Gear and Basic Lighting


Wedding Photography Problems and Solutions


Lesson Info

Gear and Basic Lighting

Here we have ah bride's a bride's room getting ready room you have the same type of type of things we have very little light to work with here which is actually working in our favor because it's a problem all right? We also have multiple mirrors all over the place which could be an asset or they could be a problem as well. Uh let's see, we have some cool chairs and some some cool furniture to work with and we're going to basically use these things everything in this room could be a problem and everything could be turned into a solution. So whenever you think it's it could be an issue it's also an asset okay even that the sign of the carpet could be complimentary for something we do outside of this room there is a door and there's a mere outside and we could even use that to create multiple stories happening at the same time. Um we have a nice window source here. We're going to actually talk about how to compliment this light with flash and with very low lights and with reflected in the...

futures and so forth and we also have a small window source here where we have the dress hanging and so forth one of the first things I want to do is talk about my equipment that I used during this part of the wedding uh I don't know I'm gonna turn into you guys and your microphone on you but I just want a quick question how many of you have a system for lens choices for this portion off the photo shoot or getting ready and you can be honest you can say I don't really have a system I just going to do whatever but um you have a system for the bride and the bride getting ready because there should be a system and I'll explain why but do you have one or do you not really I got some crystal e guess I kind of have started a system you have like what is that, like the tight middle wide concept that sell talks about and um yeah, things like that where you understand? Ok, this is a portion where I want teo capture something wider and this is something where I know something important or emotional is gonna happen and then you kind of, you know, get something closer, okay? Beautiful you don't have to if you don't know the whole talking, but you're saying if you have something, go ahead but going do you have one? Uh, yes, I do okay, I normally well, I own four lenses that I used during all the day, so my priorities like the portrays, how you do it with a fifty and wide without twenty four and yeah I I avoid aa seventy two hundred during the getting ready because I'm going to be really close I don't think I really going to need it I only use it for this ceremony so yeah it's pretty much what I do okay I want to talk a little bit about the way I go about this equipment selection for brides getting ready okay so I'm gonna grab my equipment I wanna pull it over here let's see? So you see this this is mine yeah and there I'm gonna grab these guys on this one it's gonna show a few things no work well this is that crazy thing I was telling you about from sun bounce looks very weird on I only pull it if I really need to if I don't need it this stays away you know I mean but uh basically what he does basically what he does it you put the camera right here the flashes on the camera and you can turn the flash towards us and it creates a wall is worth well if you're shooting outside if you have nothing to bounce light off off off you can actually bounce it on this and this will give you a beautiful light source back into the into your subject today. Okay, if you look around if you look around the room here there's really nothing to contract what I mean by that is you can contract the girl that or the groom but there's no columns there's, no repetitive columns. You know how you see this column? Sometimes whenever you see columns like that or something that's far away but he's repeat itself that tells me I should try a zoom lens when I have something fixed like this there's nothing really repeating in a constant um matter matter then that tells me I probably want to stick with prime lenses. Now I'm going to use prime lenses primarily not because there prime but because they have a milky field to them because they can go below two point eight now I don't know I recommend people on the watching online if you are photographing a bride like this getting ready and you do use the twenty four to seventy or something that looks kind of more standard at two point eight not exactly the most exciting look. Ok, but when you put a two point oh or like an aperture of two point oh with a thirty five millimeter lens the thirty five millimeter lands or the twenty four whatever white angle you have because it's wide angle it's more forgiving and when it comes to the aperture when it comes to the focal plane is more forgiving, so if you are focusing on the eye of the bride and you're a two point oh with a thirty five millimeter lands most likely you'll be fine like if you may say and you're focusing on the cheek or you accidentally focused on their eyebrow or something because you're wide you are there's more room for error there okay if you put on the seventy two hundred and you put it at two hundred you better be dead on where you're focusing that on but thirty five has a little bit of forgiving space the thirty five millimeter also allows you to do multiple stories at the same time so it's a great lands for photojournalism so if you do want tohave that the father doing something the bride doing something else the thirty five gives you a really great angle a really great view ofthe multiple stories um another thing this is kind of ah funny one the thirty, five hundred fifty and those kinds of white angle lenses if you were to and I was going to talk about this about photojournalism if you see a foreign journalistic moment happening the thirty five millimetre allows you to capture it even if your composition is off is totally off at least you got a moment and then you can go and crop it if you need to you obviously try to do it perfectly right on the camera always and everyone knows that I'm a big advocate for that but in the emergency situations where you just happened to turn around and take a quick shot that thirty five will get you will get you there without you know without cropping in too much of the image so there's no way I say that is because sometimes that workshops people pull out pretty much only the seventy two hundred right which is a great lengths I use it all the time but when you do that you do you will find something and you try to go to it and your something or two hundred or one fifty and you're just you're going to miss the moment I recommend people have two cameras on them right now we only have one because we're going to be we're untethered but I recommend you have a thirty five millimeter on you on an eighty five for your for your close up temple things or you keep the thirty five and you have a seventy two hundred on the right okay, those are pretty much the two good ones that are going to help you the most I used a fifty quite a bit depending on the room twenty five space another