you didn't ask about what to look for before the wedding I'll leave it out.

    I will say this is VERY dangerous for a photographer that has photographed 100's of regular weddings. You will screw up. You have to understand everything. So don't take on this type of wedding until you've assisted 5 or 6 weddings. The only exception of course is if you are an Orthodox Jew. You will be able to cover it. I'd feel even better if you have assited in 10 weddings.

    I actually shot one wedding alone. It can be done. Oh, before I forget there's always a lot of people present. Most of the time I've averaged around 300 to 450 people. I've been in huge halls with 800 and 4 photographers.

    When I did the one wedding alone I had 2 ladders and a stage full of musicians You just watch for the action and jump on it.

    Keif, relax a bit. Forget about camera settings and light positions for a moment here. I get the feeling that you are unsure of how to use your camera. It's a tool. I have a few of the 1Ds Mark 3 cameras. I paid around 7 grand for each. There is simply too much to know about it. I stay with the basic camera settings. This is where you can get into trouble. Your best pictures will be when you are photographing. You won't miss any shots by changing the camera settings. When using an on camera flash remember it's accurate on TTL from about 3 feet to 8 feet. So when you are photographing remember in your mind what this safe zone is. I have a wicked powerful flash, and I have the same problems on Auto or TTL. After 9 feet you need to get closer or change your flash to perhaps 3/4 power and at 15 feet go full power.

    This is all you need to know about your camera. I'd leave the 70-200 in your case. Keep the confusion to just one or 2 lenses. If you change lenses a lot, shots will be missed and and dust will show up on your images. Dust attaches to positive charges (electricity) of your cameras sensor.

    I probably went into this way too deep. I had to scare people before booking a complex wedding as this is.

    Keif, the 24 to 105 IS L is simply one of the best zooms on the market. I've done complete weddings with this one zoom. Yes I do play with 2 other lenses. The 16-35 is also incredable. My fun lens is the fish eye, but it's only good for 6 or so shots.

    Good luck.

  6. I'm going to offer a completely opposite approach.
    Lower the ISO rather than jacking it up. Use your flash to freeze the subjects, NOT shutter speed.
    If you are using a speed-light in the hot-shoe, the top shutter-speed will be 1/200 or 1/250 no matter what ISO you set. That is not fast enough to freeze fast action ... to exaggerate the point, they do not freeze bullets in mid-air using shutter speed.
    Here's how it works:
    Flash uses duration to light a subject. The level of light is always the same ... proper exposure of the subject is determined by how long the flash stays on (duration) not how much. TTL flash meters the light and shuts off the flash when there is enough for a proper exposure. It all happens in a nano second.
    Speed-lights have very short durations even at full power, and the duration gets progressively shorter as the amount of light needed for a proper exposure gets smaller.
    This why the shutter speed on focal plane cameras has no effect on flash exposure. The flash is always a faster duration than the maximum sync speed you can use with a speed-light.
    So, when you lower the ISO, the flash takes over more of the job of lighting the foreground subject ... and the flash duration freezes the subject without the effect of secondary ambient exposure creating the ghosting effect.
    Like the shot attached: A shot of a very fast moving Spanish Grandfather dancing where "no ghosting" was mandatory ... or that striped suit would have been a garbled nightmare of secondary ambient exposure.

