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Lighting and Posing for Wedding Photographers

Lesson 15 of 16

Live Edit of Engagement Shoot

Caroline Tran

Lighting and Posing for Wedding Photographers

Caroline Tran

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Lesson Info

15. Live Edit of Engagement Shoot

Lesson Info

Live Edit of Engagement Shoot

Once this has been edited through, I'll give you a little quick preview of my signature presets through REFINED. So there's one black and white option, and I'll just run them real quickly for you just so you can see. These were developed based on my film scans. So I gave her like a whole bunch of like, you know, how my work has been scanned in different lighting situations, and then she developed the presets that would emulate that look. So if you like, you know, the filmy look, the light and airy and the way like generally my feed looks, then like these presets are, for the most part, like one click. I mean, full disclosure, as you know, most of my images are accurately exposed as well. So that makes a big difference, but for the most part with these, I just have to edit, I just have to adjust exposure and white balance, for the most part, and then sometimes like the contrast. 'Cause I think that is a little bit subjective, depending like, everyone likes a different amount of warmth, ...

different amount of contrast, so you would adjust that yourself. So this is what the black and white would look like. I generally go for color, but we can try different options. This is patina. This is probably my filmiest and my richest option. The highlights are like really creamy in it and, so the white balance is a little bit off here, but I can show you like if you warm it up a little bit. And... How is it looking on screen? I feel like it's... The resolution looks a little crunchy, but I don't know how to change that. Let's see. How is it viewing live? I'll check in, but I would just say go with what's on your, what you're seeing on your monitor. Okay. Let's see. Oh, there we go, okay. I can see better when I'm zoomed in. So you can see, when I edit, what I go for is skin tones. Like I'm trying to get their skin to be as like naturally colored as possible. I do generally like them a little bit like pink in the skin? And so zoomed in, I like the way that looks. I also usually add green to it to mimic the film kind of green. So this green here is what typically the Contax 645 green looks like. If you like greenier, you can go green plus. And then, and again, this is a very zoomed in image 'cause it was a really wide one, so it looks really grainy, so I would just stick with regular green for that. And then, if it's really bright, I would do highlight recover. Let's zoom back out again. If needed, I would go highlight recover, which kinda brings back a little details in the bright blown out backgrounds on this. So with that... My studio in LA also has gridded windows like this, and so I feel like it's so unforgiving for any kind of tilt. And I'm not talking about like, you know, intentional tilt. Like, this is clearly, I didn't... My camera was slightly tilted. So I would straighten it out in Lightroom. That kind of stuff just bothers me. So for this one, let's see how this one is. Oh, I didn't even get to go through the other options, huh. The way I would recommend using any presets. Find one that speaks most to your style. Like, try not to use a whole bunch of different ones. But that said, sometimes, there are certain conditions where the presets just doesn't apply well, whether it's because there's a color cast to it or some kind of, like certain kind of contrast or maybe you really under or overexposed it or something. So in that case, it's kind of nice to have a few tools as an option for when your default doesn't work. For me, my default is patina. So I don't even try the other ones unless patina's not working for me. And I think there was like one that I did, a session that I did last week not in my space where somehow, the lighting in that room, patina just was too overexaggerated. And so I guess in terms of like the amount of filminess, I think patina is the most. So it has like really warm highlights, and then the skins tend to have a very creaminess to the skins. And then pure, I think, is my cleanest one. So if I'm doing a commercial shoot, I'd go for pure. Versus if I'm going for something more like romantic or filmy portrait stuff, then I'll do patina. And then pure is very clean. And then serene is like my most, it's cooler and more, if you like the more washed out look, I would go with serene. So I tend to be a little punchier of a shooter, and so that's why I go for patina, 'cause patina has more contrast, more saturation. And so if you just think of it, it's like, you know, patina's the most, pure is middle and serene is the least. So depending on what works for your look. And so I'll add green to this, and I feel like the highlights are okay with this, I don't need to recover the highlights. So yeah, and then let's zoom in and just see. I mean, this one I focused on their toes or his toes. Where's your toe? Okay. So skin tone, skin tone looks okay. (laughs) All right, so let's see this one. And this is, so this shot was taken, do you remember when I asked them to, his chin, adjust his chin? So this was taken before the chin adjustment, and you can see there's like a little, like she looks a little sunken into his neck right