On-camera Flash For The Dance Floor


The Wedding Story: Capture Creative and Authentic Photos


Lesson Info

On-camera Flash For The Dance Floor

So, on-camera flash, that is right now, saying we're not set in our ways, maybe later this year or next year we'll be using off-camera flash, but right now the only way that we use our flash is on camera. And the only time that we really use it is on the dance floor at the reception. What that allows us to do is really freeze our subject while also capturing the light in the background. So, a few important points here. The first one is in terms of exposure, what we do is we get a proper exposure of the background, underexpose it by a stop or two, and then not really touch our exposure. The exposure, it doesn't matter what combination it is, is there to really control the ambient light in the background. If your subject is too bright or too dark, changing the exposure's not going to change anything, or it will, but not in the right way. So, leave your exposure for the background, and if your subject is too bright or too dark, adjust the intensity of the flash, because the subject, like ...

in this photo, is lit up by the flash. So if they're too bright, lower the intensity of the flash. Do not touch the exposure. So does that make sense? Exposure basically is settings on your camera. It's for your environment. Your flash is for your subjects. Yep, and then in terms of how we use the flash itself, well, we want to make sure that we give it the best direction possible. So in a photo like this, we would tilt it right and tilt it backwards. More often than not it's going to be tilted one side or the other. What that does is it sends the light in one direction and then comes back with direction. As opposed to having it straight up where it goes straight up and comes straight back down, creates not the most flattering light on the face. And also, doesn't give the same dimension to the light itself. So you can see in this photo that it's coming from the right. 'Cause the light on her arm and on her face, the light on the back of her arm is a little bit darker than on her forearm. So, we know that it's coming in through here. And so we bounce it in as many situations as possible, even if the ceiling is high or even if it's dark. It's just a matter of giving a little bit more power to the flash so that it does reach the ceiling and comes back down. We also really like it because it's so simple and it stays true to our documentary approach, and we can just stay focused on the moment, and keep telling the story as it unfolds without needing to fiddle around with any kind of setting and just keeping it very, very simple for ourselves. Yeah, what's great is when something like this happens in a split second, this is a Greek wedding, I'm sure you recognize the plates. Everyone's crowded around them, around this guest, so your light follows you, follows the camera, and that's really key for us is that it allows us to not miss moments because our light is always coming with us. So I know what you're thinking. What if there's no ceiling? (laughs) Not my first time. So, I mean in this case, this is a tiny backyard wedding. I bounced the light directly behind me off of the garage door. So, yeah so in this case it was just bounced on the garage door behind me, and again it allows me to, the split second thing that happens, I'm not fiddling around with an off-camera light. My light is coming with me. It's consistent. It's firing off every time I shoot. So, yeah. Again, giving that direction, same ideas as on the garage door, really sending the light to the far left of the frame, and letting it come back with that same direction. It creates almost like this natural light. Obviously, it's not as well-balanced in the raw file. The speaker might be a little bit brighter, there might be more light on the mother and the father who are having their moment, but in post-production we really even things out and make sure that we dictate where the viewer looks at the photo, and that there's the most light on the bride and groom and then it kinda slowly dissipates on the other subjects. You know, post-production can save you to a certain extent, or help you, but it's important to not just be like, I'll fix this in post, especially when it comes to lighting like this. So, while Daniel was saying that things can be brought down and brought back, you don't want it to be too extreme. And if the flash is pointed this way, and the speaker's completely blown out, obviously, that's too far gone. We can't make that look natural afterwards. All right. Sorry, this is the, what I wanted to say, right? In situations where there's absolutely no ceiling or a garage door to bounce the flash off of, it's really open air, what we do is we rely on the little foot card that comes out of the flash. Make sure that the diffuser stays tucked in. We put the white card back about halfway, and then click it one notch forward. I can't give you the technical explanation for this, but from trial and error, we know that this works. It gives us this kind of quality of light, which is a little bit harsher than a bounce flash, but it's still in the right ballpark for the way that we like our images to look. And again, stays in line with our very simple approach of just documenting and making sure that the lighting is very simple. It doesn't look quite as good when it comes out straight out of the camera, but in post-production we darken the edges a little bit more and make sure that the light is well-balanced on the subject. I think what's really important is that you just have enough light on their faces. So, you don't want to be pushing that in post too much, but you also don't want it to be too blown out. So just finding that happy place for the lighting on their faces, and then that's a good place to go from there.

Class Description

Wedding Photography is a hard and sometimes exhausting business. Finding ways to stay creative while continuing to capture timeless and classic imagery is important. Drawing from their own life experiences, Davina and Daniel Kudish capture the subtle nuances of their client's life stories at every wedding. In this course, they’ll discuss techniques to personalize each individual wedding to capture the stories and moments that make each couple unique.

They’ll discuss the formula to capturing stories and teach:

  • Pre-Wedding Conversation techniques with clients to help build your shot list
  • Utilize what you know about each couple to help approach capturing the day
  • Research and location scouting techniques
  • Capture the details that matter most
  • How to work with various lighting situations
  • Preserve the mood and capture natural moments
  • Composition and Framing
  • Shooting with variety
  • Create personal and creative portraits
  • Edit a slideshow and how to create an album

Davina and Daniel are known for capturing creative portraits and important moments that tell every unique love story. Join them to learn how to implement their formula to find and capture the creative story with every client.


1Class Introduction
2What Are "Epic" Images?
3The Slideshow Formula
4First Client Meeting
5Establish Client Relationship
6Expectation vs Preparation
7Pre-Wedding Checklist
8Gear for Photographing Weddings
9Capture The Subtleties
10Show The Connection
11Importance of Capturing Transitions
12Sidelines & Story Telling Details
13Anticipation & Patience
14Let The Scene Develop
15Sequencing in Numbers
16Successful "Anticipatience"
17Examples of Poor Reaction Time
18HTCG in 10
19Giving Direction
20Have Variety With Light & Composition
21Capture The Mood
22Take Advantage of Natural Light
23Be Creative With Video Light
24On-camera Flash For The Dance Floor
25Find Flattering Ambient Light
26Don't be Afraid of Tough Light
27Composition & Framing
28Lens Choice
29Keep it Simple
30Purpose of the Creative Portrait
31Scouting for the Creative Portrait
32Maximize a Location
33Unique Posing for a Creative Portrait
34Experiment with Your Photography
35Make The Image Personal
36Post Production Overview
37Stay Organized in Post Production
38Full Gallery Edits
39Lightroom Workflow Overview
40Bring Out Detail in Lightroom
41Black & White in Lightroom
42Landscape Images in Lightroom
43Bold Images in Lightroom
44Slideshow Edits
45Importance of The Slideshow
46Selecting Slideshow Images For a Large Wedding
47Culling Slideshow Images for a Large Wedding
48Complete Slideshow Example for a Large Wedding
49Slideshow Images for a Small Wedding
50Complete Slideshow Example for a Small Wedding
51Build a Business Around Storytelling
52Portfolio for Clients
53Importance of The Inquiry Reply
54Price List Best Practices
55How to Price Your Work
56Final Thoughts