Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Your Reception Photos Suck!

Ok Ok, I'm not that mean, your reception photos don't suck, but how do you create drama and emotion in them?

Use an external flash to spice it up. Read on to learn about a better method to creating that cinematic look in Reception or Night Club photos.

This is an example of a bounced flash off the ceiling, not true ambient but very close but even that can make a photo feel a bit flat. It's a good photo, but what we really want is unique and awesome.

Example of a photo from a reception using my external light method. Alvin calls it my "Light Saber". Same subject but has a much different feel. Looks almost staged but it's not, All in real time. Also something to think about is what to include in your shots, there's a lot of clutter on stage so thinking about what to include in your shots is also important to create a cleaner look. This can require moving your feet and getting into a good spot. So don't be lazy, move your feet, and get the shot. In this shot I wanted to add the flower element into the frame to give the photo some additional depth.

Which do you prefer?? Better yet, which photographer would you hire for your wedding?

Bounce flash and Ambient photography have their places, but these are the cons that I have discovered with these methods during a reception.

1. Bounce washes out the colored lights in the background
2. Creates a flat light, which can be boring
3. Bounce picks up the color of the ceiling which can be unflattering to skin tones if the ceiling is drab or dark

1. Unless your camera can go up to 6400 ISO without any grain Ambient is only good for picking up background lights
2. Your subject will look grainy as heck
3. What if its really really dark, your SOL

Direct Flash:
** Just so you know about me, I HATE DIRECT FLASH! It looks flat and ugly and causes harsh shadows.

So how do you get photos to look like this? Dramatic. Rich colors. Contoured.

1. 1st of all you'll need a flash! Can be Nikon or Canon since you're not using TTL here. I love the Nikons SB80dx! or my Canon 580ex Mii
2. A triggering system like pocket wizards or cybersyncs or something cheap off of ebay.
3. Diffuser like a beauty dish or one of those mini softboxes you can buy off of amazon for like 20 bucks.
4. a mono pod.

Settings on you camera should be
Shutter: 125 or 160
ISO: 1600
Aperture: F2-4

Play around with this and see the dramatic shots that come out of it.

Here's a photo of Ann my Assistant holding the light saber.

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