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Couple Together Posing & Lighting Techniques

Lesson 19 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Couple Together Posing & Lighting Techniques

Lesson 19 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

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Lesson Info

19. Couple Together Posing & Lighting Techniques


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

Couple Together Posing & Lighting Techniques

So what we wanna to do is have our bride into that, her body away or Chris shielding her body and being a subtractive light source basically so she can have her body into the light there, but Chris needs to come around to subtract that light a little bit. And then we just need to make sure her chin is still in that light. So just lean into that light Darling a touch more and Guys bring your foreheads together for me so you're closer. That's it. That's it and then Roc if we place that Ice Light, I can come a little bit closer for this one now. Where do you want it? Just on her hair coming in quite close now. Too much on his shirt, so go back around Roc to your right. Too much on his shirt still. And Darling lean into that light for me again. Chris go back a touch and then, whoa, back towards her ear. And close the gap. Close the gap. And Darling lean into that light a fraction more. That's it, hold it there. So we're playing just really with the subtleties of light here. And getting...

some beautiful light and shadow and light and shadow as we work through this. Can I just get, grab those flowers from you? Hold onto his arm for me with that, yeah. Actually Mate bring your hand onto her waist and bring that hand down Darling onto, more onto his wrist that's it. Push that shoulder back a touch more, that's it. Close the gap. Gorgeous. Close your eyes. Even more beautiful. Chin up. Here's what I want you to do Darling, I want you to breathe everything into your chest and hold it for me, you ready? Do one, breathe it out. One more, ready? One, two, three in. That's it. Yeah nice, it's beautiful light. Yeah, it's very, very nice. We'll do, we'll do perhaps one more just a backlit with a nice light. Sure. But this time we'll do it up here and we'll use, quite purposefully. If we are gonna shoot this wide angle this way. this black door frame, with nothing in it, becomes the frame where we put our couple in then light from behind to gives us this beautiful rim lighting and then the wide shot is gonna bring, you know, the frame into play, which will give us a really, really nice, beautiful result. Yeah. So what we'll do, we'll get you in there and we'll get Ryan to shoot it again. Just to make thing a little bit easier, so I'm not swapping cameras and things. And Guys just go in a little bit more for me, that's it. Hold on to each other, so both arms are holding and you're looking right at each other's lips. That's it. Just straighten out this way a fraction for me. There it is. Beautiful. And Roc just go behind his head a bit more. A touch more Roc. Bit more Roc. Yip to your right. Your other right Roc, yeah thank you. Bit more. Quite confusing for photographers to work out right and left. (laughs) Yeah right. You need to go to your right Rocco. There. Yeah beautiful. Thank you. Let's just open up this exposure a bit just need to boost ISO a touch Awe that was nice there Guys. So I'm just making sure that that gap between their heads is just the slightest. And to your right Rocco a little bit. Yeah. Gorgeous Guys. Beautiful. You know another variation of that Ryan is if we light his wall. Yeah okay. And have them as a silhouette as apposed to, let's try that as well. Okay. What I might do is, I might just go quickly grab another Ice Light, which will give us a little bit more kick. So we'll light that wall, which is a blue wall and we'll just play with the colors. So, let me just grab that. Over here you can see that, that sort of silhouette shot is coming up now or that rim light shot is coming up. We often use those shots at the end of wedding albums because they become that beautiful ending piece rather than just the bride or groom waving into the camera bye-bye because we know it's the end of the album right, it's the last page, we don't really need that shot to do anything so. Two seconds here while Roc comes on back down. So we'll have two Ice Lights. Yip. To brighten that background up as much as possible. So Guys I need you similar spots if you can? I'm just going to. I'm just gonna crop in a little bit tighter on this one. Yeah absolutely. I just to get rid of the framing. And to get rid of Rocco, so. Hey, Roc. You mean you don't want me in the shot. No. Alright, where do you want me? About there. Nice. Can you get rid of the bundles on her arm? Yip okay. Thanks man. No worries. And we got a graduated kind of background because of where the light sitting. So brighter on the bottom, darker on top. Close your eyes Guys. So even though it's a silhouette I can still tell just by, just by where. That's beautiful , thank you. I likes. Just by where the actual eye lash sits. We're just gonna finish up here today just with one more posing technique. If you Guys wouldn't mind just coming back in front of me in that general area, just make sure you're out of that light actually. Just make it easier for the video cameras to expose. Come