Shoot: Top 5 Tips for Shooting a Bridal Portrait
Today we are going to be talking about my tips and tricks for how to shoot a perfect, beautiful, amazing bridal portrait that you are excited to share with everyone. Now, wedding day is dedicated to both to the bride and the groom but as history has shown, especially in my business, I've been going almost this ten years. There's a heavier emphasis placed on capturing more photos of the bride. Now I definitely balance it between the bride and the groom but I have a little bit more fun with the bride. Now this could be perhaps because of tradition or culture or just a penchant on my end but either way we know this has to be done on a wedding day. So the key is for you to become very comfortable so that then you can give the directions that you need to give to your clients to make them just as comfortable in front of the camera. So what you're going to see in today's lesson is a pattern of how I shoot a bride. You will see a ton of footage that feels seemingly like the same thing but plea...
se know that it is being presented with intentionality. I believe that the more you see something and the more you hear something it becomes ingrained in the back of your mind. So that when you go out onto a shoot you will then start following the same pattern. A pattern that you have created for yourself. Now the strength of this shoot from an educational perspective is that you are getting a front row seat to how I work with a bride over and over and over again. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna show you that video and we're gonna get into it a little bit later. Looking down at the bouquet. Lovely Look over your right shoulder. Can I have your eyes here? Beautiful. Good. Can I have you take the bouquet in your left hand. Good. There's two parts to the veil, the shorter end and the longer end, can you get the shorter end? Gorgeous. That's exactly it.
Hold it, or?
So what I want you to do is I wanna create movement so that it doesn't feel like it's fake. Oh and then the wind comes. It's so beautiful. I can't even deal. Okay, good. So what we're gonna do is we're just going to give you that motion for you to do that. So your hand will start down and then you're gonna come, you're gonna get it. You're gonna drag it on in and you're gonna be looking at me. Yes, but you're gonna drag it on in looking down and then glance up at me. And we are going to look back at the veil. Beautiful. Have your hand and we're gonna start that motion. Gorgeous. Beautiful. (camera shutters) Beautiful. I'm gonna have you do that just one more time. You can relax your hands to the side. Beautiful. Can you get your hair on our right shoulder and just wrap it behind your shoulder so I can get a nice clean shot. That's beautiful. Good. Beautiful. You're gonna take a deep breath for me. Good. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Wrap it around ya. Beautiful. Eyes here. Good, I want you to do the same thing, now we're gonna relax and smile this time. (camera shutters) Good. So one thing that I'm noticing as I'm shooting backlit that's like really important is I want to make sure that I'm putting some sort of structure in front of the sun. And for that center point nucleus of the sun. Right now I'm going to be using this tree. So I'm gonna position my body so the main center of the sun is covered by the tree but it gives this gorgeous light behind her. If the tree was not blocking the sun what would happen was I would get too much light into my camera. So now I'm just getting the afterglow of the sun and not necessarily the sun directly pointing into my camera. So now what I'm gonna have you do, is I'm gonna have you do... This is just too pretty with this wind. Beautiful. We're gonna let your hair go. Absolutely stunning. Look down at your bouquet. Beautiful. We're going to do that little movement. You're gonna bring your hand. Gorgeous, you know it. Beautiful. (camera shutters) Gorgeous. Gorgeous, gorgeous. I mean everything was so perfect. I'm gonna make a couple small adjustments. Everything's right. You just go with it. I'll shoot it. No pressure. Beautiful. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Okay, so I'm gonna have you turn around. So Jack, let me get a detail shot of this veil. And then to the dress out from the bottom and then we'll kind of zhush this. And I'll just shoot it kinda from the... So Erica, can you put the bouquet in your right hand? Gorgeous. So I'm gonna see if I can crop out those clamps.
Okay. Gorgeous. Turn over your right shoulder. There you go.
Oh like the other one?
No, yeah you're right. (Jasmine laughs) Good. So what I'm gonna try to do right now is just get a little bit of motion and movement as the bride is walking so that veil and dress are trailing her from behind. So I'm gonna have you start withy your right foot and you're gonna walk in a cadence of one, two, three. And I'll be talking you through it but not too fast not to slow. I'll be talking through it with you the entire time. So starting in three, two, one. One. Two. Three. One. Two. Three. Gorgeous, thank you. So you're gonna relax the bouquet. And you're going to look down at the bouquet. (camera shutters) Wow. Wow wow wow. So my settings right now are at 2.0, 250 ISO and 1,000ths of a second. I'm shooting specifically at a 2. because I can still get a lot of beautiful details but kind of blur out the foliage in the background. It gets a nice beautiful bokeh at this. And we have some nice natural winds going that I'm just loving. My focal point is on the bride's right eye. Chin towards me. Good. (water running through stream) That was bisecting your forehead. Which would make it a disaster in Photoshop later.