    - Marc

  7. Jeez Bob, you're going to scare newbies into never shooting a Jewish wedding ... LOL!
    The traditions are simply wonderful ... and range in complexity from ultra orthodox with the men and women separated at the reception as Keif has explained, or the careful inspection of the groom's lineage ... to less strict, but still packed with very meaningful and iconic events, some straight from the old testament ... like the "Bedeken", where the Groom approaches the Bride, and lifts the veil to be sure it is her and not a substitute ... like the story of Jacob's wedding in the Bible.
    Of interest to Keif's original questions is the commonly found "Horah" or "Round Dance" at most Jewish weddings ... but also quite common in Greek and some Eastern European wedding traditions as the Hora or Ora.
    These are very fast and hectic to shoot ... sort of a lightly controlled mayhem. The use of flash duration to freeze the subjects is important if you want them sharp and clean. I shoot them both ways ... using a higher ISO and slower shutter speed to create second shutter blur to emotionally depict frenzied action, or at a lower ISO to freeze the action with the flash duration.
    The shot below is one of many I shoot of the Horah with flash more dominate to stop the action ... one approach I frequently use is to ignore the craziness and get in the center of the circle on the floor so I can shoot up into the passing dancers. Since the subjects dominate the viewfinder, the AF works pretty fast and sure. Just press the shutter button all the way and keep shooting as fast as your speed-light recycles. You'll get great shots, trust me.
    - Marc
    Sony A900, ISO 320, 1/60 shutter, f/4 ... 2nd off-camera flash set camera right. (Keif, as soon as you can manage it, consider getting your "key" directional light off the camera).
  8. Lots of "Crazy Fun" ... never boring or sedate. Lots of stuff to shoot.
    - Marc
  9. All awesome advise from the forum once again. I have posted some photos to give you an idea of what I'm encountering and with what gear and settings. Images are completely uneditted to show you first hand my issues. So don't mind anything like exact exposure or WB please.
    1. EF 24-105mm, f4.0, 1/80sec. ISO1600, flash fired on ETTL +2/3, subject 12 feet away.
    2. EF 24-105mm, f4.0, 1/80sec. ISO1600, flash fired on ETTL +2/3, subject 6 feet away.
    3. EF 24-105mm, f4.0, 1/80sec. ISO1600, flash fired at 1/8 power, subject 3 feet away.
    4. EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USMII, f2.8, 1/200sec, ISO4000, subject 18 feet away.
    5. EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USMII, f3.5, 1/250sec, ISO6400, subject 18 feet away.
    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
  10. No flash was fired for pic 4 and 5 btw.
  11. And another question... Along with your lighting setups, do you use on camera flash for anything, say fill light? Is it not best to have a on camera flash regardless of your lighting setup just so you can be completely mobile and ready for any situation no mater where you are, een on your way to the bathroom (which, by the way, has happened to me)?
  12. Shutter speed is too slow, ghosting occurs from blending on-camera flash with keeping ambient exposure close to proper at shutter speeds too slow to prevent motion blur. The crisply frozen detail is from the flash burst, the rest from a comparatively dragged shutter blurring the ambient-lit moving parts in the sensor image.
    When you deal with approximately correctly-exposed ambient light, you MUST have a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the motion, or else you'll get blurring (ghosting if blended with flash). However, if you deliberately underexpose the environment's ambient light and make flash your primary light source, then the ghosting becomes less visible because the ghosted areas are darker - and you can still drag the shutter. If you increase shutter speed at the same time, the problem may be completely avoided. You CAN have ambient at correct exposures and blend it with flash (though not a ton of purpose in that sometimes), but you have to have a fast enough shutter speed to prevent motion blur/ghosting.
    1/60-1/100 is not fast enough for that situation. Either underexpose ambient and use flash as main light, increase shutter speed, or both.
    OTOH, people sometimes purposefully drag the shutter to catch an aural/ethereal/fantasy-esque motion of lights in the room while blasting flash to freeze the subjects. That's a different purpose, same cause.
    I can't fathom using f/4 lenses for receptions anyway, usually I don't go past f/2-ish all night. Faster shutter speed and subject isolation (through tighter cropping, background blur from wider aperture) are things that can make the 70-200 images look subjectively better.
  13. It was underexposing the ambient light that I wanted to prevent, but now it seems like I can't have it all unless I use more lights triggered wirelessly.
    Flash will freeze the motion, but in an attempt to properly expose the background walls, I am overexposing my subject, therefore opening the door to motion blur and ghosting. The only true way to have subject and background exposed correctly and motion captured properly, I will need more than just the on camera flash. I have no choice but to get more lights.
    Is that the conclusion to all this? There's no other way? Is not shooting at the highest possible ISO (and not using flash) not somewhat of a solution?
  14. I may be wrong here. Photo's 1, 2, and 3 it looks like the flash wasn't firing, even though you said it was. Maybe your camera and flash settings were wrong. Not in sync? From photographing these types of events, well actually any event, I should see shadows from your flash. There aren't any signs of this at all.

