Working With Low Light In Wedding Venues

As you’ll have realised by now, we love photographing weddings in the stunning scenery of the Yarra Valley region.

Unfortunately, there is one thing we don’t love about photographing these events at certain wedding venues in the region – the reception!  

Wedding reception venues in the Yarra Valley can be incredibly dark places and whilst we’re very happy to now be using the Canon R5 cameras with their excellent low light capabilities and low noise images we do also find ourselves reaching out for professional editing help occasionally when trying to reduce low light noise or sharpen an image. 

Sometimes it’s not just the low light during the first dance that affects an image but a little camera shake from a fatigued wedding photographer, or perhaps an accidental nudge from a tipsy uncle.  All these things can usually be recovered or made to look better using Lightroom or Photoshop, but when we reach the end of our skillset we often find ourselves reading up on low light photography tips from the experts.

One strategy we have found that helps us generate good quality raw images in the first place is making good use of a flash. I know this sounds like teaching granny how to suck eggs but many of us photographers prefer to blend into the background, capturing candid images discreetly which often means that we’re not using our Speedlights, instead relying on the ambient light.

Speedlights are often good for wedding receptions as they can be positioned in several locations around the venue and then triggered using the camera without any additional equipment.  You should even be able to use ETTL if you really want to but you’ll mostly find that it’s better to go to a manual setting if you can.

Turning on noise reduction settings within your camera should also give you a slightly cleaner image to start work on, which combined with some of the noise reduction settings in Lightroom usually gives a pretty satisfactory result.

Although we’re talking about low light here, you should also remember to use it your advantage, perhaps creating silhouette shots or back lighting the happy couple on their first dance.  A creative image is often one that isn’t perfectly lit or perfectly composed, but often these can be the most popular choices with newlywed clients.

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