I know one strand of hair.
I'd have to go through each little hair.
Hair in Photoshop is no easy feat.
It's like my nemesis.
I know I don't like doing it either. It's hard.
Alright that's good. Good. So now we're going to have you just kind of roll back again. Take a deep breath. JD. Oh I'm sorry. Could I get you to give me a little bit of wind with that board. I really like the way that it looks.
What do you mean roll back?
So, this is you.
So you're just gonna roll it on back that way.
Ah, good! Great. Okay, so I'm gonna have you give me a little bit of wind from this side. Now the thing is when I talk to my brides and I say roll back. Erica just asked me what did you mean by that specifically. And I think it's a really good point. 'Cause when I say roll back, I don't want them to turn. I don't want them to turn. I want them to actually open up their shoulders and roll back. What we're doing is we're creating angles within the body. Now it's picking up, good. Look down at the bouquet. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Now I'm gonna step in and I'm gonna have to compensate for the light a little bit. Now I'm still having this tree behind blocking the sun from behind the bride but I want to make sure the light is still coming through but not the nucleus of the sun. I'm gonna switch. I'm going to go to aperture 1.2. I'm going to compensate using my shutter speed and I'm going to change that to 2,000ths of a second. (camera shutters) Eyes down. Here at my hand. Lower your eyes a little bit more. Lower your chin a little bit more. Take a deep breath with your shoulders. Beautiful. Can you close your eyes for one second? Take a deep breath. Beautiful. Bring your eye here. Relax your head again. Look down. Beautiful. When I ask you to bring your eye towards me I actually want you to bring your chin towards me. So looking down and three, two, one, look up at me. (camera shutters) Heck yes. What I'm gonna do right now is I'm gonna have the bride walk towards me. Create a little bit of movement. But I'm gonna coach her on the type of cadence that I want. So I'm gonna have you hold your bouquet but because the veil is on this side, hold your bouquet in your right hand. Beautiful. Now you can life up. Yes. Gorgeous. Beautiful, now I'm gonna have you walk in a cadence of one two three And as you're doing that don't feel any pressure to keep eye contact with me the whole time. So we're looking down. Relax the bouquet down. Pointing the head of the bouquet down. Resting it along your side. Beautiful, can you tilt your wrist out toward me? Oh, I'm sorry, the front of, there you go. Good, good. Take a deep breath. We're smiling, keeping the face nice and light. Gorgeous. In three, two, one. Walking. Looking down. Looking to the side. Beautiful. Chin up. Gorgeous. Look off to the side a little bit more. Gorgeous. Slight smile. Looking off that way. (camera shutters) Eyes here. Heck yeah. Heck yes. Okay, we're good. (camera shutters)
Okay, like that?
Oh, I'm sorry.
I am in the middle of the frame.
Great, so as the sun is dropping, I'm still shooting in the same area but I'm gonna use some natural fill light. This is a foam board that I picked up for like $20. My settings are gonna be roughly the same. I'm at F2.0 but instead of being at 1,000ths of a second I'm at 800ths of a second and still at 250 ISO. What you to take a deep breath. Now what I want to make sure that you're doing is keeping your fingers connected, very much like a Disney princess. So your middle and ring finger are connected. The other two are just laying down next to it. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Look down at the bouquet. Look over your left shoulder a tiny bit. Good, now what I want you to do is can you flip the direction of the bouquet? Hold it with your left hand. Scoot it back down in your lap a little bit. A little bit more, a little bit more. (stream babbling) That's good. Now, what I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you use your right hand and you're going to bring your right hand to your hair and you're just gonna look up. As if you're just sitting by a creek. Now I don't want you bringing the hand up to your face. I want you to bring your hand just here, like light. Ear and lower but don't paw the hair. I just kinda want you to adjust the hair like that. So you're going to be bringing your hands in. I'll walk you through it. Things that work, I'll let you know. Things that don't work, I'll let you know as well. So in three... Oh, looking down like that, darling! Two, and one. Hand down. Have you do that one more time. But I want you to look up as if I had just called you. Like, you're sitting by a creek and you're just fixing your hair and I say, "Erica!" "Oh what?" That type of thing. Okay, here we go. In three, two and one. (camera shutters) Hands to hair. Eyes here. I just called you. Gorgeous. (camera shutters) Eyes here. Chin towards me. Oh and that wind is coming. Gorgeous. I'm gonna step in. (camera shutters) Eyes here. Chin here. Gorgeous. Chin down, take a deep breath. Relax the shoulders. Gorgeous. Eyes here. (camera shutters) Attagirl. Can you look down at your bouquet. Beautiful. (camera shutters) So my focal point will always be on the bride's eye in this particular situation since her left eye is closest to me. That's where my focal point is. Even though I'm kinda shooting with the intention of focusing on the bouquet. I really just want to make sure her eye is in focus. So when I call for her, I'll be ready. Erica, can you look here at me? Chin towards me. Beautiful. Now in this case when her head was down, I was just focusing on her left eye, but since her eye became symmetrical to me, I shifted my camera and I put my focal on her right eye. Eyes down. Beautiful. Take a deep breath. Look down at the bouquet. Relax that right shoulder. Attagirl. Good. Now what I want you to do is take a deep breath and when I call for you, I actually want you look back at me as if you haven't see an old friend in awhile. That's a little ambiguous but don't worry I'll make it work. In three, two, one, Erica look back. (camera shutters) Good. Good. So I'm gonna get a little bit of the clamp but I might have to just Photoshop that out later. And then we'll just deal with it. Look back. Look back towards the river. And three, two, one. Erica, hey! Kaboom. Good. Good. Okay, great. Tilt your head this way. Attagirl. Good, so I'm gonna have you tilt your head this way and I'm gonna call for you to bring your chin towards me.
