Damon Tucci: Modern Lighting in a Flash

by Jacqueline Tobin

Damon Tucci

March 07, 2013

Ask Orlando wedding photographer Damon Tucci to describe his shooting style and odds are he would say it’s a combination of styled-fashion and journalistic moments. Always one to raise the bar, Tucci pushes himself creatively —through lighting and posing—with every shoot as he continuously strives to make couples feel completely at ease on the biggest day of their lives.
Tucci, who has been a working photographer for the past 20 years, says he started in the 1990s, when wedding photography wasn’t as cutting-edge as it is now. “Think people’s faces superimposed in champagne flutes,” he laughs. Like other young photographers, he says, he wanted to work for Rolling Stone and National Geographic, but instead became a commercial photographer at Disney for the first ten years of his career. When his daughter was born in 2000, Tucci went out on his own and focused primarily on weddings.

“Luckily wedding photography got to be very cool and that’s where I am today,” he says.

His lighting philosophy, which he plans to expound on in his seminar at WPPI this month (“Modern Lighting in a Flash,” March 12 at 8:30 a.m. at the MGM Grand) is that wedding photographers must educate themselves in as many techniques as possible. “Do not pigeonhole yourself as an “available light shooter or this type or that type, but rather arm yourself with techniques that will help you tackle any situation,” he says. “Everything we encounter has an advantage if you have the right mindset and strategy. Blue sky, rain, wind, fog—all can be beautiful. Your job as a photographer is to make the shot happen no matter what. It’s up to you as to whether you use available light, off-camera flash/strobe or video light, but you still need to learn each one and give yourself options. I call it visual pimping: learning to visually make the MOST out of anything. See things others walk right past; see advantages and opportunities, not frustration and excuses. Embrace your craft!”

In the following gallery, Tucci breaks down different lighting scenarios and setups to demonstrate how he embraces his craft on every shoot.

In Tucci’s Gear Bag (“A Lowe Pro Roller 1, airline-approved bag that fits in the overhead.”)
Cameras: Nikon D800 and D700 on Black Rapid straps
Lenses: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, 80-200mm ED f/2.8, 50 f/1.4; Nikon fisheye 16mm f/2.8; Nikon 55mm micro; Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8
Lights: One Sima video light; one Litepanels micro lite LED video light; two Nikon SB 800 flashes; 52-inch silver/white Photoflex reflector

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