Use Available Light for Indoor Photography
Do you wanna start yet?
So we have light coming from these windows. Now this is giving us very soft, very beautiful light due to the cloud cover outside. Being in Seattle, which is awesome. So at the moment what's happening, we have light direction in this direction. So if I'm photographing square on here to where we have our bride and groom, we get beautiful rendition with color and everything else. But the lighting isn't extremely exciting. We don't have really a lot to work with. Once again, we can get seduced by the background and forget totally about light. And we could take a shot here and we could make it a good shot. Or we can be seduced by light. And working once again with light direction. But the minute now, I'm using my hand. I place my hand, this side of the hand, which has the ridges and peaks and troughs and so on. It really resembles sort of the front of your face. The minute I move it on a 360 circle here, I start to peak out ...
the sweet spot of where I have a highlight shadow. The same thing goes on this side. In fact, on this side, here shooting this way, I have far more interesting light than I have shooting that way. So obviously, we've got sort of light direction coming from there somewhere, and on this side of the light, it sort of quite flat. I've picked my light. Now it's about getting our couple here into this beautiful and working with it and creating a nice beautiful shot. Lauren, just-- (mumbling) Yeah. No, that's actually fine, right.
You cool, yeah?
Yeah. So I'm just gonna get you here. Just exactly where I am. That's it. I want you to turn your body away from the light. That's it. And point your front foot towards me. That's it. Now, gazing back towards the light. That's it, a little bit more, and just turn your body slightly. Okay, I want you just to pick up the gown and slightly just... That's great. And your other hand, as well. So the minute I do this, what I am doing? As we discussed, we're bringing the elbows behind the waist. So essentially, we're creating the gap. We're making the arm look thin. Okay? But also, we're bending joints. So I'm just gonna get you to bend your elbows out, as well. Okay. And towards me, rather than. So bring your hand back, that's it. Right there. So we're not having straight arms and straight joints. So what we're having is nice beautiful soft angles, which is what we want. That is gorgeous. Ryan, could you just tszuj the dress while I just change my lens? So Ryan's gonna be the bridesmaid for this shot. In fact, I want more of the dress to run the other way, away from the light. I'm gonna change to a longer focal length. So I'm gonna shot this with a 70 to 200. (clicking)
Is that good tszujing?
That is amazing.
Oh, good. (mumbling)
That is so good. I'm just gonna go down here. That's beautiful. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Now Lauren, just bring your elbows in this way. Not too much. And just turn your body. That's perfect. Chin up, eyes down for me. Eyes down. And just lower the chin just a fraction. Okay, so I'm gonna take my reading off the highlight of the dress, as we did earlier. So ISO here, I'm probably gonna drop down to 800. So let's have a look at what we have. Yep. So I'm gonna meter off that highlight to get my exposure. And my exposure at the moment, it's telling me 400ths of a second. Edit full for that area. So I'm gonna give it a stop more. Maybe a stop and a half. Okay, let's take a shot. Beautiful. (camera clicking) Let's have a look. Just gonna do one more. (camera clicking)
Ryan, can I--
So in my time, we'll do a few shots of the groom. Sort of show the groom getting ready and, you deserve a bit of spotlight, man. Yeah. All right, come on down this way. What I've noticed here in the light, just as we've been standing around, and it's really interesting, isn't it? You can go to a venue, day in, day out, and it'll be different every single time you go because the light will be different. So, looking at this venue this morning, now looking at now, you gotta adjust your train of thought because the light is different. You gotta play with things in a different way. What I am enjoying about this particular area is looking at the light and the shadow that's being cast into this background. I've got light, dark, light and dark. And if you remember, we talked about chiaroscuro being the essence of wrapping light and introducing that shadow, that highlight-shadow definition. So, I think where we are here in this particular situation is a good one for my groom. My groom can get away with a little bit harsher of a shadow. Little bit of a deeper shadow. But I'm gonna actually bring more of a shadow into this. So we're gonna harshen it up again, and we're gonna do what we call light with black. So we're gonna use a reflector. As I said to you before we have quite a big reflector. It's the Omega. And it's set up to either use it as white to reflect light back in, or black, which will take light away. I this, I wanna take light away from one side of the groom to intensify that shadow. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna do it twice so that I'll do it without the black enuts. And then I'll do it just with that black in it, as well, so that we can see the difference in the actual picture. So mate, I'm gonna get you, just down in there for me. And turn towards me. So we see the light on Chris there at the moment. Pretty flat, pretty boring. As we bring him, obviously, into that light a bit closer. A bit closer. There we go. And now we've started to get this beautiful highlight to fall on his face, and obviously, the shadow on this side. And that shadow's actually quite intense already. But again, we're gonna deepen it with that reflector in a second, as well. What I want you to do for me, mate, actually just put your hands in your pockets. So you're just nice and relaxed there. I find guys in suits, as well, especially when it starts, it's all about posing of guys. Guys tend to get in a suit and stand really really straight. Yeah? Do you ever notice that you do that? I do it. I'm in a suit, I need to stand straight. But I always say to guys I want you to relax, and it's all in the shoulders. If you relax your shoulders. And sometimes it's even if they're up against some sort of wall that they can bring, they can rest into that wall, which then will relax the whole body. And almost sink the body into itself. Yeah? So it's just sort of chilling out and relaxing. So where your feet are there, man, just sort of open it up and that's it. And now if you just lean into that light a touch more. And chin out the window. I always find if I'm trying to pose someone and I can't bring across the words properly, doing it for them is the easiest answer. So as I was just doing it for you, there, it's a bit easier to understand, isn't it? I just want that nice, sort of chilled out look. Chin right out the window there for me, man. And just tilt the top of your head this way a touch. Chin. Awesome. Stay there for me, mate. Don't move, don't move. So let's go back, longer lens again. Love shooting portraits with my long lens. My 70 to 200. It's so versatile. I can use it in the tightest of spaces. Like I was upstairs there using my 70 to 200. Doesn't bug me that I haven't a lot of room. So again, we're gonna a take a reading. So I'm gonna start this at 1,250. 3.5 is a good starting point for my apogee here because I'm photographing a single person. And I'm gonna read his cheek on that highlight. So my spot reader is in his cheek on that highlight. And what's telling me, to put his cheek, that highlight of that cheek, into zone six. I need to be one stop over that zero point on my exposure. So at the moment, it's 1250 ISO, 320th of a second at 3.5. We'll take a test shot and see how close we can get to this. Just lean into that light just a touch more, there, mate. Bit more. There we go. And just your eyes to me. That's perfect there, buddy. Hold it there for me. (digital chirping) (camera clicking) Lovely jubbly. So now you can see how that skin tone is rendered where we want it. If we took the camera's recommendation at this point, his skin would look very gray. The rest of the image would look very dark. So again, increasing exposure by that stop has helped us. If we go back to a histogram here, we'll see that the histogram is still dark, but the image (audio cutting out). What we've done is we've slightly taken it off that left edge. Slightly. There's a gap there in that histogram and that's what we're after. We can probably push this a little bit further and it would still look lovely. So we might even do that by half a stop. Or two-thirds of a stop. Eyes back to me, mate. Perfect. (digital chirping) Great. And we'll still see that we're not losing any information here. We're just bringing things up to that brighter end of the histogram, and just respecting those highlights. So let me run through a few shots here with the groom and we'll just get a few things happening. So I'd like you to do, mate, just with your tie, just come up to the tie, both hands. Just sort of adjusting it there. You just need to lean into that light again, and just with this hand here, just turn it. I don't see much, oh, the other way. That's it. Just don't wanna see too much of the front of that wrist. Chin out the window again. Turn your body slight more out the window for me. There it is, man. That's cool. Hold her there. So, I'm just go a few different crops here. I should do this horizontal. Give us something else to look out. Hold it there, mate. (camera clicking) We will close that down a touch. Just chin down, it's eyes down. Perfect. So what you're gonna see in a second is that I'm just starting to run through just some details. So, my cropping becomes really important. I don't need so much his face or his expression because it's all about details, right? So we get in there right on the tie. We might, if you had cuff links, you have cuff links? No. Have you got a watch? Yeah. So you could sort of just be in there adjusting the watch and just move your chin to that light again for me, mate. There we are. So even though his face isn't in this shot, his chin certainly is. And where his chin is pointed is very, very important 'cause we wanna still have that into the light. I might run through a few more. Just do your cuffs anyway. We'll pretend you have 'em. Yeah. So that's it. Sort of just bring it out to me a little bit more. That's it. Perfect there, mate. (camera clicking) Lovely. Yeah, lovely job there, mate. Well done. So, we've gone cuffs. Watch. Vertical orientation of the watch. And tie. And if he had more details, obviously we would keep going. I started with the portrait. So we got the groom's details, the groom's portrait. Simple light, simple background. Simple photography, really. Yeah.