That little guy's hard. (camera shutters)
Beautiful, now bring your chin towards me. Ooh, we got this little wind action going on. Beautiful. Give me your side. Then what I want you to do with your left hand is with the veil you're gonna bring it up and just kinda hold it a little bit. Yes. But I don't want it to be like.
Like a mask.
Yeah, like. (laughs)
More to the gown?
That's beautiful. That's good. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Now, as you bring it across I don't want you to come with it. I want you to always keep your face out towards me. Yes, that's exactly where I want you to end. So bring it back. Looking to the side.
And I'm ready for you in three, two, one. (camera shutters) Chin towards me, chin towards me, chin towards me. Eyes down towards your, yes. (camera shutters) Eyes here. Now don't scrunch with the forehead. Eyes down at your left hand. Beautiful. Chin up towards me. Attagirl. Looking down that way. (camera shutters) Good. I was commissioned to shoot the new lookbook for My Olivia Nelson. My Olivia Nelson is run by a very dear and wonderful, creative in Los Angeles by the name of Jaclyn. Now she does hair accessories but then she decided to diversify her portfolio by making wedding veils. So what she had arranged was for me to work with two different brides. Now each bride was going to be wearing a total of six different veils. So with every veil what I did was I created a pattern. And then instructed them to follow that pattern in order for me to get the desired results. So let's dig in to what you will see throughout the shoot. And make sure that you follow the following tips and tricks to shooting a bridal portrait. First up, give specific instructions. So what's going on now is I'm moving my position because the light is shifting. And because the light is shifting and we're getting later in the afternoon and we're shooting in a really dense tree shaded area. I'm gonna try to use a whiteboard to compensate for light. I don't like to use traditional reflectors because they kind of have like an iridescent quality. So I wanna make sure that the whiteboard that we're using... I got this whiteboard for like $20 or $ at a photography shop at here in Orange County and they cut it out for me. I'm just gonna have JD hold it for me. I might not use something like this on a wedding day but if shooting bridal portraits per se are fantastic. When you have time and have assistant to do this, this would be great. So I want to make sure that I'm not getting too much of the green tones and a lot of like the dark imagery. So I think this should be pretty good. So, JD's just using the whiteboard, reflecting the sun that's coming through the trees. It's gonna be diffusing the light for me, exactly the way that I want it. So she is backlit but not so strongly by the sun. Looking towards the river. If that's a river, I don't know. (everyone laughs)
It's a river, flowing water.
