Behind The Lens: Andy Barnhart

You’ve heard it a thousand times.  Lighting is everything.  Really, it is.  Whether you are reading in your living room, hosting a dinner party, creating a design theme for your wedding or shooting photos outside.  Lighting is everything.  Too much light and the feeling is bare and cold.  Too little and you’ll be left groping in the dark.  When it comes to decor, lighting is that special something that you can’t put your finger on, but it makes all the difference in the world. The overall effect and emotion of a design, room, or photograph, is all dictated by lighting.  For your wedding, use the same concept as lighting in your home; three levels of light.  Ambient light for the overall room, a light that sits lower or highlights a special detail, like a spot light, and low level lighting to add softness, like candlelight on your dinner table (in the home it would be task lighting).  This month our BEHIND THE LENS series features photographer Andy Barnhart who sheds some light (sorry, I just couldn’t resist) on the importance of light in outdoor wedding photography.



As a photographer, the most important thing is light. The best light is always a few minutes before sunset and a few minutes after. It is known as the golden hour or magic hour.  Except that it’s not really an hour.  Careful coordination should be planned around the sunset, because the window is sometimes only 5-10 minutes for the beautiful, amazing light.

The sunset time is the very first thing I look at when discussing a wedding timeline with a bride or a planner. Depending on the time of year, usually this time happens after the dinner has been served. The bride and groom have already finished their meal and their guests are finishing up. Sometimes it’s nice to cut the cake and perform the first dance, so the guests can dance and eat cake while we head out to catch the sunset. My wife, Emily, and I are constantly watching the sky and talking to the planner for the right time to “pull” the couple out for sunset photos.

Not only does magic happen in the sky, it tends to happen with the couple.  This moment is, most often, the first time the couple feels like they have some time alone on their wedding day.  We like to make this moment private, and as the photographers, really capture the moment without being intrusive or commanding silly poses. We let the moment unfold.

It is truly magical when the couple lose track of themselves, and the fact that they are being photographed. When they lose track of the fact that their guests are waiting on them. It’s just them, on top of a mountain, the sun has set on their wedding day, and now are beginning their lives together. Everything is in front of them. Then, they realize it, and look at one another……and we capture it.

The sunset photos are almost always the photos that the couple will choose to have a large print made and framed for their wall.  The light is best and they look the best.  All nervousness is gone and their faces look relaxed and their smiles are natural.

Here are a few photos where magic was happening, with the couple and the light.

 For more information on wedding photographer please see our other BEHIND THE LENS stories:
You can contact Andy Barnhart via his website: Andy Barnhart Photography

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