We have already talked about what equip­ment should be in the arse­nal of a wed­ding pho­tog­ra­ph­er in the blog. Today we will devote an arti­cle to an equal­ly inter­est­ing ques­tion — what should be the light at the wed­ding? We sort­ed out what equip­ment you can’t do with­out, what mod­i­fiers are need­ed and added sev­er­al schemes as a bonus.

Mak­ing a beau­ti­ful light at a wed­ding is not as easy as it seems. Pho­to: orszagalbum.hu

What to look for when choos­ing a light kit
Exter­nal flash­es for wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phy
Pulsed Light (IP) at a wed­ding
Wed­ding Light­ing Kits
Mobile set for shoot­ing a walk
Set for shoot­ing out­doors and indoors
Portable Stu­dio Flash Light Kit for Pho­tog­ra­ph­er
Light­ing schemes for wed­ding, fam­i­ly pho­tog­ra­phy
Light schemes for a cou­ple
Light­ing schemes for sev­er­al peo­ple

What to look for when choosing a light kit

one. Where will the cel­e­bra­tion take place and where will the pho­to ses­sion take place. The wed­ding pho­to day may include: morn­ing of the bride/groom, ran­som, paint­ing in the reg­istry office/field reg­is­tra­tion, wed­ding, walk or pho­to ses­sion in the stu­dio, reportage shoot­ing of a ban­quet, pho­tog­ra­phy of evening fire­works. The amount of equip­ment need­ed depends on what exact­ly needs to be removed and in what con­di­tions. For a walk (only with the bride and groom) 1 reflec­tor is enough. And for the full pro­gram, light sources, mod­i­fiers and assis­tants who will help.

2. How many guests will be at the par­ty. This deter­mines the size of the mod­i­fiers used. For exam­ple, for a large group pho­to, a reflec­tor 200 cm in diam­e­ter is need­ed, and for a pho­to of a cou­ple, an 80 cm reflec­tor is enough.

3. Is there a set of stu­dio light­ing where the shoot­ing will take place? Very often, ban­quet halls them­selves pro­vide artis­tic light­ing for a wed­ding. In the arse­nal there is con­stant light, flash­es, mod­i­fiers, col­or gels. If the equip­ment is suit­able, ser­vice­able, this great­ly sim­pli­fies the task.

four. The pres­ence of an assis­tant. Light­ing is very impor­tant in a wed­ding. But if the pho­tog­ra­ph­er does not have an assis­tant, he will not be able to use many sources.

The com­po­si­tion of the stu­dio light­ing kit depends on the con­di­tions, fea­tures of the shoot­ing and the desired result. Pho­to: pinterest.es

External flashes for wedding photography

A mobile pho­to stu­dio can be cre­at­ed in almost any room. Even in a small room where a ran­som is held. Requires exter­nal on-cam­era flash­es to work. How to choose one, told in the blog.


1. Light­weight, com­pact. Even with­out an assis­tant, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er can han­dle them. If a monoblock weighs about 2 kg, then an exter­nal flash is about 500 g.

2. Flex­i­bil­i­ty in cus­tomiza­tion. You can con­trol it man­u­al­ly or with the help of spe­cial syn­chro­niz­ers (radio, infrared). You can col­lect sev­er­al out­breaks in a sin­gle net­work, select the main one. The num­ber of flash­es in the net­work can be any.

3. You can work with them quick­ly, in small, cramped rooms, when it is not pos­si­ble to install an impulse monoblock. For exam­ple: apart­ment, entrance, reg­istry office. If this is not a solemn mar­riage, the cer­e­mo­ny can be held in a small hall where there is no place for large equip­ment.

4. Short pulse dura­tion. For exam­ple, Nikon SB700 has 1/40000 of a sec­ond. This is enough for shoot­ing very fast objects.

How can you control the flash?

  • In TTL mode (its pow­er is deter­mined auto­mat­i­cal­ly by the expo­sure meter that is in the cam­era)
  • In man­u­al mode (you can choose the pulse pow­er your­self).

Flash­es can be Chi­nese (cheap, but often unre­li­able) and “native”. If the flash has a light trap, it can be con­trolled direct­ly from the cam­era, from the main flash, syn­chro­niz­er. This is con­ve­nient — it is enough to arrange them once and you do not have to con­fig­ure each one sep­a­rate­ly. There are light traps almost every­where, with the excep­tion of some very cheap mod­els under $50.

Details on how to con­fig­ure exter­nal flash­es have already been writ­ten in the blog.

How do the flash­es fire at the same time? They inter­act by means of short light puls­es or via a radio chan­nel. You can set up the work using the syn­chro­niz­er.

