July 20, 2010

Pancake Session: Shooting the Getting Ready Details

Ahh, it’s time for another installment of Pancakes! I don’t know about you, but a big stack of cinnamon almond ones sounds pretty good right now!

So let’s get cooking.

(Hold up. What’s that? You’re new around here and you have NO idea what a Pancake Session even is? No worries, you can just click HERE to get the whole scoop on how they came to be.)

So we’ve been getting asked a lot lately about how we shoot the getting ready details. You know, the shoes, the bouquet, the jewelry. The really important stuff! :) And yesterday after we posted Jen & Adam Part I AND her fabulous shoes, our inbox got flooded (Hoover Dam style!) with questions just about those.

Erin asked: I love love love LOVE the wedding you just posted!! How beautiful is that couple?! Every time I see your work I just fall more and more in love. I seriously think it’s the best wedding photography I’ve ever seen. You are all so dang talented! So my question is this. How did you shoot the shoes to make them look so…..crisp. Does that make sense?! I don’t know if that’s what you would call it, but it looks like I could just reach in and grab them! Whatever it is, keep doing what you’re doing! Y’all rock!

First up, here’s a reminder of what we got, along with our settings:

85 1.4, 1/160, f 1.4, ISO 400

And here’s a little behind the scenes for how we got it.

The first thing that you might notice is that there are no lights on in the room. That’s intentional. When we’re shooting the details, we try to take them somewhere else so we can have more control over the situation. Since Jen & the girls were getting ready in the spa, we had her suite all to ourselves to play! :) So the first thing we do is turn off all the lamps and overhead lights so that our light source is all natural light. Next we position the subject (in this case the shoes) at more or less a 90 degree angle from a good bank of window light. If we had the shoes directly facing the window, that would create nice even light across them but it would likely make them fall pretty flat too. Having the light come in from the side instead is a great way to create that dimension (reach in and grab it effect) that Erin was talking about. Sometimes, depending on what you’re shooting, 90 degrees will be too contrasty and you’ll want to open it up to face the light just a little more. I find this most commonly on bouquets with white flowers in them because the side closest to the light gets blown out. So I’ll just open up the chair or whatever I have the bouquet on to give it a little more even light and then I expose for the highlights using spot metering.

Speaking of what to put the details on, we always choose either a nice chair with a clean pattern or dark wood furniture. We want something that will create a clean background and compliment whatever we’re shooting (and also ties in with the feel of the day). Something like a chair or a small end table is also easy to move so we can put it right where the light is best. It’s pretty common to see me & Julia stealing some awesome chair or piece of furniture from the hotel lobby and running away with it. Don’t worry….we always return it eventually. :)

One last thing, because all of the light is coming in from one side, sometimes you’ll want bounce some of that light back in to the dark side to highlight some of the details. A small reflector or a white pillow in a hotel room works great in a pinch.

Hope that helps & definitely feel free to ask about anything that wasn’t clear in the comments box below!

  1. Spring

    Debbie and I totally rocked the white pillow reflector this past weekend… worked like a charm!!! :)

  2. Kim

    I love the mental image of you two running away with furniture in hand through a hotel lobby…that is amazing :)

  3. Emily

    I {HEART} Pancake Posts!!!

  4. Jen Otchy

    Mary, you guys are so great to share this info. My favorite part of your sessions are the details. It might be a ‘girl’ thing, but the detail shots always strikes an emotional chord with me.

  5. Harmony Loves

    Love your pancake posts! And I love that you all share your "pancake" knowledge!! ;)

  6. Girish

    Thanks a ton for the useful information.

  7. Lydia

    These pictures are such a big help! Thanks for your sharingness!

  8. Holly

    thanks so much for your generosity!!!!!! :)))

  9. Kare

    I think I love you. :-) Thanks for being such a sharer!

  10. cassandra-m

    GORGEOUS light…AWESOME info to share. you guys rock! I love shooting with natural light so this post was a treat. thanks.

  11. Joe+Kathrina

    You guys are fabulous! And suddenly I’m craving pancakes…

  12. Evie Perez

    Thank you both so much for posting this!! I have my second wedding this Sunday and this is something that is very helpful. You are two are all that and a bag of chips!!

  13. Nancy

    Now I’m craving pancakes, darn it. ;)

  14. Christa

    Great info :)

  15. anne

    Thanks Guys! You are so great to offer such wonderful advice all of the time!

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