Monday, July 7, 2008

One Strobe and 5 Minutes

Weddings are fast. They move quick during the ceremony, but everything is on a time table. The squeeze, at least for me,comes between the ceremony and reception. In that brief little window you have to shoot the formal portraits, and it is most likely the only time you have the bride and groom together in the church for pictures. So you have to knock out the standard traditional stuff, and some creative stuff, and then if you have time try your new ideas.

Such is the case in the above image. I had taken all the portraits and the "safe" bride and groom shots. But I had an idea for a shot. I asked the bride to do a couple more shots and the response was, "OK, but you only have 5 minutes." No pressure right? New idea, start with what I know.....

I could not back light the windows, not enough strobes and no pocket wizards anyways. So they are lit with pure ambient light from outside at 6:30PM on a cloudy over cast day, not the best but it gave me 1/100 at f/4.5 ISO 100. Now no time for stands. I hand a SB600 set to remote to my VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand). Triggering the SB600 was my on camera SB800. The SB600 was set to TTL. At first we started with the strobe to camera right with the zoom out to 24mm. I new I did not want a lot of light everywhere, but I honestly had a moment of not trusting the strobe to make enough light. So I started wide, and man that little strobe lit the whole place up, sloppy. So I zoomed the strobe head 85mm (as much as the SB600 has) and fired again. Better but the shadows were all wrong. I had the VAL switch to camera left, hold the strobe up, and angle it down some. Let me add a note here: One thing I like to do is turn the flash head vertical when using no modifier to match the upright subject. I picked that little tip up from Don at Lighting Essentials. Don is full of great little tips, and is a real pro with this light stuff you know.

So back to the image. VAL camera left, unmodified SB600 zoomed to 85mm vertical on TTL. Click goes the shutter, and we are done. I would love to say that the image you see was exactly what was on camera, but no. I still had to much spill to the back of the church lighting up some of the walls. I also had stray light hitting the hanging fixtures. I needed a grid for the strobe and I didn't have it; those Honl units are looking mighty nice now. However, I did have the essence of the image, and honestly making things black in post processing is easy. So wrapped it in under five minutes with three frames.

And rest assured this type of shot will get refined at the next church wedding I shoot.

I also would like to ask for a moment of silence as one of my SB600's gave it's life during this wedding. It met a tragic and unneeded end due to an unsecured light stand and wind. It will be sorely missed.

1 comment:

Mark n Manna said...

It's very nice work,John.....The SB600 sacrificed was a big blow though, huh? :-(