Shoot: How to Shoot in Bad Light
So this particular lesson, we are going to be focusing on how to shoot in the worst light, which I'm sure none of you have ever faced before. Oh, oh this is actually on my notes, but I was reminded of a story that I had shot a wedding for a young couple, and when I got to the wedding, I realized that his mom was a really very prominent producer in the Hollywood Hills area. And because she had done so much work, she, instead of hiring a videographer, hired her own team, teams she's been working with over the years. So these people are used to flying to exotic locations around the world and shooting these really great cinematic videos. And so I come to find this out when I get to the wedding, cuz there was no sense in saying that they were the videographers, at least putting it in the timeline anywhere, nobody thought about letting me know, and I was like, oh okay. And so what happened is we are shooting a beach wedding ceremony, and it's about 3 o'clock in the afternoon in Malibu. And w...
hen we get there, I'm starting to shoot the prep, and then as guests arrive, and the cinematographer is standing there and he looks at me, and he's just like, "so, what are you gonna do with the light?" And I'm just like, I'm sorry what? And he's like, "but don't you see "there's gonna be a hotspot on the back of his head?" (laughing) And I was like, welcome to wedding photography! (laughing) They were so used to controlling light in such a big way that it was beyond their comprehension that there are photographers who deal with the worst light on a continuous basis. Like, I was just like, yeah it's just another bright day at the beach, it's gonna be really tough. And he's just like, "we can't shoot this." (laughing) So all I'm saying is that as wedding photographers, we are often dealt the harshest situations, and we have to learn how to deal with them. But at the same time, we have to learn how to embrace things we cannot control, such as a hotspot on the back of a head, unless you want to bring you know, a mile long diffuser somehow and place it somewhere on the beach 30 feet away. Now the idea of shooting midday, bright light, really does, it's not my favorite thing. I have said it in a previous lesson that I will be shooting midday, bright light at the not dream wedding, and it makes me nauseous just thinking about that. However, I do know that there are things that I can employ on a wedding day or at an engagement session that can help leverage really bright light. But before we get to there, I want to list three things. I want you guys to bear in mind, first, that I would much prefer shooting at sunset. I absolutely would, so I don't choose to shoot midday, but I'm saying these are the tips that I would employ should I be given that opportunity. So for instance, after a church ceremony, if the family, the mom is requesting that the bride and groom take photos at the church, and I'm given a really bright situation, I must say, I know how to stay in control of it, even though it's not at sunset which is what I prefer. Secondly, I do not shoot with fill light, artificial reflectors, fill flash, flash, off-camera light, in the middle of the day. Nothing is wrong with that, I think if you can do it and own it, then you rock it, that's wonderful. Stylistically, I identify with more of a lifestyle photographer, which is kind of a curated version of what I'm seeing, and as a result, I understand that I will be sacrificing technical aspects to the photograph. Say like, I might blow out the sky, I might lose portions of the dress, and I have come to say that I stand by those decisions sheerly by an aesthetic preference. And it was really hard for me to say this in the beginning of my career, because I was new and I wasn't sure if I could justify it, but almost 10 years into my business, to say that yes I'm still blowing out skies, and there's a market for it. I'm okay with that, but I just want to put that out there, because I want to address these potential questions before they actually come. So now that you know where I stand, and now that you know I know I blow out my skies, we gonna move on forward. So the first thing, and the thing I always say again and again, especially as we move into the footage from this shoot, is that I look for natural reflectors. Now an ideal natural reflector is light in color like beige or white, and the more you start training your eye to see these in the environment in which you are, the more they appear. It's as if when you get like a new car, and you're like, I've never see a green Scion, and all of the sudden, there's green Scions everywhere! When you start training your eye for seeing a natural reflector, they really start appearing more. And now, even when I don't have a camera in my hand, I'm like, oh this light, oh why don't I have a camera, like who wants a photo? I just need to shoot (laughing) right here cuz this is the stuff that the good stuff is made of. So once you find natural reflectors, we're gonna talk about the type of light that I stay away from. I'm gonna talk about why shooting in open shade isn't always the best idea. And lastly, I'm gonna talk about how to create rim light even in the most harshest of situations. Rim light by the sun means that traditionally the sun will be the higher light source directly behind the subject, so that you get like this angelic glow around their head. But when you're shooting in bright light, midday, what results is really dark skin tones. We're gonna talk about how to recreate that rim light by putting a very strong natural reflector in front of the subject, so that we have creating light on their face, light around their head, and what the pictures look like afterwards. Now just for good measure, I will be talking about how I shoot in dappled light. And dappled light is when the light comes through the trees or from other edifices around, and they put spots all over your subjects. That's a really difficult lighting situation, so I'm gonna talk about what I do in that lighting situation as well. Now it might sound very crazy to you, but I still continue and love to shoot wide open and really bright situations on days. And this video is going to show exactly that. Now you're going to start seeing patterns in how I shoot my subjects when it comes to this type of light. You're gonna see me keep the sun behind my subjects so that they're not squinting. That is a big thing. So will I sacrifice the sky and have my clients squint? Or will I keep the sky and have my clients squint? Or will I sacrifice the sky and make them have less crows feet and natural face, and sacrifice the sky and have an overall better experience, cuz they're not like, what, what? Yes, I will. I will try to crop out the natural reflector where it's seen. I don't want to reveal the light source, because it's a broken light source, it's not pretty, like you know, it's the same way that if a photographer was shooting me in this light, he wouldn't want to include the fact that he's illuminating me with this light, right? So in the same way, I try to the best of my ability, to omit those natural reflectors. Now if the natural reflector cannot be cropped out of the frame, then I need, so for instance, most of the time, my natural reflectors are on the floor in front of my subjects. If I cannot possibly crop out all of the natural reflector of my subjects, I'm not going to position my subjects in just a portion of the frame and just get a little tiny bit of the natural reflector revealed. I'm going to position my clients in all of the natural reflector so then it looks like a continuous part of the photograph, because I don't want half of the floor in front of them illuminated and then half of it in shade, because your eye is drawn to that brokenness. I would rather the eye see it in continuity with what is going on in front of my subjects. You will see me do that as well. You will also see me, especially if I know I have a bright shoot, I arrive early and I scope out my locations. Because the last thing you want to feel is flustered and in a situation where it's already tough light, the space might not be something that you're familiar with, and your clients are expecting you to deliver. So I want you to outline at least three options for you in this area of really bright space and then I want you to find the natural reflectors within that space. So what you're gonna see now is a video of how it worked for us in Orange County. Today we're gonna be talking about shooting in the worst light ever. So it is about 1:30, 2 o'clock here in Orange County, California. This is my home turf, and this is also a time of day when brides and grooms want to see each other. Now sometimes they're not afforded the luxury of shooting in a wide field filled with trees or a building with open shade, so given that situation, we have to shoot in nothing other than bright, terrible, harsh light. As you can probably see, it's very hard for me to look at the camera. And I probably don't have the most complimentary shadows. I am squinting, my eyes hurt, and I'm hot, and I'm a little bit sweaty. We're going to talk about things that we can employ around us that actually make it easier for us to shoot in harsh situations, so here we go. Cool. So, same situation, same light, same heat, same drastic scenario, but myself as the subject, I'm going to be exposing differently. And one thing I want to point out too, is that I don't, I'm not squinting as much. I'm not as hot. I'm not fighting the sun, the sun is actually being used as a source of illumination. I'm gonna show you how I do this with a bride and groom, but just to up to ante a little tiny bit, I decided to shoot a racially mixed couple, so the bride is black and she's wearing a white dress, and the groom is Caucasian wearing a black suit. So I'm gonna show you a few things, that simply by finding natural reflectors, it'll bounce beautiful light back onto the subjects. We're gonna learn a lot as we got along the way, so stay cool, sip some iced tea, as we sweat our faces off out here, just for a really valuable lesson. So we're going to start this shoot in what I would refer to as not the prettiest location. And what I want to do every time I'm working with a new couple is to find a way to make them feel comfortable, and that's usually by me not talking too much, it's kind of just understanding the way that their bodies are going to be formed without too much instruction. So in light of that, I'm going to save. that the best location, or what I would think would be the best location for the end. We arrived to the shoot, I was able to scout the park that I'm shooting in right now, and I'm gonna save the best location for the end, and I'm gonna start in a location simply that kind of just sets the tone of the shoot. I'm going to start this session just for this particular case in the harshest light without any diffused light, without any trees in the background. And what I want to point out, first and foremost, is the thing that I'm