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Lighting to Simplify Your Edit

Lesson 6 of 16

The Importance of Playing

Daniel Kudish

Lighting to Simplify Your Edit

Daniel Kudish

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Lesson Info

6. The Importance of Playing

Lesson Info

The Importance of Playing

Another important part of our portraits is really to allow ourselves to play. I think, we live in a world where everything is very structured, and we often feel contrived. It's important to give ourselves the freedom to play around, especially as artists, as photographers, we need to try different things and let our creativity roam free. We don't hold back on the props that we use when it comes to playing around. If you saw our other Creative Live classs, you did hear us talk about a stamping block, which we didn't actually have with us, well low and behold I do have it here with us, this time. It is is simply a acrylic stamping block. The reason why we like this is because it doesn't have any dark edges, it's completely clear and it has different surfaces that we can use to reflect different elements. In this case, the way that we're using it is we send the bride and groom down the beach. Davina's holding it on the left side of her frame and then reflecting the ocean, which is actuall...

y to her right, we're reflecting it on the left side, which then eliminates any of the rocks, any of the people walking by, any elements that are distracting and that we don't necessarily want in the frame. In a situation where the bride is getting ready, a lot of things are cluttered. We really wanna try to simplify and give ourselves a situation where we can play around and create something a little bit more interesting. The elements here are, we have good daylight, so we start by simply narrowing it down to this element alone, put the bride and the good light. And, eliminate any of the clutter, so photo number one. Photo number two, by including the dress and placing the bride in a more interesting way, getting really that narrow light on the front of her face. And then, allowing ourselves to play around and add some of that reflection. Same stamping block, used in a different way then in that other portrait. Another element that we have to play around with, which we're actually gonna use today, is simply this old compact mirror, very very simple. It's just mirrored on two sides. That allows us to bring different reflections into a photo. What you see in the center of the frame, is the real life and then the trees reflected on each side is through this little compact mirror. More reflections, this is our son's little kaleidoscope that he plays with every once in a while. Just look through daily objects in your kitchen, in your kid's toy box, in your garage, whatever it is, really just look at different elements and how you could use them in photography. Just give yourselves that freedom, there's no right or wrong, there's no limit to what we can do in photography. One of our favorite tools that we discovered a couple years ago is to use drones for photography. In 2018 now, it's obviously much more popular and a lot of photographers love to use them. The way that we like to use it, is in a way that makes you wonder if it was drone or not a drone. We do of course use it completely overhead as well, really getting that full bird's eye view down on our subjects. We also like to use it this way where you kind question, was this done with a drone or are they standing on a cliff, what is the vantage point here, how did this photo happen? By having this elevation with the drone, it has opened a whole world of opportunity. There's so much more that we can do with our subjects, so many places that we can get different photos from. If this was photographed at ground level, we wouldn't be seeing the mountains, we wouldn't be getting that flair of sunlight and really able to go and photograph from any vantage point that we wish. The drone also gives this beautiful sun flare, it has a wonderful camera on it and it does a beautiful job in sunny situations. It's the DJI Mavic Pro, in case anyone is wondering. Another way that we love to play and this has been my obsession over the last few years, is by including slow shutter into our photography. What I feel that it does to a photo, is it brings a little bit more life, a little bit more energy into the photos. It's one of those elements that you can't necessarily get in a static photo. What is wind feel like? Or, what does energy feel like? Those elements are very very hard to put into photography, but by slowing down the shutter it conveys some of that every so slightly and really adds to 2D images. This is the final photo, this is the behind the scenes. All I was looking for here is good natural light, nice dark background, and then I knew that the rest would really come to life in the editing. I knew that by lowering the shadows and making everything darker, I could eliminate what's behind the bride and groom. And then crop the photo to a horizontal and extend the edges to really isolate the two of them. Once I started enjoying shooting with slow shutter, it's not something that I necessarily wanted to do at every single wedding. It just became this one element that was sitting in my back pocket and every once in awhile I would get inspired and just used it again in somewhat of a different situation. This is a photo that we did a year after the previous one. It's the bride alone, just spinning around. Just try to create something more interesting. Cool photo, but not necessarily the best version possible. But, just allowing myself to play with an element that I find interesting. A couple of years later, again that slow shutter stays in the back of my mind. I see an opportunity for it and decide to use it again. Here instead of having the bride and groom move, I decided well what if, I'm the one who moved the camera at a slow shutter speed, and just try to freeze them a little bit. The key here is to have an exposure that's long enough that you can control the amount that you freeze the subject and then also the amount that you blur. If you see here it's two and a half seconds, so mentally as I'm shooting this, I'm trying to hold the camera steady for about a second, a second and a half, and then using the last bit of that two and a half seconds, to create that shutter movement. I didn't take too many frames, just click, move, click, move, click, move, nothing else is really changing in the frame, so I just told the bride and groom to really hold steady, stay still and the rest is up to me to try and create. Still evolving that idea of using the slow shutter, the next area where I do wanna incorporate it more is in candid moments, with portraits it's one thing because we have a lot of control over how things are going, but in candid moments it's definitely a little bit more challenging. But, it also increases the energy and the feeling in the photos. So here the bride and groom are walking in and everybody's twirling the napkins, and how do you convey that in a photo? In video, it's pretty easy, you see that stuff happening so you understand, but in a photo if those napkins are fully frozen at a higher shutter speed, you don't feel that energy quite as much. So, drop the shutter speed down to 1/50 of a second which is still every other frame, or every third frame, still fast enough to freeze the bride and groom, all while getting the movement in the napkins. Still in candid moments, so the bride during the horah, a lot of movement on her dress, everybody's dancing around them. Again, I wanna show that energy and make the viewer's really feel how the wedding party was. By slowing down the shutter, down to 1/20 of a second, we really convey some of that energy. Another question from Sunny Sunrise, wanting to know how long do the couples hold the pose to let things happen around them. Is that referencing a specific photo? Just in general, how long do you usually have them hold the pose? We definitely try to communicate with the bride and groom as much as possible. I think that's really what's key. Sometimes we'll execute in two or three minutes, sometimes we'll need 25, 30 minutes to execute a photo. What's important is that we communicate that with them. We give them the good feedback. We say you guys are doing great, don't worry if it's taking awhile, it's not because you're doing anything wrong, it's because we are trying something creative, so we need a little bit more time to execute it. There's no specific formula, but that communication is really what's key.

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.