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Reception and Event Lighting: Dance Floor Demo

Lesson 23 from: Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques

Scott Robert Lim

Reception and Event Lighting: Dance Floor Demo

Lesson 23 from: Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques

Scott Robert Lim

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Lesson Info

23. Reception and Event Lighting: Dance Floor Demo


Class Trailer

Day 1


Course Introduction


What Photographers Should Know


Lighting Gear Box


My Camera Gear


Understanding the Magic of Flash


Shoot: Essential Skill #1 - Lighting Positions


Essential Skill #2 - Bright Light Situations


Lesson Info

Reception and Event Lighting: Dance Floor Demo

When I do group shots uh not just in the wedding reception but if I'm in overcast light and you put it on an umbrella it looks really good so like here I'm going to the keynote again if I go to this photo here, right? Um same thing it's on the umbrella um I'm shooting at a higher angle so I can see everybody that's just I'm kind of media ring for the background and it's in that kind of but it's a nice clean I'm not looking for anything artistic, you know, I'm not going for some award I just want to make sure everybody is in focus they're smiling nice got a good exposure got some good light bam I see some background back there so they know that there was a lake back there and I just don't blow the whole thing out so I think this is that f eleven or something like that so I remember needing two flashes through the umbrella toe like to give me enough light because I sending it through an umbrella I was more than six feet away on dry wanted f eleven to see the lake ok, now we're doing a gr...

