Why Ample Light is Vital to Wedding Photos

Wedding Photography Lighting

Wedding Photographers Need Great Light

You’re getting married.

Yay! Mazel tov! Congratulations! Woo-hoo!

Now, where?

This part ought to be fun, right? You drive from one stunning property to another, walk the grounds hand-in-hand, imagining being newly betrothed and swaying to your favorite . . . is that mud? Next to the entrance? And why is everything inside gilded? Like . . .everything?

5 or 6 places later and it begins to seem like venues come in categories of Banquet Halls from a Disney Movie, Also Available as a Pool Hall, and Dead Gorgeous But Heart Attack Expensive.

Not to kick you while you’re down (but heck, you are already down there), you probably haven’t even kept in mind something you really ought to.

The photography.

Most of us walk into a room and see the stuff – walls, windows, lamps, tapestries. Engagement photographers & wedding photographers see what helps you see the stuff — natural light, shadows, artificial lighting. They only care about the physicality of things to the degree it impacts the light – buttercup yellow walls, or a bright red tapestry is all that matters to them. But you don’t care. You care that even the toilet seat was gilded at that last place. Even the toilet seat.

But you need to learn to care, and here’s why.

Lighting is critical. Your wedding photographer, no matter how great, is bound by the laws of physics, including the color spectrum and the relative light absorption and reflection of each color as you go around the color wheel. If you don’t know what that means now, you’re going to care even less when you see your pictures weeks after your wedding and you’re upset that your dress is yellow-ish, or grey-ish because of some aspect of the venue. Understanding it’s a result of the laws of physics will not pacify you at that point. But let’s break down this down more specifically.

The bride will likely wear white. And a whole lot of it. To shorthand the physics stuff, this means that the colors in the room, say, on the walls, may be reflected. White is simply more light sensitive. You could wear black. Or. Choose venues with natural light, which is always, always, always more flattering. Always. And in order to benefit from the natural light you need to either 1) be outside or 2) choose a venue that has enough windows that the light is let in, not, say a 200-year old gorgeous stone structure with windows the size of pinholes.

Consider the venue combined with the time of day – and year. Found the perfect place near the water? Getting married at sunset? Very cool. Visited at lunchtime? Not too useful. It could be worth your while to have your photographer visit your venue at the time of day of the event so he can see and recommend when to have which shots. For example, maybe it’s best for the bride and groom to take photos on the water before the wedding to catch sunset. Related, if you pick your venue in New York for an early evening wedding and but you see the venue in July, even at sunset (nicely done) if the wedding is in January, the amount of light coming through the windows will be far less.

There’s so much “should” and “must” in wedding planning, it starts to take the fun out of it. But if you can commit to remembering these details, you’ll be so much happier with your wedding photos, which at the end of the day, are one of the few things that last beyond the final glass of champagne.

And, of course, um, you two.

Getting Ready Photos On Your Wedding Day

 black & white photo of bride getting dressed

Do You Really Need Getting Ready Photos? Maybe So.

There’s a fair amount of debate about taking ‘Getting Ready’ photos – pictures of the bride and groom with their attendants as they get dressed and finish hair and make-up in that final hour or two before the ceremony.

During conversations I had with a friend of mine, who is a Chicago wedding Photographer, the packages are often by the hour. As the couple discusses the number of hours they need, they often tick off the time of first views of each other before the ceremony, through to the beginning of the reception, first dance, cutting the cake, and then any time they want of the guests dancing. But when a photographer mentions the getting ready segment, there can be more of a pause on whether the investment is worth it. In the end, like all things wedding-related, it comes down to the couple’s preferences and budget, but before dismissing it out of hand, here’s some thoughts:

It can provide the right balance of chaos and order. Later there may be perfectly organized photos of a group of bridesmaids lined up with even smiles and smooth hair. But how much nicer a story it tells to have that come after a series of scenes of bobby pins and smeared lipstick and curling irons? Like the wedding itself, this day comes together, piece by piece, one slot sliding into its place at a time, and so little of the behind the scenes effort can be captured. And like the marriage itself, it takes a lot of people, and a lot of work, to build the photos of perfect romance that will be framed throughout the day later.

