DAVID MATTHEW FISER
DAVID MATTHEW FISER

LIGHT GUIDE

(TO HELP MAXIMIZE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS)

Please read, and electronically sign at bottom!

 

After doing this for the past two years and shooting over 100+ weddings, I’ve learned a few things. Of course, every wedding is different, but every couple deserves great photos. After all, you’ve spent 9 months planning this day and you hired me, don’t you want amazing photos?

 

So, the best way to get great photos is:

1. Hire someone passionate! Duh, you already did that, great job!

2. Be awesome. Oh wait, you already are! Double Duh!

3. Think about light

4. Think about light

5. Think about light

6. Now make your wedding day plans and timeline.

7. Be yourselves! Playful, serious, flirty, romantic, silly, or all of the above.

 

Throughout the day, I will constantly be finding great light to put you in... But when it comes to your ceremony spot (when I can’t move you), here are some things to consider....

 

UNEVEN LIGHT

Although I'm a pro at photoshop, I am not a magician and some things can’t be fixed in post-processing. In these cases, I’d have to either blow out the highlights or keep the dark shadows. There’s nothing I could do to fix this.

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BACKLIGHT

Another example of not-so-great ceremony light is backlight. Avoid getting married in front of windows or directly in front of the sun. Your background will be blown out and your faces will be dark. Also, please don’t get married in front of a mirror. That would just be impossible.

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HARSH LIGHT

Another type of light to avoid is harsh light. This would be if you were planning on getting married at noon in the summer. When the light is directly above you it’s very harsh and creates dark eyes and neck shadows. Also, you’ll be squinting the entire time.

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LOW LIGHT

I always prefer the sunlight (natural light) over artificial lights. But, if you’re having a dark indoor ceremony, this is roughly what your photos will look like. If you are getting married indoors, avoid spotlights, colored lights or gels. If you’re getting married indoors and there’s little available light, expect darker photos. Expect very dark and grainy photos that chances are, I’ll probably have to make black and white.

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EVEN, IDEAL LIGHT

The best scenario is for your ceremony to be “about” an hour before sunset and somewhere with beautiful, even lighting. Scope out your spot and situate yourselves so that there’s beautiful light on both of your faces. Also, sometimes less is more. Busy backgrounds/backdrops will make for distracting photos. So, to recap! Even, natural lighting for the win! And uneven or artificial lighting is for the birds.

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Okay. So hopefully you can see and understand how lighting can drastically change the look of your wedding photos.

 

Now for some timeline hints!

Ceremony:

For the best lighting, plan your ceremony roughly 1-2 hours before sunset in a spot with even lighting.

 

First look (optional):

I highly recommend doing a first look. Seeing each other before the ceremony can be equally, if not more special than seeing each other at the alter. I promise to make it special. This is a great way to get more photos, get the nerves and the ugly cries out. Also, you’ll feel more present during the ceremony. Did I mention you’ll have more photos of you two?

*SAME-SEX COUPLES - The following is written in Bride + Groom language. Just know that I love you and your love, and all of this is universal.

EXAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE WITH FIRST LOOK. SUNSET (hypothetically) AT 7PM.

Noon - Photographers arrive, checkout venue, take scenic shots and meet everyone

2:30 - Bride finishes up hair/makeup, puts on dress

2:00 - Groom puts on suit/tie/boutonniere

3pm - First look with Bride and Groom ONLY. A few portraits to follow.

3:30 - Wedding party meets in central, designated location, dressed with bouquets in hand and boutonnieres pinned.

3:30-4 - Wedding party photos!

4pm - Bride and bridesmaids hideout, freshen up and relax.

4-5 - Photographers shoot details. ALL DETAILS MUST BE PHOTO READY one hour before ceremony. This includes tables and all decor. Candles lit, water glasses full (at least for a photo). This is the only time photographer(s) will have to shoot all of the awesome, DIY decor and personal touches you spent months creating and designing.

4:30 - Guests Arriving

5pm - Ceremony.

5:30 - Ceremony concludes and officiant announces, "All guests are invited to head over to cocktail hour. All immediate family please stick around for some quick photos".

5:30 - 5:45 - Family formal shots

5:45 - 6:20 - Portraits of Bride and groom ONLY. (no one else should be around but photographers and bride and groom). This is the EPIC time. These are the photos you'll frame. This is the time you hired me for. If your venue is big, we'll need a golf cart or a car to get around. If you can't walk in your shoes, bring flip flops. If you have a wedding planner, tell them to STAY AWAY while we make art for 40 minutes.

6:20 - Bride and groom join cocktail hour or just relax and regroup (and eat!)

6:30 - Reception, dinner, dancing, speeches, cake cutting, etc.

10pm - Photographers leave after planned Bride and Groom exit!