    Why you may ask! The whole room is lit up. There's no sign of a flash going off. Just a high ISO rated for the room lighting. As said before a flash will stop this movement every time.

    I can stop a race car or a motorcycle going well over 100 MPH with the use of a flash unit's. No ghosts. Actually anyone, any photographer can stop these action shots. You can google some of these topics.

    The exposure is to slow. I'm seeing all sorts of shadows on the walls and the ceiling. So shooting at a high ISO and not using a flash, or your flash misfired will cause this ghosting.

    Sorry Keif - Completely check out your camera and your flash system. As said before keep it simple.

    Marc can you post a comment?

    Marc, I had to laugh at your comment about scaring people away. Heck I still get scared. lol

    So much happens at once, and all of the family portraits you have to take. I carry a list of the family members just to be safe. If I miss taking a photo of a kid in the family I'm in trouble! Aunt, uncles, jeez!

    Well this has been a fun post.

    Keif, lets see what other photographers say.

  15. I bounced the flash off the ceiling and it's a pretty high ceiling and large room for that matter. I also stand on a three step stepladder. That said, I will check my gear to ensure there is nothing faulty, although I'm lead to believe it is working because I did turn off the flash and definitely noticed a completely under exposed shot after shooting one. I have another Jewish wedding next week and will change my shooting based on all your comments.
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Is not shooting at the highest possible ISO (and not using flash) not somewhat of a solution?"​
    It can be – BUT as one example, let's look closely at your #3 sample:
    • The (back of the) room seems reasonably well exposed – so let's assume the "Ambient Exposure Setting" is OK.
    • You framed close on the Subject, the MOVEMENT BLUR is more noticeable in him and others close to the camera, than a person at the back wall.
    • The Shutter Speed required to freeze that Subject's hand (and other people close to the camera) at that Framing - would be around 1/1250s
    • Therefore, you'll be at around: F/4 @ 1/1250s @ ISO25600 to pull that shot in Available Light.
    • Even if you could pull the shot at 1/640s - you'd still need ISO12800.
    When shooting ONLY using Available Light and when we have rapid movement (or any movement),we require an approach typical of much Sports Photography
    And if you look at the framing and the movement involved in the shot I linked to above, it is easy to understand why I would expect that around 1/1250s would be Shutter Speed required to arrest the Movement of the Foreground Subject in your photograph.

    Another technique we can use to address Subject Movement when shooting Available Light Only, is one which is used in Stage and Theatre Photography – and that is to wait until there is a brief static moment.
    Even then you’ll notice that although the actors are predominately stationary, there is still movement in the ‘Witch’s’ hand.
    I expect however there will be few ‘static’ moments when Traditional Jewish Men are dancing at pace and passion. But still it is an handy technique to practice and to have in your quiver of techniques - as it CAN be used when the MAJORITY of the Subject is momentarily still - especially their HEAD.
    Obviously, for shooting in Available Light Only, fast lenses make the job easier.
    Primes are (usually) faster than zooms for any given Focal Length: which brings in yet another technique that you might consider IF you want to shoot Available Light Only – and that is to shoot a bit wide and crop to frame the shot, later. In this case (for Dancing), one might choose something like a fast 35 (on a ‘full frame’ camera).
    I would typically use a fast 35mm Prime for shooting Dancing in Available Light, there are a couple of reasons for me choosing a 35mm lens:
    • The first is that, the framing and typically shooting distances I would be at, (and thus the Perspective) suits the tone of intimacy, which I like to create as a general constituent, to most of my Portraiture;
    • The second reason is, from a technical point of view, I would rather work closer to people in a crowd than farther away. When shooting in a crowd, the farther the shooting distance is from the subject, the further distance the camera has to travel to avoid an obstacle obscuring the shot or to follow the turning movements of the Subject (especially the face).
    Obviously choosing a lens like a 35mm presupposes that the Photographer has the freedom to get close and can move quickly and also that that style of ‘intimate’ shooting suites the Photographer in the first inst..
    Even so, using fast Primes and high ISO and releasing the shutter at the moment of least movement: we still might have to accept a little blur and if this calculated to be somewhere in the frame which will be ‘acceptable’ then the shot will be OK.
    For example in the shot made in the theatre, that I linked to above, the ‘Witch’s’ hand is moving - and (for me) that is acceptable.
    Similarly in this montage below, which was made using only a 35mm lens and under only Available Light, the top right shot from the Bridal Waltz employs the technique of shooting when there was a monetary pause in Subject Movement, on the other hand, the dancing shot in the bottom left of the montage there is some minor blur in the Wedding Gown – but that, to me is ‘acceptable’ as the faces and most of the bodies are rendered motionless, by the shutter speed I used.
    I predominately shoot "Available Light ONLY" at Events and also for the Portraiture that I do - and also for the last several Weddings I covered I mainly used only AL.
    But I hasten to add: whilst all these Available Light techniques might be applied to your shooting of Traditional Jewish Dancing (or to Weddings in general): I suggest that you DO NOT think that "Shooting Available Light" is the panacea and only answer to making a really good product for you customer.

