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.