You've probably heard me, or another photographer, mention how important that light is for images. George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, once said, "Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography." I have always used this quote as a guide for how I approach wedding photography. It is important for me to be able to know how to create great images regardless if it is sunny, raining, extremely bright, or hardly any light. I have taken courses upon courses just on light so that I know how to handle every possible situation. However, it should be noted that I do favor certain light over other light and that is why I am writing this blog post!
So what is the best light? The best light, is soft light. In photography we refer to light in two main ways- soft vs. harsh. When light is soft, my subjects look their best, which is always my goal as a wedding photographer! If I can avoid harsh light, I always will! I have included a short video so that you can see the difference between harsh and soft light and what a difference it makes in my final images!
Here are some of the images taken from the shoot mentioned in the video so that you can see the difference in the light. Can you tell which images were taken in harsh light and which where taken in soft light? In general, soft light is what I will always advocate that we shoot in. The softest light possible is at sunrise and sunset. For shoots like engagement shoots, I will always plan around sunset or sunrise depending on the location and the direction the sun is rising. However, during wedding days there are times where this is impossible, and I have had to just work with it. Outdoor ceremonies at noon in the summer months with no shade will almost always have harsh light.
The reason that I want to educate my clients ahead of time is because wedding days are fast and sometimes stressful and in order for me to do my best work I need full trust. I will scout out different locations that will provide the best lighting- even if the scenery isn't 100% ideal. Light will always come before scenery because the focus is on my subjects and not the background. If a scene is very important to you, let's work together to make sure that we get those images at the perfect time of day so that the light is flattering and we are able to capture the location or scene you desire to have.
I hope that this information helps you either improve your own images or helps you understand why your photographer picks a certain location for portraits during the harsh midday lighting.