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Master flash photography in weddings (The mini guide) - The Photography Express

Master flash photography in weddings (The mini guide)

Master flash photography in weddings

For most photographers, wedding photography is…STRESSFUL! I felt it recently when I had the honor to take pictures at my friends wedding. The thing is: I was not the main photographer and I wasn’t even the assistance! I did this only because of for my good friends. Nevertheless, I felt the pressure inside my body for some reason I cannot explain . I have to say I admire every single professional wedding photographers out there because they have to go through this in many weeks during the year. Regardless, I want to share with you what I learn in this recent shoot and how I used flash in a wedding environment. I want you to walk out this post knowing how to apply you flash photography skills to the next level and to use your current photography knowledge in an wedding environment. Most importantly, I want you to master flash photography in weddings. So let’s get started!

Note: I assume you understand the basics of the exposure triangle and some basic understanding of using an external flash. If you need further information you can visit here.

General indoor photography

Settings:

ISO: 200

Aperture: f4.5-5

Shutter speed: 1/160 second

Flash power: at 1/4 at 45 degree angle using the white card bouncer attached on the flash

Lens: 24-105mm f4L

Note: Do not use diffuser on the flash

This should be your standard setting when you shoot indoor standing about 4 feet away from your subject.

Notice that I mentioned do not use diffuser because it will greatly reduce the flash power. If you absolutely must need to use a diffuser you can either stand closer to your subject or turn the flash power up a little more to 1/2 power. Nevertheless, the white card in front of your flash head should be enough to give your subject a decent natural white light.

Right after you took the picture check to see how the picture came out. If it is overexposed try to walk one step away from your subject. Do the opposite if the picture came out underexposed.

If walking one step behind you is not possible, change your aperture and adjust the iso setting. Overall, the settings above should be your general settings for wedding photography indoor.

standard flash

Picture I took for the photographers that night using the same settings noted above

Flash photography at open dance floor

Settings:

ISO: 250

Aperture: f4

Shutter speed: 1/160 at 45 degree with flash card bouncer attached on flash.

Flash power: 1/4

This setting does a good job at getting a good exposure on the dance floor at about 24mm focal range. However, I personally feel it didn’t show enough movement from people and the white light made the environment looked dull. If I can go back in time, I’d try to get more ambient light around the room and I’ll get down lower to take the shot.

dancefloor 2

Special technique

Settings:

ISO: 320

Aperture: f4.5-5

Shutter speed: 1/8

Flash power: 1/4

The professional photographer taught me this technique that night. It is called the “Twist and move sideway” technique. Essentially what you need to do is as soon as you press the shutter release button, turn your camera 180 degrees quickly to achieve this look below. You can also move your camera sideways from left to right (or the other way) to show light trails in your photographs.

Below is the picture I took using the twist technique. Due to the slower shutter speed more ambient light is captured. And by twisting the camera I was able to capture light trail around the people dancing on the dance floor.

dancefloor1

Now this picture shows much better movements and ambient light due to slower shutter speed. The ‘Twist’ technique also made the light on the ceiling like little arrows.

I hope you enjoyed this master flash photography in weddings mini guide. What flash photography experience do you have in weddings? Any experience you want to share with the community? Share them in the comment section below!

About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!

11 comments

  1. Hi Gary, This a great post. I like how you shared your exact camera setting for each shot. Thanks

    • Ty thank you so much for your comment! I’m trying to make it as clear as possible and not hiding any of my settings. Just sharing all that I know in this blog. Thanks!

  2. Ok this is such a wonderful and helpful post!!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Great info! So awesome of you to share. Very helpful 🙂

  4. Sow wonderful of you to share!
    Great tips!

  5. Whoops!
    SO wonderful! not Sow wonderful!

  6. Is there any reason you don’t bounce the flash off the ceiling when available. That would definitely give much softer light than this

    • I have the exact idea in mind before, however, the ceiling is two stories high and it’s painted black so it’s very hard to bounce flash in that venue.