there, right. And so there's ones later on where, see, even that one, this is when I asked him to extend a little bit, and you can see the difference, a definition in the jawline makes a big difference. But let's edit this one. For this one, yeah, I love patina on it. I love what it did to the skin color. And then we'll just add green do it, I don't even think you need to recover the highlights in this. So for the most part, that's pretty much all I would need to do, like check the, the first step is always check the exposure. And then from there, you can either play around, like once you, and I do exposure until the highlight is where I want it to be. So where the brightest parts, and so I like her skin now. So once I've done exposure to adjust for that, I now look at the shadows and see if I'm happy with that or not. Does it need more contrast, does it need less contrast or do I need to brighten up the shadows, which is what I'm doing right now 'cause, and what I'm looking for is like right here, just to brighten that up a little bit. Yeah. And I'm happy with that, I think the white balance looks good too on that. So this one, I went closer in. I wanted to really focus on her. So same thing, we'll do patina and green. Let's see, I think it could go a little brighter. And then probably the shadows a little bit brighter. This one's a lot more saturated than the previous photo. And then I think the next one, I tell her to look at me. Yeah, yeah. So then in general, since you're starting with the same preset and then working from there, are you trying to have a consistent, coherent look across this set of images that you're gonna give them, and do you, is it the whole session or do you change them by the little mini stories within? That's a great question. I think it's really important to have a signature look. And I think that can only be achieved if your editing is consistent and your shooting style is consistent. So with my editing, I don't do anything different unless it's necessary. So I usually just go with the same set of, with my general formula. So for example, I could create a custom preset based, like a combination where I already automatically do patina and green together. The green is less separate because, for example, my commercial shoots, I won't add green to my commercial shoots. But for these kinds of shoots, I do want it to look like film and I'll add green to it. So that's why it's left separate, but I can easily create one preset that already hits all of those buttons. But I'm not doing it for this day 'cause I want you to be able to see the individual buttons that I'm choosing to use. And so, for the patina or for these different ones, if people don't have that preset yet or if they, could we see sort of what the elements are within it? Yeah, okay. So should I just go-- Yeah. Let me see what's the best... So what I was gonna do is, since this image was taken in the same environment as this, I was gonna sync it. So I'll sync it first. So I highlighted both, and it's on the one I want, and so I'm syncing it. I usually don't do crop 'cause unless it's on a tripod, it's not gonna be totally accurate. But I left everything else to sync. So then now, in theory, this image should look exactly like the other image. So I think from here, I could probably just do an undo and you should be able to, oh. Well, that's default. Well, you know default is all zeroes. Okay. I didn't, for this one, I didn't touch the temperature. But what I did change was the exposure, so that's what I went in and changed myself. But aside from that, the preset set everything else. The contrast, the highlights, shadows and blacks and the tone curve. And it's pretty smart, like I find that it works, it's worked for my artificial lighting and my natural lighting stuff too. That one's a cute one. All right, so this one, let's see. And I can try some of the other ones too, just to show you. So this one's pure, let's do green. So it's just more of a cleaner look, and I think for this one, I want a little bit of, I don't know, oomph and little richness to it. So that's why, that's why I stick to, that's why I stick to the patina unless it's not working for me. So you can see like the difference that it does, it gives it more creamy highlights and I prefer my highlights creamy just because I tend to like them really bright. So this one for sure needs to be streamed, 'cause that window, any time there's horizons, like I need those horizons straight, otherwise it, I feel like it's really distracting on the eye. But yeah, so let's see what would happen if I brightened up the shadows a little bit. 'Cause this one, they're backlit. So anything that's like under the chin and like all in these nooks and crannies here are gonna be all shadows. And what's interesting to me is like, this looks like such a digital photo to me like, there's not much depth of field to it, 'cause it was taken on a 63. And that one, it's just a wider lens. So I think that's why, I was trying to switch to the as much as I could, but that's not always an option. So this one, I had to warm up. It was too cool. So for this, I would recover the highlights on that one, 'cause I thought the whites were really blown out. Awesome, all right, so let's see... So this was still taken with the 63. This one looks, that one is serene, let's see. I was gonna see how it would look with more, serene is general is cooler. So for people who like cooler tones. So I tent to warm it up if