thing I want to talk about prime lances like the eighty five and this kinds of lances are pretty slow right? They're slowing focusing if you feel like you're running out of time and you feel like you need to just get things happening quickly I would probably go away from the prime lenses and shoot mohr with the seventy, two hundred on dh because the seventy hundred can zoom in and out quickly here I mean so you can zoom in zoom out zoom in somalia ranger out on the focusing super fast with these guys you have to really get into that focusing point anything's forever on with these you have to walk to zoom right? So if you think about it if you are in a hurry if you're a master of these lances and stick with it if you're having problems go to your suma lances and deal with that okay um in terms of flashes uh I always have my two flashes my flash on each camera on the camera okay, one of my flash is one of my flashes on the camera and it's ready to go for wireless transmission okay in case I need to pull out a flash quickly the other flash is sitting on my other camera so if they have to two cameras like this this flash on this camera is not necessarily for the camera is just like and pull it out quickly and it's all ready to go as a slave this one is ready to go as a master. Okay, so basically if I see where I could I could add a little punch of light I don't have to sit there and put out the flash and be messing with the menu's a lot I kind of have a ready to go okay, so that's that so let me get rid of this year all right? Let's talk about light and shaping light on whether all that means I talk to you that I was gonna discuss a little bit of light principles right away so they could look at the room big light source it's gorgeous we have a bad we have a bed in front of the big light source. I wanted to remember that people that roll me problems they said how do you shape different faces with light? How do you shave? But if you have ah, a person with a round to face very round face where in this room would be the best position for them is that anywhere? No, of course not. If you have a person with a very thin face where's the best place in this room to make the face a little fuller and vice versa. If you have a light source like this on the life source hits the person's face right away like in front of them you're basically lighting the left side on the right side evenly what that thus it's going to broaden the face is going to make the face more broad. Okay, if you for some reason if you have a person with um with a thinner face and you put them in front of this and you turn him around that light's gonna hate part of their face and he's going to make dealer's side of their face darker. And if their faces already thin, you just made only kate like into a little spaghetti. And that looks really weird. See what I mean? So you have a person with a thinner face. It's okay, to turn the face more towards the light. Okay, if you have a person with a round face is probably better toe get that light. I'm putting out a forty five degree angle from them. So part of that light goes away. Part of the light hits him, and then he kind of goes away so thin. Sound this part of the face. Same thing with people with more to love. You don't wantto broad light them. You want to kind of let him out of forty five degree angle so that part of their body gets hit first. And then the light kind of starts to go away little by little, and you think about her body, okay, same thing with arms if they have, if they have a lovable arms. Okay, same thing. Livable. Okay. Um all right, let's. See, let me ask you something in terms of photography, which light sources bigger the sun or the flash flash the flash, why is that? Because the sun is just a tiny little dot coming it's so far away that it's very, very small it's powerful but it's very small because of the distance so that's going to be the first lesson we're going tto learn okay light size is relative okay that's the first law of light that we have to we'll remember light size is relative also light size is the key component investors from your subject to the light source is the key component where the shadows were going to fall on how the shadows they're goingto look okay so if you have a big light source like this the shadows are going to be soft in my face because the lights were just smoked so much bigger than my face right? But if I have a flash and after we turned to skirt in town and I have a flash and the flash's hits me in the face now this light sources thiss big my face is this big what's gonna happen to the shadows your face and common say for some of the shadows if the light source is this small went into him is that if the light source is small that shadows are going to be really strong like the edge of the shadows are going to be very, very strong very contrast he okay the bigger the light source where that they've toto what you're shooting it will solved in the shadows so if you want to soft shadows on a person's face you will go for the bigger light source um let's talk about uh have you got sort of the inverse square law of light? You have a little bit okay the inverse square law of lights which just sounds all complicated but let me simplify the really quickly on you're going to use it a lot it means that the power of the light is universally is inversely physical to the inverse of the distance. Okay, so if you have a light source this big right here and you're a foot away from that light source you're getting the full light right foot away as soon as you put the bride or the groom or whatever two feet away from the light source two times two two square this four right so one over four it's one fourth so now you you can have this huge light source hits the person you're two feet away now you have one fourth the light hitting your subject makes sense if you goto three feet now you have one ninth off the light hitting your subject one ninth of the light that's a dramatic difference it also effects the way the light falls off if you have a big light source and you're standing on one foot away, you're going to get the full blast off the light on is going quickly go into total shade or total shadow on the other side the farther you walk away from that light source the farther you put your bride or your groom awaiting the light source that fall off becomes more even so our first the falloff is very strong it goes very bright, very dark. You step two steps in that two steps to fee from that light source and he goes from very bright toe darker toe dark or not as dark then three feet away less now it's more even and then four feet away or five or six it becomes more and more even does that make sense? So the further you get away from that light them or even the face is going to look now, how can you use this for your photography? And how can you solve all our problems? Well, that solves a lot of problems in terms of body on in terms of face shapes. So for example, let me pick on somebody. Nbc I want bacon actually african cecilia cecilia coming over here for a second. Okay, here's a little mannequin head. This is a