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How to Use Flash for Reception Dancing Photos on Wedding

How to Use Flash for Reception Dancing Photos on Wedding

Recently, I've been getting a whole bunch of questions about how I use flash at receptions. So I'm not gonna go over every part of the reception, as they're a little different to how I handle them, but let's talk about getting dancing photos.

So we're talking open dance floor, everybody's lit, the party's going on, everybody's drunk, it's just, ah! How do you get those photos? Let's go ahead and look at my approach.


Widest lens 14mm f/2.8

So typically, when the open dance floor starts, I automatically go to my widest lens. That for me is gonna be the 14 2.8. I throw that on one of my cameras, and at this point, I'm pretty much only using one camera, not both of them. Now with a wide lens, what you can do is really get into the action, and what that shows for your photos is you can really feel all the dancing and the partying and all that stuff.

Mind you, if you shoot like this, you kinda have to be into the party itself as well, you can't just be standing there like a statue in the middle of the dance floor trying to take photos, you have to get out there and dance with everyone, and kinda interact with the party as it happens.


Get Godox V860ii(f) and MagMod MagSphere

For my flash, I'm using the Godox V860ii(f), which is for Fujifilm. Typically I'll take this, and I'll throw a MagMod MagSphere on top of it, and it's a really cool setup. You'll see, it's not too big, and it's easy to throw on your camera real quick. Pop the MagSphere on the top, and you have a really awesome modifier. Seriously, if you do not use the MagSphere, you need to get one right now, like no questions asked.

Get MagMod stuff right now, it'll be the best purchase you have ever made. It's seriously, like, I cannot shoot flash without it, basically.

So usually the way I set up my flash is I point it straight up, pop the MagSphere on there, and then for the power, I usually set it around 1/32 or 1/16, depending on how dark the room is. You will see at the wedding, basically, it's in a large greenhouse, so there's no light gonna be bouncing from the ceiling. So I'm really just getting the reflection off of the MagSphere directly on everyone.

At this, I was at about 1/32. For my camera, I'll set the ISO to about 800, or 1000, that way I can pick up some of the background ambient light in the room, which this room did not have, but it was fine.

Keep in mind also, shooting something like a 14 or a 16 mil, you're pretty close to everybody.

You right up in there, bumping arms with everyone, dancing with everyone, so you're gonna be really close to everyone, so you don't need a lot of flash power. The flash is close enough to your subject that it's gonna light up everybody. And 1000 ISO is not too high that your photos are gonna be horribly grainy. Lighting Tips for Photographing Weddings.

Since the V860 has a lithium-ion battery in it, I'm able to set my camera to high shutter speed, and it actually keeps up with the shutter. So what I'll typically do is aim from the hip at what I wanna shoot at whenever I see someone doing something exciting or good expressions on their face, and just kinda aim it close and shoot it that way.


You may get a couple photos that are out of focus, but for the most part, it's gonna be in focus. You're really close to people, it's kinda hard to miss the focus at this angle.


So here are some examples of the photos that come from this.

How to Use Flash for Reception Dancing Photos on Wedding

And you can see everybody dancing, and also how the photos come out here. Typically, too, when I edit them, I'll pull back the shadows to make it darker, just to make the party look more hype, rather than it being just a bunch of people standing around.

Because when you can pull down those shadows, it's easier to hide when you have people sitting at their tables, just kinda sitting there like, "Oh, doh, doh, I don't wanna dance." then you are actually able to see everyone dancing, that is nicer for open dance floor shots.

How to Use Flash for Reception Dancing Photos on Wedding



Review shoot wide

So to review one more time, shoot wide for your dancing scenes, always shoot wide. And we're talking open dance floor. It's a little different for your first dances and your cake cuts and all that stuff for the reception, but for the open dance floor, shoot as wide as you possibly can. Don't be afraid to bump your ISO up just a bit, I usually go around 800 or 1000, and then also for your flash, get the MagSphere. And, your power doesn't have to be too high. So we're talking 1/32, 1/16, somewhere in that range since you're close to your subjects.


Be a part of the party

The guests will react to you much better, and you'll be able to get so many awesome shots if you're actually a part of the party, rather than just kinda being there like, "I don't wanna be here, I wanna go home." So, definitely be a part of the party. Be live, be lit, be whatever the kids are saying now. I don't know any of the slang, I'm so, I'm not even that old and I don't know the slang words.

But I hope that helped you out a bit. If you have any other questions about flash, using flash, or what I do at the reception, leave it down in the comments below, and I'll get back to you all.

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