A collage of two night photographs

Night photography! The sheer mention of the term might paint an image of a romantic dark sky in your mind or one that is dazzling with a million twinkling stars. Now, when you, as a photographer, consider doing night photography at weddings, you might envision stunning portraits of your couple against the dramatic night sky. And, why not? Creatively taken nighttime couple images could make for unique and memorable photos of your couples. However, this style of photography comes with its own set of challenges, making shooting outdoors at night during the reception a slightly difficult technique to master. One of the most common problems that you may face during nighttime photography includes lighting issues. Wondering how to overcome the hurdles and create some stellar nighttime wedding images of your couples? In this blog, we’ve shared 4 amazing night photography tips to help make your images shine bright even in a dimly lit setting. Read through!


a married couple holding hands and looking at a firework showImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jorgesantiagophoto

The wedding reception takes you through some memorable moments, from heart-touching and emotional speeches to fun dancing with the couple and their loved ones. Though you may have some control over the lighting when photographing indoors, tackling the lighting when shooting outdoors at night could be a bit of a struggle. Night photography outdoors during reception could simply mean that you are faced with limited lighting. You may have to shoot just a few pictures of your couple outdoors or they might have booked an outdoor venue for their reception. Either way, it’s important that you’re prepared with your tricks and can shoot outdoors at night with a calm mind. Primarily, two common scenarios might arise during night photography. Take a look at them and the solutions we’ve offered to overcome the problems and capture images that your clients will love. 


A silhouette of a bride and groom standing holding hands during the night timeImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brianbossany

When it’s finally time for the wedding reception after most other wedding day activities are over, you realize there is barely any lighting available. With it being completely dark, you may face difficulty achieving consistent focus with your camera. The wedding reception already has so many moving parts, and now you have to figure out how to capture the important images and make sure they are in focus.

What can you do in this situation? Bring along a video light to help your camera focus more consistently. A video light is small enough for you to carry around and can quickly allow you to position light in a way that makes it easier to capture images in focus.

Related Read: How To Shoot In Small And Dark Wedding Venues


A bride and groom making a sparkler exit after their wedding receptionImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @flavio_d_photography

Picture this: You bring your off-camera flash along to the shoot and realize there is no ceiling. Without a ceiling, you cannot bounce a flash off it to create light for the images you want to photograph. Bouncing light helps soften it when it hits your subject, so without a ceiling to bounce off, the light might look harsher on your subjects. There is also a chance the light can look flat, which eliminates any dimensions in the photo.

What can you do in this situation? Add an additional flash to the location that remotely fires at the same time as your main flash to help soften the light and add dimension to the photos. You can also bring a diffuser to help soften the light and avoid any of the harsh shadows on your subjects. Additionally, you can add a kicker (which is a flash on a stand) to provide rim light and a boom (which is a flash on a monopod). This would help you control the direction of the light and place it on your couple.

Quick Tip: During extremely dimly lit wedding receptions, make sure your ISO is higher and your shutter speed is slower. If there is any ambient light available, this will help your camera capture as much of it as possible.

Further Read:  How To Diffuse Light In 4 Easy Ways


Infographic stating use a tripod to avoid any blurry images

You can’t always do a double take. Sometimes, at weddings, when a moment has passed, it can be uncomfortable for your couple to recreate it or recreating it just might not be possible. And in these situations, an unsteady camera is certainly one of the things that can ruin a perfectly natural and raw moment from being captured. Just a little shake can ruin the whole image. So what do you do to avoid this situation? There’s an extremely easy way to avoid any blurs in your photographs, and most of you might already be familiar with it: Use a tripod. Camera shakes are normal but with so many challenges that you might already be facing when it comes to taking reception photos, eliminating shakes and blurs can significantly make your job easier and your photographs much better. A tripod can be the perfect companion for night photography. Just set it up and move it around as you move your couple around. While it may get a little bit uncomfortable to constantly move around your tripod, it’s a small price to pay for the errors you could be eliminating.


A groom with one of his groomsman lighting up a cigar with a waterfront backgroundImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @looyengaphoto

You could be faced with many difficulties while photographing a wedding reception, especially when you are shooting it outdoors at night. But, when you are prepared for these situations, you can overcome night photography challenges and create dynamic and even dramatic photos that you’ve envisioned. All you need is to know your venue, get the right gear, and make sure your camera settings are right for the time and place. So next time you are photographing a reception outdoors and your couple asks for a portrait against the night sky, remember the things that we have discussed above. Like with everything else related to photography, shooting at night also takes practice and experimenting, so keep at it and you will get a hang of it in no time. And the more amazing images you create, the more clients you’d be able to attract. The result? More bookings added to your list! And a thriving wedding photography business.

At ShootDotEdit, we love to share tips and tricks with you to help you hone your skills as a wedding photographer and also grow as a business owner. What we also love doing is to provide you with professional photo editing services so that you don’t have to stress over the post-production work and can focus on building your wedding photography brand. To learn more about our services, you can take a look at our pricing plans.


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