always looking for in a shoot is a natural reflector. The ground standing in front of me is a terra cotta color, and it's going to be putting this nice, beautiful light back into their faces to balance for it. I'm going to, and purposely, pull them into terrible light. So this is Micah, this is Tiffany, they've been married, they're our real-life couple, and they're just gonna bring it! So Micah, come out right about here, good. You're gonna turn in towards Tiffany. Tiffany, you're gonna turn in towards Micah. You're gonna bring your torsos together, you're belly to belly, nice. Micah, hands around her waist. Now, Tiffany can I have you hold your bouquet, I'm sorry, with your right hand over Micah's shoulder, nice, and what I want to do is I just want to caution, this is kind of big, so I want to make sure that it doesn't compete with Micah's head. Great, beautiful wedding ring, I love it. Okay, cool. So I'm gonna make slight adjustments to the dress. And I'm gonna notice that a portion of the dress is in shade, and so I'm going to see if I should adjust it accordingly, to have them step out so that the light is continuous throughout the whole thing, or whether or not it's that big of a deal. But I'm going for this, for this particular shot, I'm going to fight for it. So Micah, take two steps back, Tiffany, you're going to take two steps in. Nice, great. And so I notice that on the bottom of Tiffany's dress, there is a small little handle to carry it, so I wanna make sure that that's tucked away, so that that will save me time later in Photoshop from removing it. Beautiful, now I'm going to specifically angle their bodies in such a way that I'm going to try to avoid hotspots. The hotspots are going to be there, and I'm just gonna have to give up for it, but if I can minimize what that looks like. So bring your bodies here, turn slightly towards me. So what I just did was I, come out this way, this is where it was, peel away, just relax, come out. So this is what the original light was like. By bringing their bodies in, nice and close together and then turning towards me, I've cut out hotspots across her chest and the hotspot now is on her back shoulder, which is not gonna be in competition to the frame. So peel your heads away, beautiful, I'm going to adjust this hair right here, and then any time you feel a little hot, just let me know, like hey I need a break, we have water for you two. (laughing)
Okay, and that would actually happen on a wedding day, JD, or my second shooter, will always have water ready for the bride and groom in case they need it, because we want to keep them as comfortable as possible. The more time we get with them, the happier we will be. One thing that I'm paying particular attention to is that Tiffany is about 5'8", so she's tall. With heels, she and Micah are both the same height, which is great, it's going to afford me the latitude of shooting wide open, because their eyes are on the same focal plane. A quick review of focal planes was there is an x-axis and there's a y-axis. Whatever I focus on, that focal point, whatever runs an exact line to that point should theoretically be in focus. So if Tiffany, and the same goes for the y-axis, if Tiffany was standing on Micah's shoulders, and I focused on Micah's eye, theoretically, she should be in focus right on top of him. So these are the things that I'm thinking about. Roughly their eyes are at the same level, and I'm not going to have them look at me, so I'm going to shoot at a 2.5 because I can. My ISO will be 125, and my shutter speed, I'm going to start at 1/2500 of a second. Whew, it's hot, okay. (camera beeps) (lens clicks) Get that little test shot going on. (camera beeps) (lens clicks) Beautiful. So my main focus is not blowing out the bride's dress and keeping their skin looking nice and good. I'm at f2.5 and 1/1600 of a second, 125 ISO. (lens clicks) Now some people ask why I don't shoot with a lens hood, and I think that they're just a little bit cumbersome. I would just prefer (camera beeps) to use my hand. (lens clicks) That's great, you guys, I love it. I'm gonna adjust, I'm gonna go to 1/1250 of a second. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, beautiful. (lens clicks) Now what I'm going to do is my focal point is always on the bride in these types of situations. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Gorgeous. Relax that left shoulder, Tiff. Nice, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I just abbreviated your name, (lens clicks) we've known each other (lens clicks) all of five minutes, (lens clicks) and... (laughs) (lens clicks) Good good good, beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Look over your left shoulder. (lens clicks) Beautiful, and Micah, can you lean in? (lens clicks) Relax the eyebrows, (lens clicks) Micah, you lean in, (lens clicks) and kiss her (camera beeps, lens clicks) wherever your lips land? Ah, beautiful (camera beeps, lens clicks) beautiful, beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Hang out there. Now what I'm going to do, because I can. I'm going to shoot wide open, I'm gonna shoot with the 51.2, (camera beeps) I'm gonna shoot wide open in the worst light, because I can, and I want to show you what I'm going to do. What's happening is that if we have, Tiffany's face is looking down, this beautiful light is illuminating her, and then we have light around her head, which is going to look extraordinarily angelic because of the caramel color of her skin. We're just gonna talk a little bit how we're gonna do that. So what I want you to do is I'm gonna start my subjects always away from each other, and then I'm gonna move them into the pose, so that I can solicit a nice, natural pose and feel. So can you guys step away, not step away, just bring, yes, that was beautiful. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, I'm going to get my settings right to where I want them. So right now I'm now I'm not (camera beeps, lens clicks) gonna be coaching them too much. Okay, great. I'm at f1.2, 1/2500 of a second, ISO 125. I will likely stay at ISO 125, (camera beeps) for as long as I'm shooting in these really harsh (camera beeps, lens clicks) lighting situations, beautiful. So that's, yes guys, (camera beeps, lens clicks) you guys can roll right in, (lens clicks) Tiffany, you already want (lens clicks) to get there, (camera beeps, lens clicks) so we can go there, boo, (laughs) we can go there. Good, beautiful, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) So I shot a mix, I'm gonna make sure that I get horizontal and vertical, I'm going to use (camera beeps, lens clicks) the rule of thirds at this (lens clicks) particular place. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Bring your torsos in (camera beeps, lens clicks) nice and close, there we go. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful. (lens clicks) Now what just happened is I'm asking them to bring their torsos in nice and close, because what that's going to do is going to bring their bodies is, make it curve to each other, and give an overall more complimentary vibe to what's going on. And they're just natural lovebirds, which is amazing for me, so I'm just going to be focusing on beautiful lighting. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful. Now, I actually like, I guess profile a ton. Tiffany, can you look here at me? Beautiful, relax that front shoulder. I'm going to step it, I'm going to shoot this at a 1.2. Because Micah's looking at Tiffany, I don't have to worry (camera beeps, lens clicks) so much about him being (camera beeps, lens clicks) intact, sharp focus. Oh Tiffany, darling, I mean really? Gosh, this is fantastic. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, beautiful, good! (camera beeps, lens clicks) So, in about five minutes, I have three different situations, poses in the worst possible light. My clients still look and feel a little comfortable, luckily a slight breeze came in. I'm sweating bullets cuz the sun is directly on me, and I'm okay with that, but my clients, the sun is behind them, they're just warm, they're having a great time, that's gonna be the main points. What I want to do now is that I want to work from a really harsh lighting situation to still being in harsh lighting with dappled light. The same principle applies, I'm going to have the sun always behind my subjects, I'm going to be okay sacrificing the blue in the sky to get the kind of light and feel that I want overall. So we decided to take a quick break. Celeste, our producer, on site, asked me if I would like to have some tape to pin the handle of the dress which is otherwise known as like a bustle, to tape it underneath the dress because it kept on popping out in photos. On a wedding day, I don't have a producer, but there might be a maid of honor, a mother of the bride, mother of the groom, or even a coordinator. In those situations, I always feel comfortable in saying, hey, do you by any chance have a bobby pin? Do you have any beauty tape? Anything of that nature is what I will ask for. Another thing that I keep in my bag are bobby pins, safety pins, Shout wipes, you never know when somebody's gonna get a stain, and bottles of water, those are kind of essentials that always help in a situation. And now what I'm going to do is I'm going to walk into a description of why I don't use a lens hood. And why I don't use a lens hood is, quite honestly, sheer laziness. And cumbersome! I don't want to have a lens hood, because I shoot with a side bag on a wedding day. I'm constantly changing out my lenses, I use one body and swap out lenses throughout the day. Using lens hoods on each of my lenses becomes a little bit more difficult for me to switch as quick as I do. So what I'm going to do, in light of a lens hood, and really, theoretically a photographer uses a lens hood for just a short amount of time during the day. What I do is I create the feeling of a lens hood by holding the camera up, and then I'm noticing that there's gonna be sun flare or a little haze, I'll simply put my hand in front of the lens and block just the main core. What I would otherwise refer to as the nucleus of the sun. I block the nucleus of the sun, so that I'm still getting that beautiful backlight without it compromising focus issues or without completely overwhelming or overexposing the photo itself. So I'm going to shoot again in a really awful lighting situation. And I'm going to see if I can produce something I really like given no shade whatsoever. We're gonna move into that right now. What I'm seeing here is a distinct hotspot right between the couple, which is natural. In any other given situation, I would be okay with that. But I'm going to see if by switching their positions, I can actually minimize what that looks like. So Micah, can you turn your shoulders toward me? All the way, all the way. Oh your feet, shoulders, everything towards me? Beautiful, a little bit more? Square 'em towards me. And then I want you to flip your hands, that hand in your pocket.
