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Using Off-Camera Flash to Create Dramatic Getting Ready Images

One of the most challenging aspects of being a wedding photographer is that, often times, you have absolutely no control of the situations you encounter to photograph. One specific aspect of that challenge is the lighting conditions you encounter. Knowing how to use off-camera flash can help you overcome these challenging wedding photography lighting scenarios.

On a wedding day, one of the first scenes you encounter is the getting ready location. This can happen in a variety of places, such as a hotel room, a house, or a room provided at the wedding venue. Depending on the location, you might be able to shoot most of these images with natural light. However, using off-camera flash during the getting ready scene is a great way to add drama to an otherwise potentially dull scene.

In our Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers Guide, created with SLR Lounge, we discuss a few scenarios that may occur during the getting ready part of the day. Below, we show you how Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge and Lin & Jirsa Photography personally sets up the lighting for the getting ready scene to create unique and dramatic images.

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dramatic getting ready image with the bride

Image Compliments of Lin & Jirsa Photography

Scenario:

Part of Wedding Day: Getting Ready

Location: Hotel Room

Lighting Condition: Natural light from the windows

Subject(s): Bride and Hair Stylist

In this scenario, the goal is to create a dramatic image of the bride as her stylist applies hairspray. To achieve this, a mixture of ambient light is used from two windows in the hotel, along with one Phottix Mitros flash with a CTO gel on it. Note – if you don’t have the specific flashes that are referenced, you can always supplement with your Canon or Nikon off camera speedlight.

Related: Are you properly lighting and posing throughout the wedding day shoot?

As you can see in the image below, the bride is seated in a chair with her profile toward the camera, and her stylist behind her. The flash is set to auto zoom so Pye can control it from the receiver on the camera, and the light is placed to the le side of the bride, directly in front of a window.

off-camera flash setup getting ready images

Image Compliments of Lin & Jirsa Photography

Take a look at the image above again to see the off-camera flash setup. The placement of the flash is crucial in this scenario to how it lights the bride. When setting up the flash, Pye positions it so it is high enough to shine down on her, rather than lower and angling it up toward her face.

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This creates a flattering light and does not highlight certain areas, such as her chin. Additionally, Pye makes sure the flash is hidden from view as he frames the shot – this is when having an assistant or second shooter can be especially helpful!

Related: Do the common myths of flash prevent you from using it on every shoot?

Once the flash is properly positioned, as shown above, the next step is to get the proper exposure for the background. This is important because if the background is too bright, the hairspray will not be visible. In the image below, you can see how the hairspray disappears into the bright background, and because of this, Pye needs to make some adjustments to the image

raw image off-camera flash setup for bride getting ready

Image Compliments of Lin & Jirsa Photography

To adjust this, Pye takes the following steps:

  • Step 1: since he cannot adjust his shutter speed and is already at the lowest ISO, he stops down his aperture from f/1.4 to f/2.8 to create a darker background.

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  • Step 2: he moves the flash closer to the bride and reduces the flash power from 1/4th to 1/8th. Because he adjusted his aperture to let less light in, he doesn’t need to adjust the flash much in this scenario.
  • Step 3: he partially closes the curtain to the left of the bride to darken the area the hairspray will reach. As you can see in 1D, he leaves the curtain par ally open to keep a rim light on her face.
  • Step 4: he opens the window curtain in front of the bride to act as a fill light for the front of her face. This keeps her from becoming a silhouette in the image.

With these four adjustments, the hairspray shot is created, as seen below.

getting ready images with off-camera flash and hairspray

Image Compliments of Lin & Jirsa Photography

By combining artificial and ambient light, you can create a dramatic image during a getting ready scene. This is just one of many images you can take during the getting ready portion of the wedding day. Even better, this basic wedding photography lighting setup can be utilized in other scenarios during the wedding day. In our free Off-Camera Flash Guide, we go over 8 additional situations throughout the wedding day!

Discover additional resources for your wedding photography business with SLR Lounge Premium – learn more about it here.

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Understanding how to use off-camera flash photography during the wedding day shoot can help you quickly create images for your clients. Discover one more way to use off-camera flash during getting ready, as well as for indoor portraits, outdoor portraits, and during the wedding reception when you download our free Guide: Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers! Grab your copy now.

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The Most Important Tasks for Your Wedding Photography Business

Running a wedding photography business requires you to set up systems and processes to help you streamline your workflow and grow. For you to create a path to success for your wedding photography business, you must focus on the most important tasks. Every wedding photographer will have a different path and things that are most important to them.

