Posted on September 28, 2011
There’s a real mixture of pictures in this section because I wanted to talk about the importance of shadows (not ignoring the role of highlights too). The key image above was taken in a lounge full of furniture and soft light from some large windows. Directional light produces shadows and it’s the shadows that do the work in that picture. But without shadows, life can get difficult. The architectural shot of the New Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury is as flat as a pancake because there is no sunshine, no shadows to really make the excellent design come to life. The stage shot of opera singer Rosie Aldridge from Glyndebourne testing the acoustics on stage in the main auditorium relies on a shadow cast by a speedlite hidden in front of her (in the absence of stage lighting!). Again, the shadows do the work.
The shot in the church – the darkest church I have ever been in – is a speedlite faking the direction of the window light and thus creating shadows. The shot of the groom on the steps at Mount Ephraim is packed full of interesting shadows – a speedlite creating a harsh light and the ambient lifting the shadows.
Posted on September 15, 2011
I’ve always been keen to recce a portrait location or wedding venue prior to a shoot for practical reasons and to get some ideas on where to shoot certain sequences. More and more I find that having a plan “B” is not enough, and the changeable weather of this summer has made me glad to have had back up plans, creative alternatives and studio lights in the car! If you check the position of the sun prior to the day (imaging beautiful back-lit veils and long shadows) what do you do when it’s overcast and raining? So my approach these days is more free and works around a simple three point plan:
1. Natural light – look for where the light is painting the picture already and follow it:side light, rim light etc.
2. Reflected light – where are the plain surfaces that will work for you, placing your subjects close to them
3. Flash light / artificial light – don’t be afraid to use them to boost the natural light or be the dominant light
So, using examples from the last few weeks – (i) flat lighting and a cluttered background meant shooting a couple on the running board of the car, subtle side lighting against the deep tones of the paintwork; (ii) at Knowlton Court intense sunshine meant looking from diffused cross lighting and rim light, some fill in from flash; (iii) at Winters Barn, Canterbury and Salmestone Grange – overcoming rain by showing some of the outdoor location under cover; using natural wrap around lighting from a window and white table cloths as giant reflectors; closing curtains to make light directional and also a zoomed speedlight to create shafts of light or accent light for shoes, flowers and veils. If you’re looking to become more consistent in your photography or would simply like some refresher training, do please get in touch.
Posted on September 7, 2011
There are numerous ways of describing wedding photography – contemporary, traditional, reportage etc. Reportage is sometimes used as shorthand for “relaxed” and “informal” or “documentary” with no intervention from the photographer. Where there is absolutely no intervention you are really looking at wedding photojournalism. For now I’m going to stick with reportage for a moment. Some photographers prefer to rely on capturing the moment only and there’s nothing wrong with that. But sometimes there needs to be a little nudge here and there to make something come together where it might not have done so and this is what I call “styled documentary”. This is a subtle difference but doesn’t rely on hoping that everything will just happen in front of you. More often than not it will be looking for where the light is and moving something or someone closer to it. It might involved tidying something up – from flowers, table decorations to where hands are placed. It might mean choosing a different background to avoid something out of place. It’s helping to tell the story but not writing it for you. If you would like to get in touch and look at some portfolios of this style of wedding photography it would be great to hear from you.