oup shot okay see, I love this umbrella and the way it looks when you're in soft light with soft light so when you're in a blogger lighting situation and you use that soft light here's a picture of my friend groom he's also a great photographer in vancouver actually was on creative life too with the wedding thing and so I was shooting his sister's wedding this is her here okay, so and this is just a um this is just a one umbrella off to the side okay, but it's in that kind of blown light so you you soft with soft and it has a great feel to it so what I'm doing I'm standing way back and I'm zuma had twenty four, seventy lands I'm zooming it all the way at seventy to blur out the background mohr and using that stuff like same thing they wanted a group shot with the family so I stood back right? I zoomed in as much as possible to blur out the background and too narrow my, uh, view playing right and just so when the more you zoom, the more your camera does this and it just isolates that so I zoomed out to seventy and it blurs out the background so I blur out the background um and you some nice soft light their matches? Yes, andrew, do you typically for group shots when you're going outdoors? Are you looking for shade so that way you're yes battling the sun with the umbrella generally I'm always looking for safe when I do a group shot right I have to kick that even exposure so I'm looking for shade all the time to put the group in yes for isis does do you for outdoor you keep I so at eight hundred or lower now in this particular case I probably be at four hundred here, right? Um I wouldn't be up in a hundred I probably be at four hundred here uh because it's ah, yeah it's um it's a lot of light actually. So if you wantto stay within your flash sink speed to get that background detail in there um I got a lawyer s o somewhat so I'll keep it at four hundred typically I'm not sure if I do I show exactly what it is. No ok, so now let's get into, um a little bit doing my signature style reception lighting and what I do okay, now let's say, you know, you were kind of just roughing it and using one flash on li er which you can do so I typically if I'm using one flash I typically you set it at sixteenth power, okay? And I turned my eyes so tio either eight hundred or six hundred somewhere in there and I try to use the lowest possible f stop as possible and so this way what I'm trying to do with my high ias so very high I'm making that flash strong really strong to simulate that strong back light and I do that by raising my iess so up so it can almost feel like a strong sunlight coming behind there. And so when you on ly have one flash let's say we set this up and we're doing one flash and sometimes what you do is you make that light so strong that it actually lights up the back of the person let's say the person's, the flashes there and the persons here okay, so what's happening is that flashes hitting me it's so strong some of that light is carrying over to the walls around and bouncing back it's just giving you a hint of light there that's all I need because if I get a little bit there I can go back in to photo shop for light room and just bring it out some more, but I need to see something there so it's kind of like you're creating so much back light back there that is pushing out is going hitting the walls because where I told you flashes like a tasmanian devil so the farther I am away and setting the exposure than if it's traveling ten feet, then it's going to travel ten feet over there, maybe I'm going to get some kind of reflected light back and that's how I do it you could also do with two flashes was works even better ok, so and if you don't have another flash to give you fill flash you're just you want to set that flash strong enough that those two flashes are blasting through it's hitting some sort of wall and it's giving some light back the other way somewhere okay, if you're outdoors is not really gonna work, but if you're indoors you have a chance of that light bouncing around okay? And then if you're sophisticated you could do the three this is kind of where I do now if I can right? I'll do the two flashes and I'll take a third flash and I'll just fire it up to the ceiling if there's a ceiling like this right that's somewhat low or if it's not black of its black just forget it they're going to suck up all the light doesn't even help right? But if it's a white ceiling or brown or something or so I feel like I could get some reflection, I like that it goes all the way up and then it's it's just this big little bit of light that just comes back down over everything and gives me that hint of light in the front of the person okay? And that's this the method that I use now now here I'm going to the next picture I show you is going to be um just using one flash because I was at my friend's wedding and when I'm out of wedding less of my wife wasn't there right and so she didn't come to morocco because she had to take care of my kids and all that kind of stuff and it could make it solves there by myself right? And I'm bored right? So I'm like I got to do something here right and I was looking I was the worst dancer there it's like and I'm going to get up there and dance right I'm looking that full right so I go I got to take some pictures or something so I just pull out my camera I had one flash with me so what I did was I just put isis found a tree of plant it was like a tree stuck it up there right put the cto gel on I think I stick it on sixteenth or quarter power I just wanted a lot of light just let's blast this thing and so and then I just start taking some pictures and get shots like that ok so that's that like strong like now they're dark haired right so actually get that on dark hair that light has to be pretty bright so it's coming through blowing through here and where this courtyard was their worst white walls everywhere around so I was counting on that light to come through blowing through hitting another fall just boom kissing it and give me another light like that ok and so this is just with one flash so you can do it with one flash but you just kind of have teo and I had the lens that I had you could see upon my eye so to sixteen hundred there I think I had I assault six year and I think I put my flash a quarter power it was pretty strong um and I could only go down to f four because that's the lens that I had but I put it up at sixteen hundred ok um let's see right here's the next photo here's my more traditional type of feel where I got to sidelights right and I've got another flash come did you see the catch light in her eye right there that means there's there's some other flash going off I think I have another one on the stand no actually it was too lazy and put it on one of the tables and I pointed it straight up at the ceiling and down and it gave some front light right there okay now they're kind of doing their first dance here right so that light is like blowing through like boom I want this a lot of light right here and a lot of times what you get especially if the groom was wearing a white shirt is acting as a reflector and sometimes when that happens it's very magical because that light will come by boom hit that shirt and actually act as a reflector it she'll look like she's glowing, right? And sometimes if you get lucky, that happens a lot of times now, I also set up a lot of times when I'm doing the cake reception all have the cake here, and I'll just set one flash here and one flash here, giving some sidelight, right? And this is the same situation where I don't I think I even have another flash on I'm just like overpowering it with light two sidelights, and then that light bouncing around it's just giving me enough light so I could see them to give that mohr you know, sometimes when you're using backlight without any kind of front feel like it has more of a organic feel to it and that's what I like about it because it feels like the light is coming from another source, and then you're not manufacturing any other light and so that's why it just has that kind of nice feel to it here it's the same thing, but I do have some front flash here feeling that in because you could see the catch lights in their eyes on you get that sort of feel to it here is where you're getting that organic feel right here's the difference see that that's nice right it's a shirt feel is detail, but then you're not feeling it with last there you just let it bounce like crazy all over the place and hopefully some of that light will come back in there and get it and that has a different feel but it's all good it's just depending on what you want to do right and knowing how to accomplish what you want accomplish then here's the dancing garter toss stuff right where I have to flash is off to the side and then I had another flash bouncing up at the ceiling and somewhere I was on a speaker off there somewhere just put another third flash this to give me some light somewhere else okay, now they're dancing right and because flash can freeze thinks which is really cool so they're up in the air then you're going toe capture some sharp action shots with the flash all right? So let's do a few demonstrations and see how this works ok? And so we'll try to do the one flash set up here let me get uh I'm not going to turn this off and I am going