across a little bit. And we'll switch sides, if we can please. So yes we do have a reason as well if anyone's asked in terms of which side the bride goes to the groom. I always prefer it with the bride on the left hand side of the groom or as I'm looking at it on the right hand side. And there is a couple of reasons for that. There's all sorts of trivial reasons, one of which was that back in the days, you know Kings and Queens and all that sort of thing, and the King would always have a sword on his right hip, so his bride was always on his left hip because he always had access to his sword and he could protect his Queen. So that sounds pretty cool doesn't it. We'll roll with that yeah? Just go with that. Alright, but we wanna to do just one more posing technique here because I don't know if anyone ever finds themselves running out of ideas, running out of ideas for poses and it's a very easy thing to solve. And I was taught there is years and years ago but it's very easy to do if you just break down the pose into very, very small minute parts and not think about changing the pose entirely but by just changing one part of the pose it can in fact produce a very, very different image. So if I had them together holding each other just once again and we called that. Just turn this way Guys. Turn that way. Yeah That's it. And if we called that pose one; You know, pose one typical pose heads together, lovely stuff, looking straight down the barrel of the camera. If we moved one limb, one limb of this pose, it could be her hand or her chin or his chin, we would change what the shot is. So let's say for instance where we are now is good. Bring the heads together a little bit closer and look straight down the barrel of the camera and pretend the camera is over there. If we change Chris's face in terms of where he is, so if he looked into her and close the gap. That is a different pose to what we just started with. If we now take that shot and more her chin into his that's another shot. Now if he goes back into her ear now. That's another one. If her hand comes up onto his chin. That's another one. If his hand comes up onto her hand. That's another one. Brake it down into very, very small pieces so that your not trying to confuse yourself. If you try and change the entire pose or to save the world with one pose, you're gonna confuse yourself and find yourself running out of ideas very quickly. Brake it down into those small little sections. Change one part of the body, changes the shot. And that's how we keep coming up with different ideas. It's limitless in that case isn't it. Yeah. Because you can keep changing and changing all day, so. When we start then adding to that different focal lengths. So if this is like shot one, looking down the barrel of the camera and we shot that say at as 70 mm setting, shot number two could be shot at a 100 mm setting, it's a tighter crop. Not only that, we move into pose number three with that hands across and she's looking over. You know we can change our angle and come in and focus on either Chris or focus on our beautiful bride. Okay, so you can see how the combinations just keep on adding and adding and adding and it's just as Ryan said, it's limitless what you can achieve by doing small increments, incremental changes in your pose but also in your angle, focal length, not to mention then what we can do with lighting. Because then we start to bring lighting into the equation, we could shoot this now directly into, you know, the camera if the camera was there and we have a nice beautiful pose, getting them to look into each other under exposing the ambient, bring in some flash into the background totally different feel. We haven't moved them, we haven't gone anywhere. And time is of the essence when we shooting weddings you know we'd love to have all the time in the world but in reality we don't. In reality we have to think quickly, we have to think on our feet. So let's make it easy for ourselves. Let's jump to just a couple a questions before we wrap up on the same topic. So you were talking about how time, there's a time crunch, weddings are difficult with time, we've got a lot of questions about timing. We talked a little bit about it earlier, how much time you like to have, you know, to shoot couples. How do you know when you've got enough and you can move on and if you're cramped for time, how do you prioritize which shots to really get? Shot list. Yeah. Back to the shot list. The only, how do I know I've got enough? I've done my shot list. Okay Yeah And if that's done and I have time to do anything else, it's bonus, it's bonus time and that's really, that's the only way you know and it's the only way to keep you focused and on track, get through that shot list first. Once that's done then we can play, then we can make images look weird and wacky and wonderful and we can do all these crazy ideas that we're talking about but shot list is got to be done. Absolutely, you wanna come back with something solid. You wanna be able to at least create an album, you know, with a substantial number of pages, purely just by having the shot list done, so any time we veer off that, if we can, great, amazing cause then the artistic element comes in and we can do incredible things but we can't always. Sometimes we might have, you know, in a wedding we might do two amazingly creative shots