Let's get started talking about introductions and the first dance I didn't want to give a brief disclaimer at the very beginning you've been watching videos of me working so far throughout the day we don't have a video for you today or for the next couple of ensuing days part of it is me doing a public service to you I know you're tired of hearing the same pumping reception music every single weekend so we decided to spare you of that part of it is because it is copy written music and we don't have the rights to all of it so lucky you you don't have to watch me work today you just have to listen to me talk so let's talk very briefly about introductions and what do I mean about introductions? Introductions are the time of the wedding where the guests have come into the reception space they've sat down at their tables and this happens in in varying degrees of time sometimes they bring the guests and they do a little dance said it takes like fifteen to twenty minutes to get everybody in a...
nd seated down sometimes they get them in they sit them down right away and we go right into the introductions now the way every client handles the introductions is different for example when I got married we didn't have introductions we just we just all came in and we all sat down and we started eating dinner I've been shooting weddings for thirteen years I didn't particularly feel the need to charge into the room with my new husband and pump my fist in the air and do a stupid dance, and I didn't want to subject anybody else in the wedding to that either. However, that said, not every wedding client of yours will have been a wedding photographer for a bazillion years, and the introductions is a really fun part of the day for them. I always try to make sure to find out how many people are being introduced because it will go one of two ways. Sometimes it is the parents, the entire bridal party, the flower girl and the ring bearer they bring in everyone who's been important to them. Sometimes they even go so far as to bring in the grand parents during the introductions. Sometimes they don't do the parents, they just do the bridal party, the bride, groom and sometimes they just do the bride and groom. So knowing this beforehand is a really important thing. But before we get into the actual logistics of how this all goes down, let's talk like we've talked about in the videos prior to this one, the gear that we bring to this part of the day. Now as I know this comes as a massive shock to those of you whose been watching the entire time but I have my d for with my seventy two two hundred at the ready now it's set up very much in the same way that we had it set up for the family formals where I have my foe ticks radio transmitter on my camera I have my off camera flash set up by my assistant if you haven't been with us so far it's a very, very, very simple set up we have a mono pod we have the faux ticks radio right on top we slide that sb nine ten right into the hot shoe of the radio I have a rogue flash vendor around my sb nine ten the stove and has already been removed so we're firing just into that flash bender and not into a stuff in into a flash vendor which is a little bit more than I need at that portion of the day. So mono pod phobics flash flash bender and wrapped around the stem of the mono pod is our esteemed nine nikon battery pack, which takes eight double a batteries we use rechargeable batteries and they're charging up every single time and that sneaks up the cord plugs right into the flash and we're ready to go now whether we do or do not use the flash bender it really depends on the event sometimes I want that extra spread across the dance or that extra feathering of the light into the flash vendor sometimes I don't so it's really fifty fifty you'll have to try it yourself gauge what you're most comfortable with and the wedding that you're about to see the images from blair and jeremy and from a lot of the other examples thes air shot with just the stuff in on the off camera flash with no flash bender attached as well. However, if the space is small, it's a I'm having to use my twenty four to seventy for the introductions, which I don't normally do because we're limited in the space that we have, I will put the flash bender on to feather the light off a little bit more, but most of the time we've taken that off, we've put the stuff in back on she's ready to go that off camera flash depending on the reception space is either at quarter power eight power or sixteenth power now its sixteenth is really kind of never happening most of the time the spaces air so dark we need more power coming out of that flash, which, as I've mentioned before it's set to manual for the most part for your regular average everyday introduction and first dance, we're going to be it either eight power on the flash or quarter power on the flash quarter power on the flash if they're going to be walking a long way from a long distance eighth power on the flash if it's just a nice simple average sized dancefloor and they're not going to be walking you know two hundred yards towards you at blair in jeremy's wedding we started out with the flash on eighth power and we did not have the flash vendor on it that just gives you a little bit of background history on that now I can't tell you the formula of exactly how we choose what setting that we have on the flash for every single wedding because it would involve taking you back through thirteen years showing you every single ballroom every single lighting package every single brightness or dimness of the light every single distance that the bride and groom are walking towards me during the introductions and then trying to break that down into a formula there is no formula for something like that you also have to decide how much light you want do you want just a little fill in light are you working with other lights in the other side of the room when we're shooting the introductions it is a very simple seventy two two hundred off camera lights set up there is no additional light on my camera we're getting a little ahead of ourselves so let's talk more about the gear and then I will explain every single one of the things that I just said ingrate and more very detail as we