to try this with a little bit yeah who cares let's do it with the lens that I normally would do that um well if you want what do you what do you want like a first dance feel or do you want kind of like a reception for you? Because if I use this wide when I use my wide it's more for like people dancing and moving around okay, if I put a little bit longer lens on that's more like the feel of the first dance I go long on that what do you guys want to see? Both okay, but usually when you're using one flash, the longer lens works better because you're just isolating a certain area of the light and you don't have that flash bull flashes the light up the whole area, but ok, so let's try it. So we're going to set this up here. Okay? I'm gonna put this at sixteenth power here and usually I just pointed straight in the middle of the dance floor. Okay? So this'll like here hopes I just find that noticed. I'm not good at this because my assistance do this. Okay, wait, go. So what I usually do is I kind of position this and then I stand in the middle of the dance floor to see if it's pointing at me because usually and you say this is our dance floor in middle. Well, that's pretty good. Probably could go up a little bit more, just a tad. Yeah, leave it ok and let's see let's, do a test here, receive it's ok, now I'm going to bust up my eyes so to sixteen hundred okay I can't really get that low in my ice on my f stop but I'll try it this way just to be a wide shot while china four point oh, this can we get the lights down really low as if it was a I'm not sure how low we can get it but I'm sure we can get a pretty good does anybody want to come up here and, uh dance around for us you asked for it? Okay? Okay somebody's going to get over here oh far oh, ok, just you could just okay, so what I do is I kind of line up get together like you're married or something. No, I think I did just come back over here. Okay, right. Okay. So stay right there. What? I try to just kind of get together here you don't have to be all married and everything so what I try to do is I tried a lying up the flash to give me some backlight, right? So I purposely kind of come over here um to get that back like coming this way, right? So I shoot it here let's see what we get ok? Manual focus want tio ok, so you're going to see that kind of backlight hell to it sorry about the focusing I had just had to go to manual see that I still get some little light in there right and if I was kind of using a longer lens and isolating um it could look pretty cool if I go let's say go back further right? And, uh let me see if I had to manually okay? I don't know uh, okay, so anyways, uh, hey that's manually focusing that's? Not that okay, right? But you kind of see, you kind of get that feel of that where I'm bouncing is any other flash going off, by the way? Is that umbrella going off? I don't think so well over there on the left side looking here test, but no nothing's going on, right? So you can still so if we were in a dark environment at the background was dark right in the d j life, you still like that still very usable feel to it because I'm blowing a lot of flash this way I'm raising my eyes so up I'm at a fairly low have stopped at three point five four, right? But I'm so what? And then I thought this white wall that's right over here so it's hitting that white wall and coming back that way what that were also working in large urban they depending on you know where the walls are situated but you're going to get less bounce and that's why that's why I prepared for three okay all right when I can't count on any bounce coming back okay, so that's great let's sit down and then let's set up to okay and then we will um set up three and you can see the difference eight questions on this set up yes stand up with one flies she were limited only teoh one restricted area to photo signed I can move over to every other areas but yeah, you yeah that's a good question. Yeah, you somewhat are limited and you kind of have to wait for that action to go behind that flash and so that's, what kind of limits you about that situation? Yeah, you can do it, but you gotta kind of camp in that one area um and do it so that's why I would like to. So I have full range of the dance floor so here again I'm at sixteen power here on dh er okay. Yes technical question. Go ahead on the photo you're len says twenty eighty five millimeter but it's his twenty millimeter yeah, because I haven't adaptor on here and this is a twenty year old lens and it's from a minolta nana sony so it's reading weird stuff maybe that's why, maybe that's why the focus light doesn't go on that's? Why he's having trouble with it? I'm not sure um but usually I don't know usually have the focus like going on because I use this the reception's I'm sure ok whatever okay so let's try to get nervous dude test button so let's just get a couple of people standing here again and I just you know you don't have to do anything so I keep this even here right and I make sure that that's kind of if that's kind of pointing at me that right we got both clashes I right okay so come on somebody get up here let's go it's not like coming along right disco a lot more a little bit more get ready really okay god, I get right so this is getting you that feel here right get annual tennessee once the process is that kind of feel now we got white walls here so that's why it's like bouncing over like crazy if I let's try this now I can adjust the power of those flashes just with my f stops if I turn my f stop up to say five point six let's go six point three so I'm gonna dio six point three here want to get it right then you'll kind of seymour contrast going okay uh right and then if I really keep going I can almost create what yes sort of thing like if they were dancing together florida let me let me try to move the hot position them not quite strong enough well I got front light down but it's it is not quite strong enough to give me that because of my wife's not here let me try something else that afternoon I never should have left ten so I'm gonna go backto four point five right here back drunk game like tio right ok so I'm trying to get that rim light around but you kind of get the feel of it right and so I'm adding contrast so if I'm on lee used okay so what works best can I change my lens because what works best in this situation with no other front flash is up I'm using a long lens and I'm isolating okay that's that works really good so I'm going to go teo on eighty five here without turning my camera so I'm going to go to eighty five and this would be a good lens for first dance or using the seventy two, two hundred right that's good I can't write she go down here okay so actually somebody else's test everything okay good um I think I hit something okay, okay someone want to stand up here anybody just come up here all right and so I kind of just look up stand there and look off that way okay so so let's say we've got um I'm shooting it isis what let's let's do this oh yeah turn it built now now it's better okay actually work anything like that's that's fine. We're getting light from the screen but that's cool okay, I'm gonna be at sixteen let me go to eight hundred s o and what I'm going to do here I'm gonna go backto live you so I could see actually what it's supposed to be like here? Ok, yeah so I'm gonna bust it all the way up at two thousand s o okay all right too who that's too much like ok, so that's at two thousand so that's too much less so this is show I show you how I tested and adjust it right that's way too much light, right? Eso but if you know so this is more like I'm going to have a couple dancing so I go okay way that's way too much light because I'm shooting it f two I'm going to bring my down toe maybe eight hundred, but that was at sixth when I say that was a sixteen, two thousand let's bring it down at uh six forty just for the heck of it that feels like it could be right in there. Okay? What? And I'm going to get that back light behind that's kind of more lining it up there um and I'm adjusting and see it's now I'll show you the next picture here um it's a little bit different. See that that's just using the backlight. Right? And so if I had a darker background, whatever, um, let me try raising killing some of the wealth. I raised my shutter too much, then it's going to kill some of that ambient light. So it's not cool. Now I can't see anything because it's so dark. Take live you off. Okay, there we go. Okay. So one, tio. Oh, I got I want to get that that light right in there. Okay. Right in the next one. Not this one. So what I try to do is line up the couple behind there to get some rim light and do that. And so you got to imagine a couple dancing, whatever. Thank you very much. But I just want to show you the exposure. That's you can kind of get with bouncing that light around. Now, I got two lights of these air. All these are all white walls around here. This is not the typical reception lighting situation really close to white walls. So you're going to get less light. But you get the feel of it, right? And that's. Not with any front light at all.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Crazy Stupid Light Review
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide
Final Exam
Going Big on a Tiny Budget - HD

