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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lessons learnt: low and mixed light

RDES PC ceremony "C" shift

Taking photos of this ceremony was a difficult task due to low and difficult mixture of light.  I was faced with high ceilings complete with fluorescent lights that casted a greenish hue.  I had small amounts of natural light coming in through small windows on the bay doors that flanked my subject areas.
 And finally I had my two strobes up high at a 45ish degree angle powering down some supplement light.  I had to accept the fact I was going to have to use high ISO to get some natural ambient light mixed with my strobes.  I also had to accept the hard shadows that come with small light sources.  So what can you do?  Well in this case not too much.  Either don't get too worried about it or go all out and pre-plan how to combat the situation and use different equipment.

I was forced to use 800 ISO.  I would have liked to have gone higher but a different camera such as the 5Dmk II would be my only option to get clean images at 1600+.  Otherwise, a person could set up large softboxes or bounce big light off of giant white surfaces but honestly nobody is going to go to this trouble.  If it were nicer outside we could have just moved the ceremony outdoors but this was not an option at this time of year. So...  I guess I will just have to save up for the full framed 5D Mk II!

As for the color mixture, matching the cast of light with gels on my strobes could have helped.  I did try and take a photo of the ambient lighting with my camera set to daylight WB.  This would normally show me whether the fluorescents are green or not.  It was difficult for me to tell in this case so I just left my strobes naked.  Nowadays, fluorescents are all different and can even cast an warm tungsten hue.  So using a standard green gel will not work for every indoor fluorescent lighting situation.  My advice?.... adapt and overcome depending on the situation!  I know... that doesn't really help much.

If you would like to see the full set of pics from the ceremony please visit this photo stream.  Comments are always appreciated.


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