Friday, June 26, 2009

Light Up My Life Friday: Face Time With A Clock - Lighting The Reception Pics; Webinar Update!

Good Afternoon Everybody,
I've been following the registrations to my first Webinar next Wednesday -5 Burning Questions - 5 Definitive Answers - and I'll tell you, it looks like it's going to be a world wide event. We have photogs signed on from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and many more. I think this may be the start of something. Next Wednesday's Webinar will be a nice "test drive" of this new idea.

There have been a few questions that have popped up in my email like:
1. Can I attend on my MAC? Yes, we tested it first on a MAC around here and in NYC.
2. What time does it start, I don't know what 2:00 EDT means, I'm from GB? That would be 2:00 P.M. New York City time or 6:00 P.M. Greenwich Mean Time for our international attendees.
3. Will it be LIVE? It sure will and I can take questions via the "CHAT" box. Also, we can have have up to 25 of the attendees live on the "AUDIO" too.
4. Will it be recorded? I don't know - I'll see how that works.
5. Will you be doing any more of these Webinars in the future? I'm planning too, I'm looking at lots of options right now.

So gang, hit the Info and Registration Link to Webinar Wednesday right here- it should be a blast!

The posts have been quite long this week so today's "Light Up My Life Friday" post is going to be a short and sweet. Today I want to take a few minutes and give you the quick low down on how I light my wedding reception candids.

Hit the "Read More..." below for the rest of the story.

Here we go.

Face Time With A Clock - Lighting The Reception Pics
What makes wedding photography look dramatically different from the competition's? It's always about the lighting. Most photogs are going out there shooting with an on-camera flash and just blasting away. Other are using various light modifiers to soften and spread the light.

I guess this is fine in some instances, but for the photog who really wants to set his/herself apart form the competition, then a little extra effort is required.

I typically light my reception images with three lights; one on-camera, one off-camera held by my assistant, and a "room light" on it's own stand. We are all tied together with Quantum's FreeWire radio system.

What's my set up? Folks, it's quick, easy and simple. Think of the face of a clock.
Let's say all the reception action takes place in the center of the clock. I'm going to describe the three lighting positions with respect to the clock's face.

First, I am always referenced at the 6 o'clock position on the clock's face. The "room light" and my assistant take up the positions at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock. If the room light falls at the 10 o'clock position, the my assistant needs to be at the 2 o'clock position and visa-versa. I call it my "Tri-Angle of Light" method. You get a pretty good idea of the light set up in the next image where you can see all three lights because of the very wide view of my fisheye lens.

The BIG rule here is that neither my assistant or myself should ever line up with the room light as it is stationary. If we do, we bring in too much light from the same direction and will over expose the subject(s). Yes, my assistant needs to attentive to me and the room light to get in the right position - but, hey, that's their job, isn't it?

Folks, that about it - pretty simple isn't it? We get a great result because we create great separation of the subject from the background. We create detail, depth, dimension, and color saturation in a reception candid where so many of them go limping along these days.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. LaDawn and I have a wedding to go to today. I might just give the Canon 5D Mark II video capabilities a try - I'll keep you posted.

See everybody on the flip side of the weekend. - Have a good one! -David


  1. On your reception room lighting, If you have a room light in a set spot then you and your assistant can only be in one spot relative to the room light, or else you have to move the room light. Is this correct, or am I missing something.
    Daily reader of your blog.

  2. Hi Gary,
    My assistant and I can change with respect to each other.

  3. Hi David,

    do you shoot ttl when shooting reception flash?
    any compensation?


  4. Nice tip about the tri-placement lighting. I see what you mean and can't wait to try it out. Do you have any tips on advertising if you're new to wedding photography? I want to advertise somewhere like but I'm not sure if I am good enough yet, or should wait for more clients.