I'm gonna do serene. But let's see. And I'm just trying it out and seeing, let's recover the highlights. And I think that looks fun, but let me try, whoops, not that one. Yeah, like I always try just to see, you know, if I like the other ones more, but in general, for the way that I shoot, the way that I expose my stuff, and the look, the result that I like, patina just works better for me. It just, and a lot of times, it looks just like my film scans. So I like this better. Is she looking green to you? A little? Sometimes that happens, especially if you're shooting on grass. That's where you get a lot of like the green undertones coming up on their chin, and so you usually just have to slide up the magenta for that to counter the green. I wonder where that green was coming from though. Okay, well, let's see these ones. Okay, so this one, I'm gonna try and see if I could just sync it. I don't sync unless I think that they're really close. Like, I wouldn't sync the whole session, you know, because just the difference, like I said, in how light falls of, right, it can change a lot. And then the color tone too, like the closer you are to the brick, the redder you're gonna be versus away. And so let's try syncing these two and see if that, how is that? Better upside down? (laughs) Or is it better, let's see. I think upside down, huh, yeah. It was intended to be upside down. I just wanted to see how it would look other ways. I think that's adorable. You know, I actually would love to see this one in a black and white and see how this would go. So let's reset it back to raw. And when I go black and white, I actually like to add a lot of green to it because, to me, black and white film is very grainy. A question. Yeah. Is there any particular way you choose which ones you turn black and white or any tricks to how you decide that? Yes. In general, I'm a color person, I think my feat is color and people like me for color. The times when I intentionally shoot black and white is when it's more documentary, which to me is during the getting ready. I think some of those moments are very, I don't know, kind of moody for me, and so I will go black and white for those. During the reception as well I'll go black and white, 'cause I think there's, I guess it's more photo journalistic to me. Versus portraits, I generally like my portraits in color. But sometimes with black, some things, like if the colors don't match, then I'll turn it black and white. Like if either what they're wearing doesn't quite go together or if there's a color cast and you can't get rid of that color cast, then let's see what it looks like in black and white. But yeah, for the most part, I think I'm more of a color person than a black and white person. But I think this one looks really cute in black and white. And if you want them turned sepia, there is this, I do have a sepia tone that you can just add on top of it. And that gives it a really nice warmth to it. So I think this one, let's see. I'm feeling this in black and white though, it feels, yeah, has more character. Oh, and this one's cute, let's see. Which orientation now, all right. I was checking 'cause I noticed, when I did the sepia tone on this, it seemed like it applied it on this when I undid it, so I was checking, I was wondering if it accidentally got put on this one too. So you can always undo the tones with this one, undo tones and yeah. So when I applied the sepia tone, it applied it on everything. So let me not highlight everything, okay. And then let me see, I also have this other tone that's blush and I wonder how that would look. I like it with that. So the blush tone just gives a little bit of a pink tint to it. One of my favorite films that is not made anymore is Fujifilm 800Z. And that one like was very pinky. And I still have some, but I just don't wanna use it 'cause then, once I use it, it's all gone. (audience laughter) So it just sits in my fridge. But that's where that was inspired from, just to create that little bit of blush. And it's really subtle, you know, so it's not like overexaggerated or anything like that. But yeah, I think this skin tone is really pretty. I like the cool in her shirt, the kind of warmth in her skin. I wanna see the ones where he's throwing the ball of yarn. I think that was so cute. Okay, so let's check if my horizons are straight or not. All right. So now I'm gonna go to my default patina, because I think a consistent look is really important. So now let's brighten this one up a little bit. Maybe the temperature could use a little bit of warmth, but yeah, that's good. So in this case, I think this actually goes with the whole industrial look. But let's say that this is like an electric plug in the wall when you, in a hotel room, right. That's actually a little bit distracting. So I do do this regularly in Lightroom when I'm editing, I'll take it out. So using this tool right here, you can then just, so I don't want that one, and then it picks a new spot that lets you... And I'm quiet 'cause I'm trying to line up the pipe just right. Pretty good. All right, so now zoom out. And I took it out. So for me, I don't like distracting elements like exit signs, outlet plugs. And I'll just go in real quickly and take those out. When I'm editing, anything that I can do within Lightroom, I'll do. I charge if I have to open up in Photoshop to do it, but if it's, you know, taking out these little, like these, that trick is really great for blemishes