Q. Shades of White! Bright white, cream, ivory, light taupe, scant grey -- there are so many shades of wedding dresses today. Which shade of white should a bride choose for best outdoor wedding pictures?
A. For professional photographers the answer is easy -- whichever shade you love the most. For inexperienced photographers, best to stay away from bright white, which is extremely reflective (especially in the sun) and runs the risk of appearing "blown out" and missing the detail of your wedding dress. Imagine the richness of this Spanish bride's dress that would have been lost had I not exposed properly!
Q. My cousin's wedding was in an old church where I'm getting married. Her wedding was beautiful but the shots look fuzzy and grainy. How can I make sure this doesn't happen to my wedding shots?
A. By hiring a better photographer. The technical answer to your cousin's botched wedding photography is that the ISO was too high, probably due to inferior camera equipment and inexperience. And unfortunately nothing can be done to save those shots. But when done right, even dark churches like the one I shot below can get tack sharp images.
Q. Unfortunately we let my best friend's brother shoot my wedding. I say unfortunately because he's not a pro and some of the pictures are too dark to see our faces, even though the background is really light. I'm heart broken. Can anything be done about this?
A. Sounds like he didn't handle the backlighting properly and so your faces were underexposed. What you want is proper exposure on both, like below. The problem is fixable in a professional program like Lightroom where the exposure can be increased, or "dodged" on your faces without touching the nice background lighting. You'll end up spending money to get this done, and it still might not be perfect, but at least you'll be saving those once in a lifetim...
Q. Sunny or overcast -- which is better for outdoor wedding shots?
A. Great question. A professionally trained and well equipped photographer can work in any lighting situation to capture everything from perfect skin tones to the small detail on your wedding dress. But if your photographer is inexperienced, then seriously hope for an overcast day to prevent harsh shadows and over exposure. Look at the gorgeous beading detail in Kelly's dress, even the weave of her veil was captured in the strong mid day sun.
Q. How should a couple choose their wedding photographer?
A. In choosing a photographer for the most important day of their life I suggest the couple considers the "Three E's", and not settle for any less:
Education: Formally trained in lighting, composition and equipment.
Experience: At least five years shooting weddings.
Equipment: Professional full frame (FX) camera gear, lots of lenses, speed lights and back up gear.