Light Painting Wedding Photograph
As many of you know by now, Joannie and I are creating light painted wedding photographs at some of our weddings. As far as we can tell via Google searches, we are the only wedding photographers in the country, maybe the world, producing these unique light painted wedding photos. Yes, there are many photographers doing sparklers and setting steel wool on fire and such, but no other wedding photographers are are creating light painted wedding photographs like these.
Grand Superior Lodge Destination Wedding
On September 16th, Joannie & I had the honor of photographing the beautiful Lake Superior destination wedding of Brycen and Aleksandra at Grand Superior Lodge. In August, we stopped at the lodge to check it out while we were on our annual North Shore Portrait Weekend. I wanted to have a photography plan for Brycen & Aleksandra’s wedding before hand.
After looking around the pretty resort, I knew there were two special things I wanted to try and create for them. If the weather cooperated, I could see images of Brycen and Aleksandra standing on a pretty rocky ledge on the shoreline. I also knew that I could create a stunning light painting wedding photograph at the back of the beautiful three story timber lodge.
Fast forward to their wedding day. Just moments after their wedding ceremony, we took our newlyweds to the rocky shoreline and created the very images that I had envisioned the month before. It had been a windy day and so the area that they would be standing on was pretty wet from waves crashing the shoreline. But when we were ready to use the location, the big lake had settled down a bit and it was safe for Brycen and Aleksandra to be standing there.
However, the spot that I had to stand on to see them, some 100 yards away, was much closer to the waterline. I was at risk of getting pretty wet while trying to capture images of our newlyweds. Since I had to be so far away, I was using our Tamron SP 150-600MM F/5-6.3 Di VC USD super telephoto lens. One wave went right up and over my shoes while I was trying to hold steady with the big lens!
We placed light on the newlyweds with one of our powerful WITSTRO MoLight AD360II-C strobes hidden in the trees with another one of our smaller strobes on the rocks behind them to light Aleksandra’s veil and put a soft rim light around our couple.
Creating The Light Painting Wedding Photograph
By the time it got dark enough to light paint, it was now raining. It wasn’t pouring, but it was pretty soggy. So the big problem we were facing was now the weather. That, and the fact that there were many guests hanging around outside using the eves of the building to stay dry.
I know Joannie thought I was nuts for even wanting to be outside with our gear! But no pain, no gain.
While Grand Superior Lodge is a great looking structure, the back of the lodge is the coolest looking part of the building, especially with the strings of lights over the patio. So that’s where I wanted to create Aleks and Brycen’s light painting.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Once we’re all set up, a typical light painted wedding photograph takes Joannie & I about 30 to 40 minutes to photograph under ideal conditions. Well, rain is certainly NOT an ideal condition!
Because the lodge is a fairly large three story building, and we couldn’t back up very far, I employed our Canon f2.8 15mm fisheye lens for their light painting. The big problem with this lens choice; I had to have it aiming slightly upwards to get the whole lodge in view, and that meant aiming the lens into the falling rain!
The starting image tells the whole story, we’ve got a rain umbrella being held over Aleks and Brycen by one of their wedding guests, and our 48 inch soft box lighting them as the main light. I also have one of our smaller speedlights on the ground backlighting the newlyweds, and Joannie is hand holding yet another speedlight as a kicker light on Brycen and Aleksandra. Oh yeah, and there’s me trying to take that shot while holding my hand and arm above the lens to try and keep it dry!
Let’s just say that lots of expensive electronics stayed out of our camera bags for the next couple of days to thoroughly dry out!
The kitchen staff gave me a clear plastic bag and I placed our powerful WITSTRO MoLight AD360II-C inside of it to keep it as dry as I could. Joannie stood at the tripod under an umbrella to keep her and the camera dry as best she could.
Joannie also fires the camera and flash for me using an app on my iPhone while I run around in the rain saying “ready” every time I’m in place to light paint another part of the scene. It must have looked pretty crazy to the wedding guests that were outside socializing while I got fairly wet running around with a flash on a 20 foot light stand.
One Part Ultra Details and One Part Fantasy
Because of the unusual way that these light paintings are lit, light painted wedding photographs bring out details that cannot be achieved any other lighting technique. Light paintings have an almost a 3D look. Sometimes I’ll up the ante and add a fantasy element to the finish light painting wedding photograph.
Since we were up way north, and the sky was pretty much black because of the rain, I chose to go the fantasy route. I decided to add the aurora borealis to Aleksandra & Brycen’s finished light painting wedding photograph. It looks pretty cool, don’t you think?
Below, is a very short movie clip that shows you the photography steps that we went through to create this cool light painted wedding photograph.
We’ll have much more to come on Aleksandra and Brycen’s beautiful Grand Superior Lodge destination wedding in the next day or so. In the meantime, thank you for taking a look at the story behind our latest light painted wedding photograph! – M&J