Nice. And can you undo the lower button? So I'm a fan of having a gentleman's jacket closed, but I like just one button, so it still gives him freedom of movement. Now that Micah is set up, I have minimized this hotspot, which is great, which is what I want from the original pose. Now I'm going to turn Tiffany in towards Micah, she's going to bring her body in, and you're going to kinda lean in, lean in. Great, you're gonna turn this way. I'm gonna see how that looks. Now, Tiffany went, did something totally natural, but what I want to do is always avoid the floating hand. Tiffany, bring your hand back up here, don't cheat! (laughing) Tiffany had her hand over Micah's shoulder, which is great, but in a photo, it looks like a dangling hand. I'm going to change the hand from the shoulder around his waist, because from my angle and vantage point, it's not going to be seen, and if it is, I will have her change it. Great, so now I did what I wanted to do, I put a hotspot on Tiffany's back left shoulder, but I'm okay with that, I'm totally and completely okay with that. I'm gonna do a small little adjustment. I don't adjust a wedding dress too much on a wedding day, I actually like that natural kind of just movement of a dress. Beautiful, you guys look amazing. I'm going to hopefully use the lines to the left and right of the couple to kind of act as a leading line, leading the way up to them. In the background, you'll see that there's a bridge. That bridge is the most beautiful light, and I'm going to save that until the end. For right now, (camera beeps) I'm going to shoot this at a 2.5, and traditionally, people are thinking, this is absolutely crazy, and I don't really mind. It's kind of just what I do. (camera beeps) Now, what I'm getting right now over the couple is a slight haze, but the minute I put my hand over to kind of block where that light is going to come from, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I really get a look that I'm going for, which is a nice, clean, crisp look. (camera beeps, lens clicks) All it is, is just a matter of finding exactly what I want, beautiful. So Tiff, can you just relax that right shoulder? Atta girl. Can you just bring your face a little bit more towards me? There we go, and then lean it in. There you go, how bout this, how bout you bring your legs apart a tiny bit, and then redistribute the weight heavily into one hip or the other? That's it, thank you, good. And the reason why I'm adjusting Tiffany in such a way is because she looked like she was too much in competition visually with Micah, I want to give Micah the stronger pose and then having him directly be looking at me. So Micah, you're going to be looking at me. Tiffany, can you (camera beeps, lens clicks) look at Micah? (camera beeps, lens clicks) Can you relax your bouquet (camera beeps, lens clicks) a tiny bit? (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now Micah, can you do me a favor, can you look at the cinematographer right behind me? That's great, perfect. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And so I just used (camera beeps, lens clicks) Stephan, our cinematographer, (camera beeps, lens clicks) as a point of focus, (camera beeps, lens clicks) because I don't, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I sometimes like (camera beeps, lens clicks) falling into (camera beeps, lens clicks) the second shooter position, we can relax for a second. I'm shooting at, I'm shooting (lens clicks) at 2.5, 1/2000 of a second, 125 ISO. I'm gonna use the rule of thirds now. (camera beeps) (lens clicks) And I might not have to use a lens hood in this light, because when I was standing up and vertical, I got the sun in a way that compromised the photo. By coming down a tiny bit and changing to horizontal, I'm no longer fighting that battle. So I don't need to put my hand up the way that it was. (camera beeps, lens clicks) This is beautiful Good, I'm gonna do (camera beeps, lens clicks) one more pose. Tiffany, you just look so gorgeous. Turn out towards this way, beautiful, all the way, nice. Hold Micah's hand, good. Now what I want you to do is I feel like your weight is in both legs. Give it to me again the way, in like a hip but strong. There we go, (clicks tongue) okay. One thing I want to point out real quick is I had this idea, the way that I referred to it, and I might refer to it in different shoots, because this applies to a girl of any figure, of any size. I'd like to find what I call the thunderbolt. The thunderbolt is strong shoulders and then dropping a hip from one side to the other and all that's really doing is really coming in, curving out the bride's waist, falling it in. Now some brides will fall, they fall into a hip, and then they bring their hips forward. Never a good look. If they fall into a hip, I always say, hip to the side, booty back, core in. And I'll be saying this to Tiffany again and again, because I say it to all my brides. Because every bride wants to have that nice kinda curvy silhouette, and that's the thing that I really focus on. So these adjustments that I'm going to be walking you through, I'm shooting in really awful light, and I have very few hotspots, and I'm going to compromise the hotspots, and I'm going to say, that's okay with me. I'm actually still exposing, and because of this nice, natural reflector in front of us, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I'm still getting a bit of the blue of the sky, and that's great, this is a perfect scenario for me. Beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Eyes at each other, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Eyes back here, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now what I want you guys to do is simply walk towards me. Squaring off your shoulders towards me, beautiful. Now what I want you to do is not pay attention to me. I simply want you walking towards me, starting with your left foot first with a cadence of one, two, three. That is it. I will talk to you, and then I might call for Tiffany, and when I call for Tiffany, Micah, you look at Tiffany. And when I call for Micah, Tiffany, (laughs) you look at Micah. (laughs) My brains not working today! I'm gonna stand a little bit closer, and as I stand closer, I might have to... (camera beeps, lens clicks) No, I'm gonna keep my exposure the same, I'm at a 2.5, I'm 1/2000 of a second, I'm at 125 ISO. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Micah, can I have your hand in your pocket? I'm going to call for Tiffany first, so my focal point is on her, and then I will switch it to Micah. And three, two, one, eyes at each other. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And I'm pacing back with them (camera beeps, lens clicks) at the same cadence so that (camera beeps, lens clicks) I can focus in between (camera beeps, lens clicks) each shot. Tiffany, eyes here. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Fantastic, take one big step (camera beeps, lens clicks) towards me, away from Micah. (camera beeps, lens clicks) One big step. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Eyes back at Micah, (camera beeps, lens clicks) eyes back at Micah, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) One big step towards me, (camera beeps, lens clicks) one more, one more, (camera beeps, lens clicks) dragging along, dragging along (camera beeps, lens clicks) dragging along, I love this. (lens clicks) Great, thank you, perfect. So we've just transitioned from shooting in full light with no shade, and we've leveraged that light by using natural reflectors. I will try to use natural reflectors in every given situation that I am shooting in with natural light. So the type of light that I'm standing in now is backlight, with the sun behind me, but if I were to turn my face, what it then becomes is dappled light or otherwise known, for a while, because I'm not like technically very savvy when it comes to photography, I would call it leopard light, because the light would come on the skin and make them look like a leopard. It wasn't until a photographer was talking about dappled light, then I was like, oh yes, dappled light. So we're in dappled light. What I want to do, is I want my subjects' heads and bodies to be, the sun to be in the back of their heads and bodies. And what I'm going to do is I have broken light in front of me, but the ground that they are standing on is dirt. But kind of like, again, a reddish kind of dirt, and what this dirt is going to do is going to reflect the sun that's shining on it back into their faces. We have a nice breeze, this is kind ideal light that ultimately I would want my subjects to be in, because