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Re: [OM] Using normal auto flash with ISO 1000?

Subject: Re: [OM] Using normal auto flash with ISO 1000?
From: "Ken Norton" <image66@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 09:02:39 -0500

Your questions about aperatures, film speeds and flash choices for this
wedding reminds me that wedding work isn't rocket science, but does requires
that you ask yourself one simple question:  How do you want the background
to look?

If you are satisfied with "cave" shots where the people are exposed properly
but the background is nearly black, then go with a slower film and a
higher-numbered F-stop.

Always expose for the background!!!  Meter the background and the
flash-ambient ratio should be no greater than 3:1.  This will give a
beautiful, warm, look to the backgrounds and helps "place" the subjects in
their environment.  (in auto mode, the exposure should be showing around
1/15 of a second).

So therefore, to more specifically answer your question, I would shoot
almost exclusively with the PMC (400) until it became too dark and then
change to the PMZ ONLY when absolutely necessary.  Most wedding photogs here
in the USA shoot exclusively with PMC or PPF which are both 400 speed films.
The additional stop that 1000 gives you rarely is needed.

If you want a "generic" F-stop for wedding work, it's F8.  F8 will give you
just enough DOF to keep you out of trouble and wishing for autofocus.  Also,
any smaller of a lens opening will require a brighter flash which will
induce more red-eye.  The assumption of the F8 is that you have a decently
powerful flash.  For smaller flash units the generic F-stop would be 5.6.

Suggestion regarding the flash:  The T20, just might be powerful enough for
this task.  The flash only needs to be effective to about 15 feet (5
meters).  Beyond this distance the flash lighting becomes too flat anyway.
Other suggestion on the flash:  Always try to have the flash ABOVE and not
to the side of the lens.  In wedding shots, the shadows should fall behind
and not to the side of the subjects.  Any off-camera flash during the
formals should be restricted to arms reach as any greater will harden the
features of the faces.  Think warm, gentle lighting--not deer in headlights

During the ceremony you will want to avoid using flash as much as possible.
Use the ambient lighting at all opportunities.  Flash is appropriate for the
processional and recessional, and some of the activities of the ceremony,
but take the same shot without flash too.  Reprints are almost always of the
non-flash ceremony pictures.

Essentially it doesn't matter much if the wedding is at noon or 8pm,
lighting inside is usually within a stop or two of each other.  That is why
400 speed film is almost the perfect compromise.  For reception candids,
instead of using the very expensive PMZ, most of us around here are using
Fuji Super G 800.  The grain is exceptional and a good lab will color
correct it to almost perfectly match the Kodak film.

My "must have" lens equipment list:
24/2.8 for ceremony shot from balcony and back of aisle.
35-70/2.8 for 900f the pictures.
200/2.8 for "close-up" from balcony.

My "common" settings:  (this is for an average lighted facility--which most
F5.6 or F8 for aisle shots.  (just enough DOF to be safe and keep recycle
time on flash to a minimum--you don't want a full blast here!!!"
F4 for ambient shots--ceremony
F8 for candids and reception.

Other equipment that comes in handy:
Swivel Flash bracket (holds the flash above the lens for both vertical and
Second body loaded and with the alternative lens already adjusted for
ambient light.

(the last item saved my skin on the last wedding when a roll of film jammed
on frame 9, moments before the "kiss."

For all critical shots, always get a second exposure.  When in doubt, three.

Ken (ramble on) Norton

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