Entries in Wedding (38)
The biggest problem with most candids is that people don't look as good as they could in them, often bad light, background etc. Often it's well worth compromising to get a real moment. The alternative on a shoot where you can control things is choreographed candids, of course you are not going to interfere with something like a wedding ceremony.
Here is some samples with comments underneath each image.
This picture is taken right outside my studio in Norway, I loved the cobble stones. It was hard to get a true candid without getting buildings and power cords through their faces. I think it is very important to have peace around their faces when they look at each other. Also wanted to incorporate the beautiful antique Mercedes so I planned the shot to be right there, but then have them start walking a bit before where I want my shot.
A beautiful wedding in Santa Barbara, the brides home is right up from the beach so the location is meaningful to her. It was hard light so a good time for interacting. So yes, I asked him to do what he is doing, choreographed again, but have a candid feeling.
The family picture is taken on one of Salt Lake City's busiest streets with lots of people around. using my favorite lens Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L. Going in a bit low angel getting some old pillars from a store entry as a background, a bit busy but work fine when blurred. It is all choreographed telling her to play with the baby and him turning back towards her.
Today we are going to talk about what very many Photographers consider the biggest problem with reflectors. Subjects having a hard time with the bright light. I will teach you a very simple and easy trick today. Then I will talk a bit about advice in general to help clients handle bright light better. Let's start with Image 1.
Image 1. This is a typical set up for a bright sun shot. We have the sun hit her from behind to get a nice white veil etc. The problem here is the light from our silver reflector is very bright and it is hard for her to keep her eyes open. So here is the solution. We asked the bride to close her eyes and relax while we set the light. We usually try to make the reflected light match the backlight. When we feel good about the light, we turn it off, and have her open her eyes and we talk with her about how we want her to close they eyes again, and tell her we will count to 1-2-3. We want her to open the eyes on 3, and I will take 3-4 fast exposures, almost always at least one of them have big eyes. When people open their eyes they usually fully open before they close them to defend themselves against the bright light hitting them. I do this a couple of times to be sure I have what I need.
Image 2. Here we have a nice shot of Mimi with her beautiful eyes, after using the 1-2-3 technique. I have always hated to do anything 1-2-3 in Photography, but I have to admit it sure works in this case.
We have to remember, especially if clients come from being inside and out to the bright sun, it takes their eyes a while to adjust to the brightness. If it's a bridal shoot, like in this case, I will maybe use the first 10 minutes when we get out to talk about the shoot, how she is doing etc. giving her time to get used to the bright light. People that always seem to wear sunglasses seem to have the hardest time with bright light.
Once I was doing an engagement shoot and the groom could not even keep his eyes open in the shade. He was SO light sensitive. This was 4 months before their Wedding Day. I asked if he used sunglasses a lot. He sad ALWAYS! So I told him in a kind way, that if he wanted great pictures on the big day, I suggest he not wear sunglasses again before the wedding. The wedding day came, it was a very bright sunny July day, 103ºF and Utah has such a bright sunlight. We started taking pictures and he had no problem with his eyes on any location or under any condition. I complemented him and he told me had not used sunglasses since the engagement shoot 4 months earlier. Woooow! Great commitment to pictures, and he sure looked great and so did his bride.
I been fascinated by leading lines for a looong time. Traditionally years ago we where thought to build them from left to the subject or if we where in Asia from right to left (Asians as you probably know reads from right to left). Window decorators in the western world always built the window displays from left to right. In modern research we learn that young people today growing up looking so much at screens like phones, computers, navigation, games etc starts looking from top to bottom. So maybe it is time to look a little different at leading lines, be more open minded for different directions.The first image of the bride in the green it's done the traditional way of building with the timber as leading line from left to right, focus is also used to not keep the eye from going past her. In the second image of the bride in the snow the leading lines comes from the top with the trees leading into the road and down to her, and the snow in front make a great stopper. Here is a link to a previous blog post I did in 2007 on leading lines with an example where the lines comes from everywhere leading to the subject, please check it out, good example of leading lines.
PS. Please forgive me for my lack of blogging lately, I have had 3 very busy but educational weeks in Europe teaching from Spain to Norway, and a great job as Jury Chairman for The Norwegian National Competition 2010.
Looking into dark eyes is like an auto focus camera pointed at a white wall, it spins back and forth. When we look at people with no light in the eyes we react about the same way we keep searching for contact in the eyes but don't get it. So my simple rule is, if you don't have great light in the eyes have them look anywhere but in the camera!
This particular engagement shot is one of my all time favorites, see how even looking down you know how happy and in love they are. I carefully framed them inside the mountain to not have disturbing lines though their faces.
The title of the blog is " If you can't get good light in the eyes? " I know that with the right equipment and time we can always get good light in the eyes, but sometimes it's moments that happens fast etc. In my workflow of shooting an engagement like this one I typically work like this: When I'm in a spot with great light I make sure to take good eye contact shots. If lets say the light change fast and the mood is good I have them look at each other or away, kiss, hug, etc.etc This way I get a good mix of style and emotions.
Hope all is well, I don't feel I'm very good at expressing myself this Monday morning, but.... :-)
Tuesday this week I photographed 22 Wedding dresses for a 13 page editorial in a magazine. I only had about 15 min pr. dress so I had to think how can I light well and change it fast without adjusting to much power etc. I came up with this 5 light set up (see overview) after lot's of thinking the night before. From left lamp #1 a 74inch Elinchrom Octa Bank working as an even backlight for the whole body. Lamp #2 a square pan reflector with grid in the middle above the thunder grey Superior seamless paper background. Then lamp #3 a 2nd octa (this one medium) on the right side of the bride, is in this overview pulled more forward then in the sample shots (more back like the large octa on the left). The next light #4 is essential for this shots, it's a spot with a grid pointed to the brides face, trying to avoid the dress. Last lamp #5 is a fill about 2 f stops under the spot and octa's sent into my neutral grey wall and ceiling for a large fill in a high angle. The whole thinking is to light the dresses best possible which leave the face dark in the middle (see image underneath), then punch the face with the spot in a flattering way for the model (image number 2 underneath text). I almost always, inside and outside light the dress and face separately, simply because they look their best in different light :-) Last image shows a variation with profile, we can work so fast when assistant here quickly follow the models face with the spot. All lamps Elinchrom , camera Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, lens Canon 70-200mm. f2.8
PS. I am generally against many images in a blog, but felt this one needed it to illustrate the light well.