they're not boiling in that really hot heat. I'm simply going to have my subjects walk towards me, kind of create a nice environment, relaxed and having a good time. Because if they look back at their photos and they realize they were having a good time when this moment actually occurred, they're not really going to remember the hot and the photo requests that I made of them on their wedding day, so we're going to get started with that. Tiffany, come towards me. I'm gonna shoot the bouquet, and I'm gonna put Micah in the frame. Pause right here. Now what I'm going to do specifically right now is I'm shooting in really bad light, but I want to make sure that the florist gets photos for what she needs. So I'm working with this really beautiful bouquet, and I'm going to try to frame it for the bouquet and the boutonnière to be in the same frame, but Tiffany will be closer to me. I'm going to drop this to a 2.0. Because I'm in this dappled light, I'm gonna change my ISO to 160, you could be anywhere from 100 to depending on your preference. And Micah, I actually like how you were looking (lens clicks) off in that kinda direction, nice, great. I'm at f2.0, I'm at 1/1250 of a second, and I am at 160 ISO. (camera beeps, lens clicks) So Tiffany's bouquet (camera beeps, lens clicks) is in the foreground and the further left third of the frame. And Micah is standing, (camera beeps, lens clicks) looking off, but I'm also getting a bit of his boutonnière. So now that I have that in the frame, I'm going to shoot... (camera beeps) Micah, can I have you step this way? I'm going to have you out of the frame, I'm gonna shoot just the bouquet now. So Tiffany, stand centered to this dirt, beautiful. Now what I want to make sure that I'm doing is I'm gonna want to make sure that I'm avoiding hotspots on the bouquet as much as possible. And a simple fix, which Tiffany already addressed, was actually putting her hands down a little bit more. That small change is actually going to yield a stronger photo. So I have Tiffany's bracelet in the frame, I have a bit of her dress in the frame, and I have the bouquet. A bride would probably want these details, and this is kind of like a curated way of actually bringing them to life. And the best part is it's bringing them to life in otherwise not so great lighting. (lens clicks) I do have a tendency to shoot wide open, because I want to blur out what's going on in the background. I don't want, in this particular situation, we have trees, we have lampposts, we have a doggy bag pickup station, we have a chair, I want to blur all of those things out so that it's not in competition. I'm gonna have you just relax a little bit and have it, I want the tip out, just like that, yeah great. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) So I'm gonna shoot it horizontal, then I'm gonna shoot it vertical. And I'm gonna make sure (camera beeps, lens clicks) that I'm getting (camera beeps, lens clicks) the lip of the dress (camera beeps, lens clicks) along with the bouquet. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And I'm going to shoot just the bouquet without the lip of the dress. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Ooh, wow that hurt my thighs. Okay, I'm gonna back up a tiny bit, get it into a slightly different frame. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Great, yeah that's really pretty. Good, stay there, look that way. Look that way. Now, a quick change, I had Tiffany looking in this direction, and I realized that the bangs were criss-crossing her face in a way that became a distraction. By simply changing the direction she looked, I got her full frame, and then the bangs became an accentuation of her face. Tiff, can you bring your shoulders slightly this way? Atta girl. A small shift of the shoulders actually minimized hotspots on her shoulder, good. So we're just going to take a deep (laughs) I feel like I'm out of breath. Man, that squat just put me out of it, (laughs) good lord, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, good. My settings are f2.0, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I'm at 1/1600 of a second, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I am at 160 ISO, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Atta girl. Looking down at your bouquet. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, now what I would love for you to do is Micah, come into the frame, and I want your chest to be perpendicular to her arm, so you're gonna be standing this way. I'm gonna lift her dress up, you're gonna get your shoes nice and underneath. Beautiful, have your hand here, and then have your hand around her waist. Actually, can you open up this arm, around his waist? There you go, there we go. So what I want to do when it comes to body formation, specifically when I'm working with very limited reflected light, if I was in a perfect, open shade area, I would have more latitude, but in this particular case, I want to find ways to bring my subjects' bodies closer to minimize the hotspots that's kind of forming. Tiffany was holding her bouquet like this, and Micah came and stood perpendicular to her. And then what happened in that situation is that it looked a little awkward. By her opening her arm, letting Micah in, their bodies became tighter, and the amount of hotspots within their bodies minimized. That's always going to be a goal of mine. So I am still going to keep my same settings that I was shooting the beautiful bride, because nothing in this situation is changed, because I'm not going to shoot a portrait of them, where I need both of their faces in crystal clear focal focus. Now turn towards each other, beautiful, and I'm going to be using my hand as a lens hood, unless, unless I can position my body in relation to a tree. If I can position my body where a branch is actually blocking what I otherwise refer to as the nucleus of the sun, then I don't have to hold up my hand. Sometimes if I don't want to hold up my hand, I'll just kind of reposition my body so that I find a branch, a tree, a leaf that I like, but right now, I'd rather just kinda go. So, in this particular situation versus the really bright situation, is I am going to expose for their skin in the shaded area, and anything beyond that shaded area will likely be blown out, because it's slightly darker where we are versus being 100% in full sun. Beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, eyes at each other. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now Micah, can you come towards me? Take Tiffany's hand, I'm gonna switch my position so that the natural reflector remains in front of my subjects. Now instead of shooting them head on, I'm going to shoot off to the side a tiny bit. And I'm gonna rotate who's going to be in front of the other person. I'm first gonna have Micah in front, and the focal point will be on Micah. I'm going to pause, and then I'm gonna bring Tiffany in front, and what I mean in front, is if they're walking side to side, one person's going to be one step ahead of the other. That changes the focal plane. They are no longer on the same x-axis. I'm going to be okay with one person being out of focus, because they're not going to be looking at the camera simultaneously. I'm gonna shoot at the side, I'm gonna make sure that Micah is my focal point. I will be shooting at an f2.0, because I just like the way that looks. I can get a lot of boca, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I'm gonna test the light, (camera beeps, lens clicks) and this is exactly where I'm fine. One thing to note, again, is that we have broken natural reflectors. Now, this is broken light, we have some shade, some sun. If, in this situation, my subjects were walking to an area that changed from broken light to strictly bright light, I would have to compensate quickly, and I compensate quickly by way of my shutter speed. My aperture and my ISO do not have to change, but I need to compensate for the elevated level of light, the more brightness there is, because I can speak English. Okay, Micah, take one step out towards me, fantastic. On the count of three, we're gonna be doing (lens clicks) that same pacing, that one, two, three. And I might be asking you (camera beeps, lens clicks) to do different things at different times. But yes, I'm gonna keep you on your toes, (laughs) I'm gonna keep you (camera beeps, lens clicks) on your toes. (camera beeps, lens clicks) We'll start with your left foot first, (camera beeps, lens clicks) you can have your hand in your pocket. That was great. (camera beeps, lens clicks) I actually liked it, your hand in your pocket, is your thumb in it?
