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Gazebo Wedding Shoot

edited December 2013 in home
Hey guys,

Need a little advice on an outdoor Wedding which will be held under a Gazebo. Depending on the weather, I'm anticipating lots of shadows. Should I place a flash in the Gazebo and flag the light up,? I know it also depends on the height of the ceiling as well. The Gazebo is at a Beach location so I may have to scout it out, take some gear and do some test shots. This will be my VERY FIRST WEDDING !! OMG!! It's a simple wedding ceremony, nothing elaborate, and a small informal reception afterwards. I guess if you have to do your first wedding and it's not as a second shooter, this small event will and should do nicely. I just want to do it right. I've done many different types of events, Parties, Auto Shows, Boudoir, Cityscape s, and Models, but Weddings aren't one of them. Any advice on possible gear I may need to bring for the shoot would be much appreciated, as well as advice in general. I use a Nikon D7000 and a Sony A77, both crop Sensor Cameras. My lenses, are Nikon 60mm Micro F2.8D, Nikon 35mm F1.8s, Nikon 105mm F2.8 VR, Sigma 14mm F2.8mm, and a Sony 18-50mm F2.8 The two lenses I don't have but am planning on getting before the shoot, which is in May by the way, are the Sigma 85mm F1.4 and the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8. either for my Nikon or my Sony. Yes I use two different systems, that's just me..I can use the lenses from my Nikon on my Sony via an adapter. Some things I like about the Sony such as the 24mp and the ability to crop much more, and other things I like more about the Nikon, such as much better low light performance and AF speed. The cameras are of no significance to me actually. Good Glass, Good technique. period. I know so many of you here do weddings and your advice has always been very informative, and comes from experience. Thanks in advance.

Penn

Comments

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Neil LOVES shooting in Gazebos - says me tongue in cheek. :)

    Penn: Gazebo, full sunlight, full shade, beach, bright skies, white sand; what could possibly go wrong?

    Mate, you are going to have to scout out the place, take a guinea pig along and do LOTS test shots.

    If you are able, and can maybe strap a light on a monopod inside somewhere [maybe to one of the posts holding up the roof] behind you with flash lighting up one side and using speedlight on camera facing the other [bounce], you may stand a chance of equaling daylight/shade. Or even if you have two off-cam which will help immensely.

    If you are *really* lucky, the inside of the gazebo will be white, giving lots room to reflect light. Worst case scenario it's made of timber with really 'nice' timber ceiling, you are in for a torrid time, not only because of the dark timber, but worse, the WB will be severely affected by that timber with light coming off.

    The only other thing, maybe, if you have off-cam light and a softbox [small] set off to one side a bit, you might be able to use direct light.

    Hope you have extra external battery packs attached, you will be chewing through the power like crazy.

    You most certainly cannot over-expose the background, otherwise the whole feel of that beach wedding will be lost.

    You will be at ISO 100, Shutter 200th, Aperture f11 or maybe if lucky go down to f9 or even f8, pray for a cloudy overcast day!

    Go and scout it out Penn, take lots tests. Wish you all the very best.

    Oh, speaking from experience, I had to opt for a monopod with Quantum light on strapped to the inside of a support post and on camera flash bounced, at a beach wedding a few years back.

    Hint: If you have an off-cam flash, make sure you position it on *your* camera right, because if you orientate your camera into the portrait position, (counter clock-wise) your on-camera flash will be best suited to bounce from your left. Experience taught me that years back sad to say.
  • Trev said: Hint: If you have an off-cam flash, make sure you position it on *your* camera right, because if you orientate your camera into the portrait position, (counter clock-wise) your on-camera flash will be best suited to bounce from your left. Experience taught me that years back sad to say.
    Trev,

    You confused with me with the orientation of my camera in portrait mode. When I shoot in portrait mode. I physically turn the camera to my right. So flash will be over my right shoulder. Or are you saying I should turn my camera to my left and bounce the flash up and behind my left shoulder. In either case, should I flag the Flash with BFT?
    I see I'm def going to have to take the hour trip to the shoot site, but I knew that already. I have a 2' X 2' softbox I can mount to a monopod and then to a beam as you suggested...Using the softbox as direct lighting...you mean sort of as a keylight? perhaps at a 45 degree angle off camera left or right? Seems daunting but once I get there and take some test shots with flash I'll figure it out I suppose. If I'm lucky, as you stated it will be cloudy/overcast day. I have all the way until May to get it worked out. I'm sure I'll be asking many more questions between now and then. You guys will get sick of me! LOL Thanks again Trev