thin one. It is not to around right? If she's not around and you wanted to kind ofthe light her up evenly across, do you think you should be close to the light source? Or farther away from the light source if you want the light to beam or even um I think for their way exactly if you wanted the light to be more if you wanted to make her more thin you want to apply shadow on this out of the face okay then what do we do? We simply move closer to the light source see this way we're not guessing we already know now this life source is quite large is not going to give you soft shadows or harsh shadows and I give you heart it will give you soft shadows the reason this the bigger the light source the softer the shadows will follow your subject okay, okay the smaller the light source that more harsh the shadows will end up when your subject okay, so take a look at this real quick I don't know if the cameras get it but if you put this really close really close I mean this is a diffused a but look how bright kisses and look out dark decided surya now watch when I when I pull away look how this dark side starts to get lighter and lighter even though you're actually getting away from the light it's actually almost adding light to the other side weird right they look bright dark and they look the other side is going to start this gonna start becoming more and more even as you go some incense yes they're both pretty equal now okay, so um let's think about that when we when we bring them all over and the bride we're going to start hearing those lost a lot okay, we're going to start I'm going to say give me soft shadows in her face you're gonna pull that didn't want to say give me harsh shadows in her face and we're gonna pull out a flash we're gonna hit her with a flash because the flash is a small light source and that light source is going to hit on because it's so small compared to your face is going to create awful shadows in her face and all over the place okay they were going to say make her arms dinner just simply by the position of the light and that's going to solve a lot of these people's problems that they wrote me about how to howto make someone look good and all this stuff without having to be rude or hide him or anything like that um this also is going to help us when it comes to group portrait ce when we do the bridal party let's do something quickly here can I borrow all of you actually just four of you three more of you three more of you coming over here? Yeah here's another problem um somebody talk to me about me move this out of the way somebody told me something about howto photo and we'll talk about wedding parties later. But I just want to acquit experiment. Okay, how do you photograph wedding parties? So they all look good in terms of lighting. One of the mistakes we dio is go ahead and line up over here. Remember what I said about the light source falling off really quickly. This is a lot. I mean, this happens a lot every time I go to print, judging everything we do for those about whom I see for us alone in the world. I see the wedding party kind of here because that's a pretty background if the background is pretty and the life is like this, you're making a big mistake, something sense because the light is going to hit you, you're gonna look great. I think the light false off by a quarter like it's gonna fall off like four times on you that is gonna fall on you again. Bye bye less, but still falling I but then it gets to you. You're really dark. It makes sense that you get away from that light source, you're going to start getting darker and darker. You're going to be all that beautifully, so just remember that you have to. If you're gonna have a big brought light you better have another big brought light illuminating you to kind of compensate for that you can use a reflector I mean a diffuser reflector or whatever okay if you don't have one grab that people squeeze him together go ahead and then just start turning so you're faced by the light completely so turn all the way this way keep walking this way on right there right there right there right there why am I at a slight angle to the light do you can you tell me why you think exactly you're contouring the like you're you're shaping the light you're shaping the body with the light so I can see your beautiful light here and it has a little bit of a fall off right there same thing with you you have a beautiful light and that has a very sort of fall off right there okay? But now everyone looks let evenly so if you are to get close together and smile and all the stuff you're all going to look super good what I'm trying to say to the people watching online is don't get too excited about the background when you have to think about the light first that's the whole moral of everything I just said don't be like oh this is where the cool mirrors lest we here you can do it there if you have the tools to make the light right there you can have a reflector where you can have a video, light or whatever but you can if you only have the window then you have to this is that this will dominate where you put the people okay? Yeah. Thank you, omar barry tell yeah. Can I jump in with a question from the internet this's kind of maybe you just answer this with them but the pro photographer from california how do you best balance intensity of light and evenness of light to the face so that balance of intensity and evenness well, I wouldn't balance it I would choose one or the other right? If I want intensity in the portrait then I already know big light source self shadows, big light source quick fall off if the subject is close to the window I know I know this light behavior never changes right that's why actually when the sun is out there and the sun is a huge light source right? But when he hit by the time it gets to earth but the way the way we see it it's a little tiny lights or this small in the sky that's why when the sun hits us we have such harsh shadows in the face even though is the size ofthe many planets because it's so far away it becomes relatively small tow her face so if I want a groom or a bride, I want to make a mysterious photograph. I put them close to the window and I know that the lie will fall off. If I went to make something really beautiful and light and full of light, I put them maybe not exactly in front of the light source. That's too flat. I will give him a little bit of an angle on that will give him a more three dimensional look because the light will hit him and he was very slightly for love. I also know that if I if I keep this forty five degree angle and I moved closer to the window, I still get that three dimensional shape. But now it has a stronger contrast. Now, light on this side of my face is stronger on the false off quicker, but he's still wraps around. Does it make sense? If I wanted a full split face picture photograph was this? That is totally light. And they said it's totally dark. Then what do we do? Very simple. Put the groom or the bride very close to the window. I think a picture at a very straight from their nose and it's going to be total bright, total darkness, you