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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> What was I thinking!!!! Flash Help!!!
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12/29/2017 09:15:05 AM · #1
Sooo my niece is getting married in Jun (I MIGHT have enough time to figure this out by then!!). And I have stupidly agreed to “to take her wedding photos”....someone please hit me!!!

I have a very expensive little toy...called a SB-900 (Nikon) flash...problem is I haven’t ever used it!!! (It makes a good box paper weight) natural light...I’m good...flash I’m lost. Well not totally...I know to bounce the light but this little bugger has so many bells n whistles I’m afraid to touch it!!!

Please tell me the best tutorials you watched regarding wedding flash. And what lens are best/favorite...I have a few (roll the eyes) and I’m very sure I’m missing something....

It will be an outdoor wedding (yea - natural light) in Colorado (bright sun - boo!!!) But I’m sure there will be some indoor/evening shots...where I will need my flash.

I have a little more than 6 months to figure this out...with your help!!!

Thank you!!!
12/29/2017 09:45:07 AM · #2
Lurking in the background hoping to get some tips...

Carry on...
12/29/2017 12:08:58 PM · #3
Well, one good place to start is Strobist. A few years ago I went to an all-day seminar put on by them and it was fantastic.
12/29/2017 01:28:30 PM · #4
Stobist is great. Another one to consider is https://neilvn.com/tangents/.
12/29/2017 01:33:39 PM · #5
I recommend you consider buying a Lightsphere. Makes a very nice combination bounce/diffuser.

https://www.garyfong.com/products/lightsphere-collapsible-speed-mount

here's a video from Gary Fong systematically shooting with a lot of different light modifiers from different manufacturers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UFGy3F2Suc

In his test, the Rogue Flashbender (reflector) also does very well: https://rogueflash.com/collections/rogue-flashbenders



Message edited by author 2017-12-29 13:39:22.
12/29/2017 02:15:36 PM · #6
The eternal problem, When I did weddings Down here and beieve me Blue Sky Days are the norm,I used open shade as much as possible and tried to use contre joure lighting.

I used fill flash all the time and found the Minolta system camera and dedicated flash worked 100% f the time, the same now with the Sony anddedicated flash works well.If the flash is too strong tou can dial the dedicated ones down, Fill flash should just lift the shadows. my suggestion next blue sky day take a friend out and play around with camera/flash settings untill you are happy with the results
12/29/2017 06:30:31 PM · #7
Good suggestions all around...I’ll look into the links later today...

What are your favorite len(s) to use?
12/29/2017 06:42:19 PM · #8
Originally posted by Ja-9:

Good suggestions all around...I’ll look into the links later today...

What are your favorite len(s) to use?


Looking at your equipment list...
- Your Micro-Nikkor 60/2.8 would do great double duty as a portrait lens (90mm in 35mm equivalent terms) and for close-ups, e.g ring shots.
- Your 24-85 should be useful as well. Where you're lacking is fast and wide (think reception shots) and you could rent something to cover that application.
- You are also lacking in something with longer reach and f/2.8 speed. I've often used a 70-200/2.8 during church ceremonies where flash is verboten.
12/29/2017 06:55:26 PM · #9
Originally posted by Ja-9:

Good suggestions all around...I’ll look into the links later today...

What are your favorite len(s) to use?


Used a 35/105 in the days of film found that it covered most situations so anything around this would be good i use a Minolta 2.8 28/75mm currently excellent lens if you can get one .
12/30/2017 10:23:21 AM · #10
Maybe I’ll rent the 70-200mm f/2.8...good way to ck it out...

ETA:

What’s you opinion of Sigma/Tamron vs Nikon?

Message edited by author 2017-12-30 11:32:31.
12/30/2017 12:25:29 PM · #11
Originally posted by Ja-9:

Maybe I’ll rent the 70-200mm f/2.8...good way to ck it out...

ETA:

What’s you opinion of Sigma/Tamron vs Nikon?


Hmmm, good question. The newest Nikon version (what's usually referred to as VR III) is extremely well regarded. Not really sure how Sigma or Tamron stack up either in image quality or in AF accuracy/speed. The Nikon goes for a whopping $2800, so you'd have to a lot of good uses for it to consider purchasing it. If I were in your shoes, I'd just rent the Nikon, and not look back.
12/30/2017 02:14:11 PM · #12
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by Ja-9:

Maybe I’ll rent the 70-200mm f/2.8...good way to ck it out...

