Ask any photographer, what their #1 ingredient is in photography, and their correct answer should be light.
One can’t be a “natural light” wedding photographer, that’s just not possible. What will happen when the natural light goes away behind a thunderstorm? Or when the sun sets and the reception is in full swing with fast-dancing guests? It is the role of wedding photographers to not only utilize and photograph with whatever light they’re given, but under certain circumstances, they’ll have to create light, and that’s where I truly believe one can stand out.
This post will introduce to you the variety of light I see. I’m really excited for this weekend as I’m going to be doing two challenge shoots – I occasionally put myself up to the challenge to shoot in less-than-ideal conditions to push my ability to see light.
First off, every photographer’s favorite: the golden hour. Happens on sunny days during certain hours, and you get sweet photographs like these – they literally look golden!
Another photographer’s favorite is broad lighting. The light is usually diffused. The subjects’ faces are clearly lit, bright, and smooth. You get this a lot on cloudy days
Then there is a type of light a lot of photographers are afraid of – direct light. It happens when the sun is high and harsh, and I too agree that it isn’t the most pleasing, but in creative ways, it can create high impact
Three-quarter lighting is one of the most pleasing ways to light a portrait
The onset of vintage weddings have brought us a trend in backlit, washed out photographs. I use backlighting because I do believe it is romantic. However, I have two rules when it comes to this: one, I want my subjects well-exposed – they can’t be dark. Two, I won’t take backlit photos just for backlighting’s sake. I often include sun flares or I do a rim light effect
Then we go inside! When you’re inside and it’s dark or lighting is mixed, well, you have to create light! Sometimes one speedlight, bounced off a wall or ceiling, with the shutter speed slow enough to bring in the ambient will do just fine
Sometimes it’ll be slightly more involved with an off-camera speedlight that I control with wireless transmitters (I’ve tried both radiopoppers and pocket wizards, I prefer radiopoppers). Sometimes you’ll see them show up as a bare flash
Most of the time though, I prefer to leave it to the side for rim lighting
And then there are awesome opportunities in the dark for even more creative work
Let there be light! Yes, that is my bathroom mirror
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Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
she takes photographs of celebrations of love and life
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only