We recently had the awesome opportunity to photograph an engagement session at a Lantern Festival outside of Philadelphia. It was hands down one of the most beautiful things we have ever witnessed and think everyone should get the chance to attend one. We now understand why Rapunzel was so determined to see the floating lights up close! Put it on your bucket list, people! We wanted to share with you guys a few quick tips on photographing this event, specifically for a couple for their engagement session or wedding.
You’re going to want to be on the outside of the crowd. This will allow you more freedom to move around and get the shots you want. It also allows you to view all of he lanterns since they will all be released in front of camera and not behind you. The downside to this is that there won’t be any light illuminating your couple, so we suggest…
Throw a flash on a receiver and get someone to point it at your couple (or put it on a stand). MagMod flash modifiers are our favorite and we suggest getting a basic kit that comes with some gels and modifiers. We used a few CTO (color temperature orange) gels, an ND filter and a MagGrid for the shot below. We wanted to replicate Lantern light from behind them and we think we pulled it off. With that said, most of our favorites are silhouette images of the couple in front of their lantern, but bring that flash for more creative freedom!
As beautiful as a huge wide is of all of the lanterns, it makes them look small and the sky won’t look completely filled with them. We shot some of our favorite images at 50-70mm. This created some amazing bokeh and made our couple really stand out in the foreground. It also allowed the lanterns behind them too look really huge and fill our entire frame.
Don’t be afraid to get in the dirt. Look for the weird angles and have fun! It happens really fast, so come prepared. High ISO, slower shutter speeds, and an open aperture will be useful, but beware of camera shake.
We hope this helps in preparing you for one of the coolest things you’ll ever photograph! We would go back every year just to take photos of this event. It’s an absolute surreal moment that’ll make you want to listen to Tangled on the car ride home.