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Old November 7th, 2013, 02:01 AM   #1
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How do you position your lights during the first dance?

Two queries: where do you place your lights; also, which direction do you shoot -- towards the bridal table or towards the guests?

Where I usually place my lights: I just use two, sometimes one: one basically from camera direction for fill. Then a three-quarters backlight. I'm also usually shooting towards the bridal table, mainly because the cameras are already in this position after the cake cut.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 02:30 AM   #2
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

Hi Adrian

I just use an on-camera light as a fill and a fast lens as I don't position myself in one spot at all..it's just too boring so I tend to circle the couple and stay with them ... once the bridal party join in I'll ove to the edge of the floor but still stay moving to keep things interesting ... How do you stop your lights being demolished by the now drunk best man??

Chris
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Old November 7th, 2013, 03:21 AM   #3
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

Hmmm good one Adrian - mostly there is no bridal table here in the UK - they clear out the reception room to make way for the evening guests. The couple nearly always do the shuffle in the centre but fairly close to the DJ's setup - each wedding is different however.

I put 2 X LED spots at either side of one end (nearly always the DJ end) of the dance floor and also have a small LED panel light on my camera. I also have a wide angle camera (VG20 with 14mm lens) high up on a light stand as a safety shot - this camera is always up hight next to one of my spots.

I then film half the dance from the side with the spots for good light and then the other half from the opposite side - using the spots as backlight - I can get some nice shots like this - the only problem filming from opposite my spots is that I get myself on my other camera! Sometimes I'll just have to walk around them a little, it depends on what the're doing. I like to get a variety of shots during the dance - close up of his hand on her waist/her hands around his neck so you can see her ring/put my cam on the floor to get a shot of the bottom of the dress moving etc. And sometimes all this in under a minute as the trend over here is to get people up to join them fairly soon!! (I hate that)

I have tripod sand bags to weigh things down - never had anything knocked over yet. I tend to use a 24-105mm zoom at f2.8 for the first dance
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Old November 7th, 2013, 03:40 AM   #4
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Adrian

I just use an on-camera light as a fill and a fast lens as I don't position myself in one spot at all..it's just too boring so I tend to circle the couple and stay with them ... once the bridal party join in I'll ove to the edge of the floor but still stay moving to keep things interesting ... How do you stop your lights being demolished by the now drunk best man??

Chris
Hahaha nice one Chris same here, last week it was a real tussle on the floor, by hook or by crook no one is going to iphone me out...
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Old November 7th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #5
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

I only add lights if absolutely necessary & use one or two LED spots on lighting stand pointing down on the dance floor. Sometimes if very dark & crowded I will put one at floor level.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 05:29 AM   #6
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

Unfortunately IMO some venues mistake 'mood' for 'darkness' and without lights the first dance sometimes would have been in virtual darkness!

I'm ok with lights for the first dance as the couple are 'in the spotlight' anyway so for me it's acceptable - it's the rest of the evening where I don't like using a light - I use f1.8 short zoom and can just about get away without additional light in a dim but not dark reception on my EA50. If it's too dark though then I use a little fill from my LED panel on camera light
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Old November 7th, 2013, 08:22 AM   #7
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

Our lights aren't too bright, but we still prefer to have the house lights or some other lighting as the primary. IF we use them, it's from the DJ/band side, on the outside corners.

Our cameras are positioned at 3 different spots, at three different focal lengths, for variety and coverage. So camera #1 is on DJ left corner, and is medium, with the guests in the background. Camera #2 is DJ center, is a wide shot, and just a little low so they seem larger than life, still guests in the background. Camera #3 is DJ right, is a tight shot, and usually ends up with a wall or something else in the background, but is stepped up to f/2 or so because the tight shot especially we want it to feel like they're the only two people in the world.

IF we get a fourth camera again, it will be used for guest faces through the speeches and first dances.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 12:15 AM   #8
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

I have a led light that I hook up to a monopod with a 1/4 screw mount. I tend to shoot half the dance with a flycam and half on my sticks. My wife follows my every move with the light pointed on the bride and groom. I have nick named her "Light girl."
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Old November 8th, 2013, 03:18 AM   #9
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

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I have a led light that I hook up to a monopod with a 1/4 screw mount. I tend to shoot half the dance with a flycam and half on my sticks. My wife follows my every move with the light pointed on the bride and groom. I have nick named her "Light girl."
We have done this too. We also know a very good & respected photographer who does not use flash at all but has an assistant holding a video light. His assistant is a BBC trained lighting cameraman so knows where to hold the light for best effect. This is great for us when we have shot weddings with him as there is no ugly flash banding on the video.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 11:18 AM   #10
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

I forgot to mention that IF we use our lights, or if the DJ has a decent spotlight, we'll place a camera at a nice low angle and use the light to halo them, a little. This means putting the light up high, 8 feet or so, and maybe in a corner.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 04:18 PM   #11
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Re: How do you position your lights during the first dance?

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We also know a very good & respected photographer who does not use flash at all but has an assistant holding a video light. His assistant is a BBC trained lighting cameraman so knows where to hold the light for best effect.
I shot this entire photo gallery last weekend using a Z96 video light on a pistol grip which I held high above me in my left hand whilst I shot using a Canon 50mm f1.2L and just a kiss of fill-flash from a 580EXII. The room was so dark that it was impossible to focus even with the f1.2. A flashgun focus assist would have been no use in such low contrast compositions and I don't like to use their red flickering lights anyway. I had the camera body - a 5DII - on full manual at 3200ISO to maximise ambient light without risking noise, 1/100th sec to avoid camera shake, and an aperture of f5.6 to achieve the depth of field I needed to keep impromptu groups in focus. The ceilings were too high for bounce flash.

The clients wanted video as well but in the circumstances it wasn't going to happen. There was no one point of focus in the room where the action would be concentrated such as the dancefloor so I couldn't set up my 2x2 Z96's effectively on lightstands; I did try a Z96 on a shoulder rig but people were running a mile from that contraption.

That gig made wedding evenings feel easy! I'm pleased with the stills results though.

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/event-...re-737-bf.html

In general for wedding dances I aim to capture some of the DJs lights if they have any so that means shooting from more or less the same side as the main body of guests, combined with guests featured in the background by switching to the opposite side of the floor. Those Z96's are amazing. They can make all the difference whilst not really being noticeable so long as they are high. They can run for hours on the big Sony batteries. Their position is entirely down to what other lighting is going on - be it room or DJ.

Pete
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