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Thread: Wedding In Bright Sunlight advice Needed PLease.

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    Ausphotography Regular leanneqld's Avatar
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    Wedding In Bright Sunlight advice Needed PLease.

    Hi everyone,
    I have been asked (ie begged) to shoot a wedding for a budget conscious couple(friends of my daughter's) in December , on a beach on the Gold Coast. ( Groan) So, I said we could do a practice session with the canon 550d to see if they would be happy with me doing the wedding, which we did yesterday around 3-5 pm, no clouds, bright sunlight. Now I studied as much as I could regarding portraits in bright sun. I tried to find some shade , and got some OK shots but trying to get a decent exposure with the water in the background was near impossible. I have some examples of the worst of the worst while i was experimenting with settings. And I have suggested they keep looking for a professional.

    1. This is what I was dealing with...


    2.I tried to add some fill flash Aperture priority mode, e-ttl mode



    2. Switched to manual mode, metered for the sky-1/400 shutter speed but as soon as i turned on the flash the camera automatically put it back to flash sync spped 1/200 so the background still blew out.

    How can i best overcome this if I do this wedding as in all probability this will the conditions on the day. We can have as many practice sessions as we like so I can try more ideas. Maybe use a ND8 filter?-I have a cokin P size , Just keep the exposure compensation up when their faces are in shadow and blow out the background? Any other things I can try? Many thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by leanneqld View Post
    How can i best overcome this if I do this wedding as in all probability this will the conditions on the day. We can have as many practice sessions as we like so I can try more ideas. Maybe use a ND8 filter?-I have a cokin P size , Just keep the exposure compensation up when their faces are in shadow and blow out the background? Any other things I can try? Many thanks
    First off, Leanne, I'd have a CPL on at all times. When you change angles the glare and reflections change and mess with the metering. Having a CPL on means you can quickly adjust to get the best result. I know it sounds so simple, but I also believe that Dylan and Marianne use them without fail for weddings, too. It's a time thing. You won't have enough time to mess about on the day, so anything that will be quick and help is worth using.

    I'd also consider a reflector and a second pair of hands. These are cheap but effective and they give you a second light source that is ideal for filling shadows like those in #3. Fall off from your OCF at distance can be compensated by the reflector at camera right bouncing back from the strong sun and should help if you choose spot or centre-weighted metering.

    Finally, if there are some shots that are "must have's" and you're concerned about the contrast, try a few bracketed exposures with different parts of the image exposed differently using exposure lock (AE lock) and blend them in post for the best result.

    The bride to be is a very attractive young lady so the groom to be is a lucky lad. It would be a shame not to make the most of the day and the location so it might be worth visiting this site for a tutorial on natural light photography. I know its a basic tutorial but it just may give you some ideas for overcoming the problems of the day.

    Cheers.
    Waz
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    My Flickr images ...

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    Thanks for that link WhoDo. I was also shooting with a new lens. I had a CPL but it is a smaller diameter than the new lens. I also have a larger diameter CPL. I'm pretty sure I have a step down ring so next practice I'll give the CPL and the ND8 a workout. I have considered getting a reflector but as I don't shoot a lot of portraits I keep putting it off. On the day of the wedding I'll have someone to help me so I'll have the extra pair of hands.
    Thanks again WhoDo for the help.

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    You are going to have real issues trying to outpower the sun with a single speedlight really.

    A reflector, and backlit are both good ideas.
    Darren
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    Hi Kiwi and thanks for the reply. You know of all the things I've read, i've come across a lot of statements exactly like yours about a speedlight trying to outpower the sun. I haven't worked out why that is when it seems to contradict the advice about using fill flash. I must be missing something? Or is it the 1/200 synch speed limit that makes the reflector a better option than a flash?

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    The issue isnt really the fill part, its balancing the exposure of the background (eg sea and sky)

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    Ah right, thats what you meant ! thanks

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    The problem with 1 & 2 is that the couple is in shadow and the background is very much brigther. No filter will help because the problem is that the lighting ratio is far too high. Weak flash won't help because it will not be strong enough to bring the lighting ratio closer. This is not a situation that will be helped by fill flash. This is an example of reduce the background or grossly increase the light on the subject(s) or put the subjects in the same light as the background.

    If you put the subjects in the same light as the background you can then use fill flash to lighten the harsh shadows that will be created by the harsh, though evenly spread, light.

    A polarising filter will only be of benefit to clean up the light and render colours more vibrant, it will not change the lighting ratio. Polarising filters are not a magic, easy to use solution for all situations. They should be used selectively.

    Neutral density filters will be of little benefit in the first 2 images as a non-graduated type will reduce the intensity of the light over the whole image area without doing anything to reduce the extreme lighting ratio. A graduated type is of little use when part of the subject intrudes into the overly bright area and there is no clean line of demarcation between the overly bright area and the darker area of the image.

