Building A Photo: Lighting

 

Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

 

Lesson Info

Building A Photo: Lighting

You know it's all about just kind of putting the pieces of the puzzle together right and and seeing how things fit right so I shot this actually via using live live you you know right so I was above my head with live you getting the composition I could look at the back of the screen and getting weird one because I had to get I had to get this and quite frankly it's not perfect see the distance from here to here is not this exact same from here to here you see that and so just trying to really make all those little things fit you know because the difference between a good photograph in a great photograph is about that much so you had to really work at it and and find two and your image is right eso light moment composition this is not got this does not have good light does it? Easy light right there's not good like it's not like you know the other picture that light was streaming it you know what I mean? But it's got it's got moment and it's got composition so it works that makes sense,...

you know and it's clean there's just enough depth of field that you can see that's a ceremony but there's not too much where those people would be distracting into and focus right it's got it's got just that little bit of separation it's perfect I love this but this is ah this's a a good friend of mine she's a photographer tina carter which is going by now our way she got married down in kentucky and and she's like I want you to come so I shot about myself again drove my land rover down there it was great you know again hard though, chief about myself but I love it so light moment composition light one composition sometimes you don't have light yet to bring your own light so I lit this and does it look like I lit it? Uh no right nobody every agrees yeah it's like esso I you can see a limit of a shadow right coming off but like that car was like pitch black dark and I got in there and I'm like, oh my god like how am I going to do this? You know, and luckily I grabbed my video light you know, you know that that little video like that so that when I talk about the video that I use I didn't talk about that did I? Well it's certainly it's it's in my gear pdf list the one I use but I use this old school like little son pac video light none of those like big led things I like it because it's it puts off a light that feels more natural to tungsten like regular light bulb type light as opposed to an l e d type thing um they don't last very long, you know? But they they feel good so look like grab that when I got in the car and it is so dark in there that I might want to make anyone gonna do and so I took my video light and I I'm in the front seat and I'm like this and I took my this is my bad shoulder, like my shoulder was feeling like I couldn't hardly stand it put my arm over the seat took my video light and I pointed it at the seat and I bounced my video light off the front seat into their into them and then made and then waited for the moment to happen so that what that did was that you I basically used the front seat, which is like a light grey color of this old bentley. I used that as a reflector to bounce my light into them, so I didn't feel so harsh, right? So you just got to be creative on what you do with that stuff and had it had always be thinking in those three things, so that way you can make it make it feel great, you know? And I I don't I don't remember why I tilted the camera because I typically don't do that but it must have been some sort of ah just a composition instinct that I wanted to make it make it feel better or it might have been because my light was blowing out the dress too much it was too bright so I used the seat in the front to kind of block some of that does that make sense? You know I don't know I was just tryingto find tune it as the car was driving and I was backwards with my back up against the dash no seatbelt let's go for it I ain't scared you know um so so you know using light you know in your own way to make it an interesting photo this is one of my favorite photos I shot um last year uh I don't know why I love this pictures like I don't think I love you will love it I think it's actually fantastic but this is a wedding up in nebraska and it it was really interesting it was a carnival theme all right? I'm like great that'd be that'd be so much fun well, they had had torrential downpour the weeks leading up to it and that and the day before and even during it it was raining and the field that they had decided to have the reception in it was like literally like a mud bog it was a complete mud pit and so the entire reception I was in this white tent right with the sides down okay jam packed everybody was in there I mean, it was like my friend janine who I talked about a shot her wedding she shot this with me and we get there we're like oh my god like he was so hard to maneuver they had stuff everywhere but like they couldn't be outside because they had like walk on plywood to get to it you know but I wanted to show the feel and if you just shot it I should have see these thoughts I have I should have shown what it looked like when you just saw a picture of it because it looked horrible right which I'm like that's no big deal that's what it is right but I'm like I want to get cool picture of this I don't want to shoot a white tent in mud like that's just you know I did some shots like that like tired you know they have like a funnel cake uh like carnival funnel cake truck they're you know just so fantastic but I shot pictures of that like, you know, kind of the grungy nous of what was going on but I wanna make a really cool photo so at dust we went out there and I saw that one balloon that's a balloon right that you know that that one big