Wedding Reception Lighting

Until recently, I used to shoot wedding receptions with hot shoe mounted speedlights which was adequate enough, but the dark background was an issue as was the noise, since I found myself upping the ISO to 1600~3200 in order to get more ambient light.

Below is a typical wedding reception photo I was getting with this setup. Shot at f/2, 1/160, ISO1600. I think it looks pretty good, but the tell tale signs are there. The main subjects are exposed well, but the background is pretty dark with an orange tint to it due to the difference in color balance between the flash and the ambient lighting. Of course, I could have gelled the flash to counteract this, but I don’t like bothering with gels too much.

Light Wedding Receptions - Sample

So looking to up my game, I recently bought some Paul C Buff lighting equipment. Using strobes completely changed the way I shoot wedding receptions. I’ll never be able to go back!!!

Here’s the lighting gear I bought.

Einstein with the CSXCV receiver installed. Einstein-Strobe

Alien Bees 800. I use the CyberSync CSRB+ receiver to trigger this strobe. The CSRB+ “understands” the commands coming from the Cyber Commander. The cable that looks like a phone cables connects the AB800 to the CSRB+. A 1/8″ cable plugs into the AB800 to bypass the optical triggering. Alien Bees 800

Cyber Commander. This allows me to remotely control every facet of the strobes. I use this primarily to change power on the strobes and to take a reading with the built-in light meter. It’s really an extremely convenient device to have.Β  Cyber Commander

I use the Cyber Sync CST triggers to remotely fire the strobes. I use Velcro to attach the CST to the hot shoe mounted 580EXII flash which is used to light up the subjects. The CST connects to the camera via a PC Sync cable. I use these cables from Flash Zebra. The screw-in type cable secures it in place so it doesn’t come loose. I highly recommend it!

I also bought the Vagabond Mini Lithium Battery Pack in case there is no outlet nearby or if I want to use either strobe outdoors. Vagabond Mini Lithium

Below is how I set up the lights at a wedding reception I shot recently. Both strobes were at about 1/8 power, maybe even lower. I used the Cyber Commander to dial in the lights so that I had a baseline reading of f/2.8, 1/160, ISO800. If the venue size allows for it, I try to put the strobes far enough from the dance floor so that the light fall-off isn’t too much. One of the great things about the Cyber Commander, aside from the ability to remotely control the lights is that it also has a built-in light meter. So I trigger the strobes, take a reading, and adjust the power accordingly. Pretty awesome! I didn’t have an available outlet by where I set up the AB800, so I used the Vagabond Mini Lithium Battery Pack. Very handy! πŸ™‚ Lighting setup for wedding receptions

Below is a photo using the above setup. Camera settings were f/2, 1/160, ISO 200.Β  That’s right. ISO 200! I had a 580EXII mounted on the hot shoe of my 5DMKII in ETTL mode with the Demb Flip-it bounce card attachment for some fill. The 1/160 shutter speed essentially kills the ambient light so I am pretty much lighting up the scene with my own lighting. Since the flash is the main source of light, I am also able to stop the action on the subjects. White balance and exposure is consistent throughout. I don’t have the very dark background with the orange tint anymore! Lighting Wedding Receptions with Strobes

You can shoot the same way with a couple of speedlights as well. The only difference is the flash power and the fact that you have to rely on battery power. Either way, I highly recommend shooting with off camera lights. It’s such a game changer!

Here’s a slideshow gallery of images from various wedding receptions taken with this setup.

  • Greg H - September 21, 2011 - 1:34 am

    Thanks for sharing Nick. I just purchased my first light set, the new Elinchrom Quadras. You are right, my images are TEN TIMES BETTER! Thanks again, this was very helpful in making the move!

  • Stephanie Hickerty - September 26, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    Thanks for the post…I love using off camera lighting with my ABs. Still tweaking my settings to where I want them to be, but loving every minute. Your post was great to read. πŸ˜‰

  • Ups - November 15, 2011 - 8:58 pm

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the post. Your pictures are beautiful. I have a couple of questions: In this post,
    1. did you use any kind of light modifier on your strobe (umbrella, softbox)?
    2. was it OK with the party that flash kept going on and off?


