Lighting Tips for Wedding Photography


The lighting of wedding photography: Artificial or natural?

When imagining the shot, a wedding photographer must first decide whether to use natural or artificial light. Both natural and flash give a distinct look with various advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes, you need a moment to create sharp, technically correct images in the available lighting. The choice of lighting equipment is often a matter of taste rather than what is best or worst.

When do you use natural lighting, and when can you use artificial light

First, be aware that flash photography is not allowed in some cases. Many ceremonies prohibit flash photography. Be considerate, and don’t ruin a peaceful moment with too many seconds.

Next, consider the existing light in the room. If the room’s light is already beautiful, turn off the flash. In a room with a large window, I might ask the bride to adjust her position so that the light from the window hits her while she is getting ready. No flash is required.

A flash can be used to add interest to dull lighting. Flash can also increase contrast in a photo. Flash also freezes the action and allows for slower shutter speeds. You can also create dimensional lighting with flash, even on cloudy days.

Flash can also fix many problems in wedding photography, such as an underexposed couple or an overexposed sky.

Sometimes the existing light is beautiful. However, a flash/reflector can bring out the best details in the shot instead of ruining it. It cannot be easy to balance ambient light and flash, but it is often worth the effort. I suggest adding a moment at the lowest power to add light to a backlit scene.

Learn how to recognize beautiful existing wedding lighting and when to flash it.

Choose the right wedding photography lighting style

Some shots can only be taken with flash. Sometimes, it is just a matter of style.

Let’s take a look at a technically correct scenario. The sunlight backlights a portrait of newlyweds. To retain the couple’s details and the surrounding details, I use either a low-powered flash or a reflective to fill in the gaps.

A backlit sky without a flash will look whiter than blue if not lit by a second. (I’m also a strict follower of catchlights, which require some light in front of the couple).

A second photographer could capture the same scene with a flash, which wouldn’t be wrong. A photographer with a more light-hearted style than one with more contrast and dramatic colors would photograph the backlit couple without a flash. They would expose the couple’s faces and deliberately overexpose their sky.

Both options result in a technically correct photo, but it has very different styles. Your wedding style influences the decision about how to light a shot. Certain types may use flash more frequently than others.

Although styles may vary, natural lighting is the best option. A photographer must be prepared for any situation that requires flash.

Understanding flash can also help you understand light in general. You will be able to use your photography lighting equipment for natural light photos.

Use Backlighting

The final image will be affected by the direction of the light. Backlighting is a popular choice for weddings due to the traditional look of wedding dresses when backlit.

Backlit backlighting will make the bride’s veil glow, and many wedding gowns will have their skirts burning in backlighting.

The couple will look underexposed if they are backlit by the sun. You can use a flash to add more contrast to the photos. This will allow both the couple as well as the sky to be properly photographed.

Another option is to measure the faces of the couple so that they are correctly exposed. This creates a contrast between the couple and a darker background. The couple can be placed against an intentionally exposed sky to make a more light-filled and airy appearance.

An off-camera flash can also create backlighting. Flashes behind the couple can create backlighting that mimics the golden hour lighting on cloudy days. Moments from behind can freeze raindrops and create a unique silhouette to capture a couple’s nighttime portrait.

Side lighting is a good idea, but be careful with shadows

Another way to effectively use light for weddings is to position the couple so that it is coming from the side. Side lighting is more exciting than using the flash or other light source directly in front of the couple. It creates exciting shadows and is less boring than front lighting.

Side lighting can be made from flash or low-level sunlight, like backlighting. Side lighting can highlight the faces of both the bride and groom. Find the light that flatters the bride and groom.

Adjust the lighting to create shadows. Or, have the bride/groom tilt their faces towards or away from the light to obtain a lamp that highlights the best features of the bride and groom. Avoid large shadows around the nose to make it look bigger.

Side lights can be confusing. Start by placing the morning at a 45-degree angle in front of the couple. Then adjust as needed.

Use a reflector

A reflector is an excellent tool for learning how to work in artificial light. Many photographers still use them even after they have mastered flash lighting. Because it bounces back light already present in the scene, a reflector is simple to use. Calculating how much light you need to add to a location is easy.

On sunny days, reflectors are terrific for wedding photography lighting equipment. Mirrors can bounce some light back from the sun, with the couple facing the sun. The glass will cover the couple and allow for more exposure to both the subject AND the background.

There are many types of reflectors, but my favorite for wedding lighting is the shoot-through. Shoot-through reflectors can be used without an assistant and are great for backlighting. A shoot-through reflector’s ring of light is flattering and makes portraits look great.

Never shoot with a naked flash

Many photographers fear flash because they fear using it for the first time. Flash is a powerful, small light source that casts unflattering shadows. You can change that horrible hard light. It can be made to appear softer and more flattering.

To create a flattering flashlight, you must stop using a naked flash. A nude flash can be bright and harsh. There are two options for photographers to fix this problem: diffuse the flash or bounce it. For a flattering, softer look, diffuse the moment to spread the light.

There are many types of flash diffusers. It is essential to choose a diffuser larger than the flash head, not just the small caps. The MagMod diffuser is what I use. Although they create soft, beautiful light, the MagMod diffuser is a more expensive option. However, they only last for a short time on the flash.

Another option is to bounce your flash. You can shake the moment off of a wall or ceiling indoors. But sometimes that ceiling is only 100 feet high or outside, and there’s no ceiling. When there is nothing else, bendable flash panels can bounce the flash.

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