Minneapolis MN Photographer Light Painting Wedding Photography

Minneapolis MN Photographer Light Painting Wedding Photography

Light Painting Wedding Photography is a unique and very complex type of nighttime wedding photography. Light painted wedding photographs utilize multiple exposures created with high powered strobe lights lit from multiple angles of the scene. The camera never moves, only the lighting does.

Light Painting Wedding Photography. A starry night light painting wedding photograph created at The Pavilion at Lake Elmo.

A pretty light painting of Bryan & Emily at The Pavilion at Lake Elmo.

The goal is to create a series of images with our newlyweds at one unique wedding location. Then the whole scene is illuminated from many different angles. In post-production, all of the images are brought in one-by-one. Then the key parts are slowly “painted” back into the scene. That’s what Light Painting Wedding Photography is in a nutshell!

Light Painting Wedding Photography. A stunning Minnesota Zoo light painting photograph created at the zoo's Central Plaza.

Steve and Sarah’s completed light painted wedding photograph.

Traditional Light Painting Versus Wedding Photography Light Painting

Traditional light painting photographs are created using long exposures of up to a minute or more. These light painted photos are created with stationary subjects that don’t move. Because of the long exposures, people are not in these light painting photos.

The completed look of my light painted Coca-Cola products.

My very first light painting photograph! It was created with traditional long exposure light painting techniques.

Joannie and I have taken traditional light painting photography up a couple of notches. Because we use such advanced lighting equipment, we are able to create these very cool light painted wedding photos with our couples in the photo during their weddings.

Go Where No Other Wedding Photographer Has Gone Before

Do you like the Star Trek reference?

Why do we create light paintings at weddings? Well, since day one back in 1986, creating great wedding photographs has always been our photographic specialty. Joannie and I have always strived to be unique with our wedding photography. It keeps our work fresh and exciting!

Light Painting Wedding Photography. Hilton Light Painting Wedding Photograph. The finished light painting of the bride and groom on the pretty staircase in the hotel lobby. Image was created during their wedding dance held at the Hilton Minneapolis Bloomington.

Kevin and Stephanie’s completed light painting.

Here are just a couple of examples of our attitude towards creating unique wedding photography. Nearly 30 years ago, we were the first wedding photographers in Minnesota to put two-page panoramas in our wedding albums. That was more than fifteen years before it became “normal” to do so.

Minneapolis MN Photographer Light Painting Wedding Photography. Matt and Jennifer's pre-light painting image before creating their light painting in the IDS Center Crystal Court.

Matt and Jennifer’s pre-light painting image.

Our wedding albums back then would also contain pages that we custom built ourselves. It allowed us to include very unusual image sizes that no one else in the world included in their wedding album design.

Light Painting Photography at Weddings

Fast forward to the summer of 2016. We had three beautiful weddings that were held in really awesome locations. Each of them also had spots that looked great at night close by.

At all three weddings, I wanted to try something different. Instead of just taking a regular nighttime wedding photo, I wanted to try and light more of the scene in the finished wedding photograph.

Minneapolis MN Photographer Light Painting Wedding Photography. The pretty fall color Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club light painting of Eric and Amanda. The image was created at their wedding reception.

Eric and Amanda’s beautiful light painting created at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake, MN.

So our couples wouldn’t miss much of their wedding reception, the extra scene lighting would be done after they returned to their wedding reception. I knew it would be a lot of work in post-production, but I thought that it might create something that looked different from all other wedding photographs. So we gave it a try.

 Light Painting Wedding Photography at a Destination Wedding

Our very first wedding photography light painting was created when we were the destination wedding photographers for Luke and Ashley. Their stunning destination wedding was held at the historic Grand View Lodge, in Nisswa, Minnesota just a little north of Brainerd.

The location I selected for what turned out to be our very first light painted wedding photograph was by the pretty waterfall in front of the Glacial Waters Spa.

