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great light including a rainbow in wedding portrait.

This week, we highlight five images that focus on mood, symmetry, dimension and great light, taken by Lauren McCormick, Jesse Rinka, Stacy Garfield, and Camille Dalaune.

Lauren McCormick says that what she loves about this image is how her clients’ personalities play so beautifully into the symmetry and composition of the image. “Both Stephanie and Yvonne looked absolutely breathtaking in their respective wedding dresses,” she says, “so carving out a moment before their ceremony where they could just twirl and enjoy themselves made their wedding day experience so much richer. Framing this moment within the ornate window frame was really just the cherry on top.

two brides twirling in window frame.
© Lauren McCormick

McCormick’s approach to the wedding day in general is that she prioritizes her clients’ experience in whatever way, shape, or form they might need.

“I’m always equipped with dual cameras and a backpack full of gear to catch any moments that happen throughout the day—this is why they’ve hired me in the first place,” she explains. “Good photography is always the baseline. But besides that, while their day is unfolding, I also try to help facilitate the best experience possible for them. Sometimes this means helping mom pin a boutonniere to avoid her feeling flustered or overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s giving an overlooked guest a ride to the ceremony to avoid unnecessary stress for my clients. Many times it’s coming prepared with extra water and snacks for the couples who forgot to schedule in time for lunch… Giving my clients the best memories of their wedding day comes in various ways, and I always strive to deliver this in more than just photographs.”

[Read: Creative Lighting Techniques for Portrait Photographers]

Jesse Rinka says that if you are a wedding photographer, then chances are you probably already understand the importance of versatility when it comes to being able to create great images in any lighting conditions.

bride and groom in great light out by water.
© Jesse Rinka Photography

“This becomes especially true when shooting after the sun has set and what better time to work on your off-camera lighting skills then at the tail-end of an engagement session,” she says. “In most cases such as this, a minimum of a two light setup is recommended. The reason for this is because without the presence of a natural secondary light source (such as the sun), it is up to us as photographesr to do what we can to create dimension and avoid flat, uninteresting images. As an added bonus, if we can introduce complimentary colors in our lighting, we will be able to add yet an additional element of interest.”

Here, with the sun well-below the horizon (image capture time was 13 minutes post-sunset), the sky was quite blue, Rinka explains. “To compliment the scene, I added a MagMod Full CTO Gel attached to a Flashpoint eVOLV200 to not only add a nice warm rim light to the couple, but also to illuminate the other foreground elements surrounding them. The rim light was placed just out of frame which gave us some flare that wasn’t quite planned but very much welcomed. Our key light was a Flashpoint Xplor 400 Pro with a 36-inch Glow ParaSnap positioned just out of frame to camera right. For me, this image was all about the colors really coming together, thanks to the use of off-camera flash. I hope the next time you find yourself having to create in the dark, you will consider trying something similar!”

[Read: 10 Tips for Making the Most of Your Beach Photoshoots]

In this next image (below), by Washington elopement photographer Stacy Garfield of Outshined Photography, is a couple exchanging their vows while a beautiful rainbow painted the sky at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park on the Washington Coast.

great light including a rainbow in wedding portrait.
© Outshined Photography

“I had the honor of photographing an elopement on New Year’s Eve (12/31/22) on the Washington Coast.  We were blessed with a beautiful rainbow as they exchanged their hand written vows to each other.  It was amazing!  Definitely the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen on the Washington Coast. It’s especially unique to happen in winter time, too,” says Garfield. “Of course rainbows change quickly, so I had to capture all of the images quickly…especially to make the panorama (which took 25 images total).”

[Read: ]

Camille Delaune says that her goal with the image below was to make it feel like a Rococo painting. “Subject Jeri came with a suite of props that really aided that vision,” she explains. “I underexposed the image slightly so that when the blacks were rendered later, it brought through a texture that sort of confused the medium in a way that I loved. I think what makes it, though, is the yearning in the subject’s face—who or what are they dreaming of?”

portrait of woman with sombrero.
© Camille Delaune

In both her editorial and wedding work, Delaune says she is motivated by feelings of “warmth, tenderness, and painterly richness. I got to know photography originally through a fine art lens, so as much as I love working as a documentarian, that little flare tends to seep through. While I love using both film and digital, shooting 120 really aids in bringing these feelings to life.”

This final image, also by Delaune, may look like a studio shot, but she says she was actually photographing in a restored Victorian home. “The dining room had been painted black and had amazing north-facing windows that flooded the room with light,” she explains. “I saw an opportunity to make an image that used the Baroque painting technique of chiaroscuro (light-dark). I love how the light falls on her face and how she holds her veil like a blanket. There’s an innocence to the photo while still feeling quite elegant.”

bride portrait in great light.
© Camille Delaune

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more eye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting and eye-catching portraits to: [email protected].