Pinned Constant Or OCF

Once again, pinned constant or off-camera flash lighting is ideal for photographing the cake cutting. This lighting method only takes 1-2 minutes to set up, and it works in any scene or location. It does, however, require an assistant or 1-2 light stands.

It’s important to position the light so that shadows are minimal, whether it be a shadow cast from the cake over the couple, or from the bride over the groom, etc. (note the diagram above). The flash power will have to be adjusted based on the distance between the light and the couple. Whereas we generally recommend setting the flash power to 1/8-1/16 during most of the reception, the flash power may have to be reduced to 1/16-1/32 for the cake cutting. Whatever the case, make sure the flash power is set lower than the ambient lighting and/or modified with a softbox or umbrella to minimize shadows while shooting close up. On-camera fill flash is also an option, but it’s really the photographer’s preference.

Key tips for covering this activity include the following:

  1. Don’t blow out the cake (enable the highlight alert on your camera)
  2. Ideally shot into the guests
  3. Watch for shadows!
  4. Place the groom behind the bride

Secondary angles (other than tight vs. wide angles) are typically not needed for photographing the cake cutting, so second and third shooters should focus on VIPs or other guests’ reactions.

Multiple light sources allow for more dynamic lighting options and up the production value by providing rim lighting and separating the couple from the background. Making simple adjustments can utilize the background lighting to create flares or backlighting for the couple (see the image below).