How to Shoot in any Lighting Condition


Multiply Revenue with Bridal Sessions


Lesson Info

How to Shoot in any Lighting Condition

S so this was a sheet is actually after wedding shoot seven years after I think right? Five or seven years, actually actually eight weeks pregnant? This was eight weeks pregnant women, right? Their son. But this was some good friends of ours that never really had a great shoot, and they traveled down to destin quite a bit. We went down there with him on vacation, we set up this bridal session shoot for her to shoot some really incredible shots. This was at the end of the day on def. We didn't have off camera light to get the sky look like that. She would have been the same color as the shadow behind her. She we've been pitch black, it was great to have awesome off camera lighting because we can create really powerful images even in some difficult situations like shooting on the beach can be very tricky, usually really bright, very reflective, hard to see detail unless their faces directly in the sun. Here's another great example. We're having the knowledge of off camera lighting is gre...

at, you know, we were shooting inside this area just because we were limited and if we don't have lighting knowledge e would have been screaming with pretty brutal what I love about lighting too is I can see something that looks interesting even if the lighting on its terrible maybe it's an interesting setup like I love this because it was simple this beautiful oval shaped window had a little bit of light behind some cool lines and then just a blank wall and I thought this could make a great shot if I have some lighting so I could have done this with the rapid box or a big off camera light I think we use the ranger quadra for this particular shot and being able to bring out different gear allows you teo create different looks so this shot here of a bride meredith is the same you know bright right there awhile and its exact same spot but with just the different light that we're able to use this is all natural light golden hour absolutely beautiful and so we were able to get some really cool looks like that and then turn it into this this is literally two minutes later shooting this image and you had little did you know that the sky look like that because there was no way to to capture that once that sun sets if it's not hitting your bride's face and the sky and there's no way to match those exposures so once that sun and dip behind the horizon which it does very quickly and in tennessee because of all the rolling hills were able to bring out that detail and showcase that detail and then we're always making sure to get all kinds of different things is the same bride same bridal shoot we're coming in close getting lots of turns and twists and lines and shooting the eyelashes shooting with phase shooting portrait shooting up close this is just a reflector on one side for phil light so the reflectors to camera right bringing in the field like to really make it look beautiful and here's another shot from that same shoot where when we first this when we first got there we had these cool lines of this wall but the sun was brutal behind her was just blasting down so we used our powerful off camera flash added some live got on a cool pose we were able to capture really pretty photo of her question shoot do you have any tips for lighting fabric or different types of fabric on dresses? Does it change the lighting that you use that's a great question I know a lot of people say the same thing about people of different skin tones so they'll go if somebody has all you know if I'm shooting a really white bribe in a really dark room, what kind of lighting should I use and there's no there's no well there's really only one right answer light is light the light is going to do what it's going to do? The only thing it may do is reflect back it's different if it's shimmery or shiny or whatever. So a couple of tricks that will do if we're using off camera lighting it's hard of a natural light, you just have to watch and turn them until you don't see like a blown out, you know, reflection of some kind with off camera light. One thing that you can do is use a very specific soft box. That umbrella is not the best idea because umbrella it's going to shoot light everywhere it's going to be like down here, she light a fire face to use a soft box and directs the light ahead. And if you put the center of the light source above the center of the eyes what's going to happen is there and he put it in close, so if she has a very reflective dress, put the light closer to her than you normally would because light and remember if you're taking notes right, this sound lighting close, it gets dark, I think that's the universe square law, the simple way, right if it's far away and lights everything, even if it's really close it, lights whatever it hits and then gets dark quickly so when that light hits here, it'll taper off very fast. And it won't reflect as much light off the dress you get a great exposure saving hearing could very dynamic images in on the wedding day, your opportunity to set up something normally may not try to attempt this was a more of a difficult shot with off camera lighting, we had light coming in from count camera left lighting up that lionshead, just a small window, and then we had no lights, camera writes, we put our flash up there, we pulled back for an interesting composition, we have to shoot something really dynamic for that ride. We're always trying to show, you know, the scenes that you know, our brides, aaron, because if they picked that especially, you know, it's important for them to be there, so we want to make sure to show it, and so I was getting that falling shop, but then, as we mentioned, you know, we're getting in close to get that beautiful, like, three quarter length portrait, and then also, you know, well, poland, for these really tight details, and sometimes where you're shooting is like a really hard place to shoot because there's a lot of action going on, so this is the boss of the boston public library and believe it or not, like there is a woman and maybe, like thirty feet to the side like twenty feet just like using the rest of the bathroom and it's like you have toe hands really work around like framing out what you don't want in the shot that's okay, I like I said you know, granted this is a beautiful place but sometimes you're in situations where everything around except for one area looks terrible and you've got to pull out that one area make it work for you this is our amazing bride season had mentioned her stylist have done her hair and correctly