Shooting at a winery... any tips?

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

  1. I will be shooting a friend's wedding in late October at a winery here in California, and just wanted to know if anyone has done a wedding in a place like this and if you have any tips for me. I would like to do the formal pictures out in the vineyard if possible, amongst the grape vines. I need to find out first if the vines will still be "ripe" or if they will have already started to die off for the winter. It will be an outdoor wedding, with the reception also partly "outside" but inside a big party tent. The ceremony will be in the mid/late afternoon, and the sun will be setting, if you were sitting in the audience of the ceremony, in front of you and to the right, so my angle of shooting will have to be into the sun somewhat. Since it will be an outdoor afternoon wedding, would it be ok to set up a couple remote strobes on stands to the left and right of the ceremony to use for my ceremony shots? I would think they wouldn't disrupt things as much as if it were at night or indoors. I will be shooting with my main body, Sigma SD9 with available 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 and my backup will probably be the Fuji S2 Pro. I plan to rent lighting strobes for the formal pictures and a flash bracket for on the camera to go with my flash. I was also thinking of making my own large diffuser if I need to, to diffuse some of the afternoon sunlight for the formal pictures, depending obviously on where the bride and groom want to do the shots. Has anyone ever made their own out of like a cheap white bedsheet and some sort of frame for it, PVC pipe or something? Or can you usually rent these as well? Sorry for the long post, but your comments and suggestions are most appreciated. I shot another friend's wedding last summer just as an observer, you can see those shots at http://www. Your comments on those are welcome as well! Thanks!!! [​IMG]
  2. For ten years I shot weddings in Vermont. Because there were very few indoor spaces that could hold over 100 comfortably - most weddings I've shot in my life have been outdoors. <p>In the tent - a flash on a bracket is a must. Ceremony - well, unless the couple lets me pick the spot where they are to be married... I do the best I can with fill flash. If I'm shooting into the sun - my assistant holds a clipboard above the camera to shield from sun flare. I personally wouldn't use lights because even if it is daylight I still think it is distracting. I'd ask the couple what they think. <p>When shooting group shots I go for open shade... Backlit greens. I watch to make sure none of my subjects are getting hit too strongly by sidelight and make sure no sun is shining on the top of bald heads... <p>I will take "suggestions" for where the couple wants to do group shots...but they are clear that lighting is more important than anything and that I pick the spots for the photos. Feel free to view my portfolio which has around 60+ shots of weddings...Most of them outdoor shots.
  3. Thank you Mary for the tips.. I will check out your site for some
    inspiration. The wedding's not till October, and I plan to meet
    back at the site just before the wedding to go over things in more
    detail, walk around the site at the time of the wedding (to
    approximate the sun light and direction) and pick the exact spots
    to shoot. Just wanted to get some general ideas well before the
    date. Will also be a guest at another friend's wedding in June so
    I'll shoot more there to practice.
  4. Which winery? Mary covered most things, but I just want to say that bedsheets are not a great idea. If there is any kind of wind, you're looking at possible liability issues with the sheet and stands blowing down and taking other things with it. You might get lucky with a windless day, but I wouldn't count on it. Use flash fill in bright, contrasty sunlight, or for the shots of the couple, a reflector if you have someone to hold it, although these also make people squint. Most of the time, an off camera flash during the ceremony is not necessary and can be distracting, depending on where it is placed. You seem to be worried about dealing with direct sun, contrasty lighting. October in Northern California is usually still producing sunlit days, so make sure you have good lenshoods or someone to help shade your lenses (especially late afternoon/sunset), be mindful of where the sun is and whether it is getting into your lens, and practice your fill flash technique. You may want to shoot film, since film has more latitude and can handle fast shooting in contrasty situations with more hits than misses on exposure (film will handle contrasts better than digital). Also, doing formals in among the vines sounds great but be sure you have enough space for groups (certainly not in the rows)--it would have to be an "endcap" area, and be sure the area is not too far for older folks to walk to, and that they won't get their shoes/gown/train all dirty. For the formals, take charge about the location so that you can control the lighting. Backlit with balanced flash fill, like your sample photo, or backlit with multiple flash, or even shade is best(especially for digital). Inside the tent, you can use bounced flash (most tents are white).
  5. In my opinion,the best wedding pictures are those that appear to have a main light source off camera.So anytime you can use available light with a kiss of flash as fill,it will look a hundred times more 3-dimensional than any on camera flash (as main light)picture.Make sure you (pre wedding) test any homemade,or bought light modifiers before hand,making sure they produce the result you want.
  6. Your SD9 has contrast reducing software--"fill flash" that can be downloaded. No other digital camera can do this! I have a feeling you will be at Vianesa Winery. Forget white sheets. All the grapes will be picked by October, too. Your camera hood should be taped in front to reduce glare. Take some protective plastic matte 70 cents a foot at TAP plastics to keep the bride from soiling her shoes. Use 2 strobes like Steve L. says. Underexpose 1/2 stop to be sure while you bracket expose. Use a tripod.
  7. Have a cloth handy for the Bride to sit on. You do not need an assistant. Shield your
    lens with your own left hand about 12 inches in front of your lens.

    Mt. St. Helena has a 1500 foot ridgeline that will give you an 'early sundown'. You
    need to direct pictures to the vines early. Take along a light disc or 2 for portraits
    after sundown.

    The SD9 has new software, which is for the SD10, also. You should down load it, now.

    Oh, and don't drink the wine!

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