as well. Like, if they have just something on their face, you could just zap it out real quickly. And then... All right, so this one, I'm gonna try to sync it with the next two photos and see. But I already see that I needed to... This one, I think the highlights need to be recovered, it's really bright on this one. So that was like just, I don't even know if you can see the difference, can you from back there? It's real subtle, but the highlights come back a little bit and it's not so white. Okay, so for this one, it definitely needs to get straightened out. But I love that look, that yarn throw. There was one where he completely threw it out of my frame. So that then it just didn't make any sense, so that's why I chose this one, 'cause you can at least still see, you can still see the ball of yarn. What are some of your challenges when you're editing? I would be curious, if you have any, feel free to throw it out here for me to address. We did have one online that was in reaction to, you're talking about developing your style that you can be consistent with, and Sara says, "How do you determine that look, that style?" She says, "That's my biggest challenge, "I like so many different looks." And I think that's a really great question, and I think that's something that a lot of artists in general struggle with when they first come in. And the same thing with me too. I think I had to get to a point where I recognized I do like lots of style, but what style is me? I can like a style, but that doesn't mean it's me? So what I would recommend is, like, you want the goal, the end goal is for someone to recognize your photo without having known who shot it. You know, they're scrolling on Instagram, they stop, they see and they instantly know oh, like, this was taken by you, right. So that's the ultimate goal, so how do you get there is, I think take a whole bunch of your work and, well, one, you can take a bunch of people's work, mix it in with yours and go ask several random people like hey, can you guess which ones were shot by the same photographer. And I used to do this at my workshop. And people would all bring their prints and then we'd all swap and do it, and it's funny when some of the people would walk out realizing like oh my gosh, people thought like my work was taken by three different photographers. You know, I had like my light and airy look, I had my, you know, moody look, and I had my like, I don't know, like off camera like (mumbles), off camera flash edgy look, right. And it's like, it looked like three different artists were taking it. And so I think what's important is will someone recognize, will someone be able to pull out your photos out of a collection of other people's photos? And I think, as you're choosing which one to settle in, which one actually really makes you happy? When you're looking at these photos, which one like is the one that you feel like is your voice? And I think, once you start taking, and it's so hard because you're so closely attached to all the photos, and I'll be honest like, it took me a long time to throw away some, or to kick out some of like the really early photos that I made because I remember like, like even that silhouette shot that I showed you, like I kept that on my site for like so long, but it's not really my style for today, I still love it, you know. But I kept it on my site for so long, you know, and eventually, you start to take out the ones that don't fit, and then, you know, you keep the ones that you kinda like, even though it doesn't fit. But eventually, as you start building more and more work, you start realizing okay, it's time to let that go. So slowly just taking out the ones that you don't want. But I think just, if you had to show somebody your work, like one portfolio, what were the images that you would throw in, you know, what would be like your top 20 favorite images that you've ever taken? Like, I think that would be a good exercise, go home and pull out your top 20 images. When you think of your work, what are the top 20 images? And maybe even top 10, right. And start to really identify what makes them consistent with each other. Is it the lighting, well, it will be the lighting, but what type of lighting did you choose? Is it certain kinds of poses that you did? Certain kind of storyline or emotion that the couples had or certain types of environments, like there's some photographers who'll only shoot in open fields. So all of the work you see is like, you know, in these big, you know, wide open fields of grass, flowers or wheat or whatever. That eventually becomes a style, some people do really fun stuff with like off camera lighting and flash and things like that, you know. So as you're looking through your work, which one stands out to you? And when people think of you, what do you want them to think of you as? I guess it's kind of like your, what's that, your elevator pitch, you know, you have like couple of seconds to tell someone what your style is, how would you describe and what are the images that would describe it? Yeah, mic. I was wondering if you came across, if your style is light and airy and somebody who's a biker, they're like really raw and gritty and their wedding is not light and airy, you know, it's rock and roll, it's dirt bikes, it's everything like that. I have a hard time figuring out, do I stay with this style that I have developed or they want high contrast, more gritty look? Yeah, I think-- More