Wedding of the Week

Low-Key Light, Big-Time Love, by Alex Richardson

June 23, 2017

By Libby Peterson

© Alex Richardson

When he began his wedding business two years ago, Alex Richardson quickly realized that he would need to seek clients himself before couples could even begin to hear about him, so when the L.A.-based photographer heard that his wife's co-worker was getting married, he jumped at the chance to build his portfolio by offering them a free engagement session (and one of the photos from that session was featured as a Photo of the Day).

"Dayne and Ashlee have such a great sense of style," Richardson says of the couple. "They are young and hip and always up on the latest trends. I just knew their wedding was going to be amazing, and I just had to shoot it!" And luckily for Richardson, the couple loved their free engagement photos so much that they booked him for their wedding.

There were some very emotional stand-out moments, including the father-daughter first look when Richardson, he says, shed a tear or two. And coincidentally, his wife was pregnant while in attendance, as was the wife of Richardson's second shooter, Richard Clarke, both of whom had the same baby due date, so there were "so many warm feelings about this wedding," Richardson says. "Wish I could do it again just to feel the feels!"

With the warm feelings, of course, always comes some challenges on the photographer side, and at this wedding, it was the low-key lighting in the venue, Richardson recalls. "It was beautifully lit and had a moody, romantic feel, however it was very dark and orange. Not so great for skin tones." Though he's more of a natural light photographer, he had no choice but to crank up the ISO on his Nikon D750 and make plentiful use of his Lowel GL-1 flash.

"The problem, however, was that the flash would bounce off the orange walls and ceiling and just threw orange light everywhere," Richardson says. "I used a MagMod grid and sphere and blasted light directly to where I needed it to be, and it worked. Phew! I was told by the coordinator that most wedding photographers that shoot there demand that the house lights remain on to be able to get a proper exposure. There was no way I was going to ruin the beautiful mood of the room. I just had to work it out." 

So a lesson Richardson learned as a kid came right back: "Don't be afraid of the dark," he says. "When faced with a total challenge as I was, it's so important to stay calm and confident. There is always a couple minutes to stop, breathe and think about the game plan. My second photographer and I practiced with our flashes before the ceremony began to nail our settings. That was super helpful."


Cameras: Nikon D750 (x2)
Lenses: Sigma 35mm and 85mm Art
Lighting: MagMod grids and spheres, "and the fantastic Lowel GL-1 light, which was the star of the day!"
Misc: Holdfast Money maker straps

Videographer Daniella Hovsepian of La Boheme Life created a mood film of the wedding day—check it out here.

Submit your wedding to Rf editor-in-chief Jacqueline Tobin or features editor Libby Peterson for a chance to get featured here.