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Quick & Easy Event Lighting

Pick up some tips on quick and easy event lighting from professional photographer Luke Ballard in this Howcast video.


When shading an event, it’s really important that we do light the people we’re photographing correctly. While most cameras these days come with a flash, you’ve got to keep in mind that the in-built flash on your camera has a range of maybe four to five feet. It’s not really going to power the lighting for your subjects correctly. Using a speed light, or an external flash, which we can clip on to our camera, allows us to get a lot easier lighting of our image.

It’s important, though, not to fire the flash directly at the subject, you’re going to get very, very, harsh light and it’s going to contrast horribly, very bright subject, very dark background. I like to do two things, take my ISL up to about 800 for the purposes of the photograph, and I want to redirect my flash. If I have an assistant shooting with me, I’ll use something like a reflector. These are very, very simple, and allow me to direct the flash directly on to my subject for a softer light. Quite often though, I’m not going to have an assistant with me when photographing an event.

You can direct that flash off the ceiling, you can direct that flash off another wall,or you can even direct it off your own shirt, assuming you’re wearing a white shirt, not a clack one. Like I said, it is very important that you don’t direct the light directly at the subject, especially with something like a wedding where the bride’s wearing white. Most wedding dresses have a lot of detail, and firing the flash directly on to a wedding dress is going to blow it out and lose all the detail. With very, very, very simple technique, and redirecting your light, you’re sure to get fantastic light at the next event you photograph.

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