Low-light wedding dilemma

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    • #42345

      I just shot a wedding for a friend last nite. I think it turned out okay, except the fact that it was in the evening, so there was no light coming in from the windows and they had the lights turned down low to set the mood. The reception was even worse. Pretty much everything was black and gray on the LCD screen, all except for the food table and the table where the bride and groom sat.

      So, what do you do if the wedding coordinator wants to have the lights turned down and you know you won’t get a good picture if they’re too low? I didn’t want to mention it to the bride, since she’s got enough on her mind. Should I have told the wedding coordinator that I needed more light? Or told the groom? I’m just not sure what I should have done.

    • #177988

      What I have found as a videographer is you will not have the input or status of the still photographer unless you exert yourself a bit. I ask ahead of time about the lighting and warn them while it is romantic, low light is not a friend of video and show some examples from previous weddings. It’s pretty simple, good light equals good video, poor light equals dark and grainy video. There is no reason the lighting couldn’t be turned up for the garter and boquet toss and the cake cutting and toast. I’m with compusolver that I would rather turn down a job than deliver a video that is not good. I don’t (and haven’t had any) want complaints and headaches later on.

    • #177989


      These guys are right! You just need to step in and make in known that you are having trouble with the current lighting. The big thing I always make sure of is that you tell your clients way ahead of time just how important good lighting is. That’s what makes or breaks a video. Almost scare them on what will happen otherwise. (not really but you know what I mean) This way if they ignor you at the wedding regarding poor lighting or insist on leaving the lights down low, you kind of have a leg to stand on because you warned them in advance what would happen.

      I agree with compusolver. Get in the bride’s grill! Let her know that her video is suffering greatly with the poor lighting. She’s usually the boss.

      Lastly, don’t be afraid to bust out the on camera heavy wattage. Here again I tell the clients that I might have to shoot with a light just in case. I use GL2s which is a pretty good low-light camera but sometimes even they need a little help. I actually find that no one really complains too much as long as you don’t stick it in someone’s face and blind them. Standing back with a 50 watter is better than nothing.

      As the old saying goes, ” An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Make sure your clients know what has to happen ahead of time and all of this maybe avoided.


    • #177990

      It’s always nice to have a camera that works well in low light. I do a lot of wedding videography and have a Sony DSR-PD170 and it’s well known for it’s low-light quality. I’ve done several weddings where this camera has saved my butt. If you’re serious about wedding videography, the camera itself is where I’d start for light solutions

    • #177991

      compusolver Wrote:

      If you’re not using a PD-170, VX-2000/2100, etc., then you need to ask yourself if you really should be in the wedding business.

      OUCH! :'(

      I don’t use a PD or VX but that doesn’t automatically makes me a lousy shooter. Sure those cams help out in tough lighting conditions but for the most part those conditions only exist come dancing time. It still comes down to the final edited package. I will tell you that if the VX2000 had a 20X zoom I would have 3 of them right now. Then I would have the perfect camera that fit all of my filming activities.

    • #177992

      You’re right!

      I do pretty good with my GL2’s but I will admit that there was one wedding I had trouble with. Wish I had a Sony then!

    • #177993

      call me crazy, but I’d hand them a note beforehand explaining the situation, asking the bride to sign off on either :
      a) agree to turn up the lights when needed, by you
      b) agree to allow a video light to be used by you when needed
      c) have video shot in nightshot mode with IR light (off camera) and converted to b+w in post.

      (after all you got a guy in a black suit, a gal in a white dress, against a near black brackdrop….)

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