It’s understandable why the majority of lighting questions I get from photographers have to do with receptions. Reception lighting is the bane of existence for many wedding photographers. You are shooting fast-moving subjects in low, unbalanced color light without the ability to control or adjust the subjects for better posing. For most receptions, you can follow a few simple formulas to ensure that lighting is consistent and beautiful. Here are our setups.
One of the goals on the vision board of a lot of wedding photographers is the high-end wedding. Depending on where you are in the world, this can have a very different connotation. I’m in the New Jersey and New York City area, one of the most expensive regions to have a wedding, where high-end means multimillion-dollar weddings at places like Cipriani and The Plaza. Whatever high-end means to you, you have to find a way to appeal to more luxurious clients. This isn’t easy, especially if you don’t run in those crowds yourself (I sure don’t). But there are ways to position yourself and your brand so you get in front of those clients and make them happy when you do.
I have always been attracted to the work of Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger and other modern fashion/editorial photographers. A long time ago, I decided to incorporate some of the inspiration they have given me into my wedding photography. Everyone who follows this type of work knows that creating studio editorials can be a big production. Getting the best results requires complex lighting setups, large modifiers and a set with either a regal feel or an industrial look. We don’t usually get all that at the local banquet hall.
Authentic images are the ones our clients want to buy. So how do you learn to recognize authenticity in a photograph? Even more challenging, how do you then re-create authenticity in image after image for your many clients? It’s a hugely important question for your business. So let’s talk about six ways Eileen and I capture authentic moments.
If you’re a seasoned wedding photographer, you already know that the last quarter of the season can get tough. Maybe you took on too many weddings this year, or maybe you feel a bit of longing with the end of wedding season in sight. Whatever it is, wedding professionals typically look forward to a little bit of a break come winter—except for those in warmer climates who are just getting started. In the Northeast, weddings in September and October are ideal because of the pleasant temperatures and bright colors. The last thing we want to give our clients is a tired-out photographer. Here are my tips for making it through the last stretch of wedding season.
2017 is a great year for photographers. Technology has advanced at such a rapid pace, and continues to offer some of the best tools available to do what we love doing. With all the options, how do you choose a primary camera system? Wedding shoots comprise a mixture of product, portrait and action photography—so how do you know which system works best for all these needs? I recently tested multiple camera systems to see which came out on top.
In this issue, you’re reading exceptional advice on shaping light with strobes, softboxes and speedlights. But what if you’re limited to available, natural light? There are unique challenges. What you gain in reduced gear, setup and purchases, you lose in flexibility. Yet there’s a distinctive beauty in using only the sun. With care, it can produce timeless imagery.
Light is pretty much everywhere, you just have to find it. Just because you find light doesn’t mean it is good light. As a full-time wedding photographer, it’s part of my job to find the best light to flatter my subjects. My groom wants to look cool and my bride wants to look beautiful. When good light is available, I’ll certainly use it, but it’s not always there. But guess what is always available? My off-camera flash.
If you’re overwhelmed by the technical side of lighting, don’t fear. You can try these simple approaches to wedding day lighting. As with every part of the wedding day, I apply in-studio lighting techniques to my photographs using my keylight (the main light), hair light (light that separates the subject from the background) and fill light (fills in the shadows). The mood I want to create changes throughout the day as the story I am telling changes, so my light sources vary from natural to artificial.
Why do we covet those last few minutes of light at the end of the day? Obviously, the golden light is much easier to work with. It’s the beauty and versatility of the light that we cherish. Most importantly, it provides us more options for creatively capturing our couple’s love story. The key to successful wedding portraiture at golden hour is flexibility.