How different lighting effects the look of film.

Sometimes I see other film shooters get frustrated when their final images aren’t turning out exactly how they had dreamed, myself included. There can usually be a plethora of reasons the shots you dream of in the middle of the night aren’t being realized, one of them often being the lighting. Well, “doesn’t take a genius to figure that out” I’m sure you’re thinking but especially when it comes to film even the smallest shift in sunlight can change the look, feel and even color of your final image. When studying the works of wildly popular shooters it’s easy to notice a consistency within their style that others desire to emulate, the biggest constant being the lighting conditions they shoot in. It is something that strongly defines the vibe in an image. However as a wedding photographer fully dictating lighting of the day just isn’t realistic…unless you’re God. Me and the Lord (not Disick) are close, but we ain’t that close. In the fast-paced events of a wedding day there’s often going to be a part of the event that doesn’t have even, perfect light and you’re forced to be resourceful and straight up make it work…or at least shot through it leaving you wondering what went wrong when you get your film scans back. And I can tell you why your photos look different…it’s differences in lighting.

With the wedding I am currently working on  I had a stunning reception area to photograph before guests were seated and, not unusually, a limited amount of time to get it done. In addition, the florist Avery of Green Honolulu makes table scapes so lush and fantastically detailed that they are gorgeous (and different!) from every angle, needing to be shot at 360 degrees. No big deal! This is the part I love! However for the outdoor reception the setting sun was low in the sky and impossible to shield behind trees, creating harsh light if not kept to the side or back of the arrangements. This resulted in direct, sharp light and strong shadows in the photos where arrangements facing directly towards the sun.

In order to make sure I got images of all the arrangements in their curated glory I first photographed all the tables from every angle, changing my exposure when shooting in direct sunlight. My priority was to make sure I documented everything before the guests entered. After I shot all the tables several different ways guests were allowed to be seated and a few clouds passed over the sun. I quickly took advantage of the change in light and reshot details in a more subdued, even light.

In these images you can see how the sunlight (directly behind me, shining onto the image) isn’t horrible, however it does sharpen the highlights, resulting in shadows and adds an additional warmth to the scene. In the photos I reshot the details of the flowers are a lot softer and the colors more true-to-life with pleasing, even light.

I’m not one to travel with a production type set-up, I like to work creatively with what I have but in the future keeping a diffuser on hand for harsh lighting scenarios such as this would be super helpful. Having a scrim (on a stand or an assistant to hold it) may be more time consuming but would eliminate the need to shoot and then reshoot in better lighting. 


What are some of your favorite tricks to ensure fab lighting throughout a wedding day?

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Oh, Hello.

On the way to the beach park I convinced Marshall to swing by a secluded pull-off to stop by a cupcake truck (didn’t take much “convincing”, more like pedal to the metal). I loaded up on a variety of icing piled treats and we headed to Haleiwa to celebrate the baptism of not only one but four of my friends. While reveling in their declaration to the Lord I realized I, too, had much to celebrate. Yesterday was the two year anniversary of answering an alter call at church, boldly standing up to give my life to Christ, and as I spent most of my morning in prayer and thanksgiving (okay fine, anddddd emailing!) I took in all the other moments I’ve been working so hard for that almost slipped from my appreciative grasp. I’ve been quiet over here lately, and that’s not because I’ve been hitting the beach but putting in #werk. Sometimes we work so hard and put in countless many man-hours for our dreams that they develop right before our very eyes and wisp away without us even noticing. At the beginning of the year I took a nod from Pinterest and vowed to appreciate how far I’ve come in business, marriage and life and to document the little things, scribbling down awesome moments on post-it notes and storing them in a mason jar, never missing a moment to toast a job well done. And as I thanked the Lord for the luxury of doing what I love, and this home in Hawai’i, that one dinner at La Cocina I’ll never forget, and countless answered prayers I swore that no matter what I’d never let myself be too busy to be grateful for all the things, big and small. After all, you don’t gotta give this girl more than one reason to celebrate…or eat a cupcake! ;) To illustrate this point, here is a photo of a miniature piñata. Walked in for toilet paper, came out of Target with this.