This is also the end of the end. These are the final moments of single-dom, the transition to married life, the last preparations for a ceremony that shuts the door on a definition of what we were, and opens to who we have become. Photographs of these moments include all the others who were chosen to bear witness and help the bride prepare for this shift in identity – mother, sisters, cousins, friends, whomever.

There is some time for quiet moments. If you choose to have a mix of candid shots and posed shots, you might wish to have mother-daughter photos, or sister-sister pictures, that are relaxed and informal, but set in a room apart from where the actual preparations are (if you’re getting ready in your parents’ home, maybe a shot in your childhood room).

bride putting on crosage

The decision is not a bride’s-only choice. Grooms may discover that even though their prep time is shorter, they are having an equally significant final transition from their single life, and it is perhaps because they tend to express less emotion verbally, that catching the unexpressed communication of the moments that are passing amongst them it could be all the more memorable to have photos. While there might be less explicit “helping” the groom get ready, there can still be opportunities for father-son shots, or loosely staged shots of the groomsmen as they prepare together. Because the groom so often plays second fiddle to his bride, such shots could help ensure that he and his male attendants garner a bit of stage time as well.

Naturally, it’s also a place where people sometimes choose to have the photo of the first time the father sees the bride. Again, this is a nice moment to capture, that really by definition needs to be done as a slightly staged, slightly candid shot, and is more easily done in a setting where there is a smaller audience.

For couples with a very limited budget the getting ready shots can never take precedence over photographs of the ceremony or the first dance. But before those who have the choice disregard it completely, it’s worth considering if the opportunity to memorialize those moments should be captured. The thing to recognize however, is that the getting ready time is not simply photographing zipping up dresses and pinning boutonnieres, but shedding pasts and preparing for futures – a transition that might be worth the photos.  Here’s a cheesy plug, if you are looking for a Chicago engagement photographer or wedding photographer be sure to visit Bob’s blog.  He is a phenomenal artist and an even better friend!

Which Dress is Right for You?

How to pick a wedding dress that is perfect for you AND looks great in your wedding photos!

Picking a wedding dress can be daunting – with thousands of options and styles. By figuring out what style of dress looks great on your body, it will help simplify your wedding dress search!

Finding the style of dress that accentuate your lovely assets, while concealing the less favorable parts of your body, will not only make you feel great in the dress but will make sure your wedding pictures don’t focus on the parts of your body that you don’t love. This will make your wedding pictures great because you won’t be looking at every photo wishing you wore something else!

There are five basic body types that most women fit into. We will briefly describe each one and list the best dress styles for each body type!

drawing of different women in wedding dresses

Petite
Because petite women, well are petite and small, it is generally recommended not to wear anything that is overwhelming to their frame or body, like large puffy ball gowns. Structured dresses, like the trumpet style dresses, or airy sheath dresses, emphasize the best parts of these small bodied women. Also empire waistline dresses are great for petite women for it creates the illusion of longer legs.

Plus Size
Empire style dresses also work for plus size women too! They create a lengthening effect on all women and accentuate the bust line. Lace is all the rage right now in wedding dresses, and can be great for plus size women. Lace wraps can go over your favorite dress and provide a beautiful cover for arms and shoulders. High necklines, forming silhouettes, and slight trains are a great combination for this body type to help you look long and lean. Strategic draping around the waistline can also define curves. It just depends on what you are comfortable with and what you like!

Busty
Scooped necklines are great for well-endowed women. It emphasizes your décolletage without showing too much cleavage. Also a sweetheart neckline shows off your beautiful figure, unlike the straight neckline which will make the bust look like a shelf. Square necklines are also great for busty women, for it provides structure without being too revealing. Avoid silky or draped material around the bust line, for it could lead to wardrobe malfunction!

