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Continuous Light Sources for Indoor Photography

Lesson 13 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Continuous Light Sources for Indoor Photography

Lesson 13 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

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Lesson Info

13. Continuous Light Sources for Indoor Photography


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Define the Goals of Wedding Photographers


The Importance of Wedding Photographers


Shooting Philosophy


How to Build a Shot List - Bride, Groom & Formals


Tye the Wedding Story Together


Capture Stories in Wedding Pictures


Get the Right Exposure


Lesson Info

Continuous Light Sources for Indoor Photography

So we find ourselves upstairs here in, well, a pretty typical scenario, would you agree? Yeah, yeah. Thanks for lighting us there, Rock. Yeah, it's a pity the lighting here isn't perfect. We've got this massive skylight, which is giving us, you know, overhead light. Not ideal, 'cause the minute you stand underneath this, we have the raccoon eyes. We don't want raccoon eyes. So we need to be able to work with still the direction of this light, but also working with the environment around us and the furniture that is in the room. We have lamps. We have mirrors. We have all sorts of things. So, let's make use of it and create some images. Yeah, yeah. And I'm thinking along the lines of starting with, I would usually start with the bride, really, in terms of details and photographing those details. And I wanna use this overhead light because it's probably better used as that detail sort of orientated light, and we're not too worried about the expression of the face or anything like...

