Stephanos and Markitas wedding

Its wedding period in Cyprus. Most couples choose to get married somewhere within the Spring or Autumn period. This is mainly because it’s too hot during summer and quite cold and wet to get married during the winter. That’s exactly the case with Stephanos and Markitas wedding. No complicated lighting setups and big light modifiers in this post. How were these taken? Continue reading

I explicitly stated no big light modifiers and I mean it. The only light modifier I used to shoot some of the pictures was a small Lastolite Micro Apollo (MK2). Other than  that it was just pure ambient light with a hint of bounce/diffused flash when needed.

The wedding ceremony started off just after noon. Following the traditions, us friends, were invited to the grooms house. The ceremony includes the traditional dressing of the groom by his best man and some sort of tying ritual. During this tying ritual, the grooms parents, first degree relatives and sometimes closest friends use a red scarf or tie, to complete 3 circles around the waist and form the cross on the grooms chest. This ritual dates back in Byzantium and expresses a wish for prosperity for the marrying person. After the tying, his mother, father and relatives puff smoke to the poor person so that bad spirits go away. Stefanos and Markitas wedding was no exception. All traditions were followed by both of them. As soon as the groom ceremonies finished it was time for the not-so-traditional drinking. You see, after the groom gets dressed, tied and smoked upon, the violists who accompany the ceremony with music, leave the grooms place and go to the brides house where the ritual restarts. For the groom, there is no other way to burn time but to chill, but most commonly drink.

Once we got the “Ok” from the bride’s house, everyone moved outside. The church was within a walking distance from the grooms place so driving there made no sense. In fact, the place was so packed when I arrived that I had to actually park the car outside the church. Off to the street then and towards the church.

During the whole time I never stopped taking pictures. I was not, under any circumstance, the wedding photographer. My friends had not one, not two, but four photographers and videographers buzzing around them like flies during the whole time. At times, it felt like I had tuned to E! Entertainment and watched the academy awards. None the less, I took the chance to grab my trusted Sony, a speedlight and the softbox and cover the whole thing. Thankfully the wedding photographers were happy, me blending with them and trying to do what they were doing best.

For the pre-wedding time, I mostly used my Sigma 24-70mm lens. The rituals took place indoors so, although my 50mm 1.4 was 1 full stop faster, the place was confined enough to force me to use the 24-70mm lens more. I used amateur voice activated light stands for my speedlight and softbox, hence I ended up getting mixed results. For the actual wedding ceremony, (including the time outside the church before and after) it was mostly a blend of the 24-70mm and the 70-210mm. The church was big enough to allow the usage of the 70-210mm for the longer shots. I decided not to use the speedlight within the church since the four wedding photographers were causing enough light pollution.

Settings wise, the whole thing was taking place indoors and while there was enough ambient light bleeding into the scene, I had to crank up the ISO to reach to usable hand holding speeds which varied from 1/20 – 1/160 seconds. ISO was mostly fixed around the 1600 area which is way outside my comfort zone, especially using my crappy A200 camera and comparing it and drooling against the Nikons (D4, D700 and D3X with their 24-70mm and 70-200 VR) the photographers were using. The Sony A200 is not famous for its high ISO performance and that I could feel intensively. For the shots, the evaluative matrix metering was used mostly.

The matrix metering system, takes into account the average light after all metering points have given their metering and the results are usually spot on. The only time I felt I needed to better meter the scene was during the street walk and that is because the sun was low enough to hit on the surrounding buildings and cause uneven spread. The street was dark enough while the building tops were overexposed. Instead of tinkering with the camera, I instead opted to lock the exposure after taking readings from somewhere lower. That made the trick.

Speedlight wise, I set it to 1/8th of power and forgot about it. Since I had cranked up the ISO, it gave me plenty of time to alter the aperture to my liking in order to restrict/amplify the flash intensity. Oh, and for this whole time I lived in the A mode.

Stephanos and Markitas wedding was not my first wedding. I had attended another couple’s wedding as well as a wedding fashion photoshoot before that. But it now feels that I have gotten much more comfortable with my technique and post processing.

Lesson learned: Take your camera out more and don’t be afraid to jump in opportunities like these. Its experience and practise that makes better photographers.

View the full gallery here