The lighting in this photo helps capture the feel and emotion of the moment this bride and groom shared their first dance surrounded by an elegant ballroom in beautiful South Florida.
South Florida wedding photographers have a multitude of lighting techniques that can be implemented to illuminate indoor ballrooms at night; we personally love our off-camera flash setup, as it provides a variety of possibilities. In this photo, we opted for a restrained use of lighting, allowing the natural glow of the candles scattered across the room to cast their distinctive glow onto our subjects. The uplighting in the background matched this orange tone and we wanted to incorporate that into the image without allowing it to be so bright it would change the mood of the scene. A controlled light off to one side of the dance floor gently kissed a portion of the bride’s face and lit just enough of the groom to make him visible. Keeping the image as dark as the scene appeared to the naked eye bring the viewer into the frame, helping recreate the moment through the use of both flash and ambient light.
Our approach to using flash during ballroom receptions has been fine tuned over the years and now allows us to capture images like this one in nearly all situations. Setting up flashes in a certain pattern, separating them by a set distance, and controlling the exact amount of light they produce enables us to manipulate the lighting of nearly any venue while still being true to one of our core beliefs. We strongly believe that we should be documenting the wedding day and distracting guests as little as possible. Bringing large and powerful lights into a ballroom to illuminate the dance floor, tables, and stage would make our lives as photographers easier, but it might ruin the experience for you and your guests. We have actually seen videographers (and some photographers) embrace this approach, but we avoid it at all costs. Digital photographic technology has advanced a great deal in recent years, and our cameras can essentially shoot in the dark now. That technology is great, but we love beautiful light and that this is extremely hard to find in the dark, so we create a bit of it ourselves. The combination of camera technology pairs perfectly with minimalistic flash power, allowing us to create our art without distracting the crowd and taking them out of the moment.
The versatility of our lighting setup has allowed us to excel in ballrooms, tents, and completely open air spaces. A ballroom space like this can present variables based on wall color, ceiling height, and the shape of the room. We hear stories from our colleagues in the industry that certain venues were “impossible” to shoot in, but we love challenging places. We have come across dozens of locations we would certainly categorize as “less than ideal,” but our system allows us to alter it slightly to adapt to the surroundings. The principles of lighting are the same everywhere but setting up remotely triggered lights can be difficult. Overcoming that effectively and still being able to shoot in our specific style, including delivering images that represent a creative variety of differing lighting techniques, is something we have been mastering for years. When you see us in an open space together, using one another as test subjects for lighting, you’ll see us smile and high five when we know we have dialed everything in properly. This allows us to turn our focus back to the wedding day and our creative processes.