detailed, so that's what I struggle with the most. So there's, I think there's a few ways to approach it. Okay, since I'm leaving this on, I'm gonna edit this because I don't wanna see an unedited photo. Okay, so that's better. So I think that's a really important question to ask yourself because first of all, why do you want to take the dirt bike wedding? Is it because that's actually what you wanna do? If that's actually what excites you, maybe you should be doing that and, you know, really going in for that niche rather than trying to appeal to the gen-- Yeah, I do all sorts like different styles, very off beat bride kind of stuff. So one wedding will be super vintagy, another wedding will be rock and roll, and then another wedding will be super hippy off the docks of Seattle. I would recommend finding out which weddings you really identify with and which one speaks to your style and only show those. So just because you take a wedding, well, so I guess there's two things you can, first, let me go down the branch of decision making process here. So the first option is like, do I take it, yes or no, right. And so, if... Why do you want it? Is it because you actually think it's really interesting? Or is it because you need the money, right? That's their friends. Or their friends. So if the answer is yes, I'm gonna take this. Okay, then that's like a whole other decision, right. But if no, the reason noes could be either it doesn't fit my look, I'm not the right photographer for them, sometimes that might be the reality. I know for sure like, if someone, I would not be the right photographer for someone who wanted a dirt bike wedding, although I love the idea of it. Like, I love the idea of it, I would love to look at the pictures of it, but when I think of the reality, I don't really like dust. (audience laughter) Just you know, little things like that, all right. I don't want the dust to get into my film. I have to acknowledge that I'm not the right photographer for them, so I wouldn't be doing them a service if I was to take that, right. And even if their friends, like perhaps they don't know any better, like they just wanna hire me because they like me or whatever, right. But I think it's okay to say I'm not the right photographer for this gig, you know, but I know someone who can do it better than I can, or not necessarily better, but who would do it in a way that you want it done. And it's okay to say no to that. If you decide that you have to say yes to it, whether it's because I need the money or it's a really good friend or family and I can't say no otherwise or if it's, and I'm assuming you're saying that this is something you don't necessarily wanna show in your portfolio, correct? Or is there a possibility that this may be what you wanna show in your portfolio? I do probably the opposite of everybody and I tend to show everything. Like, I will show the super contrasty wedding and then I'll do another wedding that's super light and airy, so I show it all. And so my website does not look the way I keep seeing it's supposed to look. I think, if you are new to this industry, it is good to try it all. The analogy that I have is like they're all ladders. You know, you have the light and airy ladder, you have the high contrast ladder. Which ladder are you gonna go up? You can only go up one ladder though if you wanna go up high. It's easy to jump up two rung here, jump off, jump up two rung here, another two rung here. But if you keep doing that, you're never gonna climb up. So how high do you want to go up, right? And at some point, you're gonna have to drop some of those ladders, you know, in order to focus on a few. The danger of having that, and right now is a good time to try because, if you are new and you tried this ladder and it didn't work out, you only fell down two rungs, big deal. Go up another, you know, it doesn't take you long, right. The higher up you go, the more risk you have. And the more detrimental it is if you were to fall. So that's where you don't, you can't necessarily afford to run all around all the time. So if you are still trying to find your voice, that's fine. Do it all, take every single wedding so that you can find out what you like and what you don't like, I think that's the only way you're gonna know. But once you start to identify, you do need to eventually narrow down. Because if you don't, the danger of having showing everything is, if I'm a client, how do I know what I'm gonna get? If I come to your website, it's like am I gonna get the light and airy photographer or am I gonna get the edgy photographer? Like, are you multiple personality and it's like a luck of the draw which one I get, you know? Well, so I usually ask to, like, I usually ask, you know, what's your inspiration, do you prefer light and airy or do you want something a little more gritty and contrasty, and so I kinda let them dictate me instead of the opposite, but that's probably super-- If you do that, you are a service versus an artist. You know, if you want to be able to command top dollars, you need people to come to you because they want your look. They want that look that no one else can have because only you can do it. But if you are a service, oh, tell me what you want and I will give it to you, that doesn't make you any different than any other, the photographer next door who offers all these services as well. So I think it just depends on what you want to go to, but I think all of you here probably do want to become artists. And if you do want to become artists, you do need to eventually find your voice and hone in on that voice. So I think that's why that consistent style is so important, because I did have like, I had a consultation with someone who basically hired another photographer, was not happy with them and is now looking for a replacement photographer. But when I asked her about it, what it came down to is, I asked her, well, she wasn't happy with engagement photos, you know. So I was like well, the photos you got back, is it representative of what you saw in the portfolio? 