The Five Light Toast

After Taran and Robert's wedding last weekend at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, I thought it might be fun to share a little of how I lit the photos for their toasts. The reception room at CMAC is gorgeous, but does provide one challenge, and extremely high ceiling. Unlike say, the downtown Harvard Club though, the walls and ceiling are bright and reflective, so bouncing flash off of them is not a problem. Any of the following images could have been made with three lights, but the bounce from the balcony would have needed to be set to 1/4 power (vs. 1/16) which would have meant a far slower recycle time (and a less even spread of light).

Here's a wide shot of the room.

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding

Initially I'd set up three lights in the balcony for the first dance, set to 1/16 power and bounced upwards, which when combined with my on-camera TTL bounce flash gave me an even light across the dance floor. When Taran and Robert took their seats for the toasts though, I felt like using the four bounce flashes alone just didn't give me enough pop.

Here's a straight bounce flash photo. The exposure was 1600 ISO 1/200 at F/2.8 with my 70-200 on the Nikon D3s.

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding

Nice, but I felt like it was missing something. At this point I was out of light stands as it's rare that we need more than 3 on a wedding day, so I set a fifth flash to 1/64 power and had Jess hold it and aim it at the back of Taran & Robert while they watched the toasts.

The exposure for these next two was D3s with 70-200 ISO 1250 1/250 at F/2.8.

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding

Here's a diagram of the setup to get a better idea of where the lights were. The balcony bounce flashes were at 1/16 for the entire reception, and my on-camera TTL flash ranged from zero exposure compensation to -2/3.

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding reception

The added benefit of not placing the final light on a stand was that when I turned to photograph the toaster, Jess was able to turn with me and direct the light at the best man and maid of honor.

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding reception

Cambridge Multicultural Center Wedding reception