It must be winter! I've blogged three times in a week. I don't even recognize myself anymore! Oh me, oh my...
I thought it would be fun to share a little project I'm working on. I have always felt so comfortable and great about being a natural light photographer, but have also felt like I need to pony up on more general lighting knowledge, because if it's a dark and cloudy day, or a bridal party is getting ready in a cave of a room, or a reception venue has low, dark ceilings and is lit by candlelight, homegirl wants to walk into that situation and BAM - nail it - without a moment of fear or panic. Not every room has big windows with light pouring in, and it's important to be prepared for anything!
So, to better myself and serve my clients better, here I am, continuing the learning process. I do not know everything, I do not claim to know everything, but I'll be damned if I continue on with my business without trying to better myself constantly. The life of an artist is always evolving and changing, trying new things and styles. I go back to old weddings where I felt so cool because I didn't use flash, and kind of want to pinch myself and say "whyyyyyyyyyy?"
I am in the midst of an amazing lighting course, and part of the homework is practice shooting bridal details with flash in such a way that the image feels like it was shot with window/natural light. It's all about control, and no matter what the room looks like or the getting ready situation is, being able to confidently and quickly set up shots that look natural, high end and well lit.
Using some of my own wedding accessories, my wedding dress, a fun sparkly vintage skirt and some cheap glittery Old Navy shoes, I set up what I'd consider a difficult lighting situation and started using the tools I've learned. I edited and posted a few photos to my Facebook page and Instagram last night of my "homework", and asked people to guess what time of day and what my lighting conditions were, based on the look of the photos alone.
My friend Jess said "I'm gonna guess morning around 9 or 10 near a window but not in direct light."
Carly guessed "Dark and OCF?" (OCF means off-camera flash)
Lindsay thinks it was shot at nighttime without natural light.
And my girl Ashley said "I'm going to say middle of the night. Living room lamp perhaps. Although it looks like it could be natural light, late afternoon before the sun fully sets."
So who was right?
Ding ding ding! Carly got it right with "dark and OCF"!
Here's the setup behind the shots:
5:30pm (after sunset) on a rainy evening in my dining room area with my wedding dress and a sparkly vintage skirt draped over a kitchen chair. There were no windows and no sun. My dining room light was switched off and my living room area was flooded with tungsten light and Lily watching The Magic School Bus on Netflix. The kitchen and hall lights behind me were also off. These images were created using well positioned flash and reflector, shot on my Canon 7D and my 85mm 1.8 lens. Here's an iPhone picture of my super glamorous setup.
Not even kidding. I won't even brighten this image because it was actually that dark. And I'm pretty proud of myself for what I made from that. I didn't even give myself much room to work in front of the chair, because on a wedding day, I'm often tucked between a hotel room bed and a wall, or in a corner away from the bridal party so I'm not in anyone's way. You literally do not know what you are walking into on any given day, unless you've shot at that hotel or venue before. So I'm feeling pretty badass. One step closer to becoming Wonder Woman!
If you're a photographer and looking for a fantastic course, I am taking the J&M Lighting Course, which is 100% online and will probably be the best investment I've made in my business since starting. Justin & Mary have a whole slew of courses and guides that are incredibly helpful that you can check out here: https://justin-mary.myshopify.com/collections/all
I loved doing this exercise and plan on sharing more of this as I go. I loved taking my dress out for the first time in 7 years, except I'd forgotten that someone spilled 2 large streaks of red wine down the front, so those are probably never coming out. Oh well, it served it's beautiful purpose! And a wedding dress that's dirty and well worn is a mark of an amazingly fun wedding day, am I right?