You’re going to invest a big portion of your wedding budget in your wedding photographs. So, how do you make sure they are everything you want them to be? How do you have your perfect wedding photos? With more than 10 years of experience, photographing well over 200 weddings and elopements, I’ve learned a few things that will make your wedding photography dreams come true.
it’s all about the light!
Light is crucial for photography. From the very beginning of the day through to the end, light can make or break photos. A beautiful moment can be that much more beautiful in a well-lit room. So when you are choosing your venues, including where you will get ready for the day, make sure to evaluate the light sources and plan to incorporate some decorative yet strategic ambient light as part of your decor budget.
Now I know what you might be thinking: “But Shannon-May, isn’t it kind of, part of your job as a professional photographer to worry about the lighting and to create light when there isn’t any?”
Short answer, “Abso-friken-lutely.”
Every professional wedding photographer should have the lighting gear they need to create light when the ambient light is low quality. I personally, will use flash or another lighting that matches my photographic style when it’s needed.
Walking into spaces that already have great ambient light, however, means that the light I choose to create can be for more creative and dynamic purposes rather than primary light. Moreover, some venues like art galleries or churches may not allow flash photography so making lighting a part of your decor plan is always beneficial.
Some specific things you can look for when choosing spaces for your wedding or that you can plan for include:
Choose a getting-ready location with LOTS of windows. Window light is a photographer’s BFF. I especially love great window light for photographing details and candidly documenting your getting-ready photos.
Light your head table. Considering hanging bistro lights or chandeliers evenly above and in front of your head table. (Why in front? Because when lights are hung directly above or behind will defeat the purpose and creates less-than-ideal light.
If you are working with a reception venue that allows real candlelight, take advantage of this, and illuminate the room—andles everywhere!
No LED lights. Not all lights are created equal, especially LED lights. Many LEDs have blue or green hues to them. The naked eye can’t always see it, but the camera does! These lights, mixed with traditional incandescent light is just awful. Additionally LED lights have a flicker that the camear picks up and there is nothing your photographer can do about it. LED lights can literally ruin your wedding photos.
If you are working with a decorator chat with them about including some ambient light as part of your overall decor plan. Jason from Unico Decor is especially great at this!
Personally, I will give my couples specific lighting direction and am very open to working with decorators to help them design the perfect ambient light that will compliment the overall vibe they are designing for our mutual clients.