boom like this is kind of cool looking I know, but it's just not working and so that's my life so I used my flash to light that up, right? So I took I sent janine in she had the the light that the off camera remote light had the trigger on my camera on and I just started to try and, like, get something interesting, right? And I couldn't I can't see it just looks like a white wall to me. I can't see what's happening on the inside, okay, so I would take a picture and look at the back and be like and be like, whoa, those there's some people sitting there and then all of a sudden I got lucky and I took a picture and I'm like, oh my god there's the bride like the brides walking past the thing and I, like, went nuts and like janine, I guess was inside going like shooter two she's like trying to like will me because he kiss you because you saw the bride, you know? And fortunately for digital, I could look at the back of the screen and be like, oh, my god she's there and then and then janine, what you know had had the wits about her to, like, follow the bride with the light and I just kept shooting and it's just really cool photo right would have been probably better maybe if there's a better moment like you know, the two of them kissing or whatever but you know what quite honestly like I wonder if that would just feel like a portrait you know? So I kind of kind of kind of like that at the time was like, oh, I wish I had the two of them like, you know, silhouette you can you can you see what I'm picking up what I'm putting down you know, right silhouetted like there I could kiss you know and and and and it would be a really amazing photo but I'm like, you know, I kind of like this it feels more real, you know then then just me but if he was in there like you know her leading him or something like that it would be up a better image probably because it's like both of them but you know, you got it you got to do but it's just trying things you know, just trying to be like and compositionally it's not really fantastic, you know, it's clean, isn't it but it's but it's pretty straightforward but like, you know, it would've been better if there was like, another another balloon or something in there I don't know, but you know, just always be thinking about that kind of stuff um, framing right you guys know about framing right where you shoot through things and you frame certain things you know e try to get I try to get really creative with that and this was a really hard one to get because and this is where back in focus comes into play right focused on that and then because he's moving right he's not just like I didn't say hey hold that for a second all right I had to duck in bob and weave and try and shoot a ton to get that stuff tow line up like I wanted to right and it's fun I mean it's in is it a great moment? Know the lights actually. Okay, right it's actually not bad light but the composition is really awesome and that's what makes this one shine? Does that make sense right now had he cut himself and was like, you know, whatever then I'm like boom that would have been even better but you know what he did anybody been bleeding, you know, um there's there's light everywhere, right? So even though it's not good light in there, there is good light to be had, right? So silhouettes right? You all know how to do a silhouette, right? Everything that I do a silhouette you know, I've always said that uh um silhouettes there's one thing that's always require I think kirsten said the same thing when I watched her, but I've said this like silhouettes require a profile, you have to have a profile if you don't have a profile then you have to have a cowboy hat right? The on ly silhouette of a back of a head that works is michael jordan right? You've seen that those was like here they get cologne in the logo for the cologne is the back of his head with his ears right? We were we were in florida driving on the highway and this truck was way up there with that big back of the head silhouette on there and pam goes it's just amazing yeah, I recognize that that had anywhere you know but that's the thing right? You know otherwise just like this a head it doesn't have you see any of that profile their thing too is those well see, I just broke my own rule. Um this would've been better if those two noses weren't touching right? But you need that kind of just that space between them that that little separation um and this is what goes into I mean, like, you know, this is why I'm so excited about critique today because this is what I'm going to be doing I'm going in bed and I and meet with you guys and ben with everybody else we're going to be fine tune picking the your pictures or part with a fine tooth comb, right? And basically saying like, this is how dedicated you have to be to your craft and making it as perfect as you possibly can, right and that's exactly what I do with all my mentoring and everything else it's like not only am I working with people on getting over things with themselves, insecurities, whatever, honing their own vision, but like it's all about, like making better pictures, right? That's it like and that's the interesting thing about about that I've been told with people from like, you know, foundation community when they when they experience it or like, you know, things I do with people in their mentor in there like like that, you are just you are just extremely passionate about your craft and I am I just want to be the best I can be and I'm constantly trying to be better. The hard part is, like I said the other day, getting to all the different levels, right? Like, how do you right now, to be quite honest with you, it's, like I was extremely happy with what I did on thursday, I think that looks amazing, right was great, but I saw a lot of things that I missed in things that I could have