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To continue from last week’s off camera flash post when we talked about the Radio Popper radio triggers, I want to go into settings.

Camera settings

  • I stay on manual mode – I am always in control.
  • Remember you are adding plenty of light therefore you don’t need a high ISO, I’m on 100 or 200.
  • I shoot around f/5.6 because I want my subject really in focus.
  • Shutter speed sort of matters but not really – it goes only to 1/200 as the fastest.  I just ignore the shutter speed honestly and just keep taking shots until it looks good and I’m happy with the photo.  The shutter speed is essentially just allowing in the ambient light – the light that’s already in the room, even if dim, whatever light is on in the reception hall.
  • Sometimes a quick shutter can give the off camera flash a starburst effect.

Flash settings – on camera

  • Depending on how close the subject is to you, you can adjust your on camera flash to be full power (1/1), 1/2 power, 1/4 power, or 1/8.  I would strongly suggest not doing full-power unless your super far away from the dance floor getting a wide angle shot.
  • Your flash power depends on how close or far your subject is to you.

Flash settings – off camera

  • Since I control the intensity of the flash off camera from my Radio Popper attached to my camera, I adjust the intensity to my liking and just check to see if I like it – there are no rules. 
  • A brighter the flash the more it lights up the room or can give a beautiful airy affect.
  • I put a subject – usually my second shooter in the middle of the dance floor to test my settings until I like it.

Settings are a hard thing – there’s no magic setting, you take a couple and move them, then it changes, just play around and always check!

Flash placement

Your off camera flash is like the sun if you were shooting outdoors – and you were a photographer who like to backlight.  The reason why you need an off camera flash is to illuminate the location so it doesn’t look like you’re shooting in black tunnel when you use one flash.  It makes everything else around lighter, and you can adjust it by your shutter – adding whatever amount of ambient light or as little!

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  • Place flash out of the way, or by speakers or in the back by a curtain so it’s camouflaged and will lessen risk of an excited wedding guest who needs to run to the dance floor because their song has come on – my poor flash has tumbled many times.

Ambient lighting

This is with a quick shutter so I don’t let in a lot of ambient light:

More ambient light (slower shutter):

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What you can do with off camera lighting:

You can turn off the flash on your camera and only illuminate the back of your couple.

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If close enough to the flash you can turn your on camera flash off, slow shutter to get ambient lighting, and get something like this.

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Off Camera Flash Post Series