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Inspired by an Old Master: The Importance of Lighting

Sometimes you should stop looking at photographs. Look to other artists for inspiration, especially the old masters. Touring the Rembrandt exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art recently reminded me of the importance of three things:

  1. His lighting style stands the test of time. No fad, here. Most people have heard of it. There’s something to be said about a technique that has stood the test of time by a few hundreds years. It’s good to know that wedding photography today won’t be shunned in 50 years.
  2. He shared as much as he created in painting schools. Like, he had ‘followers.’ His creative school shaped his vision. This blog shapes mine. I’m a proponent of the philosophy “Create. Share. Sustain.”
  3. He created portraits of people flattered in their best light. This benefits both painters and photographers. The human face responds best to specific types of light. Rembrandt’s trademark triangle of light on the cheek bone flatters the face, a reason it graces the covers of fashion magazines today. It’s worth noting that north-facing studios historically had cheaper rent, and also softer light!

I applied those three basic lessons into this wedding day portrait created at a Lindsey & Matt’s wedding in Chicago, as if Nigel Barker and Tim Gunn stood next to me, chanting ‘Make it work.’

I wanted to create an image that tells an honest story of Lindsay’s beauty and Matt’s adoration for her since their engagement session in Colorado.

I challenged myself to blend the dress, flowers, and landscape together with a painterly aesthetic ready to share with Vanity Fair and Annie Leibovitz. I love that medium format ‘look.’

Here’s a peek behind the scenes, with my one light setup of the bridal party:


About The Author

A destination wedding photographer based in Minneapolis and Denver, RJ Kern loves to create as much as share. He’s been enjoying the process of bringing back medium format into the wedding market, but this time using pixels. Tech humor, duct tape, creativity… garnished with light… remains an important part of his photography style. RJ has been a Pictage user since 2006 and enjoyed speaking at PartnerCon in 2010.

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!