Photography tells a story using light. With light we can show shape and depth, while also expressing feelings and moods. After all, light is life for humans. Light permeates our days and allows us to enjoy things that are then imprinted on our memories. Just like a photograph.
A photograph does not exist without a light source to illuminate the subject. We cannot see a photograph without that light to make it visible. Have you ever felt a certain sense of unease when looking at the open sea on a moonless night? The same view that is one of nature’s greatest spectacles no longer exists without the light of the moon. It becomes something else.
LIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHY
There are many different sources of light and each of them can illuminate what we are looking at in a totally different way. If we think of the previous example, who doesn’t love to look at a sunset over the sea? Where the light seems full of love and hope because of those warm, embracing colours. Who doesn’t stop just for a second to watch a sunset when the sky, complete with wispy clouds, turns deep red?
That same sky at a different time of day, however wonderful it may be, does not have the same effect on us. The light has changed: the direction of the sun, the intensity, the color of the light.. all of these factors change how we see it. Most spectacularly, something also changes within us, the light changes our thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears. It changes everything. Light may change the subject but it also changes something inside of us.
Because of all this, you can easily understand how vital light is to photography. One type of light, compared to another, can totally change the way we see and interpret something. The same subject illuminated by different light sources, with different intensity, colour, softness or hardness will look very different. One particular way of lighting something will bring out certain details and bring forth things that we would not see in another light (this sounds practically proverbial :-)).
LIGHT AND MEMORY
Last but not least: our memory is influenced by the type of lighting. Yes, that’s right! When we observe something under a different light (yet another proverb coming up!), it is a truth that details and signs that we did not notice before may come to our attention. It is also true that we are less inclined to connect what we are looking at to the memory of what we have already seen. By changing the light of a recurring subject we are less inclined to remember it.
This aspect is very important for those of us who take photographs, especially for those, like us, who do documentary wedding photography, and are creating memories of the moments of a very important day. In fact, one of the reasons why we photograph weddings in ambient light is precisely so that our clients receive more vivid records of those moments. We aim to make the light of our photos as close as possible to what everyone can see with the naked eye. This way, recall is much more direct and engaging, and has a more emotional impact.
This is not the only rationale behind photographing weddings in ambient light (as much as possible, of course). One of the main reasons is that we love the natural look. Ambient light gives the subjects authenticity, simplicity and spontaneity; characteristics that we constantly look for in our photos. For us, a photograph with ambient light is more sincere, candid and appeals to the eye with a unique sense of spontaneity and immediacy.
AMBIENT LIGHT AND STORYTELLING
Of course, as with all things, there are compromises. In this case, there are at least two.
The first is that the ambient light available might not necessarily be the best light for a portrait. In a situation where you can’t control the ambient light and the position of the subject, then the available light may not always be the best option to make the subject stand out, in the way they would in traditional portrait photography.
With our documentary photography, we aim to tell the story above all, and when we lack suitable portrait lighting, our goal is to compensate with spontaneity and storytelling. Whenever we dedicate ourselves to portraits, such as during couple photographs (if the client wishes), we can control the type of light that falls on the subject and make sure that we have the best possible conditions for portraiture. We do all of this without losing that sense of directness and simplicity that are the hallmark of our photos.
The second compromise depends on the amount of ambient light which, sometimes, especially in the evening and in some situations, can be very poor. Think of beautiful receptions lit only with candlelight from tables or an aperitif lit only with the last flashes of light after sunset. Well, we can assure you that although the view is very pleasant and intimate, in these cases it is very poor light for photography! Fortunately the technology of our cameras allows us to take photos with a minimum amount of light, that until a few years ago was unthinkable. All of this is designed to capture the atmosphere and memory of those moments, those settings.
This scarcity of light means that cameras have more difficulty compensating for it. In this case (we will try to be as non-technical as possible, but if you want to learn more then read on), our cameras compensate by amplifying the light signal. A bit like with a car stereo, when the volume is turned up. In that case the stereo amplifies the signal to increase it.
In the same way, cameras amplify the signal to bring lighting levels back up to a point where they are sufficient to capture the subject. When this happens it can result in what is called “noise”. A bit like the crackling of a stereo at high volume, noise manifests itself in photography with brighter dots scattered across the photo that, in our cameras, is very similar to the “grain” of old film.
You know the grain of old film that you see on the photos you looked at with family when you were a little child, or with friends as you grew older?
Those photos that remind us of a special vacation, memorable moments or simply something worth remembering? We love those photos as much as the “grain” that accompanies them! Although technically it is a limitation/disorder of digital photography, we love the feeling it gives to the images; making them soft and passionate so that we don’t consider it a defect, but the contrary! If you think we are crazy you should know that many photographers love the “grain”. So we might be crazy but we are in good company :-). If you are wondering if you will find the “grain” on our photographs then the answer is: yes, of course, it is possible to create this effect in some shooting situations!
Ok, we’ve gone on long enough (as usual). We think the concept is now clear: we love to photograph weddings with ambient light! We look for every angle and shot that can emphasize our subjects with the lighting that is already in a particular situation. We strive to create photographs that remind everyone of the environment and the situation as we experienced it. Always with sincerity and simplicity.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN AMBIENT LIGHT
If you want to know more about our vision of wedding photography and find out what our wedding photography service consists of, you will find much more information on this page.