Capturing Perfect Photos Without the Luxury of Time

In this article and video, we’re going to be talking about how we captured a perfect nighttime shot, with the combination of pre-lighting and preparation, just in the knick of time.

How to Capture Perfect Nighttime Wedding Photos Video


Before we pull our couple out of their wedding reception, we always keep in mind that we don’t want to keep them out for too long, because that would be incredibly rude of us to keep their guests waiting. This is why preparation is extremely important. The key word here is “Pre-Light.” You want to pre-light your scene so when you’re ready to shoot your couple, you can simply place them, pose them, and get your shot.

The Shot

For this particular wedding, right outside of the reception hall was the couples’ “seating tree” which was a small tree covered in diamond shaped ornaments that directed people where to sit. Behind the tree was a mirror which was tilted up and reflected a chandelier on the ceiling. Earlier in the evening, I saw this and I thought to myself, “This is going to look bokehlicious,” and decided to set up a shot shooting through the seating tree and placing the couple in between the tree and the mirror. You can see how I got to my final exposure settings in the video above.


The Gear I Used

For this shoot through shot, I put the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II on my Canon 5D Mark III, and I shot at 200mm because I wanted to compress the mirror in the back with the tree in front. I also placed a Phottix Mitros+ Flash about 15ft away and pointed at the seating tree to illuminate it in my image.


Once I get my exposure settings dialed in, I have my 2nd shooter stand where the couple should be so I light them with a Lowel GL-1.

The Final Shot

When I finally had everything in place, I brought my couple to the hallway. I placed them where I wanted them and fired off a test shot to make sure all my settings were perfect (which fortunately for me, they were). After I got this shot, I asked the couple to go in for a kiss, when all of a sudden, their friend came busting out of the reception hall like the Kool Aid man and yelled “IT’S YOUR SONG!”(9:45 in the video). The couple excitedly ran off to go dance leaving me standing there wondering what the heck just happened. I only had a total of 10 seconds with the couple, and in that 10 seconds, I got one shot. Due to careful preparation and pre-lighting, it ended up being an excellent shot.


More Info

I hope you enjoyed this video, if you’re interested in learning more about wedding photography, be sure to check out SLRLounge in the Bahamas! If you’re interested in learning more about Lightroom Workflow and Processing then be sure to check out the awesome workshops we have in our store. I’ll see you guys in the next video!