Now a nighttime portrait you might say, what are you talking about in terms of nighttime portrait? What do you mean? Nighttime portrait's goes one of two ways we're either at a reception with the clients and they've decided that they would like to step outside and do some images of whatever kind. Maybe they're getting married in philadelphia and they want some iconic shots of city hall behind them. Maybe their reception is in brooklyn by the brooklyn bridge, and they want to step out during dinner service and get some pictures of the brooklyn bridge, but maybe just maybe it's a winter wedding and in between the ceremony and in between, you know, in between the ceremony and cocktail hour it's dark and the portrait that we do of the bride and groom have to be done in the dark, well, that's a nighttime portrait, maybe it's the end of the reception and everything is finishing up, and they want to go outside for just a few more. I have a wedding coming up on february eighth, where we really...
don't have time to photograph the bride and groom in between the ceremony and caught tell our simply because of the nature of how the timeline breaks down in the number of family formals that we have to accomplish, so we're actually pin planning to photograph the bride and groom after the reception the reception ends at ten thirty at night we're going to go out on broad street in philadelphia and get it done then so what do you do if you have to photograph these portrait at night however the situation evolves how do you handle it? How do you light it? What equipment do you bring to this situation? Do you use a video lightened to use a flash it's very frustrating and in early years of my business this was something that really frightened me, but once I got to know my gear once I got to know the decisions that I was making, this became much, much, much easier. Not only now is it not a part of the day that I dread, but I actually look forward to it. So let's talk about the logistics of actually doing these nighttime portrait? Do we schedule them in the timeline? The answer to that is well, I mean, it depends are we scheduling it in the timeline because it is a winter wedding and by the time I get the bride and the groom together it's going to already be dark or do they want to go outside during their reception and take a few images then that's something that I'd like to talk about beforehand and I'm generally pretty vague about when we're going to do it? I talk about doing it during dinner service if we're going to step out of the reception for a few minutes, I don't want to be gone more than five, ten, fifteen minutes it's, not a photo shoot, it is their reception, they do need to get back to it. People are inside waiting for them, but I want to go ahead and set the stage that at some point in time during dinner service, I'm going to come grab them and ask if they want to go outside now, they don't have to I'm not going to make them go outside, even if they expressed before the day that they wanted to go out and get these pictures done if I go to get them and I say, hey, guys, it's time to go outside and do some portrait's, and they say, you know what? We really don't want to do that? Absolutely, I don't care if outside I see the greatest photograph that I could have ever possibly made ever in my entire career, I can come back and I can say, oh, you sure? It's really, really cool outside. I would love to take you guys out. Are you sure you don't want to go? If they say no, no, no, we really don't want to go outside, then I stop we've talked about this before the clients are going to more remember the fact that I pushed them and prodded them into going outside, then they're going to enjoy the photographs that I take for them, so you have to figure out how far you're willing to push your clients before you're pushing them way, way, way too hard. So, yes, sometimes we do schedule it in the time telling sometimes we're just vague, saying during dinner service, we're going to do it, and sometimes it totally catches me unaware I'll be getting ready to go hey, guys, it's nine forty five were done in ten is there anything that I can do for you in the next fifteen minutes? Anything else you want before we head out? Sometimes they'll say, you know what, we'd really like to go outside and take some pictures to which I say, okay, then I have to regroup and get ready to go, so sometimes it does take you unawares, and if you aren't prepared with your gear, if you aren't understanding of the settings that you're going to need, if you're not ready for the challenge, it can really trip you up. Another thing to consider is, do I scout locations beforehand, I do not. I don't trust the same like I don't do site visits for weddings beforehand, I don't go in scout a location beforehand I've been doing this long enough that I could make the decisions that I need to make about gear and settings and posing and set up on the fly just by seeing the space, and I couldn't do it if I were doing this maybe five years ago, maybe ten years ago what I have needed to scout the space beforehand, maybe, and if you need to do it, if you're not comfortable doing these portrait's outsider doing these portrait's in the dark, I'm not gonna think less of you if you go scout the space. Just because I do doesn't mean that you shouldn't. If you're going to be photographing on