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Shooting the wedding day can include challenging situations, from shooting in unflattering locations to unfavorable lighting situations. Sometimes even wedding receptions can prove to be difficult with the presence of so many uncontrolled variables.  As a photographer, when you find yourself in a room with uplighting, especially if it’s a flattering color that your client is excited about, you need to include it as much as possible in your wedding reception photos. In this blog, we will help you understand what is uplighting for wedding reception, how do you light up a wedding reception, and also provide you with some photography uplighting ideas and tips to help you overcome any possible hurdles that might come your way of delivering exceptional wedding photos to your clients. So, let's dive in and find out what does uplighting do at a wedding reception!

What Is Uplighting For A Wedding Reception?

infographic stating uplighting narrates the color story of a wedding reception

Wedding uplighting  is the additional lighting that is placed in the reception area to illuminate the walls and give them color, dimension, and texture, so they’re not black holes where the light dies. When done correctly, uplighting adds and can transform an entire room and make it look more elegant and luxurious. Uplighting wedding receptions is not only used to create an ambient atmosphere; it can also be used to highlight certain features in the room. For example, most couples choose uplighting colors such as amber, blue, pink or purple. As a wedding photographer you can use wedding reception uplighting to highlight the wedding cake, ring shots , the bride and groom's table, or even the dance floor!

Suggested Read: Photography Lighting For Awesome Wedding Reception Details

How To Maximize Uplighting For Wedding Reception In Every Frame

infographic stating try to include the wedding reception uplighting in every possible frame

Now that you know what is uplighting for a wedding, the next step for you is to master photographing wedding reception uplighting! Here are some wedding reception uplighting ideas to highlight wedding details and create stunning images:

1. Shoot Into A Light-Colored Wall

Take a look around the reception's venue to see what wedding lighting options you have for shooting. It’s helpful to find a wall with uplighting that will enhance your photos. The cleaner and well-lit the wall is, the more colors will pop against it. So, if you have a choice between shooting into the partition that divides the ballroom in half (which is white and well-lit) versus the wall with some light elements but a lot of dark wood, too, choose the primary.

2. Use A Longer Lens

infographic stating switch between lenses to get a variety of images

For photographing the opening wedding dance, try to shoot much wider, between 24mm and 50mm, because you're trying to get shots right in the middle of the action; so, you have to be in the middle of the action. However, when it’s time for first dances, if you can, back up and shoot with a longer focal length of maybe 70mm (or more). The longer lens gives the appearance that the background is much closer and much larger than it really is compared to where your subject is dancing.

Suggested Read: Wide-Angle Wedding Photo Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

3. Shoot From Waist Height

Some ballrooms might have dark multi-colored carpet or wooden dance floors, neither of which may be consistent with the bride's color stories as the uplighting on the walls. As a wedding photographer, your job is twofold: shoot in a way that de-emphasizes the floor and emphasizes the uplighting lights on the walls by squatting just enough during the first dances so that your camera is at waist height and you’re shooting slightly “up” at your clients. This technique showcases more of the wedding reception uplighting colors, wedding decor, event lighting, and lighting design, and the unique color scheme that the couple chose, instead of the dull and gloomy colors present in the ballroom and floors alike. 

4. Add Drama & Dimensions

infographic stating create unique wedding photos and tell beautiful visual stories with uplighting

One of the best ways to maximize uplighting for wedding reception is by using it as a backlight. Try placing the light source behind your couple. This will create a rim light or halo effect around them. When used correctly, this can add drama and dimension to your wedding photos! Here are some tips on how to use uplighting as a backlight:

  • Use a diffuser: A diffuser will help spread the light and soften the harshness of the light. This will create a more flattering light for your subjects.

  • Place the light source behind your subject: This will create a rim light or halo effect around your subject.

  • Use a reflector: A reflector will help bounce the light back onto your subject and fill in any shadows.

  • Experiment with different uplighting colors: If your couple has an amber uplighting wedding reception, experiment with the lighting color and see what works best for your particular situation. Uplighting also comes in many different colors. 

5. Set A Certain Mood

As a photographer, it’s important to be aware of the different moods that uplighting colors can set. Different uplighting colors will set different moods for your wedding photos. For example, blue uplighting adds a dramatic mood, pink uplighting creates a romantic mood, amber uplighting creates a warm and dreamy mood, and purple uplighting creates a regal and luxurious mood. The uplighting color your couple chooses impacts the overall look and feel of the wedding pictures and event space in general. 

Related Read: The Art Of Moody Wedding Photography: An Overview

What Wedding Details Can You Capture With Uplighting?

infographic stating follow a particular color palette for uplighting lights and wedding reception details

Wedding lighting isn't a reception detail to overlook. As a wedding photographer, different colored uplighting has the power to completely change the mood of a room and add color, as well as a personal touch to a couple's wedding reception. Here is a list of wedding reception details to capture with uplighting: 

  • Wedding cake/Cake spotlight
  • Bridal bouquet
  • Wedding rings
  • The dance floor
  • Head table
  • Wedding stage
  • Wall Decorations
  • Band/DJ
  • Photo Booth
  • Bar
  • Dining tables
  • Centerpieces
  • Wedding favors
  • Corsages
  • Boutonnières

Uplighting for wedding reception creates depth while also highlighting wedding reception details that your couple took the time to carefully think and select. Thus, incorporating as much uplighting color in your wedding photograph is a must.

Related Read: 24 Detail Shots To Capture From Every Wedding

Is Uplighting Necessary At A Wedding Reception?

infographic stating while uplighting may not be necessary, it certainly sets the party mood at a wedding reception

Wedding reception uplighting is not a necessary detail, but can certainly enhance the look and feel of the event. As a photographer, you want to capture all the details that make your clients' day unique and special. Different colored uplighting can do just that! Uplighting is also great for hiding any imperfections in the room or ballroom and help light up areas which were otherwise dark and dull. If there are any unsightly areas that your couple doesn't want their guests to see, uplighting can help disguise those areas. In short, uplighting wedding reception is a great way to add dimension, drama, and interest to your wedding photos. It's also a great way to personalize a couple's wedding day and highlight important details.

Cost Of Uplighting Wedding Reception 

infographic stating discuss the wedding day details with your clients

After successfully booking a wedding, reach out to your clients and request them to meet with you in order to discuss the wedding day details, theme and timeline. This is one of the most crucial steps in planning your wedding photography. With the help of the information that your client provides you with, you can set certain expectations and prepare well in advance before the big day. During the meeting, don't forget to ask your clients about the wedding reception venue, lighting conditions and other important details. Based on the information that you gather, you can suggest uplighting for wedding reception services if it is taking place indoors or outdoors during late evening or night. While the average cost of uplighting for wedding reception ranges between $200-$1000, you can also suggest your couple to do a DIY uplighting for wedding reception that looks lavish but is affordable! Whatever your couple chooses at the end of the day, it’s your duty to work with it and provide them with stunning images. 

Uplighting can be an incredible addition to a wedding reception, transforming the space and creating stunning photographs. By understanding how to use uplighting in every frame, and planning ahead for the best shots, you can make sure to deliver extravagant images to your clients. With just a few simple additions during post-production, you can also highlight important wedding details that would otherwise go unnoticed. 

Further Read: Fast 5: Simple Lighting Techniques For Wedding Photographers

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow your wedding photography business. A part of how we do that is by lessening your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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