Creative Use of Light Part 1

Today's wedding photography has a lot of possibilities with great poses, capturing those great moments (sometime with the couple in private). Many wedding photographers do a great job at capturing those great moments (and my clients have told me time and again that I have a fantastic ability to capture those moments as well).  However, what I really enjoy is using light creatively to make those unique images that my clients see and fall in love with when looking at their entire day. One of my couples still use one of these specially lit photos as her Facebook profile picture more than a year after her wedding. 

In this blog post, I thought that I'd share with  you some of those fun signature pictures that I create at my weddings and a little bit on how I create these memorable images. 

Ring Heart

The heart shadow of the ring is a shot that almost all of my couples want as part of their collection. This shot symbolizes how the rings represent the Bride and Groom having each other hearts. 

What else makes this images so special is that it is personalized to what's important to my clients. Many times the couple asks me to capture this image on a particular bible passage that they will read at their wedding. In one situation my bride was from Brazil and asked me to capture this image with a Portuguese Bible  as well as standard bible. However, sometimes it's not a bible that is desired. In the case of Nadia & Tomas, they have beautiful Chihuahua's that were very important to them, so I used a book that they had on that breed. That's the image that I show above, one of my favorites! This was taken at the Nadia and Tomas's home as they were getting ready, with the dogs barking in the background, giving me their approval. 

At weddings my own personal rule is that I never use a tripod You will never see me with a tripod with two exceptions. The Ring Heart shot is one of them. Keep reading and you'll learn of the other exception to that rule. 

The LOVE Shot

Whenever I meet a bride and groom for an initial consult, I always talk about the "Love Shot". This is one of the most FUN "posed" shots that I capture during the wedding. 

This image is not a post processing or Photoshop trick. It is really four friends of the lucky couple "painting with light". What I do is give each of the participating friends a small flash light and show them each the movements with their hand that I wanted them to do for the shot. Neither the couple or I tell them what we're doing. Without exception, everyone starts laughing as they try to figure out what we're trying to do for this picture (of course the bride & groom know). All they know is that for 5-10 seconds they're waving their arms as directed for this crazy photographer.  It usually takes 3 or 4 attempts to get all participants to do it correctly, but once I show everyone what it looks like on the back of the camera after the first attempt, they all get real serious to get the best image possible. 

As I mentioned this is one of the few shots that I take with a tripod. This particular version of the image was taken in front of the Barn at Fearrington Village. The groom and all of the "light painters" are all graduates of West Point Military Academy.  As expected they were proud to get the shot right the first time!

For my photography friends out there, here is exactly how it's done.

  •  ISO 1250
  • F-stop 22
  • Exposure time 5 - 10 seconds (depends on ambient light)
  • Holding the flash in your hand, zoom it to maximum, use a light flute (rolled up magazine will work) and manually fire the flash at the bride and groom once or twice 
  • NOTE: for this shot, as there was very little ambient light and I wanted to be sure the barn was a key component, I had my assistant light the barn with my Xeon light.