broad street in philadelphia or next to the brooklyn bridge, or down by the flatiron building or any of these location's air the place in your town where they want to go if they want to shoot these locations at night there's absolutely nothing saying that you can't just hop in your car and drive over there and take a look. You don't need to bring a model, you don't need to do a full shoot, you can just go take a look at it and see what it's gonna look like and if you're uncomfortable there's absolutely no harm and no shame and taking a friend out there and practicing a few things beforehand so that you are more comfortable when you get to the actual event and you can better serve your clients now blair and jeremy had very briefly mentioned maybe we want to go outside for a few portrait but at their reception is the hours were going on kind of is the day was getting ah little bit later they did come to me and they said you know what we really would like to go outside can we go outside so I took a brief couple of minutes blair went to go get jeremy well, they were kind of regrouping themselves asked them to meet me at the front of the building sandra and I went outside we took a look around at some of the places that we might be able to shoot and then the video that you are about to see its a nice quick video but we were only outside for a few minutes you'll see exactly how that broke down we'll see you on the other side during a quiet time in the reception sander and I went outside to look around and see if there might be any exterior places that would be good for some nighttime portrait ce I mean I'd like to bring them out over like here and have them facing each other and then have you light them from over here way stand out here yes done let's go try to see it come out oh, listen to you so happy sandra back off like half a foot there we go. There we go. Can I get this just right way it's hitting his face but not hers as much. There you go. Yes, ma'am. Now we got it. There we go. It's gonna wait for them to stop kissing there we go after working with the video light in the courtyard for a while it was time to move on and see if we could find anything interesting to shoot out on the street. Perfect, perfect, perfect. La angels singing perfect. Well, I'm just hoping for something a little different, right? Because we haven't been able to really go outside with them at all today we did, but we didn't know really and the pictures are so important to her and she's having things go wrong you're making her sound like they ran out of some alcohol but she didn't like the flowers blah, blah, blah, blah blah hang on luckily, I could make put her on the other side. I'm about to say that sandra understands my hand gestures but I just had to scream all the way up the street I love the car coming down the street I love the light I love the one way sign from the street side we moved to the sidewalk next to the building and continue trying to work with the existing light coming from the building itself that light's actually really perfect there she is oh that's pretty while we were outside for less than ten minutes the images that we were able to capture help round out the portrait and give a more dimensional look to the coverage of the day high again so now that you've seen the very, very brief brief nous that is an outdoor photo session, this is pretty representative of what I'm going to do if I'm going to take a client outside as I've mentioned already, I want to get done what they want me to do, but I also don't want to keep them away from their reception to entirely long today's not about me it's about them so my goal is to get outside, find some good locations, take a handful of really great shots and get them back inside so as we do let's talk about gear and this is a slightly different slide then you've been seeing for the past couple of days in talking about reception gear because we've got some choices to make and the choices of the gear that I'm going to be using depends on the individual situations that I find myself in do I want to use my eighty five millimeter or taiwanese? My seventy two two hundred millimeter and I'm going to use a flash o r am I going to use a video light? I don't know and there's no hard or fast rule as to which one you're going to use her when you're going to use it or which light social going to use, but let me talk you through how I handle it, the decisions that I made both at blair in jeremy's wedding and at other wedding events and the pros and cons of all of the decisions that you have to make, and then you'll start finding out what works for you. So we're at blair and jeremy's wedding here, and the first thing I did was I totally blew it. You see the bush, they're kind of off camera left, you see that sort of lightsaber shape in there? That's a nice light that's, a really ill concealed, badly placed ice light, and when I took them outside there's no exit data here, you don't need to see it. I am ashamed. The light is not right, and this is just to show you that sometimes I screw up, sometimes they make bad decisions, sometimes I can't compose, and we're just gonna pretend this never happened and move on, but if you can see your video light in the image you might want to consider moving it now, I know some photographers who would shoot it just like this and then later on, just pop over and