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Shooting with on-camera flash with varying degrees of low light

sandrajsandraj Member
edited December 2016 in wedding photography
i was wondering  how to best handle lighting at weddings when reception area could be more bright and ceremony more dark. Would you use auto bracketing to test for best exposure or set camera on aperture priority and let it figure out the best shutter speed or what else would you advise.  I find i am constantly fiddling with the flash setting between pics as well as iso  moving from 1/2 to 1/4 or possibley 1/1.  bounce flash or filter I could use some helpl  Glad to see i am not the only one with such a question


  • BTW the course on on camera flash photograph I took on craftsy with neil was the best.  I finally understood all those terms aperture, shutter speed and iso that everyone talks about and was able to use them to create great pics!  Still need fine tuning with low light and still have to take the jump and start shooting in RAW.  Have not grown up entirely yet!
  • I shot an event in a large ballroom last night. Even tough I was constantly moving around, I used manual flash instead of TTL, because I wasn't getting enough juice even bumping up to +3. I just kept adjusting my flash power. Plus, I use and external battery pack for the flash, so this is possible.

    The ambient light wasn't as crazy as some of the places I've worked, but I'm now using 1/125-1/160 shutter speed to kill some of the ambient. I can tell you I've been somewhat surprised at how much light I'm getting from my flash. I under-expose the ambient by 1/2-2 stops, and pleasantly surprised with the pretty-close-to-desired exposure.

    From an earlier post, I'm always wondering what to do when the ambient is crazy, and there is nothing to bounce off. What I now try to do is position myself and the subjects in such a way to get the most bounce for my buck. People don't seem to mind if you turn them around. You are the photographer (this is what I tell myself), and if you need them to move a bit or turn around for a great shot, so be it.

    I feel like I'm rambling, sorry!

  • thanks.  You are explaining what i keep going through.  I am not a professional just like taking photos so the family has them almost immediately to enjoy until the proofs are ready and being a family member i get  family shots the professionals don't.  I also use the manual flash and that seems to work for me better as well.  Will look into external battery pack.  good suggestions thanks
  • I shoot auto-ISO and TTL flash in such situations, and mostly it works fine. Much easier when you're working quickly, than spending an age on manual settings.

    That said, I usually shoot manual ISO for extended flash work because I can shoot at ISO 800-1600 and get more ambient so I keep the atmosphere, and also keep my flash power down so my recycling time is better.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Sandra ... why not shoot in TTL mode to let the camera help you with getting to the correct exposure?

    The problem with bracketing exposures during a wedding (even the reception), is that you risk losing key moments.

    Also, go through this tutorial, where I discuss the different scenarios we are most likely to deal with when balancing flash with ambient. 

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