touching up brides hair and makeup
February 3, 2013

Weddings and Window Light


To blast away with a flash or NOT! A good measure of a photographer is how they use the light available to them; like a window, door or light bulb. Do they expose for the light that is there or do they use supplemental light (flash or strobe) and do they use it well?

Lighting wedding photos

I’m going to address window light for this blog because I think it plays a very large role in the weddings we shoot at Stark Bellamy Photography. We have never photographed a bride getting ready for her wedding outside, but in my experience around 90% of the dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and even one gift shop in Mexico, where a bride was getting ready, have had at least one window if not many.

I love window light! Depending on the direction that the window faces and if it is covered, clear, translucent, or stained glass, the light passing through it can change dramatically. It could be soft, harsh or diffuse depending on the type of glass and the position of the sun. Everyone of these variations can be used for dramatic and artistic effect.

Loveland Wedding Foote Lagoon

If the light is diffuse and soft I can shoot a beautiful portrait or convey calm in the storm of pre-wedding jitters. If the light is bright and harsh I can create silhouettes, hard shadows or let the room explode with bright and dramatic light, all with a couple turns of a dial. Don’t even get me started on sheer curtains or the amazing colors in stained glass. A wedding photographer has to make these choices in exposure hundreds and perhaps thousands of times in just one wedding.

When you choose your wedding photographer look at his or her portfolio. Does he or she use the available light well? Or are they just blasting away with flash-on-camera and leaving garish shadows everywhere? When choosing a photographer for your wedding I recommend that you do your research. Call us, even if it is just for information. We’d love to help you with any questions you may have. We want to help you pick the best photographer for you, even if it is not us.

Eric Bellamy
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Eric Bellamy is an award-winning photojournalist whose work has appeared on the likes of ESPNHS, the New York Times, Denver Post and more. He now focuses on editorial-style wedding photography and portraiture. He lives with his wife and children, and enjoys climbing rock and ice as well as sampling good wine and food in Northern Colorado.