 

EXAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE WITHOUT FIRST LOOK WITH SUNSET (hypothetically) AT 7PM.

2pm - Photographers arrive, checkout venue, take scenic, wide shots, meet everyone.

2:30 - Bride finishes up hair/makeup, puts on dress

3 - Portraits of Bride. Then Bride and Bridesmaids

3:30 - Groom puts on suit/tie/boutonniere

3:45 - Photographer takes shots of Groom and groomsmen

4-5 Photographers shoot details. ALL DETAILS MUST BE PHOTO READY one hour before ceremony. This includes tables and all decor. This is the only time photographers will have to shoot all the awesome, DIY decor and personal touches you spent months creating.

4:30 - Guests arriving

5pm - Ceremony.

5:30 - Ceremony concludes and officiant announces, "All guests are invited to head over to cocktail hour. All immediate family please stick around for some photos".

5:30 - Family formal shots

5:45 - Entire wedding party shots

6-6:50 - Portraits of Bride and groom ONLY. (no one else should be around but photographers and bride and groom). This is our EPIC time. These are the photos you'll frame. This is the time you hired me for. If your venue is big, we'll need a golf cart or a car to get around. If you can't walk in your shoes, bring flip flops. If you have a wedding planner, tell them to STAY AWAY while we make art.

7 pm - Dinner, Dancing, speeches, cake, etc.

10pm - Photographers leave after planned Bride and Groom exit!

 

So find out when and where sunset is and plan your timeline like one of these above!

 

SIDE NOTES:

Logistics: If your ceremony and reception site are far away from each other, bad idea. The time you’re killing in the car means less photos and probably means you’re losing valuable light.

 

Getting ready: I love capturing the finishing touches and the “getting ready” part of the morning. It’s helpful (and you’ll love your photos more) if you get ready in a pretty, clean place with lots of light. So, the basement of your church is not ideal. Here are some examples of our getting ready photos that I love.

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Indoor restrictions: If your ceremony is in a dark church or venue, expect dark and grainy photos. Especially if there are a lot of church photo restrictions.

 

Rain plan: Rain stinks, but sometimes it happens. Please have a rain plan for your ceremony/reception sites as well as spots for portraits/photos. If it rains, we’ll need to find an overpass, porch or some place dry with natural light. We will make it work :)

 

The dress: Brides, I can't WAIT to see your dress. I know its going to be stunning and make your soon to be spouse bawl his or her face off. But, please make sure you're comfortable. I can't tell you how many times wedding photos have been compromised because the bride is totally consumed and worried about her dress touching the floor or getting a speck of dirt on it. Don't let the entire day be about your dress. Wear it, own it. You bought it for this occasion and for photos.

 

Bossy Vendors: Wedding planners. I have a love/hate relationship with wedding planners. Good ones will do their job (which is hard! I know!) and let us do ours. Bad ones try to control what we do and have ruined photos. Please communicate with your wedding planner (if you have one) that we need 40 minutes of uninterrupted time with bride and groom in great light. They don't need to control or be a part of the photography. We've got it covered.

 

Uncle Bobs: Every wedding has an Uncle Bob... It’s the relative or friend that brings along his DSLR camera and feels the need to capture every second (even though we are). Sometimes ALL your guests have cameras and iphones out. That’s fine, I know how fun it is to take photos, but I also feel sad that your guests aren’t present or soaking in the goodness of the day. I would recommend having a sign up somewhere near the ceremony that says, “We want to see your sweet faces, not your devices, so please refrain from taking photos and videos during the ceremony. Our photographers love to share!” or something like that.

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Videographers: I love videographers! Half of my business is video. But working around videographers can be challenging. Most of the time I am setting up shots while videographers are breathing down our necks. It’s not ideal. We are very interactive with our couples. So we ask that while we have you for our epic photo time, that your videographers not be around. They can steal your for a few minutes when we’re done and do their thing. And if they must be around, we ask that they stay back.

 

Okay, so you have now read the GIANT disclaimer :) I have spent hours, days, weeks talking to couples about their timeline, so I figured it would just be easier to write it all out. I am here to help and answer any questions you have.

 

Bottom line, Its YOUR wedding day and you can plan it however you want. Even if you have an indoor ceremony, rain, terrible light, or 100 Uncle Bobs, it will still be an amazing and special day. Your photos however, might be compromised. From experience with photographing a lot of amazing weddings and a lot of “challenging” ones, I know what works. I want you to be happy and love your photos forever and ever. So as long as you plan uninterrupted time around great light and trust your photographer, I know you will.

 

BY ELECTRONICALLY SIGNING THIS, YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND WHAT I NEED TO GET GREAT PHOTOS!

BRIDE OR GROOM *
BRIDE OR GROOM
BRIDE OR GROOM *
BRIDE OR GROOM