In our 5 Keys to Absolutely Succeeding Guide, we talked with a few professional wedding photographers who are successful in their business to gain their insights. The list below is commonalities each pro has – ways to stay top of mind, how to increase income, and techniques to book more wedding photography shoots. Take a look at the 5 most important tasks you can work on for your business.

1. Networking with Vendors

Network with vendors in the wedding photography industry by creating meaningful relationships, investing in them, and sharing images with them. This takes time to plan and effort on your part to maintain. Make an effort to find out what you can do for vendors, rather than what they can do for you, and spend time working toward building their trust.

bridal portrait wedding photography

Image Compliments of Jared Platt

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Top 5 Tips for Easy Off-Camera Flash Setups for Wedding Photographers

Of the challenging lighting scenarios you face during the wedding day, the reception provides a handful of issues for you to overcome. From low light, to uplighting, to constant movement from your couple and guests, there are plenty of obstacles during the reception. How can you quickly create light and not miss any of the important moments?

In our Online Training: 3 Easy Off-Camera Flash Lighting Setups for Wedding Photographers, Matt Kennedy of The International Academy of Wedding Photographers shared his personal tips for how to quickly set up light during even the most difficult lighting scenarios. Here are the top 5 tips from the Training to use on your upcoming wedding photography shoots.

1. Understand How to Use Flash

There are many things you can do with off-camera flash while on location, especially during the reception. You can work with ambient or natural light in many situations, but using flash can help you get a better image without completely changing the look of the photo or your style. When you understand how to use flash, you are working to create top images for your clients.

black and white first dance wedding photo

Image Compliments of Matt Kennedy Photography

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5 Steps to Creating a Same-Day Slideshow for Wedding Photographers

Finding various ways to market your wedding photography business can help you stay top of mind and increase the amount of bookings you receive each year. Because there are so many things you can do to market your business, it can be helpful to hear about what works for your peers in the industry. Today, ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Vanessa Joy, is back with her next guest post to share 5 steps to creating a same-day slideshow for your clients to showcase your work and attract ideal clients.

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Same-Day Slideshows were originally meant to be a form of marketing during the wedding that’s aimed toward the reception guests. As a side effect, it wows the bride and groom as well, but the primary benefit is being able to show off your work to their friends and family and essentially advertise for free. It is an incredibly effective marketing method that advertises to the guests in a relevant manner while they’re on the emotional high of the wedding. In fact, I would go as far as to say the same-day slideshow is one of the best marketing tools out there, and one that doesn’t cost us a thing.

bride and groom wedding photography

Image Compliments of Vanessa Joy Photography

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Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers

Lighting…. It’s one of the most essential aspects of photography to understand. Done correctly, it can help you set scenes, capture memorable moments, develop moods, stimulate emotional responses, and elevate the quality of your images and the story they tell. And yet, lighting is one of the most challenging parts of photography to master.

As a wedding photographer, you see it all – the good, the bad, and the terrible when it comes to light. Since you are not always in control of where you shoot, or what the lighting conditions will be, it can be difficult to know which tools to use to combat the light during the wedding day. Off-camera flash provides you with options for the lighting situations that need help, or when you desire to create a more dramatic look to the image. So, how can you quickly control and create light with off-camera flash in any location, regardless of the lighting scenario?

Free Guide: Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers

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How to Create Marketing That Attracts Ideal Clients to Your Wedding Photography Business

Here at ShootDotEdit, we love to provide wedding photography editing services to pro photographers. We also love to share valuable tips and tricks to help you grow your business, including how to use marketing to book more clients. Marketing for your wedding photography business allows you to place your images and content in front of ideal clients who are looking for a photographer. To help you learn more about your ideal clients to build your marketing plan for your business, we reached out to Heidi Thompson of Evolve Your Wedding Business to gain her insights into the topic.

Heidi Thompson is the author of Clone Your Best Clients and the founder of Evolve Your Wedding Business, where she specializes in business and marketing strategy for wedding professionals. She helps wedding professionals grow their businesses and reach their goals without going crazy in the process. Her business and marketing expertise has been featured on several wedding and business outlets, including The Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, Wedding Business Magazine, Sprouting Photographer, Photo Biz Xposed, Honeybook, WeddingWire World, and she’s an advisory board member for the UK Academy Of Wedding & Event Planning.

