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Photo-Graphy = Writing with Light

NY Professional Photographer
One of the first things I learned about photography when I was still just a teenager is that light is so important. The characteristics of the light (soft vs hard; from a large or small source; the color; the quantity; continuous vs strobe; etc) are what make a photograph even possible…. “Good light” can be a variety of things, but it must be enough…. Another thing that I quickly learned as a teenage girl is that the human eye (eye plus brain) actually sees things slightly differently than a camera does…. or rather a camera sees things differently than the human eye does. For example, the human eye can see lots of details in both the shadows and the highlights of a scene. A camera will only be able to well discern the details in either the highlights or the shadows but never equally well in both. It just can’t. So when you see beautiful photographs advertising products in magazines or other places, what you don’t see are all the different light sources and how they’re modified and harnessed to create the final image. The final image may very well look like something you’d normally be able to see with your own two eyes, but a camera needs more intentional lighting to create a “natural” look. Have you ever seen what goes on behind the scenes on a TV or movie set? Have you noticed those huge, very bright lights? Well on-camera they don’t seem so bright… but the human eye actually “sees” more.

Now about weddings….. you need light at your wedding too. And to capture what’s there and what it looks like also requires “good light”. Even for outdoor portraits or ceremonies, lighting needs to be considered. For example, what if you want your ceremony to take place at sunset? Well, at sunset it’s dark outside and there’s not much that your photographer can do outdoors at night with non-existing light (except bring in those huge bright lights that are used on movie sets or use a flash and blind everyone) What you really want is for your ceremony to take place at dusk (with the beautiful, soft, warm light during the hour or two that precedes sunset). Here’s something practical that you can do: check the time for sunset in your area on your wedding date. Subtract 2 hours and plan on having your ceremony at THAT time. So if sunset is at 8pm, have your ceremony from 6-7pm. Then your ceremony will take place at dusk with gorgeous light. Easy as pie!


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