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Shoot with Low Ambient Light Indoors

Lesson 11 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Shoot with Low Ambient Light Indoors

Lesson 11 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

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Lesson Info

11. Shoot with Low Ambient Light Indoors


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

Shoot with Low Ambient Light Indoors

So we'll move into, shooting into low ambient levels and how we introduce a constant light source now, like something like the Icelight, and we talk about the Icelight a lot because it's something that we use a lot. It was designed by one of our best friends as well. Regardless, it's a beautiful light source to use. We use it the barn doors a hell of a lot just to control the spread of light, because it has such a beautiful soft spread, we do need to control it a lot as well. Most of the times though when we're working with a continuous light source, we wanna have within present within the image, a suggestion of light that makes sense for the Icelight or for the continuous light to be in the shot as well. We saw too many images early on in the piece when people started using a video light, where the light just didn't make sense for it to be present within the shot. We would see images shot out in the forest, and then there'd be this backlight of video light, and you'd just think to you...

rself, Or flash (mumbling) Yeah, or flash (mumbling). Like, where did the light actually come from? It's a dark forest. There has to be some presence of ambient light level in the shot in order for it to make sense. So you see this one here, in terms of, the barn doors actually just slither in the light on the bride there as well, but actually shooting, them, Rock, you're shooting through a doorway, yeah? Yeah. I shot, I went on opposite end of that and I shot through a door. I mean, there was ambient light there to begin with, and there was light coming in from another doorway on the other side, but it wasn't enough for what I wanted because there was lights on the outside that I wanted to just underexpose and give me this nice beautiful warmth in the image. So we got this. So that's the shot we got, shooting at 90 degrees to that. Okay, so, very very simple. We tell you about having that presence of light, and within this shot here, you can see what sort of the excuses are for the Icelight to be present. The Icelights actually illuminating the bride in this shot. My assistant is just behind that wall. With barn doors, illuminating the bride. We have a chandelier present in the image, which we understand is illuminating the dress, but the excuse for that light to be present in the shot, is not only just the chandelier, but then the light that is behind her, that little lamp that is behind her. It makes now, visual sense, that's there light present within the shot, so that the Icelight can be there. It's just not popped out of nowhere. That's always key to tying it back. Now, as photographers, we know that all of that light can't do that. It can't happen. But, we need that visual excuse there for the brain. That's all it is. It just becomes a visual excuse. Even if we're looking at areas like, this one. Now, that hasn't got an Icelight in it yet. That's the before shot. This is actually inside a ceremony. The ceremony was in hall, not much happening with the hall. What I did notice, though, is behind them, we see a black curtain, and in the black curtain, were these little Christmas lights, or fairy lights. They weren't turned on, they were turned off. After the ceremony had finished, I'd asked the groundskeeper if he'd turn them on for me. He did. It made a beautiful backdrop, so I shut off all the other ambient light. I kept the Christmas lights on. I illuminated the bride and groom with the Icelight, and we get that. It almost looks like they could be outside next to a bridge or something, doesn't it? But, they're literally inside this dark hall. That's right. But even if it's there just to pop light and just to have a light direction. I remember I was at this wedding very recently, as you'll see, it's kind of, it's extravagant. They love flowers. They love flowers. It was a visual nightmare though, looking at this place. It needed light direction onto my subjects in order to bring them out of the image, in order to pop them out of the image. So in this case, the light is just off to the right hand side, illuminating the bride. In this one, the groom is actually holding it behind them. So, with he groom holding the light behind them, they become ring lit, and I have definition of them out of all of that craziness with all those flowers. I mean, kind of a crazy wedding. We don't shoot weddings like that all the time. No, not all the time. But it was good. Even in scenarios, once again, when using the Icelight as backlight, but this time, shooting, I'm shooting through a chandelier in this room that really had nothing to offer. I mean, we got fluorescent lighting above and then, for some random reason, there was a chandelier in the middle of this, (lightly laughing) it was really odd, but anyway, we took it. I stood on a chair. Shot through the little crystals of the chandelier. Put an Icelight behind them, you can see the groom there is holding it and this is what we got. Nice, gorgeous, beautiful image. The warmth is added by, obviously, the tungsten light that was being filtered through these little crystals from the chandelier. But just, once again, creating something out of nothing. As wedding photographers, we need to think on our feet, we need to be able to look at all these things and make something out of nothing. Yeah. Sometimes we haven't got all those flowers to work with. So, you know. No. Or these random chandeliers in this room with nothing else.

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