romantic wedding portraits with video light

romantic wedding portraits with video light

By now it should be clear that I’m quite a fan of video lights for the romantic portrait session with a couple. The Incandescent WB of the video light usually matches the existing light fairly well. Because video light has a rapid fall-off in light intensity to the edges of the beam, it doesn’t “flatten” out the light like bounce flash would. In addition, the video light can seem quite natural in context of the existing light, and not even look like additional lighting. Somehow the light just appears to be great right there.

Here are two images from the wedding at Shadowbrook, NJ, where I had my assistant hold up an LED video light to help light the couple. (It’s the same wedding where I used the black foamie thing during the indoor ceremony.)

image details:

image details:

I have both the Lowel ID-Light (vendor) and two LED video lights. Even though the Lowel ID-light is a better tool, the LED video light is my first choice for a quick-grab, always-ready light. LED video lights are compact, and use AA batteries. Easy to slip into your camera bag.

Now, if I had wanted to ease the contrast a bit, and bring in more shadow detail, it would be a simple matter of bouncing my on-camera flash behind me. But it would have to be with the FEC turned way down to -3EV so that it just acts as a fill light. The flash would also have to be gelled with a CTS or CTO gel then to not bring in a blue tint to the fill-light.

With the romantic portrait session at a wedding, I like to mix it up – some available light (if there is enough), some bounce flash, and some video light … or a mix of any of these. We have options.

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18 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 2Mary-Claire says

    Love the photos! I second shot a wedding this past weekend and kept waffling back and forth as to whether I wanted to put my video light in my bag. I left it home and was sorry, (The main photographer didn’t have one either). I will always have it with me from here on out.

  2. 4 says

    Great lighting! I really like the B&W aspect of it, too (and that takes care of any white balance issues, for sure). I’ve never used video lighting; do you have it on a stand? How much does it weigh and how far away can you use it (from the subject)? Guess I could just click on those provided links in the post and find out:)

  3. 5 says

    The LED video lights are light-weight. Not heavy at all. In this instance, I had my 2nd photographer hold up the two video lights for me. (That’ll also answer the subsequent questions.)

    I have used it on a light-stand, such as this example where I used a video light at a wedding.

    How far away can you use it? Ultimately that depends on your ISO and aperture, but for 1600 ISO at f2.8 you could use it at about 8 feet away. Roughly.

    As for the links … there are a lot of useful information in the related links. Any affiliate link on my website is always marked as (B&H) or (Amazon) so that you know you’re leaving this site with a link to a marketplace where the items can be purchased. I am quite consistent with that. (There are some much older posts on this website which I need to revisit though and finish that policy of making affiliate links clearly marked.)

    So with that, if there is a link, it is usually an informative or relevant link. Any shopping link is marked as such by the store’ name. All quite transparent.

    Neil vN

  4. 8Jerry says

    The 2 light question is a good one. I thought it was one, with light from camera right based on the light spilling on the inside of the door frame. But then I noticed that the Groom has a shadow behind his head from a light source opposite him. I give. How’d you do it?

  5. 9 says

    Yes, I did use two video lights here, held up by my 2nd shooter at this wedding.

    And no, no grid. The video light is concentrated enough that you don’t need a grid.

    Neil vN

  6. 10 says

    Neil I love these shots especially the first one with the reflection in the mirror. Did you have to take any special measures to ensure the video light did not reflect in the mirror?

  7. 11 says

    Tony … it’s mostly just angling myself and my assistant so that I don’t get either of us in the mirror reflection. There was one image where I had to clone out my assistant’s hand holding the light. Here’s the original image and edit.

    Neil vN

  8. 13 says

    That pose wouldn’t work in this case because the groom here is much taller than the bride, and I had to find a way to lower him in the frame … and having him lean against the wall and doorframe did that.

    Neil vN

  9. 15 says

    Hi Neil,

    Have you ever shot an entire wedding party with these lightpanels? They look very compact so I’m not sure it’s advisable. Looking for a more portable and less bulky solution.

  10. 16 says

    Kristie … I’m not sure it is entirely practical photographing a group of people with this. The video lights usually aren’t that powerful, especially these smaller LED video lights.

    Then there’s the logistical problem of getting a group of people not to move during the photo. Easy enough with just two people (bride and groom), but not as easy with a group of groomsmen and bridesmaids who are energetic.

    Neil vN

  11. 17Scott says

    Always inspired by your work Neil.
    Much in the same vain as using flash do you establish the ambient exposure first (to your taste) and then add the video light to expose ‘correctly’ for your subject? How do you meter for this video light and therefore adjust the light power to the right level? By chimping on test shots?

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