Light for Wedding Videography
Lighting is an oft-overlooked, but essential part of any wedding. At a glance, flattering soft light can accentuate certain colours of a gown or suit, while harsh light can help highlight curves or other hard edges. And while modifying the light is ever the possibility, the hectic pace of a wedding sometimes limits what we can do.
In sum, the most visually memorable wedding videos and photos come from great light and pre-planning. But I hear you — what exactly can I do to get the best wedding videos?
1. While indoors
If the morning starts early (i.e.before the sun rises), then the best way would be to position yourself in a room where the sun will rise into. This of course works with the expectation that by the time you are about to finish with makeup and don the wedding dress that the sun will rise and begin to cast a cosy glow into the interior of the particular room.
If such a place is unavailable, the next best thing would be to position yourself in a place where the most natural sunlight can enter. That means choosing the room with the largest windows. For this reason, we often suggest that the makeup not be done in the bedroom, but in a larger area such as the living room, or the patio area. This arrangement has the added benefit of allowing you to communicate better with the bridesmaids in the kitchen as you complete your makeup.
By now you might have noted our love for natural light. This is because daylight casts the most natural looking skin tones (and also the most accurate). By extension, hotels often pose a problem because they use tungsten balanced bulbs — resulting in greenish-yellow (and sometimes purple) casts. This is alleviated if the hotel windows allow for enough daylight to enter.
To that end, we often suggest that blinds in hotel rooms be drawn to let in the most light when doing makeup, and the artificial lights be switched off. If the makeup artist has one of those handy LED lights, those can work to make the scene much more lively.
1. While outdoors
Singapore (or any tropical country for that matter) have afternoons are difficult to shoot with, owing to the extreme heat and humidity. But isn’t this a contradiction you ask — you told us to our videos need natural light.
Well indeed! However, natural light also has its limits depending on the zenith of the sun. That is, when the sun is directly overhead, it casts unsightly shadows upon faces, squinted eyes, reflected oil upon the skin. To that end, if any part of the wedding is outdoors, we recommend that the videos be shot either before 10am and after 5pm when the sun is not as harsh and still has a modicum of colour. Couple portraits and bridal party shoots should also be done either between 7.30-9.30am or 5.30pm-7.30pm. That is when the light casts a cosy golden hue, making them look their best.
This also makes sure you and your bridal party (and us!) are fresh and not drained from the heat.
Bonus: while at night
Wedding videos in the ballroom are often subject to one torturous procedure — harsh spotlights. This threatens to make it such that only your face can be seen as you march down the aisle. We do our best to make sure this does not happen, but it can be useful to tell them ahead of time to dim the spotlight intensity. Some ballroom projectors and fairy lights also flicker at a certain frequency, casting incorrect colour and making it such that parts of the image (and lights) are not evenly lit.
Us wedding videographers try to control for the frequency changes by turning off the projector or by changing our shutter speed when it is not needed, but even that is not a foolproof solution. As for additional lights, try to source for lights that either have a DC converter, or buy LED bulbs that don’t pulse at 60hz or multiples of 60hz (120hz, 180hz).
Even with all these restrictions, we will still do our best to work around the situation on the day. We understand that all this is a huge undertaking for a perfect wedding video. There are some other things that we cannot account for — rain, hail, volcano storms, sandstorms — but you can be sure that if you’re gonna go out there, then we’ll be right behind you. We think that makes for quite the special wedding video don’t you think?