May 2021 // The Wedding Edition

How To Use Flash Photography in Tight Spaces | Justin Yoder

The reception is where flashes are most commonly used. Receptions are usually dark with a lot of movement so having flashes is critical for creating great photos. Generally, I use three flashes during a reception: one behind each corner of the back of the dance floor with just bare bulb (no modifier), and one in the front of the dance floor with a grid. All three flashes will be approximately 8 feet high and angled down towards the center of the dance floor. The purpose of the two lights in the back is to create back lighting on people on the dance floor—this includes when speeches are given, bouquet and garter toss, dancing and anything else that may take place on the dance floor. This isn’t to say you can’t move around the dance floor where one of the back flashes becomes the main flash. You can always adjust your power levels with your trigger. If anything takes place off the dance floor such as the cake cutting, I grab the main light from the front of the dance floor and move it to where I need light, which again is generally 45 degrees from my subject.

settings: f3.2 @ 1/5 iso 160

If the dance floor is extremely lively, I will hand-hold a flash with a diffusion dome on it to soften and spread light. I’ll use a wide-angle lens on my camera so I can get right in on the action. Sure, hand-holding a flash in one hand and a camera in the other can be a little tricky, but by getting the flash off your camera you will create a more flattering image. Flashes are great for details as well and can be used for epic ring shots. I carry a small bottle of glass cleaner in my bag for my lenses, but will often use it in the manner of the hairspray shot, except for the rings. I’ll put a gridded flash, often times with a color gel on it, behind the rings and a gridded flash with no gel for the front light.

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