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02-03-2019, 12:55 PM   #1
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Requesting input on lighting

My church has a program to offer affordable weddings to low income individuals, and I have been volunteered to assist by making wedding photos. The pastor suggests perhaps maybe a dozen photo before, during, and after the wedding, but I am thinking about a bit more than that. Equipment is no problem as I have the K-1, 645D, and 645Z along with credible lenses--31, 77, 85 1.4 for the K-1 and 90F DA, 120,50D FA, 67-105 2.4, 67-200, etc., for the 645D/Z. My main concern is lighting. I have the standard Pentax strobe units plus a couple of strobe frames. Wondering if I should just use a strobe on strobe frame, or if I ought to pick up more lighting equipment. Comment invited.

02-03-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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Wich exposure value do youe measure inside the church?
I'm asking because i'd never used an flash for an wedding. Even possible with K-5 and Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art.


With your K-1 and the FA 31mm 1.8 a small fill flash to highlight the faces should be enough.
Less gear makes you more flexible.
02-03-2019, 02:13 PM   #3
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I've done a fair amount of church photos but I got away from flash because it's hard to control and can result in overexposure for up close subjects and underexposure for backgrounds. I've mostly gone to using my K-1 with available light with fairly good results. I shoot at higher ISOs, though I could benefit from a faster lens. Using my zoom which only comes in at f5 thereabouts, sometimes motion is a problem, but handheld shots are practical due to the K-1's shake reduction. I also have fewer problems with varying lighting colorations by using auto white level. WIth a flash, mixed lighting can sometimes be iffy. You might runs some tests and see if you like available light. Of course, there are some shots that you will want to use flash for (e.g. bride & groom, family groups, etc.) where you have more control over the staging.
02-03-2019, 02:41 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by angerdan Quote
Wich exposure value do youe measure inside the church?
I'm asking because i'd never used an flash for an wedding. Even possible with K-5 and Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art.


With your K-1 and the FA 31mm 1.8 a small fill flash to highlight the faces should be enough.
Less gear makes you more flexible.
Thank you for both of your comments. This pretty much parallels my own thinking. The church is pretty well lit, so maybe I will try the K-1 and FA* 85 f 1.4 or 77 using natural light with the 31mm in reserve for group photos. Since I have regular access to the church I can try plenty of test shots with family members or others and take notes on settings, especially for the fill flash shots. I feel pretty confident except for lighting.

---------- Post added 02-03-19 at 04:48 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
I've done a fair amount of church photos but I got away from flash because it's hard to control and can result in overexposure for up close subjects and underexposure for backgrounds. I've mostly gone to using my K-1 with available light with fairly good results. I shoot at higher ISOs, though I could benefit from a faster lens. Using my zoom which only comes in at f5 thereabouts, sometimes motion is a problem, but handheld shots are practical due to the K-1's shake reduction. I also have fewer problems with varying lighting colorations by using auto white level. WIth a flash, mixed lighting can sometimes be iffy. You might runs some tests and see if you like available light. Of course, there are some shots that you will want to use flash for (e.g. bride & groom, family groups, etc.) where you have more control over the staging.
Thanks for your thoughts on this. I don't think I should have major problems, just the jitters knowing of the non-repeatability of the shots! I do not have much experience with zoom lenses though I have read that some professional wedding photographers make most of their living with the Z and the 45-85! I will try some bounce flash inside the sanctuary to make sure the ceilings are not too high for it to work, though flash in general makes me jittery and natural light is really quite appealing.

02-03-2019, 06:27 PM   #5
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Is there a chance you could get a few people to stand in spots in the church for a practice run? Depending on where the light is coming from, you might get shadows or bad angles, better to know that ahead of time and be able to adjust your plan.

Good luck, this sounds like a really nice thing to do for people.
02-03-2019, 07:20 PM   #6
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Great service to these couples you're helping out with. The MF cameras are overkill, unless you are looking for those timeless portraits that end up on billboard sized prints. The K-1 with Ltds are great for static portraits, but you've got the zooms for the 645. So it sounds like your 645 + zooms are the way to go, but as long as you've got the lighting setup that marries well to the kit.

