Thursday, October 25, 2012

How I Got The Shot #34 - Wedding in Olde Gahanna Sanctuary

I had the pleasure of shooting another wedding at the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary recently.  It is a such a great location!  We did a VisualOhio story about the Sanctuary, which you can read HERE.

In this installment of "how I got the shot, we are going to look at some pretty basic techniques and why we used them.

Read more after the break...

Creative Process:
We talked with the bride a few times in person and via email on what it was she wanted.  She and the bridal party had plenty of great ideas of how they would like for their day to be recorded.
In the sanctuary, they wanted the beautiful stain glass windows to be the backdrop to the ceremony and I needed to make sure that I incorporated that into some of the images.

The bride and groom also have a very playful nature, so we wanted to make sure that we captured that as well.

The sanctuary is very rustic inside, and has very few lights, relying more on the daylight coming in from the windows to illuminate the interior.  This required us to use speed lights, strategically placed to be able to get the windows exposed properly, and keep the bridal party within the same dynamic range.

The formal portraits and after ceremony were at a local park just down the street, and it was a beautiful sunlit day.  Flashes were not required, only a smattering of fill from a white reflector.

Olde Gahanna Sanctuary & Creekside Park, Gahanna, Ohio.

Nikon D300/D700
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D, Nikon 24mm f/2.8, Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D
Nikon SB-28/SB-26 - bare - bounced into the ceiling

EXIF Info:
Sanctuary Images
     Manual Mode - 1/250th @ f/4 ISO 400
     Camera quality setting - RAW
     ("grab shots")
     Aperture priority ranged from f/2.8-f/4 and ISO up to 2500
Formal/Outdoor Portraits
     Aperture priority - ranged from f/4 - f/11 depending on shot - ISO 200

Lighting Setup(Sanctuary):
As mentioned previously, the bride and groom were going to be backlit by the large stained glass windows.  To expose them properly without flash assistance would mean that I would lose the exposure of the windows behind them and not get the shots that the bride was looking for in our talks.

Because there were items hanging from the ceiling(lights and streamers) I had to angle the speedlights carefully to not get any harsh shadows.  Also, the ceiling is quite high, so I needed to do a few things. First, I zoomed the flash head in to 50mm and I needed to use a 1/2 power setting.  Knowing this, I needed to make sure that I did not over shoot the lights as it might take up to 3 seconds to recycles after taking 2 shots.
for those who do not know - a speedlight charges it's capacitors as if it needs to fire off at full power.  If you use a 1/2 power setting, the flash can fire twice before needing to recharge the capacitors from the batteries.  So, shooting at 1/4 power gives you 4 pops, 1/16 gives you  16 get the idea.

I angled the lights from the left and the right so that the light would cover the entire wedding party.  In actuality, this setup covered the whole front part of the sanctuary.
This gave us some breathing room and allowed for wider shots if we so desired them.

That allowed us to get these kinds of shots(as well as the shot at the beginning of the post):

Here are some examples of the outside images we created either with the ambient light only or a kicker from a white reflector.  We just wanted to fill in any hard shadows with a little bit of fill.  The reflector did the trick - no need to add in a speed light of any kind.

This image below, in particular, saw the use of the reflector - camera right.

And just for good measure - sometimes the light coming into the sanctuary is just so good - you use it "as is" for this great shot of the wedding cake.

So, always remember - be smart and use the tools to get what you want or to solve a problem.  Just because you have a flash unit with you doesn't mean it has to be used.

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