Natural Light Wedding Photography
What does it really mean to be a natural light wedding photographer? Is it a good thing? I’ll do my best to answer these questions and more in the following paragraphs. But first, I want to state that when I first started taking pictures I was using a mediocre camera and mediocre lenses. I would assume that this is how most people start. Next, most people upgrade their camera thinking that is going to be the big difference in their photography, only to find that it doesn’t do the trick. It’s a hard lesson that most photographers do learn the hard way. Finally we believe what we read, and we upgrade to fast and high-end lenses. We get the 50mm f/1.8 and then graduate to the 50mm f/1.4 or even f/1.2 – along with the 85mm and other fast prime and zoom lenses. This takes our photography to places it had never been before.
This is where a lot of photographers stall out and they decide their photography is good – that is – good enough. The cost and practice required to master flash – off camera flash – photography becomes a hindrance to the development of many photographers. As such, you find a lot of photographers claiming to be ‘natural light wedding photographers.’ In all my years in the business, I’ve never met an outstanding photographer who doesn’t use flash. Let me repeat that.
I’ve never met a great wedding photographer who shoots only natural light.
If being distracting is the fear, I can empathize. I think that flash photography during the ceremony should be avoided, unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is when it’s most distracting because everyone is sitting and it is often peaceful and quiet. However, it’s silly to think that flash photography will be disruptive during the reception – believe me, half of the guests will have phones and point and shoots blasting flash constantly. That doesn’t mean I think you should run around with a 60inch umbrella on the dance floor. Some possible times not to use flash photography at a wedding;
- you don’t know how
- when you don’t need to
- during a ceremony
- in a church that doesn’t allow it
- you don’t know how
On the plus side, cameras have gotten very good in low light, so technology is allowing some really great pictures to be taken without any flash. That doesn’t mean there aren’t situations that would be ‘too dark’ for any camera to get a great picture. If that first wedding dance is lit only by the candles of the tables and the 100 candle chandelier, a photographer with no flash gear is going to be in real trouble. You had better really like high ISO and grainy images. And, you had better like it in black and white as well. So, if you’re a bride looking for a photographer and you stumbled on this webpage, I suggest you rethink how you are searching out your photographer.