Wedding photography is one of those genres that require superhuman abilities and skills (at least that’s how I see it). It can be quite daunting, especially when it comes to capturing perfect moments at a reception. The lighting can be tricky in all sorts of ways, but worry not: John Branch IV has five tips for you. In this video, he’ll share them with you and make sure that your reception photos shine brightly, even in the most challenging conditions.
Use flash modifiers
The first and foremost tip is to invest in good flash modifiers. While many might advise you to simply bounce the flash off the ceiling, John believes this isn’t always the best approach. I mean, what if the ceiling is black? Or if it’s too high?
So, instead of relying on the ceiling, John suggests relying on a modifier. He personally is a big fan of MagMod’s MagSphere, which is like a mini softbox. A tool like this is especially useful in venues with high or dark ceilings, so you get a reliable bounce point for your flash.
Embrace higher ISO
Many photographers swear by shooting at ISO 100 for the best image quality. But honestly, I think we’re way past that with modern cameras and editing software. When the sun sets and the party begins, you simply have to bump up that ISO and not be afraid of it.
John suggests that an ISO around 800 or even 1000 can capture the ambiance of the room while still making the most of your flash. This means you don’t have to max out your flash power, so you’ll get faster recycle times. Plus, with tools like Lightroom’s new AI Denoise, those slightly grainy shots can be cleaned up in a jiffy.
Consider off-camera flash
As I mentioned, high and dark ceilings can be a photographer’s nightmare. The same goes for outdoor venues. In cases like this, you can also consider off-camera flash. John usually uses speedlights, the same ones he uses on his camera. Paired with grids, they direct the flash straight onto the dance floor, removing the need to bounce it off ceilings.
Coordinate with the DJ
Those bright, colored dance lights can be such a menace when you’re trying to take photos. They can easily overshadow your subjects and ruin your shots. John’s advice is to communicate with the DJ: feel free to ask them to dim their lights during the first dance or speeches so that their setup complements your photography. After all, you and the other vendors all want to make sure you work together and provide the best experience for the couple.
Consider continuous lighting
While flash is essential during evening receptions, sometimes the situation calls for continuous lighting. This is especially useful for sparklers or nighttime portraits when you want to include as much ambiance as possible. John’s go-to tool for this is the Lume Cube, and an assistant often holds it where necessary to help John with his shots.
Being a wedding photographer isn’t just about taking photos. You must adapt to fast-paced situations and ever-changing lighting; collaborate with other vendors, and constantly learn. You’re superhuman, I tell ya! With these tips from John, I’m sure you’ll overcome flash photography fear and take the best wedding reception photos!
[IT’S NOT SCARY!! 5 Reception Flash Photography Tips | John Branch IV Photography]