  • Nick Nishizaka - November 15, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    I used the standard reflector that came with the strobes. No modifiers such as a softbox or umbrella. I’ve never had any complaints with flash/strobes at a wedding reception.

  • Ups - November 15, 2011 - 10:07 pm

    Wow! you are fast replying to my email πŸ™‚ One last question, do you use flash when taking picture outdoor? The reason I’m asking is because your outdoor pictures are sharp, crisp, and not dull looking.

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

  • Nick Nishizaka - November 15, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    I use flash outdoors only when needed such as when I am shooting into the sun and need to properly expose the subjects, or to add a little punch when shooting in the shade, etc.

  • Joy - December 5, 2011 - 3:13 pm

    Hi Nick! Great site and very helpful advice! I just have 2 questions I’m hoping you can answer. 1) How come you’re not using an umbrella for the alienbee on the right side of the photo? 2) I have two B800s, is it better to use of them or will one suffice?

    Thanks so much~

  • Justin - February 22, 2012 - 12:11 pm

    Looking to do a similar setup had some success with an experimental run with one strobe did really well but how would you reccomend positioning two strobes?

  • Nick Nishizaka - February 27, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    It depends. Sometimes I have no choice regarding placement due to space constraints. I only have one battery pack so the other strobe always needs an outlet so that’s another restriction. Regardless, I usually take a measurement at the center of the dance floor. I like to set the power so that I get a reading of 1/200, f2.8, ISO 800. I adjust the settings according to distant to the strobes and also when I use my fast primes. For example, if I am shooing my 50L at f1.2, I can lower the ISO to 100-200 for the same exposure.

  • Allan - March 26, 2012 - 1:53 am

    Nice post Nick. A couple of questions for you if you don’t mind…….

    1: Looks like you are pointing the standard reflectors directly towards the crowd and not bouncing them. If so, how do you find the harshness of the light coming from the reflectors?

    2: Also, is that an umbrella and separate light source directly facing the bridal table? Is that something that you typically do at most weddings?

    3: Last question; I’m guessing with this light set up it is hard to do wide shots as you would be getting all the hot spots on the walls ceiling etc. ???? Do you mainly shoot tight as to avoid that?

    OK, one more πŸ™‚ ………… How many shots can you get from the battery pack? I have the Einstein’s myself but only power them with 240 volts. I am looking at getting a mini vagabond but curious as to real world capacity.

    Many thanks for the great information.

  • Nick Nishizaka - March 29, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    Allan, I try to keep the lights far enough from the dance floor to avoid too much light fall-off. I haven’t had much issues with harsh shadows.

    That umbrella was being used for the photobooth. (Backdrop stand and white paper)

    The setup doesn’t prevent me from getting wider shots at all.

    I haven’t measured the click count for the Vagabond Mini. When I use it at receptions, I have the strobe dialed down in power so I can go all night with the battery pack. So it really depends on what power setting you have the strobe on.


  • wedding reception lighting - April 8, 2012 - 2:22 pm

    Man those are some crisp pics- incredibly sharp and detailed!

  • scott feierstein - April 24, 2012 - 5:47 pm

    Man Nick you are going to cost me some serious cash! I am now considering getting another mark III and trading or selling the Mark II and now getting lighting gear! I have shot with off camera flash but only in one position. I am thinking maybe I can set up 2 480exII’s around the room crank them all the way up and point them straight up if the ceiling allows…Will this work?

    Thanks for this write up btw!

  • Nick Nishizaka - April 24, 2012 - 9:34 pm

    There’s no reason you wouldn’t be able to light the reception hall up with speedlites. The only issue would be power, if you need lots of it, and batteries. My strobes are either plugged in to the wall socket or the Vagabond Mini Lithium so I don’t have to worry about swapping out batteries and I have great recycle times even when I shoot at lower ISO settings.

    That said, I would definitely be interested in playing around with a few 600EX-RTs and its radio triggering capabilities one of these days! πŸ™‚

  • Scott Petersen - May 1, 2012 - 2:19 am

    I use basically the same set up, but I have two Einsteins. My only question is, do you have both strobes plus your on camera flash going off at once, or do you have the two strobes go off independently depending on the direction you are shooting? The latter is what I do, just wondering if you’ve found having both strobes go off at once beneficial if that’s what you do.

