HOW WE SHOT IT - Tips & Tricks to improve your wedding photography

June 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment
"Wedding photography tips"Tips to improve your wedding photographyTechniques used by us to achieve the quality, creativity, and effects in our photography.

The journey of a photographer from being a hobbyist to a professional relies totally on their learning and practicing them in real time scenarios. Mastering your gear and learning new techniques will help you achieve results which can blow away your clients. We are often asked about how we got a particular shot and the technique used to achieve it. Therefore, we thought of coming up with a blog which will talk about some of the techniques used by us to create something different for our clients. Happy Clicking! 

Light Sandwitching (That's what I call it!)

Let's consider a scenario:

1. Night Time
2. Dimly lit - Mostly candles or lanterns
3. No option to bounce light
4. Outdoors

Yes, it's one of the most difficult situation to shoot in and believe me, we can still get some great shots in this scenario.
This is what I do:

1. Set the camera to a higher ISO (Around ISO 1600)
2. Drop the shutter speed to around 125 or 160 of a second. Always remember, slower shutter speed brings back some ambient light and flash freezes the action. You can try slower shutter speed to get some creative effects.
3. Sandwitch the subject using the key light (On camera flash) and rim light (Back light/ side light) to bring them out from the background.
4. The key here is to keep the back light at a lower power and directional to avoid the light spill.

Exif: Nikon D810, F/5.6, 1/160 sec, 24mm

Photo by: Rohan Mishra Photography (www.rohanmishraphotography.com) Motion Framing / Film Stripping

Motion capture is a technique where the movement of the objects or people is recorded. Here we had first separated the couple and then asked the bride-to-be to walk towards the groom-to-be where we captured the action with multiple frames per second. Through this technique, we just wanted to capture the amazing chemistry of the couple in LOVE.


Exif: Nikon D800, 55mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO-100

Prewedding shoot pondicherryCouple shoot Pondicherry

Creating Tension

Often we are asked how do we get the expressions right? Well, there are some simple techniques and one of them is what you see here. We decided to play a quick game with the couple. We had asked Rishi to hold Nikita from the waist and pull towards him and in reciprocation, we had told Nikita to not to give in and apply force in the opposite direction. And you can yourself see the amazing results we have got.

Exif: Nikon D800, 24mm, f/4, 1/1600 sec, ISO-800

Prewedding shoot pondicherryCouple shoot Pondicherry

Silhouette

In order to shoot a silhouette, you just need to play with your camera a bit. Let the camera meter off the sky and not the subject. Begin with pointing your camera at the brightest part of your frame – but not directly into the sun – and press the shutter halfway down. Then, while you’re holding the shutter half way down, recompose your image and take the photo. 

In order to avail the clearest silhouette photo, you should ideally shoot in manual, so you can choose the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO as per your requirement and not let the camera do so.

Another alternative measure is to use the exposure compensation feature on your camera when in Aperture priority mode to achieve the desired result. Reason being, exposure compensation gives you the ability to instruct your camera to allow more light in or less light in. Usually, to shoot silhouettes you’ll have to shuffle your setting between -1 to -3 EV (exposure value), but be careful as you might have to experiment with the value to see what works best for the situation. 

Exif: NIKON D3300, F-stop: f/4,Exposure time: 1/1000 sec,ISO: 1600,Exposure bias: -2 step, Focal Length: 17 mm

Kavita & AkashKavita & AkashKavita & Akash Post-wedding shoot in Delhi Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/5.6, Exposure time: 1/4000 sec, ISO: 400, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 50 mm

Jaipur-pre-wedding-ShootJaipur-Pre-wedding-shootJaipur-Pre-wedding-shoot Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/160 sec, ISO: 6400, Exposure bias: -2 step, Focal Length: 70 mm

Warangal-wedding-photographerWarangal-wedding-photographerA beautiful silhouette at Dusk!

USE DISTORTION

Using a distortion in your favor is also an Art. Sometimes distortion can add to the photo so much, so try moving the lens about and see how it affects the lines along the edges or distorts objects in the foreground. 

