Trust us when we say that nothing impacts a photo more than the lighting. You’re not hiring a photographer because of their equipment, granted we hope they’re using Professional Gear. You’re hiring them for their wedding experience, they’re creative abilities, and they’re understanding of LIGHT. Master photographers can SEE the light, recognize good light vs. lousy light, and know how to craft light both by using their equipment and/or the environment. Hopefully whoever you hire as your photographer has a wide breadth of knowledge when it comes to light. Even if they do, there are many things you can do to improve the lighting design of your wedding. This can help your photographer get better shots and spend less time combatting poor lighting. God forbid you accidentally hire a faux wedding photographer – well – these tips MAY just save the day.
The 101 On Wedding Lighting
A “wash” is an overall “fill” of light and color, typically spread evenly over dance floors or ceilings. Lighting designers will usually use soft lights, often fresnel lamps, with colored gels over the top. If you’ve ever noticed spotty lighting at a wedding or odd darker patches, odds are it was cheap lighting. A proper wash is important for even clean light.
Pin spots are narrow fields of light used to highlight particular items in a room. Typical examples are the wedding cake and floral centerpieces. They can really help to bring life to the little details you’ve invested so much into.
Much as it sounds, This is exterior lighting used to highlight pathways, trees, bushes, gardens, etc. Basically, it’s lighting that is applied to outdoor landscapes. Even though it is often used to help guests find their way on an outdoor setting, landscape lighting can also be used to create a dramatic effect.
A single beam of light directed to something that requires special attention at a particular moment. You’ll definitely see this used for the first dance and entrances, but can also be used for other parts of the day like the first kiss.
Twinkle lights, also known as fairy lights, are delicate lines of beaded lighting. It’s trending right now they’re so easy to find, versatile, and pretty too. The beautiful twinkles can easily add a magical feel to your wedding and look great in photos. It’s important to use them strategically though because done in the wrong way, they could give off a tacky vibe.
It is mostly used to light a glass table from below or to light a floral arrangement where the water is visible, to give out the desired glow.
This method involves shooting a soft hue of light upward, usually against walls or other properties. It is commonly used to create accents on plain walls and to add color to draping fabrics.
Our Top 3 Tips For Aesthetic Lighting On Your Wedding Day
Avoid Mixed Lighting
Seriously, mixed lighting creates a slew of challenges for your photographer and could impact your photos or the ambiance of the day. Our naked eyes average light and ambiance, so mixed lighting is often overlooked, but it has a DRAMATIC impact on the production value f your photos. 99% of the time, mixed lighting occurs indoors and is due to clashing between daylight coming from windows and the artificial indoor lights.
Experience photographers will surely compensate for this. Turning off the lights is a straightforward fix and is often the first thing we do during the bride and groom prep if it hasn’t been done so already. This blog post is training so that your photographers love you 🙂
There are times of the day, though when it may be easier to close the windows, such as indoor ceremonies. Ultimately, you’ll have to do some problem solving to determine which is the easiest light source to mitigate, while also keeping in mind that window light always looks prettier.
A photographer’s last resort for dealing with mixed lighting will usually be flash. This overpowers the mixed light and solves the problem, but can create a distraction. There are always tradeoffs… But, by thinking about this challenge when designing your day and the lighting involved, you’ll be able to ensure your photos look amazing.
Hire a Lighting Designer
There are a couple of ways to find your wedding lighting specialist. First, ask your event designer or wedding florist because many do their own lighting. If not, they may have a lighting pro they regularly work with. Or, the coordinator at your reception venue could probably recommend a lighting company that’s worked with the site before—and ask to see pictures of the space transformed by various lighting arrangements. Don’t be surprised if your lighting designer has a background in theater. Many experts are using the same technology and techniques at weddings that they honed creating dramatic sets for the stage.
Discuss lighting with your wedding photographer prospects
If they say they’re a natural light photographer and flash isn’t their “thing”… just run. Honestly, though, a photographer that lacks experience in “off-camera flash” is a liability, because flash is purely a tool for consistency and creativity. Natural light isn’t a photography style, it’s just a type of light source. The light source can be manipulated in all sorts of ways to create different moods and styles.
For example, window light can be used to side light someone to create a more moody image, backlight them for creative effect, or front light to product clean even light and a more traditional look. And that’s without also talking about using curtains to control the diffusion and spread of the light to different degrees.
It’s important to gauge this understanding of light in the photographers you’re considering because that provides keen insight into their real experience as a wedding photographer. A lack of flash knowledge foreshadows their ability to adapt to different situations on a wedding day. Opening up this dialogue could also provide a lot of useful advice for planning the lighting for your wedding day, which would always be a plus!