Manitoba Photographer Process for Creating an Image
For an amateur Manitoba photographer, taking a picture can be quite easy. Point at what you want to take a photo of, click the button, and share with friends/family.
With today’s cameras (including newer phones), it’s never been easier to create incredible photographs. The phone almost always makes a good decision on exposing the subject properly as well does a camera on the Auto settings.
But this simple way of pointing and clicking has limitations. If I want to intentionally darken the whole photo or brighten certain parts, that’s simply not possible with the Auto mode.
I’m going to give a rundown here of how I created one of my recent photos from idea, to shoot, to editing. I’ve wanted to create a cinematic getting ready wedding style photo and that hasn’t been possible with a bride due to Covid-19 public health orders.
But being stuck mainly at home has its advantages. I can setup lights and take my time creating what I want. Setups like this will be much easier to replicate in a real world scenario after they’ve been practiced with good results.
So here is the real world scene to the normal eye…
Hardly anything a Manitoba photographer would be super proud to showcase in their portfolio. This was shot on my iPhone. But as you can see, I’ve got two lights setup here to make my real vision come to life. You’ll see in the finished photo that the model was facing the other way but that’s the only change made.
I almost always shoot with Manual mode on my camera. This means I control the aperture (how much light can get into the sensor), shutter speed (how long the sensor is allowed to be open), and ISO (light sensitivity). Setting these in the wrong combination may make your picture too dark (underexposed) or way too bright/white (overexposed).
In the above scenario, I didn’t want any of the background to be seen. By setting my camera to 1/200 second shutter speed, at ISO 100, and an aperture of F4.5, the resulting photo was pretty much pure black. The kitchen lights didn’t show up in the picture, exactly as I intended.
After this, I setup an off camera flash as my main light (on the left). Its job is to light the model and is angled away from the wall to avoid lighting up the background. I then have a light behind the couch pointed at the back of my model to provide a “rim light”. This helps add more dimension and shape to the subject. Without it, the hair would just blend in to the darkened background and there would be a loss of depth in the picture.
This light also works to back light the water spray to make it more visible in the finished photo. Here is the image taken straight out of the camera before any editing…
While the lighting is decent, the image is far from complete. It gets cropped in, to give it a better composition overall. It then gets edited in Adobe Lightroom, a photo editing program I use for every single picture I take. I have some presets I use to give me a good starting point for my pictures, but then they are further edited. I added some extra clarity to bring out the detail in the water mist behind his head. I darkened certain areas that I didn’t want to be as bright.
These local adjustments to certain parts of the picture make all the difference between a good amateur photo and a more polished one. A good photographer will think about where they want your eye to go in the picture. In this case, the subject is obviously the boy so it makes sense he should be the brightest part of the image. Your eye should go to his face first, which is why I made that brighter than the rest of the image.
And lastly I ended up converting the image from colour into black and white. I wasn’t crazy about the green shirt and found it a bit distracting, so that ends up going away in black and white. The final image is below…
While this is no award winning photograph here, I hope you get an understanding of what it takes to “take a quick picture”. The process involves thinking of an idea, having the right tools (i.e. equipment and lights), and the technical know how.
If your Manitoba wedding photographer is a “natural light” photographer, there is a 0% chance they can create anything like this for you on your wedding day. Without extra lighting and knowledge of how to use it creatively, you may be left with a picture like the first one in the above post. This type of cinematic photography is the kind I specialize in and have trained myself to be able to create.
If you’re still here, thanks for learning about what it takes to create a photo like this.
If you know anybody getting married in the Pembina Valley or someone who works in the wedding industry in southern Manitoba, make sure to send them to my free Pembina Valley Wedding Guide webpage!
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