The Perfect Exposure: Step-by-Step

Getting the perfect exposure can be done in 8 simple steps. Please see the slide below:

Shooting Direction

There are multiple potential angles to shoot at a reception hall, and some are just better than others. This is why you should first decide on your shooting direction. Whenever possible, try to frame your subject with other people in the background (such as a bride and groom or other guests behind a toast maker). You do not want to frame your subjects under an exit sign or in front of the DJ’s speaker system. Every beautiful reception hall will still have some area that does not make an ideal background for photos.

Setting Desired Ambient Exposure

When setting your ambient exposure, you don’t want to kill the light in the room, but you don’t want to reveal every detail either. Basically, you should try to represent the scene in camera as it is in the room, and then add additional flash power when lighting your subjects so that they are separated from the background and house colors (which can sometimes be pink, purple, etc.).

Gelling to the Dominant Ambient Light

When gelling to the main light, you have to decide on the dominant light source in the room and then gel your flash accordingly to support it. For example, if the dominant light source in a room is warm tungsten lighting, then you would likely use a CTO gel to match it.

Setting Power and Making Adjustments

If your primary light is on camera, dial in the light power according to the quick guide covered in chapter 1.4. Otherwise, dial in your off-camera flashes, set the zoom, and take a test shot to get started.

Chapter One

  • 1.1 Wedding Workshop 8: Photographing the Reception | Trailer
  • 1.2 Pain Points
  • 1.3 Must-Have Gear
  • 1.4 The Intuitive Guide To Flash Power
  • 1.5 Light Control Is The Name Of The Game
  • 1.6 The Perfect Exposure: Step-by-Step
  • 1.7 Gelling Made Simple
  • 1.8 To Rim Or Not To Rim
  • 1.9 Risk Vs. Reward
  • 1.10 Lighting Guide Legend
  • 1.11 Assignment: Perfect Exposure
  • 1.12 Chapter One Quiz
  • Chapter Two

  • 2.1 The Grand Entrance - Goals and Must Haves
  • 2.2 Fixed Pinned OCF
  • 2.3 Moving Pinned OCF
  • 2.4 Bounce Flash
  • 2.5 Direct Flash Done Right
  • 2.6 Assignment: Grand Entrance
  • 2.7 Chapter Two Quiz
  • Chapter Three

  • 3.1 First & Family Dance Goals And Must Haves
  • 3.2 Fixed Pinned OCF
  • 3.3 Moving Pinned Light
  • 3.4 Bounce Flash With Rims
  • 3.5 Assignment: Family Dances At Wedding Receptions
  • 3.6 Chapter Three Quiz
  • Chapter Four

  • 4.1 Toasts and Speeches | Goals and Must-Haves
  • 4.2 Fixed Pinned OCF
  • 4.3 Bounce Flash
  • 4.4 Assignment: Toasts and Speeches
  • 4.5 Chapter Four Quiz
  • Chapter Five

  • 5.1 Cake-Cutting Goals And Must-Haves
  • 5.2 Pinned Constant Or OCF
  • 5.3 Bounce Flash With Rims
  • 5.4 Assignment: Cake Cutting Capture
  • 5.5 Photographing the Reception: Chapter Five Quiz
  • Chapter Six

  • 6.1 Bouquet/Garter Goals And Must-Haves
  • 6.2 Pinned OCF
  • 6.3 Bounce Flash
  • 6.4 Assignment: Get The Garter (Or Bouquet)
  • 6.5 Chapter Six Quiz
  • Chapter Seven

  • 7.1 Open Dancing Goals And Must-Haves
  • 7.2 Pinned Constant Or Off-Camera Flash
  • 7.3 Direct Flash Dance Floor Twist
  • 7.4 Bounce Flash With Rims
  • 7.5 Direct Flash
  • 7.6 A New Twist On Dance Floor Pics
  • 7.7 Chapter Seven Quiz
  • Chapter Eight

  • 8.1 Constant Light: Flower Petal Toss
  • 8.2 Constant Light: Lightsaber Arch
  • 8.3 Bounce Flash: New Year’s Countdown
  • 8.4 Natural Light: Sparkler Exit
  • 8.5 Assignment: Creative Exit
  • Chapter Nine

  • 9.1 Lighting Techniques For Miscellaneous Reception Portraits
  • 9.2 Almost Perfect Ambient Light Refined With Bounce
  • 9.3 Commercial Vs. Stylized Lighting And Post-Production For Both
  • 9.4 Assignment: Reception Portraits
  • 9.5 Chapter Nine Quiz
  • Chapter Ten

  • 10.1 Outro And Goodbye
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