That's what it's all about.
Let's just light this with black, as well, Roc, just so I can--
Can just show the difference here.
So we'll just bring the black reflector in to totally take away any light that's being reflected off the wall here. So, we'll just bring it in. (mumbling) We'll shade the back of the camera--
Again mate, hands in your pockets. Lean into me. And Roc, if you just take that away for a second just so we can see what light's actually happening. Let's move it back in. Go back in. Yep, bit closer, Roc. And come around the front even a touch more. Yeah, so we just increased that shadow just a touch more. Chin right down this way, mate. That's it. Eyes down again for me. Actually, so you're looking outdoors, out to the window. And right down to the floor. (camera clicking) Beautiful. Yeah. So what we've done is we've chiseled, if you see this side of the face, by introducing more of that shadow, we've chiseled his cheekbone a little bit more. And obviously, he was still rendering out that exposure to the brighter part of his cheek, but introducing that black reflector has added more shadow, added more depth, and more dimension to the shot.
Absolutely. Okay, so I'm gonna repeat that shot that I did earlier, so that it'll come up on the feed, hopefully, and we can see it. Just once again working with the light direction and our bride, and then introduce perhaps the groom into the shot, as well, which will be really awesome. So just coming back across here, Lauren. We're gonna position you exactly as you were. So come in probably about here. That's it. You got that down. Just moving back a little bit more and come to the side. That's perfect. I'm just gonna fix this a little bit. Just bringing it to the side. We're cropping the shot at three-quarter length. So I'm gonna get sort of that sort of area. So, once again, gentle with your fingertips. Just picking up the dress. Very gentle. I wanna see your fingertips. That's gorgeous. Beautiful. Just turning here. That's great. Beautiful. Eyes down. Eyes down to about here. Great. I'm gonna go back down here and we'll do the shot again. Gorgeous. That is really beautiful. And once again, metering off that highlight. I'm just doing test exposure, which is great. Let's shoot it. That is awesome. Okay, just one more. That's it. Just kinda slightly different crop. (camera clicking) Yep, that' very, very good. Okay, so we've got light direction. Let's introduce perhaps the groom into the shot. So come along. So I'm gonna get you just sort of from behind but slightly to the side. Kay, just getting back to where you were exactly with your hands. That's it. Now, Chris, gently on the waist. Gently, very. Come out a little bit more. Now guys, I want you to just melt into each other, yeah. That's it. Beautiful. Awesome. And what we're gonna do, I'm gonna grab just your hand on top of Chris's hands. That's it. And just bring the hand down, just gently. Just gently. Just bring the hand down a little bit more. And we're gonna watch that side as well. So that's it. Bring your hand on top of Chris's hand, as well. And just bring your hand back just a little bit more. So we don't see it as much, Chris. So bring it back. Perfect. Guys, lean forward into me. The reason why I'm getting them to lean forward is that I'm shooting from a lower camera angle, so I wanna correct the perspective. So they're leaning into me as opposed to just having them upright, and then we're gonna get that converging vertical, which is not a good idea. Darling, just lean forward a bit, and just turn your head in. Chris, turn your head in towards your wife. Perfect. Darling, look down. Look down a little bit more. That's it. That's gorgeous. So we're cropping really tight again on this one. That's great. Hold it there. And Chris turn your head in a little bit more. That's it, and just happy thoughts guys. Happy thoughts. That is beautiful. (camera clicking) Gorgeous. One more time. Good, good, good. (camera clicking) Chris, pretend you're happy, mate. That's it. (laughing) Gorgeous. That's it. And we need to do things to evoke emotions and responses and so on. So I could build on this now. So I've got, I did the bride. We introduced the groom. We could have elements in the background that could be maybe the bridal party. In the far distance, shooting with a shallower depth of field. But as we alluded to in earlier segments, it's all about modular posing and building those ideas, whether it be with your lighting or with your posing or with your structure of the shots. Ryan?
