Marko Marinkovic on Crafting Luminance in His Wedding Photography

March 21, 2017

By Libby Peterson

© Marko Marinkovic

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Genre: Wedding
Style: Textural, expressive, natural
@mweddings |


Living in a Mediterranean country means being exposed to a lot of open spaces bathed in harsh sunlight. I started shooting in the shadows, but often I didn’t know how to control the light. I turned to Pinterest and quickly put together a board of painters who studied light immensely throughout their work—Rembrandt, Vecelli, Vermeer, Rubens and Francisco Goya. I got drawn to a certain mood and warm palette of colors that this painterly light often produces, and I noticed those images were rarely composed with more than one light, two at most, which made me think about how to control the lighting situations I’m in.

I know that a singular source of light will give me that painterly look, so I search for it. A room with one window (or more, with shades on them) where I can control the amount of light coming in or out is great. Walkways, passages and building entrances work as well—you can control the light by opening the entrance door. I always expose for the brightest spot and take it from there; shadows are easier to recover in post.

Sometimes it’s hard to translate a painterly look into images, especially in weddings when you have situations you can’t control. Anticipation is the key. Once I find a great pocket of light, I’ll keep an eye on it and wait for someone to go by while I cover other aspects of the day. I use the light like a trap. It makes me a hunter, in a sense.

To Get You Started

Analyze the work of great painters. They are true shapers of light. Picture yourself standing in front of a blank canvas ready to form light the way you see it.

• Wake up early in the morning and shoot in the sunrise, and then again in the sunset. Golden hour time, apart from cloudy overcasts, renders the easiest and most flexible light situations.

• Try shooting outside first, and once the sun gets too high, move inside and look for dark areas with a single window or door through which light comes in.

All photos © Marko Marinkovic

It was an overcast day. If I had shot this in the open, the overcast light would have reflected from all sides, leaving me with flat, even light that would lack in texture, but I was lucky to find a spot sheltered from three sides. I managed to get the groom’s hands partially lit and combined them with slightly softer blacks in post.

I didn’t set this up; I was just waiting to be on the right spot with my exposure at the ready on my Nikon D750 (ISO 400, f/1.8 and 1/400th of a second). This was mainly inspired by Edward Hopper and Richard Tuschman’s homage; the quality of the singular light, painting over the dress as the bride gets ready, blends beautifully into the interior.

I noticed a wide side window with this warm, pastel light as we entered the wedding hall on an overcast day. Right after the ceremony, I intentionally let them walk away ahead of me instead of shooting them from the front with guests included in the shot. Avoiding that safe front shot is a risk you need to take sometimes. I used a 28mm lens here to get the most of the beautiful interior and capture the movement.


How I Light: Richard Tuschman Explains the Complexity Behind His Painterly, Fine-Art Looks

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