  • Nick Nishizaka - May 1, 2012 - 12:19 pm


    I usually fire off both strobes and the the on-camera speedlite all at once. Sometimes I might either disable the strobes or the speedlite depending on whether I want a certain look, but I usually have them all firing. I try to put the strobes at a distance to minimize light fall off and on the opposite end of the reception hall to get more even coverage.

  • Kevin - May 8, 2012 - 4:03 pm

    Hi Nick,

    I was considering Vagabond Mini Lithium Battery Pack as well, but not sure about how long will it last for the wedding? did it work out for you? how many shots of the AB800 can you take out of a full charge?


  • Nick Nishizaka - May 8, 2012 - 11:00 pm

    The Vagabond Mini Lithium is absolutely great. I haven’t run out of juice at weddings yet. However it’s not something I break out for everything. If I need to overpower the sun, then I use it along with the Einstein 640. Otherwise, if I can’t find an outlet nearby for one of my strobes, I’ll use it for that and it’ll last all night long since the strobes are like at 1/16th power. I highly recommend it!

  • Lamonte - May 24, 2012 - 8:13 pm

    My question is about setup. Where is the time to setup the lighting? Do you tell the couple that you need time before they enter the reception you need time to setup? Do you have someone who does your setup for you?

  • Nick Nishizaka - May 24, 2012 - 8:31 pm

    Lamonte, it takes me about 10-15 minutes tops to set the 2 strobes up, including getting the power settings correct. I usually do this during cock tail hour. Haven’t had any issues so far.

  • Samantha - May 26, 2012 - 2:36 am

    Thank you so much for this! Truly appreciated.

  • Per Zangenberg - June 12, 2012 - 3:20 pm

    Excellent stuff here mate!

    However I am wondering if this sort of setup is only viable for “American” style weddings where you seem to only photograph the dance floor?? Here in Denmark people are not dancing until the later end of the party and I need to be able to photograph people at all the tables ect. So someone sitting close to a flash would need a VERY different exposure than someone far away.
    But maybe it would work with a high ceiling and the strobes pointed upwards. But I fear the light would be more dull and flat that way?

  • Dennis - June 26, 2012 - 1:32 pm

    Excellent post! I was wondering if people sitting closes to your lights ever get “annoyed” by the numerous flashes that go off. It’s pretty much like sitting underneath a disco ball.

  • jon - June 28, 2012 - 8:53 am

    thanks for sharing such awesome tips…

  • Cliff Gull - June 28, 2012 - 11:50 pm

    Hey Nick, Love your work! My question is how are you firing your PCB strobes and on camera flash at the same time? Then changing between the two?

  • Nick Nishizaka - July 2, 2012 - 12:13 am

    Dennis, I’ve never had an issue with this. I usually have the strobes up high, like at least 10 feet, so it doesn’t really bother the guests. Also, I put it as far away from the dance floor and the tables.

  • Nick Nishizaka - July 2, 2012 - 12:13 am

    Jon, no problem! πŸ™‚

  • Nick Nishizaka - July 2, 2012 - 12:16 am

    My 600EX-RT is hot shot mounted. I have a CST Velcroed to the 600EX-RT. I have a PC Sync cable connected between the CST and the camera. So I fire off the strobes via the CST connected to the PC Sync port on the camera, plus I have the 600EX-RT firing off via the hot shoe. I will sometimes turn of either the strobes or the 600EX-RT depending on the look I am going for. Hope that clears things up for you.

  • Gabriel - July 7, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    Hi Nick, nice tips here. In low light situation and with people dancing (slow or fast), what focusing method are you using? Do you focus and recompose using the center focusing point? Is that possible? I’m having some issues with my 5dII and the 35L and needed some advice. Thanks!

