Lighting for a Wedding!

by | Feb 10, 2018

What’s going on guys!? Today I’m talking about lighting, and how you can best utilize it, to make your wedding amazing! We’re starting out with finding the best light for your preps, then moving into your ceremony and your photo session at the ideal time of day, and then of course, we’re wrapping things up with the reception.

So the science of lighting gets a little techy, so I’ll explain that really quick, then take it back to how you can actually use it practically.

Light has different colors. You have warm light, you have cold light, and you different color temperatures in between. When the sun is down low in the sky, it filters out blue light (resulting in warm orange light), and when the sun raises up to the center of the sky, it filters out orange light (resulting in a blue sky). So depending on the position of the sun, light will be a different color. It doesn’t stop there, different light bulbs have different color temperatures. Most indoor bulbs are very warm, then fluorescent bulbs are a little cooler, and LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights could be even bluer. It all depends on the different color temperature that the bulb is rated for. Watch between 0:30 and 1:00 of the video above to see visual examples of what I mean.

Okay, so how do we apply that to make sure that your wedding looks amazing? When you’re getting ready in the morning, natural light is the key. Find a big window to get your makeup touched up at, your hair styled at, and getting into your dress at. All of that natural sunlight is guaranteed to get a beautiful image in videos and photos. The photographers and I will set our cameras to make sure all of that blue sunlight coming in is looking very nice, and we’re set and good to go. So when our cameras are set to blue and all of that blue light is looking gorgeous, and someone turns on an orange lamp, the result could be problematic. Our cameras are set for blue, but there’s orange coming in, and it just doesn’t look good. It actually looks kind of ugly. This is why I always turn off all the lights in a room! Another reason that a bride should always be getting ready next to a window is because a window is a very nice, beautiful, defined light. What do I mean by defined light? Well defined light makes the image very flattering and actually help enhance the hair and makeup, because that is how you are naturally going to look; especially if you’re getting married outside. To see visual examples of a bride getting ready in a natural light vs. orange light, see 2:20 in the video above.

Moving on to your ceremony and your photo session. Are you getting married outside? If so, what time are you getting married? Because when the sun is up high in the sky, you are going to get a lot of shadows, so it’s going to look like you have bags on your eyes, and you’ll be squinting. Even in you’re a super-talented-non-squinter-person, the light isn’t going to look good for photos or video. Regardless of the tools that we use, high noon will NEVER look as good as sunset. So if you do plan on having an outdoor ceremony, I’d highly, highly, highly, recommend picking a time around sunset, because it will create gorgeous images, you’re not going to be squinting, and your guests will typically be happier (because they won’t be squinting either)! The same concept applies to the photo session. Sunset is the best time of day to shoot all of the gorgeous side light coming in. It’s warm, it’s inviting, it’s very comfortable, you’re not going to be squinting (I think I mentioned that once or twice before…)- it is so nice to shoot in sunset. We’re going to have better time, you’re going to get better images. It’s a win-win!

Pro Tip- If you do have to get married outside around high noon, find some large areas of shade (at 3:51 the bride and groom had their wedding under a HUGE tree). That will create a lot of soft diffused light. It’s not as good as sunset, but it is SO much better than direct high noon sunlight.

It’s time to party! We’re hitting the reception now! So how are you going to get good lighting for the speeches, the dances, and all of the important moments. Reception venues keep the lights warm and dim, and the video isn’t going to look good all dim and grainy. So how are we going to do that? For the reception, I set up a few lights on light stands (not on-camera, because this isn’t 1998). The lights hit the dance floor and the sweetheart table during the speeches. The key to my lighting is creating shaped, defined light, while keeping the mood, and NOT ruining the ambience of the room.

*Pro Tip* – Some DJ’s offer a spotlight package, where they bring their spotlights and shine them on the dance floor for your first dance and the parent dances. It sounds very nice, but it’s just a bit much. In theory it sounds great, but their lights are very high powered, blue, and unflattering. Sometimes they actually kill the ambience of the room. You could potentially save some $$$ by not booking a “spotlight package” from the DJ, because I’ll be bringing my lights regardless to get that shaped, defined light, put emphasis on the couple on the dance floor, while NOT killing the ambience of the room.

But that’s it for me today! I hope you learned something about lighting, and how you could potentially use it to make your wedding day even more amazing!

If you’d like to learn more behind-the-scenes of making your wedding day amazing, check out my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, and click on my other vlog posts and wedding films. See you next time!

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