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How I Got The Shot

Yesterday I shot a wedding at 11:30 AM, for all intents and purposes, "high noon." I needed to figure out a way to capture the wedding party without horrible shadows on their faces, yet I wanted to keep the dramatic sky, and beautiful trees that were in the background. So, here's exactly what I did:

First of all, let's look at the image exactly as it came out of the camera.

I wanted to make sure there were no harsh shadows on their faces from the overhead sun. I set my exposure to capture the sky, and I knew with the Canon 5D Mark IV, I could certainly pull out a lot from the shadows. This was shot at f/9, 1/200 sec ISO 100.

My second shooter was inside shooting detail shots, so I recruited a buddy of one of the groomsmen to be my short-term assistant. I used a 3 Legged Thing monopod (the Trent) with a lighting adapted on it, so I could mount my mono light to the monopod. I had him stand camera right, just a couple of feet, and the light was up above, at roughly 9 feet tall, aimed slightly downward at the subjects.

I chose my AD400Pro, because I wanted to throw a LOT of light at the midday sun, but I didn't want it to be as heavy as my AD600Pro. I had a Bowens reflector with me for my monopod rig, photos of each thing below:

This cheap little reflector came with my AD600 non TTL as part of the bundle. I also have a couple of others just like it that I got with some Savage LED video lights. I took this one because it has a little snap on plastic diffuser. (you can see it in the first 2 photos.)

I wish I could tell you exactly what power I was using on the flash, but it didn't record into my EXIF data, and I honestly don't recall. I was keeping the flash intensity on the lower side, because I needed my battery to last the full wedding reception (I don't have a second battery for my AD400Pro yet.) An aside, my battery is still way above half, even after using it ALL DAY yesterday... this light gives so many pops! And if you stay below 1/16 power, there is literally no wait for recycle... it's instantaneous. AWESOME SAUCE!

Post Processing

The post processing was mostly done with an import preset that I always apply to portraiture, which pulls up the shadows a LOT. I actually didn't realize how stark the shadows were in front of the party until I started to write this "How I got the Shot" write-up. When I import to Lightroom, the shadows are pulled up automatically to +68.

From there, I took a portrait preset brush that I use. It bumps up the exposure on the portrait subjects by .4 of a stop. It also drops the clarity just a tiny bit to help deal with skin issues, and adds a tiny bit of sharpness to help the portrait subjects "pop."

The trees went from green to brown, so I decided I wanted them to be a bit more attractive, so I used a second brush, and painted some gold on the trees, just to make it more pleasantly autumnal.

And that's it! The post processing took all of about 1 minute.

I was readying the photo for a 'sneak peak' this morning after the wedding, and wanted to get a bunch shared out very quickly. If the bride and groom select this as one of their 25 photos for a full edit, I will go back in, and work on it quite a bit more, before printing. But I'm absolutely thrilled with how easy this was to create with my beloved little AD400Pro.

I hope this quick and dirty "HIGTS" helps folks get excited about Off Camera Flash... it's absolutely game changing!

As an aside, fellow Cooperative member Lee Shelly and I are preparing to make a big announcement about TWO Portrait Lighting workshops in the coming months. One will be in January, and the other in late May, or early April. Details will be out very soon!

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