something I want to mention what this is um some brides you can photograph in any light we don't have to worry about you know, short lighting them and this bride we did a lot of glamorous lighting because she just has those features where she can look absolutely stellar like that for the most part we wouldn't do that and then we love pulling in the vale is the one we have hanging here on the wall um pulling in the veil and doing something abstract and unique and then switching it up and doing you know all kinds of different looks showing the scenery and then just getting that nice standard portrait at the same time another thing that we like to do and this is very hard to pull off in a wedding day is panoramic images and one thing to notice about this two's were short lighting this bride she's got a little bit more of a round features on the face we want a short lighter to de emphasize that make her look really elegant. And then when I photographed this, I took two images making sure they overlapped and then I seen them together and I really pushed hey, this should be the shot that you guys should get printed, and when you make those suggestions, people start buying those things. You take that one epic shop, there's, another chance to shoot some details. So if the bride is getting if you're going over to the house to shooting she's under address, yet grab and do a couple of pre shots, maybe it's something you can throw in the book, maybe it's something extra, you have returned to stress about it on the wedding day, and then we always, you know, are getting like our big epic fulling shot with the dramatic sky. Hopefully we have a really cool in the sky that day, and so, you know, that's kind of ours go to shot that it's kind of our status if they're going to get and a lot of broads alaskan, we do a blue sky shot like the sky's blue? Yes, I can't guarantee it, but a lot of them will ask and we do a shot like that. One, because we show this is kind of our style, you'll see a lot of that so different brides will do a similar shop, but just in a different location, she was getting married here, so we went to her bridal session out of the school place and got the cool sky shot for her front story about this canvas here is this was our first bride that we ever did, a bridles previous session with after reading a sailfish session with her after her bridal portrait, and, you know, we told her we're like, this shot here is an amazing shot, and this is the one that would look amazing on your campus and that's the shot she bought, and she bought a canvas on it, paid for the rent for the studio that we're renting at that time, just to do previous sessions and were like, shoot, we need to do like sales more often for these bridal sessions. So this is it that's the, you know, the power of language is amazing, and I remember going because I felt this was the best shot of the entire shoot. She looked phenomenal in this image, and I saw one of the image came up, I was like, you know, if you like close ups or whatever, I don't know, but this shot of you, you look ridiculously amazing in this shot I really emphasize what I thought about this image and she was like, you're right I do look amazing in that shot and she felt maur you know, if I went on this one's okay, she would have been like I guess it's just ok, but because I really believe that you know you have to believe it you don't want to be like that shots awesome to you get twenty one on your wall some clients will do that but this was a shot I believe is the best and that's the one I wanted printed on a canvas because it was beautiful looking and sure enough she bought it yeah question my dear when you do the sale session afterwards, is it an informal coffee get together? Is it an inch studio thing? Do you have talked about that way? They're going to cover a massive details lonely like it or not miller online questions that we may or may not have because we can just take questions up until one ok sounds great. There was a question earlier about love part of your lighting here and let me find the person's name but they were asking is from a new book in dubai and wondering if you ever carrier of studio stroke it along with you to the wedding in addition to the bridal portrait session? Yeah, awesome question, yeah on our gear list, the one that we bring is that ellen chrome range of quadra that's, a battery pack like the size of the one I showed you earlier about this big weighs six pounds so a little bit heavier than that one, but the heads on it are literally that big, and they weigh less than a speed light, so the light, the wait upon the standards, almost nothing and soft box that we use for that is not that big. Join on this one. We showed it's the west got twenty four by thirty two inch soft box, so that a lot more smaller but still big to get beautiful lady big enough to shoot really pretty light, but small enough to throw in your car. I never break down the line a lot of people like I get to the thing, and I'm setting up lights and breaking down lines, and it seemed to take a while. Well, one there's simpler lights out there that are easier but together, too put it together unless you need to tear it down, don't we've had one soft box together for like forty years like I never take it apart you coming, tio that's like rusty together, we just throw it on when I needed to take it off and stick in my garage or, you know story space when I'm not using it, so we do bring out but we bring the alencon ranger quadra with us it's a four hundred watts second light it's an awesome little light that gives us enough power to overpower the sun at high noon for one or two people when it's in close enough and to be able to do just about anything else any other time of the day. It's not tremendously expensive, but in comparison to some lights it is more expensive. And the great thing about it is designed to go outside it's, a dedicated on location lighting rig, it's it's, not a sea power. You can't plug it into a wall. Only two charges that so I mean those power that's got very heavy cables, it's water resistance you could. If it was raining, you could still shoot with it's not going to short out it's all weather sealed and it's an awesome light rigged to bring with you and we do shoot with high powered studio lights at weddings on do we have it mainly just tow? Add another cool, different looking scenario as we're shooting our couples or whatever, but it's not the main thing that we're leaning on in shooting all day with and it is really great to have two for those weddings where you're just stuck with it really horrible lighting like it's pouring rain outside