What lighting do I bring to a wedding?

Even though weddings are very fast paced and I want to travel as light as possible I still pack a ton of lighting equipment into my bag. I never want to be at a moment where I envision a really cool lighting setup and don’t have the gear I need so I usually overpack when it comes to lights. Thankfully most are compact so I don’t need to lug around tons of bags but it still does give me a good workout 🙂

Here is a quick review of the lights that I bring for a typical wedding shoot:

First I do have a gigantic rolling pelican case that not only always doubles as a stool to stand on but can carry most of this equipment. Here is a amazon link to the case:

For most of the lighting that’s done quickly I use the Canon Speedlite 580EX II . I’ll pack two of these in my bag, they can work with ETTL when you are in a bind and just need a good reliable flash and recycle pretty quick. They are my staple lights when I need to have a on camera flash.

I’ll also pack two Vivitar 285HV Flash. These are excellent flashes for a dependable manual flash and are extremely affordable. Many times i’ll use these as a backlight or a sidelight.

To trigger the Vivitar’s or Canon 580’s i’ll use a few pocketwizards.

pocketwizard

pocketwizard Flex TT5

These wireless triggers allow you to shoot at any shutter speed so you can get some cool results when shooting in the bright sun and can also be used with ETTL. Check out the Pocketwizards on Amazon here: (Pocketwizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT). There are some interesting advantages these triggers have and you can read more about them in our review here: Pocketwizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 review

I also love to light up really dark spaces like a big dance floor or sometimes the exteriors of buildings and need a lot more power than the speedlights. In these cases i’ll bring out 3 Alien Bee 800 strobes. They are pretty lightweight and can be powered by a battery pack or if I’m inside i’ll plus them right into the wall outlet. These are really workhorse lights and will last forever, check them out here: http://www.paulcbuff.com.

b800_black_front_0710

shoe clamp

shoe mount clamp

I’ll bring various sizes of Light stands and some Photoflex shoe mount clamps to attach the speedlights to the light stands.

You can view my full list of Lighting essentials here: Digital Photo Buzz Lighting Essentials

I’ll post a walk through of a wedding portrait that we used a few off camera lights with later this week so be sure to check back or subscribe to our posts on the right side of the site. You can also check out a past article on how I used this type of lighting for a wedding image here, A quick 3 light setup for wedding portraits .

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Author: Mark

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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