Wedding Reception Lighting Techniques

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by melandkeifspics, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. I wanted to know what other wedding photographers are doing for wedding reception lighting. For almost a year, I have been shooting weddings with the use of only one flash that I have to keep on camera. I bounce it off the ceiling using a Gary Fong collapseable dome. I don't unnecessarily hate the results I get, especially when I sometimes get help from the constant lights setup by videographers who point the light towards the dance floor, but I think it's time to upgrade...
    I wanted to get into using more lights to illuminate the reception and wanted to know what I should be looking to purchase in order to get things done right.
    I've been toying with the idea of buying speedlites, more specifically, I wanted to place a speedlite in a softbox next to the dj, stage, or in a corner of the room, then use an on camera flash for fill light.
    I know some people use just the bounce card for fill light, but what do they do if they want to shoot a vertical shot? How would you avoid blasting the person trying to dance next to you with a blinding burst of light?
    What techniques are you guys using to light up a reception? And what do you do to also get shots that make it obvious that there is a party going on with ambient/party lights (purple, green, blue dj spotlights) while keeping subjects properly exposed?
     
  2. I set up at least 2 room lights, hooked to radio slaves. I'm using White Lightnings. They sell kits, including very well made light stands and radio slaves. I don't like speedlites unless you hook them up to something like a Quantum battery and again you need radio slaves. Your speedlite batteries die and won't recycle in a split second. The room lights should be your fill lights. Your camera should be your main light in most conditions. I like to set up the room lights as though you are shooting portraits. I use a Minolta Flash Meter 4F. If you don't use a flash meter you are taking chances of overexposing. I've had my flash for 23 years and it's still dead on within 1/10th of an F-stop. For example if you are around F8 and F11, well the meter will register a much more exact reading such as F8.3. The photo below was taken at night - darkout and it was outside. I used 4 lights and this is the reason why the flowers pop instead of going black behind the B&G. Notice the evenness of the lighting with the couples faces. I hear good things about Gary Fongs bouncing units. For me I hate them because it changes the color of white dresses and the faces of people. So when you are doing photoshop work the face tones of everyone are all over the place, mainly too warm. You have to color correct a lot of images and there's little consistency. Thus the reason why I gave mine away. I do NOT crank up the ASA/ISO on the camera because you pick up a lot of weird colors. None of which are flattering. Almost always I never go over an ISO of 640. 400 is my normal setup. I have some pretty powerful camera body strobes. Up to 400 watt seconds if needed. If needed, which has never happened I can crank out 800 watt second strobes. The White Lightning strobe unit's I have are 1800 watts. My settings are at an 1/8 to 3/4s of power, if I use umbrellas. I prefer white 60 inch umbrellas. Silver looks like the sun. Too reflective. The gold is nice but it throws off the room light. I have been known to add 6 or more lights and add barn doors to control the light direction. There are no rules where you should set up 1 light or 6 lights. The most lights I've ever used were 8. The hall was huge and it was divided with the ladies on one side and the guys on the other side, split down the middle of the hall. Some people aim their lights at the dance floor. That's OK I guess, however you can nuke the floor if you are careless. I prefer lighting up the dark areas of the room so you get a nice balance of lighting. This is your personal call. Whatever type of lighting you like best.
    00bu9r-541867584.jpg
     
  3. You can also get very creative such as with this cake. The second flash was off to the far right side. The on camera flash was set about 2 stops under the strobe of the right using barn doors for exact light control.

    As you can see there's no rules. Just be careful and remember what works well for you and your clients.

    It's about 3 AM. I need sleep!

