In this two-part tutorial, professional wedding photographer Bob Davis discusses how to improve wedding preparation shots (for both brides and grooms) with surprisingly portable lighting setups. By adding just a couple of speedlites and compact modifiers to your shoot, photographers can save time on post-production editing and offer clients higher quality images.

Portable Lighting Behind the Scenes

Setup with 53″ Deep Umbrella + Speedlites

In Bob’s bridal prep setup above, he balances soft window light with a speedlite to turn a flat mirror shot into an eye-catching image with dimension. He softens his speedlites with a Westcott 53. This modifier sets up instantly and surprisingly compact for effortless use in pretty much any location.

Lighting Gear in Action

Captured at Collingwood Presbyterian Church in Toledo, Ohio.

After bridal prep portraits, Bob transitions to groom prep shots. In this case, Bob uses two different lighting techniques for two very different styles.

Portable Lighting Behind the Scenes

Setup with Perfect Pair Kit (Halo and Medium Apollo) + Speedlites

First, he uses the Perfect Pair Kit to accent the available daylight. This allows him to keep his ISO low while creating a very organic, dimensional image. The Perfect Pair Kit consists of a 28″ Medium Apollo and a 45″ Halo. Both of these umbrella-style softboxes setup quickly and can be paired with both speedlites and strobes. The Apollo is fitted with the included 40-degree grid, which controls the light fall

Adding speedlites also gives photographers the ability to experiment with different styles of lighting. By increasing the power of his key light (the Apollo), Bob is also able to create a very dramatic sunset image.

Groom Prep Shot (After Portable Lighting)

Ambient Light + Perfect Pair Kit and Speedlites (High Power)

Lighting Gear in Action

Captured at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids, Ohio.

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