The importance of light in wedding photography
Wedding photography is a constant process of learning and crafting light to work for me so I can get the most incredible photos I can on your wedding day. There are a few elements to think about when planning your day that can really help, so let’s have a chat about them.
Sunny days – It’s a myth!
People often mention to me that a sunny day must be great for photography. It’s a common myth that sunny and bright skies must make images feel sunny and bright too. Harsh sunlight can actually mean unwanted shadows and unflattering skin tones. It means people are squinting or want to put sunglasses on. Yes, I can make great portraits during the sunniest hours of the day but I will be working harder to find a good balance between the sun and shade.
Having some cloud cover is the best scenario for an outdoor wedding. The clouds act like a big soft light diffuser and remove all the unwanted shadows on people’s faces and give everything a beautiful glow. Storm clouds can create a lot of mood and drama and even rain can make for fun images.
The thing to remember is that we can never choose or control the weather on our wedding day but we can work hard to get the best possible photos in every weather situation.
Bad lighting – What can we do?
It’s always a good idea to chat to me about the timing of your day, especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding. If we can’t have the ceremony at a time of the day that’s best for light, we can talk about the best position for you to stand against the sun or we can look at the best areas available with shade.
Portraits are always best shot around sunset. At that time of day the light has a magical quality that means we can capture a wide range of really interesting portraits. Sometimes it’s not always possible to shoot at that time, if that’s the case then I look at other ways I can control the light. Often shooting portraits indoors can allow me to control the light to achieve beautiful, moody and intimate images. Below is an example of shooting in the shade of a building and using a neon light we found to add a little extra interest.
When the lights are low – Reception lighting ideas
Most people overlook the reception lighting and sometimes it’s hard to know what lighting will achieve the mood you are after.
Some lights are harder to work with than others. Fluorescent and coloured LED lights don’t generally translate into very good photos. The light quality is poor and constantly changes the colour and brightness of each shot.
It’s important to think about lighting up the area where the speeches will be made and avoid people standing in a dark corner of the room. It can be difficult to capture people’s emotion and reactions in this situation without using a flash. I do use flash when it’s needed but it may not have the ambiance or mood you desire in your photos.
Downlights create unwanted shadows under peoples eyes and give a very warm, orange look to people’s skin. If they can’t be avoided I can overpower those lights with my flash, so it’s not a big deal but again, might not be the look you were imagining for your reception photos.
If you are having a backyard wedding or a reception on a private property that isn’t an already established wedding venue, remember to have lots of light so your guests aren’t standing in the dark. Having their beautiful faces lit up means I will be able to capture candid photos of them throughout the night. If you have a wedding stylist or planner, have a chat to the about tips on the best lighting set ups that will work for your space.
If you have any questions, thoughts or concerns about the lighting throughout your day, get in touch for a chat. We can work together to make sure you are on track to get the absolute best images from your day.