Sometimes, we face lighting conditions that make our job more difficult. Reception coverage tends to be one of the more challenging lighting scenarios we face week in and week out. Seldom are the conditions perfect. Often times, we’ll face the challenge of not enough light, and yet we’ll also face the challenge of too much light. Years ago, I was a pain in the ass to decorators and banquet managers alike, because I was doing my best to make sure my client had the best images possible. Before the advent of high-ISO performance camera’s, it was important to have the ambient light in the room bright enough so that backgrounds wouldn’t go too dark. We’d drag the shutter, utilize our speedlights, and go about our business

Today, the challenge I face more often than not is having TOO much light during the reception. Sometimes powerful stage lights that are meant to illuminate broadway stages from 100 feet, are brought into reception venues and are positioned 10-20 feet from the floor. This presents it’s own set of issues because a speedlight will have a tough time overcoming these powerful lights. LED lights also present problems with white balance. Seldom do we have ideal conditions, so we need to adapt. I’m a proponent of off camera speedlight for most of a reception, and a good look at any wedding blog post will depict how I go about that.

In this image, taken at a reception at Pierre HoteI in Mannhattan, I was simply taking what I was given by the existing conditions. Using my fast Nikkor glass, and my high ISO dream machine- the D3S, I was able to shoot this scene with only the light you see in the image. It’s a risky proposition, and I’ll only do it when I’ve obtained my “safe” stuff, but it’s quite rewarding when it all works out. Sometimes, it’s ok to work with what we’re given. I really like this image.

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 35mm 1.4G, ISO 5000, 1/250th @ 1.4