that. In fact, we're probably gonna crop it out, so. So we'll start out here with our beautiful bride. Mate, you can take a rest. Yeah, hey. That was easy, wasn't it? Yeah, that was it. That was very good, yeah. And actually, darling, where you are is pretty cool. So what I'm looking for in you guys is, again, directional light. I've just placed her, if you look at where the skylight is, I'm not coming directly underneath it, because under my eyes, at the moment, it's probably gonna be really horrible. But just off, so just off that skylight, so that directional light's still gonna hit. It's gonna fall off and come down that way. So we're gonna set you up where you are. Just turn your body just away from that light slightly for me. Good, back a fraction more. Beautiful. And if you point that toe and cross that knee over. So, even though she's got a beautiful ballroom gown on and we're hiding all the legs, we still wanna do that same setup, that same setup with the legs, the pointing of the toe, the crossing of the knee. It gives so much to the actual shape of the whole body, even though we can't actually see what's going on underneath there. So, it looks good. You look very good, darling. So, yeah. Okay, so, from your upper body, I want you to lean into me. And we're beginning to lean into that light. So we're bringing the upper body into the light. We're feathering the light off this way. So what I want you to do, just very slightly, you're gonna turn your whole body this way. That's it. You've got your ring on, haven't you? Yeah, beautiful. So with your ring, I want you to come underneath it with the other hand. So if you bring it right in front of you there. Gorgeous. Now, what we're gonna look for here, guys, couple of things with the hands. We don't necessarily wanna photograph this flat part of the hand, so we're just gonna turn the hand up a little bit, just so I get that softer part to be really soft with all the fingers and that beautiful shape. That's what we're after. We do that as an excuse. We play with the ring as an excuse as they, as she, she would be playing with it anyway, so. So let's get started here. Also, one thing to note here, we have space between the body and the arm, which means that the body, you know, isn't making the arms look big by having the arms squashed into the side, okay? So leaving that space across. Do you know what I'd love you to do as well, just turn slightly more this way for me. Whole body? Yeah, your whole body. Yeah, that's it. That's good. Now bring your hands back across a little bit, and just with the ring, just tilt it to me a touch. Bit more. Gorgeous, beautiful. So I'm looking at this setup and possibly cropping just into that. So, again, with your upper body, lean into me. Gorgeous. Chin down this way for me. Beautiful. Hold it there. And all I need here, guys, I'm gonna render out her dress. So we're gonna talk about exposure a little bit as we go through this. So, very simply, I choose my lowest ISO first, my lowest possible ISO that I can get away with in this situation. I'm gonna start at 1600, because again, I'm 70 to 200. Don't wanna be too low in my shutter speed. And I'm gonna start with an aperture of 3.5, and then I'm gonna work my exposure just in my shutter speed. So, as I look at the dress there, at the moment, it's telling me at 1/320 of a second, let's make it 400, I'm one stop over. At 1/400 of a second, 3.5 at 1600 ISO, I'm one stop over. I'm gonna do a quick test shot and just see where we land here. (shutter snaps) Gorgeous. And guess what? We land right where we need to be, so. We landed it? Yeah, we did. We landed right where we need to be. So what I wanted to do was render the dress as still white. So I'm actually rendering it, just the upper end is on six, and letting everything else fall off from there. What it does in this particular lighting is it lets the light fall off, go onto that ring, but we still get some beautiful detail across the dress itself, and we've just started, again, just with a very, very simple shot of the, getting the bride's detail of her ring there. So, I'll continue on here, and what we might do this time is with your bracelet. So, I actually want you to just be adjusting the bracelet really softly. So, again, just so we've got that, that sort of, keep going for me. Yeah. And maybe come across the top of it. Yeah, just so I can see still some of it. So come back a little bit with that hand. That's gorgeous there. Eyes down again. Beautiful. Now, because I haven't moved her, I haven't moved the light, the exposure hasn't changed. So I can keep just shooting here, and darling, just with that wrist, that front wrist there, it's a bit flat to me. Just turn it. Oh, too much. Come back. There we go. Gorgeous, relax the hand. Yeah, let it go. There we are. (shutter snaps) Gorgeous. Beautiful. So, we'll start to see that we're building, and what we're trying to build here is the album pages. So as, as we're going through the motions of these shots, I wanna start getting the ring, the bracelet. We might now come up to your earrings. So with this side of the earring, I want you to go with both hands behind it. That's it, gorgeous. Chin up a little bit for me, beautiful. Turn your chin that way just a touch more, and down. Gorgeous, beautiful. Hold it there. Relax. So, at all times, I'm just giving her some positive reinforcement just to let her know she's doing the right thing. You're doing the right thing. (Ryan laughs) Do me a favor, lean into me very, very slightly. That's it, chin down just a touch more. And just tilt the top of your head, and come back up with your chin a little bit. There it is, gorgeous. Hold it there. (shutter snaps) Beautiful. So, not too worried now about where the light's being placed on her face so much, because again, these are detail-orientated images. That's where we, that's what we're concentrating on, and making sure the light is perfect on those details. So, the last one I might do is just to get the bodice, because she's got a