Good evening Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it... Photograph a wedding... in a dimly lit Catholic church... where the only lights beam down on people like little spotlights causing funky shadows around the eyes and nose, and here's the best part... You CAN NOT use a FLASH.
That was my assignment. I chose to accept it. I went to the wedding rehearsal on Friday, and met with Crystal again. Crystal is a super sweet girl who works hard and has some incredibly cute kids. When I walked around the church, I'm always in awe... but this time especially. The light was dim to say the least. I met the "Church Lady"... she was the church representative who gave me the rules. No flash photography during the ceremony. Cool. I can do this. I have a good camera and several lenses that are good in low light.
I got my camera out of my case to take a few test shots. Oh my God. I looked up at the huge statue of Jesus on the cross and asked him for help.
Jesus offered me no help on this one. With my lens aperture wide open at F1.8, proper exposure was going to require a shutter speed of 1/10th of a second... which is a really long exposure. This would work if I could keep the camera perfectly still, and I could convince the wedding party to not move during photographs.
I bumped up the ISO (sensitivity to light) pretty high. Then I bumped it up some more... then I maxxed it out. I wasn't happy with the settings I was going to have to use. It could make the pictures turn out grainy, and not sharp. The little lights in the sanctuary were like miniature spotlights. It gave everyone shadows under their nose, and dark shadows in the eyes. After reading my blog entry so far... I just realized it sounds like I'm really whining. I guess I am. I do this to myself after a wedding sometimes. I want to take the best pictures I can. I want to capture images that my client will cherish for years. I want nothing less than PERFECT. In looking at the pictures a week afterward, I didn't get perfection. I talked with Crystal, and she is happy with the product that I have delivered. That's the important part, but I always struggle with this part of photography. I wish it had been better circumstances. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
Fortunately, I had several things working in my favor. I had a gorgeous bride who had a really beautiful dress. Crystal's kids and her nieces and nephews in the wedding looked so precious. You can see all the pictures in my gallery Here (or the slideshow below). I had a lot of fun with Crystal and her family. I even got Andres to smile a few times. For the record, I used to love watching the old TV show "Mission Impossible"... the movies with Tom Cruise suck.