How do you create amazing Wedding Photography in Cardiff City Centre Hotels which in the main are designed for tourists and business people. To succeed you have to excel in the art of being able to use the smallest space to get the maximum interest in a photograph. You have to see in the “bland” something which can be turned into the “wow".
Idea 1 : Creative Lighting
Photography depends on light – fact. Cardiff City Centre Hotels are not known for having lots of light – fact. So you need to make sure your Wedding Photographer has suitable lighting equipment and sufficient skills, because we are entering a world of ambient and fill lighting techniques which take years to master.
Here's three quick questions to ask:
QUESTION : How do you use flash? If they say on the top of their camera. Choose another photographer. “Off Camera Flash” is the only way to succeed in the low ambient light of City Centre Hotels.
QUESTION : Do you use anything other than flash? If they struggle to come up with an idea instantly or say no. Choose another photographer. Flash is often to powerful in these kind of hotels. You need a soft light like an Lowel ID light which is very controllable and can be focused on the subject.
QUESTION : What is the maximum ISO you shoot at? I don’t want to get too technical here. ISO is the film speed. How much and how quickly light is recorded. Daylight photography is shot at 100 to 200 ISO. If the answer is between 400 to 800 ISO. Choose another photographer. They have gone for amateur cameras. You have to be able to photograph at 2500 to 6400 ISO and have a usable image, therefore you have to have a Professional Cameras.
Use Lighting To Supplement Ambient Light And Bring Out Textures.
The use of an ID Light enhances the light coming from the candles, which on their own had no possibility of lighting this photograph.
Bouncing a soft light onto these lovely hanging beads in the new bar of the Parc Hotel in Cardiff is reflected back the slightly mottled light filling the couples faces making it appear genuine flickering candle light.
Spot Light Your Subject.
Not to be over done. The Bride doesn't want to look like she has been caught in a car headlight. However make the Bride slightly brighter than the groom and the eye is naturally drawn to the highlight. In this image taken in the restaurant of Parc Plaza Hotel in Cardiff an ID Light is set to zoom and barn doors stop the light falling on the groom.
Idea 2 : Use Textures
One of the things I love about creating wedding photography in Cardiff City Centre Hotels is the hotels use of textures. Its so easy to miss these amazing textures. Look around your venue. Pay attention to the way your hotel has created variety in the walls which divide up the hotel. What kind of wall separates the lobby from the restaurant?
In the first photograph above the hotel used metal beads to separate an area in the main bar and that made a great textured background.
In this hotel the lobby was separated from the Bistro by illuminated glass blocks where the bar staff store bottles of wine. The light coming from the glass wall wasn’t sufficient, so we put a “Blue LED Spotlight” behind. Using a “Yellow” ID Light on the couple and changing the white balance in the camera to Tungsten produced this.
Bubbles are great textures. Using a Quadra Strobe to back light the couple and the DJ’s bubble box to blow loads of bubbles at them the result was lovely. You can do the same by getting all the guests to stand around the couple and blow bubbles at them. So buy those little bubble jars, they are great fun and make great photography.
Idea 3 : Create Atmosphere
Its not always about seeing the Bide and Groom, sometimes a hint of the couple or people is enough in a photograph. Its raining slightly, and with an ID light behind the couple it creates a silhouette. The lads standing off to the right barely seen under the hotel lights makes for a moody shot.
Most Cardiff City Centre Hotels have aspects which are less utilitarian and more atmospheric. This illuminated sign in the hotel's main restaurant is so cool. A quick chat with the front of house manager and he arranged that after the Wedding Breakfast we could bring the couple to the restaurant for photographs. He also kindly closed off a section of restaurant for us to use.
Using flash here would have been a disaster. Match added lighting with your surroundings soft lighting. Two ID Lights independently lighting the couple is just right. The soft ID light makes for a romantic, intimate moment and you can feel the connection between the couple.
Idea 4 : Go Outside
Every City is lit up after dark and Cardiff is no different. At Christmas there is Winter Wonderland and a fair to create an interesting background. Most monuments have coloured lights and these add points of interest in a wedding photograph.
Clusters of fairy lights in a tree or on railings or on the side of a building, make great backdrops. Add a tiny bit of back lighting to bring out the couple’s features. Also do not stand the couple to close to the lights and that way they blur and create a diffused pattern.
Idea 5 : Use Reflections
You can guarantee one thing in City Centre Hotels and that is there will always be an interesting mirror or chandelier or both.
Mirrors make for stunning wedding photographs. Let the mirror be the frame for your story. You are trying to convey the idea that we are seeing something we shouldn’t. Reflective photographs are better for intimate moments, times of passion, tender, sweet occasions. You are allowing people into something from which they ought to be excluded. Therefore fun, jumping up and down compositions in reflections do not really work.
If you are thinking of holding your wedding in a Cardiff City Centre Hotel then by all means enjoy a wedding photography session between your ceremony and reception at one of the many parks around the city, even at the beach if you want to take two hours out of your schedule. However make sure you maximise the lighting, surroundings and atmosphere of your venue. After all isn’t that why you chose the venue.