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Photography Question 
Joanne L. 
 

Digital Wedding Photography


What type of flash do I need to use for wedding photos?


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8/11/2005 3:18:28 PM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Three factors are required for a good professional wedding flash:
- Portability
- Power
- Separate battery packs capable of quick recycling times, and loooooong life between charges.
If you are serious about a wedding flash, look into the high-end units made by Metz, Norman, and Quantum.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net


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8/11/2005 5:42:58 PM

 
Maria Melnyk   You didn't specify what kind of camera you have. Even your lenses come into play since some flashes cover only a certain zoom range. (However, don't be concerned with this too much, but just as an example, if you use a very wide angle, you might get light fall-off at the corners if your flash doesn't offer wide-angle coverage. And, on the other end, if your flashhead zooms only to 80mm or so and you're using a 135mm lens or longer, your coverage and exposure will be fine, but you'll be wasting power.)

That said, if you're in need of purchasing a flash for weddings, you will need at least two. You absolutely must have a spare. The easiest ones to use that offer the most features are the TTL dedicated units. I'd recommend first buying your Camera brand's top flash, such as the Canon 580EX if you have a Canon camera, or Nikon's SB28 -- if that the latest model (I own a Canon.) Try that out, learn how to use and adjust it thoroughly, and then either purchase another one or go with one of the brands suggested above.

If you own an older, manual camera, you'll be fine with the Vivitar 283, as long as you know how to adjust the flash with any change of aperture setting on your lens. (The dedicated units mentioned above do this automatically.) Also, the newest flash units have what's called E-TTL-II exposure (Canon's term), meaning that you don't have to adjust your flash exposure when you go from a white wedding dress to a black tuxedo.

Also, do not have your flash mounted directly on the camera. You must either have it on a bracket (with a cord attached), or bounce it off of something. If you don't do this you will get ugly, non-professional shadows for vertical shots, and red-eye and flatter lighting for horizontal shots.


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8/16/2005 10:44:02 AM

 
Rachael A. Collins   Brackets... I don't normally use one outdoors. I just didn't think you need one in that situation. Besides, I always feel like I have less control of my camera if it's on a bracket. But I save that for indoor use. Any thoughts?


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9/6/2005 7:37:45 AM

 
Maria Melnyk   You can get by without a bracket, but you need to do something to eliminate side shadows from vertical photos. You cannot take those with straight on-camera flash. I sometimes don't use a bracket when doing snapshots just for myself, but then I bounce the flash off the ceiling.
I use a bracket because it's easier. Even outdoors. To me that's easier, but different things work for different people. In either case, it will make you look more like a professional.


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9/6/2005 8:11:27 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Maria, I haven't used a bracket in a long time, and I don't get shadows either. The shadow thing is a myth, if you really think about it. Just bounce. There is always something to bounce from.

And my opinion about a phtoographer with a bracket...well, professional is not the word I would use. I tend to think more along the lines that they don't really know how to use flash and therefore just put it up on a bracket. It's not always the case, but 9 times out of ten, it's dead right on.

If you enjoy the height, just hold the flash in your hand. This way you get more control and height.

I try to be as unobtrusive as possible. I was telling my clients that I was shooting PJ, then showing up with a bracket and big lenses with lens hood, what a joke. How can you be PJ with that kind of set up? Anyway, I've learned alot since then, and use absolute minimal equipment and do a better job now than I ever have.

Using flash is not about getting the light up high, it's about understanding where the light needs to be and getting it there. Usually just kissing the subject with flash is enough. The ambient light does the rest for me.


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9/8/2005 5:10:12 AM

 
Maria Melnyk   Hi, Jerry. I'm well aware that flashes can be bounced, and I do a lot of that too. I carry one camera with a flash mounted on a bracket and the other camera does not have a bracket attached. I was referring to newer photographers who take a vertical photo with a flash mounted directly on the camera. With the whole thing turned to the side you will get side shadows.

I am more of a traditional photographer, with only some PJ. This is what most of the studios I work for require of me. Plus, they require their photographers to shoot with a bracket. When I do my own weddings, though, I have a little bit more control, and make more use of the ambient light.

Sorry I didn't clarify that sooner.


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9/8/2005 11:17:20 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Jerry, I have to disagree with you here.

"Just bounce. There is always something to bounce from."

Not necessarily. Sometimes the ceiling is too tall, the wrong color, textured, or the wall too far away, etc.

"And my opinion about a phtoographer with a bracket...well, professional is not the word I would use. I tend to think more along the lines that they don't really know how to use flash and therefore just put it up on a bracket. It's not always the case, but 9 times out of ten, it's dead right on."

The results are what make a professional, not the equipment.

"If you enjoy the height, just hold the flash in your hand. This way you get more control and height."

While holding a 4 lb. camera? It's a lot easier to have the flash on a bracket.

"I try to be as unobtrusive as possible. I was telling my clients that I was shooting PJ, then showing up with a bracket and big lenses with lens hood, what a joke. How can you be PJ with that kind of set up?"

Photojournalists used to use a 4x5 Speed Graphic with flash bulbs (many, many years ago) and they were professional. Again, it is the results that count, not the equipment.

"Anyway, I've learned alot since then, and use absolute minimal equipment and do a better job now than I ever have."

No arguement here. Each person picks his/her own equipment and way to shoot.

"Using flash is not about getting the light up high, it's about understanding where the light needs to be and getting it there. Usually just kissing the subject with flash is enough. The ambient light does the rest for me."

Agree with you here.


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9/8/2005 1:15:28 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Hey Kerry, you probably caught that I'm not a fan of the bracket.

Whenever someone says, 'but it makes you look more professional', I have to respond. I hear people say that all the time when explaining why they may use a power booster, or a vertical grip, or a bracket, or more tricks or gadgets. Meanwhile, some of the best photojournalists in the world use tiny little silent Leicas with a 50mm lens and take pictures that make your jaw drop. I guess these guys are not professional...
http://www.jeffascough.com or http://www.paulfgero.com

Both these guys hardly use flash at all, and when they do, it's absolutely necessary. And, they defintely don't use a bracket. Hell, I heard Jeff say that he doesn't even like to use a sunshade because it draws too much attention.


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9/8/2005 3:28:48 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I agree with you there. The results, not the appearance is what counts. Nobody knows that Leica is a $4,000.00 investment but it sure does produce results in the right hands. I use a bracket because it makes my job easier.


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9/8/2005 7:52:13 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Kerry, LOL, which is why I don't ;)


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9/8/2005 9:30:56 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Man, I wish we could shoot one together. We would have a ball!

Back when I started shooting (with a Yachicamat TLR) if you wanted flash, you had to have a bracket and a pc cord. I shot my first wedding with a Rollei TLR (again with a bracket and pc cord) and later used a Mamiya C33 (still no hot shoe) so I got used to a bracket.

BTW, for you youngsters, pc had nothing to do with a personal computer. Back then, the closest anyone came to having a personal computer was a slide rule (don't ask). LOL


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9/9/2005 6:59:38 AM

 
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