This Article is About
formal photographs
little bit of light
flash photography
important days
photography tips
bride and groom
Flash Photography Tips For Indoor Weddings
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In this article, I'd like to offer some flash photography tips for indoor weddings for the new photographer. We'll assume here that all the formal photographs will be taken indoors, be it a church, community hall, whatever. If you are new photographer or just photographing a wedding for a friend and have no lighting other than the flash in your camera or one that goes on your hot shoe...just say no. Walk away! Now my intent is not to discourage you - more provide a reality check. To photograph formals indoors, you need some additional light. Churches are often dark, or even cave-like. Added to that, a weddings is one of the most important days in the bride and grooms life - there are no re-do's here.

That being said, let's go over some basics, assuming you have the additional lighting. Typically, I try not to do all the formal photographs at the alter. I like to have some visual variety in my bridal albums and if all the formals are in one spot, it's gets very boring. So if at all possible, I move around with the couple first, photographing them together and separate.

I look for anything I can work with - windows or doorways are my favorite. One of the reasons I like these two options is they give me additional lighting! Depending on the look you're trying to achieve, you may only need to add a little bit of light here. When I'm working with the bride and groom around the church I typically use off camera flash triggered with Pocket Wizards. As soon as you can afford to go wireless - do so! It's well worth the money to not have to worry about cords. So I have a Nikon SB-28 flash on a light stand with a mini soft box that I can move around as I please and place the light where I want. I typically do a test with a hand held light meter to read the ambient light first. Then I pop in enough light to be about a stop more than the ambient.

When photographing at the alter, you can get away with a two light set up but most of the time, I prefer three. Please keep in mind these do not have to be top of the line, expensive studio strobes. You can bounce a flash into an umbrella if need be. I would not recommend a direct flash due to the harshness it will create. Also, keep in mind since you are working in a low light situation, do not add too much light or your background will go dark.

In almost any situation, my goal is to balance the light. So I'll keep my ISO at 400-640, my shutter speed slow and my fstop as wide as I can safely go without losing too much depth of field. This is typically about f5.6-8.0 because for larger groups, you may have two or three rows of people. If you have just two strobes, place one on each side of the aisle - about 2-3 feet into the pews and balance each light. If you have a third strobe, I like to place it behind and to the side of the alter so it throws just a little light on the shoulders or back of the head. This helps to provide a little bit of separation between your subject and the background.

Flash photography for indoor weddings is not complicated but you do need to have more than just the flash for your camera. For a more pleasing look, remember to not over flash the formals. Utilize every part of the venue that you can to add variety to your wedding photographs. Try these simple flash photography tips for indoor weddings and your sure to have success.


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