August 16, 2012

Let there be light!

Joshua Dwain Photography

Who knew that something as simple as lighting could play such an important role in the wedding? Light matters, in fact it is far more important than most people realize. The thing is, the only way to capture the memories of your big day is with photography & videography, and both of these depend heavily on lighting. Light has the biggest impact on the wedding decor. Read more about the types of lighting used in weddings here.

The short version of the article goes something like this:

Three main types of lighting = Natural light + Indoor bulb light + Uplights
Using the right light, at the right time, in the right way is crucial!

With each type of lighting, there are a few things to keep in mind and certain common errors to avoid

[1] Natural light

Agnes Lopez

The gorgeous photos above by Agnes Lopez are proof that bride needs at least some photos taken in natural light, to accurately capture the true color, style and details of the wedding garments, make up and accessories.  For outdoor ceremonies, be sure to avoid setting up the seats facing the sun, otherwise the bright light will be directly in is everyone's eyes and no one will be able to get good shot of what is going on, this will also cause shadows to be cast on all the guest photos. Guest photos are a priceless addition to the wedding album, they are often able to capture angles and view points that the professional photographer missed. Visit your outdoor venue at a similar time and season that your ceremony is scheduled for, to get an accurate idea of which direction the sunlight will be facing. Set up the seating in such a way that the guests will have their backs to the sun.

[2] Indoor light.

Candles are a popular choice for weddings. They can be a sweet and romantic addition to any space, but only if used properly. Candles are much like flowers; just because they have the ability to be decorative and beautiful doesn't mean they will automatically always look great if not displayed stylishly. I honestly cannot count the number of weddings I have attended with candles drooping drunkenly all over the place, as if they were about to fall right out of their holders. I have actually witnessed a candle tip over and light fire to the table linen!  It is important to choose candles that actually fit in the holder so they stand up straight rather then lean over precariously, this is especially the case with long taper candles.

People often forget that just like other forms of light, candles emit heat. There is nothing worse than sweating to death at a reception surrounded by excessive amounts of candles in a hot poorly circulated space. Always adjust the room temperature  accordingly to match the number of candles lit.

And while we are on the topic of candles, lets talk about scented candles... or maybe lets not. If you love scented candles then thats great, you can buy packs of them and light them in the comfort of our own home, but please do not use these at your wedding. Especially food flavored scents like vanilla or cinnamon. These can become really over powering when many of them are lit in an enclosed space and not everyone wants to be drowned in such strong artificial fragrances. Some guests may have aversions to certain scents and will be uncomfortable sitting at such a table.

[3] Uplighting


Uplights can be uber stylish and very chic, and have the power to totally transform the room, but they really have to be used in the right way, otherwise all the pictures will have a freakish glow to them as though you were trying to "phone home" from another planet. These are also best used in moderation; exaggerated amounts of uplights in various colors will just look cheap and childish.
A lot of people choose to combine diy uplights with christmas lights. I can't tell you why they do this because I barely understand it myself. Less is always more, so there is no need to combine multiple types of light in one small space. 
Many people also believe it is stylish to choose uplights in the same colors as their wedding palette, so blue lights to match blue bridesmaids dresses, blue eyeshadow, blue table cloths, blue ties...  Think about it logically, if you are already dressed in blue why do you need blue lights to tint everything the same color that you are already wearing?
Uplights are best saved for night time, and are best for the reception when everyone is in the party mood. Using them during the day or during the ceremony will just rob you of natural looking pictures and waste the perfect natural light you had available to you.

Some of the main things to keep in mind when choosing wedding lighting are as follows

-Where natural light is available take advantage of it! Remember it is free and flattering!
-For an indoor ceremony, arrange to take at least some of the photos outside in natural light
-Only use uplighting that is professionally installed, and isnt overly matchy with the wedding colors



  1. this post made me laugh out loud! Couldnt agree more on the scented candles part

  2. The uplighting is truly my favorite when done professionally it can make sure a glam impact. Those are great great tips particularly the making sure to take some shots outside in natural light!

  3. Thanks for stopping by to leave comments!