Yeah, great, perfect. Thumb or forefingers, I don't have, I totally don't have a preference. So we're gonna start it off with a cadence of (camera beeps, lens clicks) three, two, and one. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Nice, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Look out towards the street (camera beeps, lens clicks) towards Jeffrey, nice. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Looking back at (camera beeps, lens clicks) your gorgeous wife. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Atta girl. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now, I want you to (camera beeps, lens clicks) take a big step (camera beeps, lens clicks) towards me, Micah. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Micah, Micah, Micah, (camera beeps, lens clicks) pull her, pull her, pull her, (camera beeps, lens clicks) pull her, nice. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (laughs) Good, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) One more time, pull her again. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Heck yes, okay. So this is what happened, in this particular situation, I had the focal point on Micah, and what I didn't anticipate was him pulling her to such a degree that he ended up slightly out of frame, but then she became the focal point, so I could still see a bit of Micah's profile as he looked back at her, and she's smiling, looking at him. And in that moment, the idea that I had in my mind actually got better, because we got a picture of a bride, really not expecting to be photographed, and then she did, she just enjoyed the moment looking at her husband. I'm gonna back them up and have them do it one more time, but this time, Tiffany's going to be in front of the frame, and then I'm gonna see what happens naturally as a result. Side note, I don't have my clients do anything more than twice, because I feel like it ruins the moment and the legitimacy. I need to be able to tell myself as a photographer, I need to nail the shots that I want in two opportunities. Maybe that's a little bit hard-nosed, but I feel like I really want my clients to know that I value their time and that I think that they're doing a great job. If I had them do something four or five times, they wouldn't think that I'm not doing my job, they would probably think that they're not doing their job. So we're gonna back it up and try this one more time. I'll pick up your dress. And we'll pause you here, okay. (laughing) Perfect. Okay, one thing I also want to note is if I have my clients do the same thing twice, I always want to make sure that they're standing in the same position in relation to each other. If, for instance, I had them walk back and then Tiffany ended up on the opposite side of Micah, I wouldn't be able to superimpose or realign the pictures in a way that looks natural. So for instance, if I wanted to take photos and put them in a slide show, and one picture would be on Micah and then they'd be walking towards me, and then the focus would be on Tiffany, and then I had them do it again, but Tiffany's on the opposite side, if I don't show that transition on the slide show, it will betray the fact that I had the couple do it more than twice, and it doesn't look real. My goal for photography is to simply look like I'm following a bride and groom, frolicking on their wedding day, and no, I am not stopping or changing anything, when in reality, we definitely know that's the case. We're gonna do it one more time. Again, if we're following along, Tiffany will now be the focal point of this frame, and she's going to be stepping in front of Micah. One big step in front (camera beeps, lens clicks) of your handsome husband. (lens clicks) Beautiful, now Micah what I want you to do, oh yeah, ah, yeah, ah okay good. (laughing) Beautiful, look down (camera beeps, lens clicks) at the bouquet, (camera beeps, lens clicks) relax the bouquet, Tiff. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, now pull on Micah, (camera beeps, lens clicks) Micah, make it hard for her to pull you. Looking down (camera beeps, lens clicks) at the bouquet, Tiff, (camera beeps, lens clicks) look down at the bouquet. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Drag him, drag him, drag him, (camera beeps, lens clicks) good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now Micah, you can work (camera beeps, lens clicks) with her now. (laughs) (camera beeps, lens clicks) I'm making you work. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Look back at him, good, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Good, thank you, thank you. Now, a quick thing to note. I'm going to actually move with my clients, just maybe 10 feet from where I am. I'm gonna talk about the light and why I don't use it. Now, we have beautiful dappled light, they're backlit, the sun it behind them, we have light in front of them. What I see a lot of photographers doing is going to an open shade area. Open shade is not a bad thing, but if you do not have a natural reflector compensating for this light source, the photos will be muddled and they will be green. I'm gonna show you why I don't do that in one second, we're going to walk over here right now. So I've moved my subjects into an area of light that I see a lot of photographers use on a wedding day, and it's completely natural to think that this light is good light. And in a way, it is, and then in an entirely other way, it's totally not. I see photographers shooting in this type of light and sometimes they'll use fill flash, because this light has a tendency to be muddled. But the thing I want to point out is anytime you're using a natural reflector, you want a light color that will bounce back in a way that compensates. In this particular situation, what we're shooting in is between two large trees. The trees become extraordinarily shaded, and I have this huge patch of shaded light. It seems safe, except for the fact that if I were to bring my subjects closer to a light source, which in this case, would be the grass in front of them, what's gonna come back onto their faces is green. I'm going to shoot it, and I'm gonna show you exactly what I mean. Can you guys step out over here? Now, I could have them stay here in the center between the two trees, but this light is like, way too dark, it does nothing for their skin tones, specifically speaking because we have a caramel, we have a vanilla and chocolate kind of combination (laughing) going on right now. I want to get light that makes people look amazing. Color balancing for caramel-colored skin and Caucasian skin in green light is just not that easy. It's not that great, and it doesn't really look good on any shade of skin. So in that particular case, what I'm going to have you guys do, I'm gonna have them step out towards my light source. We'll pause here. Now their skin tones become more illuminated, so that does look better, but it's not all that great. I'm going to show you the colors that kind of come in and there's gonna be two big flaws in this particular lighting situation. Simple, these photos will not make your edit, please don't ask me for them. Turn in towards each other. We're just gonna keep this really simple and basic. Let's just take this, now, I'm gonna shoot this at 2.0, because I'm in this amount of shade, I'm gonna shoot it in ISO 200. I'm going to simply... (camera beeps, lens clicks) Great, so I'm going to shoot this, right now I'm at a 2.2, 1/800 of a second, ISO 200. Now, the biggest flaw that I think, outside of the green color cast that's existing in this photo, is that there's too many light distractions. Behind my subjects is an illuminated path and an illuminated field behind them. That's going to deter the eye from understanding truly what it should be looking at. Light should be an enhancement, not a distraction. I'm gonna shoot this and then later on in post, I'm gonna talk a little bit, later on, why I'm shooting this, I'm gonna talk about why I stay away from this type of light. Can you guys just bring your foreheads nice and close to touch? (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, gorgeous. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful. One thing too, is I want to make sure that the horizon line behind me is as even as possible. (camera beeps, lens clicks) So that I don't have to worry about that so much in post. I'm gonna step in, good. Tiff, eyes here, (camera beeps, lens clicks) chin towards me, (camera beeps, lens clicks) chin towards me, chin towards me, chin, atta girl, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And then, Micah, (camera beeps, lens clicks) can you lightly kiss (camera beeps, lens clicks) wherever your lips land? (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, great. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Okay, so I have a few photos that the editors are going to be taking. Now because we're prerecording this shoot, they're going to get my RAW images, untouched, and they're going to be interspersing them in the footage that you see. These photos are not going to be all that great, because they're going to be blue and green in tonality, and this massive light source behind them is going to be a source of so much distraction. This is what the lesson from this particular lighting situation would be. If at all possible, avoid natural reflectors that cast blue, green tones, purple, magenta, anything that's gonna be a distraction. You also want to use light as an illuminator and not a distractor. And two, anytime you're shooting people with mixed colored skin, or even people of the same color skin but different color clothing, you want light that's going to be complementary to the overall photo and not really detract from the quality of it that it is. These photos would not make the edit for me on a standard wedding day. Hypothetically, if the bride and groom were here, and they said, "we want to shoot in this area," I would do it to be polite, and then I would casually walk away and say, you know what, guys, in case these photos don't come out, I'm gonna take you to another area that I know for sure they will. I always like to add a safe guard, so on that same note, we're going to walk towards an area that I think will actually be great light, give us a lot of latitude, and we're gonna show how we can kind of manipulate the light that we're given, given open shade, so here we go. So we have just transitioned from an area of not the best light, and in this particular light, the natural reflector that I will be working with isn't terra cotta, but it is still lighter in nature. I will absolutely take a light natural reflector than any other color natural reflector, even if it's not necessarily something that will compensate the light that I'm given. I'm standing in front of a bridge, and I understand that I'm in a very public place. People will be walking behind me, there might be bikes ridden behind me, and I'm just gonna be okay with that. But I'll preface it by telling my clients to expect, right on time, we have some bike and walkers. So we're just gonna let them pass right on through us, and we're just gonna continue talking. So one thing that I'm gonna be focusing on is the fact that I'm working in complete open shade, and it should be really good. The color cast isn't