Lighting is a crucial aspect of your wedding photography. When you understand how to properly use light in your wedding shoots, you elevate your images (as well as your brand). You also gain the ability to identify light in any location, which helps speed up your shoots. Since there are always new things to learn about light and how to use it for your benefit, here are 6 quick lighting tips from wedding pros.
1. Find Natural Diffusion
Wedding photography duo Zach and Jody Gray discuss how to find natural diffusion in your shoots, especially when shooting at sunset with natural light. They first find something to take the sun (which is still a little bit up in the sky) and diffuse it, but not block it completely. Then, they put their clients’ backs to the sun, so the light creates a nice halo effect. Because they live in Tennessee and have a lot of trees there, they try to find one with some colored leaves on it that can tone down the power of the light and give them that glow and vibrant color.
Image Compliments of Zach and Jody Gray
2. Enhance the Shape
Scott Robert Lim, Luxury wedding photographer, uses light to highlight the shape where he places his clients. In this blog post, Scott discusses how he first positions his clients in the correct shape, and then uses proper light to enhance the shape.
When you understand how to use lighting during any shoot, you can create a unique image from a spot you may never have used before with creative lighting.
3. Shoot into a Light-Colored Wall
Photography duo Amy and Jordan Demos have a tip to help you quickly find light during the reception. Since reception lighting can often be difficult, they suggest to look around the location to find a wall that will enhance your photos. The cleaner and lighter-colored the wall is, the more the colors will pop against it. If you have a choice between shooting into the partition that divided the ballroom in half (which was white) versus the wall with some white elements but a lot of dark wood, too, choose the white wall.
Tip: Use proper lighting techniques to create images your clients love. Also, maintain consistency with your images when you outsource to wedding photography editing services!
4. Understand Window Light Types
Beverly Hills wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela shares the difference between direct window light and fill window light in this blog post. He shares that windows can provide you with light, but not all of the light is created equally. Because of this, it is important to understand the difference between fill and direct window light. If you stand where your subject will stand by the window, and if you see the sun outside, that is direct window light. If you do not see the sun, that is fill window light.
Image Compliments of Roberto Valenzuela
5. Create Light for Large Groups
Wedding photographer Pye Jirsa, of Lin and Jirsa Photography, has a few tips to help you create light for large groups, especially during the reception. He suggests trying to place two off-camera flashes in different corners of the room. This technique helps you get more power and light out of your flashes, helping you light the room (this can also provide for some great rim lighting if your couple is lined up properly in-front of one of the flashes!). You can also find a large light source in the room, such as the ceiling, and bounce the light off of it. This will help to create butterfly lighting, casting an even light on your subjects.
6. Identify the Direction of Light
Zach and Jody Gray share some helpful suggestions in this blog post to identify and learn more about the direction of light. Zach has a simple rule of thumb when it comes to knowing what the correct height of the light should be:
“Wherever the center of the light source is, you want that to be a little bit above the center of the couples’ eyes – something magical happens when you do this.”
When you place the height of the light around here and position the light in a direction that creates dimension to your images, your photos will have an extra level of depth. Experiment with different heights and directions to determine what best represents your brand and style.
One of the best ways for you to grow as a photographer is to continue to practice new techniques. These 6 tips are just the beginning of what you can learn about light and how to use it to your advance. Discover additional lighting tips from Roberto Valenzuela’s #1 best selling book, Picture Perfect Lighting, when you download our Lighting Guide for Wedding Photographers!