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/5.6, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 800, Focal Length: 24 mm

Couple-shoot-warangal-fortCouple-shoot-warangal-fortA beautiful couple shoot at Warangal fort

FRAME THE SHOT

The world of wide angle lens can be sensed only when you see it through the viewfinder. If used effectively this lens can be considered as the most creative lens available in the market. For instance, In the shot below the height of the pillar was slightly above 5 feet but to get this perspective I decided to sit down and shoot. I made sure the couple is placed in the center so that the distortion is restricted only to the pillars giving us an illusion of it being a bigger in height.  Hence framing a shot correctly is equally important when shooting with wide angle lens.

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/400 sec, ISO: 3200, Focal Length: 24 mm

Candid-photographer-WarangalCandid-photographer-WarangalCouple dancing at Warangal Fort

Multiple Exposure

One of the most experimental technique is the in-camera double exposure. You can do wonders with this technique as it gives a free hand to the photographers to create some unique and inspiring shots. The method of overlaying images on top of each other, you could shape an image of nature into the silhouette of a person (like this one), stitch different urban scenes into one image, and even produce avant-garde and dreamlike photographs.

This is why nowadays more digital cameras offer a multiple exposure mode, allowing shooters (like yourself) to create double exposures without relying on Photoshop.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/8000 sec, ISO: 800, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 50 mm

Chennai-Couple-ShootChennai-Couple-ShootChennai-Couple-Shoot Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 1600, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 50 mm

Double-exposure-couple-shotDouble-exposure-couple-shotCamera technique

0ff camera flash with lens flare!

Usage of Off camera flash is a photographer’s treat. To build levels of dimension by using a backlight to separate the subject from the background. By allowing a little gap between the couple’s face, it will give the right amount of flare to pop up which will add the required drama.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/11, Exposure time: 1/250 sec, ISO: 100, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 70 mm

Chennai-Couple-ShootChennai-Couple-ShootChennai-Couple-Shoot

0ff camera flash!

Another way of using a flash is to manipulate your lighting to create a silhouette even during the getting ready session. Just put a flash right behind the subject to bring out the hair spray against a dark background.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/2.8, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 100, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 50 mm

Go Wide! Go VERTICAL! get a different perspective

Whenever we talk about wide shots the first thing which strikes us is a horizontal image whereas if we try to shoot vertically even that can produce some unique perspectives for that extra drama.

Tall buildings can be captured in totality, for instance, or a feet-to-sky perspective can be achieved. The concern of distorting vertical lines along the edge of your frame can be a problem, but the results can also be quite striking.

We have used the same technique to capture the real beauty of the ambiance in full glory and embellished it with the love of the couple.

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/5.6, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 100, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 24mm

Photo by: Rohan Mishra Photography (www.rohanmishraphotography.com)

An Interesting foreground

As wide-angle lenses capture more of the scene, it is a good idea to make sure there is something interesting in the foreground for the viewer to look at and which ultimately leads into the subject. So here we have used the combination of two amazing techniques i.e. silhouette and usage of an interesting foreground.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/2500 sec, ISO: 400, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 24 mm

Prewedding shoot pondicherryCouple shoot Pondicherry Postwedding shoot at Le Pondy, pondicherryCouple shoot Le Pondy, Pondicherry Combining two concepts!

Combining any two photography techniques will always give some incredible results like this one. Here we have used the technique of ‘Leading lines’ combined with the usage of an interesting foreground.

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/800 sec, ISO: 400, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 24 mm

Dramatic Lighting

To create a drama we have underexposed the background and have lit the couple with the help of an off-camera flash. 

Exif: NIKON D3100, F-stop: f/16, Exposure time: 1/ 200 sec, ISO: 100, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 17 mm

Richa-Pulkit-PhotoshootRicha-Pulkit-PhotoshootRicha-Pulkit-Photoshoot

Take advantage of the sky!

Similar to using an interesting foreground, if you have a beautiful sky, you can also use the wide-angle to take advantage of it. Fill 1/3 to ½ of your frame or full frame with the sky and the wide-angle will accentuate it because of the added sense of depth that these lenses create.

Here is a "Save The Date" concept we absolutely loved conceptualizing & shooting. How we did it?
Set your camera to Manual--> Set it to underexpose the scene in order to capture those dramatic clouds-->add off camera flash to your taste-->Click
P.S. The date text was added later in post using Photoshop.

