How to Differentiate Yourself in a Saturated Market

As a wedding photographer in a crazily saturated market (aren’t they all though?!), I’m always trying to learn new techniques or find different ways to set myself apart from my competition. A large part of that is making sure my personality comes across in my branding because essentially, I am my brand. If potential clients don’t know who I am, what I represent, or what I can offer them, they’re going to find someone else who can. But further than that, I’m always intrigued by learning new ways to incorporate off-camera lighting into my work to make it a little more dynamic than just using ambient light or on-camera flash.

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Here are a few examples of using off camera flash during the getting ready portion of the day. The room that the bride gets ready in is usually a hot mess. There are clothes, makeup paraphernalia, straightening irons and last night’s Palm Bays scattered from one end of it to the other. By reducing the ambient light to almost nothing, and using a pop of flash to light what we want to light, it immediately draws our attention to the part of the frame we intend it to. When shooting a situation like this using only ambient light, it can be super distracting and messy looking, unless you are a wizard at dodge and burn!

After the bride is ready, we head to the ceremony. If the ceremony venue and décor lend itself to the look, we may consider setting up a flash or two to light the bride and groom and keep the ambient light low to create a super romantic feel. This late afternoon, the candlelit ceremony was the perfect opportunity to break out some lights.

Here is the same ceremony shot with higher ambient, and some on-camera flash for fill. Still pretty, but a totally different feel!

I also love using off camera flash for portraits. It’s the perfect way to either draw attention to the couple in the frame or add some separation so they don’t just blend into the background. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where it rains A LOT. So I’m often shooting on days that are very grey and dreary. Using flash is the perfect, subtle way to ensure the subjects are not fading into the background.

And then obviously, the reception. I shoot almost the entire reception with off-camera flash unless it is an outdoor reception held during the summer when it stays light nice and late.

Let me know how you feel about using flash! Like it? Hate it? Feel indifferent? Let me know if you have any questions!