d200 shooting wedding in bright sun

I have been shooting weddings for a while and I have ran into this problem more than once.
I'm mainly asking for some advise. The problem is that all my brides want their weddings a noon.... outside in the bright sun. Although I can control the portrait shots, I have a hard time keeping the wedding dress from overexposing during the wedding. ( since I can't stick them in the shade ) I shoot at a high shutter, about a 400 iso, and anywhere between 5.6-7 fstop. Most of the dress is perfect for the most part, only certain areas are overexposed and contain a bluish hue. and and I can't figure out how to keep that from happening. Even if I under expose the shot, certain areas of the dress is still overexposed.  Right now, I'm correcting it in photoshop, but what can I do during a wedding to help? Do I set a custom white balance? <--( I know this may help with the blue)
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lherrouConnect With a Mentor Commented:

This problem is a lot like shooting in snow. Here's the problem: Your camera is seeing the large white area of the dress and adjusting your exposure based on all that white. But, what you are interested in is the detail that's not huge areas of white.

You'll need to play with this a bit (and preferably not with an actual wedding), but here's what I suggest: First of all, you should be looking at your histograms and adjusting WB - when you are getting over-exposures like this it should be showing as a major right shift on the histogram. Second, set your exposure compensation down a couple of stops. Third, you may need a fill-flash to fill in detail once you've dropped that overexposure of the white down - and if you're shooting at high speeds, you'll need to drop your iso down so you can bring the shutter speed slow enough to synch with the flash (if dropping your iso isn't enough, you may also need to look at a neutral density filter).

The D200 allows you to set custom WB presets. You may find that you can create a couple of these that work for recurring situations like this. You also can shoot RAW, although it may add to your workflow, it will allow you to adjust the image after the fact in a way that you can't if you are shooting JPG.

danirk2Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Regarding bluishness: If you can attach one, use UV-filter on the camera.

Regarding overexposer, you could use a spot-flash pointed to the face, so you can shhot with faster exposure
crittle1Author Commented:
Thanks for the suggestions :)

I think I may take a look at the neutral density filter. I've already fooled with the other things you talk about. The d200 will synch at very high speeds which is an AWESOME addition to the camera. Maybe I just need to take a day this summer with a model and just run through a ton of different settings.

Reguarding the UV-Filter... yes I saw it sitting on my dresser when I got home. Nice..
I'll be putting that back on the lens now.

I always use a flash outside for fill unless I use the reflector. 90% of the time you can't use flash during a wedding due to restrictions. I feel a flash is useless in the outdoor weddings during the ceremony. ( Not walking up and down the isle, but at the alter because we are usually far away ) Plus it can be distracting. Although I did use it during this last wedding anyhow just for kicks.

Should I consider a polarizer? I need to be quick with adjusting it and the settings so I can catch the bride walking down which is a challenge.

I use to shoot raw, but MAN it took forever to run through 2K images and process them. PLUS backing them on dvd was overload. I'm considering shooting raw during the wedding only, and any other hard shots. This way I have full control over the exposure.

I can't wait to switch to large format.... one of these days..

Well, I still feel you may be a touch over-exposed. What metering mode are you using? You might think about spot metering for some of your exposures, and stay away from matrix metering if the scene has a large amount of white.

If you go the ND filter route, rather than a standard ND filter, you might look at a center-weighted ND filter. It will be more expensive.

crittle1Author Commented:
I was using matrix.

I will try the spot metering. Thanks for the advice on the filter. I've never used one, so it'll be a new experience.
I'll keep the question open another day or so for any other thoughts.

Thanks Iherrou ( and danirk2 ) ;)

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