BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Lynn J. Sims

Wedding Photography: Low Light

I am shooting a wedding for a friend and want to be sure that my existing flash will illuminate my subjects properly. It will be low-lighting, with some candles. Will my auto mode capture the correct exposure, or do I need to purchase a more powerful flash?

To love this question, log in above
3/19/2005 1:33:34 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
Contact Peter
Peter's Gallery
  Lynn: That depends on how powerful your current flash unit is, how far away the subject will be, and the ISO setting that you are using. The higher the ISO, the greater the effective range of any flash unit. But image quality gets lower by ISO 800. If you mean your built-in flash, it's not very powerful.
Can you provide more specifics as to exactly what equipment you have?

To love this comment, log in above
3/19/2005 1:49:59 PM

Gregg    Forget program mode, and go to manual. Drag the shutter, low speed to allow ambient light to fill the exposure. A pop-up camera flash at less than 10 feet would be fine, but large groups will need additional light.

To love this comment, log in above
3/22/2005 5:53:22 PM

Kix  Pix   I recently did a wedding in low light. I shot mostly 800 ISO and used a monopod for added stability. If you get a chance, go there before the wedding and meter the situation. Find out if you'll be able to handhold at certain settings, etc. Keep in mind that you'll want a bit faster than what your reading is due to the action that will be going on as well. Talk to the client, explain what's going to happen. Some clients will love the grain of 1600, some will hate it.

To love this comment, log in above
3/22/2005 9:40:16 PM

David J. Hartley   Are you shooting digital or film? If digital, then be aware of noise at high ISO. Built-in flash is usually pretty poor and you'd get better results with a separate flash unit. There are loads of second-hand units out there (Metz are good units and readily available for weddings). Also consider getting a fast lens - the faster the lens the greater the effective distance of your flash. Hope that helps.

To love this comment, log in above
3/23/2005 7:53:21 PM

Lynn J. Sims   I am using a Canon Digital Rebel...I have a couple of photo lights, but nothing fancy, with diffusion filters on teh front. Thanks, Lynn

To love this comment, log in above
4/8/2005 8:52:35 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
The built in flash on the Digital Rebel will NOT be much use for this wedding.

I have the Canon Speedlite 420EX, and it's a very capable flash. The E-TTL feature means that if you want to shoot on auto, the camera & flash will work together and do a good job in most cases. You can get a 420EX new for about $200.

If you want to spend more, the 550EX and 580EX are each a little more powerful, and will run about $300 and $400.

I would stick with a Canon flash to make sure you take full advantage of the auto features. Sigma also makes a flash that is fully dedicated to the Canon Rebel, but I still think the 420EX is the best value.

To love this comment, log in above
4/8/2005 11:36:07 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  Get the 550ex if you need to save some money and also get the Gary Fong lighsphere for $40. I know it might look silly, but the result won't

To love this comment, log in above
4/11/2005 9:53:37 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.