Advice: Reception Lighting

Couples put a lot of thought into how they want their wedding day to be photographed: locations, style, lighting, and the level of formality are all considered. I have been asked about reception lighting and whether if it will interfere with the photography. My answer is that it is quite the opposite – it only makes your photos better and more interesting: we use the light to our advantage. If you are considering lighting, I will always try to talk you into it. There was one point when we even considered including it in our packages! Absolutely nothing can compete with good natural light, but most receptions are at night and artificial lighting can be a good substitute. If used well it can make for some dazzling photographs.

With great lighting, even the most uninspiring reception rooms can become romantic, sumptuous spaces. Let’s look at the space Carl and Amanda, one of Stephen Bobb‘s couples used for their reception. It was a very basic banquet room at the church they were married at- St. Columba’s Episcopal Church.:

And this is how it was transformed by lighting into a wonderfully romantic space: (Lighting by Jon Farr Lighting):

Amazing, right? And look how it can really make the photos look different and will give us some diverse lighting situations to work with:

I LOVE this shot of the cake. Not the same without the lighting:

OK, here is another example. This is one of Mary’s couples, Ashley and Dominique, who were married at their alma matter, the University of Maryland’s Alumni Center. You can click on this link to see a virtual tour of the inside of the room:

Riggs Center

And here is what it looks like all lit up:

All photography is ultimately about light – light and capturing the moment – but mostly it is light that really makes one photo stand out above the crowd. The same is true for reception rooms: the ugliest ballrooms can be completely transformed by the right lighting. It can change the mood, ambiance and overall appearance of a room. Next time you are in a room, pay attention to the light and how it makes you feel: the two are more connected than you realize.

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