Yeah, actually one (mumbling) any back here and there some lovely light on you, actually, darling. This camera over here. So, yeah. I'm actually gonna, I'm gonna place the bride just where you were. So just where that camera was. Could you pop back in there? Lovely. And just come forward to me a touch more. Actually, what I'll get you to do is I want you to think that you're actually gonna walk down those stairs in a second. So if you turn around, that's it. And you pick up your dress as if you were gonna go and walk with it. So both hands. That's it. Gorgeous. Stay there. Now, the one thing I did notice is where I was standing, I was seeing the reflected light and the reflected moment in this mirror. So, in fact, my camera angle needs to be back over there to get that reflection and to make it a really clean shot. Cool. All right, darling. And actually, you just need to come back to me a touch, as well. So walk backwards to me. Walk backwards. There we are. Yep, oh, perfect. Lovely. All right, so I actually want you to face that staircase. So your chin goes down there, as well. That's it. And just turn your body out to that window a touch more. Yep. Beautiful. And chin back over to there. Little bit more. Little bit more. There it is. Beautiful. Just lean into that light for me, as well. And actually, if you can walk backwards towards the balustrade. So just come back. Yep. Chin back to me a touch. There it is. Just eyes right down there for me. Beautiful. (digital chirping) All right. So, Ryan needs to grow. Hold on. (groaning)
Need a chair? (laughing)
Yeah, that's gorgeous there. All right, hold her there. We'll just get a reading for this first. Just needs to be, I need to bring my ISO up because I'm getting low in my shutter speed now. I need to come up to 2,000 ISO. 250th of a second. Should be pretty close to it. Just close your eyes, darling for me. And just lean, lean forward from your waist. That's it. Perfect. Just do a quick test. Yeah, I'm over. I knew that, though. Give me a sec. (digital chirping) That's it. (camera clicking) Oh, beautiful. Beautiful. What I'm gonna do this time, actually just rotate back to me. Yep. Turn a bit more out that way. And Roc, can we put the eye sight in, just give me a little bit more direction. 'Cause this is a little flat there.
Yeah. Okay, where do you want it, Ryan?
Other side. Yep. And darling, if you turn your chin to Rocco. Bit more. Come a bit closer, Roc. So you can start to see what happens now with this light is that I've got almost like this glow of sunset, or sun coming in through a window. It's matched perfectly because of the color temperature there. That's gorgeous, darling. And chin up just for me a little bit there. That's beautiful. (digital chirping) (camera clicking) Oh, yeah. Lovely jubbly. Really. It is.
Yeah, it is. Love it, because we've got, again, this dimension of light. Of light, darks. We've framed it. We're throwing a reflection in there, and then we're cleaning the whole scenario up by getting rid of really any distracting elements. I'm not cropping into any windows. I've cropped literally from where that frame is just on either side, just to isolate that area, which is really, really beautiful. But Roc, did you wanna introduce flash to this scenario yet? Or (audio cutting out). That's cool. (speakers drowning each other out)
Should we go with questions?
We do. We have some great questions. Some people are wanting to know, when you're working with your couples, what language do you use to get the really great expressions? You talked about body language before, but in terms of the faces, the emotion, how do you get them to really loosen up and relax?
Yeah, I think it's really important. Language is such a K thing. It's funny. You can do a couple of different things. Mostly, you need to give people permission, again, to relax and to be, to kind of let go a little bit of all the things they're thinking about. So, the type of words I use, I use relax and let go, and I'm soft. I'm soft in the tone of my voice. And I think that really helps. If I'm trying to get them closer, there's a couple of things I say to try and get them much, much closer. And I don't know if you heard, when I first did the very first shot of today was I needed him as close to her as possible. And I used the expression sniff her cheek. Right? And why I did that is because if you said to him, mate, I need your nose up against her cheek, he would literally like, uh. Go right in there. Sniff her cheek is something entirely different. Sniff is soft, right? And it's sniff, not snort. It's sniff. Yeah, so it's really soft. It's a soft movement. Then I wanted to grab more expression out of that shot. We might do this soon, actually. Is I wanted him into her ear. And I said to him get right in there. And I literally said to him permission to bite, suck, lick, I don't care what you do. Yeah? Grab that expression. And when that happens, then I'm just waiting. I'm waiting for these expressions to come and they often do come.
