Light Painting in Broad Daylight

Light Painting in Broad Daylight

Today, we have an unusual story to share. It’s Matt and Grace’s pretty light painting in broad daylight at their wedding reception at the Lake Elmo Event Center in Lake Elmo, MN. Yes, instead of creating their light painting in the dark, which is how light painting is usually done, Joannie and I set out to create theirs outdoors at 2:00 in the afternoon!

The pretty outdoor courtyard at the Lake Elmo Event Center.

The “before” photograph of the courtyard.

Matt and Grace – Part One

There’s some backstory here that will help make more sense out of our decision to attempt this light painting during the daytime. You see, Matt and Grace were actually married in September of 2020! Due to COVID-19, they were only able to invite a small number of guests to “Part One”. So, on their wedding day last year, they asked us if we could be there for them this year. Of course, we said yes! Same location and same time of day too, but one year later!

A pretty wedding photo of the bride and groom by a corn field in Lake Elmo, MN.

A pretty wedding photograph that we created last year at “Part One” Matt and Grace’s wedding!

2021 was their celebration, or “Part Two” as I call it. But this time they could invite everyone that they couldn’t invite last year! Just like it was in 2020 at their wedding ceremony, the day started early and lunch was served. By mid-afternoon, both times, their wedding had concluded.

Creating A Light Painting In Full Sunshine

Matt and Grace really wanted a light painting from their wedding. In 2020, we didn’t attempt a light painting because it was so early in the day. I considered trying it somewhere, but it simply was too bright outside.

Like most reception venues, the Lake Elmo Event Center, while very nice, doesn’t have any features that would lend themselves to an indoor light painting. It’s simply a really nice big room to have a celebration in.

Outside, however, it’s a totally different story. The Lake Elmo Event Center has a really pretty garden courtyard! In fact, that’s where Matt and Grace were married last year! It has just what you look for to create a light painting – lots of details. The only obstacle was daytime.

Lake Elmo Inn Event Center wedding ceremony photograph in the pretty outdoor garden area.

September 2020. Matt & Grace’s pretty wedding ceremony in the pretty garden courtyard of the Lake Elmo Event Center.

The Right Stuff

Well, as luck would have it (or in this case some of it was unlucky), one of our strobe units stopped working at an event a couple of weeks before their wedding. In fact, it actually blew up, with flying pieces, smoke and all!

So I had to go shopping for a replacement. Of course, that flash unit is no longer being made. Bummer. But my favorite company, MoLight, has a newer, more powerful flash, so I ordered it. It arrived just in time for a real test drive at Matt and Grace’s wedding! If we didn’t have that stronger strobe, I wouldn’t have even attempted this light painting.

Will It Work?

So, after lunch, we slipped outside and set up to light paint while Matt and Grace visited with the wedding guests. We told them that if it worked, and I had no idea if it would, we’d come and get them when we were ready to add them in.

Well, low and behold, it did work! By using a very small aperture and a fast shutter speed, I was able to make it look like it was darker outside than it really was. The fact that it was overcast, at least it was when we started, made it possible to pull this off. The power of the new strobe lit up everything, trees, grass, and our couple.

After their last guests had left, they came outside. We recruited both dads as human light stands to hold our kicker lights, and Matt and Grace were photographed into the scene.

The "set-up" wedding photo before light painting the scene at the Lake Elmo Event Center.

Matt, Grace, and both of their dads, as human light stands!

Here is their completed light painting! Pretty cool!

A pretty wedding light painting in broad daylight at Lake Elmo Event Center.

Matt & Grace’s unusual “daytime” light painting!

There’s A Movie!

I’ve created a short movie with the images we took and the ones I used to create Matt and Grace’s light painting in broad daylight. It’s on our Youtube Channel. The link is below. We hope you have enjoyed our little wedding story. Have a great day! – M&J

“Light Painting in Broad Daylight” – © 2021 Michael Anderson Photography.

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