    Hope this helps
     
  4. Hate AOL second try to post the cake
    00bu9z-541867984.jpg
     
  5. Hi Keif, the question you ask is a very broad subject.
    At one end of the spectrum of choices is the technique of "dragging the shutter" and using a TTL on-camera speed-light for fill. Basically, you set the camera to manual and select both the shutter speed and aperture to register the background ambient, and the speed-light does the rest.
    Today's higher ISO capable DSLRs allows a combination of selecting a higher ISO combined with a slower shutter speed to register the background ambient light better, while the TTL speed-light fills the subject. Motion of the foreground subject is somewhat mitigated because the speed-light's duration of flash is so fast. If you find that the subject is getting to little or to much light, you then compensated the flash up or down. However, for the most part, today's TTL speed-light will get it pretty close.
    The above technique is one way to register the ambient "party" lighting. The downside is that higher ISO files are still lower quality it terms of color rendition and possible noise compared to lower ISO files.
    At the other end of the spectrum of choices is the use of off-camera speed-light(s) or a studio strobe on a stand to lift the over-all ambient light level and provide directional light on the subject rather than flat, head on lighting with heavily tungsten/mercury vapor tainted backgrounds ... especially when they dial down the overheads.
    This technique often allows use of a lower ISO for better quality files, a faster shutter speed, and even a more stopped down aperture depending on how powerful the off-camera lighting is.
    Commonly, this can be combined with an on-camera TTL speed-light ... so the off-camera lighting is the key directional light and the on-camera is for fill ... again, controllable by using the compensation controls on the on-camera speed-light.
    This method produces very nice color across the whole image because the key light and on-camera light are the same color temperature (daylight), and can be crisp in rendering subjects front to back because you can stop down more. The downside is that less of the party lights are registered ... if using a more powerful studio type strobe then there often won't be any party light ambient at all.
    Personally, I use both techniques. Some shots to capture the party ambience, some to render the subject in the best light possible. The DJs lights can be cool or can be a nightmare of color blotches on the subject's face ... green being particularly gruesome looking.
    There is more to this, but as a start I hope this helps a little.
    - Marc
     
  6. Some good advice by Bob and Marc.
    Every venue is different, so there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to lighting. Some assignments can be more difficult than others. Most brides/grooms/families want to "see" themselves at the event, so I keep ambient light shots to a minimum. A few well-timed, drag-the-shutter shots can suffice for showing the ambiance of the venue.
    Like Bob, I rarely shoot above ISO 800, preferring ISO 400 for nearly everything. To light verticals with an on-camera flash requires a bit of gymnastics, but you can point the flash head up and just hold your hand behind the flash to bounce some light onto the subject. This is a work-around, not a technique. I prefer two floor mounted lights on opposite sides of the venue, fired remotely and then use a very depowered on-board flash for fill.
    Here's a particularly difficult lighting situation for a wedding I shot in December of last year. The venue was really dark in the main ballroom, and much more lit in the outer room where a large Christmas tree was located. The bride and groom really wanted some of the shots with the tree in the background. So, dragging the shutter and depowering the on-board flash for fill was the method I used. I was pleased with the results, especially considering how dark the venue was.
    Here the groom dances with his mother.
    00buAN-541868884.JPG
     
  7. Nice shots Bob and Mark!
    To elaborate with examples illustrating the extremes in my post above ... here is a shot demonstrating "Dragging the Shutter" in concert with a higher ISO to record more of what the ambient scene actually looked like. A very dark reception situation where the lights were lowered so the DJ's "Party Lights" could be seen by all.
    Manually set exposure: Sony A900, ZA 24-70/2.8 set to 24mm f/2.8, 1/20th shutter speed, using ISO 1,000 ... on-camera speed-light set to TTL with no compensation.

