For me, reception lighting is the trickiest part of my job. Most reception halls are usually long and rectangular, dimly lit w/ low hanging chandeliers, high ceilings with beams, and LED lights from the DJ. Most of the time, everywhere I turn there's a different light scenario to expose for. For someone who loves shooting in natural light, receptions can be a beast. A couple of years ago, I decided to face the challenge head on, and learn how to control lighting situations, instead of having them control me. The greatest thing I did was invest in 4 flashes on light stands, instead of using an on-camera flash that I bounce off the ceiling or walls (Mike Larson showed us this method at For the Love Workshop). I like the look of ambient lighting, so having four flashes at low power fills up the space, without being glaringly obvious. This approach improved my reception lighting by leaps and bounds, but I still struggled with harsh shadows when photographing a packed dance floor. It wasn't until this summer that I found a product that I absolutely can't live without. It's called the Rogue Master Lighting Kit. It comes with a softbox that mounts easily onto my flash, and several Flashbenders. There are also gels (to help unify color temperatures) and a grid. My favorite parts of these kits are the Softbox and Flashbenders....I can't live without them. The softbox smooths out the light, creating soft, even light without harsh shadows (this has been a life saver). The Flashbenders allow me to bend and spread the light to where I need it. I love that I can hook them up to my flashes in a matter of seconds, which is brilliant because I usually have less than 5 minutes to transition from portraits to announcements.
The set was so easy to use and learn. Believe me, I am not one of those lighting gurus who has come up with a mathematical approach to lighting. I am a wedding photographer who spends 90% of her time shooting in natural light. However, due to my field, I HAVE to use off-camera lighting during the indoor portions of weddings. I'm just thankful that ExpoImaging came out with an amazing, user friendly product that can make artificial lighting easy for a natural light photographer.
With all that said, I'm excited to announce that ExpoImaging is giving away a free Rogue Master Lighting Kit to one of my followers this week (valued at $199.95). To enter, head over to my FB business page, and tag yourself in the Giveaway Photo. Leave a comment on the photo, tagging both ExpoImaging and my business page. You can even copy this: @Ginny Corbett Photography and @ExpoImaging are giving away a free Rogue Master Lighting Kit. I gotta have it! (Tip: In order to tag a page in a comment, you have to first "like" the page. So, here's a link to "like" ExpoImaging's Page as well.)
I will announce the winner this Friday. Also....ExpoImaging is so generous to offer all of my friends a 20% discount on all Rogue and ExpoImaging Products. Just enter: GINNYROGUE at checkout. (If you don't already have the ExpoDisc, I would get it ASAP...that's how I get all the beautiful colors in my images.) The discount code expires on 12/15/13. So, don't delay!
Below are some example images from my receptions, with a little explanation of what the lighting scenario was.....enjoy!
This wedding was outside on a patio during sunset. I wanted to be able to see the mtns in the backgroud, so the softbox was perfect to provide softlight.
This wedding was at a winery in VA. The cellar was dimly lit, but I didn't have any trouble creating beautiful light. The main light is using the softbox. The hairlight is using the Flashbenders.
For this shot, we only had 5 minutes to shoot the rings. We grabbed a flash with a softbox and lit up this shot beautiful. It only took one flash, and about 3 minutes.
Before using the Master Lighting Kit, this shot would've had harsh shadows with this many people on the dance floor, but with the softbox and Flashbender, we were able to create soft, even light that highlights the emotions on the dance floor.
With first dances, you have only a few minutes to get it right. I no longer spend most of the first dance guessing about the right place to stand for all the flashes to work together...the light is evenly displaced making it easy on us from the star
Rose Hill is one of my favorite venues, but it's tricky to light. The room is long and rectangle, and there are tons of chandeliers. It used to be a challenge to photograph the person giving the toast AND the audience, but now it's a breeze.
With using 4 flashes, I can position them all over the reception site so that I can sit back with my 135mm lens and capture what's happening during cocktail hour. With 4 flashes, I don't worry if I have enough light.
You can see how our flashes are set up in this shot. Before using my lighting set up, this reception would've been a nightmare. It's outside, under the stars. But with multiple off-camera lights, I can create dimensional, soft light everywhere.
Head over to my fb business page, and tag yourself in this pic, then leave a comment tagging both my page and ExpoImaging's page in a post. Winner announced Friday.
Ahhh....wedding season is coming to an end, and boy, it has been a beautiful year. I feel like I've have evolved more this year than ever, especially in the realm of creativity. In previous years, there was so much excess...a pressure to do everything under the sun, a pressure to please everyone I came in contact with, a pressure to be different better every week.
Last winter, I took my first real rest from photography. From December to March, I barely did anything photography related. The little voice in the back of my head was screaming, "You should be working! You should be making business plans, strategies for growth, work...WORK!" But, that still small voice....the voice wrapped in peace, told me to rest. It told me that dreams are birthed when you sleep. It told me that there is a beautiful clarity that comes in the winter. (If you don't believe me, I encourage you to look through the forest when the leaves have fallen. You can see everything so clearly).
So, I decided to ignore that pesky voice that dominates most workaholics, and I decided to take a real rest. At first, I didn't know what to do with myself. The first week, I watched two seasons of Walking Dead. It was awesome.....mega lazy....but so much fun! I'd wake up in the morning, stumble down the stairs....plop down on the couch, and watch tv. The next week, I bought all my Christmas presents, and wrapped them all in kraft paper and baker's twine. I spent a lot of time on those presents and enjoyed every minute. Then after two weeks, I wanted to actually do something for me. So, I signed up for a pottery class (I've always wanted to do that). I started making morning trips to the studio. Not too long after that, I decided to sign up for the gym....not because I was disgusted with my reflection in the mirror, but because I wanted to do something active. It was a blast! Then, I started taking walks in the woods....really seeing the beauty and intricacy of God's creation. I'd observe the streams of light piercing through the trees, I'd sit by the lake and watch how the light reflected of the ripples. My mind was open to seeing light different, and I savored those walks alone in the woods. Out of that season of rest, my eyes of creativity were sharpened. It was amazing to see the fruit that came out of making space. Out of the space, I started craving creative things that I always wanted to do, but "never had time for".
That season of winter was beautiful for me, and it sustained me through my wedding season. Now that the season is coming to a close, I'm having to be intentional about being refilled between each wedding. In the past, I would get creatively inspired by looking at Pinterest poses before each wedding. But, now, I draw from my own well of creativity. Don't get me wrong...sometimes it's great to have a drink from someone else's well, but their well won't sustain me through the heat of a wedding day. So, to get refilled between last weekend's wedding and this one, Shane and I went to Asheville for the day. We rented a little cabin in Black Mountain, walked around Biltmore during the Golden Hour (I mean, that alone will recharge anyone who is running on empty), went to a wine tasting, had dinner on a patio in downtown Asheville, bought truffles from a boutique chocolate shoppe, then went to a Sigur Ros concert. I completely emptied myself creatively at last weekend's wedding, knowing that I would be refilled before this weekend's wedding. It's the beautiful rhythm of being an artist.
I write this post not to make myself seem awesome, but to encourage you creatives to rest this fall. Learn to savor. Learn to slow down and taste the beauty of your life. Pay attention to your own well...it's a beautiful thing.
Here are a couple of pics from our Golden Hour walk around Biltmore.