Wedding Photos

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  • #34696
    Dan Cope
    Participant

    While looking at the pictures from my daughters wedding this past summer there’s a question that keeps coming to my mind. My interest in photography is primarily with landscapes and I’ve done very little indoor/flash photography so my experience and understanding in that area is limited. But what I’m noticing is that even though the interior walls of the church are white, they have a very brownish yellow look in many of the pictures. I attribute this to the fact that white balance and exposure settings are established for the lighting from the flash and are set for the primary goal of good lighting and skin tones on the people being photographed. Thus the walls in the background are somewhat underexposed and also off balance when it comes to temp and tint. Is there any way a wedding photographer could compensate for this other than extra work in post processing? This is in no way a criticism of the photographer that we hired for the wedding but just simply a question that I’ve pondered as I look at the photos. I understand the reality of the difficult lighting that a dimly lit wedding church offers and of course the primary emphasis is on making the people look good, but white walls would make a much nicer background than an unnatural yellow!

    #34697
    Daniel Hancock
    Participant

    The issue is the white balance of the flash and the building being different. You could always throw a gel on the flash to change the white balance to match the building. In processing, it would probably only take a minute to do a quick mask of the background, and lightly desaturate it.

    #34703
    Dan Cope
    Participant

    Thanks @dhancock! Post processing is definitely a way to compensate for this issue as you can see in the examples I’ve posted. I’m simply wondering how a wedding photographer would take care of this in camera.

    You could always throw a gel on the flash to change the white balance to match the building.

    Is this something that those of you who photograph weddings use a lot?

    Attachments:
    #34706
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I have shot an indoor wedding with flash, and I can attest to the fact that differing WB can cause issues. In my case, I just tried to strike a good balance between the “warm” indoor lighting, and the “cool” flash and process all the photos with the same settings.

    @dhancock is right, ideally you would match the flash color to the ambient lighting as much as possible. I didn’t have that option, so I just did the best I could. 😐

    Here’s an example from my archives:

    As you can see, the indoor lights are significantly warmer, but I just tried to “split the difference” as best I could. For a “special” shot, I would do some custom editing to make it match a little better, (for example if I was going to print it large). Otherwise, it’s an unending job to edit several hundred photos in that way.

    Just for fun, I popped your shot into Lightroom, and adjusted the WB to how I probably would have edited it. (Obviously, this is working with a highly compressed JPG file, you’d hopefully get slightly better results with a RAW file.)

    I’ve read that a good way to set your WB (and check for blown highlights) is to pay attention to the white of wedding dress. Obviously in this case the flash was lighting up the dress a lot more than the background, so the WB contrast is greater than necessary.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Ezra Morley.
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    #34713
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Actually, come to think of it, what I did to help with the WB and lighting problem was to use more than one speedlight. I had one speedlight on-camera bouncing off the ceiling, then I had another slave flash in the back of the church on high power also bouncing off the ceiling. With 2 speedlights, I could pretty much overpower the ambient light, although I really could have used a 3rd one to do it properly. The example I posted above is not a very good one* simply because most of the time the ceiling lights won’t be visible in the picture, so you won’t see the contrast of WB nearly as clearly in most of the rest of the photos.

    *that is, for a person just looking at wedding pictures… for critique it’s good because it’s the “worst case scenario” 🙂

    #34858
    Josiah Waldner
    Participant

    I shot several weddings in a setting where there was pretty drastic difference between the stage lighting and the auditorium. I still do not know just what the best approach to such a situation is. I ended up spending hours in post, because while the stage lighting was orange, the other lights in the room were quite cool. The bridal party was arranged on the stairs in such a way that the stage light fell on most, but some were lit by the auditorium light. It looked awful setting the white balance off the bride’s dress, and having the audience turn blue. I had to make selections between the colors of light and tint them to match. Is there a way to fix such problems before post? I was asked not to use a flash during the ceremony, so that didn’t help matters.

    #34864
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    It looked awful setting the white balance off the bride’s dress, and having the audience turn blue. I had to make selections between the colors of light and tint them to match. Is there a way to fix such problems before post? I was asked not to use a flash during the ceremony, so that didn’t help matters.

    Wow, you had a major problem… 🙁 I honestly don’t know what you could have done in that case. If you really want to get technical, you could try “gelling” the stage lights to change their color, but that’s not an efficient or cheap or easy matter. Most of the time wedding photographers don’t have the time or inclination to try that kind of thing, even if they could somehow convince the people in charge to let them do it! 🙂

    Something to consider would be to talk to the bride and tell her the photos are going to turn out awful unless something can be changed. 😐

    If only camera sensors were capable of “auto-adjusting” to multiple color temperature differences like our eyes can! Man hasn’t begun to catch up with God in terms of “seeing” technology.

    #34964
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    If only camera sensors were capable of “auto-adjusting” to multiple color temperature differences like our eyes can! Man hasn’t begun to catch up with God in terms of “seeing” technology.

    Amen!

    As has already been mentioned, the principle for getting it right in-camera is to match the color of all the light sources.

    This would mean either lighting everything with flash or using gels if incorporating ambient light in the exposure.

    Using flash and ambient light together is all that I have experience doing, and yes, it requires a lot of post-processing to balance all the different colored light sources. It’s almost impossible to get around the different colors. Even if gelling the flash to match the yellow interior lights, most interiors have windows….and sunlight will never be that yellow. Maybe we should just go back to shooting B&W. 🙂

    In your situation, assuming that the ceiling was white, I would assume the photographer would have been able to take care of the color problem using a gel on the flash.

    Which leads me to a question….does anyone have experience with what would be good gels to buy?

    #34983
    David Frazer
    Participant

    I can hardly say I have a lot of experience with gels, although I do use them occasionally. Here is the setup I use – its main advantage being that it’s very inexpensive…

    Required Equipment:
    – Rosco sample gels from B&H: 1.84 USD
    – clear plastic from just about any plastic packaging: normally 0$, unless you specifically buy something for the packaging… 🙂
    – lighter or candle: 1.50$ if you don’t happen to have any in your home.
    – tape: ummm, maybe I will stop trying to price things…

    The Procedure:
    1) Wait for the gels to arrive. This can take quite a while, as they are often out of stock at B&H.
    2) Label the gels you are likely to use! There are well over 200 gels, and if you get them mixed up…. The ones you are likely to use are CTO (for making the flash the colour of incandescent bulbs) Tough Plusgreen (for making the flash the colour of fluorescent light) and possibly Blue, Straw, Green, depending on what kind on light is coming in the window…
    3) Cut the plastic to the right size.
    4) Use the lighter to soften the plastic so that it bends nicely. This can take some practise.
    5) Bend into shape as soon as it is softened. Expect the first few not to work right…
    6) Tape it onto the flash.

    Attachments:
    #35209
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Wow, that is fantastic, @dfrazer! Thank you so much!!

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