Have you just been hired to shoot your first wedding only to find out that the reception will be DARK...like crazy dark. Let's get started with a few tips to help you navigate your first low light wedding reception.
1. Be prepared -
You're off to a good start by doing research. I would go to the venue prior to the wedding or arrive early on the wedding day to see exactly what you are working with.
1. Use a prime lens -
A prime lens will allow you to shoot at the widest apertures allowing the most light into your camera. I typically shoot most of a reception with my 50mm 1.2 or my 35mm 1.4 canon lenses.
2. Learn to use flash -
Learning flash can be very intimidating, but it's necessary for most weddings. You can get simple manual units for as little as $40 and begin playing with the settings. I use a Gary Fong diffuser to soften the light coming from the flash and make it less harsh. Pointing the flash up towards the ceiling to bounce the flash is a great way to start implementing using flash into your arsenal of tools. You'll want to practice prior to the reception. You don't want to use someone's wedding day to test out new gear or techniques. As you get more comfortable, you can begin to add off camera flash to your weddings.
3. Use a video light to shoot details - I use a hand held video light when shooting the reception tables, centerpieces, cake, ect. I'll also use the video light in a pinch to illuminate a subject if my camera is having trouble focusing during the reception. - This is the one I use and love! It's only $26. It's saved me a million times from dark getting ready rooms to receptions - You will be ready for any lighting situation.