Wedding Reception Lighting: CyberSyncs + Off Camera Flash
So, at the beginning of the summer, the scariest part about shooting weddings for me was the reception. Because it involved FLASH. As a lover of available light, I had no idea where to start. But Saturday night I shot my first SOLO wedding and I felt that the reception was the easiest part! Since I’ve (for the most part) overcome my fear of reception lighting, I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned.
After a couple weddings assisting Rik Andes (who has essentially become my mentor – YAY!) and seeing his setup in action, I asked him to hook me up with the same because I had no idea what I needed to make everything work. Through him, I was introduced to CyberSync, which are essentially the same as PocketWizards, but $100 cheaper. I know how confusing all of this lighting can be, so let me share with you what I’ve learned in the past couple weeks, and walk you through how to get the same setup (with all the credit going to Rik!).
PS – This is definitely just ONE way of going about it for off-camera flash (OFC), but I know Jasmine Star has a similar setup with PocketWizards. And I love Jasmine Star. So if it’s good for her, surely it can be good for me! ;)
This is my setup for a Canon EOS 7D. Sorry for those who shoot any other Canon body and also Nikon shooters – I am of no help to you! :(
- 2 Canon 430EX II Speedlites
- Westcott 28″ softbox with 8′ light stand and swivel mount
- CyberSync Transmitter
- CyberSync Receiver (battery powered)
- Hotshoe adapter (the 430 flash doesn’t have a place to plug the receiver in)
So here’s the basic light stand setup. I haven’t used the softbox at a reception yet because it’s quite large, and I just don’t know if it will put out enough light. I have the receiver attached to the flash with velcro. I was a little hesitant to put velcro on everything, but I used the actual Velcro brand, and it comes right off if it needs to. (This is the nice thing about PWs – they have a hand strap so you can just hang the receiver on the stand.)
This is a close up of the adapter. It’s basically just like the hotshoe on your camera, except it has a cord that attaches to the receiver. I believe the 580EX II speedlite has a place for the receiver to plug in directly, but I’m not sure. I know that this works for me, so that’s good enough, right? :)
The 430EX II flash doesn’t have a pull-out bounce card like the 580, so I had to make one. It’s attached with velcro (I should have gotten black velcro!), and there’s a strip of velcro on each of the three sides for when you’re shooting vertical, too. Again, the transmitter is attached to the flash with velcro, and plugs right into the side of the camera.
I’m still figuring out exactly how I use all of this combined to make images that I love, but here are a couple from this weekend’s wedding to give you a few examples.
Here, the OCF is directly behind the couple, creating a nice rim lighting, and my on-camera flash was set to ETTL (which is basically like automatic mode for your flash) and bounced off the card.
In this shot, I basically just moved clockwise in relation to above, so the OCF was to my left (and out of the shot) giving some side lighting. My on-camera flash was still set to ETTL and bounced off the card.
And here the OFC is just back/side lighting everyone in the shot, while my on-camera flash is exposed for the couple and bounced off the card (still ETTL).
So, I’m definitely not an expert on any of this, so if you have comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’d love to hear how you use/position your OCF to make beautiful images, too!
Happy Monday! (Did I really just say that?!)
***EDIT: Also check out my newest lighting post about mixing flash with ambient light!**