'Cause if it is, then you got what you paid for, but you know, looking at the portfolio, it was all over the place. And so it was true, she didn't know what she was getting. She was attracted to these kinds of photos, but got, you know, the stuff that was over here. And so I think it's harder to, it's harder to really sell and get confidence from your clients if they're not quite sure. If you really do enjoy all that aspect, I would almost think like perhaps breaking it into different businesses. Like sectioning it off somehow. And that's why there's a big debate too, like do you include your baby stuff with your wedding stuff? You know, and there's a whole debate on that, on your Instagram feed, do you have your babies mixed in with your wedding stuff or do you keep them separate 'cause wedding brides don't wanna see babies, you know, mothers don't wanna see brides. And so which, you know... For me personally, I chose to mix those two together 'cause I think my style is consistent in terms of feeling and looks. So that's why I keep the baby and the families together. But I did recently just launch a new baby photography line that I realized had a totally different look, and when I put it on Instagram, it just didn't fit with anything else on my feed, so I launched a new feed for that. So I think, you know, if it's something that you really enjoy, and that was something I enjoyed, then it's okay to have two separate business for it. So some photographers will have weddings on one and commercial on another site because, you know, your corporate clients don't wanna see flowers, bouquets and stuff like that, and vice versa. So yeah. So let's get through these ones, because (laughs), I just love her expression on this one. So this one, the highlights are really bright for me. (laughs) Are the images what you were expecting, I guess you watched it tethered anyway, right, so it's pretty consistent with what you were seeing. I'm gonna try to sync these. So in terms of editing, I usually can get through an entire session in less than an hour. So once I'm done shooting, that's why I offered to do the live edit, 'cause I knew I can do it within the time. Upload, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no. And then for the most part like, in terms of vignettes or the mini stories, the little pick up points, they're generally in the same place anyway, and so I, for the most part, can sync at least those ones together and it's just minor tweaking, yeah. The sync option, what is it exactly for? What do you do when you put (mumbles)? Do you apply the same effects or that's what you do? Yeah, so yeah, when I sync it, what I'm telling it to do, here, we can do it again. You get to choose what you want it to sync. So if I was on a tripod where the frame never moved, I could even do spot removal and crop too, which is when I'm rotating to straighten things out. But I was not on a tripod, so I take those out. But everything else I, yeah. Give it the same color, give it the white balance, give it the same clarity, tone curve and everything. Tone curve is like how the presets are making it look the same. So this was that like, I don't love this image, to be honest. I did it horizontally because she's looking this direction, and so I felt like, if I had cropped it here, then it would look like she's looking off frame. And from a viewer's perspective, you wanna see what she's looking at. So I included this 'cause I wanted to show you that. Once you have more than (mumbles), it doesn't feel incomplete, I guess. But it looks too forced. I think he was more of a smiley person. And I think that's important to know with your clients too, as you're working with them, to see like some people are just giggly and they're better giggly. And it's really unnatural to make them try to seem like this, you know. (laughs) That's cute. Yeah, so these ones, for the most part, are, I'm not even having to do any additional edits on them, which makes me really happy, and that's how I'm able to get through the editing really quickly. Whenever I'm composing images, for that same story, so the knitting story alone, you can see I took on, my challenge to myself is always to find three different angles to shoot that same story. 