OneLight Wedding Photography – Low Ambient

One area where I have the most fun with the style of  onelight is in low ambient situations.  In weddings I mostly encounter low ambient lighting during the reception, which tend to be later in the evening and indoors.  Combine the indoor location with low ambient mood lighting or dance lighting, and the room is near darkness.

In low ambient type situations I tend to put the flash in one location and work around it.  The placement might be one corner of the dance floor, behind the wedding couple’s table, or tucked off to the side of the room.  From there I will work around the flash to produce different lighting angles and appearances to the images as I shoot.  A favorite of mine is back-lighting the couple especially when on the dance floor.  There are so many touching moments that occur as the couple interacts and those emotions can be enhanced by striking the right balance of detail between the ambient and back-lighting.

Backlighting the Couple

This style also makes for dramatic shots of all the action on the dance floor.  With large groups it is good to capture more detail and expression so side-lighting is typically more pleasing rather than strong back-lighting.  The mood and emotion is captured along with the fun and lively atmosphere making for fantastic reception shots.

On occasion I will drop the shutter speed to allow for more ambient light, also referred to as dragging the shutter.  This has the effect of creating movement and action within the image while still maintaining the detail of the subject.  While the effect is interesting, an entire set of images shot in this manner could very quickly become obnoxious, so I use this technique sparingly.

Dragging the Shutter

I carry over many of these same principles when shooting the ceremony.  Next week I will touch on the ceremony aspect of the wedding day, and how I approach using onelight in those situations.


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