Like I said before, for each shoot I want to pick of a few of my personal favorites and go over the process in how I got the shot, any problems I ran into, and how I processed them. I may not say much about processing, as one thing I try to do is get as much possible done during the shot. Besides, although I do fun edits, I may not post them as much because, let’s face it, things like selective color and crazy editing trends can become dated quickly, whereas keeping editing to a minimum keeps the focus where it should be: on the couple!
First shot I loved:
First, I did something for this shot that I don’t do a ton of: tilt. Tilt can either cut off things or help you include something in the entire frame. In this case, I wanted to get the temple spires in the shot. What’s more, I love their expressions. I believe I had told them to get ready to kiss, and sure, kissing pictures are cute, but in my opinion, I like the shots just before the kiss more. The way they look at each other, that anticipation, it’s beautiful.
Processing: For this picture, I did a little more editing. You see, it was towards the end of November, so it was freezing. So, poor Jess didn’t wear her coat for the pictures, so I turned down the red saturation and luminance in Lightroom, not so that it looks unnatural, but just enough to take off the edge. Then, as usual, I used the tone curves tool to lighten the lights and darken the darks. I also added some graduated filters in lightroom to burn in the sky a bit to show a little of that blue. Then just a bit of a vignette to darken the corners a little and really bring the focus on the couple without making the vignette really harsh and obvious. I also warmed up the white balance just a bit.
This one is another personal favorite. This was taken on the mezzanine floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. I knew I wanted their huge gorgeous chandelier as a background. While I setting up my camera and flash they were whispering and talking and Dan leaned his head against Jess’s. I looked up and thought it was so cute.. and then they noticed me looking and stopped, because they were waiting for directions now that I was set up. Now, if you see someone doing something that you know would make an awesome picture, don’t be afraid to ask them to do it again, which is exactly what I did. I said “Hey! What you were doing just then was really cute, could you do it again? Thanks!” I snapped a few shots and was done.
The Situation: For this my little sb-600 was on 1/6.4 power and I kept my shutter speed down at 1/50 of a second so that I could keep some of that warm ambient light from the chandelier in the background, with my ISO at 400. When you use a flash in an instance like this, the shutter speed controls the ambient light (in this case, the light from the chandelier and background), and your aperture controls the light amount from the flash. If the flash was giving me just a little too much or too little light, I’d change my aperture to control that. If I had wanted the background to be completely dark, I would have used a much higher shutter speed, but I wanted that warm ambient light in the background, so I shot at 1/50 second. So the total specs for this shot were: ISO 400, shutter at 1/50 s and f/ 4.5. My sb-600 was about 5 feet camera left of the couple on a 45 degree angle at 1/6.4 output, everything on rear curtain sync. The rear curtain sync setting allowed me to use my flash at 1/50 second without there being any motion blur.
Processing: Just the normal tone curving in Lightroom and bumping the exposure up just a hair, about 1/10 of a stop. Then I use a Photoshop action (Dustin Francis sharpening actions) to sharpen the photos (I do this on all photos). My lenses are fairly sharp, but giving the photo that last little punch really helps, especially in printing. Something I’ve noticed is if you can get to know your flash and know what look you’re going for, you can get so much of your work done before you even start to worry about Photoshop. It can cut down how much work you have to do significantly.
I really love this photo as well. Jessica is beautiful, and after getting to know her, I think this setting really suits her personality, as she is a bright and happy person (I’m sure Dan would agree!).To me, this has a sort of airy, light feel to it.
The Situation: The lighting here was gorgeous too. Pretty much just before the beginning of the golden hour before sunset. The light was also a little strong for what I was going for, so I set up my flash camera right about 4 feet from the bride. The sunlight was hitting the bride’s back, so I wanted my flash to hit her front so she wouldn’t turn into a silhouette. I can’t quite remember what I had set the flash to, but I usually start at 1/8 power and tweak from there, for this one I think it may have been at 1/4 power. Because the sunlight was fairly strong compared to the mezzanine floor I bumped down my ISO to 200 and upped my shutter speed to 1/125 second, keeping my aperture at f/4.5. You can tell that the flash lit up her facial features and dress, just enough to give enough fill without washing out or blowing out her beautiful white dress, and we still get the temple and sky in the background.
Processing: Because the sunlight was, as I said before, a little strong, I did have to burn in a bit of the back of Jessica’s dress. I did this in lightroom with the adjustment brush. I darkened the darks a little bit, but left the lights alone, as the exposure for them was already what I wanted. Added a little bit of a vignette. Voila!
I feel like I could go on and on about photos from this shoot, but I think this is a good place to stop for now. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to let me know!