Skip to main content

Lighting to Simplify Your Edit

Lesson 11 of 16

LIVE SHOOT: Creating Dramatic Light

Daniel Kudish

Lighting to Simplify Your Edit

Daniel Kudish

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

11. LIVE SHOOT: Creating Dramatic Light


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:01:33
2 How to Analyze the Light Duration:06:53
3 Leveraging Video Light Duration:03:26
5 Scouting Best Practices Duration:10:55
6 The Importance of Playing Duration:09:32
10 LIVE SHOOT: Mixed Lighting Duration:04:43
12 Culling of Photoshoot Duration:08:18
13 Editing Workflow In Lightroom Duration:32:32
14 Processing Your Presets Duration:14:50
15 Editing in Photoshop Duration:07:21
16 The Image Salon Duration:02:49

Lesson Info

LIVE SHOOT: Creating Dramatic Light

So we're going to do one last photo. What we're going to try to do now is recreate a hotel room situation, so we're gonna close all of the shades in here. Make it very similar to what we often experience on a wedding day when we arrive in a room and everything is dark. So let's go ahead and do that. Alright, so we're going to leave this open just a little bit. Alright so this part looks, you know, quite familiar to most people. Just, you know, a lot of darkness in the room, and just these shades that we can control on one window. Something that we experience in a lot of hotel rooms. So the way that we like to use this sort of situation is by creating a very slim, narrow kind of light, and really create a little bit more of a dramatic situation. So you guys come over here. Good. I'll actually start just with Katie, so Mark come out. Sorry, no offense. And come maybe right over here. And turn towards the light. Look outside. Good, beautiful. So to the naked eye, and probably on your scre...