  • Nick Nishizaka - July 7, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    Gabriel, I use 5D3 cameras now so I don’t have any issues using the outer AF points, however when I was using the 5D2, yes, I would almost always use the center AF point. The problem with low light reception shooting is that the AF assist beam on the flash doesn’t work in AI Servo mode, so in low light, it can be difficult to focus. I usually use shorter lenses, such as my 16-35L II or 24L II, and I am usually at f2.8, so I have some margin or error due to the wider depth of field. Sometimes I would shoot loose and crop later. These days, I am not afraid to shoot my primes wide open, even for dancing shots, because I can use the outer AF points with confidence! 50L @f1.2-f2.0? Bring it on! πŸ™‚

  • Gabriel - July 7, 2012 - 3:35 pm

    Thanks for your fast response, I’am gonna try that. I’m using the upper focusing point mostly so I guess that’s why I have so many out of focus pics. Now I have to be very fast in moving my camera up and down when the dance goes crazy!? πŸ™‚

  • Gabriel - July 7, 2012 - 3:37 pm

    … I mean I have to focus on the face and than recompose, right?

  • Erwin - July 10, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    Hi Nick..
    Great post, but have 2 questions..
    1) Do you point the lights directly to the center of the dancefloor or do you feather them ?
    2) Do you put the lights so they are in a cross-light situation?


  • Marcin - July 11, 2012 - 5:50 pm

    Man, excellent tips and beautiful images! Do you have any tips for shooting in churches?

  • Nick Nishizaka - July 12, 2012 - 12:13 am

    Erwin, yes, I usually point the lights directly to the center of the dance floor. As for placement, it depends on the venue and space. I don’t have a particular set pattern that I use.

  • Nick Nishizaka - July 12, 2012 - 12:14 am

    Marcin, At churches, I am usually at f2.8, 1/120 to 1/160, and hopefully around ISO1600-2000 but whatever ISO that will get me the shutter speed. I don’t often use flash at ceremonies. I might use it only for the isle walk, but usually I don’t use flash.

  • Tara - July 12, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    I am SO glad I found this! I’ve not been very happy with my indoor reception pictures and stumbled upon your post here in a Google search. I’m adding all of these to my “gotta have it” list! Better start saving my pennies…

  • Erwin - July 12, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    Thx for your answer Nick!

    But how come you don’t get any hard shadows ??
    Reason for asking:I tried your setup last wedding.
    As you say I put up 2 strobes, pointed them directly to the center of the dancefloor and then used 1 580EXII oncamera for fill

    Somehow i got extremely hard light and shadows.. Nowhere the quality of the images i see here;-)
    Perhaps the offcam strobes where put on too much power? or the fill flash was too low ?


  • Ray - October 2, 2012 - 9:44 am

    Hi Nick,

    Great post! Thank you…

    I have a similar setup but use globe diffusers instead of reflectors on the Einstens. It’s more multidirectional but allows me to catch guests on the periphery of the dance floor for reaction shots and candids.

    For the remotes, I use the Pocketwizard module for Einsteins, a MiniTT with speedlite on-camera to control strobe power. It works well but don’t have the benefit of the cyber commander’s built-in light meter. That is really nice!!!

    Can you provide any insight to the following questions…
    – do you have a preference to where you position your
    lights or is that dictated by where the bridal party and
    or band/dj is located?
    – Can you recommend any light modifier or foil that will
    cast interesting light patterns on the floor for otherwise
    dull or boring dance floor lighting?

    Thank you so much!!!

  • DukePro - October 11, 2012 - 2:00 pm

    Hi Nick,

    I just bought 2xEinstein and an AlienBees B800. I like the way you fired the strobes and 580EXII in the same time. I learnt it.


  • nicksan - October 23, 2012 - 11:36 pm

    There’s not much science to where I place my lights. I pretty much find a free corner, hopefully where there’s an outlet. That’s about it!

  • Kyna - November 7, 2012 - 11:32 am

    Hey Nick.

    Great post! So question-you don’t use the commander to actually trigger? I am wanting to do the same as you, beef up my reception capability and I am thinking of buying 1 Alien Bee right now to practice with in the slow/studio season. I am trying to decide if I should use my 580exii for fill as you did with a trigger on it and not buy the commander because you are essentially just using that as a meter not a trigger right? Or if I should get an extra receiver and get my 580 off camera so I would have the alien bee off camera and the 580 off camera and purchase the commander to use as a light meter AND trigger.

    Would each of those scenarios work? It is just a personal preference right?

