Thursday, May 21, 2009

Light Up My Life Friday: Double Lighting The Wedding Cake

Good Morning Everybody,
We had another wonderful West Coast crowd last night. It was a nice surprise that fellow blogging buddy, Brian Auer, stopped by too. Brian, whom I have mentioned several times on DPT runs, one of the most popular photo blogs on the Net. He is currently running a very fascinating series on "The Art of Making Fine Art Prints." Here is the link.

Brian is a very busy guy - in addition to his day job, he is also the force behind FineArt Photo Blog - a blog dedicated to exhibiting fine art images from a select group of 9 talented photographers from around the world [link]. I am honored to be included in that group.

Wait -- there's more -- Brian is also one of the driving forces behind [link]. PhotoNetCast is a collaborative effort of four photographers from around the world discussing all things "photography." The atmosphere is casual and relaxed. Head on over and check out any of their 30 episodes. If you go back far enough, you'll find me as a guest in Episode 8. Brian is a busy guy with his regular day job, his family but still manages to bring a ton of solid content to the blog sphere for thousands and thousands of photographers. THANKS a bunch Brian!

Let's get on with Light Up My Life Friday. Here we go...

Double Lighting The Wedding Cake
Too many photogs only use one light when photographing the wedding cake. The result is flat and two dimensional. Adding that second light makes all the difference in the world. Heck, I'm saying it all through my Digital WakeUp Call Tour - "You have to put a shadow next to a highlight to create the detail, depth, dimension, and color saturation in your shot. Uncle Harry's on-camera "blast flash" just doesn't cut it".

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

So just where does that second light need to come from? Check out the fist diagram. I've tried to show the position of the Bride and groom, the cake, my assistant, and myself in this set up. Notice the the groom is positioned behind the cake table with the bride to his right.

The most important consideration is just what the assistant sees from his/her position holding that second light. My assistant must see from left to right - groom, bride, cake. If the assistant sees the cake in front of the bride, then he/she will throw the cake shadow onto the bride - not a good thing. As long as the assistant has a clear view of all three from their vantage point, all will be good.

Remember too, that my assistant is creating the main light on the scene. That means that my on-camera flash is acting as "fill - light" and as such, the intensity of my flash is slightly less than my assistant's off camera flash. That is what brings that dimensional look to the image. Once more, it's all about highlights next to shadows.

Take a look at the next image to see what I mean.

This is a typical cake shot - I take several, but this is the first one I take asking the bride and groom to look back into the camera. You can see the nice effect my second light brings to the image and that's always my goal with my lighting set up. Anyway give it a try at your next wedding and see if you don't like the result better too.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. We catch our plane back to Cincy in a short while and get to spend the weekend back on our home turf. THANK YOU and with a slight tear in our eyes - good bye West Coast. LaDawn and I look forward to the time when we have an opportunity to explore the West Coast areas again. Everyone, have a great weekend and I'll see you on the flip side next Tuesday in Baton Rouge. I'll have a short post up on Monday- Memorial Day, but will be spending the balance of the day with family. See ya' next Tuesday. -David


  1. David, nice shot and lighting set up, although I'm a little confused about your diagram. The bride is to the groom's left not the right. Also, I would think from where you show your assistant to be, he should see from left to right the grrom, bride and then the cake. Sorry, I don't see it any other way. Thanks much for everything!

  2. Hey David, really enjoyed the program last night in San Diego. It was a thrill to meet you and your wife, and to enjoy a cold beer and chat photog with you. Thanks again for all that you do.

  3. Thank you for a great night! I can't believe how much information was packed into your seminar...what a great bang for my buck!!!

  4. I agree with Stan and was a little confused. According to your diagram your assistant should see groom, bride, cake, but you said otherwise. Just wondering, and thanks for all you do!

  5. Hey Stan,
    Sorry about that - you're right and I revised it. Blame it on high speed blogging an hour before my San Diego program.

  6. David,

    As usual - thanks for the posts. I used the same lighting for my B&G cake shots but have also added a third light to light the background and sometimes gel it.