As a wedding photographer, you may not always have the chance to photograph in wide-open spaces with beautiful mountains or beaches adding that ‘wow’ factor to your photographs. Your couples might choose indoor venues, or weather conditions may force you to photograph indoors. Even at weddings where you do have a chance to shoot portraits outside, you might have to photograph the ceremony inside a church or any other type of venue. And even though indoor locations can also add a unique touch to wedding photos, indoor venues can sometimes be small or dark or maybe both. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t create stunning photographs in these situations. It’s all about having some (photography) tricks up your sleeve! From finding natural light sources to creating beautiful silhouettes, this blog offers you 10 tips on how you can improve your indoor wedding photography game even in less than ideal settings.
Tips to Help You Ace Indoor Wedding Photography
1. Shoot RAW
Our first tip to improve your indoor wedding photography game would be that you try to shoot RAW. And even though you might have to spend more time in the post-production process when you shoot RAW, you have to keep in mind that RAW files give you more flexibility when editing wedding photos. If you are shooting in poor lighting conditions, then shooting RAW could give you the chance to considerably improve your photos later.
Related Read: How To Import RAW Files Into Lightroom
2. High ISO + Black & White = Amazing
Increasing the ISO of your camera can help you better capture indoor wedding photography ambient light. However, it can increase the grain or noise in an image. Converting the image to black and white in your post process editing will turn those noisy and grainy photos into timeless and classic captures. The magic of black and white photographs also brings out emotions and highlights candid moments in a more photojournalistic way, so experiment either by shooting in black and white or editing your wedding photos to make them black and white after the fact.
Related Read: Black And White Wedding Photos: Why They Are Timeless
3. Embrace Moody Lighting
Moody lighting can be found at most venues, even if they are small and dark! Look for available light sources, like overhead light or wall sconces, or a chandelier. If you are using off-camera lighting, try creating a backlight with the off-camera flash placed behind the subject, or find a direct light source at the venue and place it behind the subject. Your subject’s face could either be half-hidden in darkness or you will only see a shadow or shape of them when working in this kind of lighting. Try focusing on angles in this situation and the images will come out very different from the usual wedding photos. Working in moody light will give you a chance to showcase your skills and create masterpieces with limited resources.
4. Don’t Delete Any Images Immediately
You might do this out of habit or simply due to the fact that cameras these days allow you to instantly delete a photo if you don’t like it. However, this also means that you might potentially delete photographs that might not look like masterpieces on the camera but can certainly be turned into them during post-production. If you keep and evaluate them later, you might end up finding some that can be fixed in Lightroom or Photoshop.
5. Keep the Continuous Shooting Mode on
When doing indoor wedding photography, keeping the continuous shooting mode on can prove to be useful. This will help you take more photos faster and ensure you don’t miss out on any special moments. Sometimes the photo you take right after the planned or posed one might come out better and capture the moment! Just make sure your focus is dialed and your shutter speed is sufficient so your images aren’t blurry! If you are in a very dark room, try using a flashlight or other direct light source to illuminate your subject just long enough to lock the focus.
6. Learn How to Bounce Flash & Diffuse Light
At venues such as churches where the light could be very low, knowing how to bounce a flash or diffuse light can be very helpful. If the church allows it, you can bounce flash but remember that doing that on a colored surface could give a color cast to your image. You can also use a flash diffuser to soften the light. If you are not allowed to use a flash, you can use a fast lens at wide apertures and increase the ISO. Using a lens with image stabilization might also help you when doing indoor wedding photography. In any case, make sure you are allowed to use flash or other lighting gear inside the venue.
7. Gel Your Flashes
Gelling your flashes means using a tool that you can place over the top of a flash or your off-camera light that adds a tint to the light coming out of the light source. Gelling your flashes would ensure your light source matches the ambient or any other available light. This would help you adjust the effect of mixed lighting on your subject’s skin making it look more uniform and your image more visually appealing. To tackle white balance issues at this point, you can use the settings pre-indicated on your camera to match the light in the room. If this doesn’t work for you, try a custom white balance setting in the camera and if there’s still something left to fix, you can do it during post-production.
8. Get Creative With Silhouettes
Get a little creative with silhouette wedding photography and add variety to your couple’s wedding photos when shooting indoors. A little mix of high, low, wide-angle shots or close-ups can also help you break the monotony and add drama to your couple’s wedding images. When creating silhouettes, you’d need to shoot against the light and pay attention to outlines.
9. Adjust Exposure
For indoor weddings, adjust the exposure to capture the ambient light of the location. Your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture all affect how your camera reads ambient light, so adjusting those will help you nail the exposure. If you are using off-camera lighting or on-camera flash, your settings will change in relationship to ambient light as combined with flash. If you underexpose properly, you should be able to capture the ambient light while letting the off or on camera light illuminate your subject. Try practicing this technique indoors before a wedding so you aren’t scrambling on the day of to make it work!
Related Read: How To Shoot In Small And Dark Wedding Venues
10. Find and Use Window Light
Window light can be the key for indoor wedding photography. The possibilities of creating stunning wedding photos with window light are endless. Whether you use the windows for framing or as a source of natural light, you will always have something interesting to create around windows. You can use the light coming from a window as it is or soften it by tying a translucent fabric over it. Either way, the results would have the power to wow your couple.
Be Well Prepared Before You Shoot Indoors
While outdoor photography almost always results in stunning photographs (nothing beats that golden hour glow), you can create equally impressive images indoors. Knowing all the right tricks and techniques is all you need. Next time you find yourself photographing a wedding indoors, look for natural light sources, carry your lighting gear, and be extra prepared. The key to capturing all the right moments indoors is making the best use of whatever lighting options are available. Even if you are photographing in less than ideal lighting situations, you can use the aforementioned tips (and your creativity) as your guide.
At ShootDotEdit, we love sharing tips that help you improve your wedding photography skills and speed up your workflow. We also offer professional photo editing services to help lessen your post-production workload. If you want to learn more about our services, check out our pricing plans.