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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

Outdoor Wedding

Hi - I was in Houston last weekend for my oldest-daughter's outdoor wedding. The photographer - who had complete control of Everything - had 4 unmodified Speedlites at each corner of the reception area, probably separated by 100 feet. I asked him what they were for: "background separation" he replied, and told me they were set to 1/32 manual power. He had a flash bracket with his Canon 70D, and a Gary Fong Lightspere. He even lent me one of his Paul C. Buff radio controllers, but unfortunately my Canon 580EX doesn't have a PC connection (seemed a little odd, but it was dark and I couldn't tell, but I could not hook it up to the controller).

Anyway, my question is: for you guys that shoot outdoor nighttime events, is this a technique you use or would consider?

Another question is: How do you handle lighting the people, etc.? I know direct flash is a no-no, and a Gary Fong is denounced as "Tupperware". So what do you do? I tried a couple of high-ISO, no-flash shots, but they really were not good. So I had no choice but to angle my flash head and pull out the little bounce card. They were decent.

Would love to hear thoughts and opinions and ideas and what you do.



  • dbrunodbruno Member
    edited April 2017
    This has little to do with my questions, but I was in error when I wrote my Speedlite didn't have a PC connection - it was the Canon 600D camera I was using.

    Update - now that I've looked at the 70D manual, I have no idea what he connected his radio controller to on the camera.
  • Not sure what the 70D has but if it doesn't have a pc terminal on the side under the rubber, then he probably he had a flash cord with a pc terminal built in to run the on camera (bracket) flash and hook up the transmitter. (or his flash has a pc built in) 

    Perfectly normal to have lights in the corners. I do it all the time at low power (usually 1/4 power or less) and turn on and off as needed. Basically the on camera light works as fill (in my case). It keeps the backgrounds from going black and I like the look of the interesting light patterns it produces. 

  • Hi, Jay - Thanks, and it's nice to hear that this wasn't some oddball-way of doing things. Something I will keep in mind if I have to do any sort of event like this. What do you do with the on-camera flash as far as a modifier?

    In thinking about it, he probably had an on-camera controller with a hot-shoe mount, and what he gave me (and also what was connected to his off-camera flashes) was just a receiver. It actually looked like a mini garage-door opener with a little antenna. The 600D, 70D, and my 6D do not have any kind of connection on them that is called PC.

  • CanonJayCanonJay Member
    edited April 2017

    I just use bounce flash. I rarely use any modifiers. (I do use the black foamy thing method though) He probably was using the Quantum radio slave 4i's. Classic but work good. They do look like a garage door opener. 

    As far as radio triggers, most do have a pc terminal to connect to studio flashes etc....for example if using say the Quantum 4i's you would need the 1/4 plug to pc terminal to use them. or the mini plug to pc to use with your strobe depending on the model. Finally pc terminal to pc terminal to use with shoe mount flash (the flash must have pc terminal) They just dangle there. But I prefer the wire free approach. I have been using the Flashpoint R1 and R2 systems. They have the Lithium battery and no more double AA's. Yay! I also have a a receiver that plugs into strobes. That way I can fire strobes, shoe flashes etc...with just one system. Absolutely brilliant! 
  • Jay - How do you go about using bounce flash in the situation I described - an outdoor wedding, flashes in the corners, and on-camera flash as fill? What do you bounce into if there are no "walls" or "ceilings"?
  • Sorry Dave. I failed to remember you said outdoor wedding. In that case I would use a sto fen or similar if bouncing was an impossibility. Just need a touch of light to lighten shadows if using the other lights also. I have been lucky and had lots of tents in the past couple of years. Also please note: That if it's outdoors and no possibility of bouncing, you will have a harsher lighting as all the sources will be smaller. I have experimented with umbrellas in the corners of outdoor events, but my findings are roughly the same with just barre bulb flashes. The distance makes even the umbrellas a hard light source. 
  • Thanks, Jay. I will be interested in seeing some of this guy's photos using this method.

    On a related note, he used another technique which I really didn't care for, what I refer to as "Miami Herald!!". He would walk along the outside edge of the dance floor during songs that got a lot of people up, raise his camera up as high as he could reach, point downwards, and rapid-fire take as many photos as he could until I'm assuming the flash couldn't keep up (continuous mode on camera I'm assuming). I cannot imagine what his his picture count was at the end of the night. It seemed to me, really, "let me grab 10 shots and hope for at least 1 I can use". I didn't care for it, but everyone has their ways.

  • Personally I like to set the timer and just before it goes off, toss the camera in the air! 

