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Wedding Photography Tips: Best Times & Best Venues for Celebrations

Lighting can sometimes get tricky at an event or wedding, and you should know what a photographer is going to be challenged by.

The location(s) combined with the time of day your wedding takes place is really important.

THE CHURCH locations are always going to be dark, no matter what time of day it is. Whoever is performing the services usually has rules they need to share with your photographer that could include whether or not the photographer can use flash and where they are allowed to be. Make sure your photographer is ALLOWED to take photographs during your ceremony. Keep photography in mind when selecting a church and reception venue. The more natural light, the better. Another option is to ask your coordinator or a staff member about the availability of spot-lighting your stage (for any indoor wedding ceremony). Candle light alone is beautiful, but produces dark, grainy pictures in some instances. A good photographer will utilize the spot light to enhance the subjects only - and can still maintain the ambience the candle lights provide.

THE RECEPTION (OR OTHER INDOOR VENUE) usually starts out alright because the lights are on for everyone to get settled and eat and cut the cake and whatnot. However, as the night comes, the lights are dimmed or turned off entirely for the DJ to perform his light magic and blast the music. This is some of the most energetic photography to capture because everyone is having a blast, but it’s too dark for the camera to auto focus and focusing manually is out of the question. I have found that many reception venues are so dark (dark floors, dark walls…) and it makes it so difficult to have beautiful soft light in your images. I am always so thankful if there is a close, light colored ceiling because I can bounce the light from my flash off of the ceiling and it covers a good portion of the room with a balanced, almost natural light. However, when I cannot bounce the light from above or from the side, I have something called an Omni-Bounce diffuser which is a little white box that hooks over my flash and it also softens the light produced. A close, white ceiling, however, is always best.

OUTDOOR locations should be selected carefully. Early mornings and evenings are most flattering because the light is diffused and colorful and often warm. As midday nears, sunlight becomes harsh and unflattering; dark shadows, bright white highlights, squinting eyes, and often high temperatures all make mid-day shoots less inviting. Spotted light is the worst (consider this if you are getting married under or near trees). Outdoor will always be unpredictable – sunny blue skies are beautiful for backdrops, but overcast days are beautiful for soft light on subjects. It could rain – so consider a back-up plan not just for the ceremony, but for the photographs (the photographer should consider this as well). Don’t forget the heat either – if you have an outdoor wedding during the summer months, you are going to be sweating and feel quite uncomfortable. Brides – wear water proof mascara and bring powder to apply to your face. And last, but maybe the most important, bring plenty of fluids for everyone to stay hydrated.

Just one more note: preparation photographs are always so nice to have for the bride. Wherever you are getting ready (especially at home), try to tidy up any clutter for the wedding day and keep everything simple – simple is much better in photographs. I try my best to pay attention to this, but sometimes the clutter is everywhere and there are not many ways to get around it. Getting ready in a place where there is plenty of natural light is also very flattering.

Saturday, August 22, 2009