keep on going, as I've mentioned before, my assistant sandra has the flash on the monitor pod, and then my assistant is also holding for me that d three us with the twenty four to seventy millimeter and the on camera flash. Now granted, I don't shoot that very often during the introductions or during the first dance, but because it is a really wonderful, versatile set up, we do have it set up. We do have it set off to the side, she's holding on to it and not me. I've already talked to several times about how I really try to reduce the amount of gear that I'm carrying on my body in the amount of stuff that I have on me during the wedding day I'm trying to protect my back, I'm trying to protect my shoulders, I'm trying to protect my neck, so show, hold one camera and I'll hold the one that I know that I'm going to be using, which is that defore with the seventy two, two hundred. But if for some reason I need that d three us with the twenty four to seventy she's right there, and I can go grab it from her at any point in time, so let's talk a little bit more about how this goes down logistically now that you've got your camera now that you're set up now that you have your off camera flash ready to go you need to know the timing how is this going to happen if you take the time and talk to the band or the deejay and talked to the maitre d about how this is all going to go down you will have ah lot maur information then you would if this just happens blind and you don't know what's coming the reason why all of these things are important to me is because I want to know as I've mentioned before how many people are we introducing how many people are coming in where they coming from if this isn't a ballroom and they have sidelights are a side doors and then they have back doors and then their tables all over the place are they coming from the far side of the room are they coming from this side of the room and coming in like through the side of the tables the reason why I want to know that is because I need to know where to put my assistant I could move myself around really easily but when we're working with off camera flash she stays in one location and doesn't move unless I tell her to so we try to game out okay based on this space that we're in. Based on where all of the doors are based on where we know they're coming from, where does she need to stand so that I know that the light will be coming from where I want when people start entering the room? That's something we've gamed out before it's even happened now I'm not saying that we've gone to the venue on another day and we've walked around the space and we've really thought about it, but right before everyone comes in when the guests are coming in, when the guests are sitting down, when the guests are settling in, we take a second to assess the space have they lowered the lights? Have they raised the lights? Have they turned on dance floor lights that we didn't see coming? You know, let's take a test shot where she'll set the flash on the power that we think is going to work. I'll set my camera on the settings that I think is going to work and we take a shot of, you know, somebody walking across the floor as they head to their table we tested out before the people come in, we need to know where they're coming from, and we need to know where they're going when everybody processes in, are they going to process in and wave and then go sit at their table? Are they going to process in and line up in front of the ban are they going to process in and make two lines for the bride and groom to come down thes air things you need to know I'll talk to the band about it also reconfirm it with the person at the hotel that's helping because if you have a band or you have a deejay a lot of times they'll do the introductions they'll have somebody out on the floor of the mike and when people come in they'll direct them from where to go sometimes your band or your deejay does the introductions but you have the maitre d or someone from the venue on the floor telling the people where to go and I want to know where they're going I don't wanna get stuck behind the bridesmaid I don't want to accidentally block anybody in so I need to know what's about to happen to the dance floor before it actually happens and then I want to know what's going to happen next? Are they going to come in and do it introductions and go straight into their first dance? Are they going to come in do introductions and then everyone's going to sit down and we're gonna eat we're going to the first dance later knowing the timeline of how their reception is going to go well let me know what's coming and if I don't know this I don't need to know these things to succeed you could do an introduction, you could come in, you could go right into your first dance. I could have not seen it coming, and I'm still going to be fine, but having that forethought knowing they're gonna come in he's going to spin her out and they're going straight in their first dance just means that I'm prepared and I'm ready for it to happen. So let's, talk about what happened when blair and jeremy were introduced into their reception on let's talk about the settings that I was able to use in order to make these images the way I wanted them to. Now you take a look at both of the images right here. This was a really difficult part of the day for me to be completely honest because they were coming up, you can see in the image on the right that they're cute up. You look at that. If you look to the left of the image on the right, you can actually see blair and jeremy at the top of the stairs over there before they come in. They came from downstairs and they came up and they came into the side of the room, I didn't have a whole lot of options as to the angle at which I was going to shoot this guy had shoot straight into the people that were coming. You can see by the fact that I shot it at eighty five millimeters in one hundred five millimeters it's not because I used my eighty five and my macro it's because with my seventy two, two hundred these were the on ly focal links that I was actually able to work with I couldn't get far enough back to shoot it two hundred millimeters there wasn't enough room to get back and shoot at