Why your wedding photographer needs to know what they are doing.

Why your wedding photographer needs to know what they are doing.  I see so many photographs on-line that are close, but miss the boat because of the lack of skill, knowledge or time that the photographer took.  Who got the short end of the stick?  The bride.

Last week, I talked about how a professional photographer can make or not make the experience really fun and also how expression is important, but mostly dealt with posing and how key that is to a great portraits.

Unfortunately, posing and lighting are not in vogue today-except in the very highest echelons of photography.  Newer photographers learn the basics, but its difficult to easily progress past that without attending extensive workshops.

But for a bride, what else can separate your photographs from everyone else's and give you images that are unique, creative and artistic besides posing?


Lighting is key for gorgeous wedding photographs

In my mind, lighting can be even more important than posing.  I've seen pictures of gorgeous women that makes them look so-so because of poor lighting and I've seen a photo of a plain old bolt where it looks incredible.

About 20 years ago, I was at the Eugene Oregon studio of a competitor who had been a photographer much longer than I had (they are no longer in business).  The photographer said to me, "Your posing is really good (thanks to Joe Zeltsman!), but your lighting needs a lot of work."

While I didn't say anything to him, that comment really made me mad.  "Who does he thing HE is?"  "The nerve!" etc., etc.  After all, it was unsolicited.  But after a few hours, I thought about what he said and in deciding to be honest with myself, I had to agree. My lighting was uninspiring and not dynamic.  Unless I got lucky.  But that is certainly not a photographers' skill.

So like the posing full week workshop that I had taken years earlier, I signed up for another week long school, just dealing with lighting.  This time, it was at the Winona School of Photography, held in Chicago Illinois. Taught by Dave Newman from Utah, it dealt with primarily indoor studio light.

But learning what type of light to use to mold and shape a face, was alone worth the five day class. We dealt with all types of light sources and lighting techniques from butterfly light to Rembrandt light, split light, short light, broad light, loop light, and the knowledge blew my brain apart.

But it changed me.

I was no longer a photographer who had to "luck upon" great light, but could mold it to fit the circumstances.

This example below was a case where it was your typical boring overcast day on the Oregon coast.  What can I do to make it more exciting and beautiful?  Lighting.

Unique lighting
Unique lighting

I turned my camera's white balance to Tungsten light, which more make the whole scene more blue.  Then using an amber colored gel, covered my professional high powered Quantum T5d-r flash so that light would appear white.  The couple loved it, because now their gray day was filled with more color.

Infra-red images can do the same idea...make a scene that our eyes did not see.gon park a photographers pro tip on lighting

Sweet Cheeks Winery, Infra-red









It turns foliage white, so you can have a winter effect in the summer.  Another popular trend is sun flare.

While it goes against what I first learned as a film camera photographer owner, I like the effects, so long as one can avoid the flare on the couple's face.

Sun Flare park engagement session

Here is what Marissa said about the image below on Facebook:

Marissa Dyke : Preview of just one of our engagement photos.They turned out SO good.
Filbert Orchard Dorris Ranch
Filbert Orchard Dorris Ranch
I like the effect of popping a light behind the couple, it adds more dimension and depth to the image.  Usually I use two of my Quantum flash units, sometimes one and sometimes just a reflector.  But the point is, a photographer cannot rely on natural light alone.  Like this example-at dusk where the sky is nice, but the couple is too dark:

No light Oceanside California








Sure. I can lighten the image, but it will then be blah...









By lightening the image, the couple is exposed properly which is pleasing, but the sky lacks depth and is lost.

Oceanside California light








Now, but using a high powered professional flash unit, you get both the sky detail, along with having the couple pop out of the scene more.

When I hear photographers say, "I only use natural light" they are using that statement to cover up the real issue.  They don't know light or how to use professional gear to create the dynamic images they should be creating as your wedding photographer (or high school senior photographer, etc.)

This is something I tell all my brides:

You only have one chance to get great, gorgeous and beautiful wedding pictures, so hire the best photographer you can afford, it will be worth it in the long run.  :-)

Why your wedding photographer needs to know what they are doing.