Light Painting Wedding Photography. Stunning nighttime wedding photo of the groom and his bride with her veil flowing in the breeze. Wedding photo taken at a waterfall and pond at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN.

Light painting wedding photograph of Luke and Ashley created at the pond by the Glacial Waters Spa.

It was after sunset, and it was so dark that we had to use a cell phone flashlight to assist us in locking focus on Luke and Ashley. After we captured the images we needed of them, they left us and returned to their dance.

Then I went around and to light the rocks, trees, and the pond with one of our super-strobes. Each time that I got to a new spot, Joannie would fire the camera with a cable release. Back in the studio, I combined all of the exposures into one unique light painted wedding photograph.

I was unaware that the photography we were doing actually had a name. We were actually light painting!

Wedding Light Painting Photography at The Saint Paul Hotel

Our next two wedding painted photographs were created less than 100 yards from each other, and only one week apart! The first was at The Saint Paul Hotel in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Just seven days later, we were right kitty-corner across the street at the historic Landmark Center in St. Paul, MN.

Nick & Brooke’s pretty wedding photography light painting was created during their wedding dance at The Saint Paul Hotel. The hotel’s pretty garden and the historic hotel itself served as the backdrop for Nick and Brooke.

Light painted nighttime photo of the bride & groom in the gardens during The Saint Paul Hotel wedding reception.

Light painted nighttime wedding photo of Nick & Brooke.

Wedding Light Painting Photograph at Landmark Center

Just one week later, during Branden & Janna’s beautiful Landmark Center wedding reception, Joannie and I took our newlyweds across the street into Rice Park. We photographed them in front of the large fountain with Landmark Center in the background.

A fun nighttime wedding photo created by light painting with strobe lights. Photo of the bride and groom at Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul, MN. (after)

Light painting with Branden & Janna at Rice Park (after).

Light Painting Wedding Photography 101

Once our newlyweds have been placed in their scene, nothing else can move until all of the exposures have been made. The resulting images, sometimes over one hundred of them, are then “painted” back into the scene one exposure at a time.

This creates a unique, one-of-a-kind wedding photo that highlights the scene in a way that is simply not possible with any other lighting technique. Light Painted Photographs almost take on a 3D appearance, they’re that cool.

The Only Light Painting Wedding Photographers in the World

I have been mentored by John Hartman, one of the finest light painting photographers in the world. I’ve totally caught “the light painting bug”. Joannie & I are part of a very small group of photographers worldwide that create light painting photographs. It turns out that no one else creates these at a wedding!

Light Painting Wedding Photography. Derek & Zlata by the pond after light painting the scene at their Olympic Hills Golf Club wedding reception.

Derek & Zlata by the pond after painting the scene.

We have done extensive Google searches for Light Painted Wedding Photos, Light Painting Wedding Photographers, Light Painted Wedding Photography, Wedding Photography Light Painting, and other search terms. When we do, often it’s our wedding photos that show up in the search. So, to our knowledge as of 2016, Joannie and I are the only full scene light painting wedding photographers in the world.

Light Painting Wedding Photography. A stunning light painting wedding photograph of a bride & groom created at their Grand Superior Lodge destination wedding on Lake Superior. The final fantasy light painting has the couple under under the aurora borealis.

Aleksandra and Brycen’s fantasy light painting under the northern lights!

You Should Have One Of These!

Joannie and I would love to create one of these stunning light painted wedding photos with you at your wedding! Now as of 2018, we have included a beautiful light painted wedding photo, printed on aluminum, in each of our Wedding Collections.

A pretty Light Painted Wedding Photograph Minneapolis Marriott Northwest.

Griffith and Kathryn’s Light Painted Wedding Photograph at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest.

This is the one wedding photo that you’ll have on display in your home forever! – M&J


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“Minneapolis MN Photographer Light Painting Wedding Photography” – © 2018 Michael Anderson Photography.