    Lastly, but should have been mentioned first: What is the narrative link between the subject and the background? Is the background important to the subject? Is the background included just because its nice/romantic/interesting/not boring? Why is this harshly lit background included in the image?
    Ray

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    I take it you're using the inbuilt flash, Leanne?

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    Quote Originally Posted by norwest View Post
    I take it you're using the inbuilt flash, Leanne?
    hi norwest, no i'm not using the inbuilt flash. I have a sunpak that I can use in either manual mode or E-ttl mode. I used it to shoot a wedding once before ,my first and thought would be my last. The conditions of that wedding ceremony were the complete opposite. It was shot inside a dark foyer of a golf club.

    - - - Updated - - -

    "Lastly, but should have been mentioned first: What is the narrative link between the subject and the background? Is the background important to the subject? Is the background included just because its nice/romantic/interesting/not boring? Why is this harshly lit background included in the image? "

    Hi Ray, thanks for your input. The narrative link is that the couple are planning to have their wedding "somewhere" on the beach. Behind us was that ugly green mesh netting you see on the beaches and the shops, south is what looks like a surf club and north is a path/rocks/hill. Their ceremony will be a little later than the time we started shooting but being summer it will probably be like it was yesterday. The bride to be wants some ocean shots after the ceremony and if that stretches to when the sun is setting then it wont be so difficult to balance the light. I'm concerened about trying to get the ceremony shots. Most likely they will be positioned so that the guests will be looking at the ocean. I suggested she find a nice shaded garden and go get the after ceremony pics down at the beach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leanneqld View Post
    hi norwest, no i'm not using the inbuilt flash. I have a sunpak that I can use in either manual mode or E-ttl mode. I used it to shoot a wedding once before ,my first and thought would be my last. The conditions of that wedding ceremony were the complete opposite. It was shot inside a dark foyer of a golf club.
    Does the flash have FP/High speed sync capability? Or alternatively, can you get hold of a minimum of a 580EX? Though nothing to do with my questions and the above shots, to be honest, i'd personally not touch a wedding without the minimum equipment and spares on top of that, including a second body and flashes. You'll be dealing with very difficult light on the beach.
    Last edited by norwest; 02-07-2012 at 5:35pm.

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    norwest, I dont know anyone with a 580ex, I'd like one though
    The sunpak doesn't do High Speed sync ( at least i don't remember reading that it does in the instructions but i will check again)
    I'm already concerened that I only have a Pentax K200d as a 2nd body.
    I'm thinking it might be worth my sanity telling them I'll pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leanneqld View Post
    I'm thinking it might be worth my sanity telling them I'll pass.
    Ok, so why not invite a local AP member along as second shooter to make sure you get something. I'm sure there are plenty of handy togs around the Gold Coast who'd enjoy a nice day on the beach with a wedding to shoot. Just a thought. As long as it doesn't cost the couple anything, I hardly think they'd mind.

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    I'm thinking it might be worth my sanity telling them I'll pass.
    Discretion is the better part of valour, Leanne and that would be my choice.

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    I shot a wedding ceremony at 12.30pm (midday), 37 degrees. I was using the 580ex II (had two of them) - one overheated. But I managed to get good shots, very stressful. But, wedding photographers shoot when the wedding happens, that is the way it is. Fortunately, I had shade for the shots afterwards.

    Would I do it again, "No" - but I am not a wedding photographer and learned a lot from that one. I do have another wedding to do, but I am more confident in handling what the weather throws at me now. I don't advertise for this type of work, and will turn them down, but sometimes you get cornered, tied down with ropes and so on and before you know it, you have said yes.

    Shelley
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    www.shelleypearsonphotography.com


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    The "problem" with high speed syunc is that it dramatically reduces flash power as you increase shutter speed....but it can be OK for fill though.

    Re the beach...take some wider beach shots with them in it, but for these types of closer formals you simply should expose for the face, and use fill to fill in any shadows or a reflector.

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    Thanks guys and gals. Kiwi, I wanted to take wider shots but there was an old gentleman in only speedos wandering into every shot i had zoomed out for. I did get some wide shots later on of them walking along the water's edge. Anyway, with my limited equipment I didn't feel I could do them justice and told them they would be far happier in the end getting a pro. It may send them broke, but happy

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    Send them my way, I'll look after them and you can second if you want

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Send them my way, I'll look after them and you can second if you want
    If I were you, Leanne, that would be an offer I couldn't refuse! You get to help your friends and learn from someone who does outdoors so well.

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    I'll second that Leanne, Take Darrens offer , Err ! Which beach is it at BTW, If all else fails I might be able to tag along as well if it's down this end
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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