Jeffery Kevin Osei-Yaw is an Atlanta based photographer, but more importantly he is a dreamer. He is, “an artist at heart who acknowledges the aesthetics of the universe whether it be man-made or natural.” His experience includes shooting weddings, portraits, landscapes, modeling, & maternity. For photography to come alive it requires a keen eye and the right light, but some scenarios are more difficult to maneuver than others. Jeffery has found that his struggles & solutions to shooting weddings has helped him become an all-around better photographer.
Weddings & The Importance of Manipulating Light
By: Jeffrey Kevin Osei-Yaw
I believe shooting a wedding is an essential experience for every “portrait photographer” to experience. Wedding photography is not easy, you are trying to capture the essence of the best day of someone’s life. After watching one of my favorite photographers, Jason Lanier, stress upon the importance for amateur photographers to shoot weddings at some point in their career, I decided I wanted to shoot a wedding. I’ve had a few conversations about wedding photography with some photographer colleagues and the most common responses I got were, “its stressful” or “it’s too much work”. I took this as a challenge for me to take my creativity to the next level.
Wedding photography is essentially all genres of photography in one. After just three years of being a multi genre photographer, shooting everything from landscapes to modeling & travel, I realized I actually achieved the skills necessary for this from shooting weddings. They’re tough because you have to exercise your craft and skill through various kinds of shots in just one wedding day.
The Right Type of Light
Weddings also push you as a photographer to expand your use of light to capture your images. Natural light is the best of all. The problem is, it is also the least dependable. Getting the best results from natural light is limited to 2 hours a day (sunrise and sunset). The rest of the day is Russian Roulett. Weddings also usually carry on until the end of the night and once the sun sets, you won’t have any good lighting to work with. For this reason, I strongly believe any photographer who plans on making a business out of their craft needs to learn how to create light when there is no light. That’s where artificial light comes into play. You have to deal with dim to poorly lit auditoriums or churches, as well as very dark reception halls. These two places cover about 80% of most wedding ceremonies.
As a portrait/wedding photographer, I confidently stand behind the use of artificial light to create the magic you want & envision for the big day. Most clients are not willing to sacrifice their sleep to shoot at sunrise (who is?) and it’s not often that I will shoot clients at sunset. My lighting answer for shoots during the day is off-camera flash. But for night shoots I use continuous LED lighting. I tend to use both methods for studio work, but I continue to find that LED lighting is more efficient.
Over the years, LED lighting has been categorized as, “video lighting” since it is widely used for recording film. But I’ve learned that light is light, it just depends on how it’s used. LED lighting is not only effective for night and wedding photography, it is also a lot easier to use than flash photography. As a mirrorless camera user, LED lighting and the mirrorless image sensor technology are a match made in heaven. Constant lighting from an LED enables you to see the results in your camera frame before you even take the shot. The mirrorless camera sensor technology allows me to see exposure results in camera before I click the shutter. This saves me a lot of time. Normally I would have to figure out my exposure multiple times before even beginning a shoot with flash. But with LED lights, my test shots often end up being some of my final images from a shoot.
LED lighting is also a lot less distracting. When shooting a model or couple in public at night, you can’t be discreet when using flash. The exploding light will always attract attention and it’s usually unwanted attention. Constant lighting makes us blend into the crowd. People have no idea what’s going on unless they pass right by.
Ultimately, as image creatives, our methods can be endless and there are many ways to arrive at the desired end result. More than flash I think LED lights help us maximize the use of our tools to create results that are show stoppers.
F&V LED Options
F&V has a ton of amazing LED lights for photographers and videographers. My first light ever was the K4000 panel, which I have given to my niece to start her YouTube channel. Shortly after the K-panel, I got two R-300 Ring lights. I use these with the RS-1 Softbox and it creates an amazing softness and increases the light’s beam angle. These have contributed to a lot of stunning works I’ve been able to produce for my clients. I use these for everything. Product photography, modeling, fashion, and weddings. I love how round the lights are. For my face portraits, they form an attractive catch light that matches the human eyes. The light is very durable and has a very sturdy handling as well.
All in all, I’ve learned that it’s not good to get cheap gear. You will get what you pay for. Find gear that works and gets the job done the way you want it executed as a photographer. For the kind of work I do, F&V LED lights are the perfect mix.