FREE Webinar! 3 Simple Keys to Reception Lighting Made Easy

  Here’s the bottom line: we’re doing a free webinar this Monday, Sep. 7, but spaces are limited! So make sure you sign up… Register for 3 Keys to Reception Lighting Made Easy Webinar For the past several years, we’ve heard heard from literally thousands of photographers who have all shared the same struggle – how to get great lighting in not-so-great scenarios. (Top Image: Horrible lighting available. Bottom Image: Bringing in our own lights to capture a dynamic shot) Nothing will kill your photography career faster than poorly lit images. No matter the setting, if you don’t have great lighting, you aren’t going to get great images. And the truth is you have more control over this than you realize. But most people don’t know where to start. That’s why we’re excited to share with you a live workshop we’re teaching this Monday at no charge to you. We’ll teach you three simple keys we’ve been using for years to get great reception lighting every time using off-camera flash. By the end of this webinar, you’ll learn: * How to handle the worst lighting situations and still get incredible reception images! * The best way to flatter your clients with flash * How to easily use off-camera flash for incredible results And more! Almost every time we do a webinar, they tend to max out on capacity. So don’t wait! Register for the webinar here. See you... Read More

3 Reception Lighting Tips Every Photographer Can’t go Without

“The most difficult part of shooting a reception is walking into the unknown.”  -Jody Gray No one likes being caught off-guard, and shooting wedding receptions can have many unknowns. We wanted to address a few of the problems wedding photographers can encounter. Problem 1:  When you walk into any reception, you need to quickly assess the situation, make a decision on HOW you are going to light it, and then set up your gear (oh yeah, and take amazing images!). It can be super fast-paced at that moment, and can cause some anxiety each time you shoot a wedding. How to Solve this stress-inducing problem: 1. Send out a questionnaire before the wedding (ours has 56 questions on it!) and have part of that questionnaire ask what the bride and groom will be doing when they FIRST walk into the reception. Will they be introduced and go straight into first dances, or will dinner start? Once you know that, then you know what you need to be prepped for. 2. We also always ask the bride and groom to give us 10 minutes from the time we all arrive at the reception to when they come into the hall. This gives us the time to assess the room, set up our gear, and take a few test shots. That way we never miss a key shot that is happening with our clients! Problem 2:  The other huge problem that you run into at wedding receptions is getting great quality light on your subject with off-camera flash.Sometimes we can simply bounce flash and that is awesome when we can do it. But other... Read More

3 Reception Lighting Tips Every Photographer Can’t Live Without

“The most difficult part of shooting a reception is walking into the unknown.” -Jody Gray Problem 1:  When you walk into any reception, you need to quickly asses the situation, make a decision on HOW you are going to light it, and then set up your gear (oh yeah, and take amazing images!). It can be super fast-paced at that moment, and can cause some anxiety each time you shoot a wedding. How to Solve this stress inducing problem:  1. Send out a questionnaire before the wedding (ours has 56 questions on it!) and have part of that questionnaire ask what the bride and groom will be doing when they walk into the reception. Will they be introduced and go straight into first dances, or will dinner start? Once you know that, then you know what you need to be prepped for walking in. 2. We always then ask the bride and groom to give us 10 minutes from the time we all arrive at the reception, to when they come into the hall. This gives us the time to asses the room, set up our gear, and take a few test shots. That way we never miss a key shot that is happening with our clients!     Problem 2:   The second huge problem that you run into at wedding receptions is getting great quality light on your subject with off-camera flash. Sometimes we can simply bounce flash and that is awesome when we can do it. But other times the room just does not allow that, so we need to use off-camera flash AND make it look... Read More

How to Master Reception Lighting Once & For All!

