Wedding Photography: To Flash or not to Flash
Dawn Joe Photo | Pro Photography | Published Jun 27, 2012
To Flash or not to Flash
Have you ever shot an entire wedding with just one lens and no flash? If you had to which one would you choose? This past Sunday, I threw on plastic fantastic, 50mm f1.8 and proceeded to capture the details of a wedding at the Zeris Inn in Mountain Lakes NJ. I was operating as the second shooter so I had some time to try this affordable but powerful lens on sparkly pearl earrings, flowery twigs and really cute kids.
|Dawn Joseph Photography|
Here’s a little back story. I purchased Canons 50mm 1.8mm aka Plastic Fantastic (PF) to see if I really had a need for the L series version. I wanted a really fast lens to try out in low light situations which weddings often are. I shoot with a 5D ii so I can push for high ISO’s as well so I figured the combination is worth a try.
So I ended up unexpectedly shooting the wedding with just one lens. My favorite lens is the 24 – 105mm L series and usually what I shoot with but I have to say, PF did a very nice job of capturing some great details. It is obviously softest at 1.8 and gets progressively sharper the lower the stop. It is pretty noisy and slow to focus, cheaply made but what great images! What great flexibility.
If I could shoot a wedding without a flash I would, and I did this past Saturday. Flash photography is great if you can completely control each and every element of light in any given environment. Unfortunately weddings happen way too fast so we are often trying to find ways to diffuse and manipulate poorly created and positioned light (external flashes, hot lights…). We are then left with ugly shadows, unnaturally exposed subjects, reshot after reshot and a slew of disappointments that run the entire gamut of lighting sadness.
I am going to challenge myself this year to use the tools I know exists to limit (NOT ELIMINATE) the amount of flash needed at such blessed events. Here’s my arsenal.
fast lens: Canons 50 or 85mm prime lens or any f2.0 or higher lens
Large reflector (for outdoors if it’s sunny)
Highest ISO (decide for yourself which range works for your camera)
Well placed hotlight: these were a mixed bag at the wedding I shot. Subject standing several feet from the hotlights had some flaring in the background I didn’t care too much for.
I now believe that it’s doable and will write another article in a few months to update how this works out for me. If you can’t shoot images without a flash, they should at least not look like there was one to begin with…
Dawn Joseph: NJ Wedding Photographer http://www.DawnJosephPhotography.com