    00buAv-541869784.jpg
     
  8. Now here is an example of the other extreme, using a studio strobe as key light, and an on-camera TTL speed-light for fill ... all done in an even darker reception situation that the example above.
    The strobe was mounted on a "mobile pole" with a 27" Silver & Gold Octa Box modifier on the strobe head, powered by a small Profoto Acute 600B Lithium battery pack set to about 320 W/s of power (the equivalent of at least 4 speed-lights set to full power).
    My assistant was moving around into positions I indicated with hand signals ... in this case, camera right slightly behind the subjects to provide a true sense of 3D modeling on the subjects.
    Manual exposure: Sony A900, ZA 24-70/2.8 set to 24mm f/4.5, 1/50th shutter speed, ISO 400 ... TTL on-camera speed-light, no compensation.
    This example showed better skin tones and color right out of the camera (no fussing with color balance and skin tones in post), more depth-of-field, no noise, zero motion blur and is crisp even in the 20" wide print in their album.
    - Marc
    00buB6-541870084.jpg
     
  9. Awesome, guys. Totally appreciated. I guess I need to start saving some money...
    What do you prefer, speedlites or portable strobes like Allen Bees?
    What's a reliable lighting and trigger system that won't break the bank?
     
  10. This is going to cost you some dough. Are there other types of photography you plan on using the lights for too?
    If you don't already have two speedlites you need to get another anyway. Think of it as insurance from getting sued.
     
  11. If you are looking for off-camera lighting that is lower demand ... there are a number of options to select from.
    Radio: Many wedding shooters use what is called a shoot through TTL radio transmitter. It mounts in your hot shoe, and then the speed-light mounts on top of it. The on-camera flash then retains its' TTL capability while the radio transmitter triggers the matching receiver that has another speed-light mounted in its' hot shoe. You can mount this to a stand, or on the foot thingy that camera with your speed-light.
    I've used the Phottix Stratos II versions of these type radio kits for 2 wedding seasons now with no issues. These 2 unit kits are available from Amazon in Canon, Nikon and Sony TTL versions for about $100.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Phottix+
    This is a basic recommendation ... the Phottix is one of many new radio solutions now available. If you want to have the off-camera light to also be TTL, that costs more ... and actually isn't all that great IMHO and direct experience. I prefer setting the off-camera light level manually.
    If you already have a couple of speed-lights, I'd recommend starting with the above option to learn off-camera lighting. Minimum expense for a pretty good result ... especially at receptions.

    See my example image below that was done that way ... I placed the second speed-light behind the subject to kill drop shadows and light up the crappy wall, while rim lighting the subjects ... the TTL on-camera speed-light provided the front fill.

    For more demanding lighting situations you can step up the amount of power a bit to a bare bulb type flash such as Quantum, or the new Cheetah bare bulb flash that is available in 150 W/s and 300 W/s power versions. These also offer more opportunities for effective use of light modifiers than a speed-light provides.
    http://flashhavoc.com/cheetah-cl180-godox-ad180-review/
    Next step up is a studio type kit which can commonly range from 250 W/s to 640 W/s (for practical use at a wedding). There are two basic types ... mono heads that are self contained and require a separate battery inverter for remote location use ... and pack systems which have a battery pack that a smaller head plugs into.
    The issue with mono-lights is the weight of the unit up on a 10 or 12 foot stand makes it top heavy. Generally, pack unit heads are much smaller, and you hang the battery pack off the bottom of the stand to help stabilize it. IMO, Mono heads are better suited for studio work or in more stable situations without people all over the place like at a crowded wedding.
    In my experience, the smallest of the battery pack type strobes is the Elinchrom Quadra Lithium kit ... the heads are smaller than a speed-light and the pack is also small enough to put in a camera roller bag ... but it punches out light at up to 400 W/s from one head.
    My favorite is the Profoto Acute B600 AIR Lithium ... while bigger than the Quadra, it puts out up to 600 W/s ... which in many (but not all) outdoor situations allows you to over-come the sun and avoid blown backgrounds and white skies.
    00buCv-541871584.jpg
     
  12. Man there's some really great photo examples. Well done from these very gifted pro's. Marc and Mark. I've always been very fond of their work. Very creative and complete understanding of lighting. Below is an example of using extra lights in a church. This is what I consider portrait lighting. I'm sorry this is an older photo, however you get the idea. It's a very low size jpeg file so it doesn't look clean. The main light was to the right. The camera flash was set to fill. This is from the early 1990's, so it gives you an idea of how long multi lighting has been around. My gear was a Metz 60 flash with a medium format Hassy camera. The main light was done with a Metz 45. The reason for posting this is us photographers shouldn't limit our multi lighting to just receptions. Hope this helps.
    00buJZ-541881784.jpg
     
