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Four Types of Night Photography for Your Wedding Reception

While most photographers offer one style of photography for every situation (and hey, to each their own!), I'm able to give my clients some creative control over their images! I'll walk each couple through which of the follow four styles would suit their location and wedding style the best, aesthetically, and also chat about how each photography technique appears different based on the other elements of the reception room! Let's get into it...


Keep in mind, you don't have to pick "just one" when working with me! We can mix and match styles depending on the night's events...

Ambient Lighting - No Flash

This technique is completely dependent on the lighting of the room (i.e. twinkle lights, house lights, street lamps, dimmed canned lighting, DJ provided lighting, etc.)


There are no wrong answers when choosing your preferred style of night photography, but it's important to be well informed on the pro's and cons of each!


Pro's of Ambient Light

- Gives a very "natural" feel

- Soft and flattering on everyone

Con's of Ambient Light

- Grainy if environment is too dark (let's chat and talk about how "dark" is "too dark")

- Loss of color and detail due to the lack of light (this might not be a deal breaker for you, especially if you want to lean into the warmer tones)

- Can only capture slow-moving subjects. In other words, A fast moving subject (dancer) may appear blurry, due to the settings that allow light into the camera).



Indirect Flash - Only Available Indoors / With Ceiling

This technique uses the ceiling, or in some cases, a faux ceiling (i.e. long white curtains hung horizontally) as a light reflector. Instead of the flash coming directly onto the subject, it shoots up, hits the ceiling, and bounces the diffused light back down onto your reception space.


Pro's of Indirect Flash

- Gives a very "natural" feel

- Soft and flattering on everyone

- Brings color and detail back into the image

- Allows for sharper images - can capture more movement

Con's of Indirect Flash

- Can only implement if the room structurally allows (has low enough ceilings)



Direct Flash

This technique is growing in popularity right now (2020-2023), and I personally love mixing this with a vintage, purposeful grain effect. My clients who have requested this have been looking for a cleaner look, but I think there are a lot of ways to get creative with this!


Pro's of Direct Flash

- Freezes fast movement, high action

- Dynamic (bright highlights, dark shadows)

- Lots of color and detail to work with

Con's of Direct Flash

- You either love it, or hate it! No technical con's. It only helps the photographer.



Artistic Flash

This technique is the newest addition to my services! With "Artistic Flash", I'm able to add a feeling of warmth and a whole new element of action to the image. This makes every single image totally unique. While I use the other lights in the room to create a swiped effect, the image can totally vary depending on what KIND of lights you provide in the reception. See if you can spot what are regular LED lights, outside "Christmas" string lights, DJ lights, a single canned light, or something else...


Pro's of Artistic Flash

- Freezes your subject's fast movement, while evoking a blurred effect simultaneously (showing their motion)

- Overall adds more energy to the scene

- Dynamic (bright highlights, dark shadows)

- Still gives lots of color and detail to work with

Con's of Artistic Flash

- You definitely either love it, or hate it

- The beauty is in the imperfection! It's a little bit messy - designed and inspired after vintage flash film photography - but some faces or details might get partially covered with light leaking as seen in these examples.



If you're not sure what kind of lights you'll need to recreate one of these scenes (or another not pictured), OR you're wondering if your venue will work for the style of photography you like, shoot me a message! Gillian.E.Rea@gmail.com

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