done better and I'm like, I think I'm kind of in between some levels again where I'm like, I know what's there, but I just can't I just can't hit can't grab onto the handle yet write these emails feel that way you will out to this workshop right on and so I had asked somebody one time I'm going on tangents here, but I'll bring it back don't worry, I was as somebody one time I'm like all right, fine five, five, five great, I get it you go to the next level like but when do you stop? Right? When do you plateau? And they're like well, you don't like well, that's just that's not a good enough answer for me, you know? And they said, all right, the way you go to the next level each time is you have to change the way you see the world easy perfect I could totally do that but it's true, right? One hundred percent true and guess what that's happening to me right now is my life changes my vision changes in my priorities change right when I had children, then that now changes the way I view other people in their children. You know, it's just really interesting how that's so kind of comes around that's pretty cool, so anyway, um you know that whole thing I talked about which is uh look past what? Staring in the face all right, that's one of my favorite things I ever learned this was this was one where um you see that she's getting her veil put on can you figure out that photo you figure out what how I shot it what's going on there that person on the front and two were now on your left side no that's not a person you should use your closet right kind right? I am on the floor yes, many times I'm at a wedding people have asking if I'm okay like I'm not kidding you like I got a mom because I was lying on the floor one time in the feet were hanging out and people like I see okay uh vacuum now so that's in a closet right? I'm in a closet it's at home I am shooting back into a mirror right? So see that here's this's the mirror see that the mirrors in the closet right shooting back and so basically she's getting her veil put on behind me, right? Because I was really confused when you say you're starting from the ground I was like, that doesn't look like you saw it from the get but I'm on the ground and what happened was like fifteen of the frames before that I didn't notice it was my camera right here in the mirror on I noticed it had to move that over right but like why did I do that why did I go for that? Why not just go shoot her getting her mail put up make it different is boring right in the end it's it's a bright getting her veil put on right and unless that's grandma's veil from like eighteen hundreds who really cares right in the end so I'm gonna go for it I'm gonna swing for the fences and I went for it I think it's interesting it's not an amazing moment it's kind of a moment you know but it's got a pretty good light coming in um and so this is just like clothes close on the ground you know and so that just like look past what staring you in the face right and find something different um using using your, uh different lenses to to achieve different things this is courtney right? Um this is an example of what I try and do during make up stuff I could you know again it's just a girl getting makeup put on um I mean, I know how it feels now I had makeup put on today and yesterday and the day before I e I did not want anybody photographic that's right you know but anyway, so uh you know, this is using a a telephoto lens, you know, using my eighty five to kind of like just clean it up in rule thirds right? The rule of thirds and everything ever explained it today the rule of thirds is you don't you don't want anything in the dead center of the frame that's kind of the idea right there every single solitary pedestrian out there puts everything in the dead center the frantic picture right? So rule thirds is for a good picture you want ideally you want things to be in the thirds like different places, right? So this is down, you know, lower third stuff like that but all rules are meant to be broken, right? Going back to michael jordan here. You know that poster from the eighties where he's got the ball on this and he's doing the wingspan one you know, that's like all then the center it works this one same thing, right? Essentially that's all in the center, right? And so this is, you know, this is this is this is a bride in her dad waiting in the hotel room waiting to get waiting to leave for the ceremony and they were really close and had these really great, great great great relationship and I had shot like tons of stuff of them, like laughing together, practicing their dance high five in and when they went over and just like held hands like that I like you know what I'm going for it and I just got on my back and I just shimmied right underneath them right in between their legs and you shot straight up I I love this photo I love this photo um it does multiple things right? It has a clean background right? Ceilings are a great thing for that it's got emotion um some people might think that this is a ceremony they'll be even better I'd be more bad ass if I do that during a ceremony I think people have done that I've seen people do it I know people have done it but it's like excuse me is like shooting and just like you know like this like shimmy back there and you know that be awesome but it's not but it's also like the idea of like think through a situation right? One of my people one of my editors in the news every one time said I don't ever want to see and know how tall you are from your photos right? Everybody in the world shoots like this standing straight out don't they and it's so funny to watch people use phones to shoot there like monkeys so get low he said I want to see a bird's eye view and I want to see a worm's eye view right and I'm like all right yeah so that stuck with me so the idea is