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Subject: "speed light settings for wedding reception" Previous topic | Next topic
spyder08 Gold Member Nikonian since 30th Oct 2012Sat 25-May-13 08:07 PM
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"speed light settings for wedding reception"


Kenosha, US
          

I will be shooting a wedding reception and in the film days I used 125s shutter speed and set flash to manual f stop to distance. I would like to still shoot at 125s but let the camera flash combo set f-stop. If I use shutter speed priority will the camera do the rest?
thanks
Brian

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
25th May 2013
1
Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
hujiie Silver Member
25th May 2013
2
Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography
26th May 2013
3
Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
mel_klim Silver Member
30th May 2013
4
Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography
30th May 2013
5
     Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
mel_klim Silver Member
30th May 2013
6
Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
AAHNikon Gold Member
04th Jun 2013
7
     Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography
04th Jun 2013
8
          Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
mel_klim Silver Member
05th Jun 2013
9
               Reply message RE: speed light settings for wedding reception
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography
05th Jun 2013
10

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 25-May-13 10:50 PM
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#1. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

If by "rest" you mean that it will pick a suitable aperture and then the flash illuminates? Yes. But there are two "gotcha's." First is the definition of "suitable." What actually happens is that there are two entirely separate meter readings being taken when you press the shutter release. The first one is the ambient reading, taken WITHOUT the flash. It's what you see in the viewfinder. In S mode with 1/125th set, what you'll get is the aperture suited to 1/125th, the current ISO - WITHOUT the flash. Then the iTTL pre-flash metering pulse fires, and the flash meter reading is taken. Assuming that you're in TTL mode, the flash will now read the intended subject (using the distance information returned from the lens) and, given the shutter speed, aperture and ISO, will set the flash exposure to "normal." This may or may not be what you expect.

In extreme cases, the flash may do almost nothing. For example, if you shot your 1/125th, ISO 200 outdoors in the afternoon, you'll probably get f/11 - and there's enough light to expose the frame properly even with no flash, so the flash probably fires at minimum intensity. If you then walk inside the church, you may find that the ambient exposure might be 1/125th, f/2.8, ISO 200 - and four stops of underexposure. OK, no problem, the flash will fire enough to add 4 stops, and you'll get a normal exposure. Or anything in between, depending on your lighting conditions and ISO. (What happens if you use auto ISO, I don't know. Too many variables for my brain to figure out. I just don't ever do that.)

The practical impact of this is that depending on your ambient lighting levels, your 1/125th may be an excellent choice - or it might not. I guess 1/125th is probably fast enough to avoid most flash blur, but consider what happens at the reception, on the dance floor. You may have cases where there's enough light to get a proper exposure without the flash, particularly if there are spotlights on the dancing couple and you have a fast lens. Then 1/125th might not really be enough shutter speed to stop the motion, so then you'll get motion blur. (With a longer focal length you might also get photographer shake too.) In particularly odd cases you may get the blur and also enough flash to freeze the subject partially! This can be a very cool effect if that's what you're trying for, but ideally you'd be doing it intentionally rather than getting it by accident.

The bottom line is that yes, you can get a "proper" exposure if you do as you propose. Because of the way the two metering systems interact, you may or may not get what you're expecting, and you almost certainly aren't in full control of your output without understanding precisely what they're going to do. Back in film days there weren't any meter readings per se - you were doing the flash computation and probably you weren't really taking into account the ambient light, so the exposures varied, possibly by a fair amount. (I know that's what happened to me.)

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

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hujiie Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2009Sat 25-May-13 11:59 PM
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#2. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 26-May-13 12:01 AM by hujiie

US
          

It is my way but for digital, the most important is “focus” and I would like to have as high shutter speed as I can. Then the rest can be mended by PP.

When I do wedding receptions, which are typically dimmer lightings especially when dancing starts, I use TTL for speedlights and camera manual with 1/200 – 1/250, F 2.8 – 4.5 (5.6 if I am lucky) and high ISO (1250-1600 as normal and if absolutely necessary go up to as much as 3200). But for me ISO is the most important adjustment parameter including amount of ambient lights. Also if the light is not enough, I add flash compensations (not camera aperture comp).

Normally, for reception, my starting setting would be:

Camera Manual with
f 3.2 -4.0, 1/250, ISO 1250

On camera Speedlight: TTL
24-70 / 14-24 with Lightsphere
70-200 Bounce with card attached

www.hitoshiujiie.com/photography.html

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSun 26-May-13 08:28 PM
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#3. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I will be shooting a wedding reception and in the film days I
>used 125s shutter speed and set flash to manual f stop to
>distance. I would like to still shoot at 125s but let the
>camera flash combo set f-stop. If I use shutter speed priority
>will the camera do the rest?
>thanks
>Brian

I also have shot weddings since the film days. I'm retired now, but still shoot some events.

For receptions in typical low artificial ambient conditions, I recommend Camera Manual mode set to 1/80th, f/4.5, fixed ISO400, the flash in regular TTL with a diffuser pointed straight up and set to -0.7 FEC. This makes the flash primary and allows the flash metering system to handle the entire exposure.

1/80th shutter will stop the typical motion at a reception, minimizing ghosting, and will allow the brightest backgrounds possible.

The f/4.5 is a compromise to allow the most flash operating distance while providing enough depth of field for small groups. However, when shooting a group, I would try to use f/5.6 or even f/8 to get more depth of field, if the ceiling was low enough for a strong enough bounce. I also used a Gary Fong light sphere diffuser, which gives enough direct light to get good exposures in rooms with really high ceilings.

The -0.7 FEC will minimize blowouts when the subject's clothing is dark (especially black or red). Women with red hair and reddish skin also are very susceptible to face blow outs.

