Author Topic: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot  (Read 4115 times)

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Offline Wyrewader

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Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« on: May 18, 2013, 02:37:19 PM »
I would be most grateful if anyone could offer me some help and advice.

My wife & I are going to a Muslim wedding on 27/05, it's a first time we've attended a Muslim wedding & we're both very much looking forward to it.

The sister of the bride has contacted me asking if, the day before the wedding, I could go to her house to photograph the "Mehndi", which is the art of intricately decorating the skin (I think mainly the hands) with henna. I asked our friend to send me some examples of the type of shot she's looking for, she sent me a dozen or so, a few are below

*** Pics removed as I think they were lifted off the net - & they showed my ones up (Cliff)

99% of my photography is wildlife &, other than a few family snapshots, I've never done this type of photography so I'm quite nervous about taking this on & any advice on how best to achieve good/decent/acceptable results would be greatly appreciated.

I'll ask my friend before the shoot to have a think about backgrounds that I can shoot against, I'll probably see if there's anything I can take to use as a backdrop too. The time of the shoot will be from about 4pm but there are several girls to be made up so I would imagine I'll be there a few hours. Some natural light should be available throughout although it will be an indoor shoot. The girls are aged from mid teens to mid thirties & are all very pretty which I'm sure will help.

Here's what I've got: -

Cameras - Sony a77, a580, a700
Lenses - 2 x kit lenses - KM AF DT 18-70 & Sony 18-55 SAM, & 2 x macro lenses - Sigma 105mm & Tamron 180mm. Other than that I've just got my long birding lenses.
Flash - Sony HVL-F42AM flashgun(that I don't know how to use - well I have only had it 3 years :-[)
Tripod - Manfotto 055ProB tripod with a couple of heads.

My intention is to use my Sigma 105mm for as many of the shots as I can, switching to one of the kit lenses when I need to fit more in frame. I’ll stick the Sigma on my a77 & a kit lens on my a580.

Should I try & make use of natural light as far as possible, or is it better to supplement available light with flash?

I’m intending using tripod, particularly for the close up intricate hand decorating shots. I’m also intending practising over the next 7 days, learning how to use my flashgun & what apertures produce best results. I’m also going to be having a read up about portrait photography, but with only 7 days to the shoot it’ll be a crash course & if you kind folk can make any suggestions to help fast track me it will be a huge help.

Also - is there a (cheap) lens I need to rush out & buy before the shoot?

Cliff

PS - At least I’ve dodged one bullet as she hasn’t asked me to photograph the wedding – she must have seen some of my shots :lol:.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 08:10:14 PM by Wyrewader »

Offline chappo1

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 01:44:04 AM »
They're just different sorts of birds Cliff where the female of the species is more colourful than the male !!!! :grin: ....  sorry could not resist.....

I would just get Mrs Cliff to sit for you in a window and and use a little fill flash and try a few things until you are happy that you can get a reasonable shot. Then replicate it on the day.  Just like getting birds in flight- practice a little....
If the house has nice window light I would start with that and add the fill and bounce if you need it.
I am a dilettante of course so know very little about anything....john
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Offline vaughaag

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 04:24:40 AM »
Hi Cliff,

You and John have already hit the nail on the head. With this theme of shoot you would want to use as much natural light as possible to capture the mood / atmosphere. Any additional light should be subtle and soft.

Personally from your lens list I would stick the Sigma 105 on the A77. That combo should give you great results with colour, dof and sharpness. If you need something for wider shots I would use the 18-55.

If you do need to use your flash, try and bounce the light off a wall behind you or take a white sheet or large piece of card with you to act as a reflector. Bouncing the light from behind you as aposed to from above will created less shadowing while remaining soft. The 42AM has manual power controls, if you find you need more / less light, try first  using the manual flash control instead of changing ISO/Aperture/Shutter so that you retain control over the image produced.

Best of luck and looking forward to hearing how you get on and maybe seeing a few results :)

Dave
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Offline marc pk

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 06:35:00 AM »
Hello;

I strongly recommend you read Gary Friedman's blog; its title is misleading - there is a section on flash photography and how to go about creating the $5 studio! It particularly is valid for the a77 and be sure to have the most up to date firmware on your camera (I think it was released in February this year).

http://friedmanarchives.blogspot.fr/2013/05/preventing-image-theft.html

Enjoy!
Marc

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Offline Wyrewader

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 03:44:13 PM »
John/Dave/Mark - many thanks for your responses & help. Been practicing on the missus & even on myself - I've certainly got a lot to learn, highlighted by the fact it took me long enough to figure out how to get the flash to pop up on the a77 lol.

I'm going to keep having a practice over the next few days. The bouncing off a wall behind me wasn't something I'd ever of thought of, I'll be giving that a try later. A reflector sounds like a good idea too. Interesting video Mark - manual exposure - Yikes!

Cheers

Cliff

Offline chappo1

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 01:11:00 AM »
One special tip Cliff... When you are done with the manual exposure remember to put it back on Aperture before you go birding :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ 

Thank goodness for the 4 stops grace in ACR !!!!!!  .....john
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Offline rannari

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 07:14:36 AM »
Not much to add. I always try to use natural light, but occasionally you need the flash. Visiting the church and other places before to check the light conditions, angles, good shooting positions etc. will make it more comfortable on big day.

Be prepared for unusual ... something always happens ... :)

Happy shootings!

kurt
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 07:18:01 AM by rannari »
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Offline subbu68

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 04:31:07 PM »
One general shot they do in our place is to keep the two open palms touching each other and take a shot. Another one is a with the two hands in front of a mirror. No face seen. They shoot with video lights as generally this ceremony is indoors and in some community in the evening.
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Offline chappo1

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 12:32:29 AM »
John/Dave/Mark - many thanks for your responses & help. Been practicing on the missus & even on myself - I've certainly got a lot to learn, highlighted by the fact it took me long enough to figure out how to get the flash to pop up on the a77 lol.
Cheers

Cliff
I am still trying to find how you get the danged thing to pop up on the A99 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ....john
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Offline Wyrewader

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 06:48:15 AM »
Thanks again all. The Mehndi shoot was last Sunday evening. My fears that I didn't know what I was doing were realised on the night when it transpired that - - I didn't know what I was doing. I was way out of my comfort zone and, as someone who doesn't really get stressed, I found it quite stressful, mainly because I didn't want to let anyone down.

I tried using the flash wirelessly, but that didn't work out too well due to lack of suitable places to site it. It was a small house with 20+ people attending, about 8 of whom were youngsters charging around having fun, making it a bit chaotic - (notice I'm getting the excuses in early :-[ ). The ceiling had been decorated with streamers & trying to bounce the flash didn't work out too well, in fact I seemed to have flash issues all evening, with over & under exposure problems. In the end I stuck the flashgun on the camera & pointed it at the subject - resulting in some glare on the skin in many of the shots - I never thought to flip down that little diffuser thingy.

Fortunately our friend (the brides sister), seems pleased with the 200+ photos I've put on a disc for her. The evening itself was completely fascinating, I was very privileged to be the only adult male present & it was a terrific insight into something I've never seen before. The wedding was on Monday & was equally as fascinating.

I've attached a few shots below: -







continued below.......

Offline Wyrewader

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Re: Help please - pre-wedding "Mehndi" shoot
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2013, 06:49:50 AM »
as I mentioned in my initial post, the girls are all very pretty.







Glad that's over with.

Cliff