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/16, Exposure time: 1/160 sec, ISO: 64, Focal Length: 24mm

Photo by: Rohan Mishra Photography (www.rohanmishraphotography.com)

Use Leading Lines

Leading lines is a technique used by the photographers to draw the attention of the viewer to its main subject. Before taking a shot look for the strongest lines you can see and then arrange all the other elements accordingly in your frame. Usage of fences, bridges, roads, buildings etc can actually help you in accentuating the angles.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/160 sec, ISO: 800, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 80 mm

Leading lines can be used in any type of photography. The directional line in the below shot is strong and decisive, a very nice leading line for the eyes to explore the beautiful reflection.

Exif: NIKON 5100, F-stop: f/16, Exposure time: 1/100 sec, ISO: 100, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 18 mm

Forced perspective 

With the help of optical illusion, we can make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. This technique is known as forced perspective and it is used primarily in photography, filmmaking, and architecture. 

Exif: NIKON D3100, F-stop: f/5.6, Exposure time: 1/500 sec, ISO: 1600, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 17 mm

Top it All! 

Wedding ceremonies are chaotic but if you're trying to take photos at a busy event where there's a big crowd, you'll be able to shoot above them. It will help you avoid getting extra people's heads in shots and give you a great opportunity to get a general overview of the scene. Shooting from the top might offer a slightly alternative angle to the subject that is shot straight-on most of the time. 

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/5.6, Exposure time: 1/500 sec, ISO: 1600, Focal Length: 24mm

Best-wedding-photographer-TirupatiBest-wedding-photographer-Tirupati Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/1.8, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 800, Exposure bias: 0, Focal Length: 85mm

Jaipur-Wedding-Photographer

Bokeh Panorama

Most of us "Photographers" call this technique "Bokeh Panorama" or "Brenizer Method".Here is the deconstruction of this image:

- We chose the Bandra–Worli Sea Link as a backdrop for its urban and contemporary look.
- We took 81 individual shots and stitched them together to achieve this masterpiece. 
- The chemistry between the couple made this shot an absolute magical one.
- Each frame shot at F/2, ISO-200, 1/200sec using Nikon D810 & 85 1.8

Photo by: Rohan Mishra Photography (www.rohanmishraphotography.com)

Angle The Light

If you want the light to produce an artistic flare, then it needs to be coming across your photo. Good lens flare depends on the angle of the light, which correlates with the time of day. Shoot in the evening with your lens flare coming from the side of your frame, perhaps using the rule of thirds.

Exif: NIKON D3300, F-stop: f/9, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 200, Focal Length: 17mm

Couple-shoot-at-DakshinchitraCouple-shoot-at-Dakshinchitra2 light setup for a creative couple shoot Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/800 sec, ISO: 1600, Exposure bias: 0, Focal Length: 125mm

Jaipur-wedding-couple-danceJaipur-wedding-couple-danceWedding-reception-ceremony-jaipur

Cross Culture Weddings

To showcase cross culture weddings there is no limit to creativity and this one is just a way to portray our couple’s love story and what culture they belong to and yet they have decided to be life partners forever.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/5.6, Exposure time: 1/800 sec, ISO: 1600, Exposure bias: 0, Focal Length: 92mm

Chennai-Couple-ShootChennai-Couple-ShootChennai-Couple-Shoot

Storytelling

Storytelling is timeless. In weddings, we get more opportunities to capture the story of the moment in one single shot. You’ve heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” many times, right? As a photographer, I believe this is true when we dedicate ourselves to seeking out images that really tell a story.

Sometimes your story is in the details. When I photographed this ceremony in one of our wedding shoots, I realized I didn’t need to show the bride’s face to tell the story. Ultimately, I wanted to focus on this intricate process and all the action which was taking place behind. To capture the story, I just went ahead and focused on the detail which is related to the whole process.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/1600 sec, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 46mm

The below shot is from a Vidai ceremony where the bride bids goodbye to her family as she steps in her next phase. Her emotions combined with the reflection of her brother completes the story in one frame!

EXIF: Nikon D800 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8G ED VR II | 200mm | f/4 | 1/60 sec. | ISO 2500.

