This one is for the wedding photographers stressed when they show up at their 6 pm ceremonies in the winter – when the sun has already set at 5 pm. Learning how to use flash at weddings is key to be able to wow your clients and provide them an incredible experience, regardless of the light provided to you!
So if you’ve been..
Sick of shooting at 10,000 ISO?
Over purchasing dozens of lighting set ups and hoping one will work?
Constantly panicking when there aren’t enough windows at the venue?
Done praying that your couples have enough string lights?
Or that the videographer has a strong video light?
There are three things that matter when it comes to flash:
Let’s go through them each individually!
It’s quite literally how strong your flash is! So if you have it really, really high, it’s going to go further, but it’s also going to be way more intense. If you have it really, really low, it’s going to need to be closer to your subject in order to fill a room. It’s going to be a little bit softer.
If your flash is really close to your subject, it’s going to be more contrasty. If it’s further away, it’s going to have time to spread out and it’s going to be lighter. Just think about if you hold a flashlight from across the room versus if you hold a flashlight right next to my face! This is not only going to impact how “bright” the light appears, but how intense it will be.
In order to learn how to use flash at weddings you’ll need to master how your camera settings affect light and flash. Of the camera settings, let’s talk about shutter speed, ISO and aperture.
If your ISO is higher, it’s going to let in more ambient light and make the overall image brighter and if it’s lower, the overall image is going to be darker.
Shutter speed is not really going to impact how intense the flash looks in the image, it’s just going to change how much background light gets let into the image.
Then we have aperture- it’s going to work really similarly to ISO where it’s going to change the overall light of the image. So it’s either going to make the image overall brighter or overall darker.
Do you want a more contrasty look? Do you want more light and airy? Do you want more ambient light? Do you just want the flash to show? The look you’re wanting to achieve will be be impacted by those three things and you’ll want to balance three factors as if it’s a scale.
Let’s talk about gear.
There are three flash options when it comes to photography. There’s off camera flash, constant lights, and on camera flash- and they each serve different purposes and they each can serve you in a different way depending on your style of photography. I personally love off camera flash for weddings, I love constant lights for studio and I love on camera flash for dance floor. I also use on camera flash for more of an editorial look.
So for wedding photographers specifically, I cannot recommend off camera flash enough!
Here’s my list of flash gear that I highly recommend.
If you want to dive even deeper into using flash for weddings and learn all there is to know, grab our Artificial Light course– the ultimate flash masterclass made for wedding photographers. Or sign up for our Let’s Get Lit artificial light freebie!
Below you’ll find Danielle and Marks gorgeous Vermont wedding – one of my favorite weddings are my career. We were unexpectedly hit with rain and pushed indoors for both their ceremony and reception. Their ceremony had to take place in a basement, with nearly any lights! If I didn’t know how to shoot flash at weddings, I would have been left with 10k ISO and 1/40 shutter speed.
For the reception, everything was indoors in a darkly lit barn with candles and string lights to highlight the details. I love being able to shoot with flash at weddings so that I can capture the couple, their guests, and their details in several different ways without greatly impacting the ambience of the day.
This wedding is the ultimate example of why you need to know how to shoot with flash at weddings! Come take a scroll – as always, edited with Eden Strader Presets. Fresh from the Editorial pack.
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