really interesting bodice of her dress here with the feathers and beautiful things going on. What I'd love you to do with your hands, though, is if you come to the front of the gown, and come more, a little bit more to the side. That's it. And just very lightly, I want you to pick it up, both hands. That's it. Now, we get to here with the wrists. So what I want these wrists to do is go back into you. That's it, just be really light there. That's gorgeous. Just turn that wrist in a touch, beautiful. Chin right down over your shoulder, looking right down. Beautiful, hold it there. So we're just getting the top end of the sort of the bodice here. And I'm cropping in a little bit of her face, just to make sure that she's still present within the shot. (shutter snaps) Beautiful. So now, I've built out my details. So I've got the ring, the bracelet, the earrings, the dress. That could be one side of this album. The next side, though, to build on that and to finish it off on the right-hand side is now, I want a beautiful portrait just of her. So, and it's gonna be tough. In this sort of lighting, she's gonna have to have her chin right up to that line in order to eliminate her face, but we can work with it, and we need quite a dynamic portrait I think of her as well. Yeah. Now, I've shot everything in those details. The important thing to note in those details, I've shot everything vertical. That's important as well, because as it lays out, I want everything on the same layout to be in the same orientation. So if I start vertical, I continue vertical. I don't switch to horizontal midway through, because I know in album design, it's gonna look a little bit odd a vertical, then a horizontal, then a vertical, then a horizontal. It's gonna be hard to fit on a page. If everything is vertical, fantastic. It fits in really well. And that's the left-hand side. The right-hand side, I can play with a little bit, 'cause there's a bit more space now, 'cause I'm gonna just have the portrait. So I'll do two. I'll do one vertical, one horizontal. And we'll choose the best one, so. So, where you are is really, actually, it's quite cool where you are. Let's flip, let's flip the way you're rotated. So get the other way for me. Come back to me. This way. Come back. Spin. That's it. Yeah, good. (Ryan laughs) So, with your hands again, yeah, so pointing that toe, cross that knee, lean in. Beautiful. I'm gonna get your chin right up this time, right up, right up, right up. Tilt the other way for me. Beautiful. Eyes down. With your hands, come to the front of your gown. Grab your gown, and just hitch it, just so your elbows come behind your waist. That's it. Chin right up to that light now. That's it, eyes down. Chin up. (Ryan laughs) It's hard, isn't it? No one said you'd be comfortable doing this. Yeah, that's beautiful there. Hold it there. (shutter snaps) Gorgeous. With your chin this time, go over that shoulder. And chin up again, and just tilt the other way. So tilt, ah, that way, that's it. Yep, chin up. Oh, we're tilting too much. Come back to me. There it is. Beautiful. Just relax and breathe through your lips for me. Yeah, that's gorgeous. (shutter snaps) Bring your eyes to me. Tilt, yep, up. Gorgeous. Yeah, that's nice. Hold it. You can see how being short is a problem. Tippy-toes. (Ryan laughs) That's nice. Just chin up a touch more. And really stretch. Up, up, up, up. (shutter snaps) Beautiful. So, we've got a nice sort of series of portraits there. I'll probably prefer the vertical. It just has a, had a nicer feel to me. I cropped out purposely the environment around us. I didn't want the environment to be present within the shot, because if we had these frames and this, what is this thing, Rock? Dresser? It's a, it's a thing. It's a thing. It's a thing. It's a thing. Let's just go with that. It wouldn't be as timeless. I love images to be timeless, that we can look back again and again, and not really know where we are or what period we're in. So, and 'cause these aren't important. It doesn't have to be there. What do you got, Rock? There's lots of other things we can do in here utilizing the thing maybe, right. Oh, the thing. Yes, utilize that thing, Rock. We're gonna utilize the thing. So what I'm gonna get you to do is I'm gonna get you to take a seat right here for me, and careful, because this isn't the most stable seat on the planet. So what we're gonna do here is obviously, not work with the ambient light that's coming from. I'm gonna get you to face into, into that direction. So, as though you're just facing the mirror itself. Yeah. Okay, and here, we can start playing with a couple of different, couple of different ideas. You know, using the mirrors, you know, to have, you know, a couple of different, different options of, you know, lean forward a little bit more. Okay, awesome. So what I'm trying to get here is a reflection, a reflection, and then ultimately, another reflection. This is all good, but we need to light it now, okay? And the way we're gonna light this is with a nice light. And we're gonna light it using bands. So I'm gonna create a very, very narrow slit of light, which will just illuminate partially the face, giving us a really, really strong, dramatic shot, okay? So, Ryan, just go from there while I get my camera. So the beauty of the bundle is just being able to really sort of purposely control exactly where we're going to. Now, I don't know exactly what he's after, so he's gonna have to tell me. So, just from that angle, a little bit more. That's it. Now, rather than just getting here there not really doing anything, I'm gonna get you just to lean forward a little bit more. Lean forward. I'm gonna get you playing with an earring, okay. That is awesome, right there. And the idea here is not to get people in the background, so she's gonna be, yeah. You're actually there as well, which is awesome. So I'm just gonna modify my shot slightly here. Okay, so I'm gonna take just a, just a test reading first. (shutter snaps) Yeah, that's pretty good. Just