Capture emotions and tell the story to make magical moments last a lifetime. Ultimately as a photographer you need to be observant and present but also inconspicuous. Couples shouldn’t be asked to repeat poses, so be ready to capture small moments showing affection. This wedding photography image shows a groom kissing his brides hand; the large aperture (shallow Depth of Field) of f/5.6 keeps the emphasis on the groom and the hand, but still shows off the bride’s bright smile. For multiple wedding shots use continuous shooting mode and hold down the shutter button as long as you’d like.
Grab the Opportunity
There will be hundreds of special moments on the wedding day that you as the photographer must notice and capture. Certain events, such as the vows and walking down the aisle cannot be repeated, so give yourself a good position in the venue to begin with, but also keep out of the way. A nice effect is to use the slow sync flash mode, so you capture the blur of the couple walking, but the center of the frame stays sharp because the flash freezes it. Turn the mode dial to TV or S (Shutter Priority) mode and use a slow shutter speed of 1/4th of a second. Use either the on-camera flash or a separate one for more power. When you use slow sync, the shutter remains open much longer to allow in more light for your exposure.
Take Unusual Wedding Photos
There will always be time for the formal posed wedding photos with all the friends and family members. The fun, casual moments are sporadic and less predictable. Look out for tender moments where the couple shares a story or a joke. You might capture outright affection or a glancing look they share. Use flash to freeze the moment and a small aperture of f/14 upwards to keep things sharp. Remember to keep the shutter speed at 1/250th of a second and higher as you don’t want to risk any blur. You can also consider using a warming filter, known as the 81A. This has a slight peach tone, but makes the skin glow and look alive.
Capture them Leaving
The classic wedding photograph is the couple leaving the marriage venue, when the guests throw rice or confetti at the couple. Generally this will be in the day time with plenty of light, so choose a large aperture (f/2.8-f/5.6) to keep the couple in focus and the background slightly blurred. Use a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second so you can see some of the confetti in the air. Use flash if you want to guarantee that the image will be sharp. Consider using the continuous shooting mode, so you have a series of shots of the couple leaving while confetti is thrown at them.
Tell the Fairy Tail
When it comes to the formal wedding shots, although most people will want the standard family line up images, remember to be creative. Take your bride and groom away from the commotion and place them indoors by a big window or where there is a sliver of light. The idea is to catch their silhouette, so you need the light source to be behind them. Get the couple to kiss, making sure you include the back of the brides dress and veil for the outline. Remember to turn off the flash and use either spot or multi-zone metering mode. Take a reading of just the bright area and then point your camera at them and shoot! Ideally you should use a tripod for this shot, although handholding at 1/160s should keep things reasonably sharp.
Capture the Fun
Photograph some of the older folks out on the dance floor, or the bridesmaid catching the bouquet thrown by the bride. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event for the couple, and your chance to show off your prowess at photography, so make the best use of this opportunity. The happy couple will thank you for it in the years to come.
It should go without saying, but it’s important to make sure your images are sharp and focused when taking wedding photographs. These images cannot be repeated. Although you can use a tripod for the formal shots, you will need to handhold a lot of indoor, candid photographs so use a flash, wide aperture and high shutter speed if necessary. Use flash if the conditions indoors seem a bit dark, and use it outside on sunny days to light the subject’s faces. Keep the ISO as low as you can, around 100, because wedding photographs are usually later enlarged and a lower ISO gives a finer grain.
When photographing a wedding, always take a spare camera body. Murphy’s Law states that if it can go wrong, it will, so bring a spare camera body in case of any problems. Better yet is having two camera bodies with a different lens on each. For example, a telephoto zoom on one, and a wide-angle lens on the other allow you to quickly switch between the two. Always take extra batteries and use a tripod for formal shots. Separate flash units are more powerful than built-in flashes, so have some of these. You might take some large gold and silver reflectors to add warmth and light to the subject’s faces.
