Bridal Rain Portrait

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    _EM12999-re copy.

    This image was taken at a wedding on the 14th November 2015, and the weather was particularly foul.

    My main aim was to ensure I lit as much rain as possible, and also provide an interesting composition for the two girls.
    Behind the girls at a height of around four feet, there's a Godox Witstro 360Ws (available in various guises and badges, including Cheetah Stands in the US, Strobies or Lencarta etc.). This was married to the dedicated beauty dish but without the grid fitted. Bearing in mind I wanted maximum spill for a couple of reasons. Firstly to illuminate the rain, and also to provide a rim light to the girls and the ground either side.
    If I had gridded the beauty dish, the light would have been reduced in output, it wouldn't have spread enough for the full rim light on the girls, and nor would it have lit the rain to the same extent.
    The output was set to ¼.

    The key/fill light was provided by a Godox 600Ws Energiser (available in different guises from several suppliers). It was mated to a 150cm folding octa with a honeycomb fitted, and at a height of five feet, positioned camera left and a little further forward of my position. I was shooting from a crouched position to ensure I managed to get the reflection in the wet floor.
    The key light was also set to a ¼ output.

    E-M1 1/10th sec ISO400 40-150mm f2.8 @f3.5 & 80mm

    The slow shutter speed was to try and gain sufficient ambient light (a bit of a joke, TBH!), whilst trying to keep noise to a minimum with an ISO of 400

    Budget version:

    Substitute both lights for good speedlights. The rear light should be fitted with a stofen or equivalent and firing at ½ power. You may find you don't quite get the distance for the rain, although I had more than enough for my frame.

    The key light will need to be at full power, and should be fired into a silver lined reflective umbrella. The lack of diffusion panel will ensure minimal light loss, but the size of the umbrella will reduce the light's harshness. It's a compromise.
    You may be able to move the key light closer to your subjects, although you may need to raise it higher to avoid frame fouling.

    Things to bear in mind:

    Use clear plastic bags for the light sources (An SB800 detonating in the rain will remove eyebrows far better than wax. Ask me about it sometime!)

    Use something to weigh down or tether your lightstands. Umbrellas and softboxes make great parachutes, and will destroy your lighting gear in the slightest breeze.

    Wear your waterproofs! Expensive suits look like any other collection of rags when you're soaked to the skin. (yep, you can ask me about that too!)

    Ensure your client has suitable weatherproof jackets. They can be taken off for the actual shot, but generally help to reduce the likelihood of a manslaughter charge.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Wonderful shot. I have seen the backlit wedding shots in the past and thought they were a bit too contrived. But this really works great with the rain.

    And yes, I have one of those bent up umbrellas because I didn't weigh down the stand on a day with no wind where it blew over anyway. :)
     
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  3. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    It's a winner (even with the oof foreground)
     
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  4. rav

    rav Mu-43 Top Veteran

    644
    Jul 28, 2015
    Thanks so much for starting this informative and kind of educational series , really appreciate your time and effort . Will be looking forward for more series from you . Can you also include potraits ?
     
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  5. agpr

    agpr Mu-43 Regular

    153
    Nov 2, 2010
    Heraklion, Crete
    Michael, I really appreciate the effort and time you spend to support this community. I look forward for your next LE.
     
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  6. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Certainly Rav.
    I'll ensure there's a good cross section of subject matter.
     
  7. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    As with anything we shoot, we tend to have to make compromises somewhere.
    On this particular evening, I chose to shoot at an ISO of 400 to ensure noise was kept to a minimum. To enable me to do that, I had to shoot at a slow shutter speed (1/10th )sec.
    Due to the distance for the main light and the compression I wanted from the lens, I chose a wide aperture (f3.5). I could have used a wide angle at the same aperture to increase the depth of field, but I would have lost the distance between the brides and I, which would have removed most of the reflection in the floor. My composition aims was one of mirroring, with the girls central, mirroring each other, and the girls mirrored in the water on the floor.
    The other drawback to using a wide angle is the fact it would open up more of the background beyond the girls.
    Moving the main light towards the girls to allow a smaller aperture, and therefore increased depth of field, would have fouled the frame.

    And, we were all getting very wet, very fast :)
     
  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    This means to make a picture :)

    One question: initially I found strange that with 1/10s shutter speed the rain was still and not a line. Then I thought that it was the flash light that freezed the rain. But these are fixed lights so I do not get it. What am I missing?
     
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  9. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    You are absolutely correct in your initial assessment. They are flashes. The rear at a 1/4 output (1/4 of 360 available Ws) and the main light is also 1/4 (1/4 of 600 available Ws)
    The rear light has IGBT circuitry, so the duration of the flash is shortened as the light output is reduced. The main light is a standard flash unit.
    That said, even a standard head would freeze the motion of the rain, as it doesn't move that quick.

