Tuesday, September 8, 2015


One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed wedding photography is the challenge—which equals FUN—of working with different light sources and color temperatures.  That brings us to:

#2)  Available, artificial, interior light. e.g. a mix of incandescent, florescent and/or candle light.

Churches often have odd mixtures of interior lighting and since we are usually not allowed to use flash during the ceremony (why would you want to anyway?) I really enjoy mixing the lights creating an interesting color palette with my time exposures at higher ISO’s. My favorite lighting mix is when the bride and groom bring in lots of candles for their ceremony.  Then I’ll use my star-cross filter to create a dreamy-romantic look for their ceremony; like this…

 f5.6 @ 1/4 sec., ISO 400

NOTE:  I always do these candle light images with and without the star-cross filter just in case the bride and groom don’t like this effect!

This is one of those churches that had incandescent can lights overhead and florescent lights lighting the back wall at the altar!  When I first saw this I was appalled—you expect fluorescents in a grocery store but in a church?  Well, after some testing (digital made this soooo easy!) I found I really liked the color differences created by the miss-matched color temperatures.

Then there’s the candle lighting always one of my favorite parts of the ceremony…

f5.6 @ 1/15 sec., ISO 400
 This is one of the reasons I attend the wedding ceremony rehearsal.  I want to know and see how the church coordinator is setting up their ceremony events.  The bride and groom usually have no clue how to do these things—like the candle lighting and their first kiss—and the coordinator just tells they when they will be doing these things—Not HOW!

That’s when I jump in.  I want the bride and groom to rehearse these events MY WAY, so that I can photograph them.  So, for the candle lighting I tell them to move slowly and stop and hold when they light the unity candle (2 second rule) and when they place their candles in the stand (2 second rule again). I also tell them where to stand so all the guests can see them do the lighting (and so I can photograph it from the back of the church!). Then there’s the First Kiss—my 2 second rule applies here as well. I tell them I want AT LEAST a 2 second kiss and I have them practice this at the rehearsal.  The family and wedding party always cheer this!  By repeating the 2 second rule more than once there is a better chance they might remember to slow down. 

This technique of mixing candle light with other types of light is a very nice way to capture the atmosphere at the reception as well.  I use it for images of their table decorations, the cake table and their place settings.

f2.8 @ 1/80sec., ISO 3200
I built this image, like most of my images, from the background—forward.  That is I started with that background (the twinkle lights in the tree) and I placed my subject against it. In this instance I rotated the flower goblets, placed the votive candles, and last, placed the flower petals in front.   Just a nice little still-life I “found” at their wedding!

In the final part of this series,  I’ll talk about the, sometimes necessary evil, flash!

’Til next week…should you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photog., CR., Certified
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com 

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