Wedding Photos… in front of a window

Home Forums Photography Q&A Wedding Photos… in front of a window

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  • #48865
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    Howdy!

    I’m shooting a wedding next month at a church. I went to the church already with the bride to check things out. There is a beautiful window in the foyer that would be ideal for the formal portraits. I am attaching a picture that I took of the window.

    ISO – 400
    Aperture – 4.5
    Shutter Speed – 1/100.

    I don’t know why I didn’t lower the aperture and raise the ISO and see what that was like, but I guess I didn’t… lol πŸ˜€

    As you can see, it was not acceptable. πŸ˜€ I would love to take the formal pictures here, but I’m worried that the window will be too bright, and I won’t be able to see the subjects’ faces in the photos. I have one LED light. I’m wondering if using that will make a difference?

    Also, by the time of the wedding, I will have a Canon EOS Mark 5D III camera. I know that the ISO can go rather high on that model before it gets grainy, but I DO NOT WANT to depend on a good camera that can get good pictures even in low light. πŸ˜€ I want to know how to get a good picture even from the camera that I have now, which starts getting grainy when the ISO is at 800. (It’s a Canon EOS Rebel T6, which is very similar to the model my 2nd shooter will have, too – she’s got a T6i.) Any ideas on how I can get their faces light enough without making the window light cutting out their forms?

    Thanks!

    ~ Kina

    Attachments:
    #48867
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    Here’s another picture I took.

    Attachments:
    #48871
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    There is a beautiful window in the foyer that would be ideal for the formal portraits.

    As you can see, it was not acceptable. πŸ˜€

    I think I’m sensing a contradiction here. πŸ™‚ I’m afraid the second statement is the more accurate one though. πŸ™

    If you would have raised the ISO and lowered the aperture, you might have gotten the face bright enough to be visible, but then the scenery outside of the window would have been washed out far beyond the current capabilities to recover, even with the awesome dynamic range of the 5D III. I’m afraid one LED light is not going to be enough to make a difference. It’s really hard to compete with the sun for brightness!!

    The other thing to keep in mind is this: strong light shining right into the lens tends to create a “washout” effect that cuts sharpness, saturation, and contrast. Even if you don’t care about the bright white background of light from the windows, it’s likely that the faces still won’t be very clear or sharp unless you use some serious light to brighten up the faces from the inside of the window. Keep in mind that windows are glass, and glass causes reflections… If you do intend to use the windows as a background, make sure that your light source doesn’t create an ugly “shiny” spot/reflection somewhere.

    Honestly, if I HAD to use this window, I would be looking for a couple of good speedlights that can really light the place up. That’s the only way you’ll ever compete with the sunlight. Definitely do some test shots and experiment before you decide to go through with it. I used speedlights with umbrellas for the first time on the last wedding that I photographed, and I was BLOWN away by the beautiful soft light that you can get with that combo. Previously, I’d always just bounced speedlights off the ceiling… That works when you are indoors and have a white ceiling. πŸ™‚ Otherwise, the quality of light can be pretty poor. For portraits and smaller group shots, I can’t think of anything better than a bright diffused light source. I’ve never worked with LEDs, but I imagine that they’d be hard on the subject’s eyes…

    Now, if you’re looking for some beautiful portrait light, turn your subjects so that they’re FACING the window and find some way of diffusing the light. Guaranteed to be better light than any LED on the market. πŸ™‚

    One more thing… If you’re going to be shooting a wedding in less than a month with a brand new camera that you haven’t used before, I have one word for you: PRACTICE! πŸ˜€ You’ll want to be sure you know exactly how to change the settings that need changed during the actual high-pressure event. No time to check the owner’s manual when the bride is walking down the aisle!

    Best wishes on your photos! I know from experience that wedding photos are lot easier said than done!

