How Do You Shoot a Wedding in Low Light?
So, you're a newly minted wedding photographer, right? Have you been told not to take pictures with a flash at the current event? Do you feel like having a nervous breakdown because your wedding will be held in a building with poor lighting?
It is traditional to ask photographers not to use flash photography during the service itself. The guests, including the bride and groom, are trying to soak in the moment, but a flash goes off every five or ten seconds. The light from the flash could be very annoying. However, without it, things can turn bleak very rapidly.
If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
Taking beautiful wedding photos when the lighting is less than optimal is a formidable challenge. Too little light or too much bright, dominant light both fall into this category. This article offers advice on how to capture beautiful low-light wedding photos, from individual portraits to large group shots to detailed shots of flowers and bands.
Wedding Photos in Low Light Conditions
In order to capture quality images in low light, please review the following information. Photographers hired for weddings are expected to get beautiful images no matter the conditions. Nonetheless, even the brightest performers may struggle in the low light typical of churches and other darkened venues. One of the most challenging obstacles you'll encounter if you're arranging your wedding on your own and without hiring a professional photographer is taking pictures in dim conditions. However, it also allows you to capture weddings in a softer, more lovely, and more original light than you would be able to using a flash.
Use Wide Aperture Lenses
The shallowest depth of field, most gorgeous bokeh, and largest apertures may all be achieved with prime lenses. A lens with an f/2.8 aperture is desirable, but being able to stop it down to f/1.8 or f/1.4 will greatly improve your chances of success in low-light situations. The need to constantly reposition the camera is a disadvantage of using a prime lens. Using only a primary lens means you'll have to rely on your legs as a makeshift zoom.
To keep up with the fast pace of wedding photography, a zoom lens is the ideal choice if you can only bring one. A Canon 50mm f/1.8ii lens, on the other hand, will prove invaluable if you frequently find yourself photographing in low-light settings.
In particular, we'd want to get our hands on a Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, and a Canon 10-20 f/3.5 USM lens for our wedding photography needs. Excellent prime lenses, like the Canon 200mm f/2.8L USM, Canon 85mm f/1.2L USM, and Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM, can be used for wedding photography.
Find the Best Light
This piece of advice for low-light wedding photography may seem unnecessary, but remember that there's a good reason why your client is paying you so much money to document their special day. Explore areas with stunning lighting, and put out all effort to place your subjects where they will be best lit by the available light. Though there are several advantages to using a high-quality lens, it is still important to ensure that the lighting is pleasing.
One of the more obvious choices for better (but still not ideal) lighting is to be within a foot or two of a window. Bigger windows let more light in, so they're great if you're trying to brighten up a dark room. Underexpose or overexpose the background to bring focus to the foreground elements you wish to emphasise. After the big day, your wedding images will be your most treasured memento.
Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
Use a Tripod
As an additional piece of advise for wedding photographers, using a tripod is frequently the only choice when trying to bring in additional light when shooting in poor light.
Use a tripod and digital single-lens reflex camera to improve your photographs in low light. During the actual ceremony is when you should capture these pictures. Using a tripod allows you to shoot clear wedding photos despite the low lighting conditions, as it eliminates the camera shake that causes blurry images. If you want to snap portraits of the couple after the ceremony, you should also use the tripod.
Unless you have very steady hands, a fuzzy image will occur from using a shutter speed slower than 1/40 of a second. While there are benefits to using an image stabilisation lens, it is not a magic bullet. Use a tripod when an exposure of one second or longer is required. However, lugging about a tripod might be a major nuisance.
You might as well utilise the tripod now that your camera is on it. Capturing some images with action would be ideal at this time. You may have captured the bride going down the aisle while her dress swished in the breeze thanks to your choice of a slow shutter speed.
The participants in the event will be standing still for extended periods of time, so take advantage of this fact. Here's a chance to use a long exposure time—two or three seconds—to prevent blurring from motion.
Longer Shutter Speeds Are Your Friends
Keeping the shutter open for a longer time than usual can allow you to shoot images despite the poor light. However, grainy images are a problem. When taking a photograph, any motion causes blurring. Seek out photo ops during the wedding ceremony in which the bride and groom can remain motionless for a moment. You should also utilise the tripod if you intend to carry this out.
Know Your Camera’s ISO Performance
Increasing the ISO is a common initial step to take when working to improve a camera's ability to record low-light scenes. Before cranking up the ISO to 12,000, you should know your camera inside and out. Learning how well the ISO setting on your camera works will take some time and experimentation. Shoot some practise rounds. Take care of them by eliminating them. After that, take a few more practise swings.
Look closely at the details. Get up close and personal with the pixels by zooming way in. You'll know not to shoot at an ISO greater than that when capturing individuals getting married when you reach a point when you can no longer accept the image's deterioration as the ISO is increased.
