Understanding how to use lighting during your wedding and engagement shoots allows you to be a more versatile photographer. Strobes are off-camera lights you can position anywhere on location to help you shoot the images you desire. Unlike your built-in on camera flash, strobes give you the flexibility to place the light in any position to capture the best shots. With the ability to control the lighting, shooting with strobes will help you create more consistency in your images. Here are some simple tips to help you get started using strobe lights in photography to capture dynamic images during your wedding shoots.
What Are Strobe Lights Used For?
Strobes for wedding photography are an important tool available to help create dramatic and stunning images. They provide a burst of light that can freeze action, create beautiful lighting effects, and even help to illuminate large areas. These are often used in combination with other lighting techniques, such as off-camera flash or continuous lighting. Here are some ways that strobe lighting can be used to enhance your wedding photos:
1. To Freeze Action
Strobes for wedding photography can help you capture fast-moving action, such as the moment a bride throws her bouquet or the first dance. Using a strobe light can help to create a sense of movement in your photos, by freezing the action of the subjects in the photo.
2. To Create Lighting Effects
By using different angles and intensity settings, you can use strobe lights to create a range of unique lighting effects, such as light streaks or swirls, or create soft, romantic lighting or dramatic, high-contrast looks. You can also use strobes to add contrast and drama to an image, by creating stark shadows and highlights.
3. To Illuminate Large Areas
Strobe lights are often used in conjunction with other lighting techniques to illuminate a large area, such as strobe lighting wedding reception. This is especially helpful in dark venues or when shooting with strobes at night. Strobes provide a lot of light, so you can shoot in low-light conditions without having to bump up your ISO. And if you're shooting outdoors, you can use strobe lighting to fill in harsh shadows.
Suggested Read: Shooting With Speedlights
How To Position Strobe Lights
While natural light can create some stunning images, using strobe lights can really help to take your wedding photos to the next level. Here are some tips on positioning strobe lights for maximum strobe light effect:
1. Work On Light Placement
Decide where you want your light to fall. Do you want to highlight the bride and groom? Create a romantic mood? Or add a bit of drama to the proceedings? Once you know what effect you're going for, it will be easier to position your lights.
2. Consider The Light’s Angle
Each option for where you want the light to come from, will create a different look, so it's important to think about what will work best for your particular shot. For softer lighting, you can consider using a diffuser.
3. Consider Distance Between Light & Subject
Positioning your light too close or too far away can either wash out your subject or create unwelcome shadows. Experiment until you find the perfect distance for your shot.
Suggested Read: Hard Light Vs Soft Light: Understanding Wedding Lighting
Best Strobes For Wedding Photography
As a wedding photographer, you know the right equipment is essential to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments. When it comes to having the right strobe light photography kit, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Consider the size and weight of the unit. You'll want something that's portable and easy to set up, especially if you're working in a cramped space or outdoors. If you’re going to be using it indoors, then you don’t need a very large one.
Think about power output. You’ll need a strobe that is powerful enough to reach across a large room or outdoors, one that has enough light to illuminate the scene, especially if you’re shooting with strobes outdoors.
Consider your budget. There are a variety of options available, so be sure to shop around to find the best deal. There are a lot of great options out there, but you don’t want to break the bank.
- Take a look at reviews from other photographers. They can give you an idea of which strobe lighting kits units perform well and which ones to avoid.
Suggested Read: Top 5 Tips For Using Off-Camera Flash
Wedding photography is all about capturing timeless moments. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using as you learn how to shoot with strobes:
Pay attention to your camera's shutter speed and aperture settings, as these can impact the amount of light that is captured in each frame. Be mindful of the TTL strobes and flash settings so it doesn't create any unwanted blur.
Experiment with different light modifiers to see how they affect the look of your photos. Find the best softbox for wedding photography and umbrellas to help diffuse the light and create a softer look; use reflectors to direct the light and add some extra pop to your photos.
Try out different settings on your strobes until you find the perfect combination of power and light output. You may need to adjust these settings as the day goes on, depending on the amount of ambient light available.
- Make sure that your strobes are fully charged to ensure that you have enough power to get through the entire wedding day. Don't forget to pack extra batteries and light bulbs just in case.
Suggested Read: How To Diffuse Light: 4 Easy Ways For Wedding Photographers
Strobe Lighting For Dynamic Wedding Photography
1. Develop A Mood
Photography with strobe lights allows you to add in special effects to create a specific mood for your couple’s wedding photos. You can adjust your strobe’s placement to create a more dramatic effect for your images. Remember, the closer the light source is to your subjects, the softer the light will be on their faces. Try placing the light further away from your subject and at a 45-degree angle from where you are standing. This will increase the intensity of the shadows in the image, and draw your attention to a particular part of the photo as well. If you are looking to add additional drama, try underexposing your image by 1-2 stops, along with increasing the angle of your light. This will help emphasize the highlights and shadows in your image.
2. Overpower The Sun
Oftentimes while shooting outdoors, the harsh sunlight makes it difficult to shoot through the unflattering light. Without an additional light source, you typically have to decide if you are going to expose for the background or for your main subject. By incorporating strobes into your photos, not only can you include the details and colors from the sky, but you can also illuminate your subjects, regardless of the harsh sunlight. Shooting with strobe lights can be strong enough to overpower the sun, giving you complete control of the situation. Strobes are also useful indoors, in the absence of a natural light. Experiment with different strobe light placements to create a natural light look.
Suggested Read: How To Take Good Pictures In Bright Sunlight
3. Create Flattering Shadows
Butterfly lighting is a simple technique that requires only one strobe, and is a great way to create flattering shadows. It is created when you angle the light to fall on your subject’s face with minimal shadows. Place the strobe behind you, higher than you, and at a downward angle. If you have a second shooter, you can have them assist you in holding the light – otherwise, place it on a light stand. From here, stand in front of the light as you are shooting. This will cast a flattering light on your subject, and it will also reduce the number of shadows that would have distracted from the focal point of your image. Creating butterfly lighting is simple to do, and it is a great setup to use to take a portrait of the bride.
By experimenting with different techniques, you can use strobe light photography to create truly unique and beautiful wedding photos that will wow your clients.
When it comes to wedding photography, strobes can be a great way to add an extra level of excitement and energy to the photos. Not only do they provide a burst of light that can help to freeze the action, but they can also add a sense of movement and drama. Additionally, when shooting with strobes you can create different lighting effects, such as backlighting or rim lighting. By experimenting with different techniques, wedding photographers can use strobes to create truly unique and stunning images.
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