How I use lighting at a reception for weddings


Glen Tavern Inn Wedding


Hey everyone! Alright today I’m going to be talking about HOW I USE LIGHTING AT A RECEPTION FOR WEDDINGS. Receptions are AWESOME and can be EPIC, it’s by far the most fun aspect at a wedding and in order to bring out that epicness one has to know and have the proper tools to do so. I am in the middle of everyone dancing, on the edges of the dance floor and sometimes a few hundred feet away. If I didn’t have the knowledge and tools then I would be screwed when trying to make my way throughout the many areas I position myself at. Some reception setups are more ideal than others but at the end of day your photographer needs to know how to ROCK it no matter the circumstance!  Before I delve to far into it though I just want to let you know something, there are many different ways to use LIGHTING FOR WEDDINGS. I’m really not here to tell someone they do it incorrectly or are bad at it. I simply want to let you know the how and why of the way I do it.


Receptions are either indoors or outdoors during the evenings ( most of the time ). So in order to get AMAZING images during those times you need to know how to use the light. A lot of people use a single flash on their camera…and that’s cool and sometimes needed ( for the in you’re face dance shots ) but I do things a little different which adds dynamic lighting. At any given time my set up is either two lights or three lights right off the dance floor. This allows me to get WAY more styles of lighting than a single flash on camera and allows me to be able to be anywhere at anytime and get a good shot. If I want backlighting BOOM I move to the right, if I want dramatic directional lighting BOOM I move to the left and if I want a nice flat fill then BOOM I’m move to the center. With one flash on camera everything looks drab and flat and in more cases than not you destroy the ambient lighting by punching too much flash into the space. There’s a reason you paid for the uplighting right? It’s a complicated set up and there’s a reason why not a lot of photographers do it this way ( mostly boiling down to not taking the time to understand how to effectively use it ) but I’ve been rocking it for years and my clients love it…so that’s all that matters to me.



For those interested in what tools I use for LIGHTING AT A RECEPTION FOR WEDDINGS here’s the lowdown, everything around me is a tool! Have tall center pieces with crystals, thats my tool. String lights everywhere, yep my tool. I love to shoot through things at receptions and the effects it gives is AMAZING. Glasses on a guest table, for sure I’m using those. BUT you need someone who uses dynamic lighting to even begin the conversation of getting these INCREDIBLE reception shots.

Being able to get creative, get in the mix and create EPIC images are KEY to not having a redundant look when it comes to that final act in your wedding story. Stay tuned for my blog post on ” The Night Shot “, I’ll go over the when, how and why and also show you how INCREDIBLE they can look and add that extra lil kick ass to the end of your wedding!


While you’re here feel free to check out some of the other incredible weddings I’ve been a part of as well as advice you’ll need when debating that First Look!

May + Mike | FCC Los Angeles Wedding

First Looks. Traditional VS Modern and why you should always choose the latter.

Leslie + Vlad | El Encanto Santa Barbara Wedding

Ryan + Trent | El Matador Malibu Engagement

Emily + Joseph | Hacienda Heights Country Club Wedding

Gail + Brian | Figueroa Mountain Wedding

I want to tell YOUR story and be you’re VENTURA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER! Chat with me today to see if your date is still available!


  1. […] I’m not talking about some on camera flash with one dimensional light either, I’m talking dynamic lighting. Check this link out for more examples How I use Lighting at Receptions. […]


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