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The ‘90s are back in a big way. From tiny floral prints to color blocking, current fashion trends are paying homage to the best of that decade. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the ‘90s are showing up in wedding photography too. Direct flash for wedding photography is getting more popular this year. With its edgy celebrity vibes, direct flash is a great way to capture parts of your wedding day, especially the reception.
Documentary-style photographers have used direct flash in all kinds of contexts. It has been most consistently used in celebrity photography. It gives the impression of preserving a moment in time with an element of surprise. Fiona Apple took it to the next level with her iconic video for “Criminal.” The ‘90s were a whole mood.
Direct flash for wedding photography combines a sense of intimacy with serious party vibes. It feels raw. At the same time, direct flash highlights luxurious materials of wedding clothes and decor. I love using this technique to capture people snuggling up to their partner on the dance floor. It’s an emotional window into that moment in a relationship.
A lot of wedding photography trends begin in the world of high fashion, and flash photography is no different. Designers like Gucci have started using direct flash in their ads for magazines like Vogue. This style lends glamor to your images. A wedding guest’s handbag tucked beside a centerpiece becomes a high fashion moment instead of clutter. I love this image of a textured indigo handbag contrasting with the orange flowers and fruits. It tells just enough of a story that you want to go to that party.
Photographers need to practice to get good at direct flash. Luckily, it doesn’t require extra specialized equipment. Direct flash for wedding photography requires that you have a camera-mounted flash. Many cameras have a built-in flash that might be perfect for achieving the aesthetic. If your camera doesn’t have a built-in flash or you’re looking for a more powerful flash, you can get a camera-mounted speed light flash for anywhere from about $50-$1000.
From the client’s perspective, it’s helpful to know that pretty much any wedding photographer will have the equipment to do direct flash. The question is whether it’s a part of their style. Check out a photographer’s website and social media for direct flash photos. If you don’t see any, you can ask them whether they include it in their work when you inquire.
Most people who are interested in direct photography like the photos taken in dark spaces, but a photographer can use direct flash in bright sunlight. Direct sunlight can create unwanted shadows on a person’s face. On-camera flash can “fill” the shadows for more evenly lit images outdoors. Flash is such a versatile tool!
Direct flash for wedding photography typically it’s used in marriers’ portraits, details, and reception photos. For formal portraits and ceremony images, most photographers use more classic, less intrusive lighting styles. Most people don’t want a bright flash going off in the middle of their vows.
While a lot of photographers save direct flash for the reception, I like to take inspiration from Vogue. There’s no reason your details shouldn’t get the star treatment. If you put a lot of thought into luxe accessories, I like to include some direct flash images.
For portraits, direct flash creates images that feel like a party. This photo of Emily and Maddie has such a carefree feeling. I love the way Maddie holds the champagne bottle as she leans into Emily. The direct flash captures all the great colors and textures of the venue too. It’s sweet, fun, and beautiful.
Nothing will capture the high energy of your reception like direct flash. Whether you’re having a dance party or a New Orleans wedding parade, direct flash creates images that put you right back in the moment. Wedding exits are one of my favorite times to use direct flash because it gives marriers a red carpet moment. All your favorite people are already lined up to cheer you on. You get to look like movie stars.
If direct flash for wedding photography is one of your priorities, these questions will help make sure you’re on the same page.
If you have a clear vision for when you want direct flash for wedding photography, be very clear. Do you want a magazine-style detail photo? Or a red carpet-worthy exit? Make sure your photographer can make that happen.
A photographer might share direct flash photos on their social media and website. Regardless, it helps to see them in the context of a full gallery. It helps to see direct flash images look like alongside the rest of the images from a wedding day.
A photographer should have a sense of what kinds of moments are best captured by direct flash. There’s flexibility depending on a photographer’s style and the kinds of images you want. The most important thing is that you communicate your vision and feel confident that the photographer can deliver.
Ultimately, I think people are embracing direct flash because they’re ready to ditch wedding traditions that don’t work for them. They want images that feel true to the experience they create on their wedding day. Worried that your images will look dated? Flash has always been a part of wedding photography. In that sense, it really is timeless. If direct flash fits your love’s aesthetics, include it in your wedding photography!
Are you looking for a photographer to use direct flash to document your wedding? I love incorporating this technique throughout a wedding day. Inquire with me today!