know, I mean, um if you have a person and this is another other big many problems he paro if you have a person that has a lot of wrinkles in her face and she's like oh can you take care of the wrinkles and all these wrinkles and your photo album let's use our photography knowledge of light to fix the wrinkles before you actually go in post production okay if you have a person with a little shadows I mean a lot of wrinkles that means that there's caps in the skin that means that shadows is going is going to hit the wrinkle is going to create more shadows that more shadows you create the older the person looks right so simply that's a good person to turn around and make them face directly in the window you have even light even light left and right perfectly even it fills in all the little kravis is on the skin all those little shadows go away but though they go away a hundred percent of course not but he should make them look their best and most importantly their eyes are beautiful catch lights the entire time okay uh let's see let me try something here where is that okay take a look at this real quick this is a pretty big light source in comparison to this head right look at that look how he kind of closer again the darker it gets on the other side you see that now it's good to practice these things on little three dollar heads like this because these people don't judge you does that make sense? Like if you have to bother bringing a model to your house can you come over and into the weird things with a light? You know they're gonna be like yeah, I got lunch plans right these little hats cost about three dollars you can get him and look at this. You can really kind of get to know look fields up here if you'll support all the wrinkles here you have contrasting light and it's soft shadows because this is close to the to the face the further away the smaller he gets on look at the shadow starts to come in the nose you see that you want to get you when I make that no shadow softer get closer and now the light rays hit a face in many angles and it feels up those harsh shadows. Okay, um, so look at that. You can really see how light behaves if you get one of these little heads from any store in the arts and crafts store. Okay, um take a look at the way behaves when you light up from the front of top how does that look? Compare that to that, doesn't it look awesome right there? So when we bring the model we'll practice what we do, we'll do this and then we'll put it will put the model and we do the same thing if you have a light source here and the girl is here, bring the chin up and look how look how she looks right if you would like done look at the shadows in the sockets in her eyes and this here looks really freaky and mysterious and ice I know what you did last summer. What is that? What is that movie? Yeah, yeah, I know what you did. Very scary. You killed someone. Oh, no, it was which craft project or something when they're like player, which yeah, when they're like you remember that. Okay, so which one you like more this or this, right? If you're if you're if you're photographing a girl, do you prefer this high contrast look or something more like that, right? And I look at the angles about forty five degrees, right? If you have a person that sort of wrinkles, do you do this or you do this straight on fields up, the more it will fill the maximum land of shadows. Now, for the people watching online, there is no way I'm going through this with a manic and it's because I want you guys to be able to practice this at home this is a man you can you can buy for three dollars. I'm also going over about thirty problems people wrote me about how do you handle people with wrinkles? How do you handle people like in groups? How do you make a girl look more glamorous? How do you do all of this? I want you to take care of these problems using light this is our tools not using photo shop all day all day long let's get it right on by using a mannequin head you can actually practice all day long on experiment how this looks without being judged by the person that you're doing this with, ok, any questions when this you guys pretty good. Pretty good if, uh if one more thing, if the person has a white face and you want to make it look really beautiful, turn the hair and blood half the face with a hair and illuminate only one side of the face. That way the person viewing the photograph doesn't know how sake her face with this or her head. Let me explain. You have this uh this is kind of weird doing this on line in front of everybody like you have to behave cool very cool, right you do this, you turn her body away from the light and you turn her face back towards the light makes sense so if you're here if I'm for actually I'm just gonna go with this represent is the window okay? Turn your body away from the light in her face back towards the light and look how glamorous she looks make sense so that's it that's it represented a thick face cover part of it with her head everybody has some here and if they don't just use the light, get closer and is going to make this darker if you don't have this in shade you can cover it with hair if they don't have hair, you can do it with shade, right all right so obviously, like it's a lot more complicated than that, but truly the basics okay super super basic let's review a quick big light source shoves self shadows small light source, harsh shadows, big light source person close to the big light source it's going to have a quick light fall off very drastic light fall off as a person gets away from the light source the light fall of will even out okay, it starts like that that light falls off like at eighty percent first and then he goes to sixty nine, thirty and twelve and then one percent and into it basically false off drastically by that time, that person is all the way out to here that life pretty much even she is even in my face right now if the light if I get closer to the light it becomes quite the fall of his quite drastic okay all right let's bring in uh bringing uh what was your name again elena everybody just keep it running because we're coming over elena is our beautiful model okay quickly um light follow force of quickly light follow falls off quickly freaky freaky bring your chin up beautiful bring your chin down creepy bring your chin up beautiful venusian down creepy that makes sense this is how we do it just keep practice with light behaves the same right um let's say she doesn't have any wrinkles obviously but what if she did there aren't actually you would probably grab and sheila we wrinkle is completely feels up everything makes sense um if I stand take a look at the shadowing her nose look how he goes soft like you can't even see it on now look I start increasing if the light starts to get further away this is very important because when you're using flash and you get that crazy shadow in the nose you know howto fix it now okay that means that the light source is too small relative to the face okay look at her shot it look at her nose again and look I disappears as the light feels in dealers out of her face e okay