I have shot hundreds of receptions with these settings, and I often got 100% usable images. Quite a few would be underexposed, but you can recover up to two stops in post processing if you shoot raw. On the other hand, you can't fix a blowout, so you have to guard again it. In the film days, we didn't have to worry about blowouts, because the nonlinear aspects of film protected us. In digital Active D-Lighting attempts to duplicate that characteristic of film, but I have found it not to work that well, so I leave it turned off and prevent blowouts by reducing FEC.

Russ
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberThu 30-May-13 05:25 PM
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#4. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 3


Los Angeles, US
          

Hi Russ

I shoot with a D4 during family events. Any disadvantge, beside noise, when shooting at a higher ISO (1600) during a reception?

BTW, I am also retired and spending more time in photography than when I was working.

Mel

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberThu 30-May-13 06:43 PM
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#5. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 4


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Hi Russ
>
>I shoot with a D4 during family events. Any disadvantge,
>beside noise, when shooting at a higher ISO (1600) during a
>reception?
>
>BTW, I am also retired and spending more time in photography
>than when I was working.
>
>Mel

Hi Mel,

The big problem with using a high ISO for shooting weddings is that it lets in too much ambient light that does not match the color of the flash.

Then, with regular TTL, you will have a high probability of overexposure, since regular TTL assumes that the flash will be supplying all the light for the exposure, and it will add to the ambient.

This is why you should always underexpose the ambient by two to three stops and use regular TTL with the camera in Manual mode. The normal settings are 1/80, f/4.5, ISO 400. It would take very different settings to underexpose the ambient by three stops with ISO1600.

Russ
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberThu 30-May-13 07:24 PM
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#6. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 5


Los Angeles, US
          

Thx for the comment. Always learn something from your postings.

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AAHNikon Gold Member Nikonian since 21st Jan 2009Tue 04-Jun-13 06:45 PM
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#7. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 3


Tempe, US
          

Russ,

What is FEC? Also, the Gary Fong instructions suggest setting ISO to 800 and the camera to P or programmed auto. What are your reasons for overriding these recommendations?

Thanks,

Allen

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberTue 04-Jun-13 07:33 PM
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#8. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 7


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>What is FEC? Also, the Gary Fong instructions suggest setting
>ISO to 800 and the camera to P or programmed auto. What are
>your reasons for overriding these recommendations?
>
>Thanks,
>
>Allen

Hi Allen,

FEC=Flash Exposure Compensation (the setting on the back of the flash).

I can't tell you why Gary Fong recommends what he does. I suspect he is trying to standardize it across all camera types.

When shooting flash, the brightness of the ambient light determines the modes you use on your flash and camera. Remember that in this thread, we have been talking only about shooting a wedding reception, which typically has low ambient artificial conditions.

Also, at the typical reception the artificial light doesn't match the color of the flash.

Therefore the main goal of flash photography under these conditions is to eliminate the ambient on the subject and let the Regular TTL flash metering system handle the entire exposure. To do this, you have to set your camera to underexpose the ambient by two to three stops. This is best handled in camera Manual mode. I have found that a good starting point is 1/80th, f/4.5, and ISO 400. You have to make sure the flash is in Regular TTL and not TTL-BL. You could use ISO 800, but then the shutter should be 1/160th to give the same exposure.

The reason P mode is a bad idea for indoors under artificial light is that it will typically set the shutter at 1/60th which I have found is often too slow and will allow some of the ambient light to affect the subject. Then the flash and the ambient to mix on the subject, which can cause serious white balance problems.

The other problem with P mode is that ambient portion of the exposure adds to the flash often causing overexpose. Remember that the regular TTL flash doesn't know anything about the ambient light, so it determines how much flash power is needed assuming it is in a pitch dark room. In other words, when shooting Regular TTL, the system will calculate exactly the same flash power in a bright room as a dark room.

For lots more detail, I invite you to read my flash articles in order, beginning here:
http://nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com/2008/01/nikon-flash-two-separate-metering.html

Russ
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberWed 05-Jun-13 03:53 PM
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#9. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 8


Los Angeles, US
          

Would the flash be firing nearly full power when following your settings of f4.5 and ISO 400? So recycling time would be at the maximum time using my SB900.

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberWed 05-Jun-13 04:28 PM
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#10. "RE: speed light settings for wedding reception"
In response to Reply # 9


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Would the flash be firing nearly full power when following
>your settings of f4.5 and ISO 400? So recycling time would be
>at the maximum time using my SB900.

Yes and no.

The flash power is determined by the distance to the subject, as well as the camera settings. Using a higher ISO will allow the flash more range, but it also reduces the quality of the images. With the latest crop of DSLR's, the noise performance is often good enough to allow ISO 800 without significant reduction in quality, but ISO 400 will always be better.

As long as you set the camera to underexpose the ambient by two stops, you will get a proper flash power setting no matter what shutter speed/ISO combination you use, and a higher ISO and higher shutter will increase the maximum flash range, as well as decrease the flash power for close shots. I recommend using ISO 400, strictly because it seems to be the best compromise between quality and flash range.

Also, it is important to understand that aperture affects both the ambient contribution and the flash power, but the shutter speed (in regular sync mode) only affects the ambient contribution. Therefore, the aperture should be set to the widest setting you can use that will still give you enough depth of field needed for your shot. I recommend f/4.5, because it seems to be the best compromise that will allow enough depth of field for small groups while still achieving a reasonable flash range even while bouncing the flash off the ceiling. If you stop the aperture down much below about f/5.6, you will restrict your flash range to just a few feet (assuming you are using a ceiling bounce).

Russ
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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