'Cause otherwise, if I shot it all at, you know, this. When you put it together, it just, it's all, it all looks the same, even if their expressions are different, you know. So for me, I always get one that's really wide, that sets the tone. So this one is my wide one, so now this, you know, this isn't so much about like their expressions, but this is more about the setting. This places your viewer into the scene now and they understand what's happening. Then I go in for a slightly closer up photo that then shows a little bit more details about what they're doing, and now you get to get a better sense of who they are. And then something like this, you know, emphasized the knitting now. And then they, you know, you can feel their love, but there's a little bit of privacy. It's not like so in your face, let me watch you make out. But you can sense the intimacy that, I like that. You're also just seeing like what she's doing as well. And I like how with this, the (mumbles) evolved into... Aw, that's cute. I love it. (laughs) So I purposely didn't do this, sync this because I already could tell it was a lot cooler than, and you can see from here too. So clouds must've came in at that moment or something. But you can see like, it's not too far off, you know, so it's not like it messes up the photo. It's definitely something you can still recover. So let's try and see what happens, so I just threw patina on there and I threw some green on there. I do think it's a little underexposed, so let me just brighten that up a little bit. And then it probably needs a little bump in warmth. And I think that looks pretty good. The temperature thing is so subjective. Some people likes warm images, some people likes cool. So I don't think there's a right or wrong in that, I think that one is just, as long as their skin looks like a natural person's skin. (laughs) Let's see how the floor ones turned out. I didn't keep them on the floor as long as I thought I would, because I got them up and then we got distracted with the pillow fighting. But let's try patina. Actually, I would wonder how the black and white would look with this one. Sometimes, if I feel like color's not doing anything for the photo, then black and white... Like, I think black and white gives us a little bit more of a rawness to it. And I don't feel like the colors of their gaming system necessarily went with the color palette. (laughs) So let's see, let's try black and white on this one too. This one's a little bit, when I shoot color, I tend to like things very bright. But when I shoot black and white, I usually don't go as bright. So this one, I actually had to pull the exposure down, unlike the other ones. And you know, this one, I actually really don't like, I love her expression. I think this is kind of unflattering, and so I'm actually gonna try to crop this in. Like, I'm trying to really bring in the focus to her eyes instead. Let's see. I didn't give myself much room to work with, but... How's that, ideally, I generally like to try to get my subjects in one of these areas here. So that's what I was trying to do here, but it did, I don't have enough room without getting a lot more of him, so if I wanna crop that much of him, then her eyes are up there. But I still think it's compositionally strong because like you get that line right there. I think it still works with her eyes being a little bit higher than what your typical rule of thirds is. So this was them and their game. (laughs) This is very like fun and youthful. All right, let's try, yeah, I think these ones are looking pretty good out of camera. Okay, this one, immediately my eye goes to the crooked or the slanted horizon. Okay. I wanna make sure I get through all of this, so you can see, was there any, I'm trying to think if there was anything with the posing that, remember when I was showing you the difference in the chin? Like, stuff like that. Whoa, what did I just hit? All right. So this one, I feel like it lacks a little bit of, it looks flat to me. What do you guys think? But I mean, some people, if you like, sometimes when I shoot with Fuji 400H, it can be a little less contrasty like that, and I think it's really pretty too. So it depends on if you like it like that, or if you want a little bit more of oomph. So sometimes I'll do depth, that just adds a slight little bit of contrast to it. Aw, that's a sweet moment. Let's take a guess, do you think this is a black and white moment or a color moment? Let's try. That's black and white, I think that looks really good. So you can do Command + , and that'll make a virtual copy of it, and then we can try both. I generally don't deliver, I remember there was a time in my career where I would basically give them the same photo, but edit it multiple ways. I generally don't do that anymore. But, well, I don't do that anymore, at least for color. I rarely now will do like one black and white and one color. This might be one of those situations where I might actually do both, 'cause I think both actually look really pretty. But unless it's a situation like this where I actually think it looks great in both, I pick the one that looks best. I love how both, like I think the black and white looks so like classic and pretty. But I also think, like I'm in love with the skin tones on this one, I think that's so pretty and it's such a pretty moment too. Just the moment between them two, I love it. So that's like a rare situation where I'm like okay, I need both, I need to make both. Let's see how these individual portraits of her. Like, this is probably just me being nitpicky, but like, that color right there from her Game Boy like, it just doesn't fit the color palette. That's pretty. But yeah, the goal is, as much as you can get in camera, then the less you have to do in post. And as photographers, we like shooting, we don't like editing, all right. Like, we don't wanna be behind a computer, we wanna be behind the camera. So the more that you can get right in the camera, then the less time you spend behind the laptop or a computer. Oh, that's a sweet moment of her. I