For great light, just go to the bathroom
Just got back home from a (yet another) fantastic wedding in Bali. A real stunner. Before giving in to fatigue and letting my brain take a break with X-men : First Class and a few episodes of Workaholics on the flight back to Manila, I did a rapid edit of some of my favorites from the wedding day. Just as the flight attendant was passing by offering $8 cans of beer and $11 TV dinners, I noticed a pattern in my images that has been developing over the course of the year.
We’re always on the lookout for great natural light and contrast for wedding day portraits, spaces that offer that great mix of direct sunlight, warm ambient light and dark, streaky shadows for drama. Although wedding planners are always telling me, “the venue is right on the beach, perfect for portraits”, I’d really prefer to go to the toilet than hit the beach. Literally.
Wide open spaces, like the beach, don’t do it for me. Too open, no objects or angles to give layers, depth and framing to your images. I prefer working in tighter spaces, where the sun, if you get it, can stream through the architecture in random bits and pieces, which can create some great contrast and drama for your bride. I’ve found that bathrooms have provided me with the most consistent use of that kind of light this past year. Granted, I usually work in pretty fancy resorts/villas that have beautiful open-air bathrooms that are way nicer (and bigger) than my apartment. But I’ve also found some great streaming angled sunlight in restaurant restrooms and even public toilets. I think I’ll stop now before this gets weird(er).
So the next time you’re on the lookout for great natural light for a really quick run-and-gun portrait, just go to the bathroom.