As a photographer, light is everything to my work. Without light, there is no work. But this is especially true when it comes to wedding receptions.
Often time lighting isn’t even a thought for the reception. Maybe a reception venue is selected because they have massive chandeliers, or cool windows. But depending on what you want your reception to eventually evolve into, that may not be enough.
Have you ever been to a club, the music is great, the crowd is awesome, but all the house lights are on? Me neither. It’s usually not until closing time the house lights come on because that signals the end of the night. Also know as, “the party is over.” You don’t want that for your reception until the party is actually over.
And for my work, if a room is lit by house lights and nothing else, there are two end results:
1). It’s either going to be way too dark, and I’ll have to rely on studio lights and flashes as the only dominate source of light for the images
2). It’s going to be bright, but void of all character and mood
Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be about the uplighting and chandeliers. I went to a wedding last summer that was a full on redneck wedding — it’s exactly what the couple wanted. And what redneck event isn’t complete without a bonfire. That bonfire add so much atmosphere and mood to the reception images. It gave it a warmth and when a moment between the bride and her father unfolded in front of it, it became one of my favorite shots — as well as the brides.
A good idea is to talk with your venue or DJ about what lighting options available. Do this while on a site visit to get an idea of what it’ll look like without additional lighting, and what it can look like and the cool tricks that can be done with the additional lighting.
The lighting can do a lot for a room big or small. It can set the mood for a room by adding drama, elegance. The addition of creative and colorful lighting is also good for creative shots whether it’s candids or portraits.
Thomas Shaw with Traks DJ Service is very knowledgeable when it comes to helping couples decide on lighting options for their reception and how to ensure the reception fits the style and mood that’s you’re looking for.
What’s the biggest misconception about additional lighting at receptions?
That it is a waste of money and that it is not needed.
Where does lighting get used most?
Mostly on the dance floor where people are dancing.
What are some of the more creative ways you’ve seen lighting used at receptions?
One of my favorites it hooking all the up-lighting around the room together and making the whole room change on demand. When it comes time to dance, you can make the entire room bounce to the beat of the music.
What’s the price range for additional lighting?
It all depends on what you are looking for, but I have seen pricing start at as little as $200.
Does lighting pose any additional hazards? If so, how are those alleviated?
Some people are sensitive to flashing or flickering lights that cause migraines and seizures. It’s a good idea to find out if someone on your guest list has any problems with these sensitives.
When should couples start planning their lighting schemes for the reception?
Once you have colors picked out for your wedding and a good idea on the wedding reception layout.
Do you have any additional tips or insight into reception lighting?
Less is more. You can easily go over the top with you lighting and then it looks like a train wreck. If done right, you can really change the whole ambiance of a room just by adding some simple lighting.