Wedding Photography...professional equipment

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  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I saw a pro at a recent wedding who got his second shot to carry a pole with an SB900 on it. Whoever the pro pointed his camera towards got illuminated from high left. Not my idea of a great set-up but the pics weren't bad.
    I have seen a lot this lately in some the ideas I have ran across. (Not that I think it is increasing or many are using it, just started looking at mobile lighting kits and this was used.)

    How many SB900's are people using for group shots (5+)? How many are back-ups when they overheat?

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Why not use the 910 as they fixed the overheat issue?
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,292Moderator
    "How many SB900's are people using for group shots (5+)? How many are back-ups when they overheat? "

    Surely the SB900 will not overheat in the time it takes to assemble the groups? I thought it was only a real problem in a studio type quick-fire setting?
    Always learning.
  • manuelamanuela Posts: 10Member
    I think the most important equipment is your heart. My sister in law hired a pro for her wedding. I used my odd D70 with the 18-70mm kit lens and an old Metz flash. Guess what, she and her husband liked my pictures more than those of the pro.
    Regards,
    Manuela
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited January 2013
    Why not use the 910 as they fixed the overheat issue?
    If you want to give me $1700 to replace my flashes - then sure that makes since. I have a couple from before the 910s were released.
    "How many SB900's are people using for group shots (5+)? How many are back-ups when they overheat? "

    Surely the SB900 will not overheat in the time it takes to assemble the groups? I thought it was only a real problem in a studio type quick-fire setting?
    You would be surprised. When you add modifiers and are dealing with bad back-lighting (ie bank of floor to ceiling windows) and doing a family quickly, with multiple test shots(that is really what does it) they heat up quick. I have looked at Quantum QF8N ($1,400 with battery pack) which would be very nice, but at that price it brings in other portable options. I do wish there was a workshop near me using those so I could see them in action. For the same price of two for the quantum's, I can get 8 more 900s or 5 910s.
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • JJPhotosJJPhotos Posts: 47Member
    I don't think you need the absolute latest in flash equipment for this kind of work (I use an SB800 and SB28s) though it is nice to have. I certainly wouldn't want to dump a set of 900's for 910's.

    My view might be different if I used flash for more than about 10% of my shots, however, or liked to use TTL for this kind of lighting.
    JJN
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,292Moderator
    Tao said: "You would be surprised."

    If I were a pro and bought an SB900 just to find it overheated I think Nikon would be surprised - at my approach! I would insist they make it fit for purpose!

    I used my SB700 for quick fire in a studio the other day - 30 shots in about 30 seconds at 1/1 - no problem. Would that have been a problem for the 900? I am starting to think I am glad I didn't pull the trigger on that 900 I was looking at.
    Always learning.
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    totally agree with JJPhotos - You don't need to swap Your 900 into 910, sure 900 overheats but let's don't go into extremes when shooting weddings. there are maybe 2-3 moments when You need to fire more than 3-4 frames.
  • UCLUXRYUCLUXRY Posts: 2Member
    edited January 2013
    Exactly what I use:
    D600
    D7000
    35 1.8
    50 1.8
    85 1.4
    80-200 2.8
    3-sb-800s
    1 Arri 350w(I believe)
    140gb san Disks (15+ Cards)
    no tripods. Push your cameras to the limits. The D600 is amazing low light camera, and I constantly push that thing to 4000 all the time.
    Formals are easy, 2 sb-800 setup (on Nikon Remote setup), one left, one on cam. Assistant Groups the family up and I take the picture 2-3 pictures per and I'm done.
    By the way never going back to DX. That d600 is quite amazing!
    Post edited by UCLUXRY on
  • UCLUXRYUCLUXRY Posts: 2Member
    edited January 2013
    Forgot to add the 40 macro and 24 f2.8.

    About the wedding biz...
    THINK REALLY HARD about this.
    I am only 28 and I have had maybe 5 or 6 jobs, including being a Combat videographer/photographer in the Marine Corps. Wedding photography is the absolute hardest job I have ever had. No matter how hard you work how much time and effort you put into things, you can not please everyone.

    Anyways, if done right one unhappy customer could ruin your business.
    Post edited by UCLUXRY on
  • JJPhotosJJPhotos Posts: 47Member
    edited January 2013
    Just thinking about this a bit more, I do wonder if flash gear is one area where we get a bit carried away as photographers. For me, the correct positioning of lighting is the most important thing.

    Assuming the flash units you are using have an appropriate light output for your needs and you can trigger them in a reliable manner, the way that you control the fall of the light will make the greatest difference to your shots.

