Wedding Photography and Light

April 17, 2020

Wedding Photography and Light



Oh hey there! It is Friday and I have decided to discuss with you couples , the importance of light in Wedding Photography.

There is not Photography without light. Light is to us photographers is what paint is to painters.

                 (Below you can also see some photos of some of the weddings I shot )

So take a minute to understand why us photographers need good lighting in order to shoot your big day

As a documentary wedding photographer, I am mostly inclined to look for natural light to capture moments during your special day. The more natural light there is during the day the better for your photos.

As you might have heard, the best light for photography sessions is either during sunrise or during sunset. These moments are also known as the “Golden hour” in photography terminology. With regards to pre-wedding and post-wedding sessions, I mostly prefer to capture shots of the beautiful couple during this hour. However, during the actual wedding day, I can also understand that it might not always be possible to schedule all photography during this hour. Therefore, as all photographers do, I look for the best available light and capture numerous shots of every moment to ensure that your memories are well-recorded.

The first thing I look at before photographing a wedding would be the weather forecast; especially when the couple I would be working for would be having a morning wedding. This is so I can be prepared what light will await your photographs for the day ahead.

On wedding days, it is often believed that the perfect weather should be bright and sunny. It is also widely thought that this weather would seem great in photos since pictures would seem even brighter. As a photographer, I would prefer not having very bright and sunny weather on wedding days. The following would be my reasons why.

Harsh sunlight causes unwanted shadows in photographs and unfortunately unflattering skin tones on people. You may also notice that your wedding guests may opt to wear sunglasses during your wedding day, or if not, may end up being photographed squinting at the sunlight. This would be a great pity for your most sought after photographed memories as it does not show the natural facial features of your guests.

I would suggest that on a very bright and sunny day, the group shots for a morning wedding, would be done indoors or in a well shaded area (trees can be tricky because you might end up with patterned faces caused by the leaves’ shadows).

As a wedding photographer, I am trained to capture great portraits even during the sunniest of hours of the day. However, it is important to note that there will be obviously slightly less captured moments to choose from, as it would be harder to find a good balance between the sunny areas and the shaded ones. The strong and harsh light of the sun during certain hours of the day coupled against the shadows that it creates may limit to capture the soft and elegant mood that can be evoked in your wedding photography.

Having some cloud cover during the day would be the ideal scenario for an outdoor wedding. As photographers, on overcast days, we take advantage of cloudy weather and use it as a soft light diffuser. This would remove all unwanted shadows on your guests’ faces; whilst their facial features relax to the soft light diffused by the clouds. Apart from this, cloudy skies can create super cool & dramatic images for your wedding. Scenarios like this, help me and fellow photographers play with different moods, settings, poses and instances during your wedding. It also gives us many options to choose from when we review the captured shots.

In addition to the above, it is very important that the couple communicates with their wedding photographer regarding the timings of their wedding ceremony and reception. This is because different timings would mean different light during the day, mostly during morning weddings.

During my first meetings with the couple, I usually discuss reception venue light with them as well. This is because it is sometimes hard to know what light we will find to achieve the mood we are after. This is mostly applicable for evening weddings.

Some lights are harder to work with than others. Fluorescent and coloured LED lights do not generally translate in very good photos as the light quality is poor and is constantly changing the colour of each shot. My advice to couples is to ask the venue owner if it might be possible to have white or warm lighting on the day, at least until your photographer and videographer can capture some good shots for the event. This helps us to achieve the atmospheric photographs you desire. It is very important to light up the important areas such as the speeches areas if you are having any, the dancing areas, and the cake table.

Often shooting portraits in indoor areas would allow me to control the lighting to achieve beautiful and intimate images. Same goes to the couples’ portraits. As a documentary photographer, I would not mind having some artificial light on the couple’s faces. However, I would always suggest that the couple would also get some outdoor shots done during the Golden hour to accompany the indoor shots. At that time of day, the captured light would look magical and we would be able to create some interesting portraits for the couple to enjoy reviewing over and over again.

Today we have discussed the importance of the magical Golden hour, how weather affects photography, and also how lighting can give different moods in outdoor and indoor settings. I believe that with this information, you are better equipped to make informed decisions with regards to lighting and photography choices for your special day. As a professional photographer, I believe that whatever the weather or the setting that the couple chooses, I will promise to work around the light you choose to give you the best possible photography of your precious day.

Please do feel welcome to get in touch on our facebook page – Rachel Muscat Photography – or on my contact details on the website  if you need further assistance.

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