The bouquet is down in your right hand and you're just kinda be zhushing the veil. Kind of just looking down. (camera shutters) That's so beautiful. I love everything that's going on Erica. Beautiful. I want you to do the same thing. I'm just shifting my light. Gorgeous. Looking down at your hand. Bring the hand closer to your body. (camera shutters) Good. I'm gonna shift in a little bit. Ugh, this is so pretty. Beautiful. So what I'll sometimes do is I'll use my hand to block the sun and then crop my hand from the frame if I can't use a tree to block out when I'm shooting backlit. So all I'm basically doing is I'm shifting and recomposing and I just find a little spot that I know will definitely work for me. Now shift your shoulders more towards me Erica. Now bring the veil in front of you. Drop the bouquet down. Beautiful. But in front a little bit. But not center of the legs. Yeah, there you go. (camera shutters) Looking toward to the river. I know it's not a river. Sorry, (laughs) whatever, the creek? Eyes here. Everything you're doing is so fantastical right now. Hang out. Woo hoo! This. Good, good, good. Good, good, good. Beautiful. Eyes down. (camera shutters) Beautiful. So I was just asked why I don't use a lens hood when I shoot and I choose to use my hand to block out the sun. And part of the reason is just aesthetics and it probably sounds ridiculous but when I'm shooting and I have a bag I like to switch my lenses rather quickly and they just become a little more clunky in the bag. And I actually just like the mobility. Like instead of having to screw on a hood and screw off a hood. Just having my hand in front of it is fine. It's worked for me. I haven't really used a hood in years with the exception of the 7200 during ceremony shots. But for my fix lenses, when I'm shooting in a pinch, I always just use my hand. Erica, can I have you look over your left shoulder. There we go. Actually just look down at the bouquet so I'm getting more profile. More profile, more profile. Turn your abdomen towards the whiteboard. There we go. Oh no, a little less so I don't see the clips. Gorgeous. (camera shutters) Turn back around. And then when I call for you I want you to do it one more time. In three, two, one. (camera shutters) Put your bouquet to the side. Looking down at the bouquet. Hang out. There it is. There it is. Heck yes, thank you. So, I arrived early with JD to kinda scope the property but I understood that when we got here, which was 1:30 in the afternoon, and this is January, I knew that the light was going to shift so dramatically to 3:15 to right about now and the light has shifted but we kind of anticipated. When you look at the sun in the sky and you see that it's going to be falling towards the sunset line we determined that we wanted to save this particular location for the 3:00, 3:30 time mark and this is what we're getting. We're getting the sun coming in through these gorgeous gnarled trees. There are no leaves on it but part of the good thing about it is that it's kind of reflecting this nice, warm, orange light versus spring light. If we were shooting this in the spring, all this would be covered in green and we'd get a lot of green undertones. What we're getting just truly now is the sun through the trees reflecting nice beautiful light from the orange and brown leaves around it. So right now, can you just look towards your right wrist? Beautiful. Gorgeous. Bring the eyes here. Chin here. Beautiful. Roll your left shoulder back. Gorgeous. I wanna see a little bit of your left wrist. There you go. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Eyes down like that is fantastic. Eyes down like that is fantastic. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Eyes here. Looking up towards the sound of the river. Gorgeous. Relaxing that right shoulder. That a girl. Beautiful. Eyes here. Chin here. So I want to make sure that I'm doing is I'm shooting a horizontal photo and a vertical photo. So the vertical photo will get more of like the dome-like features of this gnarled tree. And the horizontal photo will work really well in getting a lot of negative space but I have to temper that negative space with a lot of darkness on the right side of my frame. So we'll kind of work thought that in post. (background chatter) Relax it. Beautiful. Right hand up on the bridge. Gorgeous. Fantastic. Eyes down at the bouquet. I'm gonna shoot through these gnarled trees. Kinda just create a little bit of distraction in the foreground. Beautiful. Eyes here, Rebecca. Chin here. JD can I borrow you for a second? I just need your, to hold a hand real quick. Now your assistant can actually see exactly where the light is coming through the lens. Beautiful, Rebecca. Stunning. Can you look out towards the water? Gorgeous. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Eyes here. Chin here. Fantastic. I'm gonna come up a little. Can you scoot your body in a little bit? Fantastic. Fantastic. So I'm going to be changing my aperture from a 2.0 to a 1. and part of the reason I'm doing that is I wanna blur out these kinda like wooden chairs behind the scene because they're gonna be distracting. (camera shutters) Ugh, I can't even. My settings are at 1.2 1600ths of a second and 250 ISO. Roll that left shoulder out towards me. Beautiful. Beautiful. Take a deep breath. Bring the shoulders on up. Shake it out. There you go, beautiful. Now fall back into whatever your body naturally falls into and if I have to amend. Beautiful. Eyes towards the water. I'm gonna step in a little closer. And as I get in closer my scenes getting darker so I need to compensate. I'm gonna drop it down to 1250ths of a second. This beautiful light behind her. Beautiful. Can I have your eyes here? Chin here. Relax your shoulders. Attagirl. That's it. Can you look down at your bouquet? (background chatter) I'm gonna shoot nice and tight now. So now you can just kind of relax. I'm just getting the upper. Ugh, you look so freaking beautiful. Chin towards me. Good. And fix a couple things. There we go. (camera shutters)
Want me to leave that little bit of rim on the top of her head?
