My Thought Process | Lens for Reception Details

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Last week I photographed my first greek wedding and the getting ready portion of the day was a bit different and challenging because of the lighting and because of our time restraint. So, I created a blog post that basically walked through what was going on inside of my head during that part of the day. In some ways, I sound crazy… but evidently, it was helpful! We’re so thankful for the response and so we decided to do it again!! If you’re enjoying these “case studies” of sorts from our recent weddings, let us know and we’ll continue to enhance these posts and keep them coming!!

So, after reviewing the wedding from this past weekend, I realized that the best part to teach from was the reception detail process. I was really happy with my big room shots at this wedding and it took a lot of trial and error to make it happen. So, I want to walk you through what was going on in my head and how I figured out what was working and what wasn’t!

So, the first thing I did was what I always do…. the BIG room shot is the priority FIRST because we need all of the wait staff to stop placing bread, butter and water for a few minutes and I don’t want to hold them up! So I put on my 35mm lens and I decided on which direction I wanted to shoot the room from. I decided that the big room shot should showcase the WINDOWS in the background. THEN, I had to find the CENTER FOCAL POINT. I decided on this center round table and I took a test shot to see what my lighting was like.Mill at Fine Wedding Creek by katelyn james photography_0974

Image Above: 35mm ISO 640 2.5 1/200

Don’t laugh… but if you look at the image above, my original lighting setup was having my two OCF’s (Off camera flashes) behind me on the far left and far right. It was bad. I thought the WINDOW light would allow me to have GLOW in the background but it wasn’t enough light to make it glowy. So, I moved my left OCF to the back of the room and kept my other OCF on the right behind me but I turned it around to face the NEUTRAL wall and increased the power so that when it fires, it’s so bright that it hits the wall and bounces off and EXPOSES the front of the room closest to me. However, because it’s bouncing off of a semi-white wall, it’s SOFTER than direct light hitting the tables and flowers! The other thing I was thinking when I took the image above was that I wanted to CROP UP to showcase the ceiling height and not show the dark-ish floor and chair cushions. So after I did this wide shot, I started using that same light setup and did some vertical shots!

The next step was to put on my 50mm and do some tighter shots of some tabletops. So, I did the same pattern as above. I looked around and decided on which table centerpiece was going to be my focus and I shot this…..Mill at Fine Wedding Creek by katelyn james photography_0982

Image Above: 50mm ISO 640 2.2 1/200

After I’ve done these wider type of shots, then I start focusing on JUST the centerpieces!!! This is my favorite part because these shots are more light and airy! My focus is always “How can I get all of the DARK STUFF out of the background AND make it glowy!”. You could shoot these images with a 50mm or an 85mm. I prefer the 85mm but I know that’s a fancy lens for a lot of people and it’s definitely not necessarily a must-have for everyone’s lens lineup! Here are some examples of this…. and notice that I moved SUGAR PACKETS, SALT & PEPPER, and BUTTER out of these!Mill at Fine Wedding Creek by katelyn james photography_0976Image Above: 85mm ISO 800 2.0 1/200 

Mill at Fine Wedding Creek by katelyn james photography_0981Image Above: 50mm ISO 640 2.5 1/200

The next step is to use my 85mm (or 50mm for those who don’t use the 85mm) and shoot some tight and focused shots of the raised centerpieces! I was thinking “Ok, the light was great from this angle for the WIDE shot, it should be good for the tight shots too”… and it was! So, all of these images were shot from the same angle, I just moved closer to the subjects.Mill at Fine Wedding Creek by katelyn james photography_0978

Image Above: 85mm ISO 800 2.5 1/200

I also took tons of vertical shots of these image setups so that I could pair them on the blog easily. Because this was a BRIGHTER room, it was possible to use a lot of horizontal images because I wasn’t trying to hide the background like most reception situations!!

I hope this helps! Thanks for reading and hopefully the thoughts in my head aren’t too confusing!!!!

Happy Wednesday!!

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— Katelyn

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