    Joking Joking! Attempt at own risk! 
  • I have a full-time job, and I work 3-4 events a month. I know how much time it takes for me to cull, develop, process, and deliver photos from a 3-4 hour non-wedding event. I deliver in 5 business days.

    I'm sure this guy was a full-time pro, but I cannot fathom how much work he has to do after one of these weddings.
  • I hear you. Very time consuming. I use every shortcut I can to cull and process my images. I am guilty of spending too much time on each image. Lucky for him the candids take less time to work on so that may be his saving grace. I very rarely use burst mode or continuous. I on rare occasion will do that when its a tricky processional or the first kiss. 
  • rs_eosrs_eos Member
    edited April 2017
    Check out 'Canon Explorer of Light' Bob Davis and his 'Triangle of Light' setup.  He's a top wedding photographer and makes heavy use of that setup at receptions.  Premise is that three lights are involved.  The two front lights (front corners of the space) are on ETTL.  The single light (middle of the back area) is on manual.

    The flashes are either bare or have a simple stofen or Gary Fong lightsphere.  These ultimately become mostly hard light sources.  But for Bob's style, he really likes specularity in his images.

    He also tends to crank up the ISO and open aperture wider as needed to keep flash output to a minimum so as not to cause distractions.  Sounds like all four units mentioned above at 1/32 would give you a similar non-distracting setup.

    Although I am curious about why all manual.  Is the photographer shooting also in manual?  If so, I think you'd get different exposures on subjects depending on where they are in the event space (inverse square law).  Bob Davis shoots mostly in manual, but the two units with ETTL will give him similar exposures no matter where he is in the event space.

  • rs: I can't answer what the photographer was doing, if he was shooting in manual, or why the flashes were in manual. With no experience ever seeing a setup like this, I only wanted to know if he was a kook.

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Hi - We got a look at the photos that were available through download. The most important thing is our daughter and new husband loved the photos. These were not advertised as "proofs", and I'm sure if you could order prints, it was more of a "you do what you want with them". There were some things I couldn't understand:

    - There were over 1000 photos, many, many repeats of just about the same shot, random B+Ws thrown in.
    - The JPeg file sizes were huge! It reminds me of when I was first starting in LR, and when I would convert a photo from RAW to JPeg, I put no numbers in the "long edge" and "resolution" boxes, which led to file sizes in the 10-15 MB range. (Now, for screen use, I use 1500 pixels, 150 per inch; for print, I use 3000 and 300, but that's just me)
    - It wasn't that a lot of the photos were not "sharp", but a lot of them looked like he took the "Clarity" slider all the way to the left. Very "pasty" looking. I don't know if he blindly used LR presets.
    - The wedding was April 15th. Given the number of photos "delivered", I can only imagine the number of photos he actually took. It's mind boggling to me they were ready in 2-1/2 weeks. But, from what I can see, his style of "developing" is really not mine.

    As I wrote, my kid is happy - thrilled, actually - so that's all that matters. I would attach a few, but they are huge.

  • I am glad your daughter is thrilled with the photos. Thats the most important thing in the equation. 

     Even though you are unable to show any photographs, I am pretty sure by the file size you mentioned and along with your explanation is that the images had a preset added to them and exported at full size. That would be my guess. Or another idea is that they were exported as jpg large and then something added after the fact, but thats the jist of it. 

    I personally deliver full resolution jpgs myself. Takes a lot of space on thumb drives or downloads, but I like to know they received a high resolution image if needed. I know jpg small would suit most needs but I sleep at night knowing they got the very best quality I can give. 

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Jay - I have a section in my agreement where I ask to discuss how the photos will be used. If people are sharing through email, social media, etc., I go for 150 pixels/inch, 1500 pixels long edge, and 100% quality. When I deliver, I include a note that if they want to print any, send me the numbers and I bump up the resolution. A lot of my customers want photos through Dropbox. When I wasn't specifying the resolution, they took an hour to upload.

    I know it's quality over convenience, but I haven't had an issue since I started doing things this way.

  • Dave,

    I use drop box also for my corporate clients on occasion. I prefer shoot proof. I use them most of the time and you are correct, It takes forever to upload and I pay for upgraded modem speeds to boot. 

    A short story and why I do what I do. A long time ago, I exported and designed three wedding  albums in a week. I Ordered all three and when they came back, the images all look pixelated. I messed up! I exported them all tiny and never noticed until the albums arrived. Cost me like 1500 bucks to correct my mistake. I know better now and alway just export full res and check size with the inspector on my mac. I am a simpleton. I know if I start messing with sizing etc...I will mess up somewhere along the line. Unfortunately I usually rush and its just easier to export originals. If I need to make things smaller, I will do image by image if needed. 

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