Class Description

In this photography class, Roberto Valenzuela will teach you solutions to common wedding photography problems facing anyone who picks up a camera to photograph people. Roberto will use his practical methodology to give you a systematic way to break down and overcome your challenges.

In this class you will learn:

  • The 21 points for Posing
  • How to find the best light
  • Practical tips to quickly read the room

Roberto researched and polled various photography communities to find the most common problems facing anyone holding a camera. Through hands-on demos and easy to practice challenges, Roberto will show you how little changes can make big differences in your final images. 



Roberto is a great photographer and a great teacher. Roberto took me a little bit to get used to because rather than just memorizing, Roberto teachers you how to think like a great photographer. Roberto studies the best of the best photographers and painters and he incorporates it in his photography business and his teaching courses. Over and over, I have heard other top photographers referring to Roberto. Cudos to Roberto, for being the go to Pros,' Pro. Roberto is a great teacher and a great photographer that takes beautiful pictures with mastery of beautiful light, posing and composition.


Roberto is a photography mastermind. I'm very grateful for his CL courses that are available. He shares so much during these courses, I cannot help but making many, many, many notes and I'm sure if I rewatch it, I'll still learn new stuff. This course is not only for the wedding photographer, but the information he shares is applicable for all kinds of photography. If you want to learn how to make use of the gifts of any location (while throwing some very helpful posing advice in the mix), this course is for you. I'd also highly recommend his course "Location, posing, execution", which I saw before buying this one. And besides his very inspiring teaching style, he's also very funny! This course is a joy to watch.


Absolutely amazing. Roberto's background as a classroom teacher (and crazy OCD perfectionist) is a true gift to us, the students. He has analyzed, practiced, and tried/failed his techniques countless times and it shows in this course. I have become so much more aware of an environment's "gifts" after taking this course. I myself was a science teacher (and am also a goofball) so his style of teaching resonates with me. While some workshops are amazing at making us feel inspired and fantastic, these are short lived emotions. Roberto's preaching of get out there and practice is a no-brainer!! Best course to get me started on my wedding photography career! Thank you Roberto!