Coping with changeable light, dark gloomy conditions or even low angle winter sunlight is what this workshop was all about. I lit this shot with a single Speedlight.
After last years launch of our Lighting Winter Weddings and Big Day DVDs we’ve been inundated with requests for more wedding shooting training. So Julie and I decided to put on some dates at the start of this winter season. Here are a selection of the pictures from the first two workshops that happened earlier in the week.
Julie and I split up in the first session. Each of us with one model and 4 delegates. We then swap over so that all delegates get to shoot all the scenes. This 1:4 training is by far the best ratio and enables us to give individual attention to the delegates as well as benefiting from the group learning experience that is so valuable. We have just one more workshop with places available on Monday 7th December. Details of this workshop are here.
Julie starts with the bridal preparations, keeping things simple and elegant.
Double reflections keep wide establishing shots interesting.
Julie showed the delegates how to use the natural light creatively. The kick light on Natasha is a nice touch in this shot. Often furniture needs moving or curtains need closing to get the right kind of look.
Simple symmetry makes this contra-jour shot of the dress one for the album. We show delegates how to set up and shoot pictures that sell. Working smart, using time wisely is what makes successful wedding photographers.
I took this frame on my 24-70mm lens using close up attachments. Julie and I only like to carry three lenses each at weddings so a macro lens isn't one of them. The technique I use to make big close ups takes a bit of practice but is very simple and repeatable.
I show how to tell the story of the day with a less is more approach. The stone sill, mullion and scroll end window stay say a lot about the venue without resorting to big wide shots.
Next I showed telling a story from different angles to build a more interesting sequence. I suggested this type of pose could be used for the groom reading through his speech for the last time. Composition and lighting balance are key elements in this kind of environment. It's so easy to end up with heavy contrasty light that is more funereal than wedding.
The second shot in the sequence uses diagonals, split focus and a low viewpoint.
This is the 'money' shot. It shows the 4 poster bed and the room. The money shot is a term from the film industry for a scene setter that shows off the set design and props.
All the pictures in this set are in colour. Getting good clean colour pictures is important and I showed how to use white balance creatively to make great looking jpegs or RAW files without having to resort to switching them to black and white.
Because it was quite a bright day at this point I shut all the curtains and showed how to use flash off camera in the dark.
Back with Julie now and bright clean uncluttered shots taken with the minimum fuss are the Lovegrove style.
Julie kept all the verticals upright, the edges of the frame clean and the lighting balance spot on for this pre-ceremony bridal portrait.
Julie closed the curtains for this shot leaving just a small slit of light to reach Natasha. D700 1600 ISO at f/2.8. A clean bright radiant picture in a dark gloomy room.
Julie and I love shooting into windows or using windows in our pictures.
When you are shooting with window light you often need to control contrast to keep the picture bright and alive. A low key option is available too but we like our winter weddings to look like summer weddings. It's this kind of personal choice you make at the taking stage that we teach on the workshop.
I lit this shot of Glen with a splash of flash triggered with an ST-E2. I teach how to shoot quickly with flash and avoid resorting to put the flash on the camera.
Natural light, a low viewpoint and a bright background make this shot a keeper. When you know how to find great light it is easy to take shots that make your clients look healthy. Bright clear skin and eyes are essential.
Lit with flash and natural light. f/5.6
As above but at f/16 I explained and demonstrated to my delegates why choosing the right aperture is not a task for a light meter, it is done by looking at the screen on the back of the camera and deciding on the look I want.
You can even go a bit mad if you want to.
Meanwhile Julie was shooting on the spiral staircase using natural light.
We run our shooting weddings workshops at Stonehouse Court near Stroud because it is just 3 minutes from the M5, it has a great church in the grounds and the old country house hotel and bedrooms are perfect for our needs. Natasha and Glen are our new Wedding models and will be with us for the final winter wedding workshop of the season on the 7th December.
Next it was off to the church. We shared our secrets to shooting in dark churches in the winter and had time for a couple of portraits too before heading back out into the cold.
New light through old windows
Next, I showed how to shoot the big wide shots throughout the day using a monopod. I use a nifty system that guarantees success. I devised it over the past 10 years and the sales of prints from 'sky shots' have earned us many thousands of pounds.
As well as high angle viewpoints I like to shoot from the ground too.
If I recall correctly it was actually raining when I took this frame. Without the flash the shot would have been a silhouette.
There's our church. Picture postcard stuff.
Into the undergrowth we ventured for a few natural light beauty shots. For some of the delegates this sequence was a revelation.
Another natural light shot taken under some yew trees.
Here's a shot for mum and day. Great light is all around us. You just need to know what to look out for and how to use it.
If you want to hone your wedding shooting skills and learn hot to shoot to sell in a calm unruffled fun manner then join us in a few weeks time with the same couple at the same venue for the same workshop. Julie and I hold no secrets back, We cover business, psychology, and the customer experience as well as the practical shooting, lighting and picture composition training. You can use the pictures you shoot too for self promotion or to liven up your website.
Please feel free to comment on your experience of the workshop or comment on the pictures below.