Lighting: If you talk to any photographer, they’ll tell you that lighting is 90% of what makes a photo good or bad. Photographers all play with light differently. Some photographers prefer really bright photos that make the world look light and airy, while others use light to create mood and emotion. For example, take the photos below. They are of the same bride, taken moments apart, but the light has been manipulated so the photos look entirely different, therefore creating two different moods.
As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the photos. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? You may also notice that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than an evening reception in a dark hall. Ask to see some reception shots, since many photographers don’t include those in their portfolios. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.
Cathy & Jenn of CatsMac Photography, Peterborough, Ontario.