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Welcome to my blog, where I share highlights of everything from my client's wedding days and portrait sessions, to recent features and our adventures around the world. 

Hi, I'm Alicia.

Reception Lighting Do’s and Don’ts

Aug 21, 2018

When it comes to designing your reception, it goes without saying that there are so many factors to consider! You’ll have to make decisions on everything from table layouts and linens to centerpieces and chair types. Heck, even varying silverware is an option, so believe me when I say the combinations are truly unlimited. One area that most couples don’t give much thought to until after chatting with their venue coordinator or entertainment group is what type of lighting will be used in the reception space. From a photography perspective, not all lighting produces the same effects in your images and some can actually be quite unflattering! So I just wanted to share a few tips to consider when making your decision! 

Keep it natural!
While uplighting is the most common type of reception lighting, it certainly isn’t the only kind! There are several other options that have a more natural look in your images including candlelight, white string lights, or chandeliers. 

If going with uplighting, choose blues, ambers, or whites
These color tones photograph best and are more flattering to skin tones. It’s easy to warm up an image to compensate for blue uplighting or cool it down for amber. Whites, in general, are the most neutral and are always flattering.

Do chat with your DJ or Band! (this one is a biggie!)
Their job is to provide entertainment and create a fun atmosphere for your guests; in doing so, often times they will bring their own lighting to an event to add a bit of festivity to the dance floor. While this can make for a more lively dance floor experience, certain kinds can be detrimental to your images. Below are a few that I would recommend avoiding — if not all together, at least during special dances, toasts, and your cake cutting:
+ Star Sprayers – I’m not sure what the technical term is for these type of devices, but they are colored lasers that scattered thousands of small, colored dots throughout the dance floor and on your guests. No matter how much of my own lighting is used, it is impossible to not capture these dots in your photos. It leaves your guests looking like they have colored spots all over their skin and clothing! 
+ Fog Machines  – Cloud your images and make it hard to see guests in photos

Avoid Lights that Change Colors
For consistent images, it’s important to select a single color and stick with it. If you have uplighting that changes from blue to pink to green to amber, it will be nearly impossible for your photographer to edit images in a consistent manner. Digital cameras read colors differently, so this will affect both skin tones and temperatures. 

Skip Pinks and Greens
As mentioned above, colors in the blue, amber, or white family will always photograph best. Pinks and greens are opposite on the digital tint spectrum, so too much pink actually makes for green skin tones (hello, alien skin!) and vice versa.

This classic black tie wedding is held at the iconic Army Navy Club in Washington, DC.

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