postproduction and put some branches on top of that, I slight, but that's not the way I like to operate. I want to get it right in camera, and I want to get it right the first time, and I would rather it look a little bit more like this. So if you take a look over into the foliage here, you notice that you do not see a large ice light encroaching on the image and you see that the light on my clients is a whole lot better than it wass in the image prior, if we hot back over here to the image prior, it isn't really lighting them up very well. You get a little light on blair's face, but you don't have any light on her dress. You don't have any light in the veil. You don't have a whole lot of separation from my clients and the background, but when I come over here, it gets a little bit better now. I did something good here and I did something bad here, but let's focus on the good first, what I did was I put my assistant behind them. Sandra is literally folded up in a t tiny little ball and she's holding the ice light behind blair and jeremy mid range, probably about at his elbow height behind the two of them. Now this isn't my ideal positioning for this. The light hits their necks, the light hits their chins and the light hits the underside of their noses. My ideal would be to have it up and high and coming from the side, but we simply didn't have the room or the space, and it didn't work compositionally the way I wanted it to. So am I pleased with this light? Absolutely I am do I always believe that I could be refining and doing better? Yes, absolutely. Sometimes I do, but what's going on here, you saw it in the video, I'm it seventy millimeters, I'm trying to work with my seventy two, two hundred. I'm f two point eight because it is pretty darn dark outside, even with the ice light, as you can see by the fact that I'm at s o ten thousand and I'm at a hundredth of a second, which is what the camera necessitated that I shoot it at. When auto oso went all the way to ten thousand, it started bringing my shutter speed down I'm handholding very carefully at one hundred of a second, and when we talk about flash we'll talk about how that might have been a better or a different thing that I could have chosen in this scenario, but again, I'm continuing toe work the scene I'm continuing toe work, my composition, I've moved over and photographing through the gate and the ironwork on the gate. I'm picking up a little bit of that all you need is love sign we've still got light in her veil. I'm pulling in that ambient light from those sconce type of lantern things on the wall and I have visual interest both in the vin, yet that I put around it by shooting through the gate and the fact that all of the foliage is leaning in towards them pointing straight to my subject and then we went outside and we just kept working. We were able to find a light that was shining down from the outside of the building. There is no additional light in this image. My my assistant is not behind them. She is not holding an ice light, we do not have a flash, we're not lighting it up in that way at all, but I was able tto look what's going on here if off camera left, which you don't see are these huge iron pillars that are basically holding up train tracks. So there's aboveground train track and then there's also a street going by over there and this is the side of the artist sano ironworks where the reception was taking place off over to camera right here and up above sort of in the middle towards back, worse in safety lights that were mounted on the outside of the building. Now if you take a look at the settings over here, you can see that I've chosen to switch over to my eighty five one four at one eight shooting at one eight being very, very, very careful not to focus and recompose because at that depth, the field you will lose focus on what you're looking for if you focus at one point eight and recompose, so I've moved my focal point over, so I make sure that it's directly on top of their faces, the light coming down from the building is illuminating around their heads. You can see it's really visible at the top of jeremy's head at the top of blair's head where it goes against the darker background and I'm at one eight I'm not looking for linz compression here I want to show the scene as it is at eighty five millimeters, but I'm going to use that one point eight to push your eye directly to the one thing that I want to be in focus, which is this you can see it very clearly here in color I've moved overto one point four on at one point four you have to be even more careful than you do at one point eight because you have even less latitude to move the camera the focal point which we've talked about before needs to be directly on the client's faces so that you make sure that they're in focus as best you possibly can have two people in focus out one point four now I talk during the portrait's how I really only like the photograph brides and grooms together at three two three five four o four five I want them both to be in focus this is an example of breaking my own rule I wanted to use the eighty five I wanted to shoot it at one for so I had to tell them to be still to not move around to make sure that their faces were on the same plane so that when I focused right on their face at one point four they were in focus and everything else melted away. So let's talk