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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 19 Jul 2013 (Friday) 11:02
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Reception lighting....how I do it part two

 
jcolman
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Jul 19, 2013 11:02 |  #1

Rather than continue posting in my other thread about reception lighting,
(part one if you want to read it https://photography-on-the.net …hlight=receptio​n+lighting
I wanted to start a new one that deals with a totally different style of lighting.....Bare flash. I should also mention that I used a combination of mono lights + off camera speedlights. I shot this wedding before the Cheetah lights that I currently use were available.

In my other thread, I talked about how I liked to bounce my flash. But in some venues, bouncing isn't really an option. The venue below is a huge arena used for horse shows and such. The ceiling is quite high which limits bouncing my light. Using an on-camera flash bounced off the ceiling would have been a total exercise in frustration. Besides, I really don't care for bouncing light off the ceiling, I prefer walls so as to keep my light a bit lower.

But using direct flash has it's drawbacks and challenges as I will illustrate.

First, an over view of what I was dealing with. You can see how large this place is.

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Not using any additional light was not an option for me. I don't care for the look. Here's a shot taken with available light during the day. It's "ok" but not my cup of tea.

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Once the party started, the majority of the lights went out and I had to use off camera lights or limit myself to shots like this

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So here's what I did. Before the wedding I shot these shots of the guys and girls using three lights. Two bare speedlights were placed on either side of, and slightly behind the people, approximately 20' away. A mono light firing into a large softbox was used on camera left as a key light. The mono light was powered by a Vagabond battery.

Note that on the second photo below, even though I was using a soft box on the key light, there is still a somewhat hard shadow under the brides chin. That's because the soft box was far enough away to almost become a "point source" light. i.e....one that will give you shadows.

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jcolman
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Jul 19, 2013 11:08 |  #2

For the cake shot, I used two off camera speedlights, one firing into a shoot thru umbrella, the other bare bulb.

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During the bridal entrance, I used two lights placed on either side to side light the bride and her dad. However I had the one on the left slightly behind the bride and the light on the right slightly ahead of where I wanted to snap the shot.

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During the dancing, I had four lights, placed around the arena. You can see one of them firing in the background. These were all bare bulbs, aimed at the center of the floor.

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But the problem with this kind of lighting scheme is that you often get unwanted shadows when their bodies are in line with one of your lights.

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But when everything works as planned, the results can be magical

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jcolman
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Jul 19, 2013 11:11 |  #3

Having four lights sometimes means that you are bound to capture a light or two in your shot.

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So what I usually do, is try to hide a light with bodies. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

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Finally, I always have a speed light handy that I can put on my camera and bounce light in other areas of the venue for impromptu "keg stands" ;)

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Or to simply try something new.

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Corbeau
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Jul 19, 2013 11:18 |  #4

... A photographer is someone who finds solutions to problems (That's either from Arena or Hobby, or McNally... Either way, well done, sir.)


Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera. -- Yousuf Karsh

  
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Roy ­ Mathers
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Jul 19, 2013 11:31 |  #5

An excellent set!




  
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Wilt
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Jul 19, 2013 13:23 |  #6

Nice examples, Jim! I like it when I see someone not stuck on using a single 'formula' for lighting problems, but using the situation to best advantage, and being dynamic in the various solutions used for different situations. Kudos.

My own remedy for shadowing seen in shot 4 of post 2 is to simply use softboxes rather than ordinary reflectors. In spite of the usual rule of thumb about 'soft light' meaning usage of a softbox within about 3x its largest dimension, one can see here the benefit of 16x22" softbox at 20' (11x the softbox's largest dimension), compared to a really tiny 5x7" softbox at 20'...

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/POTN%202013%20Post%20Mar1/IMG_7948_zps43e5596c.jpg
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/POTN%202013%20Post%20Mar1/IMG_7949_zps12e46ec2.jpg

...in this comparison shot I did about two weeks ago for someone on POTN who wanted to see a specific comparison. (The 16x22 softbox is about 20 years old, and it needs bleaching to eliminate the noticeable warmth it adds...if I were still doing weddings for hire, I'd get around to it!)

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Jul 19, 2013 15:00 |  #7

thank you for putting this together jim!


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Jul 19, 2013 15:12 |  #8

Good point Wilt. I have used shoot thru umbrellas in the past for this sort of thing. However in this instance I don't think it would have worked because I'm pretty sure that the light that gave me the shadow was the one you see in the top right corner of the first photo. Much too far away for a soft box to do any good. Had it been the light closer to the dance floor (the other light you see in the first photo) using a soft box probably would have certainly helped.


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The ­ Loft ­ Studios
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Jul 19, 2013 15:23 as a reply to  @ scroller52's post |  #9

Excellent Thread, Jim.....
I hate when photographers blame the wedding facility or the Bride and Broom's choice of location if the lighting is poor. It is our job as professionals to have the knowledge, skill, understanding, but most of all, the proper equipment to take care of "any" lighting situation when we are commissioned to do a job and not just say, ".....well, they pick a horrible location. The lighting was like a dungeon!"


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jcolman
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Jul 19, 2013 15:26 |  #10

The Loft Studios wrote in post #16135405 (external link)
Excellent Thread, Jim.....
I hate when photographers blame the wedding facility or the Bride and Broom's choice of location if the lighting is poor. It is our job as professionals to have the knowledge, skill, understanding, but most of all, the proper equipment to take care of "any" lighting situation when we are commissioned to do a job and not just say, ".....well, they pick a horrible location. The lighting was like a dungeon!"

Exactly! This is one of the reasons that I abhor the term "natural light photographer".


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scorpio_e
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Jul 19, 2013 15:52 |  #11

Love the bridal entrance shot Jim.


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dmward
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Jul 19, 2013 19:35 |  #12

Very nice Jim. Good example of problem solving.
A couple of questions;
A) are the "flowers" really cotton bowls?
B) now that you have the CL-xxxs have you tried the 19" foldable beauty dish with a 4" disk as a reflector even when farther away?


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jcolman
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Jul 19, 2013 19:49 |  #13

dmward wrote in post #16135967 (external link)
Very nice Jim. Good example of problem solving.
A couple of questions;
A) are the "flowers" really cotton bowls?
B) now that you have the CL-xxxs have you tried the 19" foldable beauty dish with a 4" disk as a reflector even when farther away?

Hey David,
Yes, the flowers are cotton boles. Her dad is, or was, a big time cotton farmer in NC. She grew up in this kind of environment, hence the choice of venue.

I don't have the foldable beauty dish but I do have the 24" foldable octobox. I only use it for quick head shots. It gives me a very nice light.


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Strnge
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Nov 20, 2013 22:14 |  #14

I love your lighting set up. I will have to use it.


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npompei
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Nov 21, 2013 06:24 |  #15

Good write up again! It's funny, now that I am really liking my light setup, it becomes easier and easier every time I get setup. I personally go with 2 speedlights with shoot thru umbrellas at opposite ends of the dance floor and one speedlight on camera. Rarely do I like seeing my flash/stand in shots so I can setup opposite sides of my lights and get perfect cross lighting and a bit of fill from on camera. Usually works great.

Now my venues are much smaller than the worlds largest pole barn!


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Reception lighting....how I do it part two
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