When it comes to photography, I don't get the chance very often (well, make that ever) to write about how I shoot. I post pictures, write a few stories, and call it a day (or late night as it usually goes). At any rate, I decided that I'd like to start blogging a bit about some of the techniques I use in order to get images I create. I'd like to do this for several reasons. 1) so that I can see over time a progression of my skills as a photographer and 2) to hopefully help a person or two who might read my blog that might be hoping to learn a bit about photography. I doubt that I have any readers truly wondering how I do what I do, but I've gotten so much help from other photographers along the way, I'd love to hopefully help someone out in the future. So here goes! Using off-camera lighting at wedding receptions is something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time. It had been a goal of mine to give it a try sometime this year. I finally took the dive and bought the gear I needed to make it happen for Meghan and John's wedding on Halloween a few weeks ago.
I absolutely LOVE the photos I took at this reception. Yes, the people were fun and the dancing was energetic, but I am truly happy with the lighting. I simply set up my light in a small soft-box on the side of the stage and triggered it using wireless transmitters made by Paul C. Buff (same idea as Pocket Wizards if you're familiar with those, but WAY cheaper and just as reliable). The whole setup cost probably about $300 or so and it is worth every penny!
The best part about the off-camera lighting is that it opens up all kinds of lighting abilities like side lighting, rim, and hair lighting. It separates the subject from the background so well and it allows you to truly isolate the people in the image. I also kept my SB-800 flash on my camera for fill lighting and connected the transmitter with a PC cable. You can see what my camera looked like in the crazy photo of myself I posted from that wedding.
I'm excited to start writing about my techniques! My goal is to not only include professional things, but also ideas that anyone could use to improve everyday snapshots. If you want any more specifics on how I set up my off-camera lighting, let me know and I'd be glad to fill you in. My apologies to all of you who don't care about the technical details, but here are a few pictures that you can enjoy in the meantime! These are two quick examples of what the off-camera lighting can create at wedding receptions. The first image has a nice rim of light on the grooms hair that separates him from the background. The light also spills a little onto the bride's face doing the same. In the second image, I positioned myself so that the subject completely blocked the softbox creating some cool back-lighting. Of course, the fog machine added some dramatic effect! I can't wait for the wedding I'm shooting on Friday in Miami to use this lighting setup again...stay tuned!