wonder how that would look in black and white. Let's try that. And I totally just did that while choosing everything. Okay, so I'm gonna reset that and then I'm gonna go for black and white. That looks pretty in black and white too. Yeah, I like both in that case. So this one, let's see. Brighten it up, maybe warm it up a little bit. That looks good. Oh, this is a cute moment too, okay. So this one is way cool and... Let's try to add some warmth to it and I think that looks good. All right, some of him alone. Whoops. Black and white, do you see a little preview? That's like how I'm like deciding before I commit. Black and white, patina. It's green. Highlight recover 'cause he's in a white shirt and all that white in the background, and I knew I'm gonna wanna bring up his face 'cause his, I didn't have a reflector on this one, this is a situation where I should've done a reflector, Then his face would've had a little bit more dimension to it and not so flat. (laughs) But still good. Okay, horizon. Cool. So even when I'm rotating and cropping, I was being mindful of his feet. Like it would look really awkward if, watch. Do you see it like, it just, yeah. I mean, it's really subtle but... I feel like, if you're gonna crop it, you crop it all the way or you include it. Let's see how this one is. Brighten it up a little bit. You think this would be a black and white moment? I'm not loving the colors of the brick in the background. I think the... Okay, extra green, and let's brighten this up a little bit. I think that's better. Aw. That reminds me of like, when I shoot newborns and the newborn starts sucking on mom's nose. That's really sweet. Highlights need to be recovered on that though. But that's really sweet. Yeah, question. Just a quick question from Jay online. Do these REFINED presets that you're using, do those work with any camera brand? I know you were shooting with the Fujifilm. Does it work with Canon, Sony, anything? Yeah. So for sure, it works with Canon because I, before getting this Fuji camera, I was using a Canon. And so a lot of the, these presets were actually tested, were created with my Canon files so I didn't even have the Fuji camera yet at the time, but they're working beautifully for the Fuji camera. And when we decided to launch the presets out, we got a whole bunch of test from people. And so a lot of the Nikon users seem to love pure on it. So I think it depends on the style, but it's, but yeah, definitely we do have a ton of Nikon samples, and then we also have Sony samples as well too that work really well. So usually, it's like the coloring that's slightly different, coloring and contrast that's slightly different. This one. I think if I had a reflector on this, it would've been better, I feel like it's a little bit washed out. Okay, let's reset this. Do you see how it's like, to me, it's a little muddy. And that's because of the heavy backlight that's kind of like the haziness that's caused by it. So had I had a reflector going back on it, it would've made it a little more clear rather than this haze. So in these situations, I can either go black and white. And I think that looks adorable in black and white. Let's make a virtual copy of that, reset this one, and then I'm gonna try to make it work in color. I believe in color, I think I can do it. Right, so patina, green, let's try highlight recovery. No, I think highlight recovery is what made it look a little, 'cause I think leaving that blown out makes it in contrast to this. Like, this looks clear on contrast to that versus making everything flat. So yeah, so I think the ultimate takeaway that I want you to have is aim for finding the right light to begin with. Because once you have the right light, like I showed you earlier, like the posing is a little more forgiving on that if you have the beautiful light. So make sure lighting is there. Then get the posing so that you can get the good reactions from them. Once you have that together, you should be able to get a pretty consistent set of photos where it will make your editing life easier. And so, as much as you can get done in camera, the less you have to do behind the computer.

Class Description

Capturing the special moments for your wedding clients is a big responsibility. You only have one chance to evaluate and make sure the couple is posed in the best possible light for each image. Caroline Tran is a well-known wedding and portrait photographer recognized for creating images that reflect the emotions of her clients through lighting and posing. In her class you’ll learn how to:

  • Evaluate the light you’re seeing and place your clients in the best place to capture it
  • Work with natural light and determine what additional equipment you might need
  • Understand Caroline’s system of using the 6 pick-up points of posing so you won’t miss any of the key poses that your clients will want to see
  • Use the proper cues to get the couple in the right posing position
  • Cull and edit your images so to provide the best product for your clients

Wedding days go by so quickly for couples, it’s important give them images that preserve the special moments and memories they’ll treasure forever. Caroline will help you to understand the lighting and posing techniques to capture the unique details of every couple. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Tips

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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!