How to Analyze the Light
So let's talk about lighting. First, we're going to discuss natural light because we love to shoot with simply natural light keeping our approach really, really simple, not over think it with extra gear. It allows us to really focus on our storytelling approach, which is what our clients really hire us for. One of the most important elements with natural light is really to take control in difficult situations. At this wedding in Monaco, we had to come up with a good location to photograph the bride before the ceremony. It was an important place for them because the father was in a wheelchair and we knew that he wasn't going to come up to do the veiling over bride and we wanted to respect that as much as possible. When we realized that we were going to be shooting in this really dark situation, we really wanted to take control. So we went to the planner, we went to the bride and we said, "Look, if you're going to be in this spot for the veiling, make sure that the chair is positioned he...
re because this is really where the light is going through.
So then, just explain, where was the light coming through? I can see from this image it's like a one light source--
it's all natural light, you're not using any other sources of light from that?
[Instructor} Yes, exactly. Any reflectors, et cetera?
Exactly, there's nothing. There was a really narrow hallway and the natural light was pouring in and it was coming up to where the bride is sitting. We're really exposing for the light itself and not using any kind of tools to do any additional lighting. Natural light is as much daylight as it is ambient light. When it comes to receptions, we really want to capture the mood as well so we try to stick to shooting with ambient light as much as possible. It allows us to photograph these kind of nice moments in a very natural, authentic way without creating a lot of extra lighting that is going to maybe change the way that the room looked and change the mood of the setting. What's important to notice is that it's about the quality of the light rather than the quantity. So here's there's not a lot of light, which we're compensating for by pushing our settings but the quality on the bride and her daughter, who are having the moment, it is beautiful. So yes, quality of the light versus quantity. One thing we really like to do is to expose for the highlights. This is where the light really, really gets interesting. What's important in those situations is to anticipate where things are going to take place and prepare our exposure for that situation. By exposing for the highlights within the room and just waiting for the bride to turn into the light, it allows to create a photo that is a little bit more interesting. In photography, the good stuff lives in the highlights and in the shadows. Everything that's in the midtone at eye level is what everybody else sees. So any guests who's at the wedding, any people, like here in the bridal party, they will see everything short of in the mid-range and we want to try to create photos that are a little bit more interesting. So expose for the highlights, expose for the shadows, and really go and capture something a little bit more interesting. Again, same idea exposing for the highlights but in an artificial environment. With Tungsten lighting, here it's after it's already dark outside, we just have the bride doing touch-ups before the ceremony. She's been lit by an artificial light source that is available in the room but the idea is very much the same as in the previous photo. Expose for the hightlights, it darkens everything else in the room and then when we're editing these photos, we don't need to do too much to the image; it's really just about enhancing it based on what's already there. With natural light too, it's important to read the background and make sure the highlight is as much as possible against a dark background. That is how it's going to stand out. If I take my hand here and place it against the window, it's going to look differently than if I place it against a dark background. The light is the same on my hand but the way that it interacts with the background and the way that we then read it in the photo, is going to be different depending on what's behind the subject. Whenever we're shooting in natural light, we're always trying to find as much of a dark background as possible as opposed to a bright one, so that we can make our subjects stand out. Same idea in a candid moment. Again, the bride is walking through a path of light. The light is interesting. We expose for the highlights. The background behind, which doesn't have any light on it, goes dark so it allows us to really separate this subject from the background and create something a little bit more interesting. Another way we like to use natural light, is by mixing it with Tungsten or ambient light. What that allows us to is then, in post production, really play up the different white balances so the blues from the daylight really come to life against the yellows of Tungsten. We're actually going to demo this today as well. As you see behind me, we have a beautiful wall with a lot of light on it. We're going to turn on those lights, which are going to be Tungsten, and we're going to mix it with our ambient light here in the room. To decompose this photo a little bit, this is the behind-the-scenes version. What we were doing is we were shooting through the light that was hanging off the ceiling. We turned on the lights ever so slightly, expose for the window that is behind the bride, which gives us a nice silhouette in daylight and then mix it with the yellows of the Tungsten. Same idea as what we have here in the studios. We have the Tungsten lights on that wall with the daylight of the window and we're going to combine the two to get those blues and yellows in the final photo. In back light situations, where we don't necessarily want to be doing a silhouette, we still want to get that warm light, what's important is that we expose for the shadows, for the subjects. Also while still retaining some of the information in the background as well. The way that we use our exposure is really going to dictate how the photo comes out in the end and how we're able to bring it to life afterwards.