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A collage of an infographic stating off-camera lighting inspiration and two black and white wedding images
Photography literally translates to painting with light, which also means that lighting is one of the most essential aspects of photography. There are different types of lighting too – natural lighting, ambient lighting, off-camera lighting, and so on. Even the sparklers at a sparkler exit could be one of your lighting options. But in this blog, we will be focusing on the third one and bring you some off-camera lighting inspiration by ShootDotEdit customers. When you learn how to control the light in your photos (like these pro photographers did), you can instantly change the scene and setting according to your preferences and get stunning images of your couples and their guests. You could go dark, moody, and dramatic, or keep the lighting more light and airy. Plus, there are multiple benefits attached to learning about lighting. As a wedding photographer, you don’t always get to have a say in your couple’s wedding venue, so when you find yourself in a venue that has less than ideal lighting, you could refer back to these photos and tips to help you navigate the session.

Off-Camera Lighting Inspiration By ShootDotEdit Customers

1. Trevor Hooper Photography

A monochrome image of a bride and groom dancing
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @trevorhooperphoto


2. Robb McCormick Photography

A monochrome portrait of a groom smoking a cigar
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @robbmccormickphotography


3. Danny Dong Photography

A couple posing for a kiss by the beach during sunset
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong


4. Jorge Santiago Photography

A high-angle shot of a wedding reception venue during the couple's first dance
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jorgesantiagophoto


5. Diane Nicole Photography

An under veil shot of a bride and groom kissing
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dianenicolephoto


6. Erin Morrison Photography

A silhouette of a couple posing in a dimly lit hall
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @erinm_photography


7. Photography by Orlando

A woman dressed in wine colored gown in a well lit road
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @photography_by_orlando


8. J Perryman Photography

A silhouette of a couple looking at each other while posing in front of a tree
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jperrymanphotography


9. Looyenga Photography

The groom and groomsmen posing in a bar
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @looyengaphoto


10. Wild Trail Studio

A bride and groom holding each other under an umbrella as it rains
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @wild.trail.studio


Off-Camera Lighting Tips

1. Decide The Lighting Angle

The great thing about off-camera lighting is that you don’t have to work according to the light, the light works according to you. So when you are using any form of off-camera lighting as your main source of light while photographing your couple or their guests or the venue, you get to control where the light is coming from. Depending on how dramatic or subtle you want the image to be, you can choose to light it in different ways, and you can even light it from multiple angles. Photographs where the light is coming from behind your couple and you are photographing them from the front make for some pretty dramatic and stellar wedding photos. But this is just one of the ways you can shine the light on your couple and creativity. 

Suggested Read: Silhouette Wedding Photography Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

2. Combine Ambient And Off-Camera Lighting

Infographic stating the key to combining ambient and off-camera lighting is balancing them

In the off-camera lighting inspiration photos that we’ve provided above, you might notice that the off-camera lighting is not the only form of lighting in the photograph. Oftentimes, the wedding venue your couple chooses is going to have some form of lighting, which you are going to want to use in the wedding photos too. Whether it’s fairy lights or lamps or grand chandeliers, you can use the venue lighting to your advantage too. This way, you document the venue and you also gain control over the lighting. One of the prime examples of combining ambient and off-camera lighting is using the sun as a backlight and illuminating your subject in the foreground using your choice of lighting. You just need to learn how to balance the two. 

3. Hard vs Soft Light

When it comes to wedding photography lighting, there are specific light qualities that can help you capture exactly the kind of light you want in your images. When we talk about hard light and soft light, we are essentially looking at the size of the light. The smaller the light source is in relation to your couple, the harder the light will be and the more defined the shadows will become. On the other hand, a larger light source can help you achieve a softer look, which can also be positioned close to your couple to get more flattering shadows. 

Related Read: Hard Light Vs Soft Light: Understanding Wedding Lighting

4. Manipulate Light With Modifiers 

Infographic stating while using off-camera lighting, you can use modifiers such as an umbrella, softbox, or a beauty dish

Different modifiers affect the light in different ways. While some modifiers will broaden the beam to soften the light, other modifiers narrow the beam to harden the light. The modifier you select depends on the type of mood you want to capture in the photos. With soft light, you can create ethereal, beautiful photographs, whereas hard light tends to be more dramatic and moody. But remember that if you are shooting outside or by a window or doorway indoors, your choice of modifier should also depend on the ambient light. Some examples of light modifying tools include the umbrella, a softbox, a scrim, and a beauty dish among others.

5. Understand Light Patterns

There are 5 common key light patterns, and it would be really beneficial for you to learn about them as you start to understand off-camera lighting. The common key light patterns are flat lighting, butterfly lighting, loop lighting, Rembrandt lighting, and split lighting. Once you know exactly how these light patterns work and the impact they have on your images, you can pretty much be on your way to master photography. Off-camera lighting gives you more control over how your images turn out, and learning about these light patterns will help give you a clearer vision about how you want your couple’s wedding photos to look like. Also, recognizing these lighting patterns can help you save time. Instead of wondering how to use the off-camera lighting at the scene, you will already know what you need to do to create the perfect couples portrait. 

6. Use Multiple Off-Camera Lights

Infographic stating you can play around with the size, intensity, distance, and position of the lights

One of the other really amazing things about off-camera lighting is that you can make the light as powerful or subtle as you want. Most wedding photographers tend to go with the classic three-point lighting system to light their couples. But if you are not familiar with this setup, you might want to read up on it since it requires some technical understanding. While your off-camera lights will light up your subjects and also the surroundings, you can also combine the ambient lighting in this case. You can also build up to a four-point lighting system if you want to make the lighting even more powerful. If you decide to use a multi-light set up, you have to carefully plan the position of your lighting and couple and the intensity of the lighting as well.

Suggested Read: Posing Your Couples

Enhance Your Photos With              Off-Camera Lighting

Infographic stating use off-camera lighting to enhance the setting

We hope the off-camera lighting inspiration by ShootDotEdit customers has helped to give you some kind of direction and ideas on how you want to use that artificial lighting to create images that wow your couples. While photographs taken solely using off-camera lighting won’t look as natural and whimsical as the ones that are taken using natural lighting, you can still take images that help build your couple’s wedding day story. All you have to do is balance the amount of light you use and match the images to your style – the one your couple selected you for. Also, learning how to work with off-camera lighting is an important part of the learning process of being a wedding photographer. So, experiment with the different types of lighting and stick with what works well for your style.

Further Read: Profoto: A Lighting Game-Changer For Pro Photographers

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow your wedding photography business. We also know how precious time is for wedding photographers and help free up your time by taking editing off your plate with our professional photo editing services. To learn more, check out our pricing plans.


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