  13. Absolutely Bob !!!!!
    In fact, my emersion into better lighting solutions came about out of frustration with church formals that I had to do ... but being journalistically inclined, actually hated.
    The part I hated the most was the post work afterwards trying to fix horrible mixed light temperatures, ghastly color casts on skin tones from surrounding surfaces or a stained glass window ... and especially the straight down ambient that caused "raccoon eye" shadows, or shafts of sun from a skylight that was 5 stops brighter than the surrounding ambient.
    So, I was spending an inordinate amount of post time with mixed results on must have photos that I didn't particularly like doing anyway. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Ugg!
    In many cases, a speed-light just couldn't cut it. For example, shooting groups at a lower ISO and having to stop down to get enough Depth-of-Field was just beyond its capability. If you lower the shutter-speed to increase the light, all you do is increase the influence of the ambient ... the opposite of what was needed.
    I jerry rigged all sorts of lighting configurations using tandem speed-lights ... some of which worked, where others did not. Not enough light. If I set the speed-lights to full power, they would often fail or shut down for 10 minutes due to over-heating.
    I surrendered, wrote off all the wasted time and money on cheap solutions, and went for real lights and never looked back.
    - Marc
     
  14. it

    it

    Whenever I could I liked to use two Speedlites, one bare as backlight, one on camera with a diffuser. Then control the ratio with an STE-2. Easy.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Ian, I believe the Canon STE-2 is an inferred transmitter thus limited to line-of-sight communication and shorter distances.
    IMO, radio is the way to go for weddings now that they've become relatively inexpensive and reliable. Radio works in crowded situations, through obstructions, and at greater distances to open up more solutions and creative applications of off-camera lighting.
    Here is the Phottix Stratos-II in action where the lights were hidden, and placed at distance from the transmitter.
    I wanted an exterior shot of the reception venue with the party going on inside.
    The first shot on the left was to gauge the exposure needed for the ambient exterior. It shows how dim the interior would've been without supplementary lighting.
    Then I turned on the radio transmitter to fire the speed-lights set inside against the wall pointed inward toward the party ... shown on the right.
    This application of lighting would not have been possible with an inferred transmitter due to obstructions and distance ... trust me, I've tried.
    - Marc
    00buRH-541894784.jpg
     
  16. Here's another example of hiding a radio controlled light and solving a problem.
    I've always hated the grand entrance shots with a dark exterior room as the background. The groom in his tux often disappears into the hole behind him.
    So, simply set a hidden light in that background and the problem is solved.
    00buRN-541895084.jpg
     
  17. it

    it

    You're right Marc, sorry for the wrong info. Actually I for that shot I just used the on camera 580 to trigger the other one. I am now using the Pocket Wizards TT1/TT5 combo. Here's a non-wedding sample from a couple of days ago.
     
  18. Pretty cool photo Ian.

    There's so many radios around that are decent. I bought my pocket wizards in the 1990's. The dang things still work! They've been beat up for 20 years or so and they've nevery been in for repair.

    Try not to get those on ebay, from China for $30. I'm not against them, I've seen them work, but will they last 20 years or more?

    Our dear Nadine was very fond of the White Lightning radios. Based on my experience with White Lightning there products are fantastic and a lot less costly compared to my wizards. I only have their flash units.
     
  19. In four years, other than my forgetting to "wake up" my Buff CyberSyncs, they have never failed. Not once. Including 110-degree desert sessions when they get too hot to even touch, they never fail to fire. No TTL, but best deal going IMHO.
     
