Gaurav Gupta (Founder- I Don’t Say Cheese) on what every bride and groom should know before choosing decor and lighting for their wedding.
You’ve already hired the best wedding photographer you can afford to have memories you can hold on to. But whether it’s a professional photographer or your friends with phone cameras, a little focus on light and décor will ensure every picture taken at your wedding is absolutely beautiful.
It’s all about the light!
The word photography comes from the Greek word ‘graphé’ meaning drawing and ‘photos’ meaning light; literally put together, ‘drawing with light’. An adequate light which is neither too bright nor too dull and not too harsh or too diffused is paramount for the perfect picture.
A photographer can play with apertures and decide how to use light to maximize the impact of a photograph but no matter how advanced cameras and post-production software is today, nothing can save a picture shot in a terrible light.
Too often couples and planners make the mistake of only concerning themselves with décor themes, colors or larger elements, leaving the lighting to the decorator. While we know there are zillion things to juggle while planning a wedding, we’re convinced you should be convinced about just how important a decision the lighting is and how it is necessary to be personally involved in the planning of it.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that you may forget what was on the menu at your wedding in a few years, but the photographs will be with you forever.
I urge you, please read on.
Red Green Blues
Photographers and their cameras are not fans of blue/purple/red light. Why? Well, digital cameras have a sensor that splits light into three channels: red, blue and green. The relative luminosity/ intensity of these colors are then stored digitally.
If any of these intense primary colors dominate a subject, no information is recorded in the other channels. At the processing stage, this is an editing nightmare! Even worse, if only half the subject is lit in any of these colors and the other half in different light, an ugly patch will show on the skin. All the money you invested in make-up, that beautiful wedding dress and the décor goes down the drain!
The only way to salvage such images is by converting them to black & white. But you wouldn’t want all the wedding photos in monochrome when the wedding was so colorful. Would you?
Tip #1: Please avoid using the LED lights to give color to your decor and light the main area.
Old is Gold
The clichéd phrase here makes both literal and technical sense. Science will tell you how different elements result in light that has only a certain portion of the full spectrum. The golden warm yellow light of good old incandescent tungsten filament bulbs/small rice lights is the best. Even fluorescent yellow tube lights or power-saving CFLs don’t come close (unless you use colour-balanced ones). The incandescent tungsten filament mimics sunlight and produces a wide enough spectrum of light allows the camera to record images well.
It is also a scientific fact that warm yellow light works to elevate our sense of happiness and wellbeing. Imagine which feels more welcoming: a hall lit entirely by candles or a hall full of white/bluish fluorescent tube lights? Imagine which feels happier and more welcoming: a hall full of candles or a hall lit by white/bluish fluorescent tube lights?
Having said that, the recommendation here is to use as much real light as you can. Frills of tiny rice lights create mood, a larger trail of small bulbs will illuminate dark spaces and bigger lights can light up larger areas.
But what if you have a colored theme for your wedding? I say, use fabrics, flowers, and a bit of colored light tastefully to achieve the theme you have in mind. It will make your wedding planners and decorators work harder, yes. But, aren’t you investing money so you can remember it this way? And, photos are what you will remember this after 25 years. We, the wedding photographers will ensure that you get the best possible images.
Tip #2: Make use of warm incandescent light.
Beauty is in Simplicity
I love the exquisite magic florists and decorators are capable of. My suggestion as a wedding photographer is to keep the stage background or the mandaps as simple as possible. More often than not, the stage is reasonably small and a busy backdrop full of patterns and flowers is not easy to blur out and separate the couple from the distractions in the frame. It compromises the quality of the overall composition; imagine how weird it is if it looks like a bunch of flowers is sticking out of your hair in most of the photos or a wooden filler on stage is just behind you in every single picture.
Pay attention to the contrast of colors between your wedding dress and the backdrop. If they’re nearly the same shade or color the photos will not be as great as you expected them to be. The photographer is already on hand for the perfect composition and moment the shutter clicks. Prominent colors, contrast, separation of the subject from the background and lighting make a photo pleasing to the eye.
Tip #3: Keep the stage backdrop simple. A good distance behind you makes sure the stage backdrop color doesn’t blend with your wedding attire.
Photos Courtesy: I Don’t Say Cheese