cause that's the only time that we have. But there are weddings where, you know, time is on our side and we can do, you know. Yeah. An incredible amount of different creative things. Very recently I had a wedding where the wedding planner actually said to me, we went out to do the formal shots, the wedding pLanner said to me: "Ryan you have six and a half minutes "to do all of your formals." It's quite a large family, they have lost of family members and bridal party and all the rest of it. Knowing, knowing that I knew my shot list so well and I knew my steps to get to my exposure and to my pose and I knew that was in the back of my solid foundations are in the back of my mind, I knew I could do it. I did that and then even had time to do a couple of things that I really wanted to do that I, that expanded off my shot list. It can be done, you just gotta know that you're nailing things straight away, getting the exposure right in the camera, the pose, getting that really set up quite easily and then moving from there. The key really is mastering, you know, lighting, composition and pose, once you've mastered those three things they become second nature to you and it gets to the point, I mean this is the point that we're at after so many years of shooting. Once you've set your technical elements of the shot, they are set you forget about them your entire energy then goes into one thing, one thing only, creating mood, creating emotion etcetera, etcetera. And just generally, you're just being creative. But the minute you start to, to have this internal dialogue about the technical elements of what is going on in your shot. Is the lighting right? O what happens if I move the light? Or what happens if I try this crop? What about that crop? That is a recipe for disaster. Because what happens then is your creativity goes out the window. Why, because your technical side of your brain starts to kick in and it becomes very, very, very confusing. So keep it simple, master your light. Master your composition. You know, master your posing and everything else will follow. Great Absolutely. On that topic. I know you're saying it can, you know, through your career totally out the window when you concentrate too much on the technical but you've shown us so many great technical aspects today and we've seen you use your different gear Nikon and Canon. Do you have go to lenses? If people have to choose what to have in their bag, if they can't have absolutely everything? Can you go over that a little bit? Yeah Ryan just start with your kit, so go through yours then I will go through mine. Yeah, we both carry a lot of equipment and it's, we're very fortunate to be able to do that. However there's probably two lenses that we go to most. For me it's the 70-200 and it's 16-35. And why is because I make the creative decision on whether I want the image to be cropped and close and having that depth and that compression or I wanna involve the environment around me. And if I'm involving the environment around me, it is wide. That in between length and yes look we both have 24- 70's and I think they're an incredible lens but it sort of entices for me a little bit of laziness on my part because I'm not quite wide but I'm not quite long enough so for me I want to make that decision that's why, they're stuck to both cameras pretty well 90% of the day. There is one with a 70-200, there's another with a 16- and I know that I can make that decision really quickly. Yeah with myself I kind of, I begin with a 14-24 as a one of my staple lenses, especially when I'm shooting a lot of these story telling elements of the getting ready shots to get the environment. My second body is kind of a little bit different when I'm at the house or I'm in a hotel room, it will probably be a 85 fixed, so if I'm not wide and I just want to hone in on expression, then the 85 gives me that shallow depth of field and real, you know, being able to really close in on the emotion knowing that sometimes I don't have that distance. When I'm outdoors and I'm shooting a ceremony on location, 70-200 is an unbelievable lens to use because it allows you to create really interesting crops and it allows you to really throw the background out when the background really is not that interesting. And then of course the 24-70 is my general go to lens for a lot of things like the possibility of reception and that's really when I use the 24-70 the most you know, during the reception coverage, on a dance floor because a 24 mm it's not really gonna distort a lot, when people are close to me dancing and carrying on, where as a lot of, I've seen a lot of photographers shoot with the extremely wide angle lens like a 14 mm and you get this incredible barrel distortions, you know, on the side. Which is not really to pleasing especially if on the side of that frame you have, you know, a very close relative whose face is just been stretched to this level. So 24 mm, knowing that then I can quickly zoom in to to capture emotions here and there but once again that goes hand in hand with the 70- or possibly for low light conditions the 85 again. So that's really where we're at. Essentially though if your starting out 24-70 or 70- and possibly, if you've got the money, a wider angle lens like your 17-35 or 14- if you're a Nikon shooter.

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

Student Work