Monday, September 20, 2010  -  Photography

Photography Tips and Tricks - Backlighting with an off-camera flash

ast Monday I mentioned that Pocket Wizards are a necessity for a wedding photographer. I briefly tried to explain why, but it will probably make more sense if I show you.

These images below are two of my most favorite examples. Both of these were taken at Jessica and Jeremy's wedding two years ago. Jessica has now opened up an awesome new Bridal Boutique in Greenwood Village - so if you're a bride, make sure to check BRIDALIZE out! Anyway, shooting with me that day was Andrew Schafer. He also brought along some Pocket Wizards and both of us set up our own off camera flash by mounting a flash, attached to a Pocket Wizard, on a light stand and setting them up near the stage where the band was playing. During the first dance Andrew captured the large image you see below, and mine is the inset.

In Andrew's, I love how the flash bounced light off of her white wedding dress and illuminated Jeremy's face!
Photography Tips Backlighting JJ
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Here is another similar image from Katherine and Adam's wedding in Chicago.
Photography Tips Backlighting KA
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The next two images show you, in very obvious fashion, this backlight setup. In both of these images I was also using on-camera flash at the same time as the off-camera. In this way, the off-camera flash adds a lot of depth and 3-dimensionality to the images.
Photography Tips Backlighting KD
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Photography Tips Backlighting VT
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But this pocket wizard and off-camera flash combo isn't only handy at receptions. Take this next photo for example. At Adrienne and Ryan's wedding at Grant Humphreys Mansion we went outside after dark for a few photos. I set the off-camera flash on the ground right behind them and it illuminated that entire patio area. Sure, there was a wall light there, but it wasn't near bright enough to accomplish this. My flash not only put a rim light around the couple, but the columns as well. And it also lit up that ceiling!
Photography Tips Backlighting AR
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And in this one below, from Jennifer and Tim's wedding in Aspen, on the left you will see a 'standard' image with off-camera flash where this trick adds that rim light and 3D effect I'm talking about. Do you see that faint white highlight around both of their heads? Without that their heads and faces would've been blandly 'mashed in' with the background. This gives it separation.

Now, on the right you'll see that instead of the flash being directly behind them, it's off to the side. I was still using it and firing it remotely, but from a totally different angle this time. It's now coming from the front, not from me (on-camera flash) but maybe 10 or 15 feet beside me.
Photography Tips Backlighting JA
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And here is one final example, or two, from a couple of different weddings.
Photography Tips Backlighting ASKJ
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Like I said before, when the reception gets dark and there isn't much light to play with - make your own!
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