Monday, October 5, 2015

Behind The Frame: The Bride Getting Ready Portrait

I get a lot of emails and comments asking what equipment I use, how I light things and how I compose my shots so I'm starting a new Monday series here on my blog and on instagram going behind the photo to share a little more info.  Check back every Monday for more "behind the frames" and comment on instagram with any requests for particular images.

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This photo from a recent wedding is from one of my favorite times of day: getting ready! These shots start your narrative for the day and it is an emotional time full of excitement, anticipation and nerves.  Bridal suites get messy so I'll tidy up a corner of the room where the light is good and I can have a clean composition behind the bride so nothing is cluttering your composition or bisecting the brides head in the background. I'll direct the bride to get dressed in that spot.  I'll often turn off all the lights in the room so I don't get a yellow tinge and just use the window light.  When shooting right against a window like this I'll turn myself or my subject on a slight angle so the light can wrap around her and I can still have details in her face and dress.  I meter in the shadows and overexpose by two stops, which blows out the window and produces a glowing skin tone.  When photographing these candid moments I always think about composition and am looking for the Cartier-Bresson "decisive moment" which in this case was the moment the bride's sister laid the veil on her head and the bride's arms came up to her sisters creating a diamond in the center of the frame and the angle of her sister's arm echoed the angle of the lace at each edge of the frame.  I took 3-4 photos of this moment and this was the winner because I could see the brides eye peeking out from behind her sister's wrist and the delicate grace of her sister's pinkie lifted in the air as the veil touched her head.

Shot on my Contax 645 with the 80mm Zeiss at 1/60th at 2.0.
Processed by my amazing lab Richard Photo Lab.


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