Chin down a tiny bit. Jay, that's fantastical. I mean, just fantastical! Eyes right over here. Beautiful. Rebecca chin towards me. There we go. I'm only asking for that because your hair, I don't want it to compete with you eyes. That's gorgeous. (camera shutters) Ugh, this is beautiful. Slight smile, Rebecca. Eyes here. JD, peel back a tiny bit. Thank you. JD peel back, that right hand peel it back if possible.
Uh, I'm still getting haze. It's my fault. You stay there with Rebecca. I'll hang out here, good. Open your right shoulder more towards me. There you go. I'm just worried about the clamps. That's great, Rebecca. I just wanna get one shot of you and the bouquet. Just turn towards me.
And then, yes, that. Now I want you to just hold the bouquet here. Yeah, that's perfect.
Is that a good side?
Yes, absolutely. Tip the bouquet up toward your belly. Mhmm, that's it. (camera shutters) (camera shutters) Great. I want to take a second to point out a couple things in the footage that was just shown. Firstly, what you will see, is you saw JD, my husband and second shooter, hold a large whiteboard. Or what it actually was two medium sized boards that he held up together. Now I normally do not use white reflectors of this nature but I want to take a step back and in previous lessons I have spoken about how to find natural reflectors when's hooting in difficult light but in this particular scenario I knew that the location was not going to provide the level of natural reflectors that I needed. So because of this, I brought these boards, as I mentioned in the video. They are actually foam boards that I bought for about $25 from a photo store. We brought these with us to compensate for the light. And I'm very thankful that we did. Now this kind of begs the question of: Do we bring them on a wedding day? Well, in really tough situations, I might, but in the course of nine or 10 years, I have not done so. I have the latitude and the luxury when shooting these types of styled shoots to bring that but generally as a rule of thumb I don't. But if you are experimenting with shoot on your own for creativity's sake, what I want you to do spend a little extra something. Get something that reflects light in a natural way that you prefer and then leverage that way. Secondly, what I want to point out, was that Erica, the beautiful redheaded bride, was extremely stiff at the beginning of the shoot. You see this so evidently in the way that she walked. And the way that she smiled. Or the non-smile that she was giving me. And so in my best efforts, what I had to do was kind of give her an idea. And you saw me do this about two or three times in what we just saw. I had to give her a story, in a way, to actually break her out from being so overthinking and present in that moment. It was, "I want you to look over the shoulder "as if someone was calling your name." That's different than giving an instruction of "I want you to look over your shoulder." Because she was so stiff, it would turn like this. But in my hopes, I said, "Look over your shoulder "as if somebody's calling your name." And that kind of shifted her face, shifted her shoulders, ever so slightly. And I would take that over not getting that at all. I also said, "Can you walk toward me as if you're "running down the aisle or running away from the church." Now is that kind of like a ridiculous story and sentiment, perhaps, but if I can relax her a tiny little bit. These are the things that I would definitely do. Now sometimes asking the bride to be part of the story will help you. So those are the two things I wanted to point out and what we're gonna move now is a few tips and tricks. I want you to pay attention to various photo variation. So, tip number four is to shoot for options. I'm gonna walk through a list of the types of bridal portraits I take. I'm gonna walk you through what it looks like for me during each session. What I want to do is a full body horizontal shot and then I want a half body horizontal shot. Then what I want is a headshot or otherwise known as a beauty shot, horizontal. I want a full body vertical shot. Let me make sure that I'm keeping up with the keynote. A full body vertical shot and then a half body vertical shot. And then I want a headshot, which is otherwise known as a the beauty shot, so I'm staying in line with my list. And then I want a full body shot from behind. Specifically if a bride is wearing a long dress. That photo is definitely something her Mama would want as well as magazine editors. So tip number five, I want you to plan in advance. You have seen how I have changed locations a few times but one location was such a dramatic change that I would not have known to make that change had I not arrived earlier. So we got to the venue and I noticed where the sun was in the sky. And I said, "Okay, the sun is falling in this direction. "So by the time the sun falls in about 45 minutes, "I know that it's going to be hitting me "in the shrub-like area "in a way that I'm going to find very favorable." I would not have known how to do that had I not been there in advance. What I want you to do is tip six, is to work every angle. It's important to learn how to shoot in the same location in a variation of ways because a lot of times on a wedding day we're not afforded the luxury of working in a big field of wheat or in a forest or in a urban area. Sometimes, we have a small little area to shoot. So what I want to do is I wanna show you how I challenge myself to get 10 different poses in a really small area. The area was so small that we were working within in this shoot. It was about five feet by five feet. But given that I was able to shoot the brides differently in that same section to make it look like there's a lot more diversity to the portfolio. And I'm gonna show you how that happens in the shoot now. So I'm going to be staying in the same location but I'm gonna actually be moving one of the brides into a slightly different location. So we're gonna be about five feet from where we originally were because the light is still so good in this particular location. However, I don't want to shoot two brides in the same location. So I'm gonna show you in just a matter of five feet, I can shoot a photo entirely differently. We're gonna do that right about now. So five feet, two different looks and probably 10 to 15 different poses. And the same thing can be emulated on a wedding day. So here we go. Beautiful. Relax your shoulders. Look down at the bouquet. So what I'm trying to do is we have these really weird seating arrangements behind the bride so I'm gonna be shooting this at a 1.2. She has a veil covering both her eyes so while it's important that her eye is in focus. It's not completely paramount to the quality of the photo because we're going to be focusing on the veil. Shooting at a 1.2. These beautiful rhinestones in the front is going to look fantastic. Can you look out towards the water with your chin? Attagirl. Good. (camera shutters) And can I have your eyes here? Nice. And then look down at your bouquet. Good. I'm gonna ultimately have you walk towards me but now I'm just gonna get a couple standard shots. And what I'm gonna try to do, is there's some trees and foliage, I'm gonna put that in the foreground and we'll totally blur them out but it'll still kind of add like a voyeuristic appeal to the photograph. Beautiful. Look down towards your bouquet. Lift the chin a tiny bit. There it is. Now what I want you to do--
The shoulder on my left is longer than the one on my right.