a bit about video light you saw me work with some existing light on the building justin and prior to that you saw me use my ice light toe light up subjects now I've worked with a variety of video lights throughout the year the very first video light that I ever owned we loved it. All of us loved it. It was greatly beloved by many photographers it was ah little teeny tiny son pack light it was about the size of a roll of quarters. It was a teeny tiny little guy didn't stay charged very long batteries died all the time I broke about a million of them and they don't sell them anymore slightly crushed that it has gone from there I moved over to a super super cheap forty dollars video light that I bought on amazon, which broken like five minutes and then I found the ice light and I've tried a bunch of different things. I've tried the gun light I've tried the lowell I delight if you name it, I probably given it a shot there's absolutely nothing wrong with the other video light versions that are out on the market by husband uses the gun light it's pretty freaking incredible I've seen people do amazing things with that lowell light, but the ice light the second I put it in my hands for the very first time itjust provided the quality of light that I wanted and the exact pushed the exact color temperature and I haven't been paid to come here and tell you about a nice light they didn't say who tell everyone to buy one I'm just happy to share with you the things that I use that make my image is better and that make life a little bit simpler for me and the ice light has been one of those things for the past year so in this instance we're stepping back to two thousand nine I am using that son pack little light that I used to use but it doesn't matter whether the light's coming from a sun pack or a flashlight or ah lowell or a gun or a nice light or whatever it is it's still your video light I'm still using it in exactly the same way this is christine and jared in their getaway car right at the end of their reception right before they took off right before they went off on their honeymoon and my assistant is in front of the car shining the light through the front windshield and hitting them right in the face a sixtieth of a second slow shutter speeds so I had to tell them to be still they got in the car they requested a few pictures of themselves in the car I said okay just get your face is nice and super close together and don't move they touch their noses together they held for a few seconds that's why I was able to shoot at a sixty eighth of a second three point two so a lot of their faces are in focus got a twenty nine millimeter so I'm clearly using my twenty four to seventy here and I s o sixty four hundred. I was using my twenty four to seventy here instead of the seventy two, two hundred because I knew that my shutter speed was going to be very, very low, and I was worried about camera shake with the longer lens. Kelly and ryan, really amazing. Extraordinary people got married at the art ballroom in philadelphia, pennsylvania, and midway through the reception, they wanted to go outside and take some pictures of the iconic philadelphia city hall right on broad street. Now I see a lot of photographers take these pictures, and when a lot of photographers take pictures of a bride and groom in front of city hall, they put their twenty four to seventy on their camera. They pop that flash right on the camera, they stand the bride and groom right in front of city hall and a fire. Well, I don't want to do that. First of all, I'm not most photographers and second of all, when prospective clients look at my pictures when they look at my nighttime portrait's, even though I don't think I'm a nighttime portrait specialist, even though it isn't really my thing, I still want to deliver something to my clients that's above and beyond what they can get from someone else. I want them to look at my pictures on broad street or my pictures of the brooklyn bridge or my pictures of whatever and see a difference in them. I want them to see something that elevates it above the other photographers that they're considering, so instead of standing in front of city hall two feet away from it and using my twenty four to seventy and going to town that way, we're a solid six, seven blocks away from city hall on their reason why, if you've been with us from the beginning, if you've been hearing me talk over and over and over again about lynn's compression is because I want to shoot at one hundred twelve millimeters it's because I want to shoot at two hundred millimeters it's because I want to compress them off of the background. What it does is it creates separation between my clients in the background, it creates the illusion that the background is closer than it actually appears, and you can see right here the image on the left at one hundred twelve millimeters and the image on the right at two hundred millimeters. What a massive, massive difference that makes in the look of the image I'm at a four hundredth of a second, I'm trying to keep it nice and fast, just in case they move, I've still got a lot of ambient light coming in I'm a deaf two point eight, so I get most of them and focus and kind of let my background go just a little bit. We've talked about my focal length and my eyes so is nice and high at forty, five hundred thirty six hundred, I'm