As the wedding day approaches, one of the things that couples are always concerned with is the weather. They want it to be sunny with no chance of rain. While you cannot control the weather, you can control the lighting situation!
In our Online Training: The 3 Simple Steps to Using Off-Camera Flash with Zach and Jody Gray, the pros shared simple ways to use off-camera flash to take candid, highly stylized, and eye-catching images. Once you partner with a photo editing company to take care of your post-production work, you will have plenty of time to learn how to use off-camera flash techniques to create images your clients will love! Here are the top 5 tips to help you master off-camera flash.
1. Master Strobes
The simple addition of one strobe can make a drastic difference in the outcome of your images. Have you seen images where the couple is posing in front of a backdrop of a deep, rich, blue sky and dramatic clouds that almost look fake? Those are created with the strength of strobes! The light from a strobe is strong enough to overpower the sun, giving you complete control of the lighting situation and allowing you to bring your own creativity to each image.
2. Use speed lights
Speed lights, while not as powerful as strobes, will still produce the dramatic light that you are looking for in certain situations. Capturing details, portraits, and even the reception at a wedding is the perfect time to utilize speed lights. The great thing about these lights is you can pack a few of them in your camera bag because they are lightweight and compact!
3. Understand ratios
Spending a little time learning about ratios can be a powerful tool for you to know because they can help you define your signature style. Ratios determine the balance between the light on your subject to the background light, meaning that changing the ratios will alter the mood of your photos. If your style encompasses images that have a consistent, even, natural light on the subject and the background, you are using a 3-to-1 ratio. To create images that include light on the subject and leave the background darker and more mysterious, you would adjust for a darker ratio, such as 5-to-1. Determine what your style is and use the correct ratio to match up with this.
4. Find Quality Light
Just like there is a science behind color correction, there is a science behind lighting! The goal is for you to take the fundamentals of lighting and add in your creativity to create stunning images that are unique to your brand. To do this, one thing you need to focus on is the quality of the light. When you look at your couple, what is the light doing to them? Does it create harsh shadows under their eyes, or is the light providing a nice softbox that enhances their features? To master the science of lighting, you want to look for good quality light, which is softer and easier to manage.
5. Learn the Direction of Light
You have the perfect background, the couple is posed to make them look stunning, and now all you need to do is set up your off-camera flash. So how do you determine where to place your light? Zach has a simple rule of thumb when it comes to knowing what the correct height of the light should be:
“Wherever the center of the light source is, you want that to be a little bit above the center of the couples’ eyes – something magical happens when you do this.”
When you place the height of the light around here and position the light in a direction that creates dimension to your images, your photos will have an extra level of depth. Experiment with different heights and directions to determine what best represents your brand and style.
Bonus Tip: Practice Often
It’s no secret that using off-camera flash can be confusing at first. The best way to master off-camera flash techniques is to practice as much as possible. You do not need to wait until you have a session to practice with your flash – take a few friends out and experiment with lighting on them! This way, when you are at a wedding, you will already know what works and what does not and how to use off-camera flash to achieve the look you desire. As you are practicing, be sure to read through Zach and Jody’s free eBook, The Quick Start Guide to Off-Camera Flash, for helpful lighting techniques and insights!
Adding even one off-camera flash to your images can greatly alter the final outcome of them. Determine how lights can enhance your signature style and set you apart from other photographers. For additional tips on how to use off-camera flash to transform a location, download our Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers Guide, created with SLR Lounge!