    In my opinion a good Wedding Photographer is versed and proficient in many techniques and can draw on an array of possible solutions that will suit any particular shooting situation.
  17. Well done William. I think we all agree that the flash didn't seem to fire. If he had the camera speed at 1000th, well anything above 500th of a second or something well the flash may not have fired in time.
  18. Keif, yes don't bounce. You did get some nice shots. You were at the right places. If possibly can you ask to take a few test shots before next weeks wedding? To get an idea of light placement and your camera settings.
  19. And another question... Along with your lighting setups, do you use on camera flash for anything, say fill light? Is it not best to have a on camera flash regardless of your lighting setup just so you can be completely mobile and ready for any situation ...​
    Yes. An on-camera speed-light set to TTL is your mobile roaming friend when working with off-camera key lights ... for the very reasons you mention.

    RE: "Flash Did Not Fire" ... you have stripped your images in this thread of the exif data, so we cannot be sure. However, the shot posted on your other thread where you cite it as using flash with your GF diffuser, the exif data actually says: "Flash Did Not Fire". This means the on-camera flash did not fire. (BTW, the exif data would NOT indicate whether an off-camera flash fired or not ... such as a studio type strobe).

    One thing to keep an eye on is whether you are over-shooting the flash ... meaning in rapid fire situations the flash has not recycled but the camera still takes the shot ... or it has not fully recycled and the level is inadequate. Contrary to the logic of using lithium, no fade batteries, I've noted that I start getting under-exposures as the night wears on despite the recycle light indicating readiness ... so I've taken to swapping batteries more frequently ... which seems to have cured it.

    Keif, you are dealing with the limitations of physics. The shots you have posted here show wider shots of a room with a fairly high level of over-all ambient lighting being captured. As I, and others, have pointed out, at a higher ISO sensitivity, the ambient becomes dominate ... thus the shutter speed has to be quite short to freeze any vigorous action. If you are also using a speed-light, the shutter speed is then limited to 1/200 or 1/250 sync speed which can still produce subject blur (note: Canon, Nikon, Sony HSS [High Speed Sync] is useless at these distances and coverage).

    If you want to maintain the higher level of over-all illumination in the room, AND freeze the highly vigorous action, you will have to take over as much of ALL the lighting as possible with flash ... so the flash becomes dominate, and the shorter flash duration freezes the action.

    Since we are not at your reception locations, only you can determine how much light you need to accomplish that ... if it is indeed the goal.

    I would hazard a guess that given the size of the rooms you posted and the distances you are working with, speed-lights may not be your best solution. However I'm not certain of that.

    I will say that to overpower relatively bright reception ambient, will probably require a decent amount of flash. Many wedding shooters I know that do dominate the ambient, do not use speed-lights ... most use Paul C Buff Einstein strobes or other brands of studio type lighting. The Einstein strobes have a T5 1/2000 flash duration at full power ... and when set to action mode, a T1 duration ranging from 1/588 to 1/13,000 second. This freezes the action. Period.

    At full power, the Einstein puts out 640 W/s of light ... or the equivalent of about 6 or 7 Canon speed-lights crammed into one light modifier, all firing at full capacity! One Einstein cost less than one Canon 580EX or with a PCB radio transmitter, less than a 600EX. You do the math : -)

    The advantage of this "dominate the ambient" approach with strobes is you can lower the ISO, get much better skin tones and little to no mixed lighting white balance issues, less noise, and a higher file quality for more severe cropping for creative reasons. Not to mention avoiding torturing your expensive speed-lights to death.