shooting on aperture priority because I'm outside. I'm not using a flash, I'm letting my camera choose my I s o for me taking an exposure, reading off of their face and using the light to simply fill in their faces, I'm standing directly facing kelly and ryan from my viewpoint, my assistant is camera left of me camera right of the clients in the picture, you can see that the light is coming from the left, it's lighting up their faces really directly. I'm not doing any fancy side light. I'm not doing any fancy backlighting. I'm just illuminating them nice and crisp and making a really simple, lovely portrait of the two of them right out on the streets. This is annie and dan were at tapping hill in terry town, new york, and the fantastic part about this photograph is if you look hard enough, you can actually see the video light. If you look in the top left of the frame, you can see a tiny round circle, right that's this size and shape of a sun pac video light they're sitting in their car there are right under the portico where they park the cars and they wanted to get a nice picture in the vintage car that they'd arrived to the reception in but it was completely and totally dark outside, so I had my assistant climb in the front seat of the car she's aiming the light over the seat to directly at their faces one hundred twenty fifth of a second f two point eight twenty four millimeters to kind of widen out the scene a little bit and I s o sixty four hundred because even with the video light, it is still pretty dark outside I'm pretty sure that by every single thing that I've talked about with video light so far you can tell exactly where this one's coming from my assistant is down low behind the bride and groom shining the light up on them eighty five millimeter one eight s o eight thousand even with the video light it's very dark outside I love this image for about a million different reasons it uses the light exactly the way I wanted to this is the very first wedding that we took the ice light too at angela's wedding they had a really fantastic backdrop behind the head table it was a white sheet and it had been completely clever dh for this florida ceiling and really tightly packed christmas tree twinkle light it's now from up close with my iphone with the twenty four to seventy it looked like a sheet covered in twinkle lights but with my eighty five millimeter at one eight with the slight compression of eighty five millimeters and with the depth of field at one point eight it knocks that background into something blurry and abstract. And now I understand you might be looking at and you're like, listen, I mean, I get it like I look right behind their heads. I see you know I get it, I get the eighty five and get the one point eight in the world's going on camera right there what's that that is a glass of water talk to write up neatly against my lens. What I did was I picked up a glass of ice water off of one of their reception tables and very much how you saw me swim that champagne glass in front of my linds when I was photographing blair getting ready. I'm doing a very, very, very similar thing here on ly with clear the champagne glass made a really wonderful warm look to the image. This is clear because the liquid inside the glass obviously is clear, so I am literally luckily, I have a glass of water here if this is my camera and my lenses like this maybe like so maybe like so it's literally right here I've touched the glass directly to my linds I'm shooting directly through it so the part over here where you see angela and her husband I have the focal point directly on top of her face eighty five one eight at one eight no focusing in re composing here at one point eight focal point directly on her face exposing for her cheeks darkening down the rest of the scene the video light is very, very, very clearly coming from my right uh subjects left if you're angela it's coming directly towards her face off from off from the side and I'm taking an exposure reading off of her face itself and these were the same principles over and over and over again eighty five millimeter one eight at one eight flash are video light pardon me from low and behind shooting across the table so that I have that dynamic graphic interest of all of the the textures and lights going on right there background very deliberately chosen so I have the out of focus lights in the background I have the autofocus lights in the foreground I have the light separating them from their background and I have a dead on perfect exposure I've got it focal point directly on their faces getting the exact result that I want this looks an awful lot like most of the first dances that I just showed you you can tell where the light is coming from. It's coming from the other side of the groom's head aimed directly at the bride's face. This is what you would call being a trooper rachel's wedding was in january, it was in new york, it was about twenty degrees, we're at the lighthouse at chelsea piers and the wind was blowing like a mad thing and you know what she wanted to dio she wanted to go outside, I tried to actually tried to dissuade her. I tried to say, sweetheart, this is going to destroy your hair, and her answer was, I don't care, I want cool pictures. So with a bride that's going to act like that, of course we're going to go outside and of course we're going to make