Yeah, so real action?
Great. So another question, and it sounds like maybe it's leading right into what you are moving to next, we had some questions about if the ice light is the only source of artificial light you use? Or do you ever use flash? Do you use other tools?
Yeah we do. We will use flash, which we doing a section on just in a few moments.
So we are gonna introduce flash. We're gonna modify it and do all sorts of things with it, with soft boxes and grids and all that sort of stuff. But yeah, in scenarios like this, it's good, because the illumination is kinda low. So the ice light's working really well because it just give us that nice beautiful accent of light where needed. Like you saw the shot that Ryan was doing through the mirror was perfect. And indeed, in the shots we were doing upstairs, the ice light was a nice companion to have. In being able to get the shot. But it's not just about getting the shot, it's bringing something more to the shot than just using what the available light is there. 'Cause if the available light just isn't giving you much as far as direction and emotion, well then, you need to employ other means to get it.
And by all means, if the available light is too strong and if the ice light's not gonna overpower that light and you want an entirely different look, yes, that's where you do need flash. And we use the combination of two together, as well. Which hopefully we'll do a bit later on. So, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I wouldn't mind just playing with this light that we have here just for a couple more moments because it is beautiful. There's a beautiful illumination point in here and I might grab the two of you. So mate, come back on this way. Over to this side.
Should we record?
Yeah. Just love the fact that we've got this beautiful illumination and we go through the image and we get to this darker part of the background. It really brings them out and we start playing that. It's really beautiful. So where you are, darling, that's great. Just turn your body away from that light again. And actually, if we can just get a shot maybe of what we were talking about in terms of turning the body to the light. So if you turn your body to the light. You see what happens here is that this dress sucks all the light up straight away. And it's the brightest point. It's the brightest point that I'm looking at and it's where my eye's gonna go first. It's then gonna come up and then finally get to her chin or to her eyes. If we turn the body away from that light. Come back a little bit and lean in. And lean to that light. Lean in. Turn. Beautiful. We start to get the light to be more strong where the chin is. Actually, you need to move back a touch, as well. Yeah, that's it. That's it. All right, so come in. Gorgeous. All right, mate, I need you on this side. And come to me. So you can actually turn your back a little bit this time. And do the splits again. (laughing) And hold her. Beautiful. So this hand, just really soft. Again, nice soft angles. Soft fingers, soft wrists. With your other hand, bring it around the back of his neck for me. That's it. Bring it into his hair. Bring him in! Yeah! Get him in there. Get in there, tiger. Yeah, there you go. All right, and actually, darling, can you turn your chin out the window. And Chris, mate, your nose needs to be on her cheek. Yeah. And turn to bring it to me, again, mate. There we go. So nice and soft there. And guys, together, lean to that light. That's it. And darling, just move that hand down so that elbow goes back a touch more. Yeah. Beautiful. Eyes down for me, there, guys. Gorgeous. Hold there please. (digital chirping) Beautiful. (digital chirping) (camera clicking) Let me just adjust exposure. (camera clicking) Gorgeous. So where you are, mate, we're gonna do... Oh, she was just like playing with his hair there. I liked that. Just do that again. Close your eyes. Just start tickling the back of his neck. Tickle a little harder. Oh, yeah. (camera clicking) Gorgeous. All right, mate. Now, (mumbling). Your lips right there. And nibble. Nibble harder. Yeah. (laughing) Gorgeous, guys. Beautiful. I'm gonna bring this nice and close. So, actually, just flick your eyes to me, darling. Chin up a little bit. And mate, your nose again, just rest it in that cheek. Beautiful. Hold it there. (digital chirping) (camera clicking) And guys, just turn your lips in together, just a fraction more. And do me a favor, guys. Go closer towards window. And lean into it. And darling, turn your chin out, just a touch. Oh, you went a little bit too far. Come back a little bit. There it is. (digital chirping) Yeah. Relax, breathe. (camera clicking) Gorgeous. So what you're gonna see there in a second, guys. I went through a few different crops. I cropped tighter. I went really, really tight and did some different angles of crops. The other thing I did, though, is I came back and used the slightest part of that reflection in the mirror there just to get that slither of reflection that was present. So, again, just giving different things to look at visually and visually stimulating the viewer with different crops and different composition. And the light still stayed exactly the same. I just wanted different expressions coming through it all, as well. (mumbling) Roc? You good? Yeah. If we have any other questions, I just need to set up another lighting source. So, yeah.
