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Thread: Can someone please explain how this is done?

  1. #1
    Armand's Avatar
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    Can someone please explain how this is done?

    Hi, I've been interested in wedding photography for quite some time. Unfortunatelly I very rarely like some wedding photographer. Recently I found one whose pictures I really like. I wasn't sure if I should post here or in the post-processing forum, but I would really appreciate it if someone could decode for me what stands behind those pictures - in terms of lightning, settings or whatever, as well as post-processing. I really like this "stock look" so to say. I don't know how to better describe it! Thanks!

    I am just posting links to those images, I don't own them:

    http://napsfv.com/upload/gallery/938_big.jpg

    http://napsfv.com/upload/gallery/935_big.jpg

    http://napsfv.com/upload/gallery/930_big.jpg

    http://napsfv.com/upload/gallery/939_big.jpg

    http://napsfv.com/upload/gallery/944_big.jpg

    http://napsfv.com/upload/gallery/946_big.jpg

  2. #2
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    General observations and looking at the metadata from the files is that these are existing light images, taken with a variety of cameras and lenses. The photographer tends to use fast lenses that are stopped down by a stop or two at most for a shallow depth of field. Shutter speeds tend to be on the higher side to stop motion, and ISO seems to be lower to mid-range. The camera is set to an centre weighted metering and the photographer is shooting totally on manual. No flash is being used.

    The outdoor shots are back-lit and we certainly see lens flare on the second and last image, so that confirms he is pointing tha camera into the light source. PP seems to be done in Photoshop CS5 (I looked at just one of the images at this level of detail).

    The third shot is the only one that seems to be doing something interesting with the lighting; he is using an overhead light as a rim light andusing the white curtaiin as a reflector. This shot is taken at a very low 1/25 shutter speed.

    In post the images are a bit on the warm side of neutral, although there is one shot that is not quite as warm as the others.

    Bottom line, there really isn't anything particularly unusual going on here. If I were to identify a trend; I would have to suggest that the shallow DoF is what is likely catching your eye.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    General observations and looking at the metadata from the files ....
    Excellent analysis, Manfred. I'm sure people will find this helpful.

  4. #4
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    Thanks Donald; once you have enough shooting experience, it's pretty easy to deconstruct what the photographer did, based on one's own knowledge and experience and it's nice to have the metadata to confirm the suspicions.

    I often find that people look for some secret technique when looking at someone else's image that they like, and unfortunately they tend to be disappointed when they find that there is no special "formula" that works. It's all about photographic basics.

  5. #5
    Armand's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    Hi and thanks for the comments. Are you sure there isn't external light of some kind, like off-cam flash or something? At some pictures the light is from behind and the faces seem very well lit where they would be in shadow, and I don't think it's from post processing.

  6. #6
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    For the back lighted shots he has exposed for the skin tones and not worried overly about blown highlights in the background. As you suspect there may be some very diffused fill lighting (could even be tungsten floods worked by an assistant giving the warm skin tones). Certainly the highlight contrast beyond the skin tones has been restricted - semi high key effect and helps retain detail in white dress. Manfred summed it up pretty well.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 13th July 2013 at 08:55 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Armand View Post
    Hi and thanks for the comments. Are you sure there isn't external light of some kind, like off-cam flash or something? At some pictures the light is from behind and the faces seem very well lit where they would be in shadow, and I don't think it's from post processing.
    The metadata reports no flash. Even when I shoot non-integrated studio flash, it does show up in the metadata, so I would be quite surprised if there were any flash. The images don't have any of the usual tell-tale signs like catch lights in the eyes. I suspect that these were pure existing light; no reflectors or external lighting

  8. #8
    drjuice's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    I'm with grumpy on most of these. However, I've found not all lighting is reported in the EXIF data, only lighting that's "connected" to the camera at exposure time. If the lighting is just "there", such as the way some people use floods, and the lighting is electronically disconnected from the camera, it won't show up.

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia

  9. #9
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone please explain how this is done?

    Quote Originally Posted by drjuice View Post
    I'm with grumpy on most of these. However, I've found not all lighting is reported in the EXIF data, only lighting that's "connected" to the camera at exposure time. If the lighting is just "there", such as the way some people use floods, and the lighting is electronically disconnected from the camera, it won't show up.

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia
    Agreed Virgina - but supplemental lighting usually leaves a "breadcrumb trail", where we can pick this up. Catchlights in the eyes are one dead give away, as are the direction and softening of the shadows. Supplemental "always on" lights tend to be used indoors, not outdoors, as they tend to be fairly weak when compared to ambient light and while there are high powered ones available, those do not run off battery packs and need dedicated power lines (unlikely to be used in most of the settings we see here).

    Could reflectors be used? Of course, but again, they tend to show lighting characteristics that just I don't see in these images. They tend to target very specific areas, but the lighting is just too even. I have the same view as Paul, the photographer has exposed for the subjects skin tones and has let the background overexpose.

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