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Lighting/Flash Advice for Wedding in Barn

LimeyLimey Member
edited February 2012 in wedding photography
Hi all,

I'm going to be shooting a wedding later on in the year, the ceremony of which will be in a barn (see attached - service will be held at the far end of this pic). Ambient light levels will be fairly low (I will be equipped with Nikon D300, SB900 and f/2.8 optics). I'm dubious that the wooden beamed ceiling will be conducive to bounce flash. Any advice out there? Massively appreciated!



  • beautiful venue... what month and time of day?
  • If I where you, I'd be 'busy' that weekend.

    There will be some lovely natural light from that large window/doors on the right, but on the other hand, the lights on the ceiling will not give off too much light. Even if they do, they are too high and far from the guests. Hopefully the rafters will be up-lit well.

    I think the D300 might let you down here, as it could possibly be a case of cranking up the ISO and using as little fill as needed. Fortunately, this may only be for the candid shots around the venue, as the couple are always in the most well lit part of the venue.

    I imagine a barn like that has many appealing locations outside - focus on getting your best shots of the couple there (you can bounce to your hearts content) and all else will be forgiven.
  • I shot my first wedding in a similar venue, it was in the UK (not sure where your venue is).
    First check if you are allowed flash during the ceremony, the wedding I shot was a civil ceremony and the person in charge allowed no flash and I had to stand in the exact same spot.
    I shot with a D700 and D3 and was okay with f/2.8 optics. When I could use flash I bounced it off the walls which are similar to what you have there. I did an okay job but having been on Neil's course and got a few weddings under the belt I would love to shot again at that venue (did not have black foamie thing or gelled flashes then)
    I did most of the bridal portraits etc outside.

    If you can visit the venue, you could always go there and test some various flash techniques. You can also find out what ISO you are happy with and what type of ambient light shot you can get with that.

    Not sure about the D300 high ISO performance but if a concern, or you don't have a second body, you could hire one of the Nikon full frame cameras for the day.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Limey .... that's a tough one, since bouncing flash will be near impossible.

    Would you be able to put up a white shoot-through umbrella on a lightstand somewhere where it won't get knocked over. Or at least some kind of off-camera flash to help create more dynamic light?
  • Thank you all for the comments. I can take some good advice from all those posts...

    KennyKodak - wedding is in September (early prep on this one!), ceremony 1345.
    JackRegan - my thoughts exactly re shots of the couple. The grounds are stunning so this is where I'll earn my corn.
    Jahern - Think I'll be hiring a D700.
    Neil - I could perhaps set up my Ezybox 24" for procession/and or ceremony (although perhaps too conspicuous for the service itself?). I'm a bit concerned that the placement of that would have to be pretty spot on to ensure the couple are lit properly, unless I get a bigger shoot through brolly? My other options are to use wide apertures/high iso for ambient only shots, which might be a bit top heavy lit (but better than nothing). For the procession, I'm thinking that the back wall behind (end wall on pic) may be OK for bounce flash if I use high ISO wide aperture. Failing all of the above, direct flash with a plastic diffuser cup as last resort??
  • MatrixphotoMatrixphoto Member
    edited February 2012
    I had a wedding that was in a barn last I had 2 Alien Bees in as far back as possible pointing towards the head table speech area. Then I used my on camera flash pointed directly under power - 1-1.5 FEC to kill cross shadows results were excellent.

    If possible for the processional I would have flash on a light stand ( I use my Manfrotto 682 self standing mono pod for this , it has a very small foot print ) off to the side pointed towards with CLS TTL and then use on camera flash directly that way it will recharge fast enough to capture the motion . , you can test FECs for both on on in coming guests.

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