Can you answer “YES!” to any of the below questions? Do you ever feel anxious heading into a wedding reception about the lighting situation? Have you ever looked at your flash in your hand and wondered if it’s going to be able to do the job you want it to do? Have you ever looked at your reception shots knowing they could be better but not quite sure how to get them there? We know many of you are answered YES to these questions, because we have been hearing your pain for years. We have sat down one-on-one with many photographers and heard them voice the above worries.  Thousands of wedding photographers have these exact same concerns. You are not alone. We’ve heard you. This is exactly why we have this brand new project that we are beyond excited about. We have spent 5 months creating this. This is the solution. This is the answer. This will solve your reception lighting problems. It’s Finally Here! IN-CAMERA Lighting: Low-Light Receptions Made Easy  You’ve asked…. You’ve waited… And now, it’s here!!!! The IN-CAMERA: Low-Light Receptions Made Easy video workshop will:  Equip you to use your speedlite for incredible results Show you easy to use off-camera flash techniques for killer results when you can’t bounce flash Boost your confidence in any low-lit situation Teach you our time-tested and simple to understand Reception Lighting System Show you how to nail exit shots even in pitch black environments Give you complete confidence shooting receptions and low-lit events! The IN-CAMERA: Low-Light Receptions Made Easy video workshop includes:  2+ hours of training as you join Zach &... Read More

3 Simple Steps to Lighting a late-evening Outdoor First Dance

If you have EVER been freaked out when your couple decides to have their first dance outdoors, RIGHT after the sun is GONE from view, then you are not alone! Today we are going to show you how to EASILY solve that lighting problem to get stunning images like this!     When Bret and Jillian did their first dance, the sun was close to being gone and there were NO lights on them at all. You could see them OK with your naked eye, but the lighting was getting really dull and VERY dark, so we needed to rock out some off-camera lighting to make it look great. Here are the 3 easy steps to take photos JUST like this! (Note: we shoot almost ALL of our flash images on MANUAL so everything is consistent, and so WE are in control of our lights and not the camera).   Step 1. Expose for the ambient light FIRST.   (The above image was taken with none of our off-camera lights firing and a little constant light from the video guy,and you can see just how dark and difficult the lighting we had to work with was. So, here is how we SIMPLY created the final image).    We started by getting a reading of the background’s ambient light with a faster shutter speed (1/160th of a second). Our background happened to have the sky in it, but yours may have trees only or a building or something else. We wanted that background light to be -1 stop under-exposed according to our in-camera meter. (We will explain why the shutter was faster in... Read More

The Perfect Ring Shot | Guest Post by Photographer Katelyn James

We are super delighted to bring to you a Tuesday Tips & Tricks post from a fellow photographer and friend Katelyn James! We met Katelyn a few years ago when she was new to the industry and now, four years later, her business is rocking and has been super blessed. Let us brag on her for a moment – she’s not only one of the nicest people you’ll meet, but this lady has killer branding that you need to check out and her work has been featured everywhere! From Professional Photographer Magazine to The Knot, Southern Living Weddings, Virginia Bride, to big, high profile blogs from Grey Likes Weddings to Style Me Pretty to Green Wedding Shoes, Wedding Chicks – the list goes on and on! Without any further ado, we bring you Katelyn! Well HELLO to all the wonderful Zach and Jody fans out there!!! It’s such a huge honor to be over here on their amazing blog today!! I’m Katelyn James and I’m a wedding photographer based out of Richmond, VA. I share life with my sweet husband Michael and our little Bichpoo puppy, Bokeh! …. Yes, I named my dog “Bokeh”… NERD ALERT! So when Zach and Jody asked me to do a little guest post sharing some tips and tricks, I was so excited… until I realized I had to decide WHAT the post was going to be on! This was QUITE the decision! Thinking back to my first year or two in business, I had numerous problem areas (don’t we all?!) but one area that always drove me crazy were the RING SHOTS! I... Read More

