Capture The Mood


The Wedding Story: Capture Creative and Authentic Photos


Lesson Info

Capture The Mood

That one is like the more abstract concept but it's just so important to convey in our photos. This is almost like a fun challenge that we've given ourselves. It's like photographing another dimension, you know? It's a fun thing for us to keep in mind and it's probably the last thing that we've added in the last year to our own formula, you know? In a very clear way in our minds. I'd say that it came about for me at this wedding that we photographed in Vietnam. It was on a boat in Ha Long Bay. When we went into it, I will say we did have expectations of this wedding. I mean, it's hard not to. I think I envisioned this setting, you know, in the photos. It was actually tricky. Really tricky to photograph because it's not a huge boat. You're very limited. You can't go anywhere but the boat. (chuckles) You can't swim out, or have them swim out. So everything was very, yeah, limited. So, I remember feeling, the feeling of the wind blowing, and the smell of the food cooking, and the crazy ...

heat, and sound of the storm in the distance. Those elements to me were so huge to that wedding, and as a photographer, I felt stunted probably for the first time ever. I was like, "I can't capture all of this." This wedding is about more than the visuals and that was really frustrating for me. It kind of introduced me to the concept of mood and how we can actually capture mood in our photos. So we actually, this was the opening shot of their slideshow and normally it's a portrait of the bride and groom in the setting. Which, we're going to talk about the opening portrait. We have a segment on that. But we opened with this because this was what this wedding was about. It was about them leaving for three days around the Ha Long Bay, and the one sunset that they got the entire time was on their wedding day. And it was a split-second, so this was taken with our drone. So, mood. In this case mood was chillin', relaxing. It was cloudy, you know details like this are things that we focused on to try to convey mood. Uh huh, yeah. Same couple, different wedding. Can you follow that? They had two weddings. (chuckles) It's about a month later, and for their wedding in California, they just stuck to a very laid back feel. Very laid back mood. Everyone was super casual. There was barely any formalities. The bride and groom were really into dancing so they spent a lot of time on the dance floor. But instead of just showing them there doing their thing, we did want to incorporate more of the environment and show how relaxed the vibe was. You feel it through the lights, you feel it through the people just sitting there and chatting. And all this stuff that's happening around them while the bride and groom are dancing, it just conveys that mood of being super relaxed. I really like being able to take a step back during the reception and the first dance, or dancing, is a good time to do that. Often times that's a fun way to convey mood. This was your queue to switch to the next photo. My apologies. Okay. (chuckles) So, this is kind of the opposite of a very elaborate set-up in a ballroom, but again, they spend a lot of money on this lighting and they spend a lot of time thinking about their decor. To show them within the context of that in a more environmental way, it conveys the mood of the room and also incorporates their first dance in that setting. And then end up the night riding with the bride and groom again. What's important here is to let them have their moment and really incorporate as much of the ambient light as possible so that it really feels the way that it felt in that car. Lighting this up with a flash, or a light of any kind, is going to take away. Here you feel that it's late in the day, and they're just kind of fixing themselves up. Uh huh. So, again this is the same kind of example about taking a step back at a reception. Yeah? That was pretty clear. Come on. (chuckles) Sorry. (chuckles) From the balcony and when things are going on, just shooting with that ambient light and just showing the action within the context of the actual wedding with some environment to it. It really sets the mood. You see there's been confetti but it's past that, it's beyond that. You see that there's a disco ball, it just sets all the tone for that reception. Yeah. It's hard, I have trouble talking about this topic because it's hard to even photograph, and we're still wrapping our minds around mood in terms of photography, but it's a really fun challenge to give ourselves. To be like, "I'm going to try to capture images that make the bride and groom remember what it felt like to be there." Not just what it felt like in the moment, but what it felt like visually, like another dimension. (chuckles) Weather is a great way to show mood. This bride was super early for her wedding. When does that happen? She was like half an hour early, they were circling the block around the church. I just had the driver pull over, and I hesitated. I was like, "Don't be afraid to take control." (chuckles) Max's voice. No, I'm going to do this, we have time, there's nothing holding me back so I just asked them to pull over and I just got out of the car and I just wanted to get a photo of her looking up, out at the church, just before coming out. What's funny to me, is the rain was such a big part of the wedding. To me it seemed. And the bride said of this picture, "I didn't even remember that it rained until I saw that picture" and I was like "Really?" It was a big thing to me, you know? So, it conveys the mood, and weather is part of mood. Yeah. So, when you're looking to convey that mood, this is obviously pre-ceremony, the bride's waiting to go in. Are you thinking, "Alright. I need to convey the mood of anticipation." Or in the previous shot of everybody on the dance floor. "I need to convey that mood of party, of fun, of happiness." Are you thinking about things in those terms, or is it more broad? I'm sorry, I know you're still kind of flushing it out. (chuckles) Yeah, can you tell by my expression? No, it's a good question. Like how clear are we in the moment. I don't think we're ever super clear in the moment. I think we just feel it out. Like, "Okay I've done this, what else can I do?" And these words that we're throwing at you, like mood, those are just the types of things that we just remind ourselves of. Like, "Okay maybe now it's time to convey mood, or maybe now I go work on something moody." Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes it's more intentional in the moment. It's just these kind of concepts we try to remind ourselves of on the wedding day. It keeps things interesting for us, honestly, because it gives us these challenges when we're like, "Okay I've shot the reception, they've been dancing for like five hours, what else can I do?" Uh huh. Yeah. The mood is very like the smell, the temperature, the weather, and the wind. It's like all those things that we feel as humans, but that you don't necessarily see visually. Trying to put just a little hint of that into the photos is what we're trying to do with mood.

