Photography guide- Part 1 – Lighting

As a bride or groom to be, you don’t need to be a photographer yourseves, but a basic understanding of the process can help you make informed choices. 

There’s a difference between how a camera “sees” a situation and how our eyes perceive it. You’ve probably experienced many inspiring and beautiful scenes which didn’t translate into the photos you hope for. The results just didn’t match up to what your eyes saw. Often this happens in very strong sunlight or in dim lighting situations. Our eyes are amazing cameras that are also enhanced by our brain’s perception. This helps us resolve, and as a result enjoy certain visuals that don’t easily translate into flat, still photos. Experienced photographers will know their camera’s shortfalls and be able to predict the results before taking the photo. With time, choice of lens and settings will allow to adapt to challenging lighting situations, often resulting in the most atmospheric photos. Inspiring photos will often take advantage of the difference between the eyes and camera and show us something in a different way. Urban wedding photographerThere are two main approaches to handling light in photos. Using artificial light, often in the form of flash, or using the available light. The way a photographer uses light often defines his or her signature look. 

Artificial light tends to give a higher level of control and predictability. Using complex flash setups can open the door to amazing creative opportunities.

wedding and fashion photographer

Several lights where used to create a soft vintage feel that is flattering yet natural looking

wedding and fashion photographer

A Strong, harsh flash was used to create a dramatic effect separating the models from their environments and darkening the skies

wedding and fashion photographer

Two studio lights where used to emphasise shape and create a crisp-sharp photo.

For commercial photography such setups are often the ideal solution. For fast-paced documentary wedding photography this is usually not practical. In most situations the only lighting a wedding photographer can carry is a flashgun attached to the camera. With one light on the camera the options are more limited and the familiar “flat-flash” look is often the result. 

wedding and fashion photographer

On camera flash tends to look flat but it can be used creatively too.

Available light is harder to predict and control but it usually represents the way we experience the scene. The results can often look cinematic.Couple portraits London & HertfordshirePortrait photographer Islington
High-end digital cameras have the abilities to work in much lower light than their film ancestors but it is often the choice of a good prime lens the will make a low light image come to life. Prime lenses are fixed, meaning there is no zoom. They lack the flexibility of zooms that allow photographer to come in close and capture a portrait or zoom out wide for a group shot. This limitation has a certain charm to it, as it forces a photographer into a certain perspective but their real advantage is excelling in low light. Hampstead Wedding Photographer

Because of these limitations photographers who use primes for weddings will usually need to use two cameras with different lenses to cover different situations. 

Ultimately there is no right or wrong in photography. Coupled with a good eye, steady hand and an understanding of light the right equipment can produce magical and stylish results. Technical knowledge blend with creativity and emotion to create images that make us stop. 

All images © copyright Odi Caspi