Sometimes looking at two pictures that are similar (as above), do you wonder how there can be such a difference in quality of the image? There are definitely some things to take into account: composition (please don’t let the fact that I’m breezing over this subject make you think that it’s not important, because it’s just as important as what I’m talking about in this post!), style (two current popular styles are dark and moody and light and airy), and proper exposure (i.e. light!).
We would argue that light is the most important factor in creating a beautiful photograph. Put simply: a photograph is just a recording of the patterns of light, shade, and coloring. Without the light, you can’t record the rest! We personally start with proper lighting (natural, reflected, or artificial); and then we think about our composure. Depending on where we are, will change what type of light we need. In many of the images below, we are using straight-up natural light. For the pictures of people getting ready for their wedding day, we often ask the subject (in this case the groom) to stand where we have appropriate lighting (here it’s a large bay window) and then they can continue to do what they’d normally do to get ready for their day with little direction from us.
If we’re outdoors as in the images above, sometimes the light is coming from behind the subject (notice the highlights at the back of her hair), it is then that we need to add additional light to illuminate her face (which is, after all, the primary focus of the image). In this instance, as you’ll read more about below, we used a reflector to bounce the sunlight back on to her, but we could have also used an off camera flash to create the same effect.
If we’re inside, or it’s darker outside, it’s then that we need to add in some artificial light (off camera flash). When looking at the images of the cake below, note that we not only added artificial light from the front, but in order to add more dimension, we placed another flash behind the cake as well. Really, the sky is the limit when you have artificial light – and even if we’re in a room with no natural or other artificial light (like light bulbs), we’re able to create images that are still stunning!
I (Rhiannon) had the opportunity to share some of this information (very simply) with the cutie above this past fall. I had the pleasure of being a second shooter for a wedding at the Colonial Hotel with Heather Fuller Photography. Tony and Caitlyn had a beautiful ceremony and great party as they were surrounded by friends and family. This is Tony’s daughter, and as such, she was around for the formal portraits (and part of the wedding party). I was carrying my 5-in-1 reflector (it’s a large circle with different colored sides) and, as it was something she’d seen before, she asked me what it was. I explained to her that sometimes we need to add just a little extra light to photographs to really make them ‘pop’ and that the reflector is an easy way to do that.
Of course, if you’re anything like me, it’s easiest to understand something when you have a visual to go with it. So, I asked her to stay where she was and took one snap using the reflector and the next without. When I showed them to her (the ones above), she agreed: it definitely looks better with the reflected light 🙂 For all of you extra observant people: it’s true that the reflected light is coming from the wrong direction because I was holding it straight-on and low so that I could be quick before I was needed again (note the catchlight in her eyes – this should be between at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock ideally, though there is some leeway). Even so, it makes one of the images a million times better and is the difference between a cute snapshot and stunning photo – even thought I put no thought into the composition!
If you keep scrolling down, you’ll also see a few of the other fun images I was able to capture that day (I was with the groomsmen during the getting ready portion of the day) 🙂 Enjoy!