Behind the Shot: Lisa and Gunnar’s First Dance
Wes Craft Photography is a husband and wife wedding photography team working out of Chicago, priding themselves on capturing “bold, beautiful, editorial wedding photography.” Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one prime example of their work.
On the wedding day we strive to capture all the emotional moments in vivid and dynamic ways. It’s part of our signature look to use off-camera lighting to achieve that. PocketWizard Plus III radios allow us to fire our multiple lighting groups in customized combinations and overcome challenges to get the shot. Sometimes, as it was with this shot, it’s the simplest lighting setup that works best.
For reception dance floor lighting, in most circumstances, I put a couple of skim lights off in distant corners of the room and my assistant operates my main light on a boom pole. My boom light is set to Channel 17-A with my various other lights on 17-B, C, and D.
When I walked into this particular room, however, I immediately realized the dance floor was too small for that approach. I knew my lighting assistant would inhibit my mobility and be unable to move himself. On-camera bounced light would’ve washed out the pink uplighting on the walls, which I also wanted to preserve. Further complicating things, with wedding guests packed into the tiny space behind the couple, I couldn’t safely set up my additional light stands there.
Being no strangers to adversity, we quickly came up with a solution that would dynamically light the couple while retaining the color on the walls of the room and without using our boom pole. There was a balcony directly above the dance floor where we were able to place a single Canon 580EXII flash triggered via a Plus III.
During the first dance I stood down below on the dance floor opposite the balcony light and used my on camera flash for just a kiss of fill light while the overhead backlight beautifully skimmed the couple.
I like how light spilled off of the groom’s white shirt and dimensionally short lights the front of the bride’s smiling face. Since the light was coming from behind the couple and not spilling onto the walls around them we were also able to retain some of that warm and vivid magenta uplighting!
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