two hundred millimeters I'm shooting into a guest camera on a tripod I'm shooting into the deejay booth I'm shooting into cars driving by outside but back to what I've talked about several times throughout this thing the only thing that you can do is the best that you can do I didn't have an option to change the background I didn't have an option to have them come from a different direction I didn't have an option to shoot this from another angle there was no other angle and you might be sitting at home saying well why didn't you shoot it from the side or why didn't you go another way? Why didn't you do another thing trust me when I say we gamed this situation and we looked at it the best we could and this was our best option are these the greatest pictures I've ever taken? Of course they're not their introduction pictures but are these technically solid and competent do they show the emotion of the moment do they show the expression on people's faces and, well, the clients be happy with it? Absolutely they will what's happening here. Technically, now you can see how the shadows are falling. If you look up towards the top of each of the photographs, you can see the pipes on the ceiling and how the flash is casting the shadow of those pipes into the ceiling that leads you to know that when you're looking at this image, if I'm directly facing the clients as they're coming down and they're being introduced, my assistant is about five feet off to my right and about three feet in front of me, so we're making a triangle, the people coming in or the peak of the triangle I'm the far back of the triangle, and my assistant is somewhat midway between myself and them. The reason why we're doing that is if they're here and I'm here, if my assistant standing right next to me, the flash is hitting them straight on, just like it would if it were on camera. If she goes slightly to the side and in front of me like so, then her flashes coming at a slight angle and you can see the slight angle by looking at the way the flash is falling on the images here. She's got the flash she's got it held up it's nice and high above her head it's probably about, you know, four feet above her head, she's holding it on the monitor pod extended all the way up. I'm at an eightieth of a second. The reason why I met an eightieth of a second is because the shutter is fast enough that, combined with the flash, it will freeze the motion of the people even as they're moving even as they're moving fast. Yet it's also slow enough to pick up the ambient light on the floor, on the bricks and in the back of the room. If my shutter speed, we're faster. If it were one hundred twenty fifth of a second, if it were two hundred of a second, we would start losing that ambient light in the back of the room. It would start darkening down the rest of the scene with the slower shutter speed. With the shutter being open longer, you have an opportunity to pull in more of the ambient light, which is a great thing when you're trying to warm up the image. I am no longer on aperture priority the second we put a flash on camera, I am all manual, both on my camera and on the flash, so we're at an eightieth of a second. Fast enough to freeze them slow enough to pull in some ambient light where it f four so that both of the people are in focus and we have a little latitude in case one of them moves a little bit before or behind the person next to them again my, my uh focal length is varying a little bit not because I'm using the eighty five or the one oh five macro because I'm trying to use that seventy two, two hundred I'm doing the best I can in a very small space and my eyes so I changed it between the two to continue trying to balance my shutter speed my aperture and my ambient light I have no problem raising my eyes so up to two thousand or twenty five hundred or thirty two hundred if that's what it takes to make these images and to make them in the way that I want to. So from here again by the time the bride and groom come in the settings as you can see are very similar I'm sticking at s o twenty four, twenty five hundred and still in eightieth of a second I'm still a f ore and these air it seventy millimeters because they're getting closer to me and I'm having toe open that seventy two, two hundred up to the seventy side of things so that I could make sure that they're both in focus so that's pretty much how that went down it was a small space we had a limited amount of room to maneuver in, but you can see that even in a small space even with a limited amount of room even with seventy millimeters instead of the two hundred that I like even with the difficulties with the things in the background, we're still able to make technically competent, well exposed well, it photographs that show the emotion of the moment and the clients are pleased with them, which at the end of the day is really the most important thing now talking about different examples at different weddings just to continue to illustrate the different ways that this can happen because every wedding is not going to be the same as the wedding before it and every reception isn't goingto look the same in every introduction isn't going to go down in exactly the same way. Sometimes you get super lucky and you work in a venue where they cut all of the lights often backlight the bride and groom is they come in and that's the venue lighting that not me and that happens all the time for me accept that this is literally the only time that ever happened for me and it was miraculous and marvellous and it's never happened again, which makes me sad in this instance I was prepared to photograph this on manual with the flash the same way I set up every single thing else but in the split second when they opened the door, the lights cut off and the back light lit up jenna and her veil I was able to make a split second decision that would let me take this photograph, the reason why I continue to harp on knowing your gear and the reason why I continue to harp on knowing your settings and knowing what you're doing and understanding your gear inside and out and knowing how to meet her and knowing how to expose in a split second is because I literally had point two seconds to say, oh my gosh, the lights