    The disadvantages are strobes are bigger, more to carry, and you have to set them up in advance.

    Personally, my go to solution is a Profoto Acute 600B AIR lithium kit used in concert with an 0n-camera speed-light set to TTL. Since I almost always use an assistant, the strobe is mounted to a mobile boom arm with a gold/silver 27" octa box ... and the assistant watches where I am and positions themselves to provide directional key light while I control the on-camera TTL fill. However, I am not shooting in the same manner you are.

    Here's another example of the above lighting combination in action: Sony A900, 24-70/2.8 ... 1/60 shutter, f/4, ISO 320; Flash fired (on-camera TTL ... plus the directional Profoto 600B with Octa box set to about 300 W/s held up on boom arm in front and to the right of the camera out of frame).

    - Marc
  20. Here is an illustration of where I over-shot my on-camera speed-light ... in my frenzy to capture the on-going action as they hoisted the couple up on chairs, my speed-light had not recycled, but the off-camera 600B did, so it fired.
    Exif data was the same as the shot in the post above, but stated that the "Flash Did Not Fire" ... meaning the on-camera TTL speed-light.
    What saved the shot was that the Bride's white dress acted like a reflector ... whew, lucky-ducky, because his expression was priceless : -)
  21. Thanks Marc for te second opinion. Looks like we were both correct and this will give valuable information for Keif.

    Keif, I think you will be OK at the wedding next week.

    Post some pics next week. I think we all want to know how you solved this.

    By the way, there is a setting on your camera, I don't remember which it it, however the flash can fire late, after the picture has been taken, the flash may fire. You won't notice it because the camera and flash sync are just a millisecond off sync.

    So I have to ask what was your camera setting? Prpgram Auto, Mauual, there's a few other settings.
  22. Second curtain sync.
  23. There is so much well discussed and pertinent information in this thread and the other one on reception lighting below. Is
    there a way these could be "star-ed" at the top to keep for the relative future? This information is not going to change
    anytime soon and is very well discussed. Just a thought.
  24. Incredibly useful treads from professionals here, very nice examples and info A+
  25. it