and there's no light coming in the windows so then and those days will use even more but always bring it out for a set up or two for when we shoot in the bribes were shooting just a groom and shooting the bride and groom so it is incorporated in our wedding day and and that's the trick about it is you don't have that relaxing time like you do on bridal sessions and that's why it's important to have a great lighting system? So you know exactly what you're doing to take out the guesswork and again I'm sure it will comment as a question potentially later but when we show you some of the some thing to do here and even some stuff that we did yesterday, you're going to see more than one light on location and that's because we have the allotted amount of time to do it you have a two hour session or an hour and a half session to shoot one person so we can spend ten minutes setting up a cool shot or an epic shot or something really different and then spend the time doing stuff that we is a lot more simple but on a wedding typically it's one light the better you get at it the quicker you can throw in an extra light and do something really dramatic and we've done that that kind of stuff at weddings but for the most part, especially your new delighting, we tell if it's irish spring one light get really good at it and maybe it's just that rapid box it's the on ly thing you use if it's really bright out it's felt light of his darker you can use it as a main light and get really good as one light and it's very easy to bring with you any other questions on let's see here if we were to buy one modifier for a speed light, what would you start with one? It would definitely be a rapid box if you're going by one modifier um you're doing not high powered like yeah, if you're just for a three speed light, you're gonna buy one modify the rapid box we used to use what scott made another one called the pocket box, which was about this big, and we use it for shooting all the details if we couldn't downside off walls would use it as a main light to photograph our clients during the first dances and toasting cake cutting the only issue as it was only eight inches wide so was just about four times the size of the front of your speed light, so you had to point it in the right direction if it was like here and I was shooting you it would totally miss you, write the great thing about that rapid boxes is about this big it's, not too cumbersome and too large to bring anywhere running up on a stand in the corner of a room. If you're shooting this way and you could shoot people for two hundred twenty degrees in with without even having to move the thing in the shoot on the first answers, all the cake cuttings. If you can't bounce light off the walls, that's what I'd be using all the time, and then you can use it for your pork, but stephen than when you bring it closer to your subject that paints really beautiful light for the size that it is, you just need some fill flash it's perfect for that, because I could just add a kiss of light to the face. You don't even need a reflector anymore, using the opposite direction of natural light, and just kick it on real low and awesome tips, and I know that this morning already it has gone by, so I thought this was packed full of information there's just a couple of more minutes before we head over to break, but I do want to talk teo and jeanette here in studio audience because you have a really awesome story you shared with me earlier on our last break and I think the importance of what we're actually learning here today, you have a perfect example, alright, so sharing time with today you're way while we knew I was recently a bride, and so I can tell you that the most amazing part of it wass I did formal bridal sessions with my photographer, she was amazing. Keke photography at phoenix, arizona, and what happened was I couldn't choose between what type hair I wanted tio so I got two different hair cells, one for my bridal portrait, pse and one for the wedding day, and that ended up in my album, and the best thing that happened was I told all my friends, I'm like, I didn't just get one day with my photographer, and I didn't just get one day of portrait I got too, so it was really big bragging rights, so for those who are kind of like, oh, I don't know if prize want this, they d'oh, they really, really do well and to make it even more sexy. Where were you living at the time? And then where did she fly for the wedding? Okay, so you can keep photography's, they travel, and so on my husband's from australia, so we had to dio a wedding in seattle and one in sydney, so australia so I had her come with me, so anyone who thinks that brides aren't willing to take their photographers, I fell in love with her style and I had to have her for both sessions. And so it was just triple bonuses, you know? She came with us, she did different types of hairstyles, and I loved every single one of those portrait pse and they're on my walls that calls that's a good times initial push. Those I'm really excited for everyone starting to mention that your mom was outside of the country, so it was her. It was like a really cool thing that she got to see you in your wedding gown beforehand. She she did, it was really hard because you can't you know, your mom's, not there with you. So for the people who have brides, my sister in law came and everyone you know, it's, just you have to find someone. It doesn't have to be your mom, so for people who don't have their moms with them, they still get to see the pictures and they love every minute now sometimes it could be a sister best friend, you know, somebody that really is engaged with that, you know, it's, time of your life and bring them with you.

Class Description

Ready to add a key skill to your wedding photography playbook? Join husband-and-wife photography team Zach and Jody Gray for a one-day workshop that will teach you everything you need to know about bridal portraiture.

Wedding photographers are tasked with the intimate, stressful task of capturing the bride on her wedding day — a day packed with emotion and a million logistical details. Zach and Jody will show you how to take control of your wedding portraits by moving the bridal session to a different day. You’ll learn how to create the right environment for your unique style, and how to work with brides to exceed their expectations.

Zach and Jody will also cover natural lighting techniques, off-camera lighting, and how to successfully market portrait settings to your clients. By the end of this course, you’ll be newly equipped to give your brides one-of-a-kind, artistic portraits that they’ll love.