New Year’s Eve I photographed Jen and Bernard’s wedding at Ulele in Tampa. We had great weather for New Year’s, warm, no wind, and everything went great.

I like to post some favorites from my weddings here on my blog so that people can see what what my work looks like and also see what a wedding looks like at a certain location. Ulele is a restaurant downtown and I suspect most people don’t realize that you can get married there. It’s right next to the Beck building, where I shot a wedding a few months ago. As I was putting together the images for this blog post, I realized that I used a lot of different kinds of lighting at this wedding because it was outside and everything took place after dark. I get weddings often where the reception is outside at night but usually the ceremony takes place during the day. Because it was a New Year’s wedding, it started after dark.

In addition to shooting about 100 weddings and events a year, I also travel and teach photography to local, state and national photography groups around the country. (I just returned from Atlanta and I’m teaching in South Carolina next week). One of the things that I’m known for is my use of lighting at weddings. So, I’m going to comment on some of the pictures for the benefit of my students who follow my blog and also for you, future client, so you can get a sense of what’s required to photograph a wedding like this and have a better idea of what to look for when hiring your wedding photographer. :)

Ulele tampa wedding
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For this image, I wanted to highlight her in the doorway so I put a flash on the bed. I needed someone to hold the flash so I enlisted the aid of a flower girl. Originally, I intended to “black out” the inside of the room in Photoshop but once I got home and looked at the image, I decided I liked that we could see the little girl looking at the bride. So I left it that way..

Ulele wedding Tampa

Jen managed to get the “something blue, ” “something borrowed” and good luck coin all on the bottom of her shoes..Ulele wedding tampa 004

The bride told me later that she lost her vows after the ceremony. Good thing I got a picture of them..
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Some weddings the bride is sitting in a chair surrounded by hair and makeup people. Others, she’s “hands-on” like this, spraying the flower girl with hairspray.

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You may be noticing that many of these pictures are black and white. I love black and white for it’s ability to eliminate distractions. For example, in the picture above, these women are all wearing different colored, shiny dresses. By converting to black and white, the dresses no longer pull your attention away from the faces and that’s where the emotion is..

Ulele tampa wedding

I shot this after they had already cleared the ceremony site. The couple were married on the grass to the left.Ulele wedding tampa 008

What’s in the jars? Hot chocolate!Ulele wedding tampa 009Ulele wedding tampa 010
Ulele wedding tampa

The groom and best man. Notice how the light is coming from the left? There’s a big, white wall there so I bounced my flash off it to get more pleasing light. In an inside reception, I bounce my flash off the walls and ceiling constantly. Outside, I have to set up lights on tripods to get the same result. Unless there’s a big white wall nearby… Ulele wedding tampa 012

For the processional, I set two flashes on stands to my left and right. This gives me good light on both people without it looking like they are shot with a cellphone. You can always tell where the lights are by looking at the shadows on the ground.

Ulele tampa wedding

Once the processional had passed me, I quickly turned my lights around to cover the ceremony.Ulele wedding tampa 013Ulele wedding tampa 015

Ulele wedding tampa

When you look at wedding photography websites, you don’t often see family pictures like this. We shoot them at every wedding but we don’t showcase them much because they are more traditional and not very emotional or romantic. Still, they are very important and it’s vital that your wedding photographer knows how to pose and light them. Pictures with your grandparents, your friends from college, etc become more valuable as time passes. For this picture, I had to set up two lights: One to my left and one directly behind me. The one to my left is the “main” light that provides most of the illumination and the one behind me is the “fill” light. The “fill” light is there to “fill” in the shadows a little so the image isn’t too dark in the areas opposite the “main” light. If you’re a client, I know this is boring you but photographers talk about this stuff all the time. My wife falls asleep whenever she gets pulled into a conversation between photographers. :)

Ulele Tampa Wedding

For this shot I didn’t use any light at all. But I did nave to use a tripod to hold my camera steady and a macro lens to be able to get this close.

Ulele Wedding Tampa

I do this a lot during the first dance because i love the effect. I place a flash on the opposite of the room and point it back at the camera. It helps to isolate the couple.

Ulele Wedding Tampa

Light provided by a flash on a stand to my right.

Ulele Wedding Tampa

This was shot in the micro-brewery. I put a light behind the couple to light up the aluminum freezer doors. Without that light, they would blend in to the background. I call these my “paparazzi” shots as I like to shoot through leaves, stairs, chairs, etc so that it gives the impression of a “stolen moment.”

Ulele Wedding Tampa

This is a bridge behind the restaurant. I put a flash behind the couple and then moved about 100 yards away and shot with a telephoto lens.

Ulele Wedding Tampa

Using the palm trees next to the restaurant as a backdrop, this is shot with one light to my left.

That’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed a little “behind the scenes” lighting information from my recent wedding!