around the back light is happening phobics goes off flash goes off switch overto aperture priority underexposed roll my exposure compensation down three stops bang nailed it in one shot and I'm not saying that to brag I couldn't have done this five years ago I couldn't have done this ten years ago, I would've watched and going, oh my gosh, that was cool! I wish I could have oh, and I would have missed it, but it's continually going out there, it's continually practicing and continuing to shoot and I have told you guys I shoot fifty weddings a year and if I wasn't shooting this much if I wasn't still out there if it wasn't still trying to improve myself I would be absolutely worthless to you as an educator, so I'm still out there every single year shooting and shooting and shooting, continuing to hone my skills so that when something does happen split second I can make an exposure a decision which involved my flash, my radio, my camera and my settings bang, bang, bang, roll it down, shoot and then put it all back and turn it all back on because they continued into the room with the introductions. Introductions usually look a whole lot like this. My personal favorite part about introductions is when you catch some staff in the background looking bored like these two waiters over here, there was no way I could've cropped them out. It was what it was, so you just include them in there a fiftieth of a second low enough to bring in the ambient light it's a very dark room, very dim walls very nice up lining very warm but if I had been any faster with my shutter speed, it wouldn't have rendered the warmth correctly. It wouldn't have picked up all of that ambient light I can still hand hold it the flash is still freezing my subjects f four, so they're both in focus forty millimeters I had to shoot this with my twenty four to seventy because it was a very small introduction space and I s o sixteen hundred, which works perfectly in tandem with the shutter speed and the f stop that I have chosen again introductions tend to look a lot like this a sixty eighth of a second same principles still a four seventy millimeters eso sixteen hundred now, while I do my absolute best to shoot that seventy two, two hundred during the introductions doesn't always work out that way, I don't always have enough space to get back or enough space to zoom out and shoot these closer to the two hundred cida things most people just simply don't have that long of a space tow walk into for their introductions, so it looks like this. I include this image because I made a little bit of an error here and if you look for a couple seconds and you think about all of the things that I've talked about so far it's pretty easy to tell what I've done wrong look at the exit sign for a minute look at the side of angeles face for just a minute look at their arms in between the two of them look at the waiters, a little tray between the two of them in the background and I bet you can pretty easily tell me that what's happened here is my flash my shutter speed and the rest of my settings are not working together in harmony my shutter speed is too low my I s o is too high what's happening there is that I'm getting motion blur even using a flash now I could have fixed this in several different ways I could have taken my s o back to sixteen hundred or a thousand I could have taken my shutter speed up to an eightieth their one hundredth of a second I put a fix this in a couple of different ways now is there anything wrong with this image? Of course it's not it's still fine but I wanted to show what will happen if you're not careful of all of your settings and they're not working together in the correct harmony now is this something that I was able to do overnight? Of course it wasn't I've been working on and I've been honing my off camera flash skills for years now but even then I still do make mistakes sometimes the mistakes happened because of something that I didn't see coming sometimes right when they do the introductions the venue either raises or lowers the light or sometimes in right when they start doing the introductions the deejay pops on a light that I never saw it coming and I have to make a really really, really quick adjustment to both myself and my assistant sanders worked with me long enough that she knows when she sees something like that when she sees a light change when she sees something different happened she immediately takes a look over at me and I just to either up or down which means either give me more power or give me less power now I know that there are radio transmitters out there that will allow me to adjust the output of the flash from my camera pocket wizard has a great one my husband uses that lots of people that I know use it I don't like it again maybe I'm starting to sound a little old maybe I'm starting to sound a little set in my ways but we have a system that that work soon works pretty all right to me yes it means she has to pull the flash down and change the setting up or change the setting down but we've been doing it for so long that she can do it like that so I choose to not adjust the flash output from on my camera I would rather have her do it so far we haven't had any problems with that we haven't missed anything because of it and if it ain't broke don't fix it so that's sort of my philosophy on that but this is another really great example of exactly what I'm looking for if I had changed one thing about it it would have been asked the videographer in the back left to scooch out of the way but that's not my call so we just keep on keeping on now I s o sixteen hundred ah hundredth of a second, which seems a little fast, but it's still lets me bring in the ambient light that I need f four so that everybody's and focus on the seventy side of the seventy two, two hundred because they were getting a little bit closer to me. My assistant is still doing the exact same thing she's doing before we have the off camera flash coming from slightly left of me. If you're ever wondering where the off camera flashes coming from, just take a look at where the shadows are falling on the ground, you can see that here, follow the guy's face down into his feet and look at the shadow falling out behind him. You can