Tag Archives: 5D Mk III
Judging by the room Josh and Maegan had, I’d say the San Luis Resort penthouse suites are – well – sweet 😉
I entered with all of my gear, set it out of the way of the ladies in the room, and began picking up cups and plates off of the coffee table and moving chairs and other things around the room to make space for forthcoming photo ops. I decided there would be no need for any flash as the ambient light from the balcony windows mixed nicely with the interior shadows. The bride finally returned from the salon and the photography process began. And this, folks is where the art of photography really comes into play when capturing the beauty of the Bride and her Ladies.
I first saw Maegan in her little “Bride” robe when she waltzed down to the salon for her hair appointment. She told me the bridesmaids and matron of honor each had robes as well only they were in the bride’s color (aqua) with white embroidery writing on the backs.
I’ve noticed this about the “getting ready” sessions I have photographed prior to the actual wedding ceremony: they are all very relaxed and intimate, with hugs and fun chatter and quiet excitement of the ceremony to come. Talk centers around family. In the image above, Nana was showing her granddaughter the locket that will someday belong to her.
When you are hired to photograph a wedding, it’s so very important to get to know the couple prior to the Big Day. Why? Because having the couple feel comfortable with you and your style is worth so much in terms of the kinds of photographs you can achieve on their behalf. When everybody feels comfortable around you, then they tend to not feel so self-conscious and worried about having a camera around them on a constant basis. They relax in your presence and the photographs you capture reveal the love, affection, and emotion of the day.
Getting a photo of the wedding dress is almost a de rigeur photo nowadays. And Maegan was cracking me up. Pretty much everything she wore said “Bride”, from her robe to her tank top.
That quiet excitement began to build as the bride was helped into her gown and finishing touches were applied.
I made use of my 70-200mm, 50mm, and 24-70mm lenses for these images. All of them hand-held. No flash. In all of the photos with people (excepting the reception images), I added a touch of Imagenomic’s Portraiture. It’s all about looking good for the wedding, you know.
If you are in a situation where you can utilize side-lighting, then by all means do so, as it is fantastic for portraits.
If you are in a situation where you can utilize backlighting for the bride, then this is another one of those “by all means do so” moments.
Yes, the backlit bride and her dress are clichéd shots that all photographers get, but nobody can argue they aren’t beautiful images and every backlit bride image is different from wedding to wedding, so it’s not *quite* the same thing as photographing a landscape that everybody else with a camera has captured.
I also made use of black & white with some of the photos. Weddings, IMO, were made for monochrome. In some cases, I noticed the black & white images bringing out more dress detail than in the color images.
Next post: Posed Shots – The Bride, Groom, The Bridesmaids, The Bridal Party
The Groom and His Men. The groom, Josh, is second from the left, sitting down beside his Best Man.
Let’s face it: the groomsmen tend to get short shrift when it comes to wedding photography. The bride gets soooo many more photos; I admit to having captured far more images of the bride than of the groom. That being said, I did my utmost to get great shots of the guys.
After my hair and makeup photo op session with the bride, her mother, her daughter and the bridesmaids, I grabbed my lighting equipment and hot-footed it down to one of the lower levels of the resort where the guys were getting ready in a small, private club / gameroom.
The entire scene was infused with old-fashioned gentlemen’s club masculinity: the subdued golden lighting, the pool tables, the poker tables, the (unstocked) bar, the leather couches. All that was missing was the blue cloud of cigar smoke hanging in the air.
All of the images here were taken with the ISO set to between 640 and 2000, even when I used flash. Two of the scenes I photographed were taken with only the ambient light and no flash. In hindsight, I was near a number of electrical outlets, so I should have used my 500-watt continuous light with the umbrella instead of the flash, as I would have been able to see the light at all times instead of just after I’d taken the shot.
For the scene at the top of this post, I used my Gary Fong diffuser dome over the flash which was on my 5D Mk III. I set the ISO to 1250 with a shutter of 1/40 and an aperture of f4.
For the pool table scenes, I set up the umbrella and flash so the light went through the umbrella onto the guys. The off-camera flash setup was approximately 45 degrees to my right and at one end of the pool table so that the light was softer and covered the entirety of the groom and groomsmen. I used the 5D Mk III, set the ISO to 640, the shutter speed to 1/50 and the aperture to f4.
For this poker table scene, I turned the umbrella so that the open end faced the men. The flash bounced off of the umbrella rather than shot through. This produced a stronger light on the guys. I used the 5D Mk III and set the ISO at 640 with a shutter of 1/50 and an aperture of f4.
This scene was shot with just the ambient light. I used the 50mm prime on my Canon 1-DX, set the ISO to 1000 and the shutter at 1/40 with an aperture of f4.
For this toast scene, I again used only ambient light, setting the ISO on the 5D Mk III to 2000 with a shutter of 1/25 and an aperture of f4.
I used the Gary Fong dome diffuser over my flash for this image, setting the ISO at 1250, shutter at 1/40 and aperture at f4.
