I have had about 7 meetings with brides in the last week and along with the normal questions there were some new ones…but they all seemed to be asking similar questions so I figure it is on the minds of the masses and should be answered. I’ll tackle a few each week and welcome more so send your questions our way!

Q: How do you deal with lighting at night for an outdoor event? I have heard from several photographers and venues that everything is going to go dark and I need to think about that.
A: Lighting at night can be a tricky one but most good photographers know how to deal with it. It is a great question and one you need to ask your photographer. If they stutter over the answer or cannot show you pictures where they have corrected the situation then they probably can’t handle it. Ask to see pictures! Every wedding is different and as a couple you have to make some choices but there are only a handful of things that can be done so you have to choose the right set-up for your situation. In my opinion the best way to deal with it from both a creative perspective and making sure your wedding photography doesn’t interrupt your party is to have additional lighting brought in that accents the background. That doesn’t mean expenssive lighting vendors or uplighting, it could be simple like Italian string lights or Japanese lanterns. Even candles on all the tables (see picture below) will get the job done. You just need something to break up the darkness. Photographers use a technique called “dragging the shutter” which helps bring up the ambient light in the background. You just need to make sure that there are lights in the background to register. The other option is having your photographer bring lights, however if a giant flash or flashes are firing every few seconds in addition to the on camera flash it can be a little obnoxious depending on where they are placed. But sometimes there is no way around that and if you want great pictures… you just have to do it. The third option is not to worry about the background at all and just make sure your guests and reactions are covered. This would be the least preferred method since everyone looks like they are in a black hole but sometimes you have no choice. The bottom line is that you need to think about it and discuss it with your photographer. All have their pros and cons – choose the one that best suits your needs.

Q: I see a lot of “faded” images, what is that? I want normal color.
A: There are a lot of photoshop action sets in use right now and many of them have faded or “vintage” color sets. It is on it’s way out but it has been around for a few years and that is what you are seeing. It is a trend and can look cool on some images but beware of having it on all your images. You don’t want to look back in a few years and wonder why everything looks washed out or that your dress and skin color look weird. Even if you ARE having a vintage country wedding, let the natural colors and light tell that story, don’t force it and regret it later. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a cool look and I play around with it on certain weddings but only for a few images, never the whole thing. Look for a photographer whose work has depth, great modern color and is well exposed from corner to corner. Your images will always be in style if you choose someone who isn’t over-photoshopping everything.

Q: How do I start figuring out a timeline for my ceremony?
A: Timelines are tricky and your planner and photographer really need to go over it in detail with you so there are no surprises. In general I work back from ceremony end time. The first major thing it depends on is whether you will see each other or not before the ceremony. I’ll get into that in another post but I typically start about 3-4 hours before ceremony end time. That gives me an hour with the bride and an hour with the groom plus time for wedding party photos, family photos and transit time. Photographers typically don’t stay till the very end nor do they need to unless you have something special at the very end of the night like a sparkler send off. Many packages come with 6,8, 10 hours. 6 is just not enough time for most weddings so make sure you account for 8 on average or you won’t have enough time.

I shot this image in Chicago with Mike @ Evoke Photography It’s one of my favorite night time shots!


As always, feel free to email us questions directly so we can answer them, that is what we are here for! Follow us on Twitter, ask questions get answers!