    I have example images of rain shots taken during the day, where the visible rain appears elongated, rather than as drops. That is due to the ambient light contributing far more to the exposure, and lighting the drops for a longer period of time than just at the point of the flash firing.

    You raised a very valid observation.
     
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  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    So this was shot completely "in the dark"? Or is there a "preview" mode for the lights? How many test shots did it take?
    Is there any flash/lighting trick that could have captured the rain movement in this case?
     
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  11. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    It was pretty much pitch dark.
    It was after 1900hrs here in the UK, and it went dark before 1700hrs.
    There's no preview light (I assume you mean modellng bulb) available on most location kit lighting. That said, there is a 10W Led bulb on the 600Ws Energiser (and equivalents), although I didn't make use of it.
    I did three test shots, although initially I wanted a much darker image before this one, and I also wanted a traditional landscape image based on the rule of thirds. That particular image can be seen here.

    I wanted that shot in the bag before moving onto the image shown above, as the quartered Mirror composition is a little more difficult, and relied on the reflection to pull it off.
    After switching on the main light for the above shot, I took one test shot to check I had estimated the required light correctly, before taking the keeper.

    We had to work quickly due to the rain and slight breeze causing the girls to become cold quite quickly.
     
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  12. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Wow Michael! Amazing photo. I marvel at the complexity of the thought process to design, stage, and execute. I appreciate your sharing with us.

    Chrome
     
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  13. jrsilva

    jrsilva Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 1, 2012
    Portugal
    Jaime
    Amazing photo!!
    Thank's for taking your time to post a tutorial on the making of that picture.
     
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  14. jmlivingston

    jmlivingston New to Mu-43

    8
    Nov 21, 2015
    Mission Viejo, CA
    John Livingston
    Stunning photo! I first saw this three weeks ago on the Strobist's Facebook group and immediately recognized it when I saw it here. As I'm new in the m4/3 world coming from Canon and using Yongnuo flashes and triggers, would you mind sharing what you're using to trigger your lights off the Olympus body?

    Thanks,
    John
     
  15. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Hi John.

    The Godox based lights have a dedicated trigger system, but can be triggered in any number of ways.
    The reason I use the dedicated trigger system, is down to the fact I can manipulate up to 16 individual groups of lights, all of which can be adjusted by remote.

    The FT-16 transmitter can be seen here, and the plugin receiver fits pretty much all the Godox studio and location heads. There's a slimmed down clip-in receiver that is compatible for their speedlight range.

    However, if you aren't fussed about the remote power control etc, then there are a million and one manual triggers that are cheap as chips and ultra reliable.
    I have one of the first batch of Yongnuo RF602 transmitters and receivers to hit the UK shores back in 2009, and they're still in my kit as a backup solution.

    Bear in mind, I shoot all lighting manually set.
     
  16. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Great stuff Michael. Only adjective I have for it is "magical". Thank you for sharing.

    This thread should be viewed by all aspiring wedding photographers. This is how you can earn a nice living with your camera. Average "guy with camera" will never get anything like this.
     
  17. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I beg to differ.

    Anyone can get a similar result with a bit of thought and practice.
    Not necessarily practising this particular shot, but lighting in general, so you have an idea as to what you will get from a specific light source, at a given distance, using a particular modifier. All those points will help speed up the process in situations such as the above, where time can be quite critical. It also means that you recognise, and circumnavigate any challenges before you even get as far as the lighting test.

    Quite often, the difference between "guy with camera" and a dedicated amateur, is the amount of effort they are prepared to put in ;)
     
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  18. jmlivingston

    jmlivingston New to Mu-43

    8
    Nov 21, 2015
    Mission Viejo, CA
    John Livingston
    Thanks Michael, I appreciate that info . Coming from Canon I'm used to all my accessories such as triggers having to be the proper one to match my body and making sure I never get the Nikon version. My guess though is that the proprietary bit has to do mostly with using TTL. Nice to know that the Godox triggering system is universal, quite a few of the photos I see which catch my eye are using their lights so it's on my wish list of gear to acquire.
     
  19. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    @jmlivingston@jmlivingston
    You can find branded versions of Godox equipment on your side of the puddle. Cheetah Stands being one, and Strobies being another. I'm pretty certain there are plenty more.
    I would think both Amazon and ebay would be a worthwhile resource for you, and I wouldn't necessarily look for rebranded items either, as the only difference between most of the rebrands is the label on the head.
    You can also pay more for the rebrand too
     
  20. mcrosa

    mcrosa Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Jun 26, 2013
    Miami, Florida
    Mike Crosa
    Michael. Thank you for your postings. I find them informative and clearly written. Appreciate your efforts and look foward to your posts.
     
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