High-end DSLRs typically have superior ISO performance compared to their entry-level competitors. In spite of this, technology is developing at a dizzying rate, and even mid-level or amateur cameras can provide cute pictures at ever-increasing ISO levels. When photographers are not allowed to use flash during a wedding ceremony, this one attribute, excellent ISO performance, may be more significant than lens choice. The perspective you take is crucial, so keep it in mind at all times.
The Canon 6D is a fantastic full-frame camera because of its high quality and reasonable pricing.
You can trust your special day to the hands of the most talented wedding photographer in Yarra Valley has to offer.
Your Smartphone Is Also Your Friend
In low light, the camera on your smartphone might be more capable than your point-and-shoot or digital single-lens reflex camera. The statement is true. While it is feasible to shoot a full wedding using a smartphone and has been done previously, you shouldn't put all of your eggs in that basket because you won't be able to acquire all of the wedding images you need with only that (even though it has been done before). It's important to remember that this lens does not have a zoom feature, thus close-up photographs will be impossible. Avoid using the zoom function on your phone, as doing so will severely degrade the quality of your photos. After all other editing steps are complete, cropping the image is what you should do next. Don't forget that there are programmes made expressly for editing photos that can crop, clean up, and improve many different types of images!
Low Light Photos: Edit Lightly
No need to utilise HDR effects or over sharpen the photo now. Don't be too harsh on the editing, and make sure it doesn't steal the show from the photo's topic.
Don't go crazy with the vignetting and blurring in the backdrop. Even though I have no idea how you edit your photos, here's some advice: make things as light as possible. It's important to maintain a healthy contrast when editing, but you don't want it to become too jarring. Overall, it's better to play it cool.
Churches that Allow No Flash Pictures
It's not uncommon for wedding venues to have subpar lighting. Church services are usually held in low-key settings, and most religious institutions prohibit the use of flash photography. Even if you have permission to use a flash during the ceremony, you probably shouldn't. It could be too distracting and steal the show.
Making the most of the light source is crucial while taking images. When taking a shot, be aware of the light behind the subject. They'll look even darker as a result of this. If, during the vows, there is any source of light shining from behind the pair, the resulting images will be less than ideal. Maybe you need to move around a bit to get the best out of the available light. Begin looking for spots with nice lighting to snap portraits in after the ceremony has concluded.
When taking Wedding Photos in low light, look For Alternate Light Sources
Ambient illumination, such as candlelight or light from a window, can help you take stunning images. You'll have to get close to obtain a good shot, but playing around with different types of lighting can help you develop some very novel ideas for wedding photography. It's possible to shoot images of the couple using only candlelight, or to position the bride so that she is illuminated by the light from the church's stained glass window. You must use a tripod and ensure the subject is entirely still for these shots to turn out properly.
Do you want to be sure that you don't miss out on any of the unforgettable moments that will occur at your dream wedding? You may relax now because Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Wedding photography in low light is a special creative challenge. The one and only time you should be happy about the bothersome backlighting is when you're trying to capture a silhouette. You will need to turn your subject so that they are facing the camera's flash. If you want your subject to be absolutely black, you'll need to fool your camera's metre. First, you need to aim it at your light source, and then press and hold the shutter button halfway down to lock the exposure. Position your subject appropriately, then snap away!
Take advantage of the available light by making do with less than ideal circumstances. There will always be a chance for you to be creative, regardless of the type of camera you have or the situation in which you find yourself. The more photos you take, the more likely you are to acquire one or more "Wow" shots that the happy couple will go crazy over.
Lighting Tips For Wedding Receptions
It's probable that the wedding reception will be the most challenging part of the wedding because there are so many variables that cannot be predicted or managed. You have little choice but to adapt to the dim lighting and the DJ's lighting setup.
Here at Wild Romantic, we pride ourselves on having the most talented wedding photographer in Mornington Peninsula. The following are some suggestions that will assist you in overcoming any potential lighting obstacles that prevent you from providing your customers with exceptional photographs:
Assess The Situation & Place Your Lights
Preparing for what's to come before you enter the scene and addressing the areas that are giving you difficulties puts you in a position to succeed. Most photographers' lighting woes stem from failing to adequately plan for the conditions in which they work.
Place flashes where you anticipate needing an extra boost of light, such as in the room's far corners, and wherever you'll want to use a backlight to make your subjects stand out against dark backdrops. Raising them up to a height of about 6 feet will keep them from casting shadows on any of the seated guests, and focusing in on them will keep the light from spilling out of the room.
Match the Colour of Light
Adding more illumination that isn't high enough quality is pointless. Both the camera's built-in flash and any external flashes should be set to an intensity that is proportional to the ambient lighting. Adjusting your camera's Custom Colour Temperature to a level that matches the temperature of the ambient light will help you capture photos with uniform lighting (Tungsten, Daylight, etc.).
