The Equipment and Settings
- Nikon D700
- Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AFS-G
- 1/180 sec @ f/1.8 & ISO 6400, hand-held
- Manual exposure, manual WB, RAW
The Shooting Conditions
Wedding “grand exits” are always extremely hectic because they involve people running, throwing stuff, and/or sparks etc! As a wedding photographer trying to properly document such a moment, you usually have two choices: Play it safe with an on-camera flash, a low ISO and a decent shutter speed, so as to ensure you get sharp photos, OR… Crank your ISO, cut it close with your shutter speed, and see if you can hand-hold a 100% natural light shot!
The advantage of shooting weddings as a team with two photographers is that you get to cover both bases, of course! Having shot many sparkler exits in the past, I knew I would probably need camera settings somewhere around f/1.8 and ISO 6400 if I was going to get an acceptable shutter speed, so all I did was wait for the action to start, and then fine tune my shutter speed based on my in-camera light meter as well as my blinking highlight warning on my LCD.
For this image, I did some more testing of our SLR Lounge Preset System in Lightroom 5 Beta, as well as Bridge CS6. (We have just converted our highly acclaimed SLR Lounge Preset System to Adobe Camera Raw Presets; click HERE to read the announcement!)
As I always encourage folks to do, I tried my best to get my exposure and WB right in-camera. It would be silly to claim that I nail my exposures every time in a crazy situation such as this, however I got lucky and this shot had a great exposure even though others were severely under-exposed. (Thus is the risk when shooting a sparkler exit without flash!)
Anyways, since I got the exposure and White Balance pretty close, all I did was use the SLR Lounge Preset for “Soft Portrait” and then bump down my exposure by 1/3 stop, drop my blacks down a “shift-click”, and then warm up my white balance just a tiny bit to avoid the image looking too neutral and to enhance the moody feel. Done! I also did a quick B&W conversion using one of our warm vintage SLR Lounge Presets:
Side Note: thus far, I have only had a couple minor freezes while using Lightroom 5 Beta! Next, I am going to try and get my hands on some Nikon D800 RAW images, we’ll see how that goes…
Take care, and happy clicking!
The SLR Lounge Preset System
The SLR Lounge Preset System is designed to enable users to achieve virtually any look and effect within 3-5 simple clicks. From basic color correction, vintage fades, black & white effects, tilt-shift effects, faux HDR, retouching, detail enhancing, and so much more. The sky is the limit with what has been dubbed the most powerful and intuitive preset system available. Click the link above to learn more/purchase! The SLR Lounge Preset System is now available for both Lightroom 4 and Adobe Camera Raw! (Bridge CS6)
You can also purchase the SLR Lounge Preset System as part of the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection.