Sept. 7, 2008

Photos from Ian and Briana’s Wedding

Ian and Angelika Walking Down the Aisle

My cousin Ian and his fiancée Briana got married last weekend (Labor Day weekend) in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. As it turns out, they live in the Chicago area (I believe), but they chose to have the wedding in the Charlotte area since many relatives (including Ian’s parents and my parents) live there.

Ian and Briana had their wedding at a botanical gardens in the area and it was lovely. There happened to be a 30% chance of rain on the day of the wedding, if memory serves, but it didn’t end up raining until quite later in the evening. The reception was held indoors, so the rain didn't have much of an effect on the festivities; and, even when people went outside for a smoke (or just to go outside), there also happened to be an awning around the circumference of the building.

It also so happened that this was one of the first opportunities I’ve had to make use of my Lightsphere flash diffuser. The basic idea with diffusers, if you’re not familiar with them, is that they serve to diffuse and scatter the light coming out of one’s flash in order to help reduce that portrait-in-the-headlights look that can be common to some cameras.

With the Lightsphere, like all diffusers, the enclosure attaches to the end of one's flash. On top of that, an additional strategy that’s often used — and one that I put to use — was to fire the flash upward to reflect it off the ceiling. In may sound a bit weird to fire, at first, but by firing the flash upward, the light becomes even more diffuse as it bounces off the ceiling (and then the walls and so on, a bit like billiard balls might travel across a pool table).

What ends up happening is that the light which may have formerly been harsh and direct is now much softer and generally absent of that yucky-flash look. This is all a good thing, but I can attest that it can take a little getting used-to. One adjustment (both on the part of the camera and its operator) is that the camera isn't always able to compensate for the longer distances that the light from its flash has to travel (up to the ceiling, off a wall, nothing but net and onto the subject).

Fortunately, this generally only requires a few minor adjustments to bump up the flash power; unfortunately, the operator has to remember to do so. In my case, I fell more into the latter category. Luckily, I was shooting entirely in RAW mode (well RAW+JPEG), so I had some leeway toward adjusting some of my shots that had ended up a tad underexposed as they came out of the camera. In the end, though, I was quite pleased with how things worked out. I had a great time at Ian and Briana’s wedding and the photography fun was just an added bonus.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
4 Responses to “Photos from Ian and Briana’s Wedding”
  1. Colin says:

    Did you get the cloud or the clear Lightsphere? I’m thinking about getting one but I’m not sure which to get. What factors did you consider in making your decision?

  2. Alex says:

    Hi Colin! I went with the cloud Lightsphere, mostly because it has the potential to be more flattering for portraits or people shots (which is what I shoot a lot of, when I’m shooting with a flash).

    I also later learned that the Lightsphere accessories (the “Chrome Dome” and the “Amber Dome“) are only designed for use with the Cloud Lightsphere. (I don’t have either of those, yet, but it occurred to me that I might consider getting one or both of them at some point.)

    Oh, and in case it might help, I’ve also come across this video that goes over some of the differences between the cloud and clear Lightspheres. (The video is just made by some photographer, not anyone associated with the Lightsphere people.)

  3. Colin says:

    Thanks, Alex. I suspect that it’ll mostly be used for photographing my kids indoors, so it seems like the cloud is also the best fit for me. So far, I’ve been very disappointed with the pictures I’ve gotten using my camera’s built-in flash. I’m hopeful that a dedicated flash unit and the Lightsphere will give me dramatically better results. I’m a little apprehensive about getting into flash photography, though, because I feel like I really don’t undestand what I’m doing. Hopefully, some time with a dedicated flash and a guide book on my camera will change that.

  4. [insert witty title here] » Blog Archive » Camera hook says:

    […] this winter when I got a flash and a flash bracket.  I also got a Gary Fong LightSphere II on Alex’s recommendation.  This setup produces great quality images but it’s pretty […]

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