I am not a wedding photographer, but I have helped a few friends with portraits from their big days from time to time. My latest example is from a wedding in Stockholm near the lake Mälaren where they had a ceremony at their house and we decided to take the arranged photos near the water.
They were really lucky with the weather, and I was lucky that I had brought a big light to compete with that sun on a nearly cloudless sky. It has been quite windy lately in Stockholm, and working without an assistant, travelling light, using a beauty dish and a heavy lighting stand is the best combination trying to reduce the risk of expensive equipment falling and breaking.
Behind the scenes
On the Manfrotto 240B stand there is a Profoto B1 on top with a white Profoto Softlight Reflector (beauty dish) angled down, maybe two meters (6 feet) from the wedding couple. No grid, as I wanted to cover them with my light.
As often, I bought more lenses than I actually used. On the bridge/jetty/wharf (I don’t really know the right word for a wooden thing that you tie your boat to?) I only used the 24-70mm/2.8 and that was good as I needed the wide angle for some shots. If I took a step back, I would have fallen into the water.
Setting the light
This is the kind of portrait that I have been longing for since a bought my first Profoto B1, a clear sky (almost) and some distance behind the subjects to get the nearest thing to a clean horizon you can get in Stockholm.
To make things simple, and saving time for the couple that I guess wanted to get back to their guests as soon as possible, I put the stand on a distance so it wouldn’t get in the way if I needed a wide shot.
Starting with setting the Profoto B1 at the maximum output I could adjust the rest on my camera. With a sunny day like that, I guessed I would need a little help from High Speed Sync.
High Speed Sync, thank you
To make a short story shorter, I ended up with f/4 and a shutter speed of 1/2000s. Without HSS, I don’t know how much I would have needed to used the aperture to get the sky from not blowing out (I guess you could calculate it?).
The ambient light from the sun, and the sky, and reflections from the water helped me with fill and hair light. During the minutes our session on the water I had to adjust for small changes here and there.
Mostly when I walked around the couple to try out different angles, and for the sun peeking out behind the thin clouds (which makes a lot of difference in light, how thin the might seem for a naked eye).
Turn on the beep
I have almost never used my Profoto B1 on full effect, most of the time I use them closer and work in the middle of the effect range. Using them like that, loading time is not a problem, but having the knob turned to full light output, turning on the Beep that tells you when the light is ready to flash would have been a good idea.
I love being able to do shots like these so easily nowadays, with battery-powered lights and High Speed Sync. A couple of years ago, I would have brought my acuteB 600R but probably would have needed to skip the short DOF to get the exposure right on a sunny day like this.
By the way, if you are a wedding photographer interested in some very good tips on the business side, I would recommend this blog by Laurence Kim.
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