gonna open up a little bit on that. Okay, Ryan, just come over with the light that way a little bit. More, perfect. Actually, go back to where you had it. That was pretty, pretty dramatic. Just placing now both hands just behind the earring. That's it, and just looking down with your eyes. That's awesome. We need more sort of light just on the cheek here. Go back the other way where you were. That's it. And chin up, darling, chin up. Chin up. Awesome, that's beautiful. (shutter snaps) Okay. And let's have a look at that. Yeah, that's great. We'll do one more now. (shutter snaps) Yep, it's fantastic. So now what I have in the back here is three different, three different angles just using the mirrors and just some really selective light, just to bring focus to, you know, to what, what the bride was doing with her earring. Now, the other option to this is go one more, is, you know, we come in a little bit wider. Okay, go back to what you were doing again earlier. And chin up a little bit more. That is awesome. Right there. So good. The ability of, not to get your in the reflection. (shutter snaps) That is the real trick. Yeah, that's great. That looks really, really good. Very happy with that. That is awesome. So I've got reflection, reflection, the nice, beautiful warm light, and the idea here with the, with the actual light was to be able to control the light and bring it into just a selected area, which was absolutely awesome. Right? Good? Yeah. I'm good. I'm just, if you know, if you know my work, I love reflections. I love anything that I can do a a reflection. I'm looking at that little mirror and how much we can actually do with that, just to play with the idea of reflections and refractions of light. So I'm actually thinking of a shot that I can shoot right into the bevel, right into the bevel of that mirror. But we need to light them again. Actually, bring back our groom this time as well. So we'll sort of, pretend that we finished all the bridal portraiture stuff in this room, and we've moved on, we've moved to another location, and now we're here. So come up. Come on with us, darling. Lemme get you guys in that light, sort of around where that chair is. If you come together, sort of a nice embrace there for me. Okay. Beautiful. And guys, actually, I need to turn you two towards this mirror just a fraction more. And come back a little bit. Beautiful, all right, so hug each other. Yeah, however you like. Hug, hug. Ah. (Ryan laughs) Someone's learned something. Actually, can you do, can you do it the way you were hugging just before for me? Okay. I probably find in most cases, this is how people hug, yeah? 'Cause it feels comfortable, doesn't it, and you wanna wrap up, and she wants to be cuddled, yeah? But we're doing a couple of things, aren't we? We're doing a couple of things to the arm here, pushing the arm against the body. Probably not the best thing in the world. And you just look like you're sort of swarming her, yeah? So, you actually corrected yourself well. You put your arm underneath. So let's do that first. Beautiful. Now, the important thing, go back up. You're cool. The important thing now to notice is where this elbow is, and remembering, if you remember what I was said in terms of posing, we always want the elbow to be behind the waist. So that means that hand has to go down, and if you see here now, we've got sort of an awkward angle happening. So what happens is that comes into her. He has to do me a favor again. Do the, do the split. I do the splits because it brings his height down very easily, and it's not too uncomfortable is it? No. No, you'll be all right. Okay. Bring this hand down a little bit onto her waist. Gorgeous, yeah. All right, so what we're now gonna do with this hand is just push this hand down. So we open up now this gap between body and arm. With the hand, if we wrap the hand in just a fraction more, just bring those fingers out, that's cool, I wanna get that part of the hand and not so much the flatter part of the hand. So she comes outside his, outside the wrist. We get this flat part, which we don't want. We wanna photograph it on the smallest part and have that nice curve. So we're always after curves and angles, and nothing at any time coming towards the camera. It's always away from the camera. So guys, bring your heads together there for me. And chins right up to this light here. And if you turn your lips into each other without kissing, yep, gorgeous. Close your eyes, relax, be in the moment. Nice, beautiful. Hold it there. Now, I'm gonna swap out. I've been using a long lens, a 70 to 200. For anything I do with a reflection, I do with my 100 mil macro lens, because it allows me to get so much closer to the reflected surface without getting myself in the shot. So, it works pretty well. Now, Rock, the only thing is I may need a bit more light. On them? Maybe. I'll, I'll work it out and see. So, I said to you, I noticed this, this little oval mirror. I love it. I love more the fact that it's got a beveled edge. And what I mean by a beveled edge is that little cutaway part. And that's the part I'm gonna concentrate on shooting into so that it refracts light and gives me something very interesting out of it, hopefully. We'll soon see. So, you guys, you're in there perfectly. I just need your chins up a touch more, and turn your lips towards each other. I always prefer, when moments of like, intimate moments, where they are now is probably a stronger moment than if they were kissing. I just find when people are kissing, it looks, I don't know, sometimes it looks a bit odd, I think. Don't you guys? Yeah. Fish lips. Yeah, fish lips, yeah? Yeah? So I want them, either the moment before or the moment after. We'll pretend this is the moment just before, so, ooh, yeah, that's a nice moment there. All right, guys, hold it there for me. Tricky one to focus, this one. Yeah, Rock, give me just a touch more. So I just asked for a little bit more light. Yeah, look at that. Gorgeous. And being that the other light