Lighting your wedding. Let’s talk about it. Most likely not the first thing you think of when planning one of the most important days of your life. Now, as a videographer it’s at the top of my list but when compared to the food, the music, the dress, understandably, the phosphorescents are probably not at the top of yours. Let’s face it, nowadays capturing your wedding has almost become as important as having one, and as someone who has seen many weddings not reach their full aesthetic potential, I urge you to give lighting some consideration.
Now, don’t freak out.
A good videographer will have a plan on how to capture your wedding day effectively. To help avoid common lighting mistakes I’ve complied a short, illuminating list on what to do and what not to do when it comes to lighting your wedding day.
1. Natural Lighting vs. Artificial Lighting
In my opinion, au naturel is always the way to go. No matter where you are getting ready, chances are there will be lamps, overhead lighting, and natural light. All of these sources have different light temperatures, which means some light is more more blue (cool tones) and others are more orange (warm tones). Windows generally provide the most flattering natural light. On camera the colours are more dynamic and it helps to soften complexions, so if you are torn between rooms, choose the one with the biggest windows. Now because over-head lights and lamps are usually warmer toned, they should be turned off if there is enough daylight to light the room. If room lights absolutely need to be used, avoid turning on lamps because when seated they typically are face-height and can cast unflattering shadows.
2. Neon Signs
Umm, no. Yes, they seem to be all the rage right now however, the problem with these signs is that they run at a different frequency to our cameras causing them to strobe. Some adjustments can be made in-camera to limit the effect but too much fiddling with these settings can make the video look very unnatural or choppy. Some corrective measures can be taken in post-production but even that might not help. If you are unsure about using a neon sign then I’d recommend opting out entirely of these pricey additives.
3. Rustic Venues
While barns and teepees are cool in theory, what’s not so cool is their complete lack of natural light and the time and money you’ll spend making up for this. Couples focused on a unique vision, tend to only light these spaces with fairy lights or string porch lighting, and while these forms of lighting are romantic and whimsical in real life, on film they are not as endearing. This lighting tends to yellow skin tones and generally makes the space come off quite drab. If your venue is already booked, maybe budget some extra time for portraits or guests shots outside. An example below of a teepee wedding where the colours needed to be toned down to balance out the skin tone. The final colour still isn’t ideal.
Simply put, let’s leave the lasers for Dr. Evil. A common staple with DJs, lasers can help set the tone for your post-ceremony, dancing craziness. Now, I know we all want to look like J.Lo, and lasers can sure help with creating that energy. However, these beams of light can singlehandedly destroy your wedding video! Few videographers would take the risk of filming on a dance floor with lasers on it because if a laser hits the camera sensor it can erase all of their footage. Just don’t do it.
If you’ve done or booked some of these things already, it’s not a big deal! Things can always be adjusted or change. The best strategy is to always provide your videographer with as much information as possible and plan ahead!