Intro to lighting (The Art of lighting)

The Art of Lighting is such a key part of photography and unfortunately sometimes overlooked. WIth all of the progressions in technology in cameras and in on camera flash, you can get a decent image even in a dark reception hall without knowing much about lighting. But for your wedding photos who wants decent images when your photos can POP and look amazing no matter where your wedding or ceremony are. This post is one of a few to come about lighting and the importance of good quality, artistic lighting and will just be an intro for some of the blog posts to come. For all of the photographers that read the blog i’ll give some tips and easy lighting techniques that I use to create images that can really sparkle.

For photographing weddings light is THE key choice and what we look for when thinking about how to photograph each scene. Lots of weddings are very fast paced and can be outdoors in full sun or other tricky situations. There are many ways to deal with each setup that will give you such different looks. I’ll give you a few examples of what I do with lighting in different types of environments that work with my style of photography. I’ll also give you some examples of very quick lighting for receptions that can elevate photos above the normal boring, flat lighting.

The best tip to start is to take your flash off your camera. Certain parts of events (when you are really moving around a lot) it does make sense to have your flash on camera. But when you know your subjects will be in a contained area like the first dance for a bride and groom take that flash off the camera! The easiest thing to do when starting out is simply buy a extension cord for your flash that will allow you to still have your flash plugged into your camera but gives you control to move it a few feet away from the camera. You can basically just hold your flash with one arm as high as you can and to the side and start to see the big different that makes in the image.

Light is key to being creative with your photography. There are so many ways to creatively use any type of light from mid day sun, to low light at the end of the day and external light. Start to really think about the direction that your light is coming from in your shots and what you can do to make it more dynamic. Light coming from straight on makes everything look flat so try and get the light coming in from a different angle and see what that does to your shot. The great thing with digital photography is the learning curve is so much faster than it used to be. You can do some testing and see the difference right away.

Here is a shot that we did in a pitch black field. It was an awesome shot to end the wedding and made a perfect full page spread in their album. I’ll give a breakdown on how this image was made next week in our shot of the week post. Update: read how we got this shot here (Using on location off camera lighting)
off camera lighting for weddings

You can also read a few of our other lighting articles here:

  • Creative lighting for first dance photos
  • natural light photography tips
  • Off camera lighting for weddings
  • If you like our articles remember to share them on Facebook, Twitter or +1 them on Google. I appreciate you spreading the word to your photo friends and it helps me to continue writing content for everyone!

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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