Before photographing a wedding I meet up with the couple to do a pre-wedding shoot.
I really enjoy these, as there’s no pressure and it’s a good way to practice and get better photos on the wedding day itself.
Because North Wales is blessed with beautiful scenery, I generally do photo shoots on location.
I met up with Ellen and Andrew next to Llyn Padarn, the lake at Llanberis. It’s a great setting and I’ve done shoots there on a number of occasions, like this Lady of the Lake shoot.
However, on this occasion we come up against one of the pit-falls of location based photography – the weather.
The sun teased us with a brief appearance, but then gave way to heavy showers.
Some people say that the light can be quite flattering when it’s overcast, but in my experience it usually looks a bit flat.
For these photos I used a very simple set up – which you can see below – consisting of a flash, a cto gel, and an umbrella.
Umbrellas are good for softening light. If I were to use direct flash there would be a lot of contrast between the light areas and the shadows.
The cto gel is basically a bit of orange plastic that you stick over the light to make it look more natural.
It works well here – by accident, rather than design – because the colour of the light complements the greens and blue.
One good tip I’ve learned through bitter experience is to have your umbrella on a different light-stand/tripod to your flash.
Umbrellas, as well a being good light softeners, are also good sails and it doesn’t take much wind to send all your gear flying.
My second tip is it’s a good idea to get your light source close to your subject. This makes it softer, and you need less power from your flash.
A good starting point is to get your subject to turn their shoulders away from the light, then turn their head to look back at it. This is an easy way to create complimentary lighting.
These aren’t the most amazing pictures I’ve ever taken, but given the conditions I’m happy with what we got.
Being a photographer is largely about problem solving. In this scenario, the natural light was no good so we added some of our own.