Don't be Afraid of Tough Light


The Wedding Story: Capture Creative and Authentic Photos


Lesson Info

Don't be Afraid of Tough Light

And then we have tough light. This is when... Not our favorite. (laughs) No, no definitely not. When things are not really aligning very well for you, like at Susan... And to demonstrate bad light, we'll talk about two of the best photographers with light, Susan and Cliff Mautner. They got married in very dark, loft space and it was extremely, extremely challenging to get the light just right on them. I mean, for very difficult situations, this is what it looked like most of the time. And this is a good photo of the light on Susan but if you look at Cliff in the background, he has sort of this Zorro strip of light on his forehead. Most of the time his eyes were in complete darkness and it was nearly impossible to work with. So the key here is to just be really, really patient and wait for things to move and fall in right place, like here with Susan and finally here with Cliff. Again, that's that mental aspect of... If I start moving around and try to do something different, the l...

ighting's not gonna change. If I feel like this is the best photo that I need to get in that moment, be extra patient. Wait for someone to move their head just up and down a little bit and really get the best version of that photo possible. In a tough lighting situation for a ceremony, you're probably gonna end up with even less photos, because you have to be extra patient and you're spending extra time on each photo. But this is especially important in this case, because you don't want to end up with a whole bunch of different angles that you did, but the light never worked out so you end up with nothing that really worked. You're better off working on five different photos that you got the good moment, the light was right, and then you're ready to move on to something else. And sometimes tough light is interesting light. It's not perfect by any means, but it allowed us to silhouette one of them against the background, while getting good light on them. Again, just waiting for them to turn towards one another, the situation changes and get the best version of that possible. And then when they stepped away from the chuppah where they were standing, the light quality was again very different and it was good in that instance. And then as they walked out, well there was just a matter of being ready with a bounce flash and lighting them on my own, because I knew that that was complete darkness and there was not much to be done there with the ambient light. Sticking with tough light, high noon is some of the worst light that you can possibly work with, but there is still a way to make it work in the photos. And sometimes we really have no choice. We often, for a ceremony, they'll time their ceremony maybe with sunset. That's great, that's what we want. But then working backwards, if they have a first look, their first look ends up being at a less than ideal time of day. We have the option to do it inside, or if we want to try to kind of work with that light it's just a matter of, again, taking some control and making sure the light is gonna be working for us instead of against us. A lot of times the first look is gonna happen early in the day because they need to do the first look, they need to do their own portraits, they need to do the formals. They need go through all of those official things on the schedule, and so the first look ends up getting bumped to 12 or 1:00, which is when the light is really the hardest. So, in this case, we really took control. We scouted exactly where we wanted them to do their first look. The reason why we chose this spot is because we knew that it would give the bride a long path to walk down, and that when she would walk in that specific spot she would frame against a dark background. That's all we were looking for. We just wanted light on the bride against a dark background. Simple as that. And then we made sure that the groom was on the left side, so that his shadow would complete the frame at the bottom. This is at a different wedding but same scenario. With a really long lens, we just placed the groom so that he had the sun behind him and he was against a dark background. And then as she arrived, the moments are happening in that spot, in a situation that we've had some kind of control over. We actually had the bride walk all the way around the block just so she would walk in the right direction. So again, control in tough situations is really really key, as well as staying very patient with it and allowing the light and the moment to really come together.

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!