  20. Great feedback from everyone. I love how helpful people are on this forum. Will look into getting at least two Canon 600exrt Speedlites to help me bring my recetion photos to the next level. For now I will have to rely on my GF lightsphere. Here's an example of what I can accomplish with that setup. What do you think? Thanks again!
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Keif, I'd rather see you get a mono light that has a modeling light inside the strobe. Your camera can focus when the modeling light is turned on a little. Often the camera can't find the subject and the focusing simply goes in and out when the hall is dark. If there is some light, such that of a modeling light well you can crank up the light bulb just enough for the camers to lock in on the subject.

    The range of the modeling lights on the White Lightnings is from zero to 250 watts. The Alien Bees modeling light is from zero to 125. Still plenty of light for pretty much any camera to focus.

    Google White Lightnings and Paul Buff, the designer. This is the parent company. The lower end models, the quality remains excellent are his Alien Bees. An excellent buy. And of course the Paul Buff radios that Peter and the late Nadine like so much.

    Are you asking what we think of the photo?
     
  22. Yeah, thoughts on photo as well never hurt... I'm not even looking for any sort of praise. I want to hear anout what I could have done better. I'll never learn otherwise. And what do you mean by "late" Nadine? Did I miss something?
     
  23. Keif, while a nice shot, not sure what the photo you posted has to do with your question about using flash, (unless you were using your flash with Gary Fong diffuser off-camera behind the subjects fired by some transmitter on the camera).
    I say this because the Exif data for that shot says that the flash did NOT fire. Basically, this is an available light image.
    Camera Data:
    Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105/4 IS lens @ 75mm
    1/80 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2000
    Manual, Evaluative metering
    Flash: Did not fire
     
  24. At least with my cameras the Flash did not fire tag is not reliable, and the camera may be unaware of any flash existing if the flash or trigger uses is not communicating with the camera in the way the manufacturer's latest flashes do. As an example of unreliable EXIF data, I've even used the on-camera (pop-up) flash to make falling snow visible (and the image shows the light) but the exif says "Flash: did not fire". When I use Skyport, there is no information about the flash being used in the EXIF. I would hesistate to make claims about the way a picture was made based on having the EXIF only but not being there when the picture was taken.
     
  25. Hmmmm.... I think perhaps the flash did not, in fact, fire. My complete apologies if it didn't. I guess it goes to show how much I need to learn and how far I need to go. Nonetheless I am greatful for all the help and have taken notes from every single comment.
     
  26. Ilkka, take a moment to read the OP's picture post, and then mine ... with The proper flash in the hot-shoe, the exif data will indicate if it fired or not. As I also stated, it will not if using a radio trigger (and by extension a PC cord), nor any other than a flash designed to communicate with the camera used ... which the OP is using.
     
  27. I also do both techniques (room lights or on camera flash with dragged shutter) You have to use the appropriate technique based on the job. The example I have shown requires room lights to allow freeze action and to be able to light up all those black clothes. When using room lights in this situation it is important to balance the lighting with your on camera flash. I want to make the shot all evenly lit for 90% of the images. I can do some creative shots in-between and play with the lighting. One of my approaches to room lights is to feather the light across the dance floor and towards the background or walls. It is important to me not to just light the background only but to also light the dance floor to give modeling or highlights on the people to create three dimension.
    00bxMa-542223884.jpg
     
  28. Ok pictures are uploading now. Here are some other examples
    00bxTX-542245484.jpg
     
  29. alot of people on dance floor
    00bxTi-542246184.jpg
     
  30. dramatic shot with room light and assistant light
    00bxTl-542246484.jpg
     
  31. I do not put room lights in the corners of the room but rather on the long sides of the room about 1/4 of the way in on both ends or one on one side and one on the other staggered. I don't advise using speed lights but if thats what you have then use them. Don't bother with adding on a soft box or umbrella as that will be distracting and eat up power. Having room lights that shoot across the dance floor allows you to shoot creatively without using on camera flash.
     
