i’m A bit of a flasher
North East Wedding Photographer Flashes Couples.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, my style as a north east wedding photographer involves a LOT of flashing! However, my kind of flashing doesn’t require the removal of clothing, you’ll be pleased to know. Stick around while I explain to you the importance of off-camera studio flashes.
I often get asked if I work out and the answer is yes, every time I’m at a wedding, for this equipment isn’t for the feint of heart. It’s a rather heavy piece of kit to shift about all day but it’s one I never turn up to a wedding without, whether I’m in Newcastle, the greater North East, or Istanbul for that matter, I’ll never be without my Godox Witstro AD600B TTL Outdoor Flash and solid metal C-stand, which will hold the light upright during a tornado (probably not but it’s pretty sturdy).
When it comes to beautiful lighting, natural light can only do so much and there’s always a compromise unfortunately, you either have to expose for the subject and over-expose the sky and background, or you expose for the background and massively underexpose your subject, which isn’t ideal when your job is all about beautiful, balanced lighting and skin tones. I don’t use this flash throughout the entire day as it’s not always required. It comes into its element during times of low light; the first dance, signing of the register in a poorly lit environment, indoor or outdoor portraiture, cutting the cake etc. But it also shines during times of high light, my favourite time to use it is on a really sunny day when everything is washed out with overpowering sunlight, no camera in the world can balance a bright, setting sun with correctly exposed foreground, which brings me on to my first example below.
Michael & Joanna, Wedding Photographer North East
As you can see in image A, we caught a beautiful setting sun and it looked stunning in camera. To adequately expose the image, capturing all the surrounding light as it danced around the clouds and shimmered across the sea, I had to massively underexpose the foreground turning our beautiful couple into a silhouette. Over on image B I’ve taken the same image and processed the exposure up 4 stops, basically jacked up the light slider to correctly expose the couple. By doing this we’ve now lost all that gorgeous detail in the distant sky.
This is the compromise with todays cameras, whether you have a £500 camera or a £5000 camera, none can balance light evenly throughout a scene of such lighting range. It’s commonly known in the industry as ‘Dynamic Range’, essentially the range of accessible light your camera sensor can see, the better the camera the better the range, but nothing can cope with the lighting extremes you can see above.
This is where I step in with my dazzling, flashing skills. You need a very powerful light to overpower a setting sun this way (and occasionally a best man who’s happy to hold the light in position when you’re stood on the edge of a cliff). If we now move to image C, the addition of the light from my outdoor flash has already elevated this photo to new levels of awesomeness!
Finally, with a little wizardry in post editing, I remove the flash from the scene and we’re left with our beautiful portrait of the bride and groom, glowing amidst the setting sun, showered in soft light and looking powerfully dramatic and epic, straight out of a Jane Austen novel, (ok, let’s not get carried away).
The importance of using equipment like this cannot be stressed enough, being ready for any situation the sun can throw at you. You need the equipment at the ready all day long, so you’ll see me throughout your wedding day shifting my studio flash around the venue with me, waiting for opportunities to arise when we can have some creative fun with it.
Kieran & Christina, Clearwell Castle Wedding Photographer
Another example at Clearwell Castle. Using the flash to maintain the dark, moody and atmospheric sky.
A - exposed for the sky.
B - exposed for Kieran & Christina (we would have to go much brighter in this situation as they were under shadow from the bandstand).
C - Exposed for the sky and flashing K&C.
D - Image after the removal of the flasher.
Below, a simple comparison during day time shooting with natural and flash lighting. It’s very subtle but having the ability to control the light allows me to shower the bride with balanced, soft and warm lighting, helping to remove overcast shadows and flat, natural light. The skin tones and dress begin to glow, colours are richer, deeper, and K&C pop from the surrounding scene.
Flashes were often used as a tool to simply get an exposure on old film cameras. Nowadays, digital cameras are so powerful that we very rarely need to increase the quantity of light, especially outdoors during the day. My approach to flash photography is not about quantity but about the quality of light and having control over the scene before me. Overall it’s quite a simple distinction but a very striking one, and always worth the effort.
Hopefully you now have a better understating of my style and the importance to this approach. Ever since I began my wedding photography journey in the north east I knew I wanted to offer something unique to my couples, for me this meant having the ability to manipulate the light around me creatively, all day long. This is why I love dragging all that heavy equipment on location with me, it’s all about the dramatics guys and gals :)
North East Wedding Photographer Marco Damian.
Thank you for staying tuned to this point. I’m available for weddings throughout Newcastle, the North East and across the UK. Photographing weddings with pleasure and passion for people in love. please get in touch If you would like me as your creative companion for your special day.