How to Shoot a Stunning Wedding
Shooting with flare can produce striking results if you are careful. It can add an extra emotive element when used in conjunction with correct posing and fill lighting. Keep keen eyes on the background also, looking for complimenting contrast and try filtering the flare through trees, this will help to soften and diffuse what can be a harsh effect if not used correctly.
1 x DSLR Camera
1 x Lens Hood to fit lens (Used to reduce harsh flare when shooting outdoors particularly when skin tones are of importance)
1 x White Reflector at (60cm+). (Used for creating an additional light source, cheaper than a flash and very useful. It may mean that you need a helper or if you are lucky you can hold it in one hand while shooting with the other)
1. Source your location. When working with backlight it is important to choose a neutral background, anything to overpowering can take the emphasis of the couple so choose wisely. Backlit grasses, trees and sand dunes work well.
2. Attach your lens to the camera and fit the lens hood. While you're doing this you may want to place the couple in position and just ask them to chat amongst themselves and have a bit of a flirt. Keep an eye on them, as they may even pose themselves for you and when they do, get them to hold it.
3. Grab your reflector and bounce the light back into the couple. This will create a fill light which eliminates harsh shadows and at the same time provides you with a beautiful soft light source.
4. Now get your exposure right. If you are shooting on manual mode start with the aperture and set it on F4 and balance the shutter speed accordingly. Another option is to shoot on aperture priority mode set on F4 but be careful; the sun coming back into the camera can cause the metering system to become very erratic and unreliable. Test shots are a must. What you are combating here is the cameras desire to think there is an abundance of light. If the camera meters the exposure this way the subject will appear dark. What you need is a well exposed background and subject. As a general rule of thumb remember that the darkest shadow area should still contain some detail and the brightest area should not be so bright that it burns out any detail.
5. Interaction is a huge factor particularly if you are trying to communicate emotion through your image, so plenty of laughs, kisses, staring into each others eyes etc. Once you have the couple comfortable begin to compose your shot, you may need to kneel down to capture the sun flare. Take plenty of shots from slightly different angles as the smallest movement can alter the lens flare direction or intensity. Play with the angle and height of the reflector too. Experiment and have fun.
6. When you have your shot make sure you compliment the couple and give them a break before moving on. This will also give you a chance to thoroughly go through what you have just captured and double check.
Note: Backgrounds can be just as important as the subject you are shooting. Try looking for the light and its direction before adding the subject.
7. Shoot like no one is watching™