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Photography Question 
Jess  Smith

Lighting in Church - No Flash

The church at which I will be shooting a wedding does not allow flash. The wedding will be in the evening. Does anyone have any tips? Please help!

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12/12/2006 12:42:04 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  If you are shooting film, you will need faster film, like ISO 800. Your images will be grainier, but you don't really have much choice. If you are shooting digital, you will need to set your camera's ISO higher, probably to 800. Your images will be noisier, but again, you will have to live with it and try to correct the noise in post-processing. How noisy your images are will depend a great deal on what camera you are using.
In either case, you will need to use fast lenses, with a max aperture of f/2.8 or better.
A monopod may help keep your camera steady, since you will still probably be dealing with fairly slow shutter speeds. I don't recommend a tripod - it's just not practical when you are moving around a lot at a wedding.
Chris A. Vedros

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12/12/2006 1:00:30 PM

Bob Fately   Chris makes good points, Jess - you might also try asking the pastor (or whomever) if perhaps you could take shots of the bride, groom and family after the ceremony. Somtimes the "no flash" rule has to do with the elders not wanting the patrons disturbed by the light - and often they will allow flash after the service is over. On the other hand, if the rule exists because of concern that the artwork on the walls will fade more quickly when exposed to the UV that flashes emit, you probably won't get permission to use flash after the fact anyway. But it can't hurt to ask... if it's OK with the bride and groom. Or, more to the point, with the MOB (mother of the bride).

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12/12/2006 1:48:34 PM

Jerry Frazier   Fast lens, high ISO. Getting the shot is more important than worrying about noise.

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12/12/2006 4:23:31 PM

Tammy L. Grider
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/24/2006
  I shoot many weddings and I would actually use a tripod, it will give you more stability than the monopod dealing with the limited lighting. Most tripods have an easy release knob so you don't have to move around with the tripod. After the ceremony lose the tripod and using your flash, recreate at least a couple of poses for the bride and the groom. I actually never boost my ISO, I keep it at 400 because after the kiss the bride and groom are walking down the isle, it happens quickly and you're turning on your flash and checking other settings... it's just one less thing to remember. The bride and groom will appreciate the great picture of them walking down the isle more than most of the ceremony shots. Good Luck! ~Tammy Grider You can check out my website

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12/19/2006 9:19:42 AM

John R. Simons   Arrange for extra lights. Check to see if they are available at the church. If not, bring your own if they will let you. This will let you lower the ISO. Use the fastest lens you can find. Borrow one if you have to. Good Luck, John S.

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12/19/2006 11:38:05 AM

Paul S. Fleming   Jess, Great answers from our friends in the business. When I'm stuck in a situation such as yours, I find anything flat and solid on which to place my camera then shoot the shots. Scope out the area beforehand and find as many flat and solid areas to shoot from so you have a variety of angles. Good luck old chum, "ps"

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12/19/2006 2:36:50 PM

Mary Lyn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/31/2004
  Jess, We have shot weddings for almost 20 years and never used flash during the ceremony,(even if the minister allows it, as it is a distraction to what is happening) and after all it is about the wedding not the photograpy. Before the wedding take a light reading on the alter where the couple is going to stand and using a tripod and 800 speed ISO shot the wedding. If you are digital, shot raw and then you can alter the exposure after the fact. However, keep an eye on the historgram to see that you are within range of being able to correct the exposure.

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12/20/2006 9:47:12 PM

Chris Chris   wow 2o yrs, but not one photo of a bride in your gallery, odd. I do agree on the no flash Zone. You can tell when someone uses flash, not worth the paper its printed on. I'd rather shoot at 1600 and hit it later with noiseware. If you are shooting with a 5D or better you should have no problem.

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12/21/2006 1:54:30 AM

Mary Lyn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/31/2004
  HI Chris,
See our web site at then go to client>collages and the weddings for the last two years are posted. Did not really think anyone was paying attention to the gallery and I ran out of time. Had to cut something and posting was one of them. ML

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12/21/2006 5:47:32 AM

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