17th October 2015 - How The Shot Was Made - WILLIAMS & WELSBY

How The Shot Was Made

Anna Entering Church

In this lovely atmospheric shot of Anna (click on image) entering St Meilyr’s Church, Llys Y Fran, Pembrokeshire we see her backlit by the strong July sunlight – a challenging shot in general, with such strong light behind, a dark interior and at a distance for meaningful flash to make a difference .

I was using a 28-75mm lens here as I was stood at the top of the aisle some 15m away from the bride and would need a wider angle lens in just a few seconds time as she approached me and stood with her husband to be. With professional equipment it’s possible to crop in close in post-production so I knew I had room to work with. Camera settings for those interested were ISO 1600, f8, 1/80 sec.

I have a flash mounted on the camera and bounced it off the vaulted ceiling. It didn’t help in this shot as Anna was in the doorway, but as she approached me it cast enough soft light downwards to combat the dark church interior.

Back home and I edited the RAW image in Lightroom, lightening shadows whilst lowering highlights and adding a touch extra exposure to lighten the whole picture. I softened the mid-tone contrast of the image with Lightroom’s Clarity slider whilst increasing overall sharpness with the Detail slider. I reduced Vibrancy and Saturation to combat the bright green of the leaves outside and give the image a pastel feel, then cropped to a portrait format.

Next I added brush strokes in key areas, such as Anna’s face – with my camera I know I can raise the exposure in key areas to almost add a touch of digital flash without blowing out highlights.

Finally a(nother) radial filter was applied to darken the edges of the frame and concentrate the attention on the beautiful bride.

Incidentally, out of shot is Paul, who was able to capture Anna walking up the aisle, and this shot. Paul was clearly using different equipment, fom a different vantage point. In addition his post processing is also different to mine, meaning the photos have a different feel. This is one of the reasons why it's great to have two photographers covering an event.

Mark and Anna, 25th July 2015

*** UPDATE ***

Following a message I received asking if I was able to show what the original shot looked like i'm happy to post it. This is the RAW file converted to JPEG: no post processing work at all at this stage.

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