get low get high get close get far you know, stuff like that and so you kind of think about that cecil I got low here I got high here with these kids that they're at the uh at the reception I love this one sitting on that girl's head right? And I sat there for a really long time and you have to shoot a ton of photos until it all comes together right? Life rarely presents a finished or perfect photograph right? And that is a quote from one of the best photography books I've ever been given write it so you know it's guys know who's sam abel is the national geographic photographer amazing he's like he's like the master of layering photographs he has this book called the life it's called the life of a photograph and I just love it it's so amazing that he has just this wonderful perspective on things but yeah so like, you know, life rarely presents a perfect photograph and it takes a lot to get there, you know and a lot of frame so so get low, get high right get close. We've talked about that, haven't we? We talked about getting close all the time over here like don't be afraid to get in there I mean look at that I think I got that girl's drink all over my camera who catches the bouquet with a drink in their hand like that it's all over her dress like a tte look at the water and get it all looks awesome on this screen by the way it's totally a crazy sharp and it's fantastic but like just you know get in there and it doesn't matter you know and look at the energy when you're in there it feels like you're fighting for them okay? Right if you're halfway across the dance floor with a telephoto lens at seventy two hundred you're safe right? You can wipe off all your gear if you need to should have given this up bridesmaid a sippy cup shouldn't I have um but you know so you know it's I mean get get close get far so this is my friend janine's wedding um this is her first dance on the the uh uh, porch of the place they got married and they drew that storm I told you that was rolling in doing more of that whole story about the band couldn't play and then and they had to wagon wheel acoustically well, this was their first dance and it was so hard to shoot because it was that's a porch so you know how much space there is to work right? So I started shooting first dance normally and I'm like this isn't working this isn't working my wife pan was actually holding the light for me so pam is behind them crunch down with light, right? And the light is, like, is bouncing off of them and that's what's lit up the thing, you know, the the chimney behind him and what is interesting is I wanted to show this whole scene because I like that they're dancing on the porch and I went down the steps and I kind of looked up and I go, oh my god, I didn't know that I don't know that sky was there and I'm like, I got so excited and I backed up, but I just kept going back and back and back and back and back till I felt comfortable because the problem is that I keep trying to find this out and never was going to happen is and the songs over, right? You know? And so I literally shot, like ten seconds on the porch, and then I spent the entire rest the first dance perfecting this one photo, I shot the bejesus out of that right and I could have missed a whole bunch of things, but the risk was worth it to me, you know? And I still wish I would've gone further back, which I would have more sky, but I was kind of freaking out and my exposure was really slow because of the light and everything, and I really got lucky to be quite honest with you because I was trying to was just a really hard picture, but I absolutely love this photo, I think it's just fantastic, but that light the light is what makes a difference, doesn't it? You know, um or you can get really far away, right? So I got this a long time ago at this venue, my assistant was up in the, uh, up in the venue with the light, and I went outside across the street and before I was using pocket wizards, you know, pocket wizards remotes, I now use these ones called foe ticks, and they're really great. I talk a lot about that stuff in that remote pdf as well as my gear. My gear pdf on online at the store that store dot working photo dot com that is twenty four pages of gear pdf like that's huge, you know to really and I guess point like all the triggers I use and stuff like that and those photo x ones are amazing. The pocket witches for some reason here weren't triggering every time, so I had to, like kind of get lucky, but I had her shoot with the light and then I can get this is an interesting way to show something, isn't it? You know, it's just kind of fun

Class Description


There is a magic and beauty to wedding days that doesn’t have to be posed or fabricated. You can take photographs that are authentic and dynamic by drawing on classic documentary photography techniques. Join Tyler Wirken for a class exploring the practice of documentary-style wedding photography.

This course will teach you how to take unique, distinctive images that break away from standard styled shoots and set-up poses. Tyler will encourage you to think deeply about why we take wedding photos and then help you use those insights to create an actionable roadmap for getting the real moments during weddings. You’ll learn how to get up close and capture the more intimate moments of a couple’s wedding day without feeling like you’re intruding or disrupting. From being more present in the moment to getting through family photographs in twenty minutes to developing your one-of-a-kind perspective as a photographer, you’ll build strategies for ensuring the moments you capture are beautiful and real.

If you want stand out in the sea of wedding photographers and take photographs that more meaningful than meticulously-posed, then this course is for you!

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