If you have ever read any of my wedding blogs, you will notice I love spending some time later in the evenings at weddings doing a little creative lighting photography using off camera flash. So, here is a little blog about how I do these on a wedding day as well as sharing some of my favourite photos.
When I started training as a wedding photographer and first saw a wedding photo using off camera flash at night I was intrigued. The effect was so stunning, I was super keen to do learn how to do this for myself.
I did some training courses as well as lots of research online regarding off camera flash. I also did lots of second shooting with other wedding photographers, which gave me a good insight into how others do it. But most importantly I did lots and lots of practice. I roped my husband in to help me practice at home, practicing with settings on my camera and the different effects I could achieve. He was my reluctant model!
When it came to equipment, I had heard and seen in actions MagMod light diffusers and modifiers on one of my training courses, and I loved how quick and easy they were to use. The magnets allow the user to quickly snap on and off different pieces for different effects so effortlessly. I was super impressed and ordered myself some items and sets the very next day.
On a wedding day I am always on the look-out for an interesting spot to do a night-time photo. For example if the bride is getting ready at the wedding venue on the morning of the wedding I might have a little scope out of the potential spots for a photo that night, then later on when it is dark, I will investigate further and practice, before asking the newlyweds to step away from the party to get the photo.
The location could be indoors or outdoors, on a staircase, in an archway or incorporate lighting already at the venue i.e. festoon lighting or fairy lights. One of my favourites is a wide-angle outdoor shot where I silhouette the bride and groom against a door or a building at their wedding venue when the sun is setting, and the sky looks pretty. So, as well as looking for a nice spot for the bride and groom to place them, I am also keeping an eye on the sky.
Rain can also make a good night-time photo as the raindrops will be lit up by the flash. At one wedding at Stanlake Park the rain was pretty persistent all day and I knew I wanted to do a photo in the dark in the vineyards. My second shooter for the day Becky was a trooper and stood behind the bride and groom holding the flash in the dark, wet grass while I took the shot. The bride and groom were also super cool about getting a little wet and it made for a great photo.
Some weddings I will have a second photographer with me which is really useful for doing these photos as they can be my helper and light stand! Other weddings it will just be me and I will do it by myself which is also no problem as I have lots of equipment to help me.
As much as I love creating these photos and I have had some lovely feedback from brides and grooms on how much they love them, the most important point for me is to only do them if the couple are happy to go ahead. I always get the shot set up and practice it to make sure I am totally ready, for the newlyweds to just step in and it will take a few minutes of their time. But ultimately if they don’t want to go outside on a chilly evening, into the rain, or just away from their guests, then I will absolutely not do the shot and respect their wishes.
As I said previously, I love being creative with these shots and getting something a little different for the bride and groom.
Below I have shared some of my favourite night-time off camera flash photos from weddings.
I also use off camera flash for fireworks at weddings, please have a look here if you would like to read my Wedding Fireworks blog.