ETA:

What’s you opinion of Sigma/Tamron vs Nikon?


Hmmm, good question. The newest Nikon version (what's usually referred to as VR III) is extremely well regarded. Not really sure how Sigma or Tamron stack up either in image quality or in AF accuracy/speed. The Nikon goes for a whopping $2800, so you'd have to a lot of good uses for it to consider purchasing it. If I were in your shoes, I'd just rent the Nikon, and not look back.


Okay...third try here...if this fails...you'll never know!!!

I'll probably rent given that price...:] But I'd like to know what your thoughts are about a "G" Lens vs the older ones...Waddy told me that he calls them "gelded"...that has always stuck with me...but the older versions are heavy like a rock!!! Which I have a love/hate relationship with them...they are solid but ever so heavy!!!

That being said I have 2 Tamron lens (love them) and 1 Tokina (really love this one). I do not own any Sigma's. Maybe I can find a comparison chart...

You've given me food for thought...
12/30/2017 03:12:45 PM · #13
Originally posted by Ja-9:

...I'd like to know what your thoughts are about a "G" Lens vs the older ones...Waddy told me that he calls them "gelded"...that has always stuck with me...but the older versions are heavy like a rock!!! Which I have a love/hate relationship with them...they are solid but ever so heavy!!!


Being a Canon guy, the G lenses were a let-down, 'cause I can't use 'em on my Canon, LOL (no aperture ring). The newest Nikkor 70-200 is one generation newer than the G version. It's technically known as the "AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR" Lens. Personally, if I were without a 70-200 at this point, I would not buy anything but the latest generation. They are designed with higher resolution sensors in mind, and should be "future proof" for at least a few years. My Version 1 Canon 70-200/2.8 IS does show its age wide open on the 5D Mk IV. It looked really good at 12.8 Mpx, but shows some softness in the 30Mpx files. Still a great lens, but not what the V II is.
12/30/2017 04:33:55 PM · #14
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by Ja-9:

...I'd like to know what your thoughts are about a "G" Lens vs the older ones...Waddy told me that he calls them "gelded"...that has always stuck with me...but the older versions are heavy like a rock!!! Which I have a love/hate relationship with them...they are solid but ever so heavy!!!


Being a Canon guy, the G lenses were a let-down, 'cause I can't use 'em on my Canon, LOL (no aperture ring). The newest Nikkor 70-200 is one generation newer than the G version. It's technically known as the "AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR" Lens. Personally, if I were without a 70-200 at this point, I would not buy anything but the latest generation. They are designed with higher resolution sensors in mind, and should be "future proof" for at least a few years. My Version 1 Canon 70-200/2.8 IS does show its age wide open on the 5D Mk IV. It looked really good at 12.8 Mpx, but shows some softness in the 30Mpx files. Still a great lens, but not what the V II is.


Good to know...

VII or VIII you refer to both???
12/30/2017 04:36:48 PM · #15
Originally posted by Ja-9:



VII or VIII you refer to both???
VII is latest Canon, VIII (oe E FL ED VR) is latest Nikon.
12/30/2017 04:54:09 PM · #16
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by Ja-9:



VII or VIII you refer to both???
VII is latest Canon, VIII (oe E FL ED VR) is latest Nikon.


ahhhh
12/30/2017 06:31:36 PM · #17
This guy is excellent. You should be able to glean all you need from his information on flash.

Neil Van Niekirk

One tip i learned from a top photographer was bounce the light in the same direction they are facing this allows the light to come back and catch the face nicely.
So if they are facing right bounce the flash over your shoulder to the right.
12/31/2017 11:21:56 AM · #18
If you have not already done so, be sure you have a DETAILED discussion with your niece about her expectations. “To take her wedding photos” is not specific enough, unless you are just gathering candid shots while a professional wedding photographer handles the typical mandatory shots. People can have drastically different ideas about what should be included in “wedding photos.”

Consider meeting with her to gain clarity and maybe start putting together a list of expected images in time sequence and prioritized in order of importance. Get a good idea of what the day would entail from start to end of image making. There are lots of resources about wedding shot lists. Review a typical list together. If she imagines a lot more than you can deliver, find out now while there is still time to change course.