A wedding is supposed to be a once in a lifetime event for the couple, and as a photographer, there is a lot of pressure on your shoulders. You need to be present at all times yet keep out of the way. You need to be creative but formal at the same time. Many photographers will photograph a wedding as an assistant at first before taking on the task on their own since it is a big responsibility. If you are a lead photographer, take some assistants with you so that everything is covered. Remember that these photographs will be cherished for life, so you absolutely must do the best job that you can.
Open the photo and zoom in so both eyes are visible on your screen. Working on the Background Layer, change the Foreground Color to the whitest white by clicking the cursor on the upper left corner of the Color Picker screen. Select the Brush Tool B, adjusting the Size of the Brush [ or ] (left bracket key decreases the brush size; the right bracket key increases the brush size) to a little smaller than the size of the whites of the eyes where they form a triangle at the corners. The Hardness of the Brush is 0% and the Opacity is 20%.
Using the Brush Tool, click and drag the cursor over the white parts of each eye once. It’s okay to go outside of the line of the eye and over the iris somewhat. If you feel the eye whites are still not bright enough, you can either change the Opacity to a higher percentage and start over, or click and drag the cursor over each area one more time using the same settings on the Brush (which is what we did in this example – the total Opacity was 40% because we went over each area twice at 20%).
Select the History Brush Tool Y, making the Brush Size smaller, generally about one-third smaller than the white triangles of the eyes. The Hardness of the History Brush Tool is anywhere between 0-15%. The Opacity is set to about 30%. Click, click, click around the outer edges of the areas you just whitened, which would be along the eyelash/eyelid line, as well as the iris in the center of the eye. You will click numerous times until you get enough of the shadow back around where the eye whites meet the upper eyelids where there are natural shadows.
Zoom out so you can see more of the face, and while looking at the image, click at the top of the History Window (so you can see the image as it looked when you first opened it), then click again at the last bar in the History Window, going back and forth a few times (so you can see the “Before” and “After”). (REMEMBER: do not do any other action that will change the History Window until the last bar of the History Window is highlighted again, otherwise, you will erase everything you have done that was on the History Panel!). Do the eyes look better and are they still natural? If they look good but you still see some distractions like blood vessels, uneven coloration or reflections of light (which happens usually at the inside corners of the eyes and sometimes on the bottom eyelids), go to Step 5.
To remove any other distractions, select the Clone Tool S. Adjust the Size to be smaller or larger, depending on where on the eye you are working. Change the Opacity to about 30% and set the Hardness to between 0-20%. Use the Clone Tool as needed to clean up the distractions, keeping in mind not to completely remove the shadows created by the eyelids. This little shadow keeps the eyes looking natural. If necessary, you can add a bit more shadow by using the Burn Tool O, with the Exposure at about 15% and Hardness at 0%. Again, use the History Panel to check the “Before” and “After” appearance, like you did in Step 4.
Having contrast between the eye color and the whites of the eyes helps the eyes to pop out of the photo! To create more contrast and definition, use the Burn Tool (Exposure at 20-40% and a rather small brush Size – maybe 3) to outline the iris and if needed the lash line. In this example, we only outlined the iris.
Before & After Whitening Eyes
If at any point you feel you’ve made a mistake, take a few steps back on the History Panel or use the History Tool and start over on that section. Play with the settings a little bit, since every image is different. In order to keep the look natural, think of “eye brightening” instead of “eye whitening”, otherwise you may have a tendency to over-whiten the eyes.
Learn how to choose the right aperture to ensure your flowers are in focus and tack sharp and how to set up your shot to create pleasing compositions.
Learn by Example
Learn by example with 12 example photos. Each example includes the camera settings that were used, as well as a complete story of how the image was made and post-processed in Photoshop.
Image Editing Techniques
How to post-process your photos with Adobe Photoshop to reduce noise, increase contrast and saturation, make small adjustments to exposure, and make your images super sharp.
Here’s a sneak peak of what you’ll learn in this 65-page eBook:
What equipment you need for photographing wildflowers.
