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Lessons from an editorial shoot

OK, let’s see how far we can take this notion of getting creative and experimental today.

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This photo was from a high-end editorial shoot for a magazine. I had one key light firing from camera right at a 45 degree angle, and I had a second light firing at a lower power from behind the subject. You can see the lit area around the neck of the model.

This lighting setup can also be done in a wedding if you wanted to achieve the same aesthetic. You could hold one light while your assistant holds the second light, positioning himself behind the subject. It would be possible with 2 flashes in a remote controlled environment, possibly in an open space in a hotel.

Now here, the flowing veil was thrown into the air by my assistants, while I pressed the shutter as fast as my flash recycle time allowed me, freezing the movement of the veil.

Similarly, if you wanted to apply this technique in the situation of a wedding, while your bride is standing by a window you could throw a curtain (made of light fabric) in the air and freeze the moment. It will emulate a gentle breeze that flowed into the room, adding a beautiful and poetic feel.
Too experimental? Let me know what do you think in the comments section below!

~Michael

 

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Don’t be shy!

I love this image:

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The interior of the car was lit by daylight and the couple was lit by off-camera flash, aimed over my shoulder while I framed the bride and groom through the rear-view mirror (it sounds more awkward than it actually was).

I also used a slow shutter speed to deliberately add a blurry background. This adds a sense of motion and conveys to the viewer that the moment was real and shot on the go.

The bride and groom are small, while the limo driver’s hand is prominent. This adds dimension to the image and makes us understand the relative positioning of the subjects.

As you can see, having your flash off-camera helps you to be mobile and gives you many more opportunities.

Don’t be shy to experiment!

And don’t be shy to comment. I need to know you’re here so just hit that Add Comment button right now and say Hi!

Thanks so much!

~Michael

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And now for something completely different: On-Camera Flash and Recreating natural light

As a departure from the off-camera lighting techniques we’ve been looking at up to now, let’s mix it up and have a look at lighting using on-camera flash.

For this we’ll keep the focus on our groom:

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Beautifully dressed, the groom is lit with one flash bouncing light off to my right. The exposure was taken from the top right wall and dialed down by 0.7.

The flash illuminates the groom and his surroundings, creating a beautiful 3-dimensional feel. Look at the groom carefully and see how the light falls on his face. The image gives an effect of window light, however it’s my flash that does the trick.

Keep in mind, the further you are from the bouncing surface, the softer and bigger the size of light bounces back. The bigger the size of light in relation to the subject, the softer it will be.

About 10 feet or more would be required to achieve this natural lighting effect.

So there you have it! With efficient use of your flash you can even create conditions that give the appearance natural light was used.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you in the comments!

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April Showers…

In light of the unpredictable weather we’ve been having so far this Spring, it would be useful to take a look at photography we can create in the unique weather presented by this season:
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It’s very rare when you have a perfect combination of sun and rain, but this time of year one’s chances are higher. This is one of those magic moments when the sun starts to peek through after a heavy rainfall.

Here I used the sun which was shining behind the groom’s umbrella as a secondary source of light. The flash in my left hand was the primary source of light, illuminating the groom properly.

The remaining light haze is lit both by the sun, and my flash positioned at camera left giving it a crystal-like glow.

Remember, these kinds of conditions require your flash to work very hard since it is trying to compensate for the bright sun. Be careful! Your flash might overheat after 15 – 20 bursts. You’ll want to have a spare flash on hand in these situations.

Good luck, and let’s go get some great images this week!

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Photo Deconstructed

OK, pop quiz:

How many flashes have I used here?

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Haha! Trick question. I didn’t use any.:-)

Today’s image is a bit different because I’m using light sources that are already present in the room. Here we have a lamp fixture illuminating the face of the bride. The technical part is pretty straightforward and I could have used any other lamp in the room for the same effect. I chose this lamp because it was close to the background which has a lot to do with the concept.

My image was inspired by Mapplethorpe’s flowers, whose still life images display a kind of raw sexuality, letting his viewers decide if there are any connections. Also the red in her lipstick adds to the already existing colors of the image’s palette.

The main takeaway lesson from today’s image is that sometimes your light source could even be a lamp in the room. So examine them closely, they might be a great source of continuous lighting.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re using light from the ceiling (as I am here), is to ask your subject to lift their head a bit to prevent deep shadows developing under their eyes.

Give it a try!

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