Some more ideas for planning a wedding shoot

In a previous discussion, I mentioned how to plan for a wedding assignment. I wrote about finding the aspirations of the wedding couple, what they want out of their wedding photographer, and planning the shoot to ensure that their expectations are fulfilled before you move towards more artistic shots.

In this discussion, I will concentrate on the lighting bit and a few extra accessories.

Carry around four lights to a wedding

The more lights you can carry to a venue, the better flexibility you get when you are there. One is the bare minimum, and three to four is good. You last want to arrive at a wedding and find the day overcast or the venue with poor ambient lighting. Then there is a small thing called a change of schedule. You find that the reception is delayed beyond the blue hour you had initially planned for. With the extra lights, you have the flexibility to walk out of the venue with the images you had sought to capture. This is regardless of any change of weather, change of schedule, and any other surprises that Mother Nature or the wedding party can throw at you.

Carry lots of batteries

There are a lot of issues that you have to keep in mind when planning for a wedding shoot. Wedding photographers don’t have the luxury of using many lights at a venue. They have to work within the limitations that are imposed on them. And yet, they are expected to produce good quality images worthy of keeping the day’s memories fresh in the couple’s minds. This is a hard ask. No wonder not too many photographers want to do weddings.

Since you are already kind of limited to a few lights and you have to lug everything whenever you change the scene personally, small lights give you more flexibility. However, the problem with tiny lights, and speedlights, is the gradually extending recycling time and the limited number of flash cycles you can get out of a freshly charged set of batteries.

Over an entire day, say 10-12 hours of shooting, you are bound to exhaust at least two to three dozen batteries depending on the number of shots you make. So, carry a lot of freshly charged batteries and keep the dry ones separate from those fully charged ones.

Use a voice-activated light stand to hold the light

I was kidding. A voice-activated light stand is your assistant or anybody you take to help you shoot images on the wedding day. The next better way to bounce light off a wall is to use an assistant to hold the light in the exact spot you want it to be. Things like backlighting, using a hard light from the camera left or right, or even rim lighting can be done easily and quickly if you employ an assistant to run around and hold the light where you want it to be.

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