If you've got good natural light, a touch of fill flash would be nice and easy, but if you're looking for more dramatic effect then off-camera triggered flash with small softbox would work, but would that be practical for you? AF540FGZ is a very versatile unit. Two of these are great for the job at hand.
02-03-2019, 07:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
Is there a chance you could get a few people to stand in spots in the church for a practice run? Depending on where the light is coming from, you might get shadows or bad angles, better to know that ahead of time and be able to adjust your plan.

Good luck, this sounds like a really nice thing to do for people.
good ideas. I can get family members to stand in the likely spots and then take notes of the shots, will do.

---------- Post added 02-03-19 at 10:01 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Great service to these couples you're helping out with. The MF cameras are overkill, unless you are looking for those timeless portraits that end up on billboard sized prints. The K-1 with Ltds are great for static portraits, but you've got the zooms for the 645. So it sounds like your 645 + zooms are the way to go, but as long as you've got the lighting setup that marries well to the kit.

If you've got good natural light, a touch of fill flash would be nice and easy, but if you're looking for more dramatic effect then off-camera triggered flash with small softbox would work, but would that be practical for you? AF540FGZ is a very versatile unit. Two of these are great for the job at hand.

Thanks for suggestions. Long time ago I shot a few wedding with Mamiya RB67/127mm hanging around my neck, so I can probably handle Z/D with the 45-85 and/or the 80-160. I hear there's people out there making a good living with just the Z and 45-85mm

Definitely consider everything you suggest.
02-04-2019, 03:29 AM   #8
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It is very rewarding to do this for people who can't afford much. I did weddings many years back and several times did photos for the cost of film for couples in these situations. These weddings are usually small affairs and you may have a lot of flexibility. The pastor and the couple often like to preserve mood and setting so if you can avoid any flash and shoot on available light it would likely be appreciated. Sounds like you have the fast lenses to do that and can avoid problems at higher ISO with the K1. From small, low cost weddings a relatively small album of prints and just a few larger sizes for hanging and family members are what is probably required. The 645 format is likely over doing it since the FF K1 is more than capable of handling the job. I think if you keep it simple and make sure you capture the usual in-demand wedding highlights people will be very appreciative. If you use some form of flash in posed shots it works well to bounce the flash off a close white surface whenever possible to keep the lighting soft and even. Both in the camera and especially PP the color balance for weddings often seems as important to print viewers as much as sharp eyes. It is imperative to get the brides dress in the proper color.

02-04-2019, 04:13 AM   #9
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The differences in performance between the 645Z and the K-1 is increasingly smaller with the improvements in both focus speed and continuous shooting (frames per second) speed. What would have been very difficult with the 645D is now a lot more doable on the 645Z (1 vs 3fps). Weddings do benefit from responsive cameras and the 645Z is more than up to the job. Although so is the K-1. I think the lens choices are what matter most here. Back to lighting, the Pentax AF strobes will be vital in you getting the exposures you need, because ambient lighting may not be consistent, other than in the church itself, in which case you can flip everything to manual and get guaranteed consistent results.
02-04-2019, 04:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
The differences in performance between the 645Z and the K-1 is increasingly smaller with the improvements in both focus speed and continuous shooting (frames per second) speed. What would have been very difficult with the 645D is now a lot more doable on the 645Z (1 vs 3fps). Weddings do benefit from responsive cameras and the 645Z is more than up to the job. Although so is the K-1. I think the lens choices are what matter most here. Back to lighting, the Pentax AF strobes will be vital in you getting the exposures you need, because ambient lighting may not be consistent, other than in the church itself, in which case you can flip everything to manual and get guaranteed consistent results.
Thanks for your comments Ash. My two main cameras are the K-1 and the 645Z, and it is indeed difficult to distinguish between their images. With the Z and the 90mm it is hard to blame the equipment for poor results, but the same can be said for the K-1 and the FA* 85m f 1.4. Over the past year or so, I have been using mainly medium format lenses either on the Z or K-1, and I really like all the features and controls of the K-1 for lots of these old Mamiya, Zeiss, and Arsat lenses. I have a good deal of gear, so there are various options. One possibility is to use K-1 and FA* 85 f 1.4 as the main camera and the 645Z for what I call trick lenses--the 67-120 soft and the Arsat 30mm fisheye. I have found the old Pentax AF-360FGZ to be pretty foolproof, so will feel comfortable using it if natural light does not work out. I am worried more about avoiding bad shadows than about exposures per se because these cameras, especially the 645z capture so much detail that photos that are so under exposed that they are almost black can be recusitated in post processing.

