Sunday, July 1, 2012


I have written before that photographing the formals is not my favorite time of the day. The only reason I say that is that they can be pretty mundane: kind of like photographing a lineup. The images are important. The people are usually very polite and if we can find Uncle Phil or Aunt Milly, it does not take a lot of time.  We have posed the formals on lawns at the reception venue, at a park near where the wedding is taking place and at the altar after the ceremony. 

But our last wedding location was my favorite place to photograph the formals: on a beach in Florida during the golden hours. The golden hours are those hours just before and right up to sunset. The light was beautiful and the surroundings, with the ocean right behind the groups of people we photographed, were gorgeous.

When we photograph outside there are things we need to keep in mind before we even pose the people. First, I wanted the ocean behind them. The bride and groom were married on a beach and they want to see the ocean in their images. Wouldn't you?? We also need to position them with the sun either behind them or even better, coming from the side. 

Side lighting is always the best choice for two reasons.  First, side lighting helps create texture and shadows. You really want those two things to create a realistic and pleasing look. The other reason is that you don't ever want the sun shining directly on their faces. If you do, you're going to have people squinting, never a great look.  

So at this wedding we posed the groups on an angle with the ocean behind them and the setting sun coming from their left. Phyllis stood to my right with one of our Quantum Trio flashes. It was on a pole, had a round diffuser on it and Phyllis held the light about eight feet in the air. The diffuser helps spread the light on an even plane and holding it eight feet in the air and causes any shadows to fall behind them. The light is used just to fill in any shadows that could be caused by someone's shadow falling across another person or even a person's nose causing a shadow across their own face.

When I do my post production on the formals, I always produce one of each image in color and in black and white.

Here are some images from the wedding. I hope you enjoy them.


melissa said...

The images are great and I've just learned about side lights. I should tell my sister about that the next time we have our beach photoshoots :P

The images came out subtly. I love both the colored and B&Ws ~ they look so soft.


Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Once again, absolutely amazing, Jim! I especially liked the one with the bridesmaids jumping into the air. I'm sure this couple will always treasure these gorgeous photos.

Mani said...

Jim as lyws loved ur photography n dat b/w ws jst so beautiful.


Andy David said...

These are great, Jim. I always enjoy looking at your photos. Nice job Sir! Thanks for sharing.

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