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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

First wedding - lighting

StephanieBStephanieB Member
edited July 2014 in wedding photography
Hi everybody,

I’m new here but I’m already addict to this website, thanks Neil for all the advices and the experiences you share with us.

I would like to have some advices. In two weeks I am going to shoot my first wedding… in Cuba. The problem is, the bride (my sister in law) doesn’t have much information on how it is going to be set up. I have to be ready for all eventualities. Since the wedding is in Cuba I don’t think to bring everything for off-camera flash. I’m going to use on-camera flash, but if there is no wall at the reception (if by example it is outside with (or without) a roof) should I use an on-camera diffuser since the black foam is more for inside use? And I can’t predict the temperature either, if it is going to be harsh sunlight or cloudy, so during the ceremony that is outside, should I shoot no flash if by example it is cloudy and with on-camera flash if it is sunny? Or without flash in both case which also would disturb less? The wedding is (supposed to be) at 4 pm but people say there are often 30 minutes late. And for the formals, would it be the correct way to use no flash and place people back to sun (or maybe with a fill light with on-camera flash but again with a reflector or diffuser)? Again, depending on the time the wedding ends, maybe the sunset will have started and I will need a flash…

Well, I probably forget a lot of question but if you have any advices, even if it is not related to light, I take everything!


  • Hi Stephanie, Your questions are all very good but also very broad. You are right that you need to be ready for any lighting situation. What I suggest is that you go to Neil's Tangents blog, which is linked off of here on the top of this page. In the search field put in 'shooting weddings' and you will get a list of a variety of Tangents lessons that will address many of your questions. Then try a different search term, for example 'outdoor portraits'. You'll get a lot of great info this way. Good luck!

    As for putting the sun at the guests' back, you will definitely need flash then as they will be in shadow/shade. If the sunset begins you now do not need to put the sun to their backs, at this hour you can have the sun on them directly. But watch for shadows cast on people by the people next to them.

    Do bring a diffuser and have it handy in a fanny pack or pocket.

    Shoot RAW.
  • Thanks for your answer Skipperlange!
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Stephanie .. here's a list of the wedding photography tutorials I have:

    It's a pretty good introduction to various aspects of wedding photography, and the use of flash photography at weddings.
  • It sounds like what you need is an assistant to carry around and watch the gear. It is very hard to do any event just by yourself unless you plan on using just one body, one lens, etc. Even if you have a minimal amount of equipment its still nice to have an extra set of hands.
  • Hi, Skipperlange -

    This is an old discussion, but I happened to be reading it, and saw your comment about facing guests towards (not facing away) the setting sun. This weekend I have a private party at a house right on the water, and the host wants me to stick around to get some shots during the sunset hour. Got any advice on how high the sun can/cannot be in order to turn them towards the light, or should I go with my gut and pay attention to the shadows on faces?

    Thanks - Dave
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