Low Light Wedding Photographer

Low Light Wedding Photographer

I often get asked how I manage to achieve these fantastic low-light wedding photos. Intimate candlelit wedding ceremonies look incredible but are very difficult to capture. Also, the human eye can compensate for low light and can see in near pitch-black. Digital cameras however need a little bit of creativity and skill to achieve a good quality image that reflects the mood.

Practice & experience is the key to knowing the limitations of your equipment.

Shooting a wedding in low light requires some extra care when taking photos. We have all seen those images where the highlights are blown out and the subjects are undefined & grainy.

Modern mirrorless cameras have developed at a ridiculous rate and have made the job a little easier.  Inbody, image stabilization is a godsend when using prime lenses. I often shoot handheld at much slower shutter speeds with great results. Another benefit is the ability to use high ISO with low noise.

Fast Glass or primes with a small aperture of f/1.2 or f 1.4 can also help achieve fantastic results. The drawback is a shallow depth of field which can be tricky if there is more than one person in the frame.

A sturdy tripod or monopod can help but realistically who carries one of these around at a wedding. I always keep one in the boot of my car but rarely use it.

One of the biggest issues with shooting a wedding ceremony in low light is motion blur. The bride and groom are not static subjects and tend to move around. So trying to take a candlelit image with a slow shutter speed with a small aperture and high ISO will often result in a poor quality grainy image.

So what do you do?

Sometimes the only way is to use an off-camera flash at low power to give just enough light to illuminate the subject without destroying the ambient. A CTO Gel can also help give your flash a warmer tone.

I rarely shoot bare bulb on-camera flash is it’s just too harsh. Light modifiers such as Magmod Magshere with a couple of grids give a soft directional light. Often I just bounce my flash off a wall or ceiling to create a large gentle softbox effect. Sometimes off-camera flash is referred to as a kicker light, there are many youtube videos on this. These are generally mounted off-camera on a small 8-foot light stand and placed in a strategic position in the room.

Finally – take some practice shots before the big day – set the exposure for the ambient light and fill the subject with flash.

If all else fails convert the images to Black & White.

Here are some example low light photos using off-camera flash.

Norwood Park, Wedding Photography, Wedding Photographer, Low Light Wedding Photography
Wedding at Norwood Park. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed in the roof of the structure
Warwickshire Wedding Photographer Stratford upon Avon
Wedding in Stratford-upon-Avon. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed above and to the left of the bride and groom.
Wedding Photographer Ettington Park
Wedding at Ettington Park Hotel. This image is made up of a composite of 3 separate exposures – 1st image for the ambient light – 2nd image off-camera flash to illuminate the arch – 3rd image off-camera flash to illuminate the couple's faces
Wedding in Alveston pastures Fam. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed above and to the left of the bride and groom.
Gorcott Hall, Wedding Photography, Wedding Photographer, Redditch, Low Light Wedding Photography
Wedding in Gorcott Hall in Redditch. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed above and to the left of the bride and groom.
Romantic Sunset Wedding Photography
Cotswold Wedding in Stratford-upon-Avon. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed above and to the right of the bride and groom.
Billesley Manor Wedding Photography Stratford upon Avon, Warwicklshire
Wedding Photo at Billesley Manor. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed above and to the left of the bride and groom.
Wedding Photographer at Wethele Manor Leamington Spa Warwickshire Bridal Portrait at Night
Wedding Photo at Wethele Manor. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash placed just above the bride and groom.
John Deere, Tractor, Sunset, Portrait, Wedding Photographer, Stratford upon Avon, The Bell, Alderminster, St. Mary's Church, Wimpstone
Cotswold Wedding in Stratford-upon-Avon. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash to illuminate the inside the cab of the tractor, 1 Godoz AD200 to illuminate the Bride and Groom + 1 Godox AD600 to illuminate the tractor.
The Barn, Upcote Farm, Wedding, Photographer
Cotswold Wedding in Hyde Barn Cheltenham. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash to illuminate the Bride and Groom.
Macdonald Alveston Manor, Wedding Photography, Wedding Photographer, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, Low Light Wedding Photography
Wedding at Macdonald Alveston Manor Stratford upon Avon. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash with blue gel to illuminate the tree + 1 Godox AD200 to illuminate the Bride and Groom.
Pre-wedding Shoot, Engagement, Wedding, Photographer, Warwickshire, Wootton Wawen, St Peters Church, Sunset, Photography, Wootton Park, Celebration
Pre-Wedding Shoot at St Peter’s Church Wooton Wawen. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash to illuminate Katie & Brad.
Pre Wedding Shoot, Wedding, Photographer
Pre-Wedding Shoot at Chesterton Windmill Leamington Spa. Exposed for the ambient light + 1 Godox AD200 flash to illuminate Kat & Matt.

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