Professional photography is a business and photographers need to make money to survive. The current climate is extremely competitive with modern DSLRs, even entry-level models, offering the potential for excellent image quality. For those who lack photographic skills the internet provides a range sites offering free images. Professional photographers need to carefully budget their time and resources for any projects to minimize costs yet produce images with enough quality for their purpose. Even Creative Wedding Photographer in Sydney also have to work with the same approach and they keep basic things in mind.
The Business Case
This is a speculative project for a local function centre using a new decorative theme for a wedding. The venue uses photographs to display their range of themes to prospective clients. Another job at the same site simplified access and covered the travel costs. Even if the client does not buy any images, they are also for sale on a stock library.
The wedding reception room is large with high ceilings and to cover the area properly requires a complex lighting set up that is beyond the budget and time frame for this shoot. The venue staff only completed decorating the room only a hours before the guests started arriving for the wedding and reception.
The camera chosen is a Pentax K10D DSLR, and budget considerations delay any upgrade, as latest equivalent model does not offer a significant performance improvement.
The lens is a Pentax DA 21mm Limited prime lens. On the K10D this gives the same angle of view as a28 mm wide- angle lens on a film SLR. The wide-angle view helps in capturing the whole room, without creating obvious bending of straight lines.
All the shots used a Manfrotto 055CLB tripod. This tripod uses metal legs rather than the lighter carbon fiber of more expensive models. It is equipped with a Manfrotto 488RC0 ball head, this model is rated for the weight of medium format cameras so it should be rugged and long lasting with a DSLR.
For some shots a Metz 45CL-4 digital flash provides highlight lighting. This large unit mounts off the camera, allowing a variety of lighting angles from the flash.
White Balance and Color Temperature
On this location, there are conflicting light sources. Reflected daylight comes from one large wall of glass and the venue lighting uses down lights, but with different types of globes within each set of down lights producing a different colorcast.
Shooting RAW and adjusting later is quicker and more efficient than setting a custom white balance at the location. Bibble 5 has a selective editing facility to set custom white balances to set in specific areas of the image among the options in post processing to cope with the range of color temperatures in the scene.
This is the mode used for the wide area shots, giving the speed and convenience of automatic metering with full aperture control for good depth of field. Small lens aperture settings provided maximum depth of field for capturing as much detail as possible. The exposure compensation control allowed fine-tuning of the exposure in conjunction with the camera’s exposure histogram.
Lighting and Exposure Time
The room is set back inside the structure and the large window it does not provide enough light and a nuisance, as at some angles there is one overexposed spot in the background.
Even with the interior lighting on the area is dimly lit area resulting in long exposures. This works because there is no motion in the scene. This requires a tripod and shutter speeds in the order of one to two seconds, well beyond the capabilities of DSLR’s image stabilization systems. The size of the room precludes using a single flash to light the whole room.
To minimize image noise the ISO is set to the minimum, 100 in this case. In combination with small apertures meant the need for slow shutter speeds, making the tripod an absolute must.
With uneven overhead lighting camera positioning is important. Choosing a table sitting directly below a set of downlights gave more light for detailed table setting shots. Fill in flash tackled the problem of shadows from a dominant light source.
For this particular camera and flash unit a useful technique is to set the camera to full manual exposure and leave the flash on P-TTL automatic mode. This combination gives a degree of control over exposure with some assistance for flash duration from the cameras metering system. This is the result of trying different combinations. This underlines the benefit of knowing your equipment.
A Gary Fong Lightsphere diffuser provided a diffuse light source to reduce harsh shadows. Using a normal white dome, even though it does cut down the light a bit, it spreads it more, but the flash has a longer duration to compensate for the dome.
For the shot of the window view the flash was set to full power in manual mode and aimed at the table setting to compensate for the much brighter outside light. The camera was still in manual mode and the aperture setting controlled the flash exposure and then set the shutter speed to control the exposure of the outside view.