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.