bride and groom silhouette and spotlight
February 19, 2013

Beware the Flasher


Beware the flasher! How many times have you seen a photographer at a wedding or graduation blasting away with their flash or worse the little popup flash on their camera. There is a common misconception about the use of a flash and being necessary indoors or in a darkened room. Many people including some photographers believe that you need flood a room with light from the flash to shoot indoors or in mixed light.

There are several problems with this beyond falling in a fountain. Without getting too technical, one problem is that the light is on the lens axis which can have several undesirable results including red-eye and drop shadows (ugly shadows behind the subject) or that deer-in-the-headlights look. A skilled photographer can bounce the light coming out of the flash to good effect, but it still has serious limitations.

Bride gets ready in honeymoon suite

There is more to it than that though. The flash also draws attention to the photographer, which can detract from the fly-on-the-wall nature of our wedding photojournalism. It can also obliterate pretty and dramatic light that is already there. Chris and I would rather watch for good light and use what is available. It will always be more dramatic than on-camera flash. Knowing when and how to use all different types of light is the hallmark of a good photographer.

Some times the room or tent is just too dark. So the question becomes how to use a flash to best effect. I will always try to set a couple of strobes up to create dramatic light when none is available. Then just by adjusting the power, location or camera position get several different looks and feels from the same room. Just as with available light, I have to wait then for the right moment to press the shutter. It isn’t just about having a fast camera it is about knowing when to take the photo. And to be honest, sometimes I just have to snap the flash on my camera and go to town.

first dance under the tent

What is the point of all this? When a bride and groom hire us they will be confident that Stark Bellamy Photography can walk into any room and any situation and capture beautiful moments no matter what. Fill out our contact form or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter to see how we can make amazing photos for you.

Eric Bellamy
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Eric Bellamy is an award-winning photojournalist whose work has appeared on the likes of ESPNHS, the New York Times, Denver Post and more. He now focuses on editorial-style wedding photography and portraiture. He lives with his wife and children, and enjoys climbing rock and ice as well as sampling good wine and food in Northern Colorado.