Ratings and Reviews

Dan Frumkin

I read several reviews on this site which gave me hesitation to buy this course. Nonetheless, I pressed on. Now I have a suggestion for those considering parting with their cash. Before you buy, go to any of Scott’s galleries online. If you can shoot at Scott’s level move on. If you cannot see the artistry in Scott’s work, move on. If you cannot conceive of the technical proficiency Scott has with flash, move on. But if you are mortal photographer that desires to improve your work, compare your personal portfolio to Scott’s. He wins awards for good reasons. Invest the time and money. You will be amply rewarded. Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques is worth every penny. So is Crazy, Stupid, Light. I purchased both and now use Scott’s advice and techniques daily. Plus, he provides a good dose of inspiration and humor. Scott is an awesome professional, fantastic photographer and a wonderful teacher.


I already own Lim's class, "Crazy, Stupid Light" as well as two of his Strobie 230 flashes with transmitter (in addition to my Canon speedlight). I appreciate being able to get into lighting with flashes and equipment that costs much less than Profoto lights etc. that I couldn't afford yet. Lim has a very organized and energetic teaching style. He is a great speaker in that he is excited about what he is doing and seems to love to help others learn how to be successful with their lighting. He is very animated and funny and has the right blend of being confident yet self-effacing and admits his mess-ups during class. I find him very engaging and interesting. If you have less than $500 or $600 to spend on lights, but want to start adding lighting to your photo shoots, he is a great place to start.

a Creativelive Student

This class was fantastic! I've always opted for the easy way out when it came to lighting my subjects, usually resorting to using just natural light and a reflector even though I always have my lighting kit with me. I learned in this class how creating my own light can be the easiest way to get the results I want. It's much easier than trying to make the natural light do what I want it to do. Scott's passion for photography and teaching are evident, and his commitment to the success of his students is amazing. I definitely recommend this course for photographers at any level. I came away with many ideas on how to build upon the lighting tips presented here to make it my own. Thanks Scott Robert Lim!

Student Work