You’ve probably seen scores of beautiful getting ready images of brides putting on their earrings next to huge windows perfect, soft light reflecting onto their skin. But what do you do when you arrive at a getting ready location with NO WINDOWS?! If it hasn’t happened to you yet, we can almost guarantee it will happen sometime in the future!
Thankfully, there are solutions allowing you to still capture getting ready images that you and your clients will love. Here are three tips for photographing in a room with no windows:
1. Use flash!
Using a flash isn’t always ideal for getting ready scenarios, but it can be your saving grace if you find yourself with no window light available! Point your flash straight up at the ceiling (photo #1), or angle it upwards & slightly to the side for a more dimensional look (photo #2). (If the room has dark or brightly colored walls, you’ll get a better result bouncing your flash off the white ceiling (photo #1) rather than angling it to bounce off the wall.) If you still need more light, try raising the bounce card on your flash to push more light straight forward onto your subject (photo #3).
Your flash power will vary depending on the size of the room, but we recommend starting at 1/64 and then increasing or decreasing from there! The idea is to add enough light to the scene to achieve a properly exposed image, and also to cancel out any unflattering shadows cast by spotlights or lamps. Your ISO will most likely sit somewhere between 640-1250.
2. Increase your ISO and edit in black & white.
This is the best option if you find yourself in a time crunch or stuck without a flash! In our “How to Shoot Getting Ready Images” mini-guide, we talk about turning off lamps and other ambient light sources in a getting ready room- but obviously if the room has no windows, you can’t just turn off all the lights! Leave as many lights on as possible, and increase your ISO if necessary to achieve a proper exposure (we recommend maxing out around 3200). You may notice that your photos have an orange or green tint due to the artificial light, but editing in black and white will make those problems disappear and leave you with beautiful photos to deliver to your clients!
Example 1- The light from the orange lamps is distracting from the joy of the moment! We love this photo so much more when shown in black and white.
Example 2- The canned lights in the ceiling are causing harsh, orange-green shadows to fall on Megan and her mom. Converting this image to black and white removes the harshness to result in a much softer image!
3. Find a secondary location with great window light for the more important moments.
I’ll let you in on a secret… we do this ALL THE TIME! Arrive at the wedding early and do some location scouting before it’s actually time to start shooting. Chances are, you’ll be able to find an alternate location for the most important getting ready moments. We often will have the bride put her dress on in the getting ready room, but save the buttons and jewelry for another location we’ve chosen. Just make sure it’s close by, and double check that the groom or other guests won’t see her accidentally!
Example- the first photo below was taken in the venue’s getting ready suite, with lots of clutter and no natural window light. For the dress fluffing and jewelry, we moved out to the ballroom and positioned Jessica near a large window with beautiful natural light pouring in!
We hope these three tips were helpful and will help you slay your next wedding! If you loved this post, we have lots more info waiting for you in our “How to Photograph Getting Ready Images” mini guide.