  • Nick Nishizaka - November 8, 2012 - 8:33 am


    That’s right. I am not using the Cyber Commander as a trigger. I use it to remotely adjust power on my strobes. The Commander isn’t too expensive and I think it’s worth it. I still use a 600EX-RT mounted on the hot-shoe and a CST trigger Velcroed on and connected to the camera via a PC Sync cable.

  • Jennifer Gaines - January 11, 2013 - 4:43 pm

    Hi Nick,

    thank you for the helpful information!

    I was wondering what the difference is between the ALien Bee and the Einstein. Why did you choose to use one of each and not go with two Alien Bees or two Einsteins?

  • Nick Nishizaka - January 12, 2013 - 12:48 am


    The Einstein is more powerful than the AB800 and is more consistent throughout its power range with regards to color temperature. There’s absolutely no reason behind me owning one of each. It just happened that way. πŸ™‚

  • Danally Ly - February 11, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    Just what I was looking for. Thank you for the awesome article!

  • Jessica - March 25, 2013 - 4:03 am

    Great article!!! Thank You!!

  • Jeff - April 9, 2013 - 2:51 am

    What on camera modifier do you have on your 600 for fill? Great work sir.

  • nicksan - April 9, 2013 - 6:23 pm

    I use the Demb Flip it. I use the classic version. They have me on their website here. πŸ™‚

  • hector Rivera - May 16, 2013 - 8:46 pm

    Hi Nick Awesome post!! love your work question..I just bought one alien bee einstein 640 I have a 600 EX RT canon speedlite that i wll like to use on top of my camera and able to fire the einstein is that posible???? i know u did it with your 580 canons was wondering if the new speedlite can you use with einstein if yes what will i need>??? thank u sir.

  • Will - August 4, 2013 - 9:32 pm

    Is it possible to shoot with only the 2 strobes? trying this method for the first time and I am extremely nervous about it. I want to fully shoot without a shoe mounted flash. Thanks.

    -Will Sweatt

  • nicksan - August 4, 2013 - 9:40 pm


    I know some who just use off camera strobes to light everything up. I always have a speedlite on-camera to light the main subject.

  • Dawn Pellegrin Oglesby - August 6, 2013 - 8:02 pm

    Outstanding post. Really has helped me feel more confident about strobes. What light stands do you use?

  • Dawn Oglesby - August 6, 2013 - 9:17 pm

    Outstanding post. Really has helped me feel more confident about strobes. What light stands do you use?

  • Pradeep - August 8, 2013 - 7:57 am

    Hi Nick.

    I noticed in the first pic after the vagabond mini image, that the lights are set up and firing away well before the first dance. Do any guests complain about the lights blinding them as they are firing during the day? One of the tables there looks like it’s directly in the firing line of the strobe!

  • Henry - August 14, 2013 - 9:16 am

    Hi Nick. Your camera doesn’t know you have strobes around, then the ETTL of the on camera flash may over-expose the subject, how can you deal with this problem?


  • valter - August 15, 2013 - 7:57 pm

    Nice setup. Thankyou.

  • Nick Nishizaka - August 16, 2013 - 9:58 pm

    The strobes are being used to over power the ambient lighting and provide a little bit of background lighting. The on-camera flash is the main lighting. I haven’t had any issues with ETTL in this setup.

  • Nick Nishizaka - August 16, 2013 - 10:00 pm

    Pradeep, haven’t had any complaints. In reality, the lights are high enough that it rarely if ever bothers the guests.

  • Nick Nishizaka - August 16, 2013 - 10:01 pm

    Dawn, I use Calumet branded stands. They are medium duty. I also use heavy duty Impact stands if I need more stability.

  • Kurtz Orpia - August 18, 2013 - 11:54 pm

    Im confuse, if the cyber commander is triggering the strobes, whats triggering the Speedlight? Unless you have a through TTL trigger, please explain

  • Kurtz Orpia - August 18, 2013 - 11:56 pm

    Im guessing your holding the speedlight with a CSt

  • Nick Nishizaka - September 29, 2013 - 3:50 am

    Speedlight is mounted on the camera’s hot show. I don’t use the Cyber commander to trigger the strobes. I use it to remotely adjust power. I have that in my shirt pocket. I use a CST trigger that is Velcroed to the Speedlight and connected to the camera via PC Sync cable.