cool pictures for her seventy two, two hundred, the best I could do was at the seventy side of things I didn't have a whole lot of room my back is literally pushed up against the lighthouse and they're as close to the railing as they can possibly get before they end up in the river and that is one river you do not want to go swimming in the light is coming from over the groom's shoulder, aimed directly at her face, taking an exposure reading off of her face. One hundred sixty eighth of a second because this is video light, I need a faster shutter speed to make sure that I'm freezing them f two point eight so her faces and focus seventy millimeters eso ten thousand same exact scene you can tell by looking at the background, she and he are in exactly the same space that they were in before I'm still using my seventy two, two hundred, I still got a pretty fast shutter speed. The only thing that I've changed with my settings is I've gone toe a five point six, and the reason why five point six takes you back to those days that we were talking about portrait's takes you back to the days that we were talking about family formals, and if they're not exactly on the same plane, which they're not here, I need both of their faces and focus. So I'm going with five point six my assistant with the ice light has come and stood about two feet to my right, she's coming to the same side of the couple that I'm at she's moved two feet away from me, so while the light is hitting them directly, it's coming from a very slight angle, exposing for the face is letting the rest of the background darkened down, and here is the exact same scene. The on ly thing that we have done here to make it any different at all is she moved about another foot and a half away from me to the right. So there is more dimension to the light it's coming from a little bit more of an angle, you get a little bit more of a shadow side to the face. I'm not changing my principles of settings, I'm not changing my principles of exposure, I'm still taking an exposure reading off of her face and whether you're doing that by simply knowing what your settings are, whether you're doing that by popping a light meter right next to their face. Whether you're doing that through trial and error, that is where I'm taking my exposure reading, so continuing to talk about video light of a lisa's wedding, this is in prospect park in new york, and it is more of the exact same it's, the same principles of light that we're talking about during the first dance. My assistant and I are still standing in the same places that we were on lee instead of firing flash when my shutter clicks she's holding a continuous video light so that its lighting the clients now because it is a video light instead of a flash, the video light is not freezing. My subjects I have to make sure that my shutter speed is high enough and what that usually means is that my s o goes through the roof here my s o is ten thousand that's because my shutter speed needed to be three hundred twentieth of a second so that I could freeze the motion of the clients when you're using flash for this it freezes them you can shoot a slower shutter speed when you're using video light you can't we use this all the time for a variety of different things sometimes in the middle of a reception you see a portrait opportunity this is angela and her husband. It was the middle of dinner service they were just sitting there together enjoying themselves he was kissing all over her face I had sanders grabbed the video light I had her run over to my left there right and say, hey guys, do you mind doing that for just another second? She put the light on at mid power. Another thing that I really like about that light is that you convey ari the power you can make it more intense you can make it less intense sometimes we make it more intense by physically moving my assistant closer to the subject. Sometimes we make it less intense by backing her off and sometimes it's simply by dialing down the intensity of the video light itself but either way this is what that backdrop looked like with no water glass in front of my lens at three point five instead of one point eight and at two hundred millimeters instead of eighty five millimeters so you get a very distinctly different look to the background of the image it was a wonderful, wonderful wonderful wedding meredith was a fantastic bride she was going up the steps getting ready to go into her reception my assistant is sitting on the ground in front of her aiming a video light directly at her right before ali and erin's wedding this is that pesh sherman mills in philadelphia pennsylvania they're actually sitting at their head table the decor on the table is the foreground the other tables are in the background and I have my assistant from low and behind aiming the video light right up on alice face seventy two two hundred at two hundred finally I'm allowed to shoot this at two hundred and you can see why I love it so much because you can see the compression of the subject off of the background and you can see the just the sheer effect of what two hundred millimeters with the depth of field of two point eight does to your foreground background relationship I'm at the four hundredth of a second because I am using a video light instead of a flash and I met s o seventy two hundred same principles different scene