We felt that the image above was one of our best dramatic San Francisco city hall images done in black and white this year. We placed a remotely controlled flash unit behind the couple and fired it off when we took the photo. It created a nice glow behind the bride and groom and added some drama. The couple did the rest with this great rendition of the pose we suggested for them. We can only do so much with a couple to create romantic city hall wedding images. They need to do the rest and this couple nailed it! Below is one more example of a black and white image with back lighting. Professional off camera lighting can really enhance any image. We use it whenever possible to improve a wedding image.
I don't think that lighting is given enough thought these days when it comes to indoor wedding photography. I believe this is partially because modern cameras can now shoot practically in the dark. So "available light" photography is now more possible than ever. However, I truly believe that using professional lighting the right way can enhance images to the point that it goes well beyond natural light image quality. Yes, this is probably a matter of opinion, because so many Pro photographers these days refer to themselves as Natural Light photographers. While it is true that natural light can be beautiful, it often can be very uncomplimentary to people. One example is overhead light, which is the type of lighting present on parts of the Grand Staircase at city hall. If you only rely on this lighting, your subjects will have racoon eyes and ruddy colored skin. We use a powerful professional light that we bounce of the walls and this provides soft even light, but also directional. This eliminates the racoon eyes and provides nice skin tones. The other problem with this type of lighting is that it lacks direction and thus provides little dimension to the image. Dimension in wedding photography provides more depth to the images and has a more familiar feel to the viewer. Here is an example below: