My Favourite Kinds of Light for Wedding Photography
The wedding photographer you choose will be responsible for capturing all of your memories, and capturing them beautifully! All photographers, regardless of their style, will use light to create your images. The quality of light can have a huge impact on the result of your wedding photos. Where possible I will use only the natural light available to me. It is so raw and organic and beautiful that it adds it’s a character all it's own to a photo. Here are some of my absolute faves!
Most brides & grooms will get ready for their big day inside. When working inside I love big windows! Where possible we’ll turn off or dim the inside lights (which can wreak havoc on colour balance), and use just the window light. Window light is full of variety and can act almost like a big softbox on the wall. You can get beautifully side lit images that add drama, you can get dreamy backlit images and you can play with angles and shadows. One of the best things about using window light is that you can use it pretty much any time of day, and you’re inside! So if the weather isn’t playing along, you can have a little break inside keeping warm (or cool) and dry.
It doesn't matter too much if it's midday or mid afternoon, open shade is always a beautiful option for soft and flattering light. Open shade is simply a spot of mostly solid shadow, such as by a building or under a big, gorgeous tree. Many people see shadows and think that this will make their photos dark and muddy. However, if your photographer knows how to use these shadows the result will be gorgeously soft and flattering light. Which I absolutely adore! xx
Mid to Late Afternoon (Or Early to Mid Morning) - Outside
Most of us have heard about magic hour or golden hour (which of course, is another one of my faves!) What many people don’t realise is that the light just before (afternoon) or just after (morning) can also create some stunning images! When the sun is a little lower in the sky it starts drawing long shadows across the ground without loosing any of its punchiness. Long shadows are an amazing compositional element, and when you back light or side light your subject you can get both a beautiful glow and delicious shadows that drawn a compositional line right back to your subject. Yum!
Magic hour is gorgeous, glowing, flexible light that skims across the top of the earth gently caressing its subjects. You have shadows, but they’re not harsh and it creates a glow which is an incredibly popular look in many current photographers portfolios. (I know of some portrait photographers who won’t shoot at any other time of day!) It’s definitely worthwhile trying to get a few beautiful magic hour portraits with your photographer on your wedding day.
Sunset/sunrise is a unique time of day, the light is very flat and soft with minimal shadows and highlights - and yet, it glows! Directly preceding/following magic hour, it's most definitely worth taking advantage of. The main drawing card is the beautiful colours that spread their way across the sky. It can be a great opportunity to get some silhouette photos, while those clouds and colours are dominating the sky.
The sun is now gone, and many photographers will now retreat inside where they can take more control of artificial lights and their flash. Until recently, I would have done the same! When you have no sun light you will need to sacrifice other qualities in your image, such as adding more noise in order to capture the details in the light that remains. What can be really fun though is going on a night time adventure to find little puddles or pools of light. Streetlights, headlights, fairy lights, all add a mystical and crazy character to your photos. You will get images full of unique colours, super dark shadows, and little pops of beautiful and dramatic highlights.
How to Use This Light on Your Wedding Day
So how can you try to take advantage of all of these beautiful types of light on your wedding day? To start, I like to go on location scouts to the venue/s you will be using on your wedding day (preferably at the same time as the ceremony). This lets me find the angles and locations that I think will be bathed in the most beautiful light at certain time. I’m a bit of a geek and will bring my sun compass, so even if it’s overcast or the wrong time of day I can still see where the sun will be and predict what it will be doing.
If you really want to make sure that your wedding day is just full to bursting with gorgeous light, you can ask your photographer to help your plan the schedule for your day. Based on where the sun will be and what the light is most likely to be doing. (The weather and season can also affect this).
Please feel free to get in touch if you think this might be something you’d be interested in. xx