How to set up your shot to create pleasing compositions.
How to maximize sharpness by carefully positioning your camera (NEW for this Edition).
How to get more depth of field by using focus stacking (NEW for this Edition).
How to create powerful compositions by using color theory (NEW for this Edition).
What Kind of Format is this eBook in?
Wildflower Photography is a downloadable PDF file, which can be viewed on a number of devices – laptop and desktop computers, iPhone or Android devices, iPads, and other tablets.
For iPad specific users, you can download this ebook (or any pdf document) directly to iBooks, which will allow you to access it at any time. Click here for a very handy guide that shows you exactly how to put this book into your iBooks app.
Open up the image you want to work on, press Command-1 (PC: Control-1) or double-click the Zoom Tool to bring the image to 100%. Select the upper left corner of the Color Picker (the whitest white). Then select the Brush Tool B and adjust the Hardness to anywhere between 0-20%, and make the Size just a little smaller than the width of the tooth you are working on (we made the Size larger on the front teeth and smaller on the back teeth). Adjust the Opacity to 18%.
With the Brush Tool, quickly go over the surface of each tooth, one at a time. In this example, the lower teeth are clearly visible and well lit, so we will also go over each of the lower teeth. (In most cases the lower teeth are in the shadow of the upper teeth and it looks unnatural to make the lower teeth as white as the upper teeth.)
If you decide the teeth should be whiter (and we do in this case), go over each tooth a second time. (If you prefer, you can start over and start with a higher Opacity. We prefer to whiten in stages in order to control how much white is applied). If you make a mistake by going outside line of the teeth, use the History Brush Tool Y to clean it up.
Select the Clone Stamp Tool S at 30% Opacity and clean up any discolorations on the teeth and gums and any bright, distracting light reflections. It’s personal preference whether or not to have light reflections on the teeth and gums. In the first example, we eliminated all reflections. In the second example, we brought back some of reflections using the History Brush Tool at 30% Opacity and 0% Hardness.
Zoom out to see more of the face, and while looking at the image, click at the top of the History Window (in order to see the image as it looked when you first opened it), then click again on the last bar in the History Window, going back and forth a few times (so you can see the “Before” and “After”). (REMEMBER: do not perform any other action until you click on the last bar of the History Window and its highlighted again, otherwise, you will erase everything that was showing on the History Panel!) Do the teeth look better and are they still natural (if natural is your goal)? If you decide they look over-done, use the History Brush Tool at about 30% Opacity to bring back some of the original image.
Before & After Whitening Teeth
A beautiful smile can liven up a photo. The amount of whitening you add is up to you, and depends on your subjects. A model’s teeth will most likely need perfection, but family portrait smiles will probably only need brightening and removal of distractions. Say cheese!
Open up your original photo file that you wish to apply the zoom to and create two duplicate layers of your Background layer. You do this by dragging your Background layer to the Create A New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette or simply press Command-J (PC: Control-J) twice. Then, hide the top layer (Layer 1 copy) by clicking on the Eye icon next to it. Then, you want to rename the middle Layer (Layer 1) to Zoom.
To create the zoom blur effect, select the middle layer (Zoom). Then go to the Filter menu, under Blur, and apply the Radial Blur filter to this layer (FILTER > BLUR > RADIAL BLUR). In the dialogue box, click the “zoom” radio button. You’ll want the zoom effect to be fairly intense, so experiment with the slider until you’re pleased with the result in the preview box.
Next turn on the top Layer (Layer 1 copy), then add a Layer Mask and fill it with black. You do this by clicking on the Layer Mask icon while holding the Option Key (PC: Alt key). Holding the Option/Alt key will automatically fill the Layer Mask with black.
Now you’re ready to bring in your background. Select a Soft Brush from the Tools Palette, and choose a brush size that you feel will give you the best control at revealing the background image. Change the output channel to white by pressing X on your keyboard and begin painting out the background image… where you want the sharp, clean image to appear. To add back in any of the “blur”, change the Output channel back to Black by pressing X again, and continue painting (carefully, please!).