see exactly where the light is coming from. In this instance, the light is at eighth power. Sometimes you get super duper lucky. Sometimes you get a wedding in the middle of the day, sometimes you get a wedding in a tent where the light is just right. I don't want you to think that the things that I'm telling you about introductions have to stay true in every single venue, and in every single scenario, if I'm in a tent at noon on the light's coming in and the light's really great and I don't need a flash not going, you end it but I thin it if I'm in a tent at noon and the sides of the tender kind of low and it's kind of dark and there may be noone but I'm gonna have a flash or if I have something like this salmon just coming into their reception what you don't see off camera right over here are the enormous floor to ceiling windows that are pouring light in this room do I need a flash? No, I don't because the light coming in from the windows is doing exactly what sandra would be doing with a flash where we using a flash this is also evident by the settings that you see I met one hundred sixtieth of a second I'm a three point two twenty seven millimeters because it was a really small dance floor and I didn't have a whole lot of room but this let me use the natural light coming into the space in the same way that I would have used the flash were at any other situation so this doesn't happen often for me this is a really rare thing but I need to keep my eyes open I need to keep looking at the way the light is coming in the way the light is hitting the space and every once in a while you have a gem of a wedding where you could do something like this which is to go natural light with the introductions now, I don't care if they're florida ceiling windows in the room if the light isn't good and if the quality of light isn't good, if the quality of light is not what I want, of course I'm going to add in a flash. But in this lovely blessed instance, I did not need to talking before about that whole thing where you need to know what's about to happen it's kind of important that, you know, if they're going to create an arch, so the bride and groom kind of run through it because I need to be prepared and my assistant needs to be prepared than a bunch of people are about to hold something over my client's heads that are going to block the light from them. So maybe in this situation, you know, maybe in a situation like this, I do what I did here, which is bring my assistant closer to me, so I'm not going to get quite the same dimension of the light, but she's going to be closer to me so that I know that the light will hit their faces when they come through. And I had this image and two seconds later I had this image as they come through if I were to fix this image. Either of these images later in post production, where I so inclined to put it in the album, if you look down camera right, you can see that the videographer was not exactly far away from me when this happened, but you do the best you, khun d'oh here's an example of that aforementioned tent where I was talking about how sometimes you've got great light in a tent and sometimes you've got great lightness space and you can use the natural light for the introductions. This was not one of those instances anya and keith sweating was a daytime wedding you can clearly see by looking to the right of the frame that the sun is still pretty darn high in the sky. However, just because it's daytime, just because there are windows just because there's a little light coming in, that doesn't mean that it is good light. That doesn't mean that this is light that I can use in the way that I want to, so my assistant is standing could see how the shadow is falling from anya she's standing off camera right from me were on quarter power because we're attempting to overpower some of that son just a little bit, and this gives me the dimension of the light, the thing I like about showing this images you can't really tell maybe it was natural light because it's daytime you can see the light outside, you know, maybe we were able to use the natural light maybe it's flash you don't know and for me that's when I know that I'm getting my flash correct when you actually have to take a second to look and wonder how it was lit so even an introduction that happens at five o'clock in the summer time sometimes you still need to use a flash to supplement the light that's there to give it the direction that you want it tohave one hundred twenty fifth of a second because it's so bright f four thirty one millimeters because the dance floor is small ezo sixteen hundred flash coming from off camera right and again sixtieth of a second four seventy millimeters eso one thousand you're going to see the same principles repeating over and over or and over again because every wedding is different, every introduction is different. Every venue is lit differently shaped differently laid out differently. But the basics of how I handle the introductions are the same more examples of exactly the same thing I've been talking about now now that we've got the introductions out of the way now that everybody's come in and done their best worm on the dance floor and broken it down and warn weird sunglasses and behaved in incredibly bizarre ways now we move on to the first dance now, a lot of times at the weddings that I photograph, the first dance organically happens right after the introductions. Everybody comes in, everybody lines up the bride and groom intro in the writing party sits down, and then the first dance happens. Sometimes it doesn't happen that way, and this is why it's important to understand the scheduling of the day. Sometimes everybody it comes in. They do the introductions in, they say hi, they do a speech, and then they sit down. Sometimes they introduce in, and then they just sit down. Sometimes they introduce it, and if it's a jewish wedding, they do the blessing over the bread, and then they eat. If you haven't talked to the clients and gotten the timeline, if you haven't, then reconfirm the timeline with the band, the deejay and the maitre d, you could be a little taken aback when something like this happens if something goes kind of out of the schedule that you're used to.