What are synchronizers

Syn­chro­cords — the old­est type of equip­ment. With it, the cam­era is con­nect­ed to the flash­es through a cord. A cheap option, but not very mobile, the range of move­ment is lim­it­ed by the length of the cord.

infrared — wire­less, send an IR sig­nal to flash­es. They work with­in a radius of 10 m. You can syn­chro­nize the oper­a­tion of devices of any mod­els and brands. Bright light can inter­rupt the sig­nal.

Radio syn­chro­niz­ers – mod­ern equip­ment, the range of which is more than 10 m. They are not afraid of bright light and obsta­cles. The main thing is to set the same fre­quen­cy for oper­a­tion in all devices.

Details about the types of syn­chro­niz­ers and their set­tings were described in a sep­a­rate arti­cle.

Such a device is an excel­lent portable light for dynam­ic, reportage shoot­ing. There­fore, it is often used at out­door wed­ding pho­to shoots.

For work, you addi­tion­al­ly need:

– racks and fas­ten­ings;

- light mod­i­fiers. Any flash gives a hard light. It is scat­tered using spe­cial soft­box­es.

Exter­nal flash with spe­cial soft­box. Pho­to: smadshop.md

Suit­able exter­nal flash units for reportage pho­tog­ra­phy:

  • morn­ing of the bride/groom (if it is held at home, in a small room or speed is impor­tant);
  • ran­som;
  • reg­is­tra­tion in the reg­istry office (if speed is impor­tant and / or is car­ried out in a small room);
  • exit cer­e­mo­ny of reg­is­tra­tion;
  • ban­quet, the first dance, the removal of the cake.

Pulsed Light (IP) at a wedding

Such light sources are more bulky than on-cam­era flash­es. In the bus­tle of the wed­ding, when work­ing with them, it is bet­ter to have an assis­tant. ICs can also be con­fig­ured to oper­ate in sync. This saves time and ener­gy (they do not shine all the time, like con­stant sources).

ICs can be mains-oper­at­ed and/or bat­tery-oper­at­ed. For an out­door event, it is bet­ter to take recharge­able flash­es:

  • it is not always pos­si­ble to con­nect to an out­let (for exam­ple: there is none at all, no exten­sion cord, etc.);
  • inter­rup­tions with light will not be ter­ri­ble;
  • a flash that runs on bat­tery pow­er is more mobile. You are not tied to the mains.

Recharge­able light sources can be bud­get and expen­sive. You can choose the appro­pri­ate option in dif­fer­ent price cat­e­gories. You can buy impulse monoblocks indi­vid­u­al­ly or as a set.

The stan­dard set of pulsed light includes 2 monoblocks. Some­times 2 light mod­i­fiers are added to them (may not be includ­ed). The types of light mod­i­fiers and their uses have been blogged.

Also, the set may include: addi­tion­al mod­i­fiers, 1–2 more monoblocks, syn­chro­niz­ers, bags for equip­ment.

When buy­ing stu­dio light­ing, you should pay atten­tion to:

  • pow­er (the larg­er the room in which the shoot­ing is car­ried out, the more pow­er­ful the lamp is need­ed);
  • pulse dura­tion (the small­er the indi­ca­tor, the clear­er the pic­ture will be);
  • reload speed (the high­er the bet­ter. A good range is from 0.6 to 2 sec­onds).
Pulse monoblock with a beau­ty dish. Pho­to: studio-ausruestung.de

Suit­able IC for shoot­ing:

  • morn­ing of the bride/groom (if time and area per­mits);
  • murals in the reg­istry office (if it is held in a large hall and there is time to arrange equip­ment);
  • pho­to ses­sions in the stu­dio;
  • pho­to shoots in the restau­rant — if there is a ded­i­cat­ed pho­to zone for guests.

Wedding Lighting Kits

From the fore­go­ing, we can con­clude that the size of a set of portable light sources depends on many fac­tors. There­fore, there is no uni­ver­sal one that is 100% suit­able for any wed­ding. We offer our options for sets for dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions.

Mobile set for shooting a walk

1. White or sil­ver reflec­tor 40–80 cm (round or tri­an­gu­lar, with a han­dle to make it easy to hold) — for por­traits. Helps soft­en hard shad­ows.

2. White or sil­ver reflec­tor 80–100 cm — round or rec­tan­gu­lar (it is more con­ve­nient to hold the sec­ond one alone). For pho­tos of sev­er­al peo­ple.

3. Reflec­tor at a clear­ance of 40–80 cm. Pro­tects from hard light­ing, makes it soft. The mod­i­fi­er is placed between the sub­ject and the sun.

Is it worth it to take a sep­a­rate gold reflec­tor?

one. Not — if the bride’s dress is clas­sic white. Gold will make the dress yel­low.