After that discussion, you can evaluate your equipment needs based on the images you need to make. Getting the flash off the camera can improve the lighting a lot, so a flash bracket, or a live helper with flash on a pole ,or having a flash on a light stand (sandbagged) for some shots might be a good idea. If the flash is not wired to the camera, will optical slave work well enough or do you need radio triggers? Bouncing the flash off a ceiling or wall can make a larger effective light source and soften shadows. Consider visiting the places ahead of time to check the placement and color of bounce surfaces. Then consider diffusers, gels, and other modifiers. Remember that weddings often are rare gatherings of remote friends and relatives, making group shots a natural request. Posing groups can be challenging, and might benefit from having someone assigned to help you. And large groups may exceed what a smaller flash can deliver, so set expectations (shots or equipment) accordingly.

Also, for a uniquely important event like a wedding, be sure to have a solid backup plan for every item from camera and lens to flashes. If one fails, use the backup plan without missing a beat. Relying on just one flash could be risky.
12/31/2017 09:00:52 PM · #19
I think you need some serious help. You should fly me out to the wedding, and I can be your second shooter. 😋
01/01/2018 11:16:44 AM · #20
Originally posted by bob350:

If you have not already done so, be sure you have a DETAILED discussion with your niece about her expectations. “To take her wedding photos” is not specific enough, unless you are just gathering candid shots while a professional wedding photographer handles the typical mandatory shots. People can have drastically different ideas about what should be included in “wedding photos.”

Consider meeting with her to gain clarity and maybe start putting together a list of expected images in time sequence and prioritized in order of importance. Get a good idea of what the day would entail from start to end of image making. There are lots of resources about wedding shot lists. Review a typical list together. If she imagines a lot more than you can deliver, find out now while there is still time to change course.

After that discussion, you can evaluate your equipment needs based on the images you need to make. Getting the flash off the camera can improve the lighting a lot, so a flash bracket, or a live helper with flash on a pole ,or having a flash on a light stand (sandbagged) for some shots might be a good idea. If the flash is not wired to the camera, will optical slave work well enough or do you need radio triggers? Bouncing the flash off a ceiling or wall can make a larger effective light source and soften shadows. Consider visiting the places ahead of time to check the placement and color of bounce surfaces. Then consider diffusers, gels, and other modifiers. Remember that weddings often are rare gatherings of remote friends and relatives, making group shots a natural request. Posing groups can be challenging, and might benefit from having someone assigned to help you. And large groups may exceed what a smaller flash can deliver, so set expectations (shots or equipment) accordingly.

Also, for a uniquely important event like a wedding, be sure to have a solid backup plan for every item from camera and lens to flashes. If one fails, use the backup plan without missing a beat. Relying on just one flash could be risky.


I have already had the expectaion talk with her...we are gathering ideas for pictures. I won't be able to have a helper (other than my husband and he does what he can). I'm going to see her at the end of this month or early Feb while we are in Colorado so I will further discuss this with her in person.

How can I put this politely...my brothers family is straight out of a Bohemian book. He and my sister-in-law are true Hippy...and they have raised their children as such....mind you I'm not saying this is a bad thing....

I already expect family portraits to be high on the list. And yes, it's a HUGE family...

And the entire event will probly be totally out doors, in the Mountians of Colorado...not many bouncing surfaces and probably NO electricity at all. I've talked to her about picking the right time of the day for the service...and I should also meantion to her that the direction of light...as that will be key for me. I will have a reflector to help bounce a bit of light but I don't think that will be enough.

Plus I'll be alone in this event...as I don't think that anyone else in the family has the skills to assist me. Wendy, I'd love to take you up on it but I'm doing this as her gift...

I'm confident that I'll get a enough good shots to accomplish what she wants...I will just fill up a few cards that day!!! LOL

Excellent suggestions all around...thank you
01/01/2018 02:13:09 PM · #21
Janine, might be worth asking the niece if any other family members are photographers, even at the amateur level. It would REALLY help to have a second shooter if at all possible, or just someone to help you with your gear. Do have the list of what family portraits you need and make sure the bride and groom build that into the schedule! Right after the ceremony is often the best time - simply corral everyone into the designated space and shoot away. It's like herding cats - you'll have to yell a lot. If you can get a corral-er, someone to help get everyone in place and paying attention, that would be awesome, too.

