Fixed Pinned OCF

Oftentimes at receptions, vendors will use pinlights to highlight centerpieces and other prominent features of a reception hall. Using speedlights, photographers can borrow that concept to pinlight guests. The idea here is to control light direction and only light our primary subjects.

Here is our fixed (stationary) pinlight scenario using off-camera flash (OCF):

  • Initial setup 3 minutes | flash
  • Works in any scene | location
  • Requires 1-2 light stands

Notice how the flash (B) is placed far back from the entry point of the grand entrance. The light is positioned at this distance in order to avoid blowing out (over-lighting) the subjects as they walk nearer to the light source. Remember, the ideal spot to begin photographing subjects during the grand entrance is not at the door but rather after the subjects have crossed in front of or between other guests. Guests make a better background than a doorway with an exit sign. Using a grid and zooming the flash will allow for more tightly focused light direction.

Here are some key tips for using fixed pinned OCF:

NOTE: Make sure the flashes are positioned higher than eye level at a top-down angle to create flattering shadows.

When possible, adding a backlight will further enhance the grand entrance of images. See the diagram above for placement suggestions.

NOTE: Don’t overlook (or entirely miss) the VIPs for the grand entrance, whether it be the parents or the bridal party. You never know if/when they’re going to get back into the action out on the floor.