---------- Post added 02-04-19 at 07:02 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by From1980 Quote
It is very rewarding to do this for people who can't afford much. I did weddings many years back and several times did photos for the cost of film for couples in these situations. These weddings are usually small affairs and you may have a lot of flexibility. The pastor and the couple often like to preserve mood and setting so if you can avoid any flash and shoot on available light it would likely be appreciated. Sounds like you have the fast lenses to do that and can avoid problems at higher ISO with the K1. From small, low cost weddings a relatively small album of prints and just a few larger sizes for hanging and family members are what is probably required. The 645 format is likely over doing it since the FF K1 is more than capable of handling the job. I think if you keep it simple and make sure you capture the usual in-demand wedding highlights people will be very appreciative. If you use some form of flash in posed shots it works well to bounce the flash off a close white surface whenever possible to keep the lighting soft and even. Both in the camera and especially PP the color balance for weddings often seems as important to print viewers as much as sharp eyes. It is imperative to get the brides dress in the proper color.
Thanks very much for your thoughts.Yes, I am looking forward to doing this. Actually, I had not planned on providing free prints and wedding album, but thinking of providing edited photo on a DVD disk or prints and album for a small fee to cover prints and other materials. Yes, good thoughts on flash. The pastor has no problem with flash, fortunately.
02-04-2019, 05:49 AM   #11
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Requesting input on lighting

Fascinating, the dynamic range of the 645. Thatís great you have the versatility of shooting with both systems as the 85 would be great as a coupleís portrait lens and the MF zoom can be the go to for spontaneity where itís hard to know what will happen next.


Good lighting makes the images come to life, so a front flash could be used on its own, bounces of a ceiling (if practical) or act as a trigger for off-camera flash for more dynamic lighting.
02-05-2019, 01:19 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Just me, but maybe take a spin through Neil van Nierkerk's Tangents website for tips on using on-camera flash for wedding photography? He's a professional wedding photographer who often uses on-camera bounce flash to create natural-looking light, in large venues (also here), and even outdoors and off dark ceilings and non-white walls.

His basic technique is to flag off any direct light from the flash with a sheet of black craft foam (aka the Black Foamie Thing), so that all of the light you're using is bounced/softer light. This has a bonus side effect of keeping you from blasting anyone in the face with direction flash, so you can feel much less disruptive and more confident. He typically does this technique as fill flash with a high ISO settings (typically iso 1000 or higher), so the ambient does most of the heavy lifting, and the lower power level on the speedlight can have more effect.

Apologies if you already know all this stuff. Just thought I'd mention it.
02-05-2019, 05:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote
Just me, but maybe take a spin through Neil van Nierkerk's Tangents website for tips on using on-camera flash for wedding photography? He's a professional wedding photographer who often uses on-camera bounce flash to create natural-looking light, in large venues (also here), and even outdoors and off dark ceilings and non-white walls.

His basic technique is to flag off any direct light from the flash with a sheet of black craft foam (aka the Black Foamie Thing), so that all of the light you're using is bounced/softer light. This has a bonus side effect of keeping you from blasting anyone in the face with direction flash, so you can feel much less disruptive and more confident. He typically does this technique as fill flash with a high ISO settings (typically iso 1000 or higher), so the ambient does most of the heavy lifting, and the lower power level on the speedlight can have more effect.

Apologies if you already know all this stuff. Just thought I'd mention it.
Thanks a lot. Definitely will read that reference.
02-07-2019, 01:34 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote
His basic technique is to flag off any direct light from the flash with a sheet of black craft foam (aka the Black Foamie Thing),
The BFT is the best on-camera flash light modifier in existence, AFAIC.
Yields excellent results and cannot be beaten on price.
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