The importance of doing your homework

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by simon_hickie|1, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. The importance of doing your homework cannot be underestimated. I visited my client for a September Sikh wedding
    yesterday and, in addition to discussing their requirements, we also checked out locations for the group shots
    and the temple itself. In particular I was able to check out the lighting in the temple, clarify where I was
    allowed to stand & ask whether flash was permissible. In short I’m allowed to go where I want to provided that I
    do not turn my back on the Holy Scriptures and I can use flash and “whatever else I need”. I can even go onto the
    raised area with the Scriptures, provided that I remove my socks. I have to confess that I found the whole thing
    quite refreshing!

    In terms of the temple, there’s highly polished marble everywhere (it’s the largest Sikh temple in Europe)
    including the ceiling (a fairly neutral grey / brown). This would suggest that bounced flash could be pretty
    effective with less light loss than normal. I took a point & shoot to check likely exposure. 1/10th @ ISO 50 f2.8
    was the typical worst case scenario. This equates to 1/40th @ f4 ISO 400 or 1/80th @ f4 ISO 800.

    I see two options here. I can use my 18-70 f3.5-4.5 or 28-105 f3.5-4.5 on a D80 (for a bit more reach) together
    with bounced flash, and shoot at around f4, or I can use the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 at f2.8 without flash, but at
    the expense of reach in certain situations. Suggestions / advice welcome!
  2. If you can shoot sans flash, I would do it that way. Even if you're allowed, I think flashes are distracting during a
    ceremony; and since you'll be relying on on-camera, you may have some spotty results based on how close you can stand
    or how many layers of people you're shooting through. Would you have the option to get hold of a longer 2.8 lens -- say, a
    100mm? You should still be able to hand-hold that at 1/80" with no flash.
  3. Simon, this sounds fascinating. I would be inclined to go with the faster lens and if you feel you may need more reach, consider renting a 70-200.

    Since you have some time before the wedding, maybe you could go to the temple with your gear and try out different combinations to see how each works for you.

    Especially try out the flash. Bouncing is great but I have seen sometimes that the bounce distance might be too much if the ceiling is really high.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    To what extent is the lighting inside the temple dependent upon the weather conditions outside and did you reconnoitre the Temple at a similar time of day to the September Wedding and take into account that you are now in Summer, and September is not Summer, albeit only a couple of months hence?

    That said, if the worst light expected equates to: F2.8 @ 1/80 @ ISO 400, and I only had those lenses mentioned from which to choose, I would use the Tamron 17 to 50 and use Available Light for most of the coverage, and using ISO400.

    For the longer work, or when it is inappropriate to roam, have the 28 to 105 mounted on your second camera, with the flash on it: and if there is enough light to shoot sans flash then do so, if not the use the flash, bounced or diffused.

  5. For your groups I wouldn't use anything less than f5.6, preferably f8.
  6. I run my D80 at ISO800 with no problems for typical prints. 3200 gets grainy, but that should be OK if conditions warrant it. Use the Portrait image optimization. Also FP mode.
  7. Thanks all for suggestions so far. The time of day was equivalent to the event timing, but the sun will be lower, so I anticipate a stop darker. Steve, I'm OK with ISO 800 on the D80 and am not afraid to use ISO 1600 with low NR (I prefer detail to NR blur). William, thanks for the suggestion. I'll put the 28-105 on the other body with the SB-800 and better bounce card on a bracket. Bruce, yes this is one of my more interesting challenges! The image below shows where most of the action will be & I'm standing around where I'll be able to capture the Bride out of shot to the right as she enters. The B&G also process around the raised area four times so there are some good opportunities there. Anne, I should be able to shoot unimpeded - I get a ringside position and am free to roam. Apparently, it's quite normal for Asian photographers to keep holding up events while they get the shots even during parts of the ceremony itself & the B&G wanted me because I wouldn't do this - my style is more reportage / documentary with relatively informal formals (but with due regard to appropriate positioning when required). I might even have a D300 in good time for the wedding as well (with about a month to practice beforehand). A 24-70 f2.8 Nikkor & 70-200 f2.8 VR Nikkor have also been offered, provided that the owner is not using them for an event at the same time - but I'm not counting on it!!
  8. Unless you are looking for tele detail shots, I think you can do the whole ceremony with the Tamron 17-50 without flash. I've photographed a Sikh wedding before. They truly don't care where you go or about flash usage, as you noted. You can walk right up the action. Besides, your bounced flash won't reach under the canopy if using ceiling bounce, and you might get flash reflections off the marble (or shiny) walls. You could rent a couple of longer primes or the 70-200mm f2.8 if you wanted to, but you'd probably get into a monopod or tripod unless you raise the ISO and/or use the IS during quieter moments.

    You could also do both at the same time. I've done both, with two cameras. Particularly if you set up off camera flash for under the canopy. You might bring a monopod in case the light goes lower.
  9. Thanks Nadine. I was planning on using my monopod, not least to help with the weight and stability if I have the flashbracket, SB-800 and lightsphere set up as well! I may also add the 85mm f1.8 to my arsenal and have it on the second body.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Simon, I was actually thinking the same as Nadine . . . `shoot it all with the 17 to 50` . . . the tele lens I mentioned (and the set up I mentioned) I was more thinking of `artistic compression, tight shots` . . . and the fact that I am a redundancy freak, I feel undressed unless I have two camera on me. I figured if you were going to carry two, you might as well have the reach to 105mm.

    Good luck with it.

  11. Thanks again William. I too am thinking of the tight shots. I know the Bride will be wearing a heavy ornate red dress and her attendants will be similarly ornate. It's about having the flexibility to jump from a larger group scene (hence the 17-50) to capturing the details that the Bride will have spent hours attending to. I'm an 'if you fail to plan, you plan to fail' person and have backups of backups for things, so I'm fully on board with the redundancy aspect (I'll also have film backup for both digital bodies).

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