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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

Seven strategies for dealing with difficult or bad lighting in wedding photography

Seven strategies for dealing with difficult or bad lighting in wedding photography

We've all been in environments with bad light – it's simply part of the job that needs to be handled with care – but by tackling lighting problems with creative yet simple solutions, you can still create stunning images with that warm, soft warmth that clients love in the colors of the photos.

There are seven strategies I use to make the most of low-light situations. I'll tell you about them starting from a personal experience.

Go to our gallery to see the results!

My experience as a photographer at a low-light wedding

The tent was well lit, but with incandescent bulbs that made all the photos horribly yellow. I like a bit of tungsten effect, but too much creates an artificial looking image. Shooting at high speeds helps alleviate the problem, but you also need to adjust the exposure within a range that you can easily correct in digital processing if a dramatic color change occurs.

1. Provide photography advice to the bride and groom for lighting

If I take a walk to the ceremony or reception venue with clients before the wedding, I always advise them about the lighting situations. It is essential for some delicate areas that will be part of their ceremony or reception: I can anticipate with some precision what the light will be like during their wedding. Then, by showing them images of other weddings, I illustrate how bad lighting can be resolved, both through professional lighting for interior spaces and by adjusting the programs for outdoor scenes.

It is important to do an inspection at the same time as the wedding day. This way you can clearly show your customers what you're talking about, and the light won't vary much.

2. Photographer, advise the bride and groom on lighting yourself!

If the reception lighting is poor, I will often suggest hiring a professional company to light the room. These companies put lights on the bottom of the walls that shine on the walls to create a warm glow on all the people in the room. It's expensive, often around $2000, but if they're already spending a lot more on decorations, the dress, and me, it can be a good investment.

3. Backlight to counteract direct sun

If I am forced to work in bright sunlight, especially outdoors, I will position myself appropriately to use the backlight as much as possible. I direct the light towards the sun to reduce the reflection from the dress and the green tone from the grass.

4. Special light to contrast tungsten tones

If the reception has poor tungsten lighting with a green or yellow tint, I use a special light to counteract those tones. My light is daylight balanced and provides good, even sound. I often bounce light from a white reflector to illuminate the bride and groom with a clean white light.

In my specific case, the light was very low and I wanted to capture a romantic, moody feeling, so I bounced the light off the low ceiling and shot with a slow shutter speed.

5. Try black and white

If there's a wild mix of colors or terrible, color-changing lighting in a room, it's not a bad idea to get some black and white shots. Black and white favors softer, more emotional tones, and eliminates that funky green-yellow tone that tungsten light can put on the skin.

6. Shifting colors with white balance or changing ISO

For those bad tungsten light situations, rethink your choice of ISO or white balance if you're working digitally. For me, it is the most frequent choice to adapt to any situation.

7. Bounce light off subjects appropriately

Bouncing video light off the ceiling, if it's reasonably low (15 to 20 feet), can work to improve the overall lighting of your subjects. Bouncing cleanly, the white light from the ceiling drops light onto your subjects. Unfortunately, this technique will not work with very high ceilings.

Contact us now! The light at your wedding will always be perfect!

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