Class Description

Wedding Photography is a hard and sometimes exhausting business. Finding ways to stay creative while continuing to capture timeless and classic imagery is important. Drawing from their own life experiences, Davina and Daniel Kudish capture the subtle nuances of their client's life stories at every wedding. In this course, they’ll discuss techniques to personalize each individual wedding to capture the stories and moments that make each couple unique.

They’ll discuss the formula to capturing stories and teach:

  • Pre-Wedding Conversation techniques with clients to help build your shot list
  • Utilize what you know about each couple to help approach capturing the day
  • Research and location scouting techniques
  • Capture the details that matter most
  • How to work with various lighting situations
  • Preserve the mood and capture natural moments
  • Composition and Framing
  • Shooting with variety
  • Create personal and creative portraits
  • Edit a slideshow and how to create an album

Davina and Daniel are known for capturing creative portraits and important moments that tell every unique love story. Join them to learn how to implement their formula to find and capture the creative story with every client.


1Class Introduction 2What Are "Epic" Images? 3The Slideshow Formula 4First Client Meeting 5Establish Client Relationship 6Expectation vs Preparation 7Pre-Wedding Checklist 8Gear for Photographing Weddings 9Capture The Subtleties 10Show The Connection 11Importance of Capturing Transitions 12Sidelines & Story Telling Details 13Anticipation & Patience 14Let The Scene Develop 15Sequencing in Numbers 16Successful "Anticipatience" 17Examples of Poor Reaction Time 18HTCG in 10 19Giving Direction 20Have Variety With Light & Composition 21Capture The Mood 22Take Advantage of Natural Light 23Be Creative With Video Light 24On-camera Flash For The Dance Floor 25Find Flattering Ambient Light 26Don't be Afraid of Tough Light 27Composition & Framing 28Lens Choice 29Keep it Simple 30Purpose of the Creative Portrait 31Scouting for the Creative Portrait 32Maximize a Location 33Unique Posing for a Creative Portrait 34Experiment with Your Photography 35Make The Image Personal 36Post Production Overview 37Stay Organized in Post Production 38Full Gallery Edits 39Lightroom Workflow Overview 40Bring Out Detail in Lightroom 41Black & White in Lightroom 42Landscape Images in Lightroom 43Bold Images in Lightroom 44Slideshow Edits 45Importance of The Slideshow 46Selecting Slideshow Images For a Large Wedding 47Culling Slideshow Images for a Large Wedding 48Complete Slideshow Example for a Large Wedding 49Slideshow Images for a Small Wedding 50Complete Slideshow Example for a Small Wedding 51Build a Business Around Storytelling 52Portfolio for Clients 53Importance of The Inquiry Reply 54Price List Best Practices 55How to Price Your Work 56Final Thoughts


a Creativelive Student

Holy Moly! I have been very familiar with Davina & Daniel for several years and I also work closely with Image Salon for the past 3 years. I loved their relatability, raw honesty, human connection, and their teaching method. It was also super helpful to see the GoPro footage on a real wedding day and walk through their thought process with them. A refreshing wind of inspiration has now flooded my mind and attitude. I am excited to begin my 8th year of weddings with a clear mind and full heart. These two are the REAL deal and I am so happy I made this investment. Thanks, CL for always bringing the BEST of the BEST.

a Creativelive Student

I’ve been following Davina and Daniel’s work for years and suffice it to say, they are in my top 6 all time favorites. I was so excited to watch this creative live and it didn’t disappoint. From their approach to shooting through the moments, to their stunning locales and minimalist gear, there is something for everyone in this class. Both Daniel and Davina have a tremendous knowledge of photography and their willingness to share and educate is second to none. Oh, and just so you know, they are also the nicest people on the planet. Super sweet, amazingly talented. Thanks for having them on.

a Creativelive Student

Davina and Daniel are fantastic presenters as well as an exceptional photo team (plus they are super nice people, too!). I love their approach and methods and felt like there is so much value in this course. Even though I've been photographing for a long time, I took away a lot of great value gems from their course and look forward to applying several to my own business!