Grand-JBR-wedding-lucknowGrand-JBR-wedding-lucknowVidai ceremony at Hotel Grand JBR, Lucknow

Reflections

We photographers use reflections only to elevate our creative skills. Basically to completely alter the image from something fairly straightforward to something richer or abstract or otherwise more artistic. Creativity and good-quality photos depend on the photographer being able to see things differently, rather than seeing only one part of a larger scene.

Here we have used the technique of reflection and have tried to capture the story of the two most important people for a Bride to make her look absolutely breathtaking on her D-day i.e. A Make-up artist and a good photographer.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/2.8, Exposure time: 1/800 sec, ISO: 800, Exposure bias: -1 step, Focal Length: 50mm
Bride-getting-readyBride-getting-readyCreative-shot-of-bride-and-photographer-in-one-shot

Framing 

Framing is simply using other objects in your photograph to frame the main subject. This is probably one of the easier composition techniques in photography. Framing brings more depth to the picture and a better focus on what the main subject is.

Here we have used a beautiful leaf to capture the ‘Love’ of our couple.

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/8, Exposure time: 1/200 sec, ISO: 640, Exposure bias: +1 step, Focal Length: 24mm

Postwedding shoot at Le Pondy, pondicherryCouple shoot Le Pondy, Pondicherry Here we have used the staircase to frame our couple.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/2.8, Exposure time: 1/40 sec, ISO: 3200, Exposure bias: +1 step, Focal Length: 38mm

Lalitha-mahal-palace-wedding-mysoreLalitha-mahal-palace-wedding-mysoreMysore destination wedding couple shoot

Eye for AN UNCONVENTIONAL backdrop!

This has been by far the most adventurous couple shoot of ours.  In the hunt of a perfect location we had found this stack of dried grass which we thought will perfectly act as a village backdrop which will be definitely amazing to look forward to.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/320 sec, ISO: 3200, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 200mm

Photo by: Rohan Mishra Photography (www.rohanmishraphotography.com)

Think beyond!

Being creative is nothing but looking beyond the usual. In the wedding of Akash and Kavita I got this opportunity to be a little experimental and try taking a shot from behind the Baraat instead of taking it from the front. And it did help me in getting one of my favourite Baraat shot from my collection.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/3.5, Exposure time: 1/400 sec, ISO: 1600, Exposure bias: 0 step, Focal Length: 190mm

Baraat-chandigarh-weddingBaraat-chandigarh-weddingShot of the groom from the baraat of a punjabi wedding at Chandigarh

High Speed!

High speed is a technique that captures those moments which are too fast for naked eye to see like splendidly water splashing to breaking of glass to bullet piercing the bottle etc.
Here we have used the same technique to add a little drama in our ring shot.

Exif: NIKON D800, F-stop: f/4, Exposure time: 1/50 sec, ISO: 1600, Exposure bias: -1 step, Focal Length: 50mm
Wedding-ring-creative-shotWedding-ring-creative-shotWedding ring at a swimming pool.

Light Painting!

One more technique which is slowly gaining popularity amongst the wedding photographers is the Light Painting Technique. Its nothing but a long-exposure technique that utilizes in-frame or out-of-frame light sources to create patterns within the photo or illuminate an object in specific locations. If done in the right manner one can achieve a beautiful piece of art through this.
Here we have used the sparklers to give that creative edge to demonstrate the chemistry of the couple in love.

Exif: NIKON D810, F-stop: f/16, Exposure time: 2 sec,ISO: 400, Exposure bias: -0.7 step, Focal Length: 46mm

candid-wedding-photographer-Jaipurcandid-wedding-photographer-Jaipur

Motion Blur with Long Exposure!

To understand about the long exposure technique one has to be very clear with the basics first.  The technique is dependent upon  3 major components i.e. Exposure  that can be controlled with the sensitivity of the sensor (ISO), aperture of the lens (f-number) and the shutter speed. Longer the exposure times allows you to  capture clouds, water, or other moving objects in a smooth, flowing manner, while maintaining sharpness and clarity on still objects. 

Long exposure can be used to create a bright photo in low light conditions or to create motion blur to the moving elements of the photograph.

Exif: Nikon D810, f/4, 1/10 sec, ISO-200, 24mm

Photo by: Rohan Mishra Photography (www.rohanmishraphotography.com)


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