This is the part 3 of the “How to Get Started in Wedding Photography” article. Read previous parts
How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 1
How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 2
One of things that you must learn is how to use off-camera flash. Or if I may recompose that statement, you must get the habit of using on-camera flash out of your system as early as you can. Of course those without the money to buy lights or those who prefer to shoot mainly with natural lights would disagree with me here. They would argue natural light is the best possible light for shooting weddings. I would agree, if I could have a way to ensure consistent natural light all through the day and during the evening. On many occasions you would find yourself in a desperate situation trying to complete a shoot because the sun is going behind the horizon.
Additionally, even when you are shooting in broad day light and outdoors, natural light is not enough. You will need a way to be able to fill those shadow areas so that you get a more pleasing result. Natural light is not enough, not always. Only when you bring in additional light and by that I mean off-camera lighting you are able to shoot regardless of how dark it is.
Sure, ambient lighting is necessary when you are trying to incorporate the background and if it gets too dark you will miss that part, but for the larger part external light will do you great service in every other situation.
One thing about lighting is you need to be able to use them the way you want. There is no point bringing in four or five large lights with grids, softboxes etc. and not knowing how to use them. In most cases one or at the most two lights are more than enough. In situations where there is beautiful ambient light (which, by the way, is not enough for lighting your subjects) use one light as the key light (always from the side which the bride is facing to) and then use the other light to create an edge to separate the subjects from the background.
There are many other methods to use your lighting. There are many technique as well. As a beginner you can study some of the lighting techniques that can be done in a studio setup using one or two lights. Invariably when shooting the real deal you will realize that it is the same thing, just outside the studio. Thus, you will need to understand things like what is a key-light and what is a fill-light, how to adjust the power of the lights manually and then also control them using TTL. You will also need to understand how to balance two lights to give your images a distinct look.
Don’t just jump and buy as many lights as you can. Buy only one at first, but something that you can use for some time and something that can gel with your future aspirations in terms of gear upgrade and shooting. Don’t buy something that you will have no use of after six months. Make a lot of research and check whether the light has batteries built-in or not, whether it can be manually controlled as well as TTL. Being able to control the light and shape its output as per your need is of primary importance. Learn more about choosing external flash.
A brief word on group shots. The group shots almost always happen sometime after the ceremony. It is always a rush to have the group shot done before the ceremony and if you leave it for too late you may not have everybody when you need them. Another thing is shooting the group images right after the ceremony allows you to get great light, especially if you are interested in shooting this in natural light. That means you can have them posed and lit with just a single light (using the natural light as the key light).
The final aspect of any wedding photo-shoot is the post-processing bit. Post-processing is increasingly becoming an outsourced aspect for wedding photographers who prefer to free-up their time, and for good reasons too. For those who still prefer to do this on their own, reason that they can control the workflow and the final images are usually closer to what they had envisioned before clicking the shutter button. It is however pertinent to mention that post-processing can consume a lot of time. Time which can be better utilized for shooting more images, market your services or spend with your family. If you have a small business or shoot alone and do all your post-processing on your own you could free up a considerable amount of time if you delegate some of the post-processing workload. If you worry about losing control of the post-processing workflow, there is no reason for that. All you need to do is tell the photo editor what you need, approve the first edit and relax. You may look at Phowd to find a reliable and experienced photo editor. There are people who have done thousands of edits and can sync their work to your style.