Amazing Natural light and Off Camera Flash Photography in the El Paso heat!
It was a HOT day in El Paso, Tx. No surprise! Why did we choose to have the Wedding Workshop in the blazing heat? Well, as Wedding photographers in El Paso, we sometimes don't get to control the times that the Wedding Portraits happen. We get stuck in the blazing heat and we are unable to sway clients sometimes to choose cooler shaded locations. :) We wanted out students to experience a real day wedding time and to learn the skills to move through the portraits with confidence and ease, even in the harsh, blazing heat! Equipped with cold water, much needed sunscreen, an umbrella for the models and a wagon to cart gear around, we were off!
The afternoon session started in beautiful Downtown El Paso at the San Jacinto Plaza. Our goal was to teach the students that the harsh sun could be used to make beautiful images that their clients will love! What can you control in this harsh sun? Well, we can control the quality of light and the direction of the light. The quality of light is defined by how hard or how soft the light is. With the harsh sun, it creates a high contrast look that we didn't want. So, we used a large diffusion panel and brought it in close to our model, for the light to fall of fast, to give us the soft light look we were after. We made sure to position the model against greenery or a building as our background to avoid an overexposed sky in our images. The direction of light can be controlled by moving our model and ourselves around when taking the image. Amber was our first model.....love working with her. A true professional. All of Amber's images were photographed with a diffuser panel in close, held high and angled to give her a short light pattern and also in the shade with a silver reflector to shape the light as well.
Our next model couple was Douglas and Terry Kahala. We photographed them in natural light as well. The images you see were taken with no modifiers. We searched for locations with light reflecting off of the ground and buildings to light this couple. The clouds were moving in and out so it gave us some even light at times. Terry is such a great model to work with. She is always on time and a true professional as well. We asked for her husband Douglas to come along and we were not disappointed.....lots of laughter!
After a great meal at Rudy's BBQ, we headed to our evening "off camera flash" portion of the class. We had a slight mis-communication with one of the models not showing up, but we are photographers so, WE ADJUSTED. :) Our Franklin Mountains location was a great area to photograph the setting sun! We approached this session as we do any other session. We ensured that the couple wore the clothing we needed. We used darker dressier clothing because of the background. We didn't want their clothing with prints or bright bold colors to contrast with the awesome scenery!
We wanted our students to learn the importance of photographing their clients in many lighting situations. We had them first focus on using the direct setting sun, in case they had no flash to use. We knew these images would be high contrast, with no fill, but we wanted a more edgy modern look here. We taught how to pose couples in THE WIND, which is common in El Paso, TX., what to do if their couples had sensitive eyes to the sun, how to meter for a non-overexposed sky and to ensure that the couple was positioned below OR above the horizon. Our model couple Daniel and Michelle, did such an awesome job. They followed our direction well and looked really good for our students.
With the time winding down and the sun setting, it was time for our sunset photography. My favorite!! We had the students meter for their ambient and get their flash settings. We explained the importance of the position of the strobe to ensure a good lighting pattern on the brides face and also posing the bride to flatter her. We ensured that the brides position stayed above the skyline to give a maximum view of the beautiful sky. We also squeezed in some veil shots too! A BIG 'thank you" to Michelle for filling in for us. She was such a big help and really had patience while the students learned. The day was long but we had an AWESOME time teaching, sharing and helping the students build on their knowledge of photography. We hope the students walked away with some techniques they can use in their everyday weddings.
Next up on the Blog: A look at "Before and After" images. I am visual learner and I know when my mentors post the SOOC(straight out of camera) images and then the final edit for me to see, it really helps me to learn how they photograph and just HOW MUCH editing they applied. Stay tuned!!
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