  • edited December 2013
    Would video led lights solve a lot of the problems associated with this type of shoot? I was actually in a wedding of a relatives this past fall and it was in a Gazebo. The Photographer was using a Nikon D90 with a camera bracket so he could elevate the flash, with had a standard clip on diffuser. It was a VERY sunny day, not at the beach mind you, and he had no external flashes, sofboxes or lighting of any kind. I wasn't going to ask him to see any of his shots, granted, but I'd love to see how it turned out. Also, just thought of something that could be worse on this shoot...What does one do if ceremony takes place later in the afternoon. Sun, low in the sky. and Bride/Groom are in Gazebo facing the sun? OMG!! Hey, silhouetted wedding shots!. I'll start a new artsy trend. LOL
  • edited December 2013
    Trev said: If you are able, and can maybe strap a light on a monopod inside somewhere [maybe to one of the posts holding up the roof] behind you with flash lighting up one side and using speedlight on camera facing the other [bounce], you may stand a chance of equaling daylight/shade. Or even if you have two off-cam which will help immensely.
    That sounds like a ton of light under the gazebo Trev. So you're saying two monopods, both with flashes mounted on them one to my left, flash pointing up and over my left shoulder, and other flash on monopod on my right, flash pointed up over my right shoulder? AND one mounted on camera as well? Couldn't even begin to think what power setting I'd have to manually put those flashes in. Can you say overpower the SUN??? :-)
    All very confusing so much light in a small space Trev. Trying to get a handle on this and a mental picture. I guess, I'll have to wait a few weeks or days before the shoot and as you stated, do a lot of testing with a friend to determine best action, once I know the time Of day this will happen. I'm thinking the video LEDs might just be the trick. Thoughts?

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Penn,

    99% of people I know when doing portraits, turn camera to the left, right hand over the top, I never use the bottom shutter, as I have to change my hand positioning and therefore I can orientate easily from Landscape to Portrait.

    Light, overpower the sun. You had better believe it, you will need a ton of flash to equal the beach scene, in fact you probably would be at f13 if it's a really bright day.

    Up to you if you use off-camera flash, and I only said monopods as having lightstands would be very cumbersome and unsightly if legs in view, as you would also need to come right back, take an overall shot of the whole gazebo and if you have two lights strapped behind posts on monopods, you will not see anything protruding out hopefully, plus you will have power then.

    Settings for the lights, that's entirely up to you as to what you have re off-camera flashes.

    I certainly would think at least 1/2 power + if just speedlights.

    I use around the 320W lights, and I am around 1/2+ power in the outdoors [no gazebo] and around 6-7 meters back so they don't intrude on guests.

    Video lights would barely make any difference Penn, they would hardly light up their eye sockets let alone a full wide spectrum of a group, totally inadequate in daylight, let alone trying to equal sun, plus they have a massive fall-off anyway. No you need something strong.

    Re flagging with BFT, you would need to test, as sometimes when I am in a gazebo and still have to achieve the f9 aperture even, I will forgo the BFT, zoom the flash head in to maximum be it 120mm or 200mm and hope for a bigger bounce.

    If the wedding is late, facing sun, well you certainly can create some great shots, and 'most certainly' do the silhouette shots.
    penndragonn2001 said: All very confusing so much light in a small space Trev.
    Nope, you will be very surprised at just how much you will need, trust me.

    You will almost certainly need a minimum of 1 off-cam and 1 on-cam flash. Remember, if you have a ton of light, you can dial them down and get great recycle times, won't miss important shots, but, if you don't have enough light and need to compensate with ISO/Aperture with flash at full power, you will miss shots waiting for recycling.

    Test and test, is my advice. Oh, make sure you test at the time the ceremony is also and reasonably close to the day so you don't have surprises where sun is, brightness, etc.


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Here is sample of where I shoot a lot.

    Sun is generally to my left [as you can see], it's bright sky/sun, bright background.

    They are standing in shade, palm fronds overhead, backs to sun, and even with groomsmen facing the sun they are really in FULL shade because of the trees.

    I have 2 lights set up left/right around 6-7 meters back. No diffuser, full blast, PLUS I still have my speedlight to augment the lights. This was shot at ISO 100, Shutter 1/200th, f11 and shot at 1.41 pm, so really bright.

    Off-cam flashes set to around 1/2 + 1/3rd, only 2/3rds down from full and they are around 320Ws.

    Speedlights are only around 75-80Ws.

    I have to have the lights crossing over @ 45 degrees, since the positioning of the bridal party, horseshoe shape, and if you look at the left bridesmaid arm you can see it's lit up from the left light which is pointing to the groomsmen.