2. maybe — if the wed­ding is in gold­en hues. For exam­ple, the bride has a beige dress with gold decor, wheat-col­ored hair, etc. You can take a gold reflec­tor, but as an addi­tion to the set. It must be used accord­ing to the sit­u­a­tion. There is a risk of mak­ing the pic­ture too yel­low.

Set for shooting outdoors and indoors

1. 2 exter­nal flash­es + stands.

2. 2 light mod­i­fiers.

3. Set of reflec­tors 5 in 1 80 cm in diam­e­ter (uni­ver­sal ver­sion).

Portable Studio Flash Light Kit for Photographer

1. Two monoblocks with racks.

2. Umbrel­la mod­i­fi­er.

3. Soft­box mod­i­fi­er.

They are need­ed for fill and key light. You can take 2 soft­box­es or 2 umbrel­las. In this case, it is bet­ter to take them in dif­fer­ent sizes. For exam­ple, one with a diam­e­ter of up to 110 cm, and the sec­ond — 200. This way you will have more oppor­tu­ni­ties for cre­ativ­i­ty.

This set can be sup­ple­ment­ed with the nec­es­sary equip­ment. For exam­ple, new­ly­weds want a styl­ized pho­to shoot in a posh hotel instead of a typ­i­cal pho­to walk. They are ready to allo­cate 3–4 hours for this. Togeth­er with the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, they can inspect the loca­tion, choose ref­er­ences.

Based on this, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er can add to the basic kit:

– col­ored gel fil­ters;

– oth­er mod­i­fiers: beau­ty dish (with or with­out hon­ey­combs), octo­box, reflec­tors of a dif­fer­ent size or shape;

- equip­ment for spe­cial effects (for exam­ple, a fan).

Lighting schemes for wedding, family photography

If you are shoot­ing a cel­e­bra­tion in a stu­dio or in a spe­cial­ly equipped pho­to zone, you can use these exam­ples.

Light schemes for a couple

Option 1. This exam­ple uses 3 lights. One is direct­ed to the back­ground. This allows you to sep­a­rate the sub­jects from it and make them more expres­sive. The sec­ond and third are soft­box­es that illu­mi­nate the cou­ple from dif­fer­ent angles.

An easy way to get a light and bright pho­to. Illus­tra­tion: Eliza­ve­ta Chupiko­va, Photostore.Expert

Option 2. Dia­gram with 4 light sources. You need to spot­light the back­ground. To do this, the block is placed behind the backs of the mod­els. The octo­box (fill light) is almost direct­ly above the heads. The key light (soft­box) is locat­ed to the left of the cam­era. The assis­tant sup­ports the reflec­tor on the right, edits the shad­ows and high­lights with it.

With the help of such a scheme, you can get a bright and beau­ti­ful pho­to. Illus­tra­tion: Eliza­ve­ta Chupiko­va, Photostore.Expert

Option 3. The back­ground is illu­mi­nat­ed by 2 strip­box­es (nar­row and elon­gat­ed) or soft­box­es. In poor light­ing con­di­tions in the ban­quet hall, this is a way to sep­a­rate mod­els from the back­ground. A large octo­box, locat­ed to the left of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, illu­mi­nates the entire fig­ure. It acts as a fill light that soft­ens hard shad­ows. The key light is the octo­box to the right of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er.

The scheme will help to make bright and clear pho­tos in the stu­dio or near the pho­to zone in the ban­quet hall. Illus­tra­tion: Eliza­ve­ta Chupiko­va, Photostore.Expert

Lighting schemes for several people

Option 1. The num­ber of peo­ple in the pho­to zone has increased. And you need to ful­ly illu­mi­nate their fig­ures. To do this, use a large octo­box (placed to the left of the cam­era) and a reflec­tor (to the right of the cam­era, you need a large one, from 100 cm). You can high­light the back­ground using two soft­box­es.

With this scheme, you can take a small group pho­to. Illus­tra­tion: Eliza­ve­ta Chupiko­va, Photostore.Expert

Option 2. Two soft­box­es are used to illu­mi­nate the group. Addi­tion­al­ly, a third light source is used to illu­mi­nate the back­ground behind the peo­ple.

The idea of ​​plac­ing light sources. Illus­tra­tion: Eliza­ve­ta Chupiko­va, Photostore.Expert

Option 3. In this case, two large octo­box­es are used, which com­plete­ly illu­mi­nate the entire group of peo­ple. Addi­tion­al back­ground illu­mi­na­tion is not used.

The sim­plest scheme with two sources for a group pho­to. Illus­tra­tion: Eliza­ve­ta Chupiko­va, Photostore.Expert


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