Question about Nikon Cameras

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I was somehow roped into shooting a friend's night wedding this weekend, even though my photography "expertise" is entirely limited to shooting in natural light. I am a total amateur (and my friend knows this - I have told her over and over she's taking a big risk). So anyway, I've rented a flash and bracket and am looking for any/all the cram-style tips you can give me for programming the flash (it's a Nikon speedlight SB-800 on a D70) and the camera for best use. Thanks :)

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  • annemiet Dec 13, 2008

    Thank you so much for your response, jcdill! As the bride's friend, I was able to go to the rehearsal last night and worked with the light as best as I could. What I think I'm realizing is that my camera body, which doesn't have a full-sized light sensor, is limiting to a certain extent - side by side with my dad's Canon D5 using the same settings I'm getting darker photos with MUCH more noise and blur. That said, the results weren't terrible, and in the end, I'm sure my friend will get some reasonably good photos (at the right price) and I will have gained a lot of valuable experience.

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First, you MUST practice with the flash before you shoot the wedding. If at all possible arrive 2-3 hours before the ceremony with a friend/model to pose for you so you can practice with the settings until you understand what will and will not work.

Use manual exposure settings (e.g. 1/60th at f5.6) on the camera, and let the flash work in automatic mode to provide the light needed to shoot with the manual settings. Don't try to use flash on subjects further than about 10-15 feet as it won't provide enough light to go that distance - light falls off according to the "square of the distance", so the amount of light you have at 10 feet is 1/4th the light you have at 5 feet (rather than 1/2 the light like you might think). Practice with your model to learn how far your model can be before the flash falls off too much. To shoot at the greatest distance, open the aperture (e.g. f2.8). You can use a smaller aperture only when your subjects are fairly close.

I can't give you exact settings for your flash on a Nikon as I'm a Canon shooter. Look in your camera manual and the flash manual for iTTL.

Do NOT try to shoot in aperture priority. The camera will use a very slow shutter (appropriate for that aperture) to gather the background light, and the flash will provide "flash fill" and you will get motion blur from your hand-holding the camera and from the subjects moving during the long exposure.

Most ministers don't allow flash photography during the actual ceremony, so you need to shoot in available light during the ceremony. Normally you can use flash during the procession to/from the altar, but once the bride reaches the altar you need to stop using flash. If the ceremony is in a dark location (dark church) this can be very VERY difficult. You need fast glass, an f2.8 (or faster) lens for this and will need to shoot at the highest ISO your camera offers. You may want to return to the rental place to rent a fast lens if you don't have one already.

Obviously you need to stay ahead of the action. This means you need to get into the aisle near the end of the service and shoot the kiss from that location, and then shoot the couple as they proceed down the aisle after the ceremony.

If at all possible, take posed photos BEFORE the ceremony. Try to have a 1-hour window to take these photos that ends 1-hour before the ceremony starts. If you can't take the posed photos before the ceremony, try to limit the after-ceremony photos to just a few groups - some photos of bride and groom, with the whole wedding party, with the bride's family, the groom's family, and everyone (all family members and wedding party). Take 3 or more shots of each group so you can swap in eyes or faces if someone looks great in one shot and someone else looks great in a different shot.

Good luck!


Posted on Dec 12, 2008

  • jcdill
    jcdill Dec 13, 2008

    The Canon D5 has much better low-light shooting capabilities. If you can borrow/use that camera you will get better results.

    Make sure you shoot in RAW. You can do a lot in the post-processing to improve the noise but ONLY if you shoot in RAW.



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How can I take a photo of the nyc skyline at night? Do I need a flash?


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Once you set the ISO put the camera on automatic and let it choose the settings. When you look through the lense make a note of the metering the camera has chosen and write it down for future use when you want to vary it or create some different effects, like using it with a starburts filter etc and raising the EV value 1 point up or down to get more or less lighting or depth of field.

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Better Available Light Digital Photography Farace, Joe; Staver, Barry
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Black photos at nite with flash


It's very difficult to pinpoint an issue with what you've given here. Particularly since flash photography at night can be hit or miss anyway.

I actually wrote a review for Popular Photography & Imaging on your camera... You can read it here:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Cameras/Camera-Review-Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-T10

And while I really LIKE your camera, it does have its' limitations, particularly with the flash at night. It's small and not very powerful in comparison to a full-size/feature flash unit. Because of this, here's a few things you should keep in mind when you shoot at night with a flash:

Allow the flash enough time to "recycle". In other words, when the flash fires, it needs to replenish power to make another full-power flash exposure. If you're shooting images very quickly, you may not be at full power for each frame. The T10 has a flash-ready indicator, so make sure it's activated before you shoot your images.

Stay close- There's a thing in photography called the "Law of Inverse Square". Basically, this means that when you double your flash-to-subject distance, your light intensity is cut down to ONE QUARTER of your previous distance. The T10 has a very small flash, so this becomes critical for good images.

Be reasonable in your expectations. The T10- or any other camera-mounted flash for that matter, won't light an entire stadium or something that's more than 10 feet with your flash or 50 feet with a full-power/size flash.

If you're following these guidelines, and you're still having issues with dark images, try upping your ISO to a higher setting to add some sensitivity to the sensor. Doubling your ISO cuts the light required to make a good exposure in half. If you've done this and the images are still black, you may want to take the camera to a repair shop for evaluation.

I shot several photos that should be included with the story on POP's web site, so you can see that the camera IS capible of shooting some nice flash image, but again, were done with an understanding of the camera's limitations.

Hope this helps you out!

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Shooting modes


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1 Answer

Shooting modes


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1 Answer

Shooting modes


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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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