Before & After Zoom Blurring
The zoom blur technique in Photoshop is fairly easy to apply, and much easier than mastering the technique with the camera. However, you’ll want to experiment with the settings in order to get the effect just right – too much and it’s way over done, too little and you don’t achieve the dynamic look that you want. Once you have become proficient with the process you can increase the dynamic range of your photos, and create eye-catching sports photographs with a few clicks of the mouse.
To understand the concept of White Balance, you need to first understand the concept of color temperature. Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light. It provides a method of describing these characteristics and is measured in Kelvin (K). A light having higher color temperature will have more blue light or larger Kelvin value as compared to lower light, which has a smaller Kelvin value. The following table shows the color temperature of various sources of light.
How does the Light Affect the Color?
You must have noticed some photos turn out with an orange/yellow cast if shot under tungsten lighting or a bluish cast if shot under fluorescent lights. This occurs because each source of light possesses a different color temperature. A digital camera can measure the colors in the red, green, and blue light of the spectrum, as reflected to its sensors. In a photo taken under the midday sun there is the whole spectrum of light (which makes up “white” sunlight). Under these conditions, the colors in an image appear nearest to the “true” colors. An image taken under tungsten bulb (a normal household incandescent bulb) without adjusting the digital camera for white balance produces the dull orange shade as it spreads the biased light. Similarly, an image taken under the fluorescent lighting produces a brighter bluish cast. However, it is possible to shift the color in the desirable direction, provided you have a good understanding of your digital camera and its settings.
Why to Adjust the White Balance?
Since different sources of light have different color hues, a picture taken with a normal white balance under artificial lighting conditions transmits the low heat to the camera’s sensor. This light touches the red bits of the spectrum, which results into dull yellow or orange shades in the picture. Though the human eyes can automatically adjust to different lights and color temperatures to sense right color, a camera needs to be adjusted to different lights for accurate color reproduction. By adjusting the white balance setting of your digital camera, you can alter the required light or temperature to produce the most accurate colors in a digital image.
Preset White Balance Settings
Auto – The Auto setting helps in adjusting the white balance automatically according to the different lighting conditions, but you can try other modes to get better results.
Tungsten – This mode is used for light under a little bulb like tungsten, and it is often used while shooting indoors. The tungsten setting of the digital camera cools down the color temperature in photos.
Fluorescent – This mode is used for getting brighter and warmer shots while compensating for cool shade of fluorescent light.
Daylight – This mode is for the normal day light setting, while shooting outdoors. Many cameras do not have the Daylight mode.
Cloudy – This mode is ideal for while shooting on a cloudy day. This is because it warms up the subject and surroundings and allows you to capture better shots.
Flash – The flash mode is required when there is inadequate lighting available. This mode helps pick the right White Balance under low light conditions.
Shade – A shaded location generally produces cooler or bluer pictures, hence you need to warm up the surroundings while shooting shaded objects.
Manual White Balance
You can also adjust your digital camera manually by setting a white object as the reference point. This is done to guide the camera how white the object would look in a particular shot. It is advisable to manually adjust the white balance when taking a picture to compensate for the changing lighting conditions. As the daylight changes during early morning and late evening hours, the varied light intensity is easily perceived by the camera. Therefore, you need to correct the white balance regularly while shooting during these times of the day. To manually set the white balance in your image, you first point your camera at a pure white object, set the exposure and focus. Now, activate the white balance on the object by pressing the button. It may take few seconds for the camera to perceive the shot, but it will this color setting until the next white balance is performed.
Some people consider it amateurish to use pre determined settings, when in fact there may be times when we are in a rush and cannot adjust everything manually. Also remember that using these modes will teach you about photography and ideal settings for different conditions. If in doubt, you can use Auto mode, then adjust the settings manually. Auto settings are there to be used so try them all, and become familiar with what each one does.