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Engagement Shoot: Q&A

Lesson 8 from: Lighting and Posing for Wedding Photographers

Caroline Tran

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Lesson Info

8. Engagement Shoot: Q&A

Lesson Info

Engagement Shoot: Q&A

I just see that when you frame it, sometimes you prefer to cut a little bit of the head instead of the limbs, that's what you usually do or it just happened like that? Like when sometimes I pull back versus when I come in? Yeah, so usually if it's a portrait portrait, I don't like to cut them off so I will come out for that. Sometimes I might, if I really want the focus to just be on her, I might crop it like this. You know coming down so that the focus is really on her but you see that there is this other person in her life right, but that's about her. So sometimes for some of the ones where she was like really giggly and I really wanted to come in to capture that emotion of her. So I feel like they came in and they were very into each other, and it wasn't really awkward for them, so in situations where it's awkward and the couples are nervous, how do you handle that? So for me, I want to capture the couple in their true story. So there are some couples who are more playful, the...

re are some couples who are more romantic, and there are some couples are who more stoic. I think it would be really awkward if it was a kind of more serious couple and I was making them have a pillow fight, you know. So I don't force it but I do try to see how much of it I can get out of them and I go with what their energy is So like I was saying, I was figuring out, based on the props they kind of gave me an idea they met playing Pokemon so I sensed there was already a certain amount of playfulness, in that, right. And so because they were playful, I really played up on the playful part of it. So if you noticed the, even when I had them nose to nose, it could have been a very romantic nose to nose, which I did for some parts of it, but their natural state was the giggly nose to nose. Some of like the bridal portraits you see you know with a veil, those couples, they're not the giggly ones, they're more like the ah. You know with the beautiful light and stuff, so I think a lot of it, that it depends on the situation, the type of shoot, the type of mood, which can also be set by the light as well but for this one because the storyline we had set which is them hanging out in their home I think that's what set the tone for something more playful. But do you remember in my slideshow there was that one couple, it was also done in a house, it was an engagement shoot, and they were both on a chair, like that one was a very different mood, to that, right. Like it wasn't a playful mood, it was kind of more sophisticated and classy. Right like that kind of feel to it, whereas this one they're like they live in a loft. (laughs) Yeah, but good question. So in a typical photo shoot you did all your different pick up points in this one scenario, if you're in somebody's home are you moving around to different parts of the home or are you sticking with sort of one scene like this? Depends on the light. So whenever I go into someone's home the first thing I do is I do a light walk. I walk around and I look for the best light sometimes what might happen is where the bed is, is not where the best light is, and I will pick up the sheets and pillows and put it where the better light is. Especially when I was shooting newborns, I have a studio now which helps a lot but I still do on-location shoots, too. And so I feel like I spend the first half an hour re-arranging their house. And it's just creating a fake bed if needed, or moving stuff out of the way and then putting, like, we were debating between putting the bed here and putting the bed there, cause we thought the wall was so cool. But I wasn't as much of a fan for the front lighting. One because if I'm standing in front of them, I'm gonna cast a shadow on them, and then I don't like how if they're too close to a wall you see their shadow on the wall, too. So I prefer the glow-ey kind of blown out background, but we definitely could have shot here as well. Do you always shoot in portrait vs landscape? I shoot majority portrait mode, but I think it depends on the format to be honest. I think medium format, that six, four, five, kind of format looks really pretty in portrait mode. And I think it's also because early on in my career, when I was really focused on developing my wedding and stuff, I was really focused on shooting for the cover, like shooting for the cover of magazines and books and stuff so that's why a lot of it's vertical, and I do tend to think of more in portrait mode. The way I see it, if I'm shooting on this format, So for those who aren't familiar, the meaning of format six, four, five, format, if you're comparing two portraits, it's not as tall, and if you're comparing landscape it's not as wide, and so for me when I'm shooting with this, it's a natural portrait cause it's closer to that eight by ten. If I was gonna shoot horizontal, it's typically more because I'm looking for a landscape, and I don't typically have, if I'm shooting in a studio like this it typically isn't as pretty wide as it is tall. So most of the time I'm used to trying to crop things out, I want things out of my frame, right, like if I'm in someone's house I'm trying to clear out the ugly furniture and stuff. And so I think that's how I ended up shooting a lot more portrait. But, for example, if you're trying to get a whole ceremony site, or like landscape obviously, then you would go horizontal. And if I went horizontal, I feel like then I would want the extra length so I would probably use a full framed camera instead of a medium format camera. So you're shooting using live view, and a lot of people are noticing that and wondering if you're doing it for any particular reason if it has advantages in how you're communicating with people or have you always done it that way. I've never done live view before until I got this camera. So my primary camera, prior to getting this one, was a Contax 645, old, discontinued film camera, medium format. And that one, you do have to look in the viewfinder and it's manual focus, everything. And so, I never even had like a preview on the back, but this one, one, is it like an electronic viewfinder, again I'm not a technical person but it's different, like I'm used to seeing things in real life and it's kind of weird when you look through here cause it's like, for example if you don't turn it on you can't even see through it. So that one makes me a little bit dizzy so I'm not used to that, but I am finding great advantages, like it's touch screen too, so if I'm trying to focus and I'm trying to focus on her eyes, I can just touch on the part of the screen, like I can touch her eyeball and it focuses on her eyeball instead. So I do embrace technology when it works beautifully and I do love the image that comes from here, cause it does have very much like that heart, the soul of film and you'll see when I edit later I do feel like it lends itself very well to blending in with my film work. And so I'm just taking advantage of the convenience of it, and especially if I'm shooting up top like that and I'm able to do this now, when I never was able to do that before, so that's helped a lot too.

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Ratings and Reviews


I had such a great experience at Creative Live. Everyone was super nice. I flew from Los Angeles to Seattle for the first time and Mariangela was kind enough to help me with transportation, hotel, restaurants, things to do in Seattle. It was a fun continue education trip. Caroline Tran's class was amazing! I can't wait to go back for another class at Creative Live.


Enjoyed the class! Especially liked seeing how Caroline transitioned and shot the engagement shoot with the cute couple. The pick up points were great, love the analogy to piano since I'm pianist as well. I use her refined presets too and really like the outcome :) Would recommend that as well!

Student Work