23 Dec 2014

Some technical challenges (and my solutions to them) experiences during photographing a wedding

It is time to catch up a bit with my notes on the photographic journey. In this post (being continuation of part 1 and part 2) I'll give some examples of the technical challenges I saw, together with my solution to them.

1. Low light, moody scene

That was one of my primary concerns. It's because the couple planned a very important moment during the ceremony that started with... complete darkness. Guests were standing in a room, handling small candles in their hands (not enlighten yet). The couple walked in a room with a candle and gave a light to each quest. So gradually the whole room become enlighten by a 'travelling candle light'. It was beautiful, very symbolic and powerful ceremony. And challenging to capture it right. To make it right I have taken some precautions:
- I ensured a right spot for shooting: by putting a small stair-ladder in the corner of the room I placed myself beyond the heads of other guests. So I ensured the clarity of view
- I ensured the full control about the exposure. Therefore I used a light meter in incident mode, before the ceremony started. I simply took a candle, put a light meter in the distance of 50-60 centimeters from it, directed the incident meter in the direction of the candle. Took a measure. This 50-60 centimeters was my estimation of the distance between a candle held by the couple in front of them and their faces. Measured exposure was the one I was intended to use. Then I put my camera in the manual mode with the settings given by the light meter. I liked the effect:

2.  Fast changing scenes

This is just given. While the ceremony in church is predictable, things at the reception might be surprising every now and then. And I had to be prepared. To deal with it I was walking with two cameras. One equipped with 24-70 mm lens, another with 70-200mm lens. Just to be able to cover as much as possible with the optical range. The disadvantage of such approach is weight to carry but at the end it paid off.

3. Unattractive light

Something to always take into account. I have used an extra light source, being speedlight flash which I placed on a monopod who was carried by my assistant. To trigger it I have used the radio triggers from PocketWizard (FlexTT-5 system for Nikon). I must say it worked very well. I practically didn't miss any shot. And I have much more flexibility in comparison to the iTTL system of Nikon.

4. Getting the right content for a photo album

This last one is on a boundary between technical and 'human-related' one. When taking the assignment I had the end product in mind, being a photo album (which was meant as a wedding gift for the couple). So I had to produce a content that fits well into such album. The thing was that the couple was not so keen on taking much of the extra effort to organise a separate session. To solve it I took an 'easy going' approach (betting that it would work): I suggested (without specifying a time frame) just a small walk during the ceremony to a location nearby the wedding venue. Luckily they didn't know that there was a nice, long pier going into the sea. So they got curious about the location and I had a few nice shots.