The Art of Light – Why it Matters To Your Wedding

Firstly, photography is the art of painting by light. The most important word in that sentence is light. If you ask me, what is the most important part of a photograph? The answer is always, good light. I live for beautiful light. Be that a soft window light, a romantic sunset or artificial light from a large softbox. Beautiful light = beautiful photos. Bad light = bad photos. Full stop. (fyi – I don’t bring softboxes to weddings, they are way too intrusive).

So why is understanding that important? Well for example if it’s a hot summer day with the sun blazing away, you may think that will make pretty photos. In reality people will be squinting and sweating. Neither of which will you will want to see in your final photographs. It will also explain why we may ask to move the time of the group photos or portraits and why I might face people in one direction vs another during bridal party photos.

Light determines not only the brightness and darkness but also the tone, mood and atmosphere of a photo. Think about, for example, where you are getting ready and how much light is available. Your photos will look drastically different if there is a small window or a few large windows.

light is important in wedding photography - The Art of Light - Why it Matters To Your Wedding

Notice the left photo of a groom getting ready in a basement with canned lights vs the right photo of a groom reading a letter in front of a large window. Drastically different moods and aesthetics.

wedding ceremony lighting comparison - The Art of Light - Why it Matters To Your Wedding

Typically, a lot of ceremony venues (churches in particular) have very little light – we compensate for this by increasing our cameras’ sensitivity to light (ISO) because adding flashes to the ceremony is very intrusive. I like to be a ninja during the ceremony!

86 fun wedding - The Art of Light - Why it Matters To Your Wedding

Receptions also often have very little light because the venue wants to set a specific mood. Here is where we add artificial light in a way that looks natural and flattering to everyone. I keep my flash on the camera so I can focus on capturing awesome action and moments instead of managing a different flashes positioned around the room.

hidden vineyard berrien springs wedding 70 - The Art of Light - Why it Matters To Your Wedding

Every great wedding photographer can (or should be able to) work around whatever lighting conditions are presented. I certainly can and always do. But this is about the aesthetic and mood that different light can create on your wedding day! Consider light when planning your wedding and talk to your wedding photographer (me)! Here’s a Chicago wedding with varying light conditions throughout the day, and another Chicago wedding to compare!

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