Lighting tips for shooting a night wedding outdoors

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QOTD from Leigh: " I have an outside wedding starting at 7pm where garden lanterns will be used to light the first dance. Any tips on what would shoot best? Flash? No flash? 50 mm ? Any thoughts would be great!"

Christina:  definately use a fast lens the 50mm would be great. i don't use a flash so i cant recommend to use one or not. i think the whole time i have been doing photography i have probally used a flash twice.

Christina:  Lanterns are definitely not enough light to show detail, so I'd use a flash :)

Cate: try both ways, sounds like a neat lighting opportunity! :)

Heather: Since its easy to turn flash off. Do a tester or 1 or 2 images with just hte lanterns as depending on placements/brightness they might give a nice romantic glow. then switch to flash.

Tom: I just did an outdoor wedding with just candles on tables. The wedding went through midnight. I had to use flash even with the 70-200 f/2.8 and my 50mm f/1.4!

Brian:  in any case metering for the lanterns and creating a silhouette would probably look awesome

Sarah:  Will you have an assistant?

Michelle:  Wouldn't you not meter on the lanters and use evaluative metering on the entire scene to get the silhouette? Just curious, I never really tried something like that.

Steve: Fast lenses would be the way to go. You could consider using a gel on your flash to even out the color

Jenn:  I have had to do a ceremony that was indoor only lit by candle once. The couple did that because they wanted the ambiance so I wouldn't loose that entirely. My suggestion to you would be to use a flash for a good chunk of the shots but do some without so you can capture that atmosphere. If it were me, I would also stick my camera on a tripod for a few and do some time exposures - second curtain flash if you want to get fancy. On the non flash shots be sure to use your fastest lens.

Hollie: Use a flash and an ISO of about 800. just calculate the correct meter reading and split the exposure and flash setting. That way you will get a nice fill flash highlighting details with no shadows or harsh light, and you'll still get the ambiance light of the lanterns and be able to tell it's night.

E Shay: External flash with a Gary Fong half cloud.

Christy: Dial down the flash so it adds a touch of light to the faces, but be sure you drag the shutter to capture the ambient light too. Off camera flash lighting them from the opposite side, if possible, would give a great effect that would look nice with lantern light.


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