    #48953
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    @buddingphotographer Thank you so much for your helpful insights! That is the type of information I was needing! πŸ˜€

    Mm… yes… that is exactly what one of my brothers would say. Haha!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ (He’s my personal contradiction filter. πŸ˜€ ) The first time I was talking about the ideal window. The second time, I was talking about the unacceptable light. πŸ˜€

    I really appreciate knowing about all of those problems before walking right into them!! The bride is wanting to spend less than $1,000 for her wedding, so I won’t be able to rent speedlights. I have 2 umbrellas and 2 soft boxes already. That probably wouldn’t be enough though…? They just have bulbs in them, they’re not speedlights. πŸ™‚

    I will probably try to do the formal portraits on the stage then because there is no other nice place in the foyer for the pictures. I’m not counting on the weather being nice in Ohio in March otherwise I’d take them outside. πŸ˜€ My only hesitation is that all of the guests will be in the sanctuary watching a slideshow while we’re taking the formal portraits… on the stage… haha… that might be a little interesting. πŸ˜€

    Yes, thank you! I got it a couple of days ago, and feel fluent at the settings already! I have already been able to troubleshoot efficiently in low light situations with good results. I was amazed at how quickly it came to me. Since there are shortcuts on the new one, some of the settings are even easier to switch! Just yesterday I was trying to use my old camera, and my fingers went to the wrong spot so many times, which seems to be a good sign… could I already have muscle memory on my new camera so quickly though?! Wow. πŸ˜€ I’m really happy. πŸ˜€

    #48973
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    If you have umbrellas, absolutely use them if you can! As long as the lights are bright enough to show up all, they should help fill in shadows and give that nice soft look that makes for nice portraits. You don’t have to break the bank to invest in speedlights if you’re not a hardcore “Canon” fan that can only used branded gear. πŸ™‚ I use cheap Yongnuo speedlights: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1101196-REG/yongnuo_yn_560iv_yn560_iv_speedlite.html They have their quirks, but they’ve worked for me so far. For the price of renting a fancy one, you can own a cheap one to use later!

    Here’s some random forum posts about speedlights, wedding photography, and portraits that you might find helpful. πŸ™‚

    https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/easy-to-read-user-guide-for-youngno-yn-560-iii-speedlight/
    https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/nikon-speedlights/
    https://www.lenspiration.com/2017/05/5-things-to-consider-when-shooting-a-wedding-as-a-2nd-photographer/
    https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/wedding-photography/
    https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/best-light-for-portraiture/
    https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/wedding-photos/
    https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/portrait-lighting-flashes/

    That’s awesome that you’re already developing “muscle memory” for the settings on your new camera. That’ll definitely come in handy during the actual photoshoot. πŸ™‚

    #49172
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    Hey @kina, I kind of hesitated to say anything here on this topic as I have zero experience in wedding photography, but I guess I’ll share a few thoughts I had anyways.

    I will probably try to do the formal portraits on the stage then because there is no other nice place in the foyer for the pictures. I’m not counting on the weather being nice in Ohio in March otherwise I’d take them outside. πŸ˜€ My only hesitation is that all of the guests will be in the sanctuary watching a slideshow while we’re taking the formal portraits… on the stage… haha… that might be a little interesting.

    A few alternative options that you might be able to contemplate (depending on the setup of the church and the size of the wedding party) would be:
    Be ready with an outdoor option. True, Ohio weather in March may not be the best, but if the day ends up being nice and not too cold, it might be nice if you’re ready with an outdoor plan (if that’s fine with the bride & groom). My sister got married in (very) early April in Connecticut, and we did photos outside. The temperature was probably in the 40’s and we were wearing short-sleeves, but the day was sunny, we threw on coats and huddled together between photos, and it was well worth a few shivers for the end result.
    Set up a backdrop. If you must be inside, you might be able to set up an area for the photos to happen in. There are plenty of inexpensive DIY ideas on creating a beautiful photo studio area/backdrop. You know the location and I don’t, but it could be an idea to explore if it’s a possibility. πŸ™‚ Maybe you could set it up near that window, but let the window provide sidelight or frontlight rather than backlight.
    Don’t necessarily forsake the window altogether. It could potentially make for some nice silhouettes for a few of the photos! πŸ™‚

    #49642
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Hi @kina, how did the wedding go?! Curious to know what you did and how it turned out.

