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Video Light and Wedding Photography

Wedding photographers have been using video light for a while in the USA and Australia;  and it use is gradually becoming more popular the UK. But video light is not always deployed to its maximum potential at weddings.

I have taught some photographers who initially viewed video light in the way it is used for videography (straightforward illumination in low light) and have tended to focus on the technical advantages and disadvantages against a flash gun alternative.

Video Light Wedding Image

At weddings I deploy video light to produce a romantic and tender mood in the photograph. I am frequently in stately homes in very low-light conditions, but with lovely, subtle ambient tungsten lighting. The benefit of video light is that in can balance with the tungsten light in terms of colour temperature and intensity. It is mainly impossible to create such a soft fall-off in light with an off-camera flash gun (even with diffusing modifiers).  Another advantage of using video light for wedding photographers is that you are essentially ‘painting with light’.  In contrast to flash, you can readily see beforehand what image and light you are capturing.

There are two aspects to emphasise about video light. First, do not be hesitant about using high ISO (I frequently use ISO 3200, and I am surprised by the number of wedding photographers who unduly worry about this). The advantages of capturing the ambient light offered in low-light settings easily outweigh any disadvantages concerning noise. Second, direct the couple in a way so that their faces offer a simple surface to the  video light. When you are creating a smaller source of (directional) light, I always look to avoid ugly eye socket shadows because it can often destroy the subtle, editorial feel of the photo.

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All images copyright Gary Roebuck AMPA ABIPP.