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I'm a wedding photographer working with a Canon 5D Mark II. Previously when photographing weddings, I had been using my Speedlite (600ex-rt) on my camera (ETTL). I'd really like to start learning off camera flash, as well as manual flash. I was just wondering what type of set-ups you might recommend for wedding receptions.

I have heard good things about PocketWizards, but I'm a little overwhelmed by the basics. When you use a PocketWizard on your camera, are you strictly relying on the OCF for lighting (plus ambient lighting), or are you also attaching another Speedlite to your camera with some sort of flash bracket?

Do you typically set up one OCF or two (I know that's probably more of a stylistic question)? I am also confused by where to position them in most circumstances. Two on either side of the DJ or at opposite ends of the room?

Any equipment recommendations would be incredibly helpful so I can start practicing. I really appreciate the feedback!

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    Have you tried a google search for "wedding reception lighting photography?" – Michael C Feb 17 '14 at 21:31
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    Most shooters I know that shoot weddings at a high level like to use an on camera bounce flash and a single "kicker" or off camera flash mounted on a stand place on an edge of the room. Sometimes they will place more than one kicker and turn them on/off to use whichever one is in the best position to light the part of the room they are shooting for that particular shot. In general they place the flash on the hot shoe and use the pc terminal to attach the pocket wizard. This means the off camera flash power is not E-TTL enabled. – Michael C Feb 17 '14 at 21:35
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    The same shooters will use different methods based on the properties of the room. Some halls with dark ceilings or ceilings with lots of odd angles will go with lighting the room with multiple studio flashes/umbrellas and place the flash trigger directly on the hot shoe. Some use speedlights with modifiers so that they can use E-TTL or i-TTL via the pocket wizard or other flash trigger. There are really a lot of different approaches depending on budget and what look you are after. There are tons of resources and tutorials online. – Michael C Feb 17 '14 at 21:40
  • @MichaelClark - mind making that comment stream into an answer? Yes, Google is our friend, but there's 8 steaming piles of excrement for every jewel in photography search results. As for the question, I'd seriously take a look at the B&H Photo Event Space videos on YouTube by Jerry Ghionis, Ryan Brenizer and Neil van Niekerk, and trying to synthesize something out of that. – user2719 Feb 28 '14 at 4:19
  • Thanks everyone! And yes, I Google-ed away but still felt a little confused as to what method might be best. I appreciate your input! – user26130 Feb 28 '14 at 16:09
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If you have a 600EX-RT, I would personally recommend using the RT functionality for remote control. You can use another 600EX-RT on camera (for providing bounce flash and master control) or you can use the ST-E3-RT transmitter if you prefer to save a few bucks and really only want one flash.

Personally, I recommend going for the second 600EX-RT, using the light on your camera for a bounce flash while putting the other on the edge of the dance floor. You can then adjust the relative power level of the bounce flash and the edge flash directly from your camera.

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This depends on what part of the reception you are referring to. If you are asking about the first dance then think about how it differs to studio photography, probably not much apart from the fact that they are moving around slightly in the centre of the dance floor. Try setting up two speedlights with radio triggers, both at a 45x45 angle and this will allow you to get some good shots. This won't help much if you wish to change your own position too much though.

If you are photographing the guests or anything else then you may find using an off camera flash is not going to work if you want to use things like umbrellas etc. and you will probably just be getting in the way. I would have a go at taking the flash off the camera, put a diffusing cover on it and put it down on tables, as you need to when photographing guests or speeches, that will give you the additional reach to create the 'off-camera' look.

I have also had reasonable results holding the flash out with one hand but it's up to you how you go about it.

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