Welcome to the forum!

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.

Off camera lighting options for a dark wedding venue

We've an upcoming wedding in a venue with high ceilings painted black presenting limited options for bounce flash. Both ceremony and reception are in this space and there will be two photographers.  Contemplating putting Alien Bees on balcony above the ceremony/dance floor, one triggered by each photographer, either bouncing off ceiling in attempt to raise ambient light, or aimed down at main floor (w/ or w/o modifiers), while using on camera flash.  Will require us to either rig current pocketwizard X triggers to on camera flash to trip AB flashes, or buy pocketwizard Flex TT5 triggers to do so which also include a hot shoe for the on camera flash.  Other photographers shooting in this space appear to have done something similar, but we also recognize the hardware is the easier part, w/ the "how" being most important. As this will be the first foray, want to be as prepared as possible to get it right. Or, can just use some sort of modifier on our speedlights as last ditch effort to avoid direct flash, but believe adding off camera lighting will be best (and likely necessary). Looking for any recommendations re hardware, including modifiers for on camera flash (have a flashbender XL) or technique (including any option we've not yet considered, the simpler the better).  Thank you in advance.


  • Hi Jim,

    You are correct. I would use the alien bees with or without an umbrella and use them as your main light source. Then use a on camera flash w/without a diffuser as fill. Just a small pop to fill in a tad. The Alien bees will be your directional light. Just keep in mind that you don't want the directional light coming on top of there heads. If the balcony is right above thats what will happen, and you will be better off using stands down on the level of the people. If you can get the lights up on the balcony off to the side, then your good. Use any distance to your advantage and will produce even light across. Lucky for us, with higher ISO capabilities this all has gotten easier over the years. Doesn't take much anymore to light a room, but the difference between a snap shot and a professional image is the direction of the light. As for the simple answer. Just use the diffuser that came with the camera flash to add the touch of fill needed. Doesn't get any easier:) 

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Not that I have any experience doing this, but at the last wedding where I saw what I thought was an unusual setup (turns out, via this forum, it is not), the photographer had four speedlights set up, one in each corner of an outside venue, 7-8 feet up, night time; his on-camera rig was a flash bracket, speedlight, and Gary Fong "Tupperware" (thanks, Neil). My daughter was happy with the photos, but the ones I have seen seemed to have been mucked up by his developing/processing. Anyway, that's what he had on camera.

    For any time I have to use direct, on-camera flash, I have used a Fotodiox 8-inch octagon softbox with double diffuser. For my birthday, I asked for and received a Lastolite 8x8 "Joe McNally" softbox, which I have yet to use.

  • Jim_CJim_C Member
    Jay and Dave, thank you. I appreciate the responses and info.  Received FlexTT5's today and working through setting them up. 

  • Great Jim! I have used the TT5's in the past and they work great. You will be happy with them. Best of luck!

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Jim .... how did the event go?

    When you are dealing with a dark venue where you can't bounce flash, it is the most common solution to have off-camera flashes in the corners, or somewhere behind the subjects you are photographing, to at least give some kind of rim-lighting for separation. 

    The Good flashes are really good for this, with the controller on the camera with which you can adjust the flash power of the additional flashes you set up. 
Sign In or Register to comment.