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Lighting Tips for Photographing Weddings: Natural Light + Flash

Lighting Tips for Photographing Weddings: Natural Light + Flash

Today, I'm gonna share with you five lighting tips for wedding photography. I'm a wedding photographer and Fujifilm X-Photographer. And over my 5 years of being a wedding photographer, there are some things that I pretty much always do at every single wedding that I wanna share with you all today. And if you're new to wedding photography or trying to learn more about wedding photography then stick with me.

Lighting Tips for Photography Wedding: Natural Light + Flash

1. Turn the lights off

Generally when you're starting your wedding day and either the bride or groom is getting ready, you're typically gonna be in a room, a house, a hotel room, and everyone will have lamps and lights on. This is gonna give you a mixed lighting situation, and this is something that you will absolutely not want.

So the first thing I do every time I show up into the room is turn off all the lights. And yes, even if it's a day where it's a little bit darker and it seems like you wanna have lights on, you can still turn the lights off. Keep in mind with our cameras, we're able to raise ISO and drop our shutter and really use the light, so it's less about having light and always being able to find the good light. 7 Tips for Photographing your First Wedding

2. Put your subject by a window

Again, talking about getting ready, if you have a room that's dimly lit but you have some nice big windows or even just a window in general and it's bringing in enough light, make sure to put your subject by that window. Generally, I like to put them to the right or the left of the window, giving me nice side lighting. And the darker the room, the closer you're gonna wanna put your subject to that window.

You can also put the window behind you and have the subject basically standing right in front of it so they're getting direct light.

But one big tip with this style of lighting is ''do not put the light behind them.''

When shooting natural light, backlighting stuff isn't always the best, unless you can get it at an angle. There's no reason to be shooting right into a window when you're shooting mainly natural light. Again, by putting our subject close to the window, it doesn't matter how dark the room is. We're gonna be able to adjust for that and still have nice lighting on our subject.

3. Using artificial light

Now, obviously, sometimes you get to a point where you don't have enough light at all, and that's where artificial light comes in. And in my opinion, one of my favorite ways to do this, especially indoors, is by using a continuous LED light. For LED lights, I personally use the Lume Cube. If you're not familiar with the Lume Cube, it's a small bicolor LED light that you can basically fit in your pocket and will help you light up just about any scene. My two personal favorites are the Lume Cube Mini and the Lume Cube GO. The Mini starts at 59 dollars and the GO starts at 99 dollars, and these things are great to just pull out whenever you need a little bit of fill light.

Lighting Tips for Photographing Weddings: Natural Light + Flash

The reason I like using an LED light sometimes rather than a flash is because it's a little bit more subdued, and I can see it on the scene, so it feels more like natural light.

One big tip to make it look like window lighting is to actually point the Lume Cube towards the wall or in the direction of the window and bounce flash.

Turn your power all the way up, bounce it off the wall in the same direction that the window would be, and this will create an even softer light and a more natural-looking light. So flashes are cool, but at times it's a little bit quicker and easier just to pull out a Lume Cube and light it that way. So definitely give this technique a try next time You're in a room that's a little bit too dark. Tips to Book Your First Wedding.

4. Flashes & flash modifiers

So if you've been following me for a while, you know I actually rarely do off-camera flash. Even at receptions, I'm able to get everything lit the way I want with my flash on my camera, and there's a couple ways I'm able to do this, starting out with my flash modifier, which hands down always is the MagSphere.

Lighting Tips for Photographing Weddings: Natural Light + Flash

The MagSphere is made by MagMod, and if you need to get a modifier for your flash, this is the one. Definitely don't get any other flash modifier. Make sure that when you buy the MagSphere, for you get the full kit, which comes with the magnets that you connect to your flash so you can actually use the MagSphere on your flash.

Now while using the MagSphere, what I generally do is point my flash straight up towards the ceiling, put the MagSphere on top, which will give me bounce flash off the ceiling, and also bounce the flash off the MagSphere itself. This is gonna throw the flash out in a circular direction around where my flash is, and generally, this always works for receptions.

As far as your settings when you're using a MagSphere, make sure you're using your flash in manual. Don't do TTL, it takes way too long. Set the power around 1/32 or 1/16, depending on how dark the room is. Raise your ISO just a little bit. This will pick up the ambiance of the room, 'cause generally at a reception, there's gonna be lights in the background, candles or something of that sort. And then your shutter speed should be close to the sync speed. That can change on most cameras, but generally, you're around 1/160th or 1/250.

5. Using bounce flash

Always do bounce flash. Now again, with bounce flash, you're basically gonna have your flash pointing straight up to the ceiling, maybe even a little bit back behind your head, and this way, when the flash goes off, the ceiling bounces it back down. Now again, if you're using the MagSphere, the MagSphere will fill in the space around you, but also some of it's getting through the MagSphere, hitting the ceiling, and coming back down. The best scenario for this is if you're in a white tent for a wedding reception.

Generally, the ceilings aren't so high and the tent's white, so this is hands down one of the easiest lighting situations when it comes to using a flash. However, keep in mind, even if the ceiling is dark, you can still use the MagSphere to get that bounce flash look that you want, as well. So again, don't be scared of your flashes, and make sure to get a MagSphere to help you out with getting great flash photography.


So those are my 5 lighting tips for the wedding day. If you like this information, let me know if you have any other tips down in the comments that you would like to see or know of yourself. Also, this was only 5 tiny, tiny little tips. There's so much more we can talk about with lighting.

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