is daylight. It's blending beautifully. It's blending in lovely. Okay, exposure should be pretty similar to where I was before. So, guys, where you are, just relax, breathe. Yeah. (shutter snaps) Yeah, yeah. (Ryan laughs) It's nice when you can do things straight off the camera and have it, have it really beautifully done. Why I asked them to relax and breathe is that I could feel that, you know, it's a difficult situation he's in. You're a model. We've got cameras pointing around. It's difficult. I just want you to, just to relax a little bit. So that breathing moment, just pausing, I think, just relaxes the whole feel of it. I also get people to breathe through their lips most of the time as well, and why that is is because it just relaxes the whole thing. So the only thing is is I probably, I underexposed it a touch. So I wanna do one more, Rock. Sure. Okay, can I do one more? So, just to give you an idea of exposure settings here guys, 1600 ISO, 1/250 of a second at 3.5, okay? 3.5. And Rock, just give me, eh, that's good. I know. It's like you've done it before. I have. It's crazy. Looks beautiful, guys. Just turn your lips in towards each other again for me. Yeah, so they're just a fraction closer. That's it. Mm. Breathe, yep. (shutter snaps) Gorgeous. Photographing into the bevel of something, I wanna just grab this little mirror and show the camera as well, just so, so we get a good, a good look at this, because these things, these things are magic, and they're everywhere, right? We go into people's houses. There's mirrors all over the place. You go into a venue, there's mirrors. This one's a little one, yeah? And it's not much of one. But it does have this little bevel. And when you do get right into that bevel, and I don't know if you can see how close I was to that actual surface. I was very, very close to it. We start to get these different reflections in it. So I should have picked up about two or three different variances of them in that shot, and hopefully, it'll pop up on the screen soon and we'll be able to have a look. But love it. Love any time I can find one of these little mirrors with a bevel or, you know, those cutaway ones they use as bedside tables. It can be really, really cool. The main image of them, which is the main reflection point, it then softens to another reflected point of the bevel, and then finally, a very, very distanced reflected point there as well. So, love reflections, guys. You can find reflections in pretty well anything. Like, we always challenge ourselves, don't we, Rock? Absolutely. There's reflections everywhere, really. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Shiny surface. Any shiny surface, really. Absolutely. Yeah, so we want to move on out of this room and, yeah. If Kristy has a question, we'll go for it. Absolutely. Yeah. We've got lots of questions happening on the internet. Okay, okay. Good. So, we have some people who would love to know how much time you generally budget for this kind of pre, you know, pre-wedding or portrait shoot on an actual wedding day when time is crazy and it's a little strapped. Do you have sort of a minimum or a standard you love to go for? Minimum's probably about an hour and a half. Okay. So from the time we get there, and we want the bride to go through her final paces of getting ready. So, hair and makeup done, and then it's just about putting the dress on and taking it on with, you know, earrings and so on. Ideally, sometimes two hours is good, if you wanna take things a little bit slower and not rush the bride. But having said that, we've done that in an hour or 45 minutes. So, it's about, you know, communicating with your clients, first and foremost. Preparing. Yeah. Absolutely. I think, you know, the more you can communicate with them prior to the wedding day, and ask for this time. If you don't ask, you don't get it, right? That's right. Of course. So, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Was there anything else? Yeah, we had some comments about how fantastic it was to be able to see the back of your camera, the histogram, and your explanations of the dynamic range and, you know, the lighting, and some comments about how, how great your dynamic range really was in terms of what you were shooting. Do you have particular settings, things you have going on in your camera that are, that are specific to that, or you're just... No, we don't, we don't get, yeah, we don't get special cameras. (all laugh) So. We don't, we don't. No, everything's set up just to standard. No camera settings, or... In fact, what we do is, with my camera on the, on the Nikon or Nikon, we, I turn off everything like D-lighting or extended dynamic range, 'cause that only really applies to the JPEG that's being recorded in the raw file. It has no bearing on the raw file whatsoever. And I want something close, that resembles what the raw file is, as far as preview. So we turn everything off, and then use our exposure and our spot metering to work out where our tones are gonna be and how they're gonna be rendered, knowing that later on in post-production, in Lightroom, I've got that full dynamic range of the sensor to get me through, you know, the difficult situation, provided, we've, you know, paid respect to the highlights. Yeah. I think that's been, yeah, there has been this whole chatter in general about dynamic range in cameras. It's been going on for years. I think probably what most people don't realize is that, you know, with great exposure and rendering things out to the optimal of what you want it to be, your dynamic range really has no bearing, right? Because if you're lighting things properly, exposing things properly, then you can, you can pretty well see everything in a standard dynamic range that the manufacturers are giving us, which is incredible anyway, right? Like, looking at the film, that is, the latitude we had in film, it's getting close to back to where we were. Yeah. Absolutely.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Guide Book Chapter

