Tutorial of how to capture better wedding photography.
In this blog spot I will explain how I did my way around the cutting of the cake scene from one of my last wedding I photographed.
While photographing a wedding eventually the moment of cutting the cake will come and it all depends on how well lit is the venue or how cool is the interior. In my case the venue was ok but the light was quite flat as there was only some florescent lighting from the ceiling (also they dimmed the lights for the cake). Which in its own way wasn’t bad at all for some candid shoots, but for cutting the cake I wanted to break the consistence with the rest of the images, I wanted to add a bit more character to this scene. So while all of the guest were having the dinner I spend some time setting on my bellowed Canon speedlights and trying few different set-up until I worked out the lighting that was, by my opinion, the best to suit the needs of the current situation. Because the table with the cake was located in a corner, don’t know why, I had this vision of recreating something like out of Hollywood, under the spot light sort of look.
Let me explain how I approached the cutting of the cake lighting:
My initial camera settings were: Shutter speed of 1/30s at F/4, ISO 1000.
On the images bellow you can see the result,
although keep in mind that on this image I already positioned one speedlights behind the table as my background light, which was gelled with a magenta gel and also had a grid so I could keep the light in control of not spieling all over the wall behind. So strait out of the camera I had good exposure to record the very small lights from the candle and the electrically lit tree or bush behind the cake. But in order to position people within this scene I needed to add some more lights, especially, as you can see even my indirect light, the one that fill with very low intensity the whole room, wasn’t in its best, and lit this scene from scratch.
What I did next was to set up another Canon flash on a stand mount a grid and also put a ¼ CTO gel. And on the next image you can see the outcome,
on this attempt the grid was covering too large area. What I did also was to reduce my ISO to 640 and increase cameras shutter speed up to 1/100 s, I wanted to cut out as much as I could from the available ambient and to control the entire scene only with my light from my flashes.
The very next step was to set-up another flash, this time I mounted it on a large umbrella and gelled with full stop blue gel, also I replaced the spot grid for smaller size on my second flash light which is the main light. I set up the fill flash with very low output as the purpose of it was to recreate some sort of ambient low intensity light that fills the shadow areas and on the next image you can see the result I achieved so far.
The result is much more contrasting image do to the smaller area covered by the narrowly gridded main light. The problem with the bigger grid was that it used to cover much bigger area and in a scene was washing the effect of the background and the fill/ambient light. I also replaced the ¼ cut of CTO gel with full cut CTO.
And on the next image you can see how my final set-up was ready for the couple to stand in front of the cake and be ready for the photo shoot.
Final camera settings were: F/4 at ISO of 640 and shutter speed of 1/100s, the flashes were set to manual mode so it was matter of adjusting the power output till I was happy with it. I tend to use my flashes, in such situation, on manual mode do to the consistence in lighting output.
And here you can see the final result when the couple, Annika and Tim, cut the cake. Not to mention that I was victim to the very typical problem that happens on almost every wedding, when everyone was taking pictures or filming with their phones, so Annika and Tim were so distracted by all of them calling them to look at their devices.
Filled Under : wedding-photography-blog