I think we're okay right now. I'll pin it before you start walking. Eyes here. Attagirl. Now what I want you to do is I want you to walk towards me. Taking as much time as you need. Beautiful. Can you look out to the right, real quick? Um, I'm sorry, your other right. (laughs) Good. Yeah, sorry my fault. Good. Heck yeah. When the model was down by the water I was shooting at a 1.2 500ths of a second and 250 ISO. But as she walked from the dark parts of the water, she walked into this beautiful light. So I had to make sure I was compensating because I shoot manually. We shifted from 500ths of a second to 800ths of a second. So keeping that in the back of your mind will save so much time in post-processing and really having to like lift different levels and lighting in raw after. Sometimes photographers will change their aperture if they want to manipulate light. I prefer to kind of set my aperture and just kind of play around with the shutter speed in order to kind of get the kind of light that I want. So I started here at 1,000ths of a second. I'm shooting at a 2.0 250ths of a second and I'm gonna have to change that because that's much too dark. So I'm going to drop down to 500ths of a second. And that's exactly where I want it. Beautiful. Beautiful. I'm gonna change to 640. 640ths of a second. Now I'm pulled quite far away from the bride. But I'm gonna have to make sure that I'm shooting this both ways. I'm making sure that there's a tree blocking the sun. One thing to take into consideration is what I'm exposing for. My number one priority is exposing for the skin. I wanna make sure the skin looks beautiful and flawless. Secondly, I'm exposing for the dress. I want to make sure that I'm not losing any information in it. And then afterwards, ancillary, far off, is for the background. It's a personal choice and preference but for me skin, dress and then the background and in that order. I actually like how the veil is over your wrist. Can you look down at your wrist? Beautiful. (camera shutters) Good. (river babbling) (camera shutters) This is really pretty, Rebecca. Can you look over where Jaclyn is? Yes. Gorgeous. Can you shift your right hip towards me a little? Your right, bring it towards me. There we go. I was like, I think it's... (Rebecca and Jasmine laugh) Now with your right hand, can you get your veil and just kind of play with it a little bit in the front. Leaving your left hand draped the way it was. Beautiful. Now I want your hand down and then for the count of three you'll bring it up and you'll just kinda play with it. There's not gonna be a right or wrong. So have it all the way down.
Do you want me to be like more this way?
Yeah, more that way. I just just have to be careful for the clamps in the back but right now it's perfect. In three, in two, and one. Beautiful. Looking down at your hand. That's it. That's stunning. Can you look over where Jaclyn is? Gorgeous. That. Thank you. Beautiful. One more angle and then I think we're gonna be good. Well, actually this light is not very good. So part of why I'm not gonna shoot this is because she's so strongly backlit and there's nothing in this area that's going to reflect like back on her face unless I wanted to use an artificial reflector or some sort of speed light and I don't want to do that. So instead of trying to make this fight to make it work, I'm simply going to step towards her. But I'm gonna step towards her in a way that there's something gonna be on the floor that's gonna push light back on to Rebecca's face. Yes.