  32. Michael: Great lighting! With regard to your room lights, I get where you place them, but do you get them as high as your stands will allow then aim level across the floor, or bounce slightly off the ceiling or what? In general, what are your settings for balancing the room lights with your OCF? Regrets for all the questions, but you seem to have really nailed this technique at which I'd like to improve.
     
  33. The height varies upon the room but I go as high as I can and bounce them slightly unless the ceilings are very high. Whats more important is to keep the lights back as far from the dance floor as possible to allow for newtons law to take effect and have less light fall off leaving a more even light spread. I balance the lights for the most part meaning if I shoot at f8 the lights are about a half stop under in the center of the dance floor. I vary it if the walls are white i go 1 stop under if they are dark then i go 1 to 1. I monitor my shots and I sometime open up a 1/2 stop to 1 stop at times, especially for the wide angle shots to really create a 1 to 1 even light. The light has to cross the dance floor. I know too many photographers who just aim the lights toward the background only. I tell them what happens if your assistants flash dies or your flash dies? You at least can keep shooting if your lights were aimed across the dance floor.
     
  34. Thank you! This may sound silly, but has any client ever said anything to you about room strobes popping 1,000 times during the party?
     
  35. Peter of course, there is always someone who is not happy with the strobes going off. It was worse years ago when we did not have radios and everyone with a flash was setting off our lights. If anyone really makes an issue I tell them without the lights the pictures wont come out so if they want me to turn them off they need to speak to the host and hostess and I will be happy to turn them off.
     
  36. Good strategy ;-) Same thing I tell people who complain about getting up and moving for table shots.
     
  37. The lack of light from the chandeliers affects the mood of the shots where the chandeliers themselves are included in the picture. It is as if there was a power outage, or lights had been turned out at the end of the night. The inconsistency of light and shadow between the flash light that illuminates the subjects, the "dead" chandeliers and lack of light that looks like it comes from the existing light sources and should illuminate the subjects is a problem IMO.
    If the existing lamps are replaced by halogen bulbs for the event, then photography would become a much more pleasant experience as the color is nice and flash can be filtered to match the continuous light well (being in Europe I start thinking about this more and more often as the existing lighting is energy saving fluorescents that is very un-photographic in color). I replaced my home lamps with halogens and am very happy with the outcome from the photography point of view. The photographer can then choose how much of the ambient light and how much flash to use for given shots, without color discrepancy, to create improved lighting retaining a sense of realism. Overriding the available light with flash may help with subject color but I don't consider it a good solution unless the flash units are positioned where the existing (continuous) light sources are, i.e., in the chandeliers. In those shots where the chandeliers are not visible in the pictures, the lighting looks more normal and consistent.
    I understand the time pressure involved in weddings, and different styles of lighting and priorities, but I always get a ghastly feeling when I see high power flash being used with low ISO and small apertures to override ambient light completely. It's the same with my own pictures and I always end up preferring having the feeling of the scene's existing lighting being present even if it dictates black and white conversion of some or even most of the shots. Whenever the existing continous light sources of the site are seen in the pictures, this issue comes up.
    For dance shots, having existing light included with flash will then introduce some blur to the shots, unless a camera with central shutter is used to make the images (at 1/500s) which should help a little (I haven't tried this for dance shots myself).
    Whenever I think about these problems I am more and more convinced that black and white is the way to go in cases where consistency of light and shadow, and reasonable color cannot be achieved at the same time.
     
  38. I agree with you IIkka but unfortunately we can't always shoot the way we want and get the quality desired. Dancing pictures as you will learn require different technique than static candid pictures and you will soon realize the importance of additional room lights. The chandelier as you pointed out, if you look closer you will see it is actually on a very dim setting as you can see all the shadows above it in the ceiling soffit and in the back corners of the room. It would have been quite difficult to make more of an ambient shot without sacrificing quality. That is the line we as professionals must always walk.
     