  • Michael Nichols - October 13, 2013 - 6:15 am

    These shots are great. So you are still shooting with on camera flash as well? at 45 degrees? If I may ask what modifier are you using on that flash?

  • Benjamin Hayon - October 20, 2013 - 6:15 pm

    you can connect the Cyber Commander direct to camera using the cameras PC Sync , put a small strip of velcro on the commander, the wire i have is long enough for me to velcro the cyber commander to the speedlight, and the speedlight is on the hotshoe, now your Cyber Commander is triggering your strobes and your speedlight is also triggering.

  • Mostyn swain - October 22, 2013 - 8:21 am

    Im new to wedding photography and off camera flashes. Why the two different types of lights? Why not two Alien bees for example?

  • Jacquelyn Murphy - October 29, 2013 - 7:26 pm

    Excellent and very helpful post! This is exactly what I am working on right now!! Do you have any photos to share from an outdoor reception using your lighting setup? I would love to see!

  • nicksan - November 6, 2013 - 8:34 am

    Mostyn, Absolutely no reason. I happen to buy one of each.

  • Mike - November 15, 2013 - 9:54 pm

    Hi, you are using the 7-inch Standard Reflector, does it make a big difference if i use the 8.5-inch High Output Reflector, which one do you recommend? thanks

  • Jason Shoemaker - November 25, 2013 - 9:18 am

    Great shots, Nick! I am planning on using a similar setup for an upcoming event w/ 2 Einsteins….have you ever used the umbrella reflectors on your monolights (as opposed to the 7-inch reflectors) for your lighting setup? Thanks!

  • nicksan - November 25, 2013 - 10:20 am

    Mike, I wouldn’t think it would make much of a difference.

  • nicksan - November 25, 2013 - 10:22 am

    Jason, I have not used the Umbrella reflector. In all honesty, it would probably be fine. Doesn’t really make too much of a different. I mean, you can even light up the room like this using speedlites, so what type of reflector you use on your strobes probably won’t matter too much.

  • Koti - December 4, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    I saw your website. Can you please help me with lighting setup. I have the Nikon D-700 with SB-910 flash and also I have the Elinchrom BRX 500/500 2-Light To Go Kit but i never used it in the reception time. After I saw your website I’m excited to use my elinchrom lights. Can you please tell me how to setup and use my elinchrom light without the SB-900 flash.


  • Adam Rainer - December 6, 2013 - 11:56 am

    Hi Nick! You mentioned “lights so that I had a baseline reading of f/2.8, 1/160, ISO800” and “Camera settings were f/2, 1/160, ISO 200”. Do you usually try and make the background 2 stops darker than the main subject you are photographing?

  • nicksan - January 20, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    Adam, I try to make the background a little darker relative to the subject. Can’t really tell you how many stops though. Whatever looks good you know? πŸ™‚

  • nicksan - January 20, 2014 - 3:50 pm


    I am not familiar with Elinchrom. Conceptually it would be pretty similar however. You would use radio triggers to trigger the strobes. If you want an on-camera speedlite, you’d have it hot-shoe mounted while the transmitter to the strobes would be connected via PC Sync cable. Something similar to that…

  • Matthew - February 13, 2014 - 11:41 am

    I’ve used the Vagabond with great results. In the past I had an issue with drunk guests knocking over heavier strobes so I haven’t used them in awhile.

  • amy Thompson - February 27, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Thank you for this GREAT post. I don’t want to do another wedding with the hotshoe/speedlight setup. It’s so inconsistent. My biggest concern with the strobe kind of setup, was my equipment being in the way or having to move the lights around a lot. With them farther back in the room, which is totally possible at most venues I shoot at, this will work perfectly. I was also unsure about which radio triggering devises to purchase. This info is a great start, it’s always helpful to see and know that other photographers are are setting up this way.

  • Jonathan Barnes - April 22, 2014 - 6:12 pm

    Beautiful Setup…. I have a few questions… Do you ever run into less lit areas of your room once you trigger the strobes? Are there specific locations, or a go to setup every time when setting up your strobes? Are 2 strobes and the shoe mount (Fill) flash adequate in most situations or would you prefer having on more strobe?