    wicked lighting Marc
  26. Thx Ian.
  27. I just learnt that in ETTL mode shutter speed no longer controls the ambient light and aperture no longer controls flash out put because no matter what, the flash will always try to compensate for whatever your settings are.
    Now my questions is, how does using ETTL help or not help me freeze action at receptions? And when in ETTL mode what does shutter speed and aperture control?
    Can I use ETTL in conjunction with highspeed sync to freeze motion? Will the resulting image have a black background?
  28. I just learnt that in ETTL mode shutter speed no longer controls the ambient light and aperture no longer controls flash out put because no matter what, the flash will always try to compensate for whatever your settings are.​
    Not sure what you learned here. With the camera set to manual exposure (NOT program or any auto exposure mode), at any given aperture setting, shutter speed will most certainly effect the ambient ... and more specifically the background ambient. This is why "dragging the shutter" use of slower manual shutter speeds in conjunction with the use of on-camera flash will open up dark backgrounds like at receptions ... or do the opposite if a faster shutter speed is selected ... which then darkens the background in relation to the foreground subject being lit by the flash.
    The principle at work in this case is that when the light from the flash travels outward, its' illumination effect is lessened the further it travels. So, subjects closer to the camera receive more flash illumination than things further away. Doesn't matter what setting the flash is on, ETTL, or Auto or Manual, this is a "rule of physics".
    Now my questions is, how does using ETTL help or not help me freeze action at receptions? And when in ETTL mode what does shutter speed and aperture control?​
    Let's back-up a bit and explore how TTL works. ETTL is simply a metering method. All TTL camera and flash metering is measuring to a middle grey reflective standard. Light reflected back into the camera is measured to this standard. If you shot a solid black wall, the TTL meter on both the camera and the TTL flash will provide an exposure resulting in a solid middle grey wall. If the wall was solid white, the result would be identical.
    The "E" in ETTL means Evaluative ... where certain parts of the metered area of any given scene are given more weight or priority. This is done by pre-programed computerized methodology. Your camera manual usually explains this, and shows the pattern of measured priority. However, the Black wall/White wall principle is still the most important thing to understand.
    I'll repeat the previous post: The way that flash is controlled, is by how long it stays on (duration), not by the level of light energy that travels outward ... the energy level is always the same. The less light that is needed to meet the meter's set middle grey standard, the shorter the duration of the flash being on. The shorter the duration the more the flash freezes the action.
    In darker situations using flash, the camera's shutter speed is always slower than the duration of any TTL speed-light. Always. So you may have a camera shutter speed of 1/100 of a second, but the flash duration may be 1/ 1,000 of a second ... which freezes the foreground subject action.
    So, shutter speed has a direct effect on the background exposure, but not on the flash exposure.
    Aperture effects both. A lens aperture is like a water faucet ... it allows less light to flow in to the camera when made small (f/16), or more to flow in when made big (f/2.8). Doesn't matter what the source of light is ... ambient or flash ... it is just a "light faucet". How big or small the opening that is needed is determined by the meter standard.
    Can I use ETTL in conjunction with highspeed sync to freeze motion? Will the resulting image have a black background?​
    The short HSS answer is no. The black background answer is yes.
    High speed sync is where the speed-light "pulses" the light output in rapid bursts like a stroboscopic effect. However, it is so fast that the human eye/brain can't see it strobing. This technique is used to provide light while the shutter curtain slit travels across the digital sensor at higher shutter speeds. The downside is that each pulse is weaker in effect because it is so short of a duration ... so less over-all illumination makes it back into the camera ... usually resulting in an under-exposed foreground subject when shooting in darker situations.
    Plus, if you use a faster shutter speed with HSS flash, like 1/500 (the opposite of dragging the shutter), the background exposure will be darker, or in many cases ... black.
    HSS flash is valuable in some brighter conditions for fill flash where you want to use a more open aperture for shallow DOF and need a higher shutter speed than 1/200 or 1/25o to achieve a proper over-all exposure.
    It ain't easy is it ... LOL!
  29. The way that flash is controlled, is by how long it stays on (duration), not by the level of light energy that travels outward ... the energy level is always the same.
    When looking at the flash output curve as a function of time, the total area under the curve is the flash energy and that is what you need to adjust to control how much light is falling on the subject from the point of view of the exposure. The power is the height of the curve as a function of time. If you want to give the subject more light you increase the total area. How the flash implements the increase in area (energy) is up to the flash unit and may not be quite as simple. E.g. to achieve constant output (in terms of the flash energy) in manual mode with short recycle times the flash may extend the duration in order to compensate for limited power. E.g.
    As you adjust the flash output you're controlling the energy, not the power. The power varies as a function of time during the flash, and it (and the duration) may vary between individual activation of the flash even with constant flash energy selected on the flash.
  30. While technically correct in the circumstances illustrated in that report, for a relative lighting newbie, IMO that is just making a confusing concept even more complex and difficult to understand Ilkka. Based on his questions, he is not getting even the basics quite yet ... which in themselves are not easy to understand even though those who do get it think it is simple. I just try to remember back when I didn't grasp something and how all the lingo and variations to a basic concept really made it all the more indecipherable.