  39. If it is a summer wedding, in Finland we have the fortune of extended daylight quite late into the night, i.e. until about 10.30pm it is possible to shoot using action stopping shutter speeds using available light only, if the dance is outdoors. Indoors, it depends on the size and direction of the windows as well as the weather outdoors, but I've had good results using wide apertures and moderately high ISO indoors as well. During the darker seasons, things are not so fortunate, but most weddings here tend to be in the summer. ;-)
    A few times I've used remotes to photograph the wedding dance and unfortunately some guests have found their feet under the legs of my light stands yet they wanted to move forward. ;-) You can imagine the worst case scenario (which hasn't happened to me). Venues can be quite small here as the weddings are often not that large. Sometimes it is possible to tie the stands to rigid structures, but not always. There might not be space between tables and the walls. To be used as alternative, I am thinking about getting some clamps that can be attached to building structures, staircases etc. All the gadgets that are needed to cover every possibility is quite depressing ... which leads me back to available light and black and white. :) Yes, I recognize that when the available light is very dim, the probability of successful dancing pictures is reduced greatly. Still I want to practice all the techniques to cover all situations as well as possible.
    What I find frustrating is the lack of a unified protocol for controlling remotes of various brands. I would like to have a centralized control panel which offers control of the output of larger flashes as well as speedlights, up to features possible with each unit, mixed manual and TTL, and it should be thoroughly tested and reliable. It would be nice to see this kind of collaboration among flash manufacturers. Perhaps an ISO standard. Having all these accessories only somewhat compatible with each other, stands, flashes, cords, modifiers, battery management etc. makes event photography quite a complicated affair.
     
  40. Knowing how to set your room lights to create a flattering light is the whole point. This last shot I showed was a dramatic lighting shot and was done on purpose for a creative dramatic look. All my other previous shots show a very flattering light that is similar to natural lighting. Most wedding events in NYC are done indoors and the reception is usually after sunset. I do enjoy the weddings that are outside and I can shoot all available. Mixing your flash light sources usually is not the best practice. Controlling the output of the flash via the camera at the reception is something that is not necessary. I set the power only once at the beginning and it stays that way till the end.
     
  41. Very nice work Michael.
    I agree that we walk a line between a rock and hard place when it comes to indoor reception lighting. Most of the time the ambient is so low that getting things like chandeliers to register is nearly impossible. Okay if the subjects aren't moving and you have a good high ISO camera ... but add movement and the desire for better color than high ISOs deliver, and you have to do what you do.
    Even outdoors is no walk in the park because we often do not have control over when or sometimes even where we shoot. Great if we do, but often we do not.
    - Marc
     
  42. Where I normally shoot, there is usually window light which changes over the course of the reception, and if the windows are small, the light is relatively focal (this also depends on how light toned the interiors are) and as a result there can be darker areas between the areas lit by window light and areas lit by on camera bounced TTL fill flash. Sometimes these areas are colored by available artificial light, at later parts of the day especially; it is good from the point of view of adding a realistic feeling of the venue but not so good for skin color. Perhaps these in-between areas are not as critical. If I want to fix them I can try to use remote flash on a low energy setting to even out the overall lighting level between windows and the foreground (if there is some distance) but I need to be able to adjust it during the event to maintain a good balance with the changing window light. Also, sometimes a shot requires that light is emitted from another room, and again a second remote is easier to use if the remote flash energy is controlled from the camera and not by striding across both rooms to adjust settings. In a multi-room reception, some rooms may be on the sunny side and are brighter lit and the other room(s) may need flash to help them along and to look balanced with the more brightly lit room.
    In some small venues the walls (e.g. a restaurant at a beach in Rhode Island was like this, some boat cabins also can be like this - yes, a wedding reception can be hosted on a boat) and the low ceiling are dark toned. Bouncing can't be used due to the darkness of the surfaces and remote flashes may not be possible to position in such a way in the small space that the lighting is approximately constant across the space.
    Many of these situations are easier to manage if the remote flash energy is controlled from a panel on the camera. Not all weddings are made of the same mold.
     

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