If I had to pick one favorite shot out of the 2,100 shots I had taken on Tasha and Tommy’s wedding day, it would be this one.
We were already 20 minutes into the hour-long booking the couple had made for a photo shoot at an artists’ village. I had thought the brick wall of one of the houses interestingly textured and had asked them to stand before it.
A few poses later, it became clear that the scene was not developing. As I hunkered down into position, backing up against a low wall behind me, searching for the next framing, I looked up from the viewfinder and saw Tasha lightly throwing her veil in an attempt to smoothen it out.
Then I felt a small breeze on my skin.
I fired four shots in a burst. Smiling, I announced: “I got it.”
Tasha and Tommy looked at me in half-bewilderment; they had not even arranged themselves into a pose. They probably had not even noticed the shutter clacking away furiously. I strode off in search of the next spot to shoot, confident that the shot I had just captured was probably the best—and the most—I was going to get out of that wall. It was not until I got back to the apartment that evening and viewed the shot on my laptop proper that I realized just how lucky I had been in that split second.
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A little technical information about the shot:
The image was captured full wide with an EF 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM zoom lens on my Canon EOS 30D body. I chose to stop down the aperture to f/8.0 for a sharper image; with this lens, the image tends to become noticeably softer from f/5.6 and up. Shutter speed was 1/6000, and ISO sensitivity set to 1600.
I fired a Speedlite 580EX external flash at 1/8 -0.7 front on towards the scene. In hindsight, I would have fired the flash at 1/4 for a better stop ratio between the sunlight breaking through and the models’ faces. And if I had been really well-equipped, I would have fired the flash through a snoot directed at only Tasha’s face, to fill it in relation to the exposure on Tommy’s face while directing the flash beam away from Tasha’s gown which really did not need any more light.
For image postprocessing, the shot was balanced in Adobe Lightroom and sent out to Adobe Photoshop as a 240dpi, 16-bit TIFF file. There, I mixed a layer of day-for-night filter set to a ‘warm moonlight’ tone and overlaid it on the original image. Some highlight recovery was performed to restore detail to Tasha’s gown. Lastly, Tasha’s face was dodged to to achieve the exposure I would have much preferred.
Besides my intention to convey a certain mood, the other reason why the shot has been kept deliberately dark is so that a fair amount of detail in the highlight of her gown and veil is preserved, and that they stand out more in the scene.