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A lot of photographers have a fluid idea of a nonexistent, amorphous client, they sort of know who they maybe want to work with. But it’s vital to have an exact target, not only because it helps them find you, but because it helps you find them.

beach wedding photography

Image Compliments of Jessica Claire

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The Best Times to Post on Facebook for Wedding Photographers

Social media platforms like Facebook have (quite literally) billions of users spending hours on their sites each and every day. Facebook is a fantastic venue to share your images and connect with your clients. Once you start posting, though, you will soon realize that the engagement you see varies dramatically. A lot of this has to do with the algorithms Facebook uses to distribute posts. However, even up against the ever-changing algorithms that are used, there are strategies to maximize your engagement. In our previous post, we shared how to increase interaction through tagging people in your photos. Today, we are looking at Facebook and the best times to post, and more specifically, what days to post to maximize engagement.

Advanced: Download ShootDotEdit’s Guide: Facebook for the Wedding Photographer for advanced tips on growing your business through the largest social media platform!

What days are best?

It’s easy to assume Facebook has the same number of users each and every day of the week. However, social media actually picks up significantly in anticipation of the weekend, and Facebook is no exception.

rainy black and white photo

Image Compliments of Style & Story Creative

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Top 5 Tips for Building a 6 Figure Wedding Photography Business

The path to success differs for every business owner. How can you build a roadmap that fits your wedding photography business, helps you increase income, and ensures your longevity in the industry?

In our Online Training: How Hope Taylor Built a 6 Figure Business in One Year, Hope Taylor shared her secrets to success, including how she built a 6 figure business in just one year. Here are the top 5 tips to help you achieve the same goal in your business.

1. Set Up Free Shoots

Although you should avoid advertising free shooting opportunities on your social media platforms, it can be helpful to set up a few to jumpstart your marketing plan. Use these opportunities as building blocks for your business, rather than something that is a waste of time. Free shoots give you plenty of chances to practice your skills and create a library of images in your unique wedding photography style.

couple portraits outdoor

Image Compliments of Hope Taylor Photography

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How to Increase Interaction on Facebook for Your Wedding Photography Business

Facebook is an ideal social platform for wedding photographers to use to share their images and content. With constant changes and adjustments, it is essential to maximize your presence on Facebook and encourage interaction on your business page.

In our previous posts, we discussed how important it is to share your wedding photography with your ideal clients on Facebook. We also shared how to increase engagement through the text you write. Today, we will take a look at how you can increase interaction on your posts through Facebook’s tagging features.

Our free Facebook for the Wedding Photographer Guide features expert advice from some of the top photographers in the industry to help you maximize your strategy! Download it today to discover their insights.

Tag People in Photos

When you tag people in your wedding photography posts, you increase the reach of your photo dramatically. In most cases, tagging people causes the photo to show up in their news feed. When it appears in their news feed, they can interact with it and share it with their followers. This means your images and content are in front of a larger audience than just your followers.

outdoor sunflower engagement photo

Image Compliments of Custom by Nicole Photography

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Wedding Lighting Masterclass with Leeann Marie: Lighting for the Bridal Prep and Details

Here at ShootDotEdit, we understand the various lighting scenarios you face during the wedding day. And, not only are we a wedding photography editing service, we also love to provide you with tips and tricks from pro photographers in the industry. To walk you through how to light during various parts of the wedding day, we reached out to Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers.

Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers Headshot

One of the leading wedding photographers in Pittsburgh, Leeann Marie has created an exclusive brand that is family focused for the cosmopolitan bride. She’s a national speaker for WPPI, has been in business for 9 years, and has a background in Industrial Engineering giving her a unique perspective on photography and business. She relies heavily on systems in her business to accomplish all of her goals, and has been a ShootDotEdit happy photographer for seven years. She lives in the city of Pittsburgh with her husband and daughter. She loves looking out her back window into the firefly-lit woods, and enjoying a night out for sushi and drinks with friends. Learn more about Leeann on her website and Instagram account!

Today, she will discuss how to set up proper lighting for the bridal prep and details.

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Welcome to the Wedding Lighting Master Class! This is the first article in the series, which I hope will help you to learn some valuable techniques for perfectly managing and lighting the different scenarios you will be faced with on a wedding day.

A few notes about this course:

FAST IS BEST: I truly believe that “Fast Is Best”, which is (obviously) why I love ShootDotEdit. 🙂 But really, one of the key valuable principles I bring to my brides and grooms each wedding day is an experience that is organized, hassle-free, and yet still beautifully lit and happy.

Keeping my lighting scenarios as fast as possible allows me to move between scenarios quickly, while still creating beautiful photography for my couples. I do use natural light, but I’m not afraid of flash in the least, and work with tools and an arsenal of mental notes (lots of them that are described in this course!) to help me move between situations quickly and flawlessly.

THERE ARE OPTIONS: In the photography-world, there are a million ways to light one simple scene. The methods outlined in this course are my personal preferences, and I encourage you to try them and then modify if necessary to fit your photography style and client needs.

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