Hourglass
Hourglass figures can either flaunt their womanly curves with form fitting gowns, or cover them up with large ball gowns! The choice is yours of what you want to flaunt or cover up. Fit-and-flare dresses can accentuate your hourglass curves and are a go-to dress for many hourglass women. Other styles that can accentuate your curves are dropped waist lines, belted, or tucked waistlines. If you want to cover up your hips a bit, ball gowns are the way to go! Your bust will weigh out the fullness of the flare of the dress.

Lean/Straight
This body types has lots of options, but if you are looking to create some curves – you have some options! Voluminous skirts and ball gowns can make you look like you have more of an hour glass or curvy figure. Contouring seams can also create the illusion of curves, like Bodycon styles, but with lace and satin ribbing. If you don’t want to draw too much attention to your lean figure, avoid the basic sheath dresses that do not have any form – because your natural body curves are the only curves it will have!

Any way you go, just make sure you love the dress and you love the way it makes YOU look! You will be looking at these wedding pictures for years to come and you want to make sure you like the way you look! Happy shopping!

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Picking A Wedding Venue

Picking a Venue that is Best for You … and Your Wedding Pictures!

There is a lot to consider when picking a wedding venue – the location, your budget, the size of your wedding, the style – but one thing that is almost more important than everything else is the lighting!

Most people don’t consider lighting when looking at venues, but if you want your wedding pictures to turn out a certain way – or look perfect – than you have to consider the lighting!

Lighting can make or break your wedding photos – especially if you want them to look nice. So, although it’s one more thing to add to your list of things to consider, please do! Your photographer, and YOU, will thank me later when your pictures turn out beautiful!

Beautiful Wedding Venue

Venues & Photography

With photography, lighting is extremely important. Wedding photographers can bring flashes, flash boxes, and reflectors to take the posed and traditional pictures; but if you want to get great candid shots – where the bride is tossing the bouquet or pictures of the first dance – the lighting in the venue is going to be important. The photographer, in most cases, won’t be able to control your venue’s lighting.  If you decide to have your wedding on the beach, nice park, or anywhere outside make sure you have a back-up location.  Outside weddings can produce very beautiful images, especially on the beach.  Take for instance the portfolio of Gary, Wedding Photographer Virginia Beach.  He almost exclusively shoots outside weddings.

Here are some basic tips to think about when picking a venue for your wedding and reception:

  • Don’t pick a place that has a disco ball or multi colored lights at the reception, unless you don’t care if flecks of light or multi colored lights in all your reception pictures! They can ruin the pictures of those special moments like your first dance!
  • Make sure the venue has proper lighting where your reception is being held. Don’t pick a place that has all fluorescent / bright lights! It will make everyone’s skin tone look awful in your photos!
  • Try to pick a place that isn’t just a regular ball room where all the walls are the same. Those plain walls will be in ALL of your pictures, which will make the ALL of the pictures look similar. Find a place that is decorated instead or has some architectural detail, like windows, molding, arches, etc. The little things will help set your pictures off!
  • For the wedding venue, make sure the photographer has space around the guests so they can actually get pictures of the ceremony. It has become popular to do a circular isle where the bride walks down to the altar, but consider it before doing it! It will be hard for the photographer to get the shots you want if they can’t get close to altar!
  • Some venues only allow you to use certain photographers at their locations and in their buildings. Make sure that you can use the photographer you want, unless you like theirs!
  • Other venues require you to use licensed, bonded, and insured photographers. Make sure your photographer meets their requirements well before hand!

To sum it up – make sure to consider the lighting and your photographer before picking a venue. If you want your pictures to be “picture perfect” there are a lot of things to consider.

PS – You can always ask your photographer or wedding planner if they can recommend a venue too!

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