    It if turned out to be a cloudy day, then I don’t mind shooting toward a window without any fancy lighting and completely blowing out the outdoor texture. Of course, this often results in fuzzy edges around the subjects, but it can be used as an artistic effect for like portraits of the bride. Otherwise, cheap speedlights through umbrellas as Ezra explained are certainly the way to go.

    #49643
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    @bennett-family Hi Lydia! I didn’t see your comment until just now! Thanks so much for your thoughts! It looks like that’s what I’m going to do:

    – We’re going to take the morning wedding party photos outside (bride/bridesmaids, groom/groomsmen, and separately, because they don’t want to see each other yet.)
    – The church has a lovely backdrop that they’re going to put up, and the bride found some classy miniature pillars to put bouquets on. πŸ˜€ Also, they’re going to have the slideshow playing softly in the background.
    – I’m also going to see if I can get some extra shots in front of the window, probably during the receiving line time. πŸ˜€ Probably with the flower girls, because I have a weakness for flower girl pictures. πŸ˜€ And hm… that is a good thought. I hadn’t thought of trying silhouettes in front of the window! Were you thinking for silhouette pictures if it was dark outside, or light?

    #49644
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    @jamesstaddon Thanks for asking! Actually, it was postponed due to the virus! I have been doing some research on it, and it looks like most people seem to be postponing their weddings. The funny thing is that the church it was going to be held at announced that they would not allow meetings at their building if there were 10 or more people coming. They might have gone ahead with the wedding and only invited a couple of close family members if they didn’t already have 12 kids. Haha. πŸ˜€

    The bride decided she wants the formal photos done on the stage after all. It would have been a good experience trying to figure out how to make the window work though. My brother and I were discussing it and he said that our umbrella lights are for bulb lights anyway, so I’m not sure they would have worked…? Perhaps, Lord willing, when/if the wedding hopefully does come together… okay, most likely, Lord willing, *when* it happens – because who’s going to forget about getting married just because there’s a virus?! – I may still try to get some extra shots with it, just for fun. If I do, even if they don’t turn out, I guess I’ll post them for critique just for experience and knowledge purposes.

    Oh, we were watching the triple wedding, and Daeus and I were wanting to pay close attention to the photographers because he and I have just opened up a wedding photography/videography business together… which is so wonderful and something I never thought about happening, but God suddenly brought Daeus to the conclusion that he should be a wedding videographer two months ago, and here we are!… so we were comparing everything they did and where they were at what times to our own personal schedules and notes, and then I was like, “Oh hey! There’s James!” And then we were all like, “Oh, well, of course.” πŸ˜€ Haha. πŸ˜€

    #49653
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant


    @kina
    ,

    I hadn’t thought of trying silhouettes in front of the window! Were you thinking for silhouette pictures if it was dark outside, or light?

    If it’s light. πŸ™‚ I was picturing if you exposed for the bright outdoors and it was (relatively) dark inside, then you’d end up with your subjects being underexposed/in silhouette.

    That’s unfortunate for them that it ended up being postponed, too!

    #50104
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Hmm, yeah, bulb lights usually don’t emit enough light for hand-hold photos of people or groups. They might work for close-ups, since the lights would be close to the subject, but for larger subjects they’re usually not powerful enough.

    That’s so fun to know you were watching the triple wedding! How did you hear about it?! I was so thankful to be on a team of about 4 photographers for that wedding. A friend who does weddings professionally was the lead photographer, I was a second, and then we both had helpers. I was so grateful Mary did all the logistics work ahead of time for me! I don’t think I ever could have come up with a sane, time-efficient process for getting all the family photos!

    Will Daeus be doing wedding videography only, or will he also be offering wedding photography?

