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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 22 Nov 2011 (Tuesday) 14:54
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Indoor Wedding Party Portraits- Lighting Qs - Speedlite vs AlienBee

 
jag64551
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Nov 22, 2011 14:54 |  #1

Currently, when I do wedding party portraits in the front of the church sanctuary, I use two Speedlites with white umbrellas. It works well enough, but I know there are better solutions. Also, I use them with CyberSyncs, so they are constantly powering off automatically, which I'm not sure how to avoid (off-camera).

I am thinking of picking up at least one AlienBee B800 and 47" octabox with speedring - http://www.paulcbuff.c​om/b800.php (external link). If I wanted to incorporate that with my formal indoor lighting rig, should I swap one of the speedlites out with that? Should I lose the speedlites all together and pick up two of the B800's?

I'm assuming the B800 is going to give me much more power than a 580EX or 430EX, so I was thinking that would be sufficient (as compared to the B1600).

I am definitely budget consious, so I can't go out and spend give grand on a lighting rig, but the AlienBee products see to be an economical option that would be better than speedlites. I use the Paul C. Buff CyberSyncs for my remote triggering, and they seem to work pretty well. I have heard good things about the AlienBees.

Also, I'd be interested to hear what others think might be a good setup with two to three lights, similar to what I have mentioned above. Thank you!




  
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nicksan
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Nov 22, 2011 15:15 |  #2

I guess you need to weight the effort/reward?

I think your speedlights setup is good enough. Are you unhappy with the setup or the results you are getting? There's a custom function in the speedlight you can change so that it remains on and not go to sleep.

I shoot indoor group shots with a speedlight, umbrella, and hot shoe mounted speedlight for a little bit of fill.




  
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Peacefield
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Nov 22, 2011 18:29 |  #3

I avoid bringing strobes unless absolutely necessary. And even if you need to, 800's are more than you need unless trying to overpower the sun.

I almost always work with speedlights and small 22" umbrellas. With good control, there's a lot you can do. All of these were done with just one speedlight and a 22" white shoot through. None of them are studio quality, but you're not shooting in the controlled environment of a studio. You need to balance the ability to get good quality portraits with the ability to keep things moving.

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nicksan
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Nov 22, 2011 20:23 as a reply to  @ Peacefield's post |  #4

I use speedlights and umbrellas as well for these types of shots.

These were shot using a YongNuo YN-560 + umbrella. I also had a 580EXII on my camera for some fill.

Nothing really special...

IMAGE: http://www.nicknphoto.com/galleries/upload/2011/11/22/20111122201618-2d006426.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.nicknphoto.com/galleries/upload/2011/11/22/20111122201550-39ae33a4.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.nicknphoto.com/galleries/upload/2011/11/22/20111122201612-45a4d21f.jpg



  
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tim
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Nov 22, 2011 20:42 |  #5

Read your Speedlite manual for the custom function to stop the flashes turning themselves off. Then read the rest of your camera and flash manuals, you'll learn something I bet.

Mains strobes are a pain in the butt. Also, you don't need heaps of power if you want to balance with ambient, so the background isn't a black hole.


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jag64551
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Nov 22, 2011 20:50 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #6

Thanks for the comments and suggestions everyone. Maybe I will save my money and stick with the speedlites. I have read through my manuals, and am not seeing how to control the flash from not powering off when it is not on camera. If someone knows if that is possible, and how to do it, I would appreciate the help.

Thank you




  
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nicksan
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Nov 22, 2011 21:02 as a reply to  @ jag64551's post |  #7

580EX I
C.Fn-14 Auto Power Off activation

580EXII
Fn-01 Auto Power Off

It's in the manual...




  
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tim
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Nov 22, 2011 21:29 |  #8

It's in there, Nick has given you the info. It sounds to me like you need to read the manual more carefully. The first half dozen times I read my camera manual I learned something new - the more you know, the easier it is to gain more advanced knowledge :)


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nicksan
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Nov 22, 2011 21:36 |  #9

tim wrote in post #13438582 (external link)
It's in there, Nick has given you the info. It sounds to me like you need to read the manual more carefully. The first half dozen times I read my camera manual I learned something new - the more you know, the easier it is to gain more advanced knowledge :)

Wait, there was a Manual that came with my camera? ;)




  
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jag64551
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Nov 23, 2011 09:49 |  #10

I apologize for not reading through my manual more thoroughly.

