This Beautiful Wedding Portrait Uses Creative Light Painting


Image by Nick Murray. Used with permission.

Photographer Nick Murray recently won “Best Wedding Photographer in Wales 2014” at the Welsh National Wedding Awards, and it’s clear to see why. He has always had a love affair with light painting and being a professional wedding photographer for a little over three years has brought him in touch with who he claims are some of the coolest clients ever.

The story behind this photo is incredibly cool–or cold, rather! It was shot on a freezing December night at 10pm and took qite a long time to accomplish.

Mr. Murray’s story is after the jump.

Phoblographer: Where did the idea for this image come from?

Nick: Ideas for a wedding image always come on the day, and I try not to plan any creative shots in advance. I’ve always found it best to try to seize the moment rather than force an idea. True magic happens that way. As soon as I saw the tree lit up, I knew that I wanted to do this. As far as inspiration goes, wedding photographer Jeff Newsom and film maker Sam Raimi been huge influences on my work outlook. Both aren’t afraid to go against convention, and are fine examples of creatives that are fully in charge of their artistic vision.

Phoblographer: Technically speaking, how was it done? What kind of gear did you use?

Nick: The light trail was done using a Pixelstick with my Nikon D750 and 14-24mm f2.8 sitting on top of a Benro Travel Angel 2 Tripod. Nikon have always been great to me, and I’m a huge fan of their gear. I’ve only recently discovered Benro here in the UK (maybe I’m slow) but I’m so pleased with their products.

Settings for this particular shot were 8 seconds, at f13, ISO 160. The main problem we had here was the constant use of the road surrounding the green. Car headlights coming into shot every 20 seconds or so made it a tricky one to shoot, and I had to time the window well. Add the fact that it was around 10pm in December in South Wales in the UK – you can imagine how cold it was. I was pretty warm because of the running around in circles, and fortunately the bride and groom were utter troopers, plus they appreciated what I wanted to achieve.

I opted to take the light to as close as the lens as possible to lead the eye inwards to the centre, lifting the Pixelstick higher as I went around the back of the tree to create a pleasing shape and to reveal more of the grass. Symmetry has always resonated strongly with me, and the pose was just a natural occurrence that the bride and groom adopted whilst they were waiting for me. I loved it and asked them to keep it.

Phoblographer: When you pitched this idea to the couple, what did they think of it? That and ultimately what did the couple think of the image?

Nick: They loved the idea! I post a lot of my work, including some light painting onto my Facebook page. The couple were keen to try their own version. The brief from the bride was “do whatever you want all day”, which as a creative wedding photographer, is music to my ears. We had such a great time shooting this, that I got home and immediately after the wedding, the same night, posted it online for them to see. It’s now their cover photos and profile pics on Facebook, so needless to say, they were very happy with it.

I’ve always said, I’ve got the coolest clients in the whole of Wales, UK, and the groom especially was very happy, and said some pretty kind things online. Great feedback means the world to me.

Phoblographer: Tell us about you as a photographer.

Nick: I’ve been shooting weddings full time now for just three years (on and off for around 7), and it’s without a doubt, the greatest job I could ever wish for. I work with some truly amazing people, at great locations and I get to be creative on a daily basis. I love the wedding genre, as it’s hugely challenging and fun to do something brand new, for each client, every time. I always like to see how far I can go with my creativity and ideas, and finding like minded clients has become easier and easier with social media. It plays a huge role in how my clients find me, and how I find them. It helps to find people that don’t want ‘old skool’ wedding images, and makes it so much more effective to meet couples that want something more artistic.

“The brief from the bride was “do whatever you want all day”, which as a creative wedding photographer, is music to my ears.

I recently had the honour of winning “Best Wedding Photographer in Wales 2014” at the Welsh National Wedding Awards, as well as a few other pretty cool wedding industry nods here and there throughout my time shooting weddings. I used to work in the film industry as an Assistant Director, so that’s always worked in my favour when visualising an image or a scene. But more importantly, (as cheesy as it sounds), it’s the awesome people I work with that tops everything. The kindness, generosity and plain heart that I’ve been able to experience whilst doing this, is a huge reason that I’ll be doing this until I retire. Warm, genuine, friendly people make a wedding great. My clients become my friends and we rock up on the biggest day of their lives to create something cool together. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.