Although being a wedding and portrait photography is about telling stories, about myself as a photographer making a couple feel comfortable enough to be themselves in front of the camera, it's also about LIGHT. Photo- in greek means 'light' and -graphy means 'the measurement of'. So together, photography is the measurement of light.
I'd like to claim that I can make beautiful pictures out of any lighting situation, but there are certain situations I look for when shooting a bride+groom or a couple for their engagement session. This certainly isn't an exhaustive list of lighting situations that are important when planning your wedding but these three were at the top of my list. Brides+grooms, keep these in mind as you work on your wedding day timeline or plan your engagement session.
1. Time of Day
Although there are times where I like to manipulate light, I try to schedule shooting around the times of day with the most flattering light. When the sun is high above (let's say around noon or s0) long shadows will follow the subjects and the light that is cast down won't be flattering. Nobody can deny that deep raccoon eye shadows and squinting in the bright light isn't ideal. Paige+Frank were on a parking garage rooftop about an hour before the sun set and we got gorgeous, warm lighting.
2. Daylight. Period.
When I schedule engagement sessions or work on a timeline with a bride+groom, figuring out the time of the sunset is key. I look up the sunset time and plan to end shooting 30 minutes before the official sunset time. Just because it's not pitch dark doesn't mean there's enough light for my camera to work with. Even though a sunset ceremony is dreamy to think about, remember that you'll need to do a first look beforehand to have enough light for bride+groom pictures. Lindsay+Ross had an 8:00pm ceremony (New Year's Eve!) so they opted to shoot their family formals, wedding party and bride+groom pictures beforehand from 3:30-5:30. We ended just as the sun set and as a photographer, I couldn't have been happier! I know they would agree in saying that seeing each other beforehand was worth it.
LINDSAY+ROSS OUTSIDE PIC
3. Reception lighting
Candlelit reception lighting gives a beautiful ambiance, a romantic feel...but no light. Candlelight by itself casts orange and unflattering light. If you're wanting a candlelit reception, make sure to include additional ambient light for the photographer to work with. Although I always bring in my own lighting (flash on and off camera) my camera needs enough to focus in the first place. Jenny+Will strung lights above their dance floor and it was the perfect amount of light. Moral: the more light, the better.
And because I can't say it enough, a wedding planner will make the entire wedding planning process much less stressful-you can't have a situation than a wedding planner and photographer working together to create the most idea lighting for your photography.