    In the most basic form, the OP needs to grasp that it is flash duration that allows freezing of action, which is his goal ... and to also grasp that shutter speed is how one can control the background exposure ... which is also a more complex subject than it appears in its most basic form.
    - Marc
  31. The crazy world of flash.... Now I know why books and workshops are dedicated to this subject in it's entirety. So much to consider and understand.
  32. When I went to Lois Greenfield's lecture at Hasselblad/Bron Shoot NYC fall 2011, she was specifically explaining how in
    the studio with a 1/60th shutter she prefers a flash duration of 1/15,000 or shorter in order to freeze her dancers in mid air
    jumps and freeze their clothes etc. She also mentioned how the new Broncolor units can go shorter, I think to 1/20,000, but
    Broncolor units are very expensive to bring on a wedding, but, if you needed a very short duration, I think those are the
    shortest studio type durations at the most power relatively speaking. You can search all this and get the numbers
    specifically and call them too if you had questions.
  33. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Which Broncolors give 1/15000 or less? I haven't seen them beyond 1/10000, and that's with new packs from 2012. Maybe I've missed something.
  34. I "guess" the Move 1200L which I assume she had access to as maybe a proto, and uses on location on stages etc. It
    goes to 1/20,000
  35. 1/20000s is the t.5 time for a Move 1200L so quite a lot of the light is still coming from the flash after that time. If you're interested in photographing moving subjects and stopping the movement in the image you probably want to look at the t.1 times instead (in this case, 1/8500s).
  36. That's an interesting thought Iilkka, and I know you are talking about what some used to call the "staying power". When
    we used film, especially print film, it would help give a very through exposure opposed to a small dinky tube. Example, a
    Lumedyne 400ws even at 1/4 power (100ws) would have a fairly thorogh emmission, where a Vivtar 283 at full power
    (100ws) with it's small straight tube, much less. Also why Amato used to modify the heads and put big round bulbs on
    them. However, with reference to your point, with these new modern units which are of the most modern design, I would
    just follow the manufacturer rating. Why for example would you want a duration almost 2.3x as long instead of the
    1/20,000? IDK what you're thinking is here to be honest, I find it somewhat contraindictory to the cause if you want the
    shortest duration. Ok, thank you, I always respect your opinion, you're very knowledgeable.
  37. I want to go to one of these weddings!
  38. When shooting at these Orthadox or Hasedic jewish halls there is usually alot of ambient tungsten lighting so if you pump up your iso to 4,000 and up you might as well just shoot available light with 200 or faster shutter speeds depending on the focal length of the lens. If you use flash you can not balance the lighting with out causing ghosting in most cases. You must use additional strobes as room lights and lower your iso to around 400 to 800 tops and shoot around f6.3 to f8. The shutter speed should still be as fast as you can make it within syncing. The flash freezes but the shutter will help keep the ambient under control and not cause any ghosting.
  39. Hi guys... I just shot another jewish wedding and I still didn't nail it. I am including some samples from the wedding and hope to get some more feedback... Should I have lowered my ISO, increased my shutter speed, or increased my f-stop to kill more light? I guess I didn't change my settings drastically enough from the first set of photos I added in my previous post.
    Another issue that arises is the amount of acceptable sharpness in my images. My images are not tack sharp. Is that the motion blur I've been trying to overcome or is it handshake? Focusing maybe?
    I can still see ghosting in some of my images, although they are not as apparent in each one.
    I do have two speedlites now. A 600EXRT which I keep on camera and a 580EXII that I plan to place on a stand somewhere in the reception hall. How should I set it up? What angle? How high? Direct flash or diffused?
    I also have two Elinchrom D-Lite-4 with a Skyport trigger, but really wanted to avoid using those due to the setup time and lack of power outlets in the hall. Plus I'm scared of them dropping.
    I'm really stressing over this.
  40. Speed up your shutter to max sync speed. If you are already there then u need to lower your ISO. You are balancing the ambient with
    your flash and you are not freezing the ambient light. Large halls require room lights to bring up the background. It would be helpful to
    know what your settings were.
  41. let me know what your settings were. I could not see it in the metadata on your files because it was stripped out. Anyways you don't need to lower iso and speed up shutter. You can do one or the other otherwise you are just doubling the effects of stopping down.
  42. All shots were at 1/100sec and ranged from f5 to f7.1. The first shot was at ISO 3200, the next two at ISO 2500 and yhe last at ISO 3200. The flash power on my flash was set to 1/4 power angled straight up with the gf lightsphere and the ceilings were about 25 feet high.
    Lots of ambient light in the hall. Image below was taken without the flash firing at 1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO2000
  43. Shutter speed too slow for this action. First set your shutter to 200 then set aperture to 6.1 and then up your iso till you get a decent exposure not too bright. Last set the power on flash to balance the lighting. 1/4 may be too weak. This type of event requires room lights or cross lighting for best results. Set up at least two flashes on the left and right of the room aimed across the dance floor. Set it to 1/2 stop less than your main light. This will give demension to your shots. I have never done this with a single light and bounced so I can't give you my take on that.

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