Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lighting Challenge Wedding Wednesday

Good Morning Everybody,

We finally made it to Birmingham yesterday working our way through tropical storm “Ida”.  Man, we pasted several wrecks on the way, car that had hydro-planed out of control and traffic lights fallen across intersections. We fortunately along with all our vendors traveling the show arrived “safe and sound”.

The program went great last night and we head out to Memphis this morning. The good news is the weather is perfect – white, puffy clouds and bright, blue skies. A MUCH nicer driving experience to Memphis.

LaDawn is still looking for a few volunteers to help in Nashville on Thursday during my presentation. If you are available at 3:00 and would like to assist with set-up, check-in, help during the break and tear-down please give her a email shout.    Remember…. we are traveling all morning so she may not respond until much later today. THANKS in advance!

Hey gang, I think I’ve got a pretty good post for you today so let’s get right to it.  Here we go.

Lighting Challenge Wedding Wednesday

I mentioned that this past weekend we photographed a really fun wedding.  The bride and groom, wedding party, and  moms and dads were nice as can be.

It was an early start – we were on site by 10:30 a.m. – caught up with the bride and her girls getting ready in the bridal suite and captured some great shots there.  I’ll have to share some little lighting tricks I used to create some of the images there too – sounds like another future blog post to me;~)

We caught up with the groom and the guys and got some very nice images of them, too.  Anyway, once we completed the pre- wedding photographs  we were going to head to a park location to capture some nice images of the bride and groom and wedding party outdoors.

Only one minor problem. Most, if not all, the leaves had been blown from the trees in the last storm.  OK, what are you going to do?  You’ve got to get the shots and they’ve got to look great, that’s what they hired you for.

We had another challenge too. I had to photograph moms and dads at the hotel since they were not planning to go to the church. Take a look at the first image below – just a quick grab by my assistant - and you will see what the outside foliage looked like surrounding the hotel – stark trees with no leaves!0012-DPT Wed Post-1896-NV_1896-DZ_IMG_3141 Hey, like I said you still need to get the shot.  How was I going to pull this off?  I did have two things working for me.  First, the entrance and drive through at the hotel would provide me with a sun free location to place my subjects. That was a really good thing!  I wouldn’t have to deal with the high noon sun. 

0006-DPT Wed Post-1886-NV_1886-DZ_IMG_3131I could easily position my lighting assistant, Marc, to the left of the subjects to get the direction of light I wanted on the scene.  I could also get him close enough to the family members allowing me the added benefit of shooting through my Zumbrella to obtain nice soft light on them.

0008a-DPT Wed Post-1892-NV_1892-DZ_IMG_3137 Secondly, I found the only three trees in Northern Kentucky that still had leaves on them, but they were still pretty far away in the parking lot of the hotel. No problem – they still had leaves – and leaves with beautiful fall colors, I might add.  All I had to do was somehow manage to get the leaves and colors to fill the background behind my subjects.

OK, how am I going to do that?  Simple, I needed to use a long lens racked out as far as I could get it.  In effect, that would increase the size of the trees in the back ground relative to the subject's in the foreground. I pulled out my Canon 70-300mm IS DO and placed it on my Canon 5D Mark II.

0003-DPT Wed Post-1881-NV_1881-DZ_IMG_3126

You can see in this image that I am pretty far away from my subjects.  That’s because I need to use the longer focal length of my zoom lens to achieve the result I wanted – the three trees to fill the background.

In this next shot, Nicholas, who is shooting all the set up shots, took this image right over my shoulder.  It gives you a pretty good idea of how I had things lined up for the shot. You can see that I have everyone lined up with the trees in the far-off background for the shot.

0010-DPT Wed Post-0250-DZ_IMG_8666 Here is a quick un-retouched photograph of the bride with her mom and dad.  I think we pulled it off very well. We got a great shot of all three with a beautiful fall background behind the three of them.  It was those three trees that supplied the beautiful fall background for all the shots in this location. 

0014a-DPT Wed Post-0286-DZ_IMG_8702And here is one more of the bride alone which I just love.  See how I brought the light in from camera left defining my ever popular “loop lighting” pattern on the bride’s face.  It’s an easy, relaxed pose that still captures a bit of the elegance of the event.  Bride and parents loved the shot.  See the “image of the day” post above for all the technical specs on the image.

Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We’ve got a long drive to Memphis today so we are hitting the road early.  I’ll see everybody – well some of you in Memphis tonight and the rest of you right here tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday.  See ya’ then.  Adios, -David


  1. Nice post. I thought you where gonna talk about shooting in direct sunlight rather than setting up a shot to avoid it!

  2. this is awesome, I know they will love these. I appreciate how you showed us what the naked trees looked like too. You got lucky finding the colorful trees :)

  3. Great post! I knew that long lenses compressed the background but never would have thought to use it to solve a problem like this. I learned something today; Thank you!

  4. Great Job David! You have given me much to think about...
    Thanks Z!

  5. Great post! The set up was explained perfectly to a "T"

  6. Thanks David, That's thinking outside the box....way outside. Great!

  7. that was just amazing David. You make it seem so easy. I look up to you

  8. That was a good one. Did not know that a zoom lens would compress the background.