It's likely that you'll be using the camera's built-in flash as your major source of supplementary lighting; therefore, you may want to consider employing some form of diffusion to soften the light falling on your subjects. Meanwhile, you've placed your off-camera flashes on the room's outside edges and turned down their intensity. You did this so you could direct the light more precisely and avoid any unwanted splash. If you want to have more control over the direction of the light coming from your off-camera flashes, you can do so by gridding them.
Dial-In Your Camera Settings
This is a discretionary step that depends on factors like the strength of your camera and how much natural light is present. When working with low light, our go-to shutter speed is around 1/200 of a second and our ISO is set anywhere from 800 to 3200. Aperture settings will vary from lens to lens, but in general, you want a bigger opening so that more light can enter the camera.
Bounce Your On-Camera-Flash Off of Ceilings and Walls
Most people think they are getting the most out of their camera's flash by bouncing it off the ceiling. This is shown to be true for almost all venues with white low ceilings. The ceilings of some buildings, though, may be constructed of dark wood or painted, in which case you'll need to make the most of your surroundings by seeking out walls or other items to bounce your light off of. The basics of using bounce cards and adjusting your camera's built-in flash will be covered in this Lighting 101 seminar.
Overpowering DJ Lights
After choosing the songs you want played, discuss with the DJ which lights will remain on the entire night and which will be introduced at different points. The goal here is to keep everyone on the same page for the big moments like the first dance, parent dances, and grand entrances. You should make sure that everything is taken care of so that you may focus on your creative work without being interrupted by any unanticipated problems.
Where Are You About Your Subject?
First, assess the room's lighting and place your lights where you want them. It takes a lot of trial and error to create multi-point light setups, and one of the difficulties is finding the optimal position to either take advantage of or avoid poor lighting.
Control is restored through the use of both in-camera and remote flashes. Although the DJ and the venue have final say over the lighting setup, you are free to include any additional light sources you see necessary to improve your final output. If you have a fully-featured flash or a flash trigger that can act as a master and govern your off-camera moments, you'll be able to choose when it's important to bring light to your scene.
Foreground Lights for Creative Effects
It might get boring to take pictures of the same things at every wedding, especially if they all take place in the same place. Beautiful bokeh in the foreground of an image can be created with the help of artistic effects, lending the picture an appearance of sophistication. If this isn't your thing, try looking around for objects that you can shoot through to create more engaging and unique compositions in your images.
Don't groan all at once! Because of how useful it can be in dire circumstances, "direct flash" has earned a slot on our list of pointers. Use a slow shutter speed and direct flash to freeze the subjects in motion while simultaneously forcing the background to blur into a frenzy as the number of people on the dance floor dwindles.
Most photographers' lighting woes stem from failing to adequately plan for the conditions in which they work. Adjusting your camera's Custom Colour Temperature to match the temperature of the ambient light will help you capture uniform lighting. If you want more control over the direction of the light coming from your off-camera flashes, you can do so by gridding them. When shooting in low light, our go-to shutter speed is around 1/200 of a second and our ISO is set anywhere from 800 to 3200. Aperture settings will vary from lens to lens, but in general, you want a bigger opening so that more light can enter the camera.
The basics of using bounce cards and adjusting your camera's built-in flash will be covered in Lighting 101 seminar. You are free to include any additional light sources you see necessary to improve your final output. Use a slow shutter speed and direct flash to freeze the subjects in motion while simultaneously forcing the background to blur. Beautiful bokeh in the foreground of an image can be created with the help of artistic effects, lending the picture an appearance of sophistication.
- It's probable that the wedding reception will be the most challenging part of the wedding because there are so many variables that cannot be predicted or managed.
- Assess The Situation & Place Your Lights Preparing for what's to come before you enter the scene and addressing the areas that are giving you difficulties puts you in a position to succeed.
- Place flashes where you anticipate needing an extra boost of light, such as in the room's far corners, and wherever you'll want to use a backlight to make your subjects stand out against dark backdrops.
- Both the camera's built-in flash and any external flashes should be set to an intensity that is proportional to the ambient lighting.
- Adjusting your camera's Custom Colour Temperature to a level that matches the temperature of the ambient light will help you capture photos with uniform lighting (Tungsten, Daylight, etc.).
- The ceilings of some buildings, though, may be constructed of dark wood or painted, in which case you'll need to make the most of your surroundings by seeking out walls or other items to bounce your light off of.
- It takes a lot of trial and error to create multi-point light setups, and one of the difficulties is finding the optimal position to either take advantage of or avoid poor lighting.
- Beautiful bokeh in the foreground of an image can be created with the help of artistic effects, lending the picture an appearance of sophistication.
- If this isn't your thing, try looking around for objects that you can shoot through to create more engaging and unique compositions in your images.