Author: Ayres Photography
Flash has not always been my friend.
There was a time when shooting after dark gave me mega anxiety. Back in the early days of our business, having to shoot at night made my heart race and my palms sweat! Since a large portion of the wedding day takes place after the sun goes down, we realized pretty quickly that we needed to master lighting so that we’d be able to approach any wedding day or portrait session with absolute confidence. Plus, that flash-induced anxiety was a real downer, and I just didn’t want to deal with that anymore!
Prior to 2009, we were using on-camera flashes only, which is absolutely fine to do, but it just wasn’t giving us the look that we were after. So we did some research and started working with off-camera flash (OCF) in 2009. We studied hard and practiced constantly, and slowly but surely, we started to feel really, really good about shooting after dark. Once we felt confident enough using OCF for our family formals and reception photos, we started experimenting with OCF in our couples’ portraits.
We do still use natural and available light in the majority of our work, and we actually prefer that look overall; but, mastering OCF has made us much more versatile photographers. It pushes us creatively to try new things in our work. It makes us more well-rounded, and takes us one step closer to being masters of our craft. One of the things I love most about photography is that you can never know all there is to know, so we’re constantly educating ourselves and experimenting with new techniques. Although we’ll never be done learning, we have managed to create some night portraits over the years that we’re truly proud of. I included some of our favorites in this post. :)
These images were made with anywhere from 1-6 off camera flashes and a video light. Some of them incorporate an on-camera flash, and others are strictly OCF. If you have questions about how a specific image was made, please feel free to ask in the comments!
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