How to choose the power for flashes for reception lighting

This is how I choose the power for flashes for reception lighting.

I really don’t want my Off Camera Flashes any higher than 1/32nd so that it will still have a fast recycle time (batteries are ready to fire the flash again)
and I’ll have light when I want it.
I’ll start by putting my flashes at 1/64th power and adjust up from there.

My ISO is anywhere from 500 up to 2000. It really depends on the ambient lighting and the look I am going for.

I’m “fancy” and un-techie, so I just take a few quick test shots and crank up the power on the flash in whatever corner of the room that I need more light. Yup, I am a member of the unashamed Chimpers.

Avoiding Motion Blur

If I’m getting motion blur I’ll add more light to “lock them down”

1, Add more light from an on camera flash.

2, Go find an angle where I’m closer to one of my OCF stands.


If I’m killing the uplighting and want to show it. I’ll up my ISO and lower my flash power, or shut off the OCF all together.

Bonus info…

Dragging the shutter

When you want to have a little fun try this! You do need continuous lights in the background for this to work. Lots of string lights, uplighting and things like that make it work great. You’ll need to set your flash to rear curtain sync. This makes the flash fire as the shutter closes instead of when it opens. We’re doing a longer exposure here so we want t0 to fire at the end to lock down the people.

Then the crazy part, heres how it goes. I pre-focus using Back button focus, open the shutter and swirl the camera around in a pattern yet staying conscious to stay on the same focal plane that I pre-focused on. I usually put my on-camera flash at 1/16th power for this. Try it.

What you need:

  • On camera flash at 1/16th or so
  • pointed directly at subjects
  • F/5.6-f/9 or so
  • Shutter 1/20th -/+
  • ISO adjust for lighting
  • Rear curtain sync
  • A wide angle lens

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