Wedding photography: Using high ISO and flash at the reception
Chatting with other photographers at the recent WPS convention in Chapel Hill, NC, I was again struck by how there are so many different ways of approaching lighting. In this case, lighting at the wedding reception. The one photographer I was chatting to, set up multiple speedlights around the reception room, and then controls which are fired, from his on-camera Master speedlight. Very impressive.
In recent years, the wedding reception venues where I've shot on the East Coast of the USA, have moved away from being the Read more inside...
After you're done noticing the decorated candles that the bride is holding while dancing with the groom (a tradition in Palestinian weddings), you may well notice how evenly lit this photograph is - from foreground to background.
The people visible in the background seen there between the bride and the groom, are nearly as well lit as the bride and groom. Because this was on-camera bounce flash, the background will be brighter than may have been anticipated. If I had used direct flash, or flash with a diffuser cup or bounce Read more inside...
Back-lighting with flash for silhouetted wedding portraits
One of the easiest ways to create dramatic light for a silhouette when photographing the wedding portraits, is to add a flash behind the couple. The beauty of this is that there is a fair amount of leeway as to what would work. We need not be all that exact, but there are some a few things we should check ... Read more inside...
Practical tutorial: Manual flash - distance, power, ISO & aperture
The photo above is of Hannah, one of our models at the workshops in Dublin, Ireland. The lighting is off-camera flash via a softbox to camera left, held up on a monopod. In this instance we used TTL flash with Radio Poppers. TTL flash makes it easy to get to great (or close to great) flash exposure immediately. But for consistency, manual flash is usually the best option.
There are 4 things controlling flash exposure:
- distance from your light source to your subject
- power of your flash (including diffusion Read more inside...
Bouncing flash forward without getting that direct flash look
When bouncing my on-camera flash, I rarely point the flash straight-up. Most often the flash is pointed behind me or to the side to a certain extent. This way I get directional light. I want that off-camera soft-box effect. However there are those times when it just isn't that practical.
With this recent wedding, the indoor ceremony was held in this large room. As you can see here in this test shot, the ceiling isn't white, but is a light brown, with wooden beams. The thick cross-beams have the effect of blocking flash Read more inside...
Deep into the busy part of the wedding season, the articles posted recently will be more wedding-centric than usual. But, as I've mentioned before, many of the techniques translate to other fields of photography.
This photograph of a bride, Christine, received some very favorable comments when I posted it on Facebook. So I thought it might make a good topic here, as well as being a good recap of some essential bounce flash techniques. The portrait is quite straightforward in execution - the lighting was quite simple, but effective. It was also Read more inside...
I have used this photograph several times in the past to illustrate various aspects of flash photography in low light, so it might be time to discuss this image more thoroughly.
We'll also pull together a few other topics and see how it all comes together at this one point:
Dragging the shutter
Gelling your flash
Bounce flash technique
Direction of light
The advantage of using TTL flash
Working alongside a videographer
Read more inside...
wedding portraits: finding something to bounce your flash off
One of the frequent questions that come up, is what to do when there is nothing to bounce your flash off. When working indoors and there are bounce-able surfaces around me, my first instinct is to use on-camera bounce flash. It is easy to use, and the results can look surprisingly good, especially if you consider the minimal effort that went into it. No extra gear to carry around and set up. But when there is nothing to bounce flash off, you have to adapt your technique ... Read more inside...
In teaching workshops on flash photography, I frequently encounter newer photographers who are overwhelmed by flash photography. Overwhelmed to the extent that they fear their flash, and would rather not deal with flash photography at all. Instead, they adopt the idea that they will only specialize in available light photography. Now, that kind of thinking is an artistic dead-end. As a photographer that aspires to truly being creative, you need to understand light, regardless of how it is supplied to us.
I do feel that flash photography is one of those Read more inside...
The advice for optimal camera settings for best image quality are usually:
- use the lowest possible ISO:
- at an aperture about 3 stops down from maximum (the widest) aperture;
- at a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake and unintentional subject movement.
Taking this general advice at face value, means using the camera at its base ISO, which would either be 100 ISO or 200 ISO. However, while this advice is sound in theory, in practice this doesn't have direct consequence on my decision about my camera settings.
In terms of Read more inside...