Beautiful. Oh, that's so beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Shift that left shoulder toward me. Beautiful. So, I need you. I'll just place you. And then scoop it down, 'cause we're losing light so. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Can you look towards the whiteboard? I know, with your chin. There we go. And then with your right hand, kind of touch the bottom of your hair. Hang out there. Beautiful. For photographers who are vertically challenged, like myself, on a good day I stand at about 5'4". I try to wear sometimes on a shoot but when worse case comes to worse case, I will stand on things that I can find. So it could be a log, it could be a rock or it could be a bench. I'm gonna kinda show you the dimensions in which I stand on a bench, shooting down on a bride. Now if she was standing with her groom, I would have both of them with their eyes facing each other. But in this case I'm really focusing on her headpiece. So I want to be standing a little bit higher shooting down on her. Can you shift your head towards me this way? Eyes down. One step out that way. And then one step in towards me. There it is. Right there. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Looking down at your hand. There we go. Other hand here. And like that. Beautiful. Shift your face here. Beautiful. Hang out. Beautiful. Take a deep breath. Relax the shoulder. Eyes here. Chin down. Eyes on the floor. Now to the right of you. Take a deep breath. Relax. Great, okay. We're good. Good. Beautiful. Looking down at your right hand. Beautiful. And then you can just relax your right hand against your body. (background chatter) (camera shutters) Yeah. (camera shutters) Look down towards the water. (camera shutters) (camera shutters) Good. We'll give her the bouquet. Thank you. That's good. That's great, Rebecca. (camera shutters) Can you look down at the bouquet. Beautiful. I'm just getting a whiteboard. Photo, kind of like a cork foam board. I'm gonna turn it towards the model. I don't need anybody to hold it towards me but I'm not gonna lean it directly against the body. I'm gonna put it at a slight angle so that the light, where it is in the sky, will pop down and up at her. Not exactly campfire lightly, but something a little closer to that than not. So Rebecca, can you get this bang and you can kinda just tuck it back. Yeah. That's beautiful. (background chatter) (river babbling) It's beautiful. (camera shutters) And then with your right hand, just kinda come up. Uh, yes. Can you look down at your bouquet. Beautiful. Slight smile, relax. Take a deep breath. Relax shoulders. Good, I'm gonna step a little closer. I feel like it's great. Ugh, darling. Okay Rebecca, now we're cooking with fire. Here we go, looking down at the bouquet. Relaxing the arms a little bit. Attagirl. Erica, can I have you zhush her veil? Her dress too. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Beautiful. Can you grab the side of the veil. Yes. Bring it closer to you.
I have the peanut gallery behind me and they approve. (everyone laughs) No pressure right now. (background chatter) Relax that front shoulder. Relax the front shoulder. You guys I love it. What are you guys talking about? Eyes here. Eyes here. Gorgeous. Chin here. Roll that shoulder back.
Oh, yeah yeah yeah, I like that.
Hell yes. (background chatter) (camera shutters) Looking down at your left hand. You're gorgeous. Shift your body so that I see less of the clamp.
Yep, I know it's hard. That's nice. That's nice! That is go-oo-od. Beautiful. Eyes down. Relax the shoulders. Take a deep breath. Beautiful. Eyes here. Good. (Erica and Jasmine laugh) Good. Can you look down so I can more of like a side profile so I can get the back of it too. (camera shutters) Can you look over down the hill to your right? Um, sorry. (camera shutters) (camera shutters) Can you look over your left shoulder? Erica to uh, your left shoulder. Actually, your right shoulder. I liked it right better. There we go. (camera shutters) Great. So we're working with a model. We had actually set this up right when we got here but the light was so strong that I made an editorial decision to say, I'm going to keep pushing it back, pushing it back, pushing it back. So we'll be probably ending this shoot with this shot. And I'm so glad we did because the light is just gorgeous. I don't have to fight the sun. We have sun reflecting off the trees in the sky. But just pouring this nice gorgeous light. Evening lit. I don't have to fight for it. It should be smooth sailing from here. So right now since you don't have a bouquet we're gonna kinda cruise on though this.
I love it.
I'm at a 2.5, 200ths of a second, 250 ISO. Gorgeous. So Rebecca, you just kind of doing your thing right now. I wanna give you full freedom to kind of move. I'll start telling you what's working, what could be improved on, but this right here is gorgeous. Beautiful. So Jaclyn wanted a few photos of kinda like a good honest hearty laugh. Which is difficult. I know.
Make me laugh!
I know, I know it's my job! (both laughing) That's really cute. Good, good. Now what I want you to do is look towards the water. Gorgeous. Beautiful. (background chatter) Beautiful. Good. Beautiful. Adjust your hair and kinda give a light laugh towards the water. Adjust your hair and... Beautiful. Beautiful. Eyes here. Kinda laugh towards... That's it, thank you darling. Face towards me. There it is. Great, bouquet. Oh, sorry.
