Thursday, July 05, 2012

Technique Tuesday On Thursday: Fast, Easy Event Lighting – Part 2

Good Morning Everybody,

0001_Traffic-0130-DZ_SchulerW12After 7 days of being on the road and 1450 miles of driving (traffic jams included) we arrived safe and sound mid-day yesterday and are happy to be home after our seven-day adventure.

I can't believe it, the seven days the time has flown by and it sure feels like we got a lot accomplished in that short amount of time. The highlight of our travels was a three-day wedding that I photographed in Frankfort, Michigan.  Don't forget look for my upcoming wedding series that I mentioned on Monday of this week.  It is scheduled to begin first thing Monday morning next week.

Hey gang, we just got back and already we got lots on our plate.  Let's get right to today's post.

Technique Tuesday On Thursday: Fast, Easy Event Lighting – Part 2

Two weeks ago I posted a lighting centric Technique Tuesday. You can find that lighting post RIGHT HERE.   It was a big favorite among our DigitalProTalk readers. Because of a new high ISO cameras I was able to change up my lighting techniques a bit at a recent wedding reception.  The new lighting technique gives me a tremendous amount of versatility in capturing the reception candids these days.

I received a few comments and emails from several of our DigitalProTalk readers asking me how I would change up the lighting set up in a smaller space. Well folks, that's exactly what happened this past weekend. I was working in a much smaller space and didn't have the benefit of second-story balconies in which the place my lights.

0001_Diagram-4723-DZ_SchulerW12-Edit-EditThe cool thing this weekend was that my technique was exactly the same as two weeks ago. I chose to use one eight-foot light stand and one taller, 12 foot light stand. I attached my Quantum T5d flash heads to the light stands with each was powered by the Quantum Turbo 3 power packs.

Because of the high ISO capabilities of my Canon 5D Mark III, I was able to use ISO 1600 for all of these candids. This allowed to set the power on my Quantum strobes to only 1/16th power. At 1/16 power I was getting nearly instant recycle time from my strobes for the fast paced wedding reception.

The fact that I was only dumping 1/16 power also meant that the strobe batteries only depleted about one quarter of their charge by the end of the four hour reception. In essence, I could've photographed a 12 hour event and had plenty of "juice" in the batteries to finish a day-long shoot.

Less Powerful Shoe-mount Strobes Would've Worked Too

Let's put this in perspective for the shoe mount flash shooters. Most shoe mount flashes run around 60 W seconds except for the more powerful Nikon SB 900. Given the fact that most of these shoe mount strobes are 60 WS and, considering the fact that I was only using 10 WS of power coming out of my Quantum's, means that you got plenty of fire power in shoe mount flashes to pull off the same feat. You could literally shoot your shoe mount flashes at 1/6 power equaling the 10 WS output from my Quantum firing at 1/16 power, and still get plenty light on the scene.

Why not follow along with me on my video tutorial below.  I want you through exactly how I set everything up, how I covered the various locations on the dance floor, and got a great coverage at this past weekend's event.

You know folks, technology has only made our gear cheaper, faster, and better. Technology has given us more opportunities than ever before to do the best job possible for our clients. That's why I find it extremely frustrating when I hear so many photographers taking the easy way out on wedding and event coverages.

For me, it's always about the difference making a difference. It's always about raising the standard on the types of imagery we can produce for our clients. It's always about giving the client the absolute best that we can achieve with our technology, craftsmanship, skills, and creativity. I certainly hope that all of our DigitalProTalk readers will consider this with all your upcoming events and continue to give your clients the absolute best – it's what they deserve it anyway.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Yes, I know, I've been gone for about a week which means that there is once again a lot of things on my plate. To be honest with you, I'm trying to get full point in my life where my plate isn't so full all the time.

Today I've got to get back to the book since I've laid off of it for about seven days and I'm slightly behind schedule. I'm planning to use the next few days and this coming weekend to get caught up.

In a few more weeks I'll be putting a little more polish on the book and hopefully be able to share with you a few excerpts from my efforts. Every day, it seems I get a new idea on how to make this book more interesting and an exciting read for not only all of our DigitalProTalk readers but for all photographers out there shooting.

So, have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.

Adios for now, – David


  1. This is too funny David. I just shot a wedding on June 23rd with the same band as in this wedding and actually used the same two light off and one on camera setup. And the funny thing is the lights the band used messed with my shots a couple of times as well. The wedding I covered was at St. Johns Chapel in Plymouth MI and the band said they were headed up to Frankfurt for their next gig. Never would have thought that David Ziser would be the photographer. The two big guys on vocals are so awesome. Loved that band, the best DJ/MC I've worked with for sure.

  2. Thanks a lot David for sharing your lighting techniques and everything else in your information packed blog. Just a heads up though; the last three videos has no audio at the beginning. Usually its the part where you are in your living room. The audio is good while your on the computer explaining the whole segment. Maybe just a tech glitz.

  3. David, do you leave the lights that are on the stands during the reception in the final photos or do you take them out in PS ?

  4. Sorry to ask, you have I'm sure said this many times, but do you also have an on-camera-flash besides the tweo that are in the corners of the rooms ?

  5. David, Do you have an equipment list of what flash units you use on-camera and what unit you use to trip the flash units on the light stands.

  6. David, one more question. After watching the video, I would like to buy the flash units and transmitters that you have. I have 3 Canon 5D's that are 2 years old and want to keep those, but I would like to get the lights and transmitters you have. Can you send me what you have ?
    email: . Thank you ! Myron

  7. Thanks David!! I'm always looking on how to improve my reception lighting. Somehow i'm still not pleased with the results i get so far.. I'm sure gonna try this setup next time!!

  8. Thanks for the topic and I will be sure to try this on my next wedding. Couple of questions. I saw in a few images that someone was videotaping the event were there any conflicts between you and the videographer as far as your lighting setup? And were any of the guests up set with the room going from dark to fairly bright with your shots?
    Thanks and as always thanks for being such an active blogger. I have learned so much from you and I am grateful,

  9. David, I had the same idea to light the reception on a wedding in May I was second shooting for before I broke my wrist. In my case, I was going to use a couple of 580ex's with battery packs attached to hopefully achieve the same results you have. For the same reason you did it, to get better looking images then simply using my attached flash.