    So, yep, if bouncing to meet those conditions of light you will need a truckload of light.

    Even with my set up I cannot fire rapidly, with around 1.2 secs recycling time but I can get away with it by timing the shots.

    This also was shot wide angle and you need to be able to light up the people properly.

    image
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    to show the full position, here is a pull back shot later in the day showing the couple and all the trees/shade.

    this was shot later in the afternoon, around 4.15 pm, ISO 100, 1/200th, f9.

    image
  • edited December 2013
    Trev,

    Wow, you laid it out completely and thoroughly! Thank you so much! I will let you know when the time comes after my test shots in May. Excellent! Nice Pics!

    Last questions, for now! :-) Trev, If shooting outdoors, for any event, why exactly does one even need to overpower the sun anyway. All of my experience so far has been with indoor shots, with the exception of Auto Shows that were outdoors...I didn't even need flash except to take out shadows...With so much sunlight, why the need for any additional flash/strobes, etc other then to eliminate shadows? And, what about using the 300-500 bank of LED video lights, will this work in a shaded Gazebo?
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    penndragonn2001 said: If shooting outdoors, for any event, why exactly does one even need to overpower the sun anyway.
    You certainly need lots of power if they have their backs to full fun. Difference between sun on their backs and their faces in shade would be a conservative of 3 stops.

    Many people are amazed when I rock up with 2 off-cam and 1 speedlight, and they even ask, 'but it's full sun, why?'

    I take the shot [usually with their backs to the sun] and show them the back of LCD, and their jaws drop, amazed at the difference, especially when I show them a shot [no lights] exposed 'correctly' for the background couple are that black.

    So much for a wedding photog I ran into last week at the same park when shooting, and he stopped and asked why all the flash power, that he's an 'available light shooter' and I stole Neil's saying in a thread there with a light set up, I merely held up the lights, said they are 'available' and I will use them.

    Even with a speedlight on camera shooting back against a couple in a outdoor ceremony, as they walk down, I am usually at +3.0 ev on speedlight to compensate.

    Now, that is obviously because of shooting against the light, if sun is on them, then the flash is like you say, a little bit of blip to help fill eye sockets.

    LED lights, if you have massive amounts, maybe. But they need to be damn powerful and lots of the little suckers.
  • Trev said: So much for a wedding photog I ran into last week at the same park when shooting, and he stopped and asked why all the flash power, that he's an 'available light shooter' and I stole Neil's saying in a thread there with a light set up, I merely held up the lights, said they are 'available' and I will use them.
    I love that! Thanks for all the great advice. Your followup and description are dead on Trev. Thank you sir.

  • Here is a diff situation but still fairly bright sunlight hitting the gazebo. Also, this is from the days of learning my new fangled pocket wizards so bear with the photo...lol..

    I had an sb800 in a white umbrella, otherwise it was nearly dark inside the gazebo.

    Trev, beautiful shots!

    image
  • Great shot MikeZ. good exposure on both foreground and background. MY upcoming shoot will be at the beach.If it's a really bright sunny day, you know I'm gonna have issues, but you guys with all your help from years of experience should take a lot of the worry out of the equation. You'd hate to ruin a couples special day.
  • great shots posted..and best of luck penndragonn!
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Mike, cute and nice shot.

    It's also where you could have even opened up the aperture more if you had to to get more power [obviously you had room/time/space] as the background is pretty dark and and a slightly more over-exposure of it would not matter in the slightest.

    Penn, will have to deal with lots more light if it's sunny because of the very nature of the background.

    The only saving grace also I forgot Penn is the location of the sun. If it happens to be behind you, ie the background is 180 degrees from the sun, that will be the darkest part of the sky and you could open up aperture slightly more also.

    Actually MIke's photo for you Penn to observe of what you would be dealing with as you can see the 'fall-off' of light at the top corners and sides from being close and in an umbrella, so now imagine trying to get a wide group shot of a wedding party, celebrant/official, you are going to need those lights.
  • That shaded treed background will be totally different from what I'm expecting at the beach. Lighting will be a challenge, but with all the help, we'll get through it!
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2013
    penndragonn2001 said: That shaded treed background will be totally different from what I'm expecting at the beach. Lighting will be a challenge, but with all the help, we'll get through it!
    Yep, and I just edited my post above to reflect that Penn in case you saw the original post and you had posted before I saw yours.

    You have to just think methodically, try to ignore what's around you, concentrate on what's in front of you, the bridal party and background.
  • Thanks Trev,

    Have loads of time to get it right once weather breaks in spring/Summer to get it correct. I'm sure I'll have more questions between now and then. Thanks to all.
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