as ideal as I'd like, but this is a slight fix that I can fix in post. And as long as I have a good, solid natural reflector, that is gonna be great. I'm going to be focusing on shooting them in nice, beautiful, fresh light, and then I'm going to be hopefully manipulating the light so that I can have them lit beautifully like a little halo in the beginning, and then one thing that I learned about Tiffany, as we've just been talking throughout the day, is that she used to work as a Disney princess. (laughs) She was, she would walk around Disneyland, and she told me this really cool story that she auditioned, and she went in, and she didn't know that she was auditioning for a princess, except for the fact that she just decided to let go, have fun, and she danced, so I told her, Tiffany, I'm gonna have to see your dance moves. So we're gonna have a little bit of fun with dance moves, we're gonna have really good fun with light, and then we're just gonna keep on going through as people just ride on past us. So, here we go. (laughing) The closer I have my subjects stand to the light source, the more illuminated they will become, but because they're gonna be that much more illuminated, the background's going to get darker. I'm gonna kind of split the difference, because I want them to be illuminated, but I don't want the background to be so dark that it looks like they're standing in front of a really, really, really dark structure. So what I'm going to do first is just have you guys come in. Can you interlock your arm, Tiff? Your left arm around, yes, and then can I have your hand in your pocket, Micah? Beautiful, good, and Tiffany, I think you had your hand here. Can you just do me a favor? Slight modification, can you turn your thumb in and your hand out? Good, now the reason why I do that, that slight hand change, is that the less fingers that are actually on her hip, the less distraction that there is. Now, I kind of stay away from poses like this. I used to do this a lot in the beginning of my career. But one thing that I noticed is most women don't stand like this a lot of the time. I'm gonna do this as just this one shot, to kind of showcase the difference between a hand in the front and a hand in the back. I'm gonna bring this, I'm gonna be shooting at a 2.8, be shooting at 200 ISO, because my subjects are in full shade. I will be using my hand as a lens hood, I'm gonna get a little test shot right now, and... Cool. (camera beeps, lens clicks) I'm going to shoot this at 1/400 of a second. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Yep, this light is good. (camera beeps) Now that I have my light and my setup, I have people walking back in the background, and I'm just going to turn to my clients and I'm going to ask for them just to turn it on for me real quick. Micah, hold the bouquet, take one step out. Now I want you to pick up your dress a tiny bit, I want you to wiggle your hips, wiggle your hips, wiggle your hips, but in, yes. So I kind of want you to do a figure eight. Swish the hips, swish, I know (laughs) I mean, that is like, yes, see you (camera beeps, lens clicks) have a cute figure eight, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I do not have (camera beeps, lens clicks) a cute figure eight. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Nice, lift up one hand (camera beeps, lens clicks) of the dress, nice. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now I want you to twirl (camera beeps, lens clicks) all the way around, (lens clicks) twirl all the way around, (lens clicks) all the way around, (lens clicks) look at Micah, all the way around. All the way around. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Oh one more time, (lens clicks) one more time, one more time. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, good, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Pause. So what just happened there is... I wanted just to create movement. I wanted her to have fun, I wanted to be able to look and feel comfortable, I gave Micah the bouquet, because I always think for some reason, it looks cute when a groom will hold the bouquet while the bride is having a good time. I also have to shoot that really quick because there were a group of kids approaching from the background, and I didn't want to spend a lot of time cropping them out later in post. So I'm going to let the kids pass them now, but I'm going to be setting up the next pose, because I want to be utilizing my time as efficiently as possible. I may or may not have Tiffany do a little bit more dancing, but we'll wait until that happens. Now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to have you step closer towards me. Now, if you'll notice, can you take one step back? Sorry. So what I want to make sure that people are understanding, Micah one step back, one step, perfect. My clients are so perfectly beautifully exposed, but pushing the light is actually a cool thing that's gonna make the photo interesting. Take one step forward. Now, all we've basically done is illuminating Micah's head, which I think is cool. Now the reason I can do this, is that I have a natural reflector in front of me that's gonna be pushing light back onto his face, that's going to create a dynamic photo. Tiffany, take one step in. Now I want you guys turning in towards each other. Put your hands around your waist, so Tiffany, you're gonna bring your hand, now I want you guys to use this center line on the floor as your center, so Micah take your feet behind the line. Rad, great, so then I know, now I know that my photo will be perfectly symmetrical, if they are standing center. So Tiffany, can I have your hands on the inside? And then, here we go, yes nice, let's that there. Bring your bodies in nice and close, beautiful. This is ultimately, no Micah, I don't want you hiding behind, I'm gonna keep profiles as much as possible.
Cool. So I'm gonna shoot this with a 35, and then what I'm going to do is I'm gonna shoot it with the 85. We have some runners, and we're just gonna let them pass, and it's not gonna be a good deal. But because my subjects, go ahead guys, go ahead, thanks. Because my subjects are not looking at the camera, (camera beeps) I just need to get their profiles in focus. I can do that by shooting a 1.4, and I'm really pushing my lenses here, not because this is like, this would be exactly what I would do on a wedding day. I may or may not, but I want to show that I can shoot with wide open apertures at the harshest time of day and still produce photos that I like and that my clients are comfortable with. My clients mostly are still in shade, so I'm gonna keep the ISO at 200. I'm just gonna, you guys can just pause for one second, take a nice deep (camera beeps, lens clicks) natural breath, I'm gonna get my settings. I'm gonna be shooting, (camera beeps, lens clicks) but you guys can't do the cute stuff quite yet.
Oh. (Tiffany laughing)
Great, my settings are f1.4, 1/1250 of a second, 200 ISO. Now here's the thing. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Tiff, can you open your legs a tiny bit? Good, now I'm having Tiff, from her heels, simply come down a tiny bit, because I want Micah to be a slightly bit taller than her, just for relational proximity to where my clients are. I want this to look and feel real. Bring your foreheads (camera beeps, lens clicks) in nice and close to touch. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (lens clicking) Foreheads touching, (camera beeps, lens clicks) foreheads touching, (camera beeps, lens clicks) I know it feels awkward, good, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now what I want you to peel away from each other. Now I have the couple's dead center, I'm going to stand in the slightly same position, I'm just gonna change my focal point, so that my clients become in the furthest left corner. I'm going to crop, oh, the tip of the, the rounded tip of the bridge, and just kind of get a nice, long line between, right after them, right behind them, excuse me. Tiff, look down (camera beeps, lens clicks) at the center of the floor. (camera beeps, lens clicks) That line that I pointed out, look down this way, forgive me love. Beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (laughing) Sometimes my instructions (camera beeps, lens clicks) aren't that great, Tiffany, I'm not gonna lie. Good. (lens clicks) And then Micah, kinda come in, (camera beeps, lens clicks) give her a light kiss. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Good now, what I want you to do is, I love this, exactly how everything is, but Micah, take one step towards me.
Good, now all we're doing, is your face is going to, no no no, you stay, you're good, good good good. And then all I'm going to do is this here, a little. And then Micah, when you come in now, you're not gonna be, your nose is not gonna be tucked behind her hair.
Cool. So Tiff, take a nice deep breath, yes, and relax that left shoulder, and Micah, you come in (camera beeps, lens clicks) and you just give (camera beeps, lens clicks) your beautiful wife a kiss. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And so, I heard a runner behind me, and so I had to be sure that I fired off a shot, but what I'm also noticing, is that I'm picking up just naturally some haze beneath my subjects. I'm gonna do this one more time to be extra conscious of what's going on with my frame as I'm shooting it, in three, in two, oh you guys jumped the gun, alright I see (camera beeps, lens clicks) how you guys are. (laughs) (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, nice. (lens clicks) And then Micah, come out a little bit on this side of her hair. Peel away, nice, coming in, coming in, coming in. Nice. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Tiff, eyes down here, eyes down here at my hand, nice, chin, relax those shoulders, chin down. Nice. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And then eyes here. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And then Micah come in and give her a light kiss on the cheek. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Good, good. Can I get the 85? We're going into the last kinda set of poses, I want to make sure that I go through a list in my mind. I'm shooting in really harsh light, and in another section, we're going to talk about how to create natural posing, editorial posing, and fun posing, we're going to talk about how to do that specifically, but I want to make sure that I'm applying each of those in any sort of lighting situation. So you're gonna see a pattern the more that you watch how I do it, the pattern will be the same, but I'm gonna make small lighting compensations. So in this particular situation, Tiff, turn your shoulders towards me. Micah, can I have you stand behind Tiffany? We're gonna lift up the back of her dress. Nice, and you're gonna get in nice and close to her, nice and close, nice and close, beautiful. Can I have the bouquet real quick? And then, Tiffany, can I have you open your legs a tiny bit? That'll just kind of bring your body down a tiny bit. Awesome. And then actually, Micah, get you on this side, just so that we're not in competition with her bangs. Cool, beautiful. So what kind of shoes are you wearing?
Can I see the heels?
Oh, they're easy to take off. Do you mind standing barefoot?
