Tips for Wedding Couples | Lighting: Part 1

I am very excited to announce that Nick Miller Films will be collaborating with other very talented wedding cinematographers (videographers) - Brickhouse Studios, Leslee Leaming Films, and Nicholas & Keaton - about tips for brides grooms to think about after they hire (or are considering hiring) a  wedding cinematographer (videographer).  

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I’ve filmed enough wedding to know that most brides & grooms have no clue how important lighting is. So, how important is lighting? VERY. Without a doubt, it is the #1 most important component that effects how your finished product will look. 

There are four major parts of the day to think about when talking about lighting: Preparation, Ceremony, Couple Time, and Reception. I’d like to break down these four areas and talk about various ways to make the lighting the best in each situation.

LIGHTING DURING PREPARATION

When it comes to where a bride & groom will be getting ready for the day, most couples fall into one, (or a combination of,) the following:

  • Hotel Room
  • Church/Venue
  • Home

When thinking about where you are going to get ready for the day you should ask yourself the following question, “Does this place have good window light?” If the room has good window light, both your cinematographer (videographer) and photographer should be happy with the set up.

Shelbi got ready at her home. Here, she has just put on her dress and accessories in front of beautiful window light

Shelbi got ready at her home. Here, she has just put on her dress and accessories in front of beautiful window light

So, what is the best place for us to get ready: a hotel room, church/venue, or my home? Truthfully, if the room has good window light, it doesn’t really matter. Now, aesthetically, most cinematographers (videographers) and photographers will say whatever is the prettiest. However, I would rather film prep shots in a room that isn’t as aesthetically pleasing, but with great window light over a beautiful room with no window light. 

A few things to keep in mind about preparation:

Courtney got ready in a Hotel Room. Her make up artist was available to come to the room so she could get ready in front of the gorgeous window light.

Courtney got ready in a Hotel Room. Her make up artist was available to come to the room so she could get ready in front of the gorgeous window light.

See if the make up artist will come to you. Most salons are not set up with cinematography (videography) or photography in mind. Many have huge windows, but that area is set aside as a ‘waiting room’ not the ‘prep area.’ Typically, these are filled with fluorescent lights that can cast an unflattering yellow hue. If the make up artist is able to travel to your hotel room, church/venue, or home they will be able to bet set up in front of beautiful window light. Also, when it comes to make up think about what you will sit on. A high chair (no… not for babies…) usually yields the best results. You will be sitting up higher so the make up artists doesn’t have to bend over as much, and the higher chair does wonders for your posture.

The groom prep is important tooSadly, many grooms get shoved into some dark basement simply because “it doesn’t matter… it’s just the guys.” But, this is day is just as much about the groom as the bride. The same guideline of nice window light should apply to the groom as well.

Simply by putting Mike in front of a big window in a church building, we were able to get some great looking shots in a space that wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing..

Simply by putting Mike in front of a big window in a church building, we were able to get some great looking shots in a space that wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing..

I have experienced a few couples ask me how important ‘prep’ or ‘getting ready’ footage is. I think it is very important. Prep shots can make up anywhere from 25% to 35% of your finished film. I will be missing a lot of quality footage to include in your film if it isn’t filmed.

Please come back see more posts on lighting, as well as posts from the other very talented wedding cinematographers (videographers).

Enjoy! Nick