Ratings and Reviews

Jerry Willis

Ryan & Rocco, in my very humble opinion, are THE best wedding photography instructors in the entire industry! I've been watching their work for years now, which just so happens to win a most grand-scaled competitions, and they somehow continue to keep getting better! I first drilled Ryan at WPPI inquiring about what made his workshop different from all the others. His response, me paraphrasing, "If you're looking for tools to learn, come to my workshop. If you're looking for inspiration and smoke blowing, don't come." That's exactly what I needed to hear. Straight tools, no fluff. THE BEST photography workshop I've EVER taken, by far. You want the best photography education, learn from the best. This CreativeLive workshop is the PERFECT complimentary refresher and companion to what I learned! Thank you so much for having them! It's not the same as the workshop, which it shouldn't be, but they ARE reinforcing many things that have slipped my memory! I'm for sure buying this! :-)

Neeraj Arora

WOW!!! I have started a few CL courses but not finished as I got distracted by "life" and it took me a while to get back and finish them. But these guys!! They were simply superb. I finished this course really fast. Amazing artists, they explain things so well, Ryan is such a charmer and engaging teacher, Rocco is a fountain of knowledge. I am an enthusiastic photographer with aspirations to start my own business soon. I learn't so much from this class that will help improve my photography even if I don't become a professional wedding photographer. Great job guys, keep it up. I will need to come back to the lessons and I very much appreciate the key note pdf. All CL courses should include the slides like they did here. Thanks CL.


I am a newborn photographer by trade, but I really want to venture out and photograph more weddings so I decided to purchase a wedding class on creative live. Of course when I typed in wedding, quite a few classes came up. But when I saw the image and title "capture the story" I was definitely intrigued. I've always been touched by the photographs that have emotion and that's what I'm passionate to photograph! Always a little nervous when you purchase a class because you don't want to feel like it was a waste of money, but this knocked it out of the park for me! Thank you to Ryan and Rocco for explaining so much, showing the pull backs, and moving your subject and explaining why! This has opened my eyes so much to how beautiful photographing a wedding can be and not so terrifying as I've been making it out to be. I'm really so thankful to hopefully being a great wedding photographer and making more income for my family, while having fun creating something beautiful

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