    What I'm trying to say is that whilst changes in lens and sensor technology might make a real difference to the output and are worth investing in, a flash of light is a flash of light and upgrading your off-camera flash kit whenever Nikon upgrade the SB range may give you a poor return on investment. The famous Strobist blog has plenty of examples of what can be done with the Vivitar 283, which is pretty basic, when it is well setup.
    Post edited by JJPhotos on
    JJN
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    When I helped a friend shooting a wedding, he had for his mobile shots a Nikon SB 910 fixed on Camera. But for the bridals and group shots we had two portable elinchrom quadra on stands with Umbrellas. They only have LED light for setup purposes and are, compared to the SB 910, about double as powerful, but compare to other studio flashs on the low end of power. But the two lights with stands and batteries are about 2800$ or a bit more. One went down because somebody stepped over the stand's legs, but it kept working. After I saw the fragile curved flash tube, I was very impressed about that quality.

    And we used them outdoor in shadow daylight and under trees. The results are charming. No harsh light, no harsh shadows, skintones are lovely.
  • chrisjakeschrisjakes Posts: 43Member
    Anyways, if done right one unhappy customer could ruin your business.
    It also depends how much you are charging people. If i was paying someone $XXXX to do a wedding I'd have high expectations too.

    Personally I let my friend (experienced) do mine for free as a wedding gift to us. Portraits at the church were great and considering she was pretty drunk at the reception, passing her camera around, those were pretty good too :)

    I dont think wedding photography could ever be "fun" for me
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Just thinking about this a bit more, I do wonder if flash gear is one area where we get a bit carried away as photographers. For me, the correct positioning of lighting is the most important thing.
    .. examples of what can be done with the Vivitar 283, which is pretty basic, when it is well setup.
    I'm not sure that would apply to everyone. If you have all the time in the world to set up and test shoot to get the "look" there are many cheap options, but you will need Pocket wizards or similar to help - which are not cheap. I do a good deal of events (conferences, parties, etc) where the term "run and gun" is an understatement and the iTTL is worth it's weight in gold for me. To set-up for some shots, I sometimes get a matter of 5 minutes notice and usually in the worst lighting scenarios imaginable. Nikon's ITTL saves my bacon every time.

    Admittedly I do use a couple of halogen work spot lights at times and have been looking at building a couple of bank strip lights using T8 (florescent or led bulbs). There is some really neat portraits you can do with that type of off the shelf stuff. I have been playing with the new LED lights as well - strong narrow direct light is with Leds could bring some neat results.

    If I were a pro and bought an SB900 just to find it overheated I think Nikon would be surprised - at my approach! I would insist they make it fit for purpose!
    I got my first 900 before there was a choice. Still 800s are going for the same used prices as sb900s but many are very well used as well. I just don't believe in buying used outdated by 2 generations on electrical based equipment. There maybe a lot of life in them, or there may not be - you never know.

    There are few times I have overheated the flashes for any work. Usually it is only when I am shooting in full manual and I'm trying to achieve the highest IQ possible (iso 100, high shutter speed) with strong ambient light that I'm trying to overpower. 30 shots in 30 Sec? That probably would do it, but I have never had a need or desire to do that. I would probably try to use a continual lighting source for that type of shooting rather than a flash.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ spraynpray Done
    Msmoto, mod
  • paw_devonpaw_devon Posts: 1Member
    Very nice thread and i still carry up to four sb800 as they have never let me down and work well with a pw flex
  • SJKSJK Posts: 1Member
    Our equipment for two shooters

    D4, D800, D700, (D90 for Photobooth)
    14-24, 24-70, 70-200 II, 105, 35 1.4, 85 1.4, 50 1.8, 8mm Sigma, (18-200 DX, 35 DX for Photobooth) 3xSB910, SB900
    Backup cards and batteries.


  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    What are the lighting modifiers, stands, poles, reflectors anyone uses for strobes? . . . I have been looking at a bunch of different things trying to expand for more options and better quality light.

    As it happens, I've been busy over the past few months gearing up to start shooting weddings--no clients yet, but I've since come up with several different approaches. Though probably too bulky for tight quarters (bride's ready room, reception dance floor, etc.), I really like using pole-mounted strobes for certain applications:

    image

    Here's the image that set-up lit (my assistant is standing on an apple box, just out-of-frame, to the right, holding the 3' octa a foot or so above camera):