The only issue I really needed to watch was getting reflections of all of the guys in the polished coffee table as they toasted the groom. Maybe I didn’t get all of their faces in the reflections, but I at least got their arms with the drinks. Oh, btw, that liquid was *not* whiskey. The guys mixed coke and a little water to make it look like whiskey.
Despite the best efforts of my flash, I still worked with Photoshop CS6 to lighten some of the faces. The photo I most had to work with was the first photo in this post. The other photos were better in terms of the amount of light and shadow I wanted. Because of the low-light interior, it was necessary to use my Imagenomic Noiseware reduction software to get rid of that graininess inherent with low-light / high ISO imagery.
The bride and groom had created an extremely handy schedule, so I knew exactly where I had to be and when. And, by golly, that schedule worked like a charm for everything! So, after the groomsmen photographs, I checked the time then lugged myself, my cameras, and my lighting equipment up to Maegan and Josh’s 16th floor penthouse suite.
Next post: Getting Ready
My day of photography did not start until 10AM, when I met the bride, her mother, her daughter, and bridesmaids down in the resort’s spa for a morning of hairstyling and makeup.
The salon portion of the spa is relatively small – or rather, I should say it’s styling cubicles are relatively small, so one of the things I had to watch out for was accidentally getting in the way of the shot. I photo-bombed myself more than once, I’m afraid.
Since this was an interior photo op, I increased the ISO to 500. I had my Gary Fong dome diffuser attached to the flash on my 1-DX, but never used it as it would have reflected in the salon’s mirrors.
Hair and makeup sessions make for great ops, despite the above considerations. Make use of the mirrors and their reflections. Frame your compositions at different angles for some variety.
And try to get images that the ladies would like (i.e. try not to take unflattering straight shots of faces without makeup – if you do happen to get those shots, then make sure you’ve added a little interest or humor to the comp).
I was there from 10AM to about 12:30PM. After that, I was off to photograph the groom and his men.
Originally, I had written a 2800-word blog post (give or take). Yikes! Way too long! I think the human attention span tends to get a nervous tic over anything past 1200 words (which is the length I try to stick to but oftentimes never successfully manage). I personally can’t stand reading uber-long posts, no matter how helpful they may be; I tend to skim over them and just look at the pictures. I’d forgotten about this, though, in my 2800-word zeal to get everything down about my experience photographing this wedding. Then, I started reading some short but neat blog posts by Scottseyephotos about his photographic trip to Hallo Bay, AK, and I realized I was far more interested reading his numerous, interesting short blog posts than I would have been had he combined all of his bear articles into a single post. So, I’ve separated this original post into several shorter ones.
Here’s the First Post, which I hope whets your photographic-blogospheric appetite for the next post:
I had the great fortune to photograph Josh & Maegan’s wedding in Galveston, Texas, back in late April (2013). The venue was the San Luis Resort. I reserved a room for the weekend and prepared for the event.
What I took with me:
- Canon 1-DX body + 3 spare batteries
- Canon 5D Mk III body + 4 spare batteries
- A rented Canon 6D body (go read my previous blog for my take on this body)
- Canon 85mm f1.2L lens (which I absolutely loved but never used for this event)
- Canon 50mm f1.2L lens
- Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II lens
- Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II lens
- A rented Canon 14mm f2.8L lens (go read my previous blog for my take on this lens)
- A 7’ parabolic white umbrella
- 2 Canon 600 EX-RT flashes (one of them was a rental)
- Canon ST-E3-RT transmitter
- Gary Fong flash head diffuser dome
- 2 lightstands (of which I only used one of them)
- One 500-watt studio light (which I did not use but now wish I had for the groomsmen shots instead of my flash – that way I could have seen right away how the lighting situation would look).
- Induro 8X CT314 tripod legs and Induro BHD3 ballhead (I only used it for the HDR shots of my room interior and balcony view, believe it or not – all of the wedding shots were hand-held)
- 42 memory cards, both CF and SDHD in 4GB and 8GB capacities
- 15” Laptop
- 2 portable hard drives
- 2 memory card readers (in case something happened to one of them)
- Battery charger for each type of battery
- My portable MiFi (never used it since the resort had free WiFi)
- All the assorted cords and connecters needed to power up the other items listed
- My LowePro Slingshot AW 202 camera backpack
- My Think Tank Airport Commuter camera backpack
- My Photoflex Transpac to carry all my lighting equipment (it turned out to be rather large and exceedingly heavy, so I plan on ordering something smaller to take with me for my next gig)
I’ve written a TripAdvisor review including photos of my room and the resort. Suffice to say that I enjoyed my stay, liked my room, loved the view, but wished they had provided me with a different type of coffee maker . A small complaint, but coffee is a mainstay for me when traveling and working with photos on my laptop. I usually pack my own coffee and filters with the assumption the room has a 4-cup coffee maker. It didn’t work with this particular room.
Looking down at the wedding venue from Josh & Maegan’s 16th-floor penthouse suite.
Now you have the location and the venue. Next post: my first photo op with the bride and her crew.