  • nicksan - April 24, 2014 - 7:57 pm


    It depends on the venue but there will always be spots that are inconsistent. Every time I feel like I nailed down the placement, I have a bad night! Remember, I also have a hot-shoe mounted flash so I can always dial in FEC to adjust. I can also change the aperture and ISO to compensate as well. I try to get good exposures around the center of the dance floor and then adjust accordingly when I am away from that area.

  • Rishi - May 26, 2014 - 9:04 am

    Nick, great Post. I also use the same equipment. I have tried to use the same setup in reception/banquet halls.
    The issue I face is that I always need to have both the lights positioned to my back or else I get flash coming straight into the camera. If I try and place them high up, then I get strong shadows from the reflection off the chandeliers.
    Also, I see in your setup that one or the other light is near a seating table, so wont you get over exposed images near that table?
    How do you solve for these problems? Thanks.

  • hector rivera - June 7, 2014 - 10:44 pm

    Hi nick , are you gelling your lights ? Strobes ? With the alien bees ??

  • Artis Robalds - August 1, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    Am I the only one, who likes first picture more than others?

  • hector rivera - October 7, 2014 - 11:15 am

    I use to shoot with my alioen bees eisteins no more is just a hasle to carry those strobes i now use my YOUNGNUOS there cheap relieble and cost allot cheaper i take a hand ful with me put battery packs light stand aim at the floor and Im done my assistant wil alwasy be by myside with a softbox monopod to get creative is awesome i get same results light is light folks!!

  • Julie Dreelin - April 3, 2015 - 1:01 pm

    Finally, someone with a write up on pro wedding photographer lighting that makes sense! You are amazing Nick, this is a perfect set up and answered all of my questions on using the Buff lights with wireless along with speed lighting set up better than the companies could have-thanks a ton!

  • Julie Dreelin - April 3, 2015 - 1:01 pm

    Finally, someone with a write up on pro wedding photographer lighting that makes sense! You are amazing Nick, this is a perfect set up and answered all of my questions on using the Buff lights with wireless along with speed lighting set up better than the companies could have-thanks a ton!

  • Ron Ira Steele - April 10, 2015 - 5:52 pm

    Nick are the two Einstein lights used at the reception good enough to actually shoot in a church ceremony? I have shot some weddings where it was ok to use strobe during the ceremony.

  • HΓ©ctor Paris - Photographer - May 19, 2015 - 3:31 am

    I prefer the first photo, It has the natural scence of the party and light, the others donΒ΄t.

  • Kishan Vaja - May 19, 2015 - 9:38 am

    Do guest not complain about strobe going off all of the time?

  • Guarionex Pichardo - May 19, 2015 - 3:04 pm

    Only question: what if I use two camera bodies? What you recommend?

  • Guarionex - May 20, 2015 - 7:33 pm

    Only one question: what if I use two camera bodies, what you recommend?

  • Hector Rivera - October 3, 2015 - 11:21 am

    Hi Nick, awesome, question I use the pocketwizard system, I’m looking to switch to Paul C buff triggers. My question is do you ever have problems in reception wedding locations with Paul C buff triggres example miss fires, etc,. I had that problem with the chinese triggers Youngnuo they failed on me in inside venue/weddings due to radio/water frequency problems I thing Pye from SLR lounge had a review on why using Youngnuo triggers is bad for wedding receptions etc. clcik here on article I was just wondering if you ever have problems triggering the Paul C buff gear in reception halls?? thank you in advance Hector RIvera Photography. Email

  • Hector Luis Rivera - October 3, 2015 - 3:19 pm

    Hi Nick, awesome, question I use the pocketwizard system, I’m looking to switch to Paul C buff triggers. My question is do you ever have problems in reception wedding locations with Paul C buff triggres example miss fires, etc,. I had that problem with the chinese triggers Youngnuo they failed on me in inside venue/weddings due to radio/water frequency problems I thing Pye from SLR lounge had a review on why using Youngnuo triggers is bad for wedding receptions etc. clcik here on article I was just wondering if you ever have problems triggering the Paul C buff gear in reception halls?? thank you in advance Hector RIvera Photography. Email

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