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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #1
enginyr
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Default shooting a wedding at night

I have shot a bunch of weddings but they are usually all day events and I get some day and night shots. This wedding coming up will be 100% at night but at a gorgeous venue. They seem to think that the lucious flowered grounds of the church will be seen in the pictures since they paid thousands to reserve the spot from 5pm to 7pm. Inside the church is no biggie since I can use flash to light the whole thing up. But outside the church, not so much...

What I was thinking was have and extremely long exposure time and even have the dark night come to life, but that means having them hold EXTREMELY still and I doubt they could even hold that still for that long.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #2
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

When you are talking about long exposure time, are you talking about the outside while no one is walking around?

If so you can tripod it.

If you are talking about low light while people are moving outside, you may want to bring your own lighting and figure out where you want specific shots. Your 24-70L is pretty quick for the dark lighting, but isn't going to be too much help if there isnt light near the peoples faces.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #3
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

Yes I was speaking of 1-2 second exposures at iso800 @ f 2.8 using flash as well
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

I say go there before hand and take a few test shots so you can prepare the happy couple for reality. Some people think that black box we carry is a magic box.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #5
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

That's the thing.... The couple is going with the flow and don't have time for it.. They spent tons on the chapel which will pretty much go to waste. They could have spent 1/4 of the money on a chapel Not over looking the ocean which is a shame since we aren't allowed on the grounds till just after sunset. I'm afraid they will be expecting more.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

The iso could be pushed way up on your 5D II. Your long exposures on all that scenery may work with a very still B+G but I doubt it'll work with groups. Maybe close crops on the groups with flash. Good luck and post the results.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

Take some shots at a similar locale with a substitute subject under the same lighting conditions so you will have a sample of what they can expect. Obviously there are limits placed on you by the laws of physics that you cant will yourself out of. I had a similar problem in that a couple reserved an outdoor venue for their fall wedding when the days were longer and during daylight savings time. They were a little shocked when I pointed out their twilight wedding was going to be in the dark. They had time to reschedule.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #8
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

I could push the iso but then they'd be all grainy. Anyone who has any experience to lend would be appreciated. I wouldn't feel like going over 800. 1600 if there was some light but especially with black's the high iso does very bad.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

You have a 5DII, shoot ISO6400 F2.0 (ish) and use off camera flash. I've shot ISO 12,800 on the 7D, which isn't as good at high ISO as the 5DII, and the 14" print looks great - a little noisy but great. Tell the customer in advance their choice to have their photos at night means the photos will be grainy, but ok, and if they don't want that they need to take photos at a time where there's more light around.

In 6 years of professional photography only ONE customer has commented on a noisy image. They said "it's a bit grainy", I said "yeah, it is". They didn't bring it up again.

So, respectfully, I suggest you get over your own pixel peeping fears and use your equipment as it was designed to be used! Take a torch so the 5DII auto focus can work though, as well as a speedlite for it's AF bean.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim View Post
You have a 5DII, shoot ISO6400 F2.0 (ish) and use off camera flash. I've shot ISO 12,800 on the 7D, which isn't as good at high ISO as the 5DII, and the 14" print looks great - a little noisy but great. Tell the customer in advance their choice to have their photos at night means the photos will be grainy, but ok, and if they don't want that they need to take photos at a time where there's more light around.

In 6 years of professional photography only ONE customer has commented on a noisy image. They said "it's a bit grainy", I said "yeah, it is". They didn't bring it up again.

So, respectfully, I suggest you get over your own pixel peeping fears and use your equipment as it was designed to be used! Take a torch so the 5DII auto focus can work though, as well as a speedlite for it's AF bean.

Or maybe just shoot iso 1600 and use a tripod for the long exposure (is that even plausible?)

I can use my 50 1.2 and put some distance to make sure everyone is in focus.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #11
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by enginyr View Post
Or maybe just shoot iso 1600 and use a tripod for the long exposure (is that even plausible?)

I can use my 50 1.2 and put some distance to make sure everyone is in focus.
I find 1600 insufficient when it's really dark. Because of the exposure times I don't think it'll work as well. I'd suggest you grab a friend and go try it at the same time of night as the wedding, in similar lighting.

Of course your other option is to use your radio triggered lights - even on low power they'd be plenty. You'd lose the mood though.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #12
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

Thank's Tim

I have no problem lighting the couple with direct or off camera flash. It's the backgrounds( Ocean, grass, flowers, cliff sides.)

If I expose the background perfectly (long exposure/High iso), I will get poorer quality groom/bride shots.

I shot last night at 1.5 seconds at iso 800 in Ettl at +1 with my 580ex2 and fong thingie and it wasn't the best but doable.

The question is, will the couple be able to stand still for that 1.5 seconds or am I dreaming.

I know I'm dreaming for the group shots.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

As long as there's no significant amount of light on the couple they don't have to stand still, the flash will light them in 1/1000th of a second. If there's ambient light on them though they'll be a bit ghosty, with a halo around them.

If you go from that 1.5 sec/ISO800 to ISO6400 you drop to 200ms, ie 1/5th of second. That's MUCH more reasonable. It's really a tradeoff of ISO noise vs blurryness, and to me high ISO noise is a non-issue. I think to get over your fear of high ISO you need to take some photos at 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12,800 and have a few non-photographer friends look them over. Make sure you set up each shot properly, with a nice light balance, don't just change the ISO and shoot it over and over, do it properly.

Also, lose the fong thingy, it's not helpful especially outside. The fong dong is a magic bullet sold to beginners who don't understand light.
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

Thanks Tim. I will try it tonight. "Grain is my Bain!"

I do find the fong thing to soften the light a bit when I must shoot on-camera-flash.

Do you shoot with a huge flash bracket?
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Old 7th of December 2009 (Mon)   #15
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Default Re: shooting a wedding at night

I wonder if going grain will work best and use a program like Noise Ninja to bring back the sharpness of the image. It's worked well shooting late night sports.
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