Using Lanterns In Blue Hour For Wedding Portraits – Image of the Week #422

It’s that time of year when the annual Rangefinder Rising Stars Top 30 list of wedding photographers who are considered to be ones to watch, is published. It’s always a very interesting industry event and at times it has been controversial. This year’s list came out this week and it was very exciting to see three of our members amongst those being celebrated.

Hertfordshire-based Deji Johnson who we first met at this year’s Thrive conference, Icelandic photographer Bettina Vass who joined us in 2019 for a workshop with Gabe McClintock and also Scottish photographer, David Conaty who attended our Shoot Day in Dunglass.

All photographers that have invested in their education before achieving this well-deserved industry recognition.

Occasionally someone asks me how can they win an award or gain an accolade – my advice is this, show up and show off. We have to be our own PR agents, nobody does this work for you. So take great pictures and make sure that they are seen. Get out into the real world to connect with others in the industry because the right people have to see you and see your work.

Talking of great pictures, our Farmers Image Of The Week is from David Conaty so double celebrations for him. The lantern trend in wedding and elopement images is actually adorable. It has increased in popularity as a result of more of us shooting in Blue Hour – the period of time either after the sun has fully set but before complete darkness or the other way round, just before sunrise. The light takes on a very blue hue and this contrasts beautifully with the warm lantern light. It can create a wonderful narrative in a frame and certainly draws the eye to the subject.

David very carefully planned this image with the full collaboration of the couple. Head to his Instagram to see more in the series and see how worthwhile it was for them to start so early in the day. Congratulations on winning Rising Stars David and we look forward to seeing more from you.

Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art | f1.4 | 1/200 | ISO 400
Own Preset

What David Said…

“Jessica and Dan are travelling nurses, so are used to getting up early for work. They loved the idea of an early sunrise ceremony for their wedding day, which, in Summer, is pretty early (6.30am to be exact). They mentioned they wanted to incorporate lanterns into their day somehow, so I brought two along, unsure if I’d get the conditions to use them. They got up at 2am to get ready for their elopement – it was a peaceful morning, with a clear sky, so I knew there was a chance of some decent blue-hour conditions. When we headed outside at 5am, a tonne of mist rolled into the valley giving some of the most incredible sunrise conditions I’ve ever seen! I wanted to capture this sense of awe and mystery, whilst paying tribute to their adventurous nature. So, I asked Dan to lead Jessica into the glen, whilst holding their lanterns up and looking up and around to the mountains.

It was very low-light, so I put my camera into manual mode so I could use the lowest ISO and shutter speed possible to give the highest quality image. I usually use aperture priority and auto ISO, but that would’ve taken the control out of my hands for such a low-light situation. I also used manual focus because my camera was struggling to autofocus. The best advice I can give if you’re facing similar conditions is to take your time, dial in your camera settings, and ask your couple to repeat the scene if you feel you didn’t nail the image. Better to be sure you got it than wish you had after the fact. Also, I practised using manual mode and manual focus before the day, so I was confident when the elopement came around.”