OneLight Wedding Photography

First a bit of clarification on the terminology of onelight as used here.  CAUTION – start total technical geek talk>   since photography is built around light, the use of light is essential to great photography.  In most situations natural ambient light would be present and could play a role in the exposure of the image.  Ambient of course can be eliminated by using flash strobes and lighting equipment, and you will see many photographers who shoot this way especially in portrait type situations.  My reference to onelight is the use of one artificial light source, or flash strobe.  More specifically it is the use of that flash off camera, in other words, not attached to the hot shoe on the camera as you would traditionally see.  I am technically not using just one light source since the ambient light typically plays a role in the image, but as an industry, photographers have embraced the “onelight” moniker to identify the style of using one flash off camera. <END total geek talk

So how does this apply to the bride and groom on their wedding day?  Onelight has helped shape my wedding photography style.  It has added a sense of dimension and drama to the images giving them a dynamic atmosphere.  Outdoor settings are where I put this to use most effectively.  I oppose flash against sun in an effort to overpower the strongest ambient light available.  I am not really trying to overpower the sun completely, only to balance the light within the composition and give dimension to the subject.  Sure this could be done with the flash on the camera, but that results in very flat light and no drama.  Moving the flash off camera allows me to create shadow and depth; it allows me to bring atmosphere.  Refer to one of my recent posts for an example.

The onelight style of photography is prevalent in most of my shooting.  In the coming weeks I will touch on the different areas and how I use onelight specific to the situation I am in and the look I am trying to achieve.


4 thoughts on “OneLight Wedding Photography

  1. I have been using a D70 camera, with a SB-600 flash. I typically shoot with either a 20mm or 50mm lens. In terms of flash placement it is usually 6-8 feet from the subject and either to my left or right about 4-6 feet depending on the situation.

    The main thing I am looking for in outdoor shots is to offset the sunlight. I willtypically oppose the sun with the flash, so if I have sunlight coming in from the right, I will set the flash to the left of me.

  2. Thanks for the info, I thought you used a softbox type flash or something large, do you diffuse the light from you SB-600 flash? I would love to buy a Speedlite 580 or a radio sender so I could control my current 430 off of camera like you have explained. I did just get my collapsable Gary Fong today so I can’t wait to test it on my wife when I get home! She’s my full time test subject.

    I also just received my first reflector which I had fun using over the weekend, I did what you explained – off seting the Sun, or canceling some shadows. At times it worked like a softened spot light which gave me some really cool effects.

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