A Guide To Wedding Flash Photography

Photo by d i e g o Authentic via Unsplash

As a wedding photographer, you need to understand the techniques of lighting. Photographing weddings is a great professional career that comes with the responsibility to deliver high quality content to your client. Therefore, you will need to be dedicated to learning how to find, create and manipulate your natural and artificial lighting sources.

When it comes to photographing weddings, we often focus on natural light. Many couples today have a specific vision in mind for their photos and choose locations or venues that reflect these ideas. So, we have seen a movement toward more outdoor and on-location weddings, in the hopes of creating pictures that are illuminated by soft, natural light.

Yet, shooting in natural light is not always possible. In fact, photographing weddings will always come with various and conflicting light sources. From outdoor photos to the ceremony and finishing up at the reception, your available light is guaranteed to change. Enter, the technique of flash.

A Breakdown of Wedding Flash Photography

Photo by Lily & Moon Weddings

Using flash is lighting technique that can be difficult for photographers. This is due to the fact that many photographers learn to shoot in either natural light or studio light. And, flash is somewhat a combination of the two.

Certain cameras make flash easy. If you have a point and shoot, you just pop up the flash and capture the moment. But, more professional and complex systems lack an internal flash. Therefore, pushing photographers toward an external flash system to sync with their camera body.

Once you have played around with your flash, it can be easy to use. You’ll have to employ some trial and error, but when you have created the images you want – you’ll find that using a flash can be a seamless and important tool in your work.

When To Use Your Flash At Weddings

When to use flash when photographing a wedding is determined by several factors. One factor being the moment that is taking place. Let’s face it, an inappropriate timing with flash can be distracting for the client and their guests.

With this, you need to assess your situation before using flash.

Unless the ceremony is being conducted under the dark night sky, you should never need to use the flash during this special moment. There should be enough available light for you to work with to create high quality images. The ceremony is the most important aspect of this entire day, so the last thing you want to do is ruin it with unnecessary flash.

Instead, you can use flash during the bridal party pictures and the reception. Flash is often used in two ways: to lift shadows when shooting in natural light and to fully illuminate your subject during periods of darkness or no available light.

If you are going to use wedding flash photography, consider telling your client this before shooting. This will give them a piece of mind and be prepared for when the lighting becomes a bit more intense.

Using Flash at the Reception

The main place that wedding flash photography will be used is during the reception. This is because the venues are usually dark or if outdoor, at night, and you will need to add artificial lighting to illuminate your subjects.

Using flash during a reception is completely normal and even encouraged to make sure you are creating the best photos possible. The flash will allow you to light up the room and still retain high quality details.

The most important tip to remember when using wedding flash photography is to aim your flash directly at your subjects. This will cause the images to be too bright and overexposed. In fact, this is especially important when it comes to photographing the bride. For, aiming the flash directly at the bride will cause her white dress to be completely washed out and will ruin your images.

Instead, you will need to bounce your flash while shooting. This can be done by creating an angle that points the flash either at a 45 degree titled angle or 180 degrees straight up. Bouncing the flash will help you bring light to your images without risking overexposure.

The Top 5 Flashes For Photographing Weddings

Now, that we have covered how and when to use your flash at a wedding – let’s talk about the proper tools you can use. Here are 5 flashes that you can purchase right now to create captivating, illuminated wedding imagery.

Neewer TT560 Speedlite

This Neewer TT560 Speedlite is compatible with Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax and more. It works with digital cameras that have a standard hot shoe. The flash is easy to use with a simple switch to “ON.” You can use the test flash button to preview the settings. It has a vertical rotation angle of 0-90 degrees and a horizontal rotation angle of 0-270 degrees.

Altura Photo Flash Bundle

The Altura Flash is a speedlite for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. This flash kit comes with the flash, batteries, camera shutter remote control, flash diffuser reflector and a carrying pouch. It is a manual flash that is easy to use for photographers at every level. The price is affordable and offers high performance. You can use this flash with your camera’s hot shoe or as an off camera flash.

Amazon Basics Electronic Flash

The Amazon Basics Electronic Flash supports the Canon and Nikon camera systems. It gives professional performance for low light situations. This flash comes with 3 modes, off camera connection and a wireless sensor for triggering the flash from a distance. It has an upward angle of 90 degrees and rotates 270 degrees. It is a truly affordable tool for any photographer.

Powerextra DF-400 Speedlite Camera Flash

This Powerextra flash is compatible with Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma, Minolta, Leica and more. It works with DSLR cameras that have a single contact hotshoe. This flash includes three modes and has an 8 level of power control. It has full rotation capabilities and can be synched up with your PC port. This package includes the speedlite, a protective bag, mini stand and instruction manual.

Opteka IF-980 Flash with Bounce

The Opteka flash is designed with bounce, zoom, tilt and a LCD display. It is for Canon users and is compatible with EOS digital SLRs. The flash has an adjustable tilt head with six different positions from -7 to 90 degrees. It covers a 24-180mm range and in the auto mode it matched the focal length of the zoom lens. It has an autofocus capability and assist feature that enables when the flash is mounted to your camera.

As you can see, adding flash to your wedding photography can be a seamless process. Using the flash at the appropriate time to create light for your subjects is an effective way to create captivating, high quality wedding photographs.