Every budding photographer will have tapped on night photography at some point - it’s a great way to exercise the creative juices as starry landscapes or wisps of light-painted shots from sparklers dominate most of what beginners learn to explore. Wedding portraits, however, are something you won’t commonly associate with night photography. Photographing anything in low light can be difficult, especially when you throw in a wedding where everything feels fast-paced. However, there’s no need to hide your camera after sundown as this non-traditional genre uses the naturally romantic atmosphere of the night to enhance wedding portraits. It’s one way to stand out from the sea of wedding photographers, so don’t be afraid of the dark and let us shed some light on tips and tricks to mastering night photography.
Tip #1: Experiment with Your Angles
What looks awkward during the day may look spectacular at night. Since the ambience completely changes past twilight, now’s your chance to experiment with angles that incorporate elements of your surrounding landscape. Wider angles may be the name of the game as it’s a great way to include other light sources from buildings or the streets, which adds a dynamic edge to your images and highlight the newlywed glow.
Tip #2: Incorporate Ambient Light
The ambient light adds a pop of illumination to the scene, so don’t hesitate to piggyback from these light sources and let your portraits shine with the lively night scene of cityscapes. Wedding portraits will immediately look unique, and when done correctly, can make for more compelling imagery. Go beyond your off-camera flashes and explore your options, especially in cases where there are no lampposts to act as your guiding light. You may be surprised how bright it can get when you try to shoot for the stars, and making use of the sky is an exciting way to cast a soft, romantic glimmer to the newlyweds!
Tip #3: Identify the Surrounding Light
Night, outdoor receptions have a whole different feel to it. Fairy lights or other sources are placed to help the guests see during the festivities, and the right framing will do wonders on capturing the radiance of the scene. Use these surrounding lights to your advantage and have your couple at the centre of your frame with a wide-angle shot. This allows your camera to focus on the bride and groom, almost as if they are illuminated by an intriguing background all while eliminating the harsh light from the site.
Tip #4: Bring Back-ups and Utilize Flash
The lighting differs in any situation and time of day, but it can be especially challenging at night. In that regard, it’s important to pack up some additional gear with you and prepare for any significant light changes that would affect the overall vibe of your photography. Several types of flash and off-camera lighting can help you illuminate the scene and make it as vibrant as daylight, though relying on surrounding lights to bounce off your subjects is also a great way to set a dramatic mood with your images. If the surrounding lights are not powerful enough to let your couple shine, you can place your off-camera lighting near the location and use it to maximize the available light sources to make the shot.
Tip #5: Use a Backlight
Not having enough natural light to illuminate the bride and groom is no problem when you have a backlight with you. It’s a useful tool to add a dramatic flair to any night portraits, especially when placed at a gorgeous location like a Gazebo to cast a rim light on the lovely couple. The style can completely change depending on how you use it - for example, using an on-camera flash and an off-camera flash behind the couple can make them pop on your frame. Meanwhile, using just a backlight flash creates an outline of the silhouette of the couple, making for a highly intimate complexion.
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