Is Candlelight Right for Your Wedding?
Phototerra Studio

Is Candlelight Right for Your Wedding?

Everyone loves candlelight. What’s not to like? It is soft, romantic, beautiful, it flickers and shimmers like no other light. Unfortunately, too often we see weddings where candles are misunderstood. If you are contemplating using candles at your reception, please consider the following information that we, the catchers of light a.k.a photographers, want to share with you.

Candles make everything look beautiful and magical when:

  1. You are using A LOT of candles. Your centerpieces have a minimum of 12 large candles for a round table that sits 8. If using rectangular tables, then 6 candles every 2 feet or so.
  2. There is another source of light like spotlighting, then using fewer candles will work.
  3. You are using tall and numerous candelabras. The more, the better. Depending on the space, some additional overhead lighting is still necessary.

Candles won’t work as ambiance (at least on photos) if:

  1. The candlelight as your main source of light. You will literally need thousands of candles to achieve the desired effect, and that can be costly.
  2. You are using tea-lights for whatever reason. Save your money; these don’t work at all. The smaller the candles, the less significant is the light they produce.
  3. ­­If your ceremony is outside.

An average candle creates a foot of light in diameter with diminishing intensity. To capture the glow exactly how we see it with a naked eye, we must be very close to our desired subject and very still. Any vibrations and the images will be blurry.

See, the human eye perceives candlelight very differently from how the photography equipment picks it up despite the heightened ISO (how photographers control darkness or brightness of images) we sometimes use. Why? Because humans see things wider than most photo lenses, our sensitivity to light is different than on camera, and we construct images in our mind based on familiar colors, textures, and contrasts while cameras build pictures with pixels. All of this to say is that we might be enjoying the candlelit ambiance differently than the camera can depict it in most situation.

The only way to battle low luminosity is with more candles!

This honored picture of a girl is a beautiful example of the proper amount of candles. It was dark inside the old Fine Arts Museum in Montreal. Covered in petals and what seemed like a thousand candles, the stairwell inside the exhibition hall guided the guests to a lavish Jewish wedding reception. At some point during the night, a little flower girl in a pretty gold dress escaped the celebration and decided to rest at the bottom of the stairs. The golden sequence of her dress sweetly shimmered against the background of numerous glowing candles, and in the absence of contrasting colors, the girl was the brightest light of them all.

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