How to photograph dancing at wedding receptions

- - - - - - - - -

I recently explored taking photos of dancers especially at wedding receptions. One technique of several different techniques to photography dancing at wedding receptions is using flash to create light trails. I like it a lot especially as
this technique is very helpful for making ugly backgrounds disappear.

Equipment: all you will need to have is any DSLR or other camera where you can set the exposure manually and attach an external flash. As regards the lens I would recommend a wide angle lens. However I’ve used the Nikon 50mm f 1.4 for the picture above. Longer lenses don’t work very well with this technique I find.

Now let’s talk about the settings: your aperture, shutter speed and ISO will depend on the amount of ambient light in the room you are photographing.

First step: work out your settings on the dance floor when exposing without the flash - the ambient light will be cut out but you can see light trails from the brightest light sources in the room. So it would create a picture which is black and only shows the light trails.

In the photo above I had the following settings: shutter speed 0.6 sec
F 10
ISO 100

Second step: Use your external flash on TTL mode to expose your subject. Face the flash head directly at your subject and try to be as close as you can.

Third step: Point the camera at some dancing wedding guests, push the shutter and then swing the camera wildly at a bright light source until the shutter has closed. Be creative. Try out what works and what doesn’t. You could also try out zooming in and out or moving the camera in a circle.

Fourth step: be polite, people might ask you what you are doing there as it might look strange to some of them