So, we always have questions from the Internet. A lot of people want to know if you two shoot as a team all the time. Or if you don't shoot as a team, particularly the two of you, how big is your team on a wedding day, in general? Do you have other assistants and how do you handle that?
We shoot as a team very occasionally. When brides and grooms can afford to have the both of us out on a wedding, I guess. But otherwise, on a wedding day, we go out with just one assistant. So that's it. So we don't have second shooters or anything like that. We sell the entire idea, the idea of capturing the story through our eyes, as opposed to a million different photographers of the day shooting different angles. So it's quite a different way of approaching it, really. The assistant's purely there just to assist with lighting, reflectors, et cetera, et cetera. But not so much as a shooter, per se. So it's a very small team. We don't need a lot of people to achieve what we want to achieve. Yeah. So we're very lean and mean. (laughing)
What do you need, Ryan?
It's funny, isn't it? 'Cause you can keep exploring areas and keep finding different things, and one of the things we tried not to do was try and preempt too many shots happening because we knew the light would change. There's many different factors. The day'll be different. This is the way we do it on a wedding. We walk into these places and we find shots and things happening. So what I'm seeing here, I love the light that's coming through there and I'm actually thinking of doing something back lit or rim lit of the two of them and trying to get this nice sort of perfect rim of light around them. The only thing is it's quite tight in there. So we're gonna have to squeeze in. Yeah? So let's see how far we can get you in. You might have to go in first, mate. And just turn to me, buddy, once you're there. Okay. I'm just gonna--
Yeah. (mumbling) No. I don't. And you're gonna have to turn to him. (mumbling) That's it. Yep. Okay. And come in a little closer, guys, together. And then Chris, we're gonna have to do, you have to come this way to me with your chin. (chuckling) It's too tight, isn't it? Come out for me. It'll be much easier. Yeah, so if you're right there. And you turn to each other. Face each other. And turn this way, guys. So spin her that way. That's it. Yeah, oh you're good. Yep. Eyes to each other again. Come in a little bit closer. Gorgeous. Hold on to him, darling. Beautiful. So again, just down with that. Soften that angle. That's gorgeous. And mate, I just need to bring your height down a little bit more. That's it. So what I wanna do, I wanna fit you both together like a jigsaw puzzle, okay? So you can imagine your noses fitting together. So your nose is down. That's it. Chris down a little bit. That's good. Come separate just a fraction, guys. Bit more. There it is. Beautiful. Hold it there, please. So the way I'm seeing this shot is quite tight. Because I just wanna, I just wanna crop in on what all the beautiful light is happening in there. I don't want, really, anything else to be present in the shot. Chris, if your chin goes down a fraction more. Yep. And guys, eyes closed for me in this one. (digital chirping) That's beautiful. Gonna render out that highlight again on her skin. I just measured it off the chest there. And guys, breathe through your lips just it's like you're about to come in for a kiss. (camera clicking) That's gorgeous. What I'd love you to do, darling, with your left hand, bring it up onto his cheek for me. Yeah, and just be really soft with your fingertips. I just want you to come down and tickle his beard with all your fingertips. There it is. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, perfect. A little bit closer. Gorgeous. Just turn that hand for me, darling, just so I don't get the back of it so much. Okay, relax that. This what I'm gonna do. It's like more.
Yeah, but just more of the actual fingertips on his side. That's it. So this one. And relax. Yep, good. And you're almost kissing, guys. Almost, almost, almost. (digital chirping) (camera clicking) Gorgeous. So, what we should notice is that yes, I've rendered darker because most of it's in shadow. This is a back lit image. But I've rendered again the highlight, wherever that highlight was, I've rendered to what I want it to be as a highlight. What we're getting is this beautiful little rim of light that's just tickling her more than it's tickling him. And it's drawing out her eye into her expression and her lips. And I just have the hand there as a bit of a placement thing in terms of composition, which is quite lovely. It's quite delicate, really, Roc. That's what it is. It's delicate, yes.
Delicate's a good word. We love delicate.