Big Lights: One Solution to a Midday Wedding

It’s the middle of the summer, you get your questionnaire back from your couple and it reads, “Ceremony 11:30-12, cocktail hour and group photos of our 16-person bridal party from 12-1.” Panic. Or at least that’s how I felt when I first saw this message a few years ago. Then, I started praying for clouds and shade.

Obviously, clouds and shade would make this an easier task, opening up infinite possibilities. Obviously the weather gods don’t always cooperate though, and as professionals we must be prepared to deal with the light we’re given. The excuse, “It was too sunny, that’s why your photos are ugly,” doesn’t make sense to non-photographer clients. And it’s just unacceptable.

This summer, though, when confronted with this exact situation, I had a solution. Big lights. Lots of power.

Let me preface this next paragraph with the following – this is what works for me, and it’s a look my clients …

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A Real Life Review of Pocketwizards

This started as a real life review of Pocketwizards.

Basically it said, “Pocketwizards are bulletproof and if you know the tricks, they work over 95% of the time.” And then last weekend happened. Over the course of two weddings, three of my eight wizards broke.

One of them – a Mini TT1 model – broke during the rainiest and most humid wedding of the year. I accidentally overtightened the plastic shoe and by the time I realized it, the humidity and overcranking combined to cause the Pocketwizard‘s plastic shoe to jump off its track. Over the next day and a half, I managed to drop a Flex TT5 model, snapping the plastic off of its shoe, and then the battery door on another Flex TT5 snapped off completely. I’m still not sure how that happened.

Thankfully, I had backup gear, and aside from some minor frustrations, the shoots continued without a hitch. I shipped the …

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Five Tips for Dramatically Improving Reception Photos

When I shot my first wedding in 2007, I was lucky! The reception was pretty bright (and my camera was worthless above about ISO 400, so that was a good thing!) Since then, I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way – that not every wedding reception is inundated with light, and you know what? I love that.

Bright is great, but dark is full of endless possibilities. Consider a wedding reception outside at 2 p.m. under a clear sky (I know, not common, but play along). There’s not much you can do with that light, right? Your hands are pretty much tied; you’re not competing with a cloudless sky with the speedlights that most wedding shooters have in their bag!

Now take a pitch black 9 p.m. reception. Much more common, right? “Oh crap, the bride’s making her grand entrance in 5 minutes and it’s ISO, 12,800 at 1/2 a second in here!” …

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