Don't worry too much about lenses. Don't worry TOO much about flash - just practice with it first. Sounds like fill-flash in natural light will be the predominant use. (See David Terry's stuff on his Facebook page - not sure if he's active here at all anymore, but he's VERY accomplished portrait/wedding guy from DPC.) Don't shoot too shallow for anything other than carefully posed portraits or you run the risk of having too much out of focus. Focus more on just capturing the day. In the end, that's what they'll be happiest with! (It's only we weird photographer nerds who worry about the technical details!)

I've shot several weddings as gifts, many in horrendous lighting conditions (mid-day, full sun - blech!!) but the recipients were happy just the same. Oh, and in group shots, shoot several at a time - not necessarily "burst", but one - two - three. That way you have everyone in relatively the same positions, same lighting conditions, and you can replace heads on those who have their eyes closed or a goofy look. In that same vein, for group shots, you may want to consider a tripod? I'm not great at photoshop, but even I can do that sort of cut and paste thing if the pictures are consistent enough in light and pose.

Have fun!! And it sounds as if they're laid back, which is good. No Bridezilla or Momzilla to deal with. Which is why I'll never shoot weddings as a living. (That, and I'm not a great wedding photographer!)
01/01/2018 04:00:10 PM · #22
Originally posted by Melethia:

Janine, might be worth asking the niece if any other family members are photographers, even at the amateur level. It would REALLY help to have a second shooter if at all possible, or just someone to help you with your gear. Do have the list of what family portraits you need and make sure the bride and groom build that into the schedule! Right after the ceremony is often the best time - simply corral everyone into the designated space and shoot away. It's like herding cats - you'll have to yell a lot. If you can get a corral-er, someone to help get everyone in place and paying attention, that would be awesome, too.

Don't worry too much about lenses. Don't worry TOO much about flash - just practice with it first. Sounds like fill-flash in natural light will be the predominant use. (See David Terry's stuff on his Facebook page - not sure if he's active here at all anymore, but he's VERY accomplished portrait/wedding guy from DPC.) Don't shoot too shallow for anything other than carefully posed portraits or you run the risk of having too much out of focus. Focus more on just capturing the day. In the end, that's what they'll be happiest with! (It's only we weird photographer nerds who worry about the technical details!)

I've shot several weddings as gifts, many in horrendous lighting conditions (mid-day, full sun - blech!!) but the recipients were happy just the same. Oh, and in group shots, shoot several at a time - not necessarily "burst", but one - two - three. That way you have everyone in relatively the same positions, same lighting conditions, and you can replace heads on those who have their eyes closed or a goofy look. In that same vein, for group shots, you may want to consider a tripod? I'm not great at photoshop, but even I can do that sort of cut and paste thing if the pictures are consistent enough in light and pose.

Have fun!! And it sounds as if they're laid back, which is good. No Bridezilla or Momzilla to deal with. Which is why I'll never shoot weddings as a living. (That, and I'm not a great wedding photographer!)


Tripod definitely!!! An lucky me I know there will NOT be a bridezilla or mommazilla...if either get out of line I’ll staple ears back!!!

Lol - “I’m the big voice corraler”...I often have embarrassed my kids at school functions - herding cats/ducks...and I know the relatives pretty well...so that’s a big help in my opinion....

I’ll ask who else daudles in Photography...good idea..

I’ve also heard of a website where people can up load their cellphone pictures...if I can get my hands on those I can and do basic edits n create a set of “candid views”...I just need to find it....hmmmm
01/01/2018 04:34:58 PM · #23
You can create a Facebook group or perhaps use Google Docs to have folks upload their cell phone pictures. Sounds like you have it all well under control!!
01/01/2018 08:37:14 PM · #24
Originally posted by Melethia:

You can create a Facebook group or perhaps use Google Docs to have folks upload their cell phone pictures. Sounds like you have it all well under control!!


Control is my middle name...also Ring Leader...Herder of Cats/Ducks
01/02/2018 10:12:47 AM · #25
Originally posted by RamblinR:

This guy is excellent. You should be able to glean all you need from his information on flash.

Neil Van Niekirk

One tip i learned from a top photographer was bounce the light in the same direction they are facing this allows the light to come back and catch the face nicely.
So if they are facing right bounce the flash over your shoulder to the right.


Excellent link. Thanks.
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