Wedding Shot in a Gym

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jonathansm, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Jonathansm macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2011
    So I will be shooting a wedding/reception in a gym in August. I haven't really done to much shooting in gyms. What would be the best lighting? Would just having an on the camera speedlite with a green gel on it be fine for moving around and off camera flash though an umbrella for portraits? If anyone has had experience shooting weddings in gyms I would love to here what you did.
  2. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    I've had zero experience shooting a wedding (that will change this September, though). But the fluorescent lighting of a gym would obviously need to be accounted for as well as maybe unexpected reflected light off of the light-colored hardwood floor of the gym. Maybe those who shoot indoor basketball events can lend an hand here. Can you get to the gym at about the time of day of the reception beforehand and take some sample shots to see what you need to do with your camera settings and flashes before the event? That might help.
  3. Jonathansm thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2011
    I can only get to the gym the day of about 2 hours before. Its in a different state. Thats why I wanted to get an idea of what I needed to bring because I really don't want to bring all of my equipment.
  4. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I think trying to balance all the light sources in a large room with the flash could be a bit of a headache,

    I'd be tempted to do a custom white balance to start with the ambient and shoot with a fast prime and push the iso if needed and just use the available light...

    Then again i've never shot in a gym so sport shooters are prob your best bet :)
  5. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Try to get to a local gym where they have volley ball during the evening and practice so you get a good idea of the lighting. I know the local girls school by my house will let you in if you call and explain since maintenance has to be there during the day/evening times which might help you out. Maybe even a local YMCA or something along those lines.

    Good luck :)
  6. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    I like this approach, and would also recommend bringing a gray card and shooting in RAW. That way you can shoot the gray card under whatever lighting conditions might be present and then adjust the white balance later in post-processing if needed. The available light in a gym may be uneven with multiple conflicting color temps though, so I'd re-shoot the gray card in each area with significantly different color temperature if that is the case. I've never shot a wedding in a gym before, so take my feedback with a grain of salt.

    Here is a useful guide to white balance:
  7. equilibrium17 macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Well, I'm not an experienced enough photographer to offer you technical advice in this area, but I have worked a lot of weddings in other capacities, including more than a few in Gymnasium/Multi-Purpose rooms.

    Before you go to too much trouble trying to figure out how to get flattering photos of the wedding party and guests under the institutional fluorescent lights you typically find in a Gymnasium, I would suggest trying to contact the wedding planner o find out what kind lighting is actually going to be used at the event. In most of the weddings I have worked in this kind of venue, the event planner brings in at least some of their own lighting equipment. Photographic concerns aside, institutional overhead fluorescent lighting isn't very flattering and doesn't generally provide a very festive atmosphere. So most planners will avoid using it if the budget allows. Temporary carpeting or other floor coverings, as well as wall drapes, etc. are also commonly used to dress up a space like this, and these could also change conditions -- you won't have to worry about bounce off the hardwood gym floor if it's covered.

    But if it's really a budget affair, they may be using the institutional lighting. With a bit of luck, maybe you can get in touch with someone who will tell you what the plans are in this area.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I'd use a Color Checker Passport in mixed lighting. Gyms are usually quite dark, so you're likely to need as much light as you can bring and/or good extreme ISO performance.

  9. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
  10. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    The color checker passport is a nice idea, along with bringing along your own lighting setup. Check the WB in each location you are shooting as well.

    Gymnasiums are not very flattering locations - especially not the lighting.

    My instinct would be to try and hide that the location was a gymnasium as much as possible.

    I don't like the idea of using available light, since the light in the gym might be very dull or even dark. If the light is dark, then that could be a bonus in disguising the location.

    Use some very fast-glass along with a high ISO capable camera and have all your lighting gear in case you need it. Cover all the bases.

    If you have to do a group portrait with the families of the happy couple, perhaps have your own backdrop and lighting setup just for that purpose?

    Find out from the planner how the place will be setup before the time, that should give you some hints. And hopefully they will have their own lighting setup that will make the location more warm and inviting.

    I prefer to avoid shooting weddings, but I've done a few corporate events in unflattering locations like that.
  11. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    Except that if they are getting married in a gymnasium it's probably for a special reason and they might be disappointed if the location was "hidden".
  12. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010

    I'd thought of that as well, maybe there was some attachment to the place. But then maybe it was just for practical reasons. :confused:
  13. Jonathansm, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012

    Jonathansm thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2011
    Ok so I called and found out that its hardwood floor, and they are not bringing any lights so there are just using the florescent lights but they are using a backdrop for the pictures. So I think Ill bring my strobe with a satin umbrella, and I really need to watch my white balance but I will be shooting in raw so that will help. Any more suggestions?

    I found out that they are just doing the reception in the gym and doing the wedding in a church so that will make the wedding a lot easier. But they want all the group shots done at the reception.
  14. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    If you'll be shooting with a strobe and the florescent lights at the same time, definitely bring a variety of gels for your strobe so you can try to match the color temperature of the gym lights.

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