Importance of Light in Wedding Imagery

Wedding photography (and video), is a continuous process of learning and working with the elements. Lighting can really impact the feel of imagery and we want these feelings to be incredible! There are quite a few things to think about when planning your day that can really help, so let’s talk a bit about them.

“It’s such a nice day! The sun is out and shining, it must be great for photos” This is a common phrase I hear a lot, and although there are some valid points behind it, it is not always true. Direct sunlight is generally too harsh and can cause unwanted shadows or unflattering light to one’s skin tone. The reality is, people will be squinting and fighting the light.

Yes, it’s possible to get great imagery while the sun is out but it does make it more challenging compared to a cloudy day. When the sun is shining bright it creates a difficult balance between the sun and shade for exposure. Meanwhile, an overcast day creates a nice elegant light everywhere. Having some cloud coverage during outdoor weddings tends to work well together.

Think of an overcast day like a gigantic soft light diffuser. The clouds really help the natural skin tone glow and remove any unwanted shadows on people’s faces. Even storm clouds can have a really cool effect on the overall appearance of an image for a dramatic or moody look.

Although we can’t control or choose the weather for your wedding day, we can always work hard to get the best possible imagery in any weather situation. 

“What if it is sunny on our wedding day, should we be concerned?”
It is always a good idea to chat about these things with your photographer/videographer, but no you do not need to worry.

If the timeline of the day is set, then we can figure out what will work best when dealing with the sun. This means we can find the best position for you to stand where the sun is against your back and we can also look for the best areas of shade when doing other portraits.

I personally love doing portrait sessions when the sun is setting. This time of day can be known to other creatives as magic hour or golden hour. At this time of day the light has a magical effect on the sky and can create a wide range of interesting portraits. Although sometimes it is not possible to get these sunset shots, we can always look for other ways to find a controllable atmosphere. Often, shooting indoors can allow a photographer/videographer to control the light to achieve admirable imagery.

Most of the time people overlook how the reception lighting is going to be and sometimes it’s hard to know what the scene will look like. Some lights can be tricky to work with. Fluorescent or overhead lights can have poor quality lighting with them constantly changing in color or brightness ever so slightly. It’s important to light up the area where speeches may occur to avoid any drastic darkness. Without a flash or lighting of some sort, it can be difficult to see people’s reactions or emotions. I do use a flash when needed but it can counteract from the venue’s natural ambience if that’s what you desire.

If you’re having a backyard wedding or a reception at a private property that isn’t a common wedding venue, remember to have the area well lit. This prevents your guests from standing in the dark and allows us to capture their beautifully lit faces as we can get candid imagery throughout the night. If you have a wedding planner or an event coordinator, have a chat about how to best light up your setup that will work for your space.

If you have any thoughts or questions, get in touch! We will work together to make sure you’re on the right track to get the absolute most out of your wedding day imagery.

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