As wedding photographers, we all understand the challenges of a wedding day. Emotions are running high, nothing ever seems to go according to plan. Timelines are thrown out the window, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s raining, someone is late. It’s never ending. As a wedding photographer I truly think of myself as a crisis manager. That being said, I wanted to share with you an image from a recent wedding. It was an outdoor ceremony with no Plan B. As the bride pulled up in her horse and carriage it started to downpour. Torrential downpour. Lenny, my second shooter for the day, and myself stood strong and never stopped shooting. We were soaked. The couple got married and I did everything in my power to get them some killer shots, but clearly I was a little handcuffed.
By the end of the night, I just felt like I needed something more, but it was still raining. Just before I left, I told the couple, hey, if you are up for it – I have this idea for one last shot tonight. They said, excitedly, “of course!” So, we went out to the very gazebo their ceremony was in.
Below is the shot.
Camera | Canon 1Dx
Lens | Canon 11-24mm
Light | Canon Speedlight and Canon Trigger
Exposure | 1/60th of a sec @ f4, ISO 1600
Here is how we set it up.
First, I have very patient clients, who had to stand in the rain and work with me while I got dialed in for the shot. The first shot is pretty much what the scene looked like to the camera and to the naked eye. It was pitch black. The camera was having all sorts of issues focusing.
In order to keep the client dry, I had someone hold an umbrella over them and use an iPhone to shine a flash light on them. This allowed the camera to get focused. Then, I put the camera in manual focus and took the shot. Below is the test shot we took before the final image you see above. I would take a test shot, check the camera, make the adjustment, then wipe the lens, repeat. Once I was dialed in, we just ran with it to make the final image. The flash was behind the couple. Lenny was squatting down and firing it up at them. The biggest mistake I see with shots like this is photographers slamming light in there at full power and it blows all the highlights of the shot. This was at half power.
Doing something extraordinary for your clients doesn’t always have to be complicated. You just have to relax and put all your skills to the test. In this situation, the biggest challenge was getting the camera to focus and then keeping rain off the lens. Using an umbrella and an iPhone allowed us to deal with those challenges and keep the client relaxed. I would have never been able to do this without someone helping me. I took a few test shots and was ready to go. The final image is one they love and truly represents their day in a unique and artistic way. It rained on their wedding day, there is no escaping that fact. My job is to find a way to bring that detail into the fold and create something artistic.
Never let the challenges of a day prevent you from doing something extraordinary for your clients. Now, get out there and shoot!