ens at home, you can see the highlights and you can see the shadows, and you can really see everything in between. When we shoot, we're really going to try to expose for the really bright highlights, you know, all in the front of her, and as much as possible, let the background fall into darkness. Whatever doesn't go completely dark, and completely shadowy, well we're going to bring it all the way in post-production afterwards. Maybe just cross your hands at the ankles again. Beautiful. So you're going to look outside. Alright so, frame number one. So we can see how, you know, we have good light, we have a good dark background. I'm not too concerned about that bit of light on the shade in the back. I know that in post-production I can make it go as dark as I need it to go. What's important here is that we eliminate the brick wall on the left side. Again, just getting rid of any literal elements in the frame. So I'm going to adjust my framing. The reason why my instinct tells me to go down, is just to get rid of that white, sorry, that bright highlight right around where her hands are. That's going to be a lot more difficult to remove in post-production. So, I want to try to correct that in frame. We're going to shoot from a little bit lower. Go in a little bit tighter on her. Smile a little bit. Good. Chin down a little bit more. Turn your head to your left. Sorry, to your right, my bad. Good. So now we're isolating and really trying to get a really clean frame. Now, let's add Mark to it. Come on over. You're going to come right behind her over here. You guys are together, going to take just a tiny step forward. Bring your hands around one another again. Actually, yeah, you can be facing each other a little bit more here. What matters is that you try not to block the light on her. As you can see, it's really coming together here. Good. Get close together. Good. Mark, what you can do is maybe bring your hand just up here, on the back of her shoulder. Yeah, good. And, you can pass your elbow under. Yeah, just like that. You can actually keep your hand down. Beautiful. I'm actually going to have you guys drop your hands down and just hold them right there, in front. Yeah, there you go. Good. Look out over his shoulder, Katie. Good. And Mark, turn your head out towards the light as well. Alright so here the pose isn't quite working with the light that we have in place. The reason why I don't like it is because it's really highlighting Mark's back of the head and ear, and that's not necessarily a good angle. It's okay that he's a little bit in the shade, like we do want to prioritize the bride. But we don't necessarily want to be, you know, featuring the back of his head and his ear. So let's adjust the pose. Katie, you're going to turn towards me a little bit. So more in front of him. Sorry, turn around completely so your back is against him. There you go, good. And together you're going to rotate towards the window. Good, there you go. So now we have everybody in much better light. And you guys are looking wonderful. Katie, I'm just going to have you kind of pop your hip a little bit to your left. There you go, good. Yeah. The other way. There you go, good. The reason why I did that, and you guys will see in a second, so on this photo that's on the screen right now, like her body is very straight, like it's one straight line. But as soon as she popped that hip, and give me a little bit of a curve, and it creates a more interesting s-line. Just by the way that the light is following her body. So keep popping that hip, stay that way, good. Mark, you're gonna go in a little bit closer. Good. Beautiful. Okay. While I have you guys here, Mark you're going to bring your hand up to her face. Yeah, yeah. On the other side. Yeah, there you go, just like that. Okay. Good. Try to just like caress the back of her neck, or her face. Yeah. Whatever feels natural. Good, there you go, good. Wonderful. Good. Good, chin down a little bit. Good. Give her a kiss, just where you are. Katie, you can bring your hand up to his arm. Yeah, good. There you go. Bring her in really close. Good. That looks great you guys. Just hold it. Just a few more. That's great. Wonderful. Stay right there. Give her a kiss again. Give her a tight squeeze. Good. There you go. One more. Beautiful. Good. Again, I didn't necessarily visualize this final photo, but it's started with, you know, good, interesting light. Start with her at the groom, perfect the pose, go in close, add a reflection. It's really one step at a time, to eventually lead us to the best version possible. Questions? Open some light, and let's give a round of applause for Katie and Mark. Thank you guys so much. (applauding) Awesome. So Daniel I do know we have one question in the back row, so. I have a few. So first, I heard you mention that a lot of your photos were done day-after sessions. So that's a new concept for me. Can you explain a little bit more about the day-after sessions fit into the overall timeline. And do you feel that you get your most creative shots day after, or during the day of, and how does this, just tell me more about that. That's a great question. So we do day-after sessions almost with every wedding that we do, especially when we travel to you know, the different locations. The reason why we love to do them is because it allows us to time the portraits with the sunset, so we really maximize our opportunity in terms of lighting. And it allows us to explore where they're getting married, and travel to different locations within the general area. All things that are very difficult to do on the wedding day itself because we're limited by, you know, the schedule of the wedding itself. So, it's something that is included with our coverage, especially for destination weddings, so it's not something our couples have to pay extra for. We include it because it is something that we do want to do, you know, with them. That's how we are going to get our best portraits. Having said that, when we do local weddings in Montreal, we don't offer the day-after shoot, and we'll try to replicate sort of that same mindset and that same philosophy just within the wedding day. Oftentimes what happens is we'll have to do portraits early in the day when the light is not as flattering. So what we'll do in those instances is do something like we just did, you know, just clean, dramatic light that we'll create ourselves or find nice shade, just keep it very, very simple. And then ask the planner or the bride or groom for 15-20 minutes around sunset. Make sure that we know exactly what we're gonna to do with them outside. Take them out. Execute, you know, the two or three photos that we want to do, and then kind of call it a day. So with the day-after shoot, we'll end up with a lot more variety, a lot more opportunities. When it's confined to just the wedding day, we just try to maximize the few opportunities that we have. So instead of doing fifteen different scenes, we'll just focus on getting two or three that are really going to be the best that they can be. So with that, how long do you spend with the couple the day after, and how do you convince them to get her hair and makeup done, and all of that, all over again, the day after? Well that comes to a sort of a communication process with the bride and groom. It's something that we talk about in our initial meeting with them. So they're aware that it's something we're going to want to do. We explain that most of the portraits that they see in our portfolio are from day-after shoots, so their expectations are in line with, you know, what we are able to do. If that concern of, you know, being hungover, needing to get dressed again, needing to do their makeup again, it's real and you know, a lot of couples do bring it up, we tell them, look, we know it's not ideal, that you're going to be tired, but it's just that one little push to really get those creative portraits for you guys that you're going to be able to hang up on your walls and put in your albums and the day-after shoot really allows us to do that. They also like the fact that they don't have to worry about portraits too much on the wedding day itself. When we have a day-after shoot, we'll do ten minutes of portraits on the wedding day, just to get the safe stuff covered, and then they can go back to enjoying themselves. So that's a really strong selling point that allows them to kind of go forward with the day-after shoot. Thanks. As an industrial photographer, I have to keep all my vertical lines straight. For portraits, it's often very interesting to have dominant vertical lines falling back, or right, or left, and I always struggle with that when I do portrait because my vertical lines, when I have them fall, they often do it in a way that clashes with the subject. How do you have any tricks or tips on how you do it to complement the picture and not make it clash with the subject? Yeah, for sure. I definitely have like a mindset as well, like I would like my lines straight. But sometimes, we have to let that go and tilt our camera and tilt the lines a little bit to, just create more dynamic composition within the frame. I think what's most important is the visual balance within the image. So making sure that the space around our subject is as clutter-free as possible, and that there's nothing cutting through them and creating, you know, unnecessary distractions, which, you know, when I was shooting them silhouetted against the window is really what I was paying attention to. Just making sure that there were no unnecessary lines cutting through them. So as a follow-up question, do you have, how do you decide which way you're going to, if you're going to tilt the camera, which way you're going to tilt which way the vertical lines are going to fall, how do you decide that? So I'm usually not looking at the orientation of the lines, I'm looking at the balance of the two. I'll try to explain when we edit the photos, but usually the tilting is to create more even space sort of behind, you know, like behind her hands and the edge of the frame. If I was shooting straight, it would be tight, you know, behind the hands, and very open here, so creating a lot of space. So by tilting my frame, I cut down some of the space here, and open up some of the space here, and so I get the visual balance here behind the hands, and the visual balance here. It's a little bit hard to explain with me just posing it, but when we bring up the photos, I'll make sure that I point that out.

Class Description

Good lighting makes for an easier edit, and solid editing knowledge allows the photographer to play more with light. That said, there are plenty of things you can do about substandard lighting in the post-production process that can save your photos. In this course, wedding photographer Daniel Kudish will conduct a live in-studio photo shoot with a real couple to show you how to create great lighting during your shoot so your editing process is easier. He’ll then do a full editing walkthrough in Lightroom® to demonstrate how to correct lighting problems and play with your lighting to bring your images to life.


Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


Sara NAomi

So love the way Daniel explains the thought processes for the images. Calm mental very very helpful. The D+D pair are an amazing photographic team from the feelings, experience, teaching and the results of their vision. So want to take a class with them in person.

Carlos Rosa

Amazing, very short compared to other classes that I have, but it's really relevant, he goes straight to the point and there's a lot of great info, and that's what makes this class so good. I really like his style​ of teaching, very simple and clear, and that's what we need.


Excellent course! Daniel explains in details how to take the pictures and how to retouch them later. I like his easy and clear approach and the use of a lot of examples. I recommend this course to anyone.