Nailed it, I know.
Now it's gonna be even better with that bouquet.
I'm like (laughs).
Beautiful. Good, so now what I want you to do is drop the bouquet a little bit low. Shift the weight from side to side. As you kind of go through the poses and moves. Beautiful. I love it. Relax the shoulders. Take a deep breath. Slight smile. Beautiful, eyes here. Chin here. Nice, kinda like a ha ha ha. Good. Oh, Jaclyn's gonna love you for that. Looking over towards the water. (background chatter) (Jasmine laughs) Eyes here. Chin here. Good, now what I wanna do is I wanna get a side photo. So I'm gonna need her clamps. Turn this way. This is the side. Look over your right shoulder, love. Beautiful. Now keep your face there but turn your eyes towards the bouquet. Beautiful. Relax that front right shoulder. Relax it. There it is. Gorgeous. Roll that right shoulder back. And then chin towards me. Attagirl. That's beautiful. That's gorgeous. I love what's going on here. Good. I would not be surprised if at this point in the presentation you are so sick of hearing my voice because it is my voice and I am sick of hearing it. I wouldn't also be surprised if you heard my voice in your dreams tonight. But the thing that I still maintain is that if you hear something over and over again, it will recalibrate your approach. Now, I want you to note something as well, is I gave virtually the same instructions to two different brides but it impacted them differently. Now my approach would be the same as I shoot, not just these two brides, but any brides. But what I have to do, is I have to be intuitive enough to read their body language and then re-craft how I speak to them to get the desired results. So I hope that you saw those distinctions. So that when you work with two different brides in the future you will be able to emulate the thing yourself. One thing I want to point out is that you might have noticed, as I did, that Erica started off the session like uptight and a little bit tense and then as the shoot progressed, what happened? She relaxed a little bit more. She bloomed a little bit more. So I wanted to make sure that I paid specific attention at how I spoke to her again and again throughout the shoot. And then I saw her blossom and then it made me happy. So the last tip that I wanna get into is to make editorial decisions. And by this I'm trying to tell you and remind you to think like an editor. We spoke about this in a previous lesson when I interviewed the photo editor of The Knot magazine, Rebecca Crumley. If you are shooting in an area that is not going to give you the desired results, don't shoot there. Have enough fortitude and wherewithal to turn to your team and say, "Now is not the time." You saw this happened when they asked me to photograph the veils. And what may or may not have appeared or had been heard on the camera was that they really wanted it at a specific time. But I kept saying, "No, it's not time. "No, it's not time. "No, it's not time." Because I knew if I had to fight so hard for the photo it was not going to reflect the thing that I really wanted. So what I want you to say is, say something. Say anything to defend your decision. And if they push forward with it, that's fine, but they're making that decision. I think it's easy to feel intimidated by not being able to articulate or do the things that somebody had asked you to do. Like, oh, shot this right now. But I want to encourage you to find your voice. That's one of the things that I wish somebody had told me earlier. That it is okay to have an opinion and it is okay to voice shine. And on that note, what I want you to do, is I want you to defend your professional opinion because you know as as lead photographer that you are the only person there on that shoot who can deliver what they need. And lastly, this will help you provide a photo. That will allow you to give a photo that you're very proud of and overall will benefit everybody's portfolio as a result. We want them to love our work. So in light of that, I want to head into our homework now. First assignment, is I want you to make a list of bridal portraits. I have given you a wonderful start. Now what I would love for you to do is to ad poses that push your brand forward. That kind of lends itself your style of photography. Then what I want you to do, is I want you create a pattern. It is not enough to simply have the list. What I want you to do, is I want you to memorize the list. I want you to hold that list. I want you to go in saying, "Every pattern will be the same." The results will be different but the pattern will be the same. Then what I want you to do, is I want you to practice your pattern. If this is happening on a wedding day, fantastic, but what I would hope you would do is to create the pattern inside and outside of being paid commission shoots. Now you can learn how to pose a body if she's wearing a wedding dress or not. So if you have a friend and you're out to brunch and it's a Sunday. And you guys are waiting for the table. Take her into the side alley and say, "Can I just work with you with my iPhone." So take a great photo for her Instagram account but what you're actually doing is teaching yourself how to talk to her and ease her into that. Lastly, what I want you to do, is I want you to arrive early and plan your photo map. Know what the light is going to do. Find your natural reflectors. Be so confident that when somebody asks you to shoot a photo that you don't think is the right time you can defend it professionally. I look forward to see how you shoot your bridal tips. And, excuse me. I look forward to see you shoot bridal portraits and use these tips to strengthen your portfolio. Thanks guys.