Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday: Forget The Flash, Let’s Just Play

Good Morning Everybody,

Again we had a great crowd in Grand Rapids last night.  Only one hitch. We forgot about the time change and we were setting up thinking we had an hour to go.  We didn’t find out till 4:15 p.m. – ahhhh! Into high speed mode we went and all was good to go by the time the crowds started to arrive.

Today it’s a short drive over to Detroit so we’re hoping to catch our breath a bit. We have another big crowd in Motown tonight, too. Today is city #40 out of 60.  I kind of feel we are in the final stretch of the tour, but still having fun.

Hey gang, I’m heading down a different path today with the posts.  I' thought I would begin a new series of articles, this time focusing, no pun intended, on having some fun with how we photograph wedding receptions.

I’m planning to cover how we mix things up in our reception coverages just to keep things interesting and creative for us and our clients.  So read on – I hope you enjoy the series.

Forget The Flash – Let’s Just Play

580ex2 - NO I’m always lamenting the fact that so many photographers shooting weddings these days are just shooting away with only one flash on camera.  Sure, most of my Digital Wakeup Call Tour demonstrates techniques that can make your lighting exciting by using on-camera and off-camera flash, but today let’s keep the flash in the camera bag.

Heck, if one flash is all you’ve got, could none be even better?  Maybe so.  OK, why am I saying that.  The purpose of this post is to get everyone thinking about how they can revive and elevate their level of photography for their clients.

So whether you shoot with one or more flashes, I'm suggesting you take a series of reception images without any flash at all.  I know, you must think I’m crazy for even suggesting such a thing with the low light levels at wedding reception venues.  But, who cares, with our much wider aperture lenses and the super high ISO’s the new cameras are capable of obtaining, it makes shooting without a flash a “piece of cake” and fun too.

 Dance 1Check out the first image.  This is the first time I gave it a try digitally.  I was shooting a Nikon D1x at the time and I could crank up the ISO all the way to ISO 1600 – WOW!  The fastest film I was shooting with just the year before was Kodak’s Vericolor 800. I was now way ahead of the game with my new digital camera.

The other factor to keep in mind was the fact that I could use lenses with really large apertures like my 50mm F1.4.  Man, the wide aperture coupled with ISO 1600 meant that I could shoot in light that was only – get this – 1/8th as bright as what I could shoot with my film camera.  That struck me as an amazing opportunity to try some of these low light candids at my wedding reception.

The image you see above was taken at 1/60 second at ISO 1600 – a fast dancing candid at 1/60 second – unbelievable – I was hooked.  Check out the second image too.  The main light was from the videographers light.  Dance 2For this image, I believe I was around 1/150 second.  I just remember it was a very fast shutter speed.  So fast, in fact, that it easily stopped the action of the bride and groom putting on their best dance moves.

As I said, I was hooked.  I was using Noise Ninja’s beta at the time to cut down the noise and it worked quite well.  NIK’s Define 2 is my favorite these days. So I don’t consider noise to ever be a problem.

I suggest you too throw caution to the wind, keep your flash in the bag, and go out and have a flashless blast at you next wedding reception.  Not ever image, just a few selections. You’ll find you will be creating a brand new flavor of wedding images for your clients, and might get a nice creative tingle out of the experience yourself.

Hey gang, that's it for me today.  LaDawn likes to hit the road early so we can get to our next stop and get the room set up.  So the bellman has been called and we are out of here.

See everybody in Motown tonight.  Be sure to come on up and say HI.  See ya’ tonight.  -David

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the advice David. I am really starting to play around with no flash at receptions lately. I especially like when the video person has a light on the couple during the 1st dance. This allows me to shoot at f/2 and ISO around 2000 and the result is amazing. Thanks!