Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Technique Tuesday - Perfectly Perfect Lighting - Part 1

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Today I'm beginning a multi-part video series reviewing on location lighting, metering, and exposure for taking wedding photographs. Today I'll get started with a discussion on lighting in the church, how to get the light just right, how to balance the background densities, and how to add dramatics to the scene. So let's get started. Hit "Read More" below to view the video tutorial.

F5.6 has always been my starting point for indoor bridal images. I've always called it my "aperture of convenience". When shooting way back in the film days with my Hasselblad fitted with my 50mm Distagon wide angle lens, F5.6 gave me plenty of depth of field for the images I wanted to create.

At F5.6 I also knew what my flash working distance needed to be relative to my subject at the different power settings. Too many people fuss to many times about F-stops and shutter speeds and end up taking forever to get the shot. I suggest you lock onto one repeatable F-stop and know your distances for the various power settings of your off-camera flash. Enough said. Check out the following tutorial below to see what I mean. Enjoy! -David

21 comments:

  1. This made me laugh...and maybe tear up just a little!

    My dad's photographic philosophy was "take one step forward and shoot at 5.6". I think you and I are about the same age (I'm just on the far side of sixty) so it's been a long time since I've heard the virtues of f5.6.

    Thanks

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  2. Just what the doctor ordered. Thank you David!
    Steve@McIntosh

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  3. This is super neat David. Not able to finish watching now, but it's on my list. We need to get you on Pro Photo Show to talk about this stuff... Gav

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  4. I really enjoyed your tutorial. Going to grab the camera and give it a whirl. Thank you.

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  5. David, great video as always. Are you hand holding at 1/10 and 1/25? If you are how do you manage that and get such sharp images? Am I missing something?

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  6. There are two ways to get that. I attended David's Digital Master Class a few weeks back and that was one of the first things we asked him as he was talking about shooting at slower shutter speeds. Do you end up with some blurry shots? Sure. However, the flash freezes the frame so as long as you are fairly steady you should get a sharp image. Secondly, David is a huge believer in image stabilized glass. Combine a little flash to stop the action with a few extra stops of hand holdable goodness with the IS on a lens and you should have a combination for GREAT images.

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  7. Some great strobist stuff there David. You made no mention but I assume some sort of diffuser? What about gels?

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  8. His location setup is a Quantum strobe triggered by a freeXwire system shooting through a 32" shoot-through umbrella. I am not sure about gels ... I know he carries a set for the quantum but I don't know if he used one here or not

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  9. thank you for bringing your thoughts and comment, the video you produce are a great bonus to already a blog full of knowledge. Cheers Robert

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  10. David,

    This really worked for me - I have been trying to get to grips with using off camera flash and manual settings and have seen lots of good stuff on 'Strobist'. However, your excellent tutorial really brought the subject to life and the explanation together with the accompanying images really helped to cement the concept. A classic!

    Thanks
    Dave

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  11. Great tutorial, David, but I'm confused about introducing a white object (the note pad) that's brighter than anything else in the scene to measure exposure. Why 'leave room' for something that won't be in the picture? Why not expose for the actual highlights to get the best dynamic range? As long as none of the three channels blow out, the dress should still correctly reproduce as off-white. (I am actually sometimes using a Lastolite XpoBalance white-gray-black panel to help with white balance and color correction - but not exposure). What am I missing here?

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  12. Hi Arne,
    You need to set the white point - right part of the histogram - to the brightest white in the scene. If you don't have one, you need to add it - white note book - then all other tonalities fall in line. A less that white tonality as the white point will shift everything too bright.
    -David

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  13. David - you are touting raw and the reason being the retouch tool. Can't you use the retouch tool on a jpeg file? Thanks - great tutorial, as always.

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  14. David,
    I am assuming you are always using a tripod with these slow shutterspeeds? I always use your tutorials to do something new at my next wedding and I would love to try this as my next church is beautiful. Thanks for all you do for the photographers.

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  15. Tripods? Why would you use something as silly as a tripod? All kidding aside. As long as the subject is not moving a ton and you are using a flash handholding down to 1/10 - 1/30 is cake. The flash freezes the subject so as long as you are a steady shot (image stabilazation doesn't hurt either) the slower shutter speeds don't cause blur.

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