Low light wedding ceremony Bevis Marks Synagogue
Last weekend I photographed a wedding at Bevis Marks synagogue in the heard of London City. Bevis Marks is a truly stunning building. Dating from the early 1600’s it is steeped in history and atmosphere with light still being provided by candles that are lit just prior to the ceremony.
With a late afternoon ceremony in the English winter, no window light and just the candles providing light this was possibly one of the hardest wedding ceremonies I have photographed in 15 years. I knew beforehand that there would be little light , but trusted my experience and a bit of skill in representing this wedding honestly and at the same time trying to maintain as much of the ambience as possible.
Sony A9’s low light ability
You can go online and see plenty of wedding photographs from Bevis Marks with excessive use of flash where the ambience completely disappears and you are left with the distinct impression that the building is a light box. Since switching from Nikon to Sony I also have the luxury of a completely silent camera that performs excellently in very low light. Aable to grab focus when there is little contrast and with eye autofocus I am virtually guaranteed in focus images even when photographing under such trying circumstances.
It’s also really important that at every wedding, whether it be a low light wedding ceremony like this or an exotic destination wedding, that I have a good relationship with the videographer. There was very little space to stand in around this Chuppah and the videographers needed to use a light to get good footage. Personally I did not want to use any flash during the ceremony at all, plus I can be pretty mobile to the extent that I can move freely albeit within a limited space. Denis from DeneeMotion and I spoke beforehand and he explained that they would have just one camera under the chuppah.
I have known Denis for a number of years and we have the same theory that there is no need for multiple cameras under the chuppah, if you are good enough you will get the footage you need. More cameras in the wrong hands doesn’t make better footage. Plus the guests get to see the actual ceremony which is the most important thing.
So with the videographer in his position my job then was to use his light as much as possible to make my photographs look as good as possible. The video light will not always be consistent as they switch from person to person so timing was important, making sure that when the light on the couple was good, I got my shots, making sure that the story was told and the emotion and ambience there for everyone to see.
The end result
I’m really proud of the images that I got at this low light wedding ceremony. Denis and I both agreed that this was a tough ceremony, not just because of the light but also the lack of space meant that getting a good composition was difficult. In total there were 8 people under the chuppah so getting into a position to even get a shot was testing. I maintain that at every wedding there will just be me under the chuppah or at the front of the church, there really is no need for any more. If you know what to take and when to take it and where to be to take it then I will always back myself to get images that are meaningful and storytelling. And at any wedding no matter how large two photographers will do, there is no need for any more.
David Pullum has recently been voted one of the best wedding photographers in UK 2018
To view more winter wedding photographs follow the link