Photography is a combination of light and shadows. Learn how to see and use light to add more dimension to your photographs. If you have a choice of time of day when doing a portrait session. Early morning a little before sunrise and a little bit after or evening at sunset or about one half hour after sunset are the best times to photograph.
The light quality is soft and just seems to glow. It is what professional photographers call “Sweet Light”. The light is horizontal and coming in parallel to the horizon and this “Sweet Light” gives a beautiful soft yet three dimensional quality.
However, we may not be able to photograph every portrait session at this time. Therefore it is important to learn to see the light that you have to work with at that time and use it or modify it to your advantage. Here is where fill light, either in the form of electronic fill flash or a reflector can be used to enhance the existing light that you have to work with.
When photographing a bride up close, I’ll bring in a reflector that will not only lower the lighting ratio but will also brighten up the eyes and add a nice catch light as well. The nice thing about a reflector is that it can be feathered or moved in the direction that will make the portrait more flattering. It can also be moved farther or closer to the subject as necessary. Plus, we have a choice of many different tones of reflectors. In most cases, I like using a 42 inch silver reflector. If that is too harsh, I’ll use the other side which is white and get a softer fill. Generally, I like using the reflector as fill whenever I can. If I’m too far from the subject I’ll use a fill flash. If I’m working with an assistant I may use an off camera flash mounted on a light stand or a monopods for the assistant to hold. The light I’m using is a Quantum Q flash. If working alone, I’ll use my on camera flash with a small soft box modifier velcroed over the flash head as a fill light. I will set my flash anywhere from 1 to 2 stops under the exposure reading. If photographing the couple in front of a sunrise or sunset, then your exposure on the bride must match the reading on the sunrise or sunset. Without getting too technical, what this means is that you want to match the same amount of light falling on the bride that is on the sunrise or sunset. So, your lens speed is set and you adjust your flash to the power it needs to match. Otherwise you will get a beautiful sunset but the bride’s face is too far underexposed. Or if you expose for the bride, the sunset may be overexposed and you will not get the beautiful colors in the sunset.
However, all that being said. Keep it as simple as possible, especially if you are just in the beginning stages of photographic portraiture. You don’t want to be fumbling with equipment when photographing the bride. There is a fine line between the equipment that is adequate for the job and the rapport you have with the bride as you are photographing her.
You should exude a level of competence and professionalism as well as making the bride feel very relaxed, making it fun for the bride. This will not only show in your portraits but will help you get referral business as well.
Get to know and get comfortable with the equipment you’re working with and the results will be a pleasant experience for both you and the bride. Plus, she will have beautiful portraits that she and her family will treasure for their lifetime.
To Learn About Outdoor Lighting on a Pre_bridal Portrait Watch Video Below