I guess I was thinking the custom functions were for on-camera flash only - if you set those items with the flash on-camera, and then take the flash off, does it retain them? Also, is this possible with the 430 EX II? I don't own one - just have access to one for weddings - so I don't have the manual to consult. I though I read online somewhere that it wasn't possible to turn off the auto-off function when off-camera.

Thanks




  
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nicksan
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Nov 23, 2011 09:53 |  #11

jag64551 wrote in post #13440711 (external link)
I apologize for not reading through my manual more thoroughly.

I guess I was thinking the custom functions were for on-camera flash only - if you set those items with the flash on-camera, and then take the flash off, does it retain them? Also, is this possible with the 430 EX II? I don't own one - just have access to one for weddings - so I don't have the manual to consult. I though I read online somewhere that it wasn't possible to turn off the auto-off function when off-camera.

Thanks

A simple Google search on the term "430EXII Manual" will get you links to the manual.

430EXII
C.Fn 01 auto power off

So yes, it does support it, and yes, these settings are retained even if you use them as OCF.




  
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jag64551
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Nov 23, 2011 09:55 as a reply to  @ nicksan's post |  #12

Ok thanks - that's where I was confused.




  
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Red ­ Tie ­ Photography
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Nov 23, 2011 12:11 |  #13

I dont feel strobes are too difficult to set up compared to flashes. I have to use a larger stand, and plug in my battery pack, but other than that it is easy enough.

Now, I obviously dont use it on every shot, but it comes in my car to each wedding I am the main shooter for.

That being said, I feel for weddings the strobe you need to go for is the Einstein. It gives you a lot of power when you need it, but will also work great for a small pop of light. The B800 is in a odd middle ground - not a whole lot of power, but also wont go down too far from what I have learned. When you mentioned you dont want to spend "give grand" I am assuming that is five grand?

My strobe setup - 1 Einstein, stand, VML, and a softlighter cost under $1000. I want to get a PCB octabox and a Kacey Beauty Dish too I think, but I love my Einstein.

Sorry for the rambling.


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nicksan
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Nov 23, 2011 12:19 |  #14

Red Tie Photography wrote in post #13441307 (external link)
My strobe setup - 1 Einstein, stand, VML, and a softlighter cost under $1000. I want to get a PCB octabox and a Kacey Beauty Dish too I think, but I love my Einstein.

But that combo is pretty heavy. I certainly can't hold all that in one hand and retain the mobility that I would want. I have both the PCB Octa and Kacey Beauty Dish but have yet to use it out on the field. I think the Octa in particular just might be too much. It's pretty heavy. You combine that with the rest of the stuff, and you completely lose mobility, at least without an assistant.

So I'm trying to setup a more simple setup using speedlights, a not-so-heavy-duty lightstand which I can have assembled in the car ready to go, then depending on wind conditions, use an umbrella or a smaller foldable softbox like the Cheetah. In fact, they also have light stands with legs that automatically fold when you lift it. Looking into all that...




  
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bigarchi
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Nov 23, 2011 12:38 |  #15

Red Tie Photography wrote in post #13441307 (external link)
I dont feel strobes are too difficult to set up compared to flashes. I have to use a larger stand, and plug in my battery pack, but other than that it is easy enough.

Now, I obviously dont use it on every shot, but it comes in my car to each wedding I am the main shooter for.

That being said, I feel for weddings the strobe you need to go for is the Einstein. It gives you a lot of power when you need it, but will also work great for a small pop of light. The B800 is in a odd middle ground - not a whole lot of power, but also wont go down too far from what I have learned. When you mentioned you dont want to spend "give grand" I am assuming that is five grand?

My strobe setup - 1 Einstein, stand, VML, and a softlighter cost under $1000. I want to get a PCB octabox and a Kacey Beauty Dish too I think, but I love my Einstein.

Sorry for the rambling.

Yeah, the b800 is a lot of light, but often doesn't go as low as i'd like it, great point bryan.
and he brings up the important point, that it's not just the cost of the strobe, but you'll want a battery pack.


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Indoor Wedding Party Portraits- Lighting Qs - Speedlite vs AlienBee
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