The Engagement

It's not every day you get to photograph one of your best friend's engagements. From the twinkling lights to the ring itself, Austin had planned this event to the T. He lead Kamryn from their car along the sidewalk to the gorgeous set up he had laid out hours in advance. Kristen, Brandon, Sam and I waited eagerly to see her face as Austin brought Kam up to the lights and the timeline of pictures he had made. There, he got down on one knee and asked Kamryn to be his eternity. The then celebrated with Sparkling cider, the Office style.

The Flash

As gorgeous as this proposal was, all photographers understand the pain of using direct flash. Obviously, in a dream world, every shoot would take place 30 minutes before sunset and all would be right. But this shoot was not the case. Extremely low light, minimal ambient light from the string lights and now ceiling to bounce reflect off of. What would you do? Here are my top tips for dominating low light scenarios and upping your flash photography game.

  1. Use your ISO to the fullest. Understanding how high of an ISO your camera can handle without compromising quality is ESSENTIAL. Here, I was at about 700 ISO since I wanted a moodier look. But upping your camera's ISO to max capacity is a must.
  2. Utilize F Stop. Get as much light as you can into that shot! Opening your aperture will allow you to get the max ambient light.
  3. Use your flash's diffuser or built in bounce card. This will decentralize the light and give all more than just the subjects to feel the benefits of your flash.
  4. Use direct flash when necessary. It's ok to use your flash directly! Understanding that a higher shutter speed setting on your flash will allow a balanced image will also help.
  5. Don't be afraid to shoot in RAW. The power of RAW shooting is unreal. You can fix a majority of lighting situations if you start with RAW footage.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that you are in control. Just because lighting isn't always ideal, you have the capability to create magic with your own knowledge.

Keep learning, keep practicing. You've got this.


Sami Lou