It has been a very long time since my last post, I’ve been busy with helping set up my parents business and helping organise my own wedding….. well, watch it being organised. It’s funny when people say ‘You can’t shoot your own wedding, so who is going to do it? Alot of pressure!’ Well I’d like to shoot my own wedding, but I had thought about it, it’s just going to be too difficult, so we have employed the services of an amazing professional studio based in Brunswick West. I’ll no doubt be putting the images into an album I’ll design to show people in person.

Today I wanted to take a look back at an image I took at my last wedding (it feels like a long time ago now), at Bianca and Travis,’ Kangaroo Ground, Victoria. I have posted a black and white version before, but I prefer the colour version shown here.

I always look forward to photographing the rings, it is always a challenge to make each one look different, so it really tests out my vision and creativity. The concept for this shot is simple, but it is a somewhat difficult approach, so for the people reading this for technique advice, this one’s for you.

The rings were held in a small felt container, but I thought for a greater intimacy I had the Best Man hold them in the palm of his hand. The light outdoors was a harsh high noon sun, but we had a slightly shaded garden feature in the park across the road from the house the boys were getting ready at. Through the foilage was filtered sunlight which I used to light the rings to really set them off in the photograph. Having the hand in the lower part of the frame gave me the leading lines from all directions (the fingers, thumb and the jacket), combined with the hot spot of light it gave the rings immediate attention in the composition.

I knew in my head I needed a large aperture to throw the background out of focus, so i had a 50mm f1.4 prime lens mounted on the camera and shot it nearly fully wide open at f1.8. The way I approach all photographs I make is I decide on an aperture setting in my head before I even put the camera up to my eye. With experience you will get to know how your lenses behave  at different focal lengths and apertures. By deciding on an aperture first I am making the creative decision to shoot wide open (shallow depth of field/focus) or stopped down to f8 or f11 for maximum depth of focus. I never really go beyond f11 as the sharpness of the lens starts to fall off.

Now focusing at this distance with such a large aperture is notoriously difficult as the depth of field is so narrow, in this case only a couple of centimeters. Even when you change the sensor plane or even move a fraction of an inch during focusing your subject can go out of focus. Combined with the possible movement by the subject’s hands there is massive potential to get an out of focus picture. What I try to do first is set my focus by selecting the nearest focus point (9 points on a Canon 50D and 5D MkII) which I can do while the camera is up to my eye and I lock the focus by holding down your chosen focus lock/shutter button (in my case I use back button focusing using the AE lock button). I then move my head backwards and forwards until I am confident the focus is correct. I sometimes reconfirm focus with the autofocus to be sure I am accurate.

As for metering this shot I used the Spot Meter (2% frame coverage) to pinpoint exposure and I metered off the subject’s skin tone. I know that is the element I want properly exposed and it is close to a midtone to give accurate exposure. I deliberately over exposed a third or two of a stop so I: one, had a good file to work with in post production and two, to deliberately loose detail in the skin.

Processing was simply the Adobe Lightroom recipe I use for most of my wedding photographs, but with selective contrast and sharpening applied to the rings only to make them pop a bit more.

That’s it from me today, but I encourage you to leave a comment which not only feeds my ego it also inspires me to write more about photographic technique.

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