Seeing the Light: Vermont Round Barn Wedding

One of the best aspects of being a Vermont Wedding Photographer is shooting outdoor, country weddings during the summer, arguably one of the best times to be in the glorious state of Vermont.  Planning an outdoor wedding anywhere in the northeast is a risky proposition.  To say the weather can be unpredictable would be a major understatement.  Fortunately all of my clients this year seemed to luck out with the weather during a summer that was marked by wetter and cooler than normal conditions.  Even though everyone dreams of  a beautiful blue sky day for their wedding the bright sun associated with these conditions is usually less than ideal for photography.  Shooting in bright mid-day sun can present all sorts of challenges, not the least of which is creating a contrast range that can not be recorded with today’s digital sensors.  The result can be a dress that is blown out with little or no detail and/or a dark suit that becomes a featureless black, to say nothing of the less than flattering shadows and highlights on people’s faces.  For me photography, whether it’s shooting landscapes or weddings is all about the LIGHT.

I mentioned in a previous post that as a wedding photo-journalist, I strive to make images that incorporate 3 vital characteristics, great light, strong composition, and tell a story.  From my perspective it’s great light that sets the stage for the other two, without it there isn’t much hope in creating some magic.  My approach to shooting weddings is very much unobtrusive.  I want to have very little impact on what is happening during the wedding day preferring to let things happen as they would if I wasn’t even around.   And I certainly don’t want to influence the behavior of the couple or their guests.  It’s not about me and my quest for images, it’s about them and the emotion of the day.  In an effort to be unobtrusive I photograph almost exclusively using natural light, that is the light that is available.  I find that as soon as I start using flash people are instantly aware of my presence and as such they behave differently.

Another reason I choose to use natural light is the fact that it allows me to travel pretty light, a camera body and a couple of lenses is all I need to cover an entire wedding (back up gear in the car of course).  The fact that I don’t carry a huge camera with a big flash protruding from the top or have an assistant toting a strobe on the end of a pole also allows me to work unobtrusively with little or no attention garnered.  I’ve found people can really become intimidated when you point a big camera with an even bigger lens at them, and this can really effect their behavior.

Finally, I just like the look of natural light, especially nice warm low angle sidelight.  This lighting scheme really helps to create some great texture and definition in the subject and can also help create depth within the image.  It’s not that this type of lighting scheme can’t be accomplished with strobes, it certainly can.  The problem is that a wedding photo-journalist doesn’t have the luxury of  being able to place lights at the appropriate locations ahead of time.   And because I’m shooting the story as it unfolds I can’t always predict where the magic moments will occur.  Instead I use what’s available and alter my own position accordingly.

Theses are some of my favorite images from a wedding I photographed this past summer at the Round Barn in Waitsfield, Vermont.  The Round Barn is an awesome venue for a wedding, beautiful pastures complete with cows, a couple of ponds, gardens, a farm house inn and historic round barn converted into a reception room.  During the summer most clients opt for an outdoor ceremony and cocktail reception with the dinner and dancing taking place in the barn.  Although the barn is quite beautiful and the ambiance wonderful, it’s dark and posses some real challenges for the natural light photographer.  I’ve chosen these images not only for their compositional and story telling aspects but primarily for the quality of light depicted in each.

Vermont Wedding Photography

Exposing for the strong back light from the window helps to darken the room while placing emphasis on the bride. I also love the shadows and contours it creates on her back and gown. © Kurt Budliger Photography

Vermont Wedding Photography

Sole light source for this image is the single chandelier hanging over the pool table and out of the frame, I love how it spotlights the father and son while letting the background drop right off. © Kurt Budliger Photography

Vermont Wedding Photography

Nice diffused sunlight filtered through overcast skies helps create a beautiful soft light for this type of shot, no harsh shadows or bright highlights. © Kurt Budliger Photography

The next three shots illustrate what’s come to be my favorite light to work with, low angle sidelight.  In this case the light is coming into a fairly dark room through a large open door.  The effect is stunning, creating lots of contrast, texture and really helping to separate the main subjects from the background.

Vermont Wedding Photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Vermont Wedding Photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Vermont Wedding Photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Vermont Wedding Photography

Late-day light adds some real warmth to any scene and is far less harsh than mid-day light. © Kurt Budliger Photography

Vermont Wedding Photography

There are three sources of light for this shot; ambient light from the decor, two flashes going off from the guests and some natural window light coming in from the right. I purposefully positioned myself here to take advantage of the window light on the couple dancing and tried to time the guests' flash to create the bursts in the background. © Kurt Budliger Photography

Advertisements

~ by kurtbudliger on December 2, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: