Using off camera lighting for wedding photography

The photo of the week this week is another off camera lighting example. So many times when shooting weddings you don’t have the time to get all of the shots you would like of the bride and groom during the day. At night there can be so many really creative things you can do by adding just a few lights to the scene.

At this particular wedding there was a cool walkway that was lined with trees. During the day it just looked decent but I knew that it could really look spectacular at night. The lighting was actually pretty simple for this and depending on the angle that we shot at were able to get a few very different looking images without taking up a lot of time. For these types of shots I usually pull the bride and groom off the dance floor for a minute and don’t want to take up a lot of their fun reception time so try and keep the shoot under 5 minutes.
lighting for photography

There were 4 lights for the shot, 2 quantum Q-Flash that were near the end of the walkway at full power. These were at the edge of the walkway pointing back towards the center of the image and pointing up to light up the tree’s. Since they were pointing up and in from opposite sides of the walkway they created some cool cross lighting on the trees. There was also a small vivitar Vivitar 285HV Auto Professional Flash that was to the left of the couple. If you look at the tree to the far left of the shot there was a vivitar hidden behind that tree pointed towards the couple. This was set to 1/2 power and gave that nice highlight along the back of the bride.

The main light was a Alien bee B800 with a medium softbox at about 30 degrees to the right of the camera. Since we moved the bride and groom around for a few different poses the main light was setup to be a fairly flat light, that way we could move them around a little bit and still have good light on them. If you are only going to put them into one position try moving the light a little more to the side to create a more dramatic directional light.

Here are a few other variations of this lighting setup. You can move the lights in the back to be behind the trees, that way they won’t show up in the shot but still create that cool cross light for the trees. Also check out the great shadow that the light in the back creates on the tree leading right up to the bride and groom.

photography portrait lighting

Or you can also include both of those lights in the background in the shot. I personally like to include the lights in the shot sometimes and think it add some visual interest to the image.
photography portrait lighting

Do you have an amazing image you are proud of and want to share with everyone? Click the contact button above and send us a message, we would love to have one of your shots as our photo of the week. Also if you have any questions, comments or feedback leave a comment below. I would love to know what you think of this image (the good or bad) what would you do to improve it?

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Author: Mark Stagi

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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