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Christina + Mark

Contax 645 + Fuji 400h  |  Hale Koa Hotel + Bellow’s Beach, Oahu Hawaii

1 comment

October 8, 2014 - 5:29 am

Kristina - WOW that water, these images!! These are so great! Oh and this couple, just gorgeous!

Lauren + Kawika

For months they meticulously prepped and gathered for the bright and whimsical outdoor wedding they had always dreamed. Just days before threats of not one but two rare but pending hurricanes threatened to put a damper on their carnival dreams. High atop the mountains of Pupukea at Sunset Ranch Lauren and Kawika celebrated on a calm Saturday nestled between the looming storms. Inspired by Kate Spade through and through, the couple drew support from their energetic and positive friends, finding “the silver lining” rain or shine. And that afternoon Lauren who had always dreamed of seeing Kawika’s expression as she walked down the aisle was escorted by her father into the arms of her charming (and beaming!) new husband. The ceremony, filled to the brim with love and hawaiian culture, began with the officiant encouraging the two to take a minute to make eye contact with their witnessing family and guests–feeling the ground, being in the moment and soaking it all in. Washing of the hands, sharing of coconut water and lei exchanges fused local tradition into the start of their fun new lives. Just as the two weaved their arms around one another at the alter, closing their eyes to share in “Ha, the breath of life” promising to share and dedicate “all that is to come”, a warm shower enveloped them both. Gosh, nothing more romantic than exchange vows in the rain, shhhessssh! Brief showers graced the afternoon but guests didn’t giving them a second thought. (After all, rain on your wedding day is considered a blessing in Hawaii!). Sprinkled with colorful bits of bright fun from corner to corner, Lauren and Kawika enjoyed every single moment of their wedding day despite the weather drama leading to it, affectionately dubbing the event their “Barnival” and determined to #Isellebrate. They’re a clever bunch, I swear.

Lauren + Kawika. I am staring at my computer screen a bit overwhelmed. Completely at a loss of words for you two, your friends who crack me up and kind family (who couldn’t have arrived in anything more perfect than the “Oahu Party Bus”. They ARE the Party Bus!). Your sense of style is perfect, ridiculous, and completely impeccable (giant flowers as bridesmaid bouquets?!?! I die!) and your energy and laughter in one another’s arms makes me swoon. Kawika, you have the widest, warmest smile that puts anyone around you at ease and Lauren you’ve got the grace of an angel. Okay, fine, Beyonce. If I could write this blogpost in clever emoji’s and hashtags I would but you guys are way better at it. Post wedding depression is a real thing, and I’m a currently suffering after your wedding. It was spectacular, truly, and you guys made it shine. From the bottom of my heart, I adore ya’ll, your family and your goofball friends. #Segway.


To see more of Lauren + Kawika’s whimsical wedding day click here.

In #Isellebration prints from their gallery are 30% off with the code “KEEKSANDBABES”. Expires October 10, 2014

Getting ready venue: the Billabong House  |  Ceremony + reception venue: Sunset Ranch | Coordination+ Planning: L4Love by Lauren Smith | Florals: Passion Roots | Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhullier | Bridesmaid Dress: Forever21 | Special Music: Kimie Miner | Catering: Chef Elmer’s Island Cuisine | Rentals: Pacific Party Rentals | Lighting + Specialty Bar: Island Event Logistics | Ceremony Music: Flute A La Harpe  |  Video: One Media (Jay Hanamura)  |  Photo Booth: Photo Ops |  Bride’s Haire + Makeup: Sarah Gomez  |  Bridesmaids Make-up:  Mahina Boersma |  Balloons: Hawaii Balloon  |  Cotton Candy + Popcorn Cart rentals: A and B Party Rentals | Officiant: Blake La Benz  |  Cakes:  Cake Works  |  DJ: Status Entertainment


October 2, 2014 - 2:07 am

Urška Majer - What a gorgeous wedding :)

October 31, 2014 - 2:34 pm

Jessie Warner - LOVE! <3

November 21, 2014 - 4:52 am

steph - These are gorgeous. That one in the rain with the umbrellas is amazing.

Also – I. need. to. learn. FILM. :)