    #51124
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    Hi @bennet-family & @jamesstaddon! Whoops, I totally missed your replies! πŸ˜€

    Great idea Lydia! Their wedding just got rescheduled to a couple of weeks from now, so I’m going to see if I can try that out! πŸ˜€ I’ll try to post the results so you can see if that ends up happening. πŸ˜€ (The bride did give me a list of shots she wants… and it’s a lot. lol. :D)

    My brother and I have been filming interviews, and this has helped me to understand lighting a LOT more. I understand now that the backlight would be difficult but not impossible to work with if I handled my settings sensitively, had someone on a reflector, and set up all the lights that we have as key lights. Still, it would be too much work to set all that up so I am not going to do it. πŸ˜€ The bride is happy with our Plan B option. πŸ˜€ But we both do still like that window, so I’m going to add a silhouette shot as a bonus shot to get to if we have time. πŸ˜€ Thanks so much for the idea!! πŸ˜€

    Good point James. I am finding that out through videography. πŸ˜€ There are some VERY high-powered lights that definitely could do the job, but they are extremely expensive ($1000 average) and I imagine them being obnoxious for portraits. Haha. πŸ˜€

    The Camusos sent us the link! πŸ˜€ Yes, I can imagine that being a LOT of logistics to take care of! Lots of mental energy. πŸ˜€ I think that is great that you could still photograph it without having to take care of *all* the logistics! (I’m sure there were still quite a few. :D)

    Daeus and I are offering two wedding packages: 2 Videographers or 1 Videographer & 1 Photographer. (I am the wedding photographer, and we’re both videographers now! I’m *his* second for videography. :D) Daeus is getting better at photography, but it is not something he has a ton of extra time to research right now. πŸ˜€ As you can see, he has an eye for it though! πŸ˜€ I could possibly depend on him as a solid second in the future. I think that would be the perfect arrangement. As it is already, it is SO nice to have two different perspectives for videography. Our different eyes for things really complement each other very well, and it’s so amazing to see!

    Attachments:
    #51129
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    Hi @bennet-family & @jamesstaddon! Whoops, I totally missed your replies! πŸ˜€

    Great idea Lydia! Their wedding just got rescheduled to a couple of weeks from now, so I’m going to see if I can try that out! πŸ˜€ I’ll try to post the results so you can see if that ends up happening. πŸ˜€ (The bride did give me a list of shots she wants… and it’s a lot. lol. :D)

    My brother and I have been filming interviews, and this has helped me to understand lighting a LOT more. I understand now that the backlight would be difficult but not impossible to work with if I handled my settings sensitively, had someone on a reflector, and set up all the lights that we have as key lights. Still, it would be too much work to set all that up so I am not going to do it. πŸ˜€ The bride is happy with our Plan B option. πŸ˜€ But we both do still like that window, so I’m going to add a silhouette shot as a bonus shot to get to if we have time. πŸ˜€ Thanks so much for the idea!! πŸ˜€

    Good point James. I am finding that out through videography. πŸ˜€ There are some VERY high-powered lights that definitely could do the job, but they are extremely expensive ($1000 average) and I imagine them being obnoxious for portraits. Haha. πŸ˜€

    The Camusos sent us the link! πŸ˜€ Yes, I can imagine that being a LOT of logistics to take care of! Lots of mental energy. πŸ˜€ I think that is great that you could still photograph it without having to take care of *all* the logistics! (I’m sure there were still quite a few. :D)

    Daeus and I are offering two wedding packages: 2 Videographers or 1 Videographer & 1 Photographer. (I am the wedding photographer, and we’re both videographers now! I’m *his* second for videography. :D) Daeus is getting better at photography, but it is not something he has a ton of extra time to research right now. πŸ˜€ As you can see, he has an eye for it though! πŸ˜€ I could possibly depend on him as a solid second in the future. I think that would be the perfect arrangement. As it is already, it is SO nice to have two different perspectives for videography. Our different eyes for things really complement each other very well, making the finished product so much better – not to mention the fact that we can cover everything much more efficiently – and it is so amazing to see! πŸ˜€

    Attachments:
    #51134
    Kina Lamb
    Participant

    (Those were all un-edited by the way. πŸ˜€ )

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Kina Lamb.
    #51160
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    @kina, that’s really great that you know the Camusos! I don’t think I knew that. πŸ™‚

    Are those Daeus’ photos?

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