As a photographer, it’s my job to make you look good, and one of the most important pieces in doing that is the type of lighting we are working with. When you’re planning your wedding, the kind of lighting your venue features is probably not something you’re thinking a lot about. Your photographer, however, IS. Here is what your photographer wants you to know when it comes to light in your wedding planning.
1: Time of Day Really Matters
When couples send me their inspiration photos for the look they’re going for, they almost always feature what we call Golden Hour lighting. Golden Hour lighting is that warm, soft, natural light you get in the later afternoon or early morning as the sun rises or sets. It’s prime photographer lighting. If this is the look you want your photos to have, you need to set aside time in your schedule during Golden Hour to take those photos. A middle of the day or nighttime ceremony isn’t going to yield that golden result you’re looking for, but you and your photographer can work together to slot out some time to get some softer photos of you and your partner at a time that will work for this look.
2 The Effects of Colored "Mood" Lighting
We’re talking about two things here: colored projector lights and “rave” lights. Many couples have a venue that offers colored lighting for the reception, sometimes it’s just a few bulbs, other times it’s their family name projected on the wall behind the couple’s table. These lights are so much fun, but we need you to know that these beautiful lights are going to reflect. Bight pink bulbs behind your head table is going to bounce pink lighting all over your faces and it’s next to impossible to pull all of that out of photos in post production. We love to incorporate that style into your photos, but keep in mind that if all the light we have to rely on is a funky color, that’s the color of photo you’re going to get.
The same thing happens during the dance party in the reception. Your DJ probably will set up some strobe lighting and colored disco balls. These are fantastic for the party, but again, these are going to bounce. The good news this time is that’s 100% the vibe this part of the reception is going for and that party feeling will come through in your photos appropriately! Photographers even have some crafty tricks to get some really cool photos during this time so looks forward to that!
A quick note on other "party lights" - string lights. These are a super beautiful way to bring some fantasy into your wedding atmosphere and I do love a good string light. These are great for atmosphere, but don't always provide enough light for photography depending on the kind of look you are going for.
3 We Are Going to Utilize Flash
As a photographer, I know how distracting a flash can be, but if it’s a choice between being a little distracting and missing an important shot, I’m going to pick distracting. Sometimes we are going to need to use flash to get the light just right. It might be an on camera flash or we might need to set up light boxes around the venue in order to get what we need. If you have questions or concerns about flash, please bring them up to your photographer! We do tons of research on the venue and ask you lots of questions to determine what we will need. Do note: Some venues do not allow flash under any circumstances. And some couples are pretty set on us not using a flash. While we will do our best to work with either of these situations, know it might result in some darker images than you were prepared for.
4 Heading Indoors
Golden Hour doesn’t happen inside. Sunlight doesn’t happen inside. There is only so much we can do to replicate that natural light look when indoors since most venues feature harsh, florescent lighting that is going to tamper with the colors in your photos. We have a few tricks up our sleeves to accommodate for this, but if you’re in love with that natural light look, you need to have your party outside or in an area with lots of sub-facing windows, and it needs to be during the day. This is more important for your daytime ceremony since as we discussed before, dark atmosphere is what you’re looking for during the reception dance party.
5 Stop Panicking!
This is a lot of information and most of it is kind of technical. Here’s the best part about all of this: it’s not your job to worry about it. It’s mine.
The reason photographers ask so many questions, scout their venue ahead of time, and plan for all scenarios is to give you the best photography experience possible. So while you’re planning your wedding, know we are planning it alongside you. We are the experts and it’s our job to handle lighting when it comes to your photos. If you have questions about the effects a certain lighting situation might have or how your photographer is going to handle your wedding, just ask. We know what we are doing and are more than happy to put your mind at ease.