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Off-Camera Flash Techniques to Create Dramatic Wedding Reception Images

off camera flash techniques wedding reception

One of the most challenging aspects of being a wedding photographer is that, often times, you have absolutely no control of the situations you encounter to photograph. One specific aspect of that challenge is the lighting conditions you encounter. Knowing how to use off-camera flash can help you overcome these challenging wedding photography lighting scenarios.

In our Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers Guide, created with SLR Lounge, we discuss a few scenarios that may occur during the getting ready part of the day. Throughout the first and second post of this series, Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge and Lin & Jirsa Photography shared his suggestions to set up the lighting for the getting ready scene and indoor portraits to help you develop unique and dramatic images. For the third post, he will share how to using off-camera flash techniques can help you create memorable and dramatic wedding reception images.

As you move through the wedding day, one of the last lighting scenarios you will come across is the reception. Of the scenarios you will face, the reception can often provide multiple challenging lighting situations to overcome. With low lighting, uplighting, and other conflicting light sources, off-camera flash techniques are a great way to capture the necessary moments from this part of the day. Below, we share a technique for photographing table decor, along with 3 quick off-camera techniques you can use during the reception.

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wedding reception table decor

Image by Lin & Jirsa Photography

Scenario:

Part of the Wedding Day: Reception

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Location: Reception Room

Lighting Condition: Competing light sources from the reception room or DJ booth

Subject(s): Reception Table Decor

When working with reception detail shots, you can use additional lighting to create a strong light source for your images. In the image below, Pye uses a Lowel GL-1 and positions it on the left side of the table to highlight the details. This helps to cast a nice spread of light across the image. Because there is also light in the background, Pye increases the power of the light so it produces a light that is slightly brighter than the background.

Related: Can you identify light in any scenario to shoot dynamic images for your clients?

By doing this, the details on the table will stand out, rather than blend into their surroundings, as seen in the final image above. Images such as this can also be created with flashes, and you can use this setup to capture several of the reception details.

off camera flash techniques reception

Image by Lin & Jirsa Photography

3 Quick Tips:

Here are a few additional tips to help you shoot with off-camera flash techniques during the wedding reception:

  • Assess the room and determine the best position for the flashes
  • Decide when to overpower DJ lights ahead of time
  • Add in foreground effects for fun and creative shots

Related: What are the 10 must-have shots to take from the wedding reception?

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Discover additional details about using flash during the reception, plus more information about the bonus tips, when you download our free guide with SLR Lounge, Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding Photographers!

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