Happy Wednesday, friends!
Do you struggle with off-camera flash at receptions? Would you like to have more confidence taking detail shots in dark ballrooms? If so, you’re in the right place! Because we’ve got a quick and easy tip that’ll help make your reception detail shots brighter and better than ever before!
At this weekend’s wedding, we were faced with a situation we encounter quite often in the southwest that we didn’t encounter at the wedding in the photo above:
1. A reception ballroom with enough window light to take natural light detail shots of the centerpieces near the window.
2. A dark background because the light from those same windows can’t reach that far or deep into the room.
Well-exposed detail shots of the centerpiece near the window, but a dark background that just looks, well, kinda sad, because the image has two totally different exposures. One part of the photo is much brighter. The other part is much darker. For us and our style, we prefer that the background exposure (brightness) be as close to the foreground exposure as possible.
So, how do we solve that problem on a wedding day? Simple! We just add artificial light (flash) to the background. Here’s a quick before and after shot so you can see the difference.
At weddings, we each have one Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlite on camera and one Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlite on a light stand off-camera. Our on-camera flash is the master and the off-camera flash is the slave, which means we can control the power of the off-camera flash from our on-camera flash. Since we already use this system for wedding receptions, it makes this quick tip a cinch.
Here’s a shot where, if you look closely, you can see the flash source in the left corner.
Now, let’s get practical. Here are the steps:
1. Get a natural light exposure for the centerpiece near the window providing the softest and most abundant amount of light.
2. Turn on your flashes and sync them.
3. Keep your on-camera flash powered on, but turn off its ability to fire flash.
4. Place your light stand in the background, outside the frame and at a 90-degree angle.
Here’s a diagram Jordan drew at our kitchen table to help you visualize it better.
Keep a few things in mind when looking at it.
1. Jordan’s strength isn’t drawing.
2. Sometimes, it might make more sense to angle your off-camera flash at 45 degrees either facing toward you or the wall. It just depends on the room. But we like 90 degrees as a starting point. You can adjust from there.
5. Adjust your manual flash power for the off-camera flash until you like how it looks. Boom. You’re done.
Bonus: If the room is REALLY dark and you have a second off-camera flash, set it up on the opposite side of the first off-camera flash to fill both sides of the background evenly.
Final Tip: This trick works well, too, if you’re in a ballroom without windows and you’re using an on-camera flash with a diffuser to light your centerpieces.
Good luck, friends! We hope this helps!
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