Oh great. (Tiffany laughing) Okay yes, I am doing you a favor. So I'm actually taking off my bride's heels, I would absolutely positively ask to do this on a wedding day. Anything that would create a shot that is going to be more of what I want. Now what I adjusted was I lowered, I shortened the bride to such a degree that now I feel like Micah's going to be in a stronger, more masculine position. But he's not gonna be the focus, this is gonna be a slight twist on a traditional bridal portrait. So Tiff, can you bring your bouquet right around here? Micah, scoot over a tiny bit behind her, now I want you to wrap your arms around her, yeah. And then, I'm going to be focused on Tiff, I'm gonna shoot this at a 1.2, I'm gonna start at, let's see, I'm just gonna test the light real quick. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Ooh this is real pretty, good. So your hands are out like this, Micah, pause. Micah, can I have your left arm over her left arm? Yeah, and then just relax the fingers, right now they're spread, yeah, and then just kind of relax them, just give me a nice, good, boom. Good, and for these, I'm gonna be focusing, is there bugs on you? Sorry. (laughs)
No, no, no, no, no.
Oh, okay. (laughs) Good, so you're going to be looking at Tiff, (lens clicks) Tiff, chin towards me. (lens clicks) Beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And then Micah, you're gonna (camera beeps, lens clicks) come in and squeeze in (camera beeps, lens clicks) nice and close, just get in (camera beeps, lens clicks) nice and cuddle, okay nice. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, now what happened, Tiffany, is you came down in, I want you to still be strong, if you're going to come, if you're gonna fall to any side, left to right, not back or front. We're gonna let somebody pass, I'm gonna talk you through it. I mean the photo itself is beautiful, I just want to make sure that you feel like really good, side to side. One last biker, and then we're gonna be good to go. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Nice, so bring it on in. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Nice and close, Micah, (camera beeps, lens clicks) nice and close. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Squeeze her, squeeze her, (camera beeps, lens clicks) squeeze her. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Ah girl, nice. (lens clicks) I'm gonna shoot this one tiny bit other way. Nice. Oh Micah, you jumped the gun. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (laughing) (lens clicking) Good, that's good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) I'll take it. (camera beeps, lens clicks) (camera beeps, lens clicks) Nice. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Oh that is so cute. Peel away from each other, (camera beeps, lens clicks) peel away just one (camera beeps, lens clicks) last time, nice, and then (camera beeps, lens clicks) come back in, come back in. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Oh Tiff, I like how you fell, (camera beeps, lens clicks) how you fell, yes that. (camera beeps, lens clicks) And then Micah, look at Tiff (camera beeps, lens clicks) and squeeze her in, (camera beeps, lens clicks) squeeze her in, (camera beeps, lens clicks) squeeze her in. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Chin down, chin down, (camera beeps, lens clicks) chin down, good, beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Let's pause here for a second. Now what I want you to do is, can I get the 50? JD, and then this is gonna be to the last. I'm still going to, if my bride's okay being barefoot, which in this particular situation, her swimming endorsement, absolutely. I said swimming, whatever, in your amazing endorsement, totally gave me the permission to ask for this. (camera beeps) I'm gonna shoot this at a 2. and separate a tiny bit, good. Now, if at all possible, try to stay within this space. Try not to come too far out or too far back, if at all possible. Now, take a couple steps apart from each other, apart from each other, apart from each other, beautiful. Tiff, pick up the dress with one hand. (camera beeps) (lens clicks) Let me make sure that I'm where I want to be. (camera beeps) (lens clicks) Good, so the light's where I want to be. Now Tiff, (camera beeps, lens clicks) Micah, take one step this way, nice. A little bit in, a little bit, you're, perfect, good. Now I'm gonna put Tiffany's body in front of the girls who are walking behind her. (camera beeps) And Tiff, can you just show me a little bit of your (camera beeps, lens clicks) dance moves, whatever you did (camera beeps, lens clicks) there at the Disney vacation, (camera beeps, lens clicks) or your Disney audition (camera beeps, lens clicks) (laughs) I mean, just don't (camera beeps, lens clicks) listen to me, again. (camera beeps, lens clicks) How bout give me a little (camera beeps, lens clicks) twist all the way around? (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, good, how bout (camera beeps, lens clicks) okay, so that's cutesy Disney moves, so how would you like break it down in a club? (camera beeps, lens clicks) (laughing) (camera beeps, lens clicks) Those dance moves are cool, (camera beeps, lens clicks) let me just say. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, good, good, good, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now Micah, can you (camera beeps, lens clicks) show me a few dance moves? (camera beeps, lens clicks)
(laughing) Oh my god, so Tiff, you absolutely look like the best dancer. (laughing) (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, bring it in nice and close to each other, nice and close to each other. Eyes here, eyes here, eyes here. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Beautiful, hang on one second, I'm gonna let the walkers pass behind you. Beautiful, we're gonna come in for a nice portrait, this is an absolute portrait. Now one thing that I'm going to focus on is that Tiffany's hair split, this would be a Photoshop fix for me later that I want to avoid in advance. I'm going to slightly pick up her hair, I'm gonna place it adjacent to her face, and just save time later on in post. This will be the last photo, this would kind of be for mom, grandma, I'm going to shoot this at a 3.2, ISO 200, I'm gonna use my ghetto fabulous lens hood. (camera beeps, lens clicks) My light's exactly where I want it. Beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, beautiful. (camera beeps, lens clicks) So now that I have that, one last frame, can you guys turn towards each other? Nice, and can I have your hands here? Tiff? On both sides of his lapel? Beautiful, and so yeah, atta girl, atta girl, good. And then, you guys are going to hang on, hang on, hang on, let me figure out what I want to do. (camera beeps) (lens clicks) Cool, so now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna shoot at a 1.2 because I can, I'm gonna get a single shot of just the bride looking at the groom, (lens clicks) so you can look at Micah in this beautiful light (lens clicks) so Micah's just (lens clicks) slightly illuminated. (lens clicks) She is just looking fierce. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Can you look over (camera beeps, lens clicks) at the videographer, Tiff? (camera beeps, lens clicks) Oh, Micah was going to kiss you! (camera beeps, lens clicks) Dang it, I stole his kiss! (laughing) Good, I'm just gonna flip this cuz the light is still so great. And we're going to, yep, (camera beeps, lens clicks) now bring your faces in (camera beeps, lens clicks) a little bit closer. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good now, Micah look towards, (camera beeps, lens clicks) (laughs) I'm gonna steal (camera beeps, lens clicks) the kiss again, dang it. Good, look towards the videographer. There you guys go. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Beautiful, good. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Now, I'm shooting at a 1.2, 1/1250 of a second, 200 ISO. Now Tiff, I want your hands underneath his chin, lightly. You're going to guide him in, forehead to forehead, but not yet, not yet. So right now, I want princess fingers. We have this, I want, you know, you know, see, I can say princess fingers to you and you knew exactly what I'm talking about. I'm gonna shoot at a 1.2, so I need to make sure that everything is moving nice and slow. I need to make sure that (camera beeps, lens clicks) the sun is not coming in on my lens or to actually compromise the focal point. I'm gonna shoot this at a 1/1600 of a second, 1.2, 200 ISO. Hands underneath his chin. (lens clicks) Slightly bring him in, forehead to forehead. (lens clicks) (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Great. Hang out one second, peel away from each other. I'm doing it again cuz I don't think that I locked in the focus the way I needed to. So, come in towards each other. (camera beeping) (lens clicking) Good. (lens clicks) Now what I want you guys to do is flip it, flip exactly what you were doing, because Tiffany's bang was in the way. And I know that I'm being particular, but I really want this shot, and so if I'm gonna fight for a shot, I'm gonna make it work. And part of the reason why I think this'd even work even better is because now I can work in her ring on their wedding day. We're gonna have her guiding his chin, and we're not gonna be competing with the bang. So, this is the last couple frames, bring your hands underneath his chin. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Good, relax the hands down, (camera beeps, lens clicks) relax the hands down, (camera beeps, lens clicks) relax the hands down, and then Micah, squeeze her in. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Hang out, hang out, hang out. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Atta girl, good. Peel away from each other, peel away from each other, good. Now, Tiffany, I'm going to (camera beeps, lens clicks) have you look at me, not yet, not yet. Come in towards each other, (camera beeps, lens clicks) come in towards each other, Tiff look at me, Tiff look at me. (camera beeps, lens clicks) Thank you, perfect, we're good. That's fantastic, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much. In closing, this final section of shooting in the worst light ever, three things I want you to focus on. Use natural reflectors, natural reflectors that reflect colors like terra cotta, beige, white, those will always make your photos look complementary. Stay away from natural reflectors that are either blue or green, or even magenta in color, as they will change the overall feeling of the photo. You want, especially when you're shooting in dappled light, second point, dappled light to have behind them and still find a way to use a natural reflector in front of them. Will you compromise a bit of the sky? Yes possibly, but you still get photos and light that you really like. And lastly, when shooting in open shade, see if you can find leveraging of natural reflectors but not putting your subjects too far in and close to the open shade, which would provide muddled light and not that dynamic kind of light that we got towards the end. So using a natural reflector, both in front of them and behind them, will always yield better photographs. Thank you guys so much, and I look forward to coming back tomorrow. (upbeat, soulful folk-pop music) So what we want to end this particular section on is your homework. The homework assignment for you, on this particular lesson, is to arrive early. I want you to arrive early to your next shoot. Now, your next shoot doesn't necessarily have to be a shoot in bright light. What I want you to start doing is start training your eyes to see. And I just don't want to train your eye to see the natural reflector, I actually want you to count the natural reflectors. Because once you count your natural reflectors, you're going to start setting the pattern of the shoot in which it should fall. Now, I want you to use the natural reflectors at the shoot. It doesn't have to be the entire shoot, but I want you to start finding ways to use them, so that you see them and you become a lot more comfortable using them when you are going on your shoot, because I want you to be empowered to take a risk. Because so often, what we do is we go to the safe part, and the safe part might be open shade, but it might not be the most dynamic part. Right, if given the opportunity to take a nice photo or a dynamic photo, I hope that you choose the dynamic, because you are confident in the way that you can compensate light without bringing any other gear with you. Thank you guys so much, and I look forward to seeing how you guys implement finding and using natural reflectors. Perfect, so on that note, are there any questions in regards to shooting in the worst possible light? Awesome, we'll get a mic here, and then we'll get a mic to Tara.
