Natural Light Wedding Photography
Is natural light wedding photography really something that couples should be looking for in a photographer? More and more I see photographers advertising this as a benefit. However, natural light wedding photography might just turn out to be “no light wedding photography” in a less than optimal situation. Sure, in an outdoor wedding on a perfect day sunlight can be used to create lovely portraits. But what about a dark cloudy day, or a rainy day when the outdoor wedding gets moved indoors?
The Ugly Truth About Church Lighting
There is no such thing as natural lighting inside a church. There may be daylight streaming in through the windows, odd colored light emanating from the stained glass, hideous green light coming from the florescent tubes overhead and ugly orange light beaming from incandescent lights through the venue. Thrown all together it is likely that the color balance meter on the camera will have no idea what to use for a white balance setting. Sure, modern digital cameras can produce images in low light situations, but what happens to the ambient light in the background? If a photographer cranks the ISO up on the camera to properly expose the people, light streaming through the stained glass windows will be completely blown out, completely obliterating the beauty of the colored glass.
The Wedding Photographer Needs to be a Lighting Expert
Whether the wedding is held indoors or outdoors, the wedding photographer must be a lighting expert. He / she must be able to analyze the scene and determine what equipment to use to best light that moment. Outdoors in the middle of the day, shadows from the bright overhead sun will fill eye sockets with ugly shadows. On a cloudy day, dull light will dampen colors. Brides and grooms hoping for a beautiful sunset wedding will need a photographer with flash equipment able to balance the light on the people with the colors in the sky in the background.
Proper Lighting and Image Quality
It is guaranteed that dressing rooms and reception venues will have almost no light. An ugly green cast from florescent tubes shining down will result in skewed colors that may not be correctable in post processing. Flash lighting may be the only light source strong enough to overpower the nasty colors resulting from indoor artificial light. The other advantage of flash lighting is image quality. The camera can be set to it’s optimal quality setting, resulting in the lowest noise and most accurate colors possible. Photographers without flash equipment will be forced to crank their ISO values up to unacceptable levels resulting in noisy images which will ultimately result in loss of detail.
What to Ask Your Prospective Photographer
Find out what lighting your photographer intends to bring, and what experience using it. A large wedding might require a powerful studio lamp with a soft box or umbrella, perhaps even two. These lights on stands can be extended high above the camera, creating pleasing portrait lighting rather than unprofessional direct light on wedding party faces. Direct light almost always results in ugly shadows on the walls behind while the lights on stands eliminate that problem. A small elopement wedding outdoors might only require a speed light to fill shadows and balance the background. Backup lighting might be a good thing for the photographer to have in case of emergency. To sum it up, make sure your photographer has the ability to deliver a quality product.
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Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
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