First Dance Reception Lighting

Hey everybody! We hope that you all enjoyed your Christmas holiday and had a joy celebrating the real reason for the season :) For today’s post, we are super stoked today to be talking about a topic that sooo many of you have been asking about ever since we shared how we light and shoot details for receptions (Part 1, and Part 2). Today we will share with you how we shoot people images at the reception! There is a TON of ground to cover when it comes to reception lighting, so there will be a few posts to come including some exclusive content with video for those of you who are signed up to our Photography Newsletter. Are you on the IN List? If not, sign up HERE! OK, so today we are going to keep it simple and build our foundation for shooting the first dance. So, we walk into the reception and here is the scenario (in posts to come we are going to work our way through other scenarios that pose other lighting problems and how to conquer them). We have: – A dance floor with a stage or DJ in corner of the room – White ceilings and white walls – Our super hot couple about to have their first dance What do we do to get great looking images in this scenario using nothing but our bounce flash that is on our camera? 1. We find the best place to shoot from. The best vantage point to shoot from in this type of situation is NOT where the crowd of people are standing... Read More

Reception Lighting Part 2!

OK, so last week we did a post on gear that we use to get reception shots. You know, all of those little details at a reception when there is not any light on the cake or table settings AND there is no place to bounce light off of. So, today we are going to explain how we balance the light so that we get just the right amount of flash vs ambient light in the shot, get it every single time and do it REALLY fast! Here we go! Problem: Ever point your flash at a cake or person in a reception hall and the background is pitch black? Your flash is blasting out your subject but there is no detail in the background, thus losing part of the story. Solution: Lighting Ratios!! Hang in there :) So, where we like to start when shooting reception details and getting awesome shots, is a 3 to 1 lighting ratio. “Whoa!” you might be saying already, “did you just say ‘ratio’ and are you going to talk about math, going to make me read some schematics and make me more confused then when I started?” No sir! We say that because 1) we want you to think we are smart ;o) and 2) because all that means, is that our subject (in this case details at a wedding reception) are a little bit brighter in our image than whatever is in the background. Specifically, the subject is twice as bright as the background. So, how do we get there without a slide rule, without a hand-held light meter and without guessing?... Read More

Reception Lighting, Part I

It’s Tuesday!! Time to share some more goodness! Some of the biggest challenges in shooting a wedding is the dreaded RECEPTION! With low lit reception halls, or outdoor receptions with no walls or ceilings to bounce light off of, lighting can most definitely be not for the faint at heart… Today, we are going to tackle one part of reception lighting – how we shoot the details and get fantastic shots consistently and with some style. Pull up a chair, sit back and relax and watch us tackle Part I of Tuesday Tips & Tricks | Reception Lighting. Gear we referenced: 42″ 6-in-1 Reflector Kit Pocket Wizard Transceiver Westcott Lightweight Stand Westcott Adjustable Shoe Mount Canon 580EX Speedlights Micro Apollo 8″ **Make sure to come back next week for Part II, and don’t forget that once a month we are releasing exclusive Tuesday Tips & Tricks via our newsletter! Make sure you are subscribed to our photographer... Read More

Reception Lighting Techniques

Have you ever showed up to a reception and started shooting everything in sight, only to look back later and see that all your images have some seriously orange color in the background? What is the deal with that?? One problem that photographers encounter when shooting indoors is that the color of their flash and the color of the ambient light (tungsten) does not seem to match.  Anytime lights in a room have an orange or amber tint to them, that means that they are tungsten colored. The color is measured in Kelvin degrees (which is what your digital camera understands) and different lighting situations will have different kelvin temperatures (or different white balances) usually ranging between 2200 to 10000 “degrees.” The lower the number (like 2200) the warmer the light is interpreted by your camera, and inversely, the higher the number (like 7500) the cooler the light is. So if you have your camera set to a pre-set (or auto) white balance for say, tungsten (2800 degrees kelvin), then took a photo outside when it was cloudy (7500 degrees kelvin), the color would come out really blue (or cold) since your camera is set to a warm light setting and the outside light is very cool. So, the problem with using any type of flash during a reception is that the color temperature of the flash is normally daylight balanced (around 5500 to 5800 kelvin) which is cooler than those darn tungsten lights in the reception (which are usually around 2800 kelvin or so). So when you turn on your flash and take a shot with that cool... Read More