So I know that you're often positioning the sun to the back of the clients, and I'm wondering what happens if there is like some amazing element that they want photographed, and it's like in the worst direction possible, so like--
The altar or something like that?
Great question, great question. So what I want to do, is I want to prep my clients for what they are about to expect. And the prep goes with the sun behind them, because I don't want to prep them when they're like this, already unhappy with what that situation is. If you guys hear, there's a pattern. The pattern has been creating an experience for the client. Even if that means prepping them with their backs to the sun, what I'm going to do is I'm gonna say, we'll just role play for the sake of going faster and more efficient. Like, okay, so it is really bright, but I know that you want the altar. So now that we've cleared everything out of the way, you have to understand that it's going to bright and it's going to be a natural inclination to squint. So I want you to be very conscious of that. I'm only going to shoot two frames of you actually looking at me, and the rest of the frames will you guys be looking at each other. That way it won't hurt your eyes, but we'll still be able to illuminate the sides of your faces. Now, JD will be off to the side, he'll have a bottle of water, so if you can rally with me for two minutes and not act like you are just melting in Hades right now, we're going to have a good time. And they say okay. So now that we go, and then I set them up and I say, you guys it's really bright. Now specifically brides and grooms with blue or green eyes, there's a higher sensitivity than brides and grooms with black or brown eyes. So in light of that, I have them look down, or I say, you guys, if you're comfortable, can you guys just close your eyes? And when I count to three, I want you to look up at my camera confidently and smile but not too big. I just want you to look like you're very comfortable. So when they're looking down, they're not fighting for me to be like one, two, it's looking down, closing their eyes, can you guys look up at me? (clicking tongue) Great. Now I'm gonna turn you guys towards each other, I'm not changing anything, my settings aren't changing, the environment's unchanging, they turn towards each other, but now that only the sides of their faces are lit, and then they can look and enjoy each other, and then we can fire a frame that I think will probably go farther than the traditional them, like looking with the sun straight at them. Awesome, thank you.
So, when it comes to a ceremony, you do not have the option to move people--
So do you try and prepare--
Your clients before and like maybe get some, you know, give them some tips on, hey, if you just move the altar back a little bit, you're gonna be in some shade.
Well most of my clients, you know, they're not, I'm actually, on the day of, I don't want to talk to my client--
Right. About like can we just change the altar? Like I'm sure you want to think about this right now. We can't, so I will walk the property and, or walk the vicinity. Now sometimes when there's an altar, you have traditionally like an altar, a chuppah, some sort of anything. They'll have the four corner posts. Now if the posts are large enough, and they cast a large enough shadow for my subjects to be placed within the shadow. I might talk to the officiant and talk to him before, I'm like, can you come talk to me? Can we come like walk around the altar, the chuppah? And I said, if you stand here, can you guide him to stand right over here? And most of the time, they're just like, yeah sure, no problem. And I said, it's just so hot and bright. What I'm really saying is like, I don't want a meter for them when they're like boiling you know, and it's so bright. That's maybe as much as I would ask, but then I'd just have to understand like, we shot a wedding in Palm Springs and it was beautiful. I know traditionally, Palm Springs in March is around 78 degrees, and this weekend it just happened to be a toasty 104. They were not expecting that. There was not a single umbrella, there was not a single tree, this is Palm Springs, and everybody just sat there, drenched, so drenched, that never in the entirety of my ten years, have I ever like crept behind and offered the groom a bottle of water, because he just was literally just dripping. So no, I do not coach my clients, because this is their decision, and I don't want to stress them out. I must then learn how to deal with what that looks like. It required me to be a lot more patient with my shooting, because the groom was looking right at the bride like this, the whole time, the whole time, and I'm like, you gotta ease it up, you gotta ease it up, and so I just waited, and I'm short, and he's very tall. I stood probably for like eight minutes on my tippy toes like, just waiting, just waiting for that brief moment of him to relax either by her personal vows, like, I love you, we met in college, and he'll look down, and he'll smile, or he'll look up to her parents. And then that's when I was able to get the shot that I wanted, but no, I don't coach them. Awesome, we're gonna pass the mic here.
Thank you, hi. So there's a lot of venues here in Seattle that feature Mount Rainier in the back, so if you blow out the sky, you're losing the mountain in the back, and there's also quite a few venues that are dark on the inside but then have these huge bright windows where like the light is coming in, so if you're shooting indoors, but facing outdoors--
Do you have any suggestions on those two situations?
In those situations, I would use my off-camera flash.
Yeah, I mean, it really just boils, and I mean, if it's a shot that she absolutely, positively wants, then yes, I would have to illuminate it you know, with flash. But if I was going into that situation, like let's just say hypothetically, that there is like a reception venue, and it's like rooftop, but it's all glass windows and then Mount Rainier is in the background, I would, if I knew that that's what I was going into, I would have a conversation six weeks in advance to the reception and say, is that what you want? Because if that's what you want documented as part of the photos, then you have to understand that it's not really going to reflect the style that I naturally shoot. And if she says "yes, the mountain is so important," then I will say okay, I will have to use flash, so please know that you will see pops of that throughout the evening. And if she says "okay" then I'm absolved of that. And this conversation happens via email, so that when she looks back and be like, but I don't have any of those natural looking photos, I'll be like, because you had specifically requested.
Okay, thank you.
Awesome. Are there any other questions? Awesome. Not awesome that there's not more questions, awesome that we just went through all of that. I hope that through this process what you now see when shooting in natural light and not say, during a reception, is that you know how to find and see natural reflectors. As we close, I want you to keep in mind that there is opportunities that when you are shooting in a really bright situation, and the groom is facing this way and the bride and maybe the sun is right here, I have found that dresses are the best source of natural reflectors, because he can be looking down, and her dress is popping light back in his face. Those little tiny tricks are just time savers, and you guys are gonna start seeing that. So on that note, I wish you guys the best, and I can't wait to see how you guys definitely challenge and change your natural light photography. (clapping)