Newbie asking for wedding lighting tips


TPF Noob!
Jun 27, 2010
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hey all! I'm a little new to the scene and I'm just shooting a few weddings for really close friends - seems like every one of them is getting married. Wish I had a friend with a nice camera that could've taken some of my wedding shots :)
But anyway, I shot one of our friends' wedding, and I had a TERRIBLE time with the flash. The ceilings were high, *Old Cathedral Church* and the "during" ceremony shots aren't my favorite to say the least.
Any tips?
I shoot with a Rebel XS with a 430 EXII speedlight, and I just (today) invested in a bounce card for it.
I have the 18-55mm lens that comes with the body when you purchase the Rebel, the 50mm f./1.8 and the 75-300mm as my main lenses. I also have a lensbaby and a small wide angle/macro lens.
Please do me a favor and don't say "You're a newbie, you shouldn't be shooting weddings..."
This is my passion, I'm learning and it's for people that can't afford it.
All the help I could get would be awesome and feel free to PM me if need be :)
PS - I try to get on here twice a week or more but sometimes life doesn't allow it :( Please be patient with my lack of response if I don't respond asap.
And I don't really "get" how to upload an image to show you what I'm having problems with... ??? It asks for a URL and I don't really use a site other than FB to upload my stuff.
If you're passionate about shooting weddings you need the right gear. At a minimum, medium and long fast zooms (24-70 2.8, and 70-200 2.8) and good speedlights. I don't speak fluent Canon but I believe the 430 is analagous to an DB600; a decent lighting unit.

The best thing I can suggest to head to your local library and/or book store and pick up some good books on the subject, as well as spending some time researching on line. Other than 'practice' the subject is so broad that general tips are hard to provide.

Typically churches, even if they will let you use your flash are so large and open with such high ceilings that flash really doesn't do a lot of good. That's where the fast glass comes in, and being able to shoot 200mm at 2.8 vice 5.6 makes a WORLD of difference. A body (or preferably two) with the best possible high-ISO performance will also be a huge help. At the end of the day, you need to do two things: Spend money and practice. Not necessarily in that order.
My real concern about using such a high ISO is the noise I almost always seem to get. I have read books, searched youtube, and forums for the best possible advice.

Do you think the Rebel XS body I have now is fully capable of shooting weddings very well? I was thinking about getting the 7d next and using the Rebel XS as backup.

And thanks tirediron. I appreciate the help :)
I cant see why your current camera is not adequate, other than the higher end cameras are nicer to use. In the church, usually the ceilings are way too high and dark to bounce the flash off, a bounce card is good to improve the quality of your light, BUT, you have to be in very close, no more than 4 meters tops. If you need to use your flash, you really need to be in close. Your kit lens will be ok in this instance, but apart from the lack of zoom, the faster 50mm will be better. I rarely used flash in the ceremony because I prefered to be further away, that is, not right up in their face. The often ugly light you get I just accepted as part of the ambience, for lack of a better excuse. To be further away though, a faster long lens than what you have is necessary. As far as using high iso, up to 1600 should give you acceptable prints, though I am not familiar with your particular camera, even my ancient d1x gave acceptable prints at 1600, I even did double page spreads from it. A photographic print is more forgiving than viewing at 100% on a monitor. A bit of noise is better than blur. Tripods are immensely useful in a wedding ceremony also. Not only do they hold your camera steady so you can use iso 800 instead of 3200, they also hold the weight of your camera for you, saving you holding a heavy camera up to your face for 30 minutes or more. ( your camera is very light though, mine with 80-200 2.8 is about 2.5 kg) On a tripod, you can use down to about 1/20th of a second if you pick the moment well, the main problem is subject movement. Hope this helps. You can pm me if you want more. There is loads of tips in my website in my profile if it shows up yet, this is my first post.
"Please do me a favor and don't say "You're a newbie, you shouldn't be shooting weddings..."
This is my passion, I'm learning and it's for people that can't afford it."

I find the people who can't afford it who come to me have booked a venue/meal at massive cost, wear £2000 dress, have bands and discos costing thousands and honeymoon in exotic climes, then expect the photography to cost next to nothing because, "your only pressing a button". The one thing from this day they will be able to look back on they wish to skimp on. Charge accordingly, these friends will be no longer if you mess up their wedding pics, even if you do it for free. H

Most reactions

New Topics