Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two people, one light

I recently had the privilege of photographing Michael and Danielle's engagement session in Safety Harbor.  They booked me in 2010 for their wedding in 2012... this is a couple who is prepared!

I always encourage my clients to be creative at their engagement photo session.  Bring a change of clothes, props, anything that you think might be fun.  I tend to adhere to the, "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" philosophy.  My sessions are about 50% planned and about 50% on-the-spot inspiration.

Michael and Danielle did not disappoint.  They told me that one of the funny things about their relationship was that they had a bit of "role-reversal" compared to typical couples.  Michael does most of the cooking and cleaning, Danielle fixes things.

They came prepared to illustrate their respective roles with cookware and tools.  The question was: How do I photograph them in a creative way?


I decided that it would be cool to put them back-to-back, looking into the sky in a classic "super-hero" pose.  Unfortunately, lighting them would be a problem since they would be facing opposite directions.  I typically work with just one off-camera light so that I can move around easier.  The shot I had in mind would require two lights because I wanted them each to be lit by a high spot, shining right down into their faces.  I have two lights, that's not a problem... what I didn't have was two lighting tripods and assistants (or sand bags) to hold them on the side of a windy hill!

Luckily, I did have my trusty Manfroto tripod in the truck.

First, I set up the shot with Michael and had Danielle hold the tripod.  (I used to be self conscious about asking my subjects to lend a hand but not anymore.  I think that people like being a part of the shoot.)  I dialed in my exposure for the background and let the PW Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 do the rest with a Lumaquest Softbox III mounted on a Canon 580EXII.

Then, I put the camera on my tripod and zoomed in for the proper framing.  I was careful to try and avoid overlap between the two subjects to save myself a Photoshop headache later.

Next it was Danielle's turn.  Remember, whatever you do, don't move the tripod!

Once I got home, I combined the two images in Photoshop, cropped to a 4/5 ratio and did some light photoshop effects to make it a little more dynamic:

...and that's how you take a picture of two people with one light!  Michael and Danielle were very happy and insisted on this picture for their "Save the Date" cards.