Category: How it’s lit

How do you light a wedding photography conference that makes everyone look cool, in a space you’ve never been in, with 20 minutes to set up? It all hangs on taking time to understand the space you’re shooting in, and bringing the right gear.

Very often the lighting is the tricky part of a photograph like this, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes – as in here – the tricky bit is finding the composition. Where to take the shot, and how to frame it up. All the more so when there’s a storm brewing. And the solution to a good frame can be an unexpected one.

This is very simple unposed shot, with no light added by me. The light is all what was already present in the scene. The challenge, therefore, is not how much light to use, or where to place it. In this case the required skill is to make the most of the light present, assessing it and putting it to good use.

A wedding photographer needs to be fairly adaptable, and able to adjust to any situation. With experience comes the ability to deal with the unexpected, and to bring some control to uncontrollable situations. One of the benefits of learning how to light is that it gives you a particularly useful tool in your bag to help to do just this.

It’s a stormy day, you’ve had limited scope for any particularly creative photographs so far, and you want to capture a stand out photo for the couple. Outdoors isn’t looking promising, the drinks reception location is busy and the only option is the marquee that’s soon to be used for the dinner. But how to get creative in such a space?

There are two routes you can take when moving beyond bounced flash to expand your knowledge – one path involves a realisation that that there’s a need to understand how flash works, and to learn how to take control of it for practical purposes of creating nice light when the available light is bad. The other path involves embracing the ability of flash photography to enhance your creativity. Playing the long game pays dividends.

My own journey to learn about light started about 10 years ago, before I started photographing weddings, but at a time when I was attending a lot of friends’ weddings, and every now and then coming away with nice photographs.  When I’d look at what made a photograph appeal to me, it would often be the light.  And often not the primary light, but the accent light added by a lamp, or a flash, or an open doorway.   I realised that light had the potential to make or break a photograph, and I wanted to understand that.  I also realised that there would be times when you’d need to create your own light, and I wanted to know how to do that.