Setting the mood for love with light.

A good light makes for a good mood.

             In today’s post I’m going to illustrate the importance of lighting in creating a romantic mood for our bride and groom. In most cases the available light in a setting is less than ideal for conceiving an image that projects a feeling of love.

What I love about the first photograph below is that it was created in a large atrium inside the Ellicott Square Building in Downtown Buffalo. It had typical office building lighting combined with dim late day ambient light from a skylight.  All the available light was even and from above. Not very inspiring for a wedding portrait. Behind our couple Kelli and Joshua is a lot of clutter that I don’t want in the photo. So I shot it from above on a staircase, highlighting the decorative floor while eliminating the unnecessary distractions behind them. A single strobe placed to the right of the couple combined with underexposing the image by a stop and a half gave me the mood I wanted for the image.


The setting in the next shot was the beautiful and historic Butler Mansion in Buffalo. It is very dramatic in and of itself, so I didn’t need to add much to the image. For a little added punch and visual interest I first metered for the ambient light. After that I added a strobe stage right angled just right to throw a shadow against the wall behind them. 


 When working outdoors during the “golden hour,” I like to use the setting sun to throw long shadows and generally set a dramatic and romantic mood for the couple. Woodlawn beach was the setting for this image of Lisa and Patrick at their engagement shoot. The last photo is created at the same session with Lisa and Patrick. This time I really wanted to highlight the drama of the sunset behind them. To do this I needed to underexpose the overall scene by a few stops to really bring it out. That alone would have silhouetted the couple. I balanced my strobe output to match the ambient light from the sky to achieve the desired look.



Leave a comment