Ah yes: the wedding reception. That’s when relatives who haven’t seen each other for years congregate, drink too much, and end up dancing with reckless abandonment — and to their children’s eternal embarrassment — to a medley of standard favorites, including of course Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and The Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive”. And really, what wedding reception would be complete without a rousing rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”?
Of course, wedding receptions aren’t all about making a complete and utter fool of oneself. It’s also about celebrating the union of two hearts and souls (and perhaps pets and Candy Crush credits), which means that the sound has to be flawless, the food has to be delectable, the catering service must be white glove, and indeed: the pictures must be out of this world. To help make that happen, here are four lighting tips for brilliant wedding reception photos:
- Use Multiple Flashes and Bounce Light
A popular technique that many professional wedding photographers use is placing two off-camera flashes in two different corners of the reception room, which augments the power of the flashes and helps illuminate a larger space. Another excellent way to leverage more lighting is to bounce light off the ceiling or wall.
- Ensure that Light is at the Optimal Heights
Aiming the light source just above the subject’s eyes (i.e. the happy couple) adds depth to images, and creates a mystical and magical look and feel. It’s the perfect nuance for a wedding, which is both a terrestrial and celestial event.
- Use Slow Flash
Slow flash sets the shutter speed under 1/60, but the flash remains quick. This is ideal for when the room isn’t well illuminated. When the picture is taken, the shutter stays open a bit longer and captures light in the background. For more tips on getting the most from your camera’s flash functions, check out this helpful article on WIRED.
- Combine Ambient and Artificial Lighting
Trying to take a picture outside when the sun is setting may seem like a great idea, but it’s the stuff of terrible pictures — essentially, because for such complex lighting levels, cameras don’t know how to automatically set the right shutter speed and aperture (i.e. metering). The way to avoid this problem is by using both ambient and artificial lights, such as strobes. Heck, if you’re a pilot who happens to own your own plane, why not take a lovely picture of the happy couple in the alluring glow of your aircraft’s ultra-powerful Norman Lamps?
The Bottom Line
Wedding receptions are special events that should be remembered for all of the right reasons (i.e. not because some uncle-who-shall-remain-nameless decided that breakdancing looked easy — alas, that’s not what the paramedics thought). The above lighting tips will help you create great photos that you can enjoy and share for decades to come!
Article Submitted By Community Writer