    image

    Pole-mounted strobes offer you incredible mobility, plus the ability to quickly position your softbox exactly where you want it. For tighter quarters, I plan to just swivel my camera-mounted SB-800's flash head to the left, while hand-holding a 5" x 7" PortaBrace white balance card in my left hand as a bounce surface. If I have the space, I'll have an assistant hold up a 3' x 3' piece of Foamcore instead. This offers about the same source size as the 3' Profoto RFi octa shown above, but in a far slimmer package!
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    For dark reception hall group table shots, I'm planning to buy this small 21" Chimera lantern-style softbox ($186), and plan to have an assistant carry this pole-mounted as well (ignore the rigging shown in this photo). The idea here is that the bare-bulb style softbox will also help to illuminate some of the environment as well:

    image
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    For formal interiors, I also plan to get two 45" Westcott Halos for the same effect--their convex design will also help to illuminate the room, in addition to my subjects:

    image
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    For stands, I've got mostly Matthews grip equipment:

    x3 Matthews Baby Jr. steel rolling stands
    x3 Matthews Mini Booms
    x1 Matthews aluminum baby stand w/rocky mountain leg (leveling leg)
    x4 Matthews C-stands (black) w/40" grip arms
    x1 Matthews short C-stand w/20" grip arm

    image
    "Hollywood" Matthews Baby Jr.

    The Matthews aluminum baby stands w/rocky mountain legs (leveling leg) are really handy for uneven terrain (I need to get more of these). They're aluminum, so they're fairly lightweight. The Baby Jrs. are all-steel stands and fairly heavy (but also require less sand).

    The Matthews stuff is a little pricey, but I bought a lot of this used (but in great condition). The C-stands are reasonably priced--I bought those new. The Manfrotto equivalents of all of the above are probably about as good, and less expensive.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    For stands, I've got mostly Matthews grip equipment:

    x3 Matthews Baby Jr. steel rolling stands
    x3 Matthews Mini Booms
    x1 Matthews aluminum baby stand w/rocky mountain leg (leveling leg)
    x4 Matthews C-stands (black) w/40" grip arms
    x1 Matthews short C-stand w/20" grip arm


    <.</p>
    WOW the average wedding in the US are clearly different to here in the UK

  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    Ha! I wouldn't bring all this gear to a wedding--this is just my entire grip inventory for everything else I shoot. What I would likely bring is a couple of aluminum baby stands, and maybe one or two rolling stands for the formal interiors.
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited July 2013
    Camera/lighting equipment list:

    x2 Nikon D3s bodies
    x1 Nikon D800E
    x1 Newton rotating flash bracket
    x3 Nikon SB-800s
    x4 Nikon SB-600s
    x1 SC-17 TTL cable, shortened
    x1 SC-29 TTL cable
    x1 Coiled 10' TTL cable
    x1 Quantum 150Ws Qflash model T
    x2 Quantum Turbo batteries with new Power-Sonic PS-832 SLA batteries
    x2 Quantum Nikon power cables
    x1 Dynalite 400Ws Uni400Jr monolight + 18" beauty dish
    x1 Speedtron 1,000Ws Force 10 monolight + 22" beauty dish
    x1 Dynalite XP1100 AC inverter/battery with three new Enersys PC680 SLA batteries
    x2 Vagabond Mini-Lithium AC inverter/batteries
    x1 Dynalite Jackrabbit II, re-celled
    x1 PocketWizard TT1
    x3 PocketWizard TT5

    Again, I wouldn't necessarily bring all of the above (some of which is back-up). After scouting the location, I would pick and choose whatever's most appropriate. As I mentioned in my previous post, here are the wedding-specific softboxes I plan to buy:

    x2 Westcott Halo 45" round, convex softboxes
    x1 Chimera 21" lantern-style softbox

    Below is my current softbox line-up (which I use for other stuff). Again, I'd pick and choose whatever's most appropriate (if, any) for a given job:

    x1 Profoto RFi 3' octa with 40° Photoflex fabric grid
    x1 Profoto RFi 5' octa with 40° Photoflex fabric grid
    x1 Profoto RFi 6' strip with 50° Profoto softgrid
    x1 Photoflex 54" x 72" softbox with 40° Calumet ribbon grid for Nova softboxes
    Post edited by studio460 on
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited July 2013
    Note that I've acquired flash units ranging from an 80Ws Speedlight, 150Ws Qflash, 400Ws Dynalite, and 1,000Ws Speedotron. This is so I can accommodate virtually any light level for the daylight exterior group formals. Again, since I haven't shot any wedding gigs yet, here's a couple of daylight-exterior, bridal mock-ups I shot a couple of months ago:

    image

    image
    Nikon D3s + Sigma 150mm f/2.8; ISO: 100; 1/250th @ f/5
    Dynalite Uni400 Jr. + 18" beauty dish + Photoflex 39" diffuser panel (panel handheld by an assistant), powered by a Dynalite XP-1100 AC inverter/battery.
    Post edited by studio460 on
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