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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Unique and Enduring Bridal Portraits, Part 2

Lighting Equipment

In part two of Michael Corsentino’s “Unique and Enduring Bridal Portraits” lesson, the Petaluma, California-based wedding and portrait photographer shows us how dusk and evening situations can be used in conjunction with strobes to capture dramatic effects.

Picking up right where the last lesson (Part 1) left off, Michael takes us through two new lighting setups, each in a different location, to illustrate how he gets a full range of different looks for his client. Easy-to-follow diagrams help readers to see how each setup can be achieved. A video is linked to the lesson, so viewers will get a feel for the approach and pacing of the session.

(Click on any thumbnail image below for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  •     The Video Lesson
  •     Picking Up Where We Left Off
  •     Ornate Gate
  •     The Fountain


  •     Canon 5D
  •     Canon L-Series 70-200mm f2.8 Lens
  •     Canon L-Series 85mm f1.2 Lens
  •     Canon L-Series 17-40mm f4 Lens
  •     Adobe Lightroom 3
  •     Adobe Photoshop CS5
  •     Kubota Image Tools
  •     Imagenomic Portraiture

The Video Lesson


Picking Up Where We Left Off

At the end of the last lesson, we left off at a beautiful tree tunnel. I captured some great images there, but I felt like we could get even more because our location, St. Vincent's School for Boys, is such a gorgeous place. In addition, we still had one more gown that was lent to us that we really wanted to use.

We decided on two more locations we would try as the sun set: one by an ornate gate, and one by a fountain.

Ornate Gate

We really liked this gate (which we had scouted earlier in the day) and decided this is where we would shoot first before moving on to the fountain. I took a quick shot of David to illustrate the low level of light we had with the sun rapidly disappearing below the horizon. [figure 1]

Figure 1

I decided to start off with with a simple one light setup. We placed the 7 foot OctoDome® camera right, about fifteen feet away from Amy, our model, at about a 30 degree angle. [figure 2]

Figure 2

The light setup was placed behind a bushy tree off camera which helped eliminate any potential flare from the light. This produced a pleasing soft light with quick fall-off. [figure 3]

Figure 3

With this one light alone, I was off to a good start. As you can see from the result, the lighting is very clean and even and the model stands out very brightly against the background. [figure 4]

Here were my camera settings for this shot:

  •     Exposure: 1/50th of a second at f/3.5
  •     ISO: 200
  •     Metering: Manual
  •     Focal Length: 140mm
  •     Lens: Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM

Figure 4


Happy with the overall effects of the main light, I now wanted to illuminate the background some more and get a more articulated light along the outline of our model. To do this, we would need more light.

First, we added a medium HalfDome® off to camera left at an opposite angle of the main light coming from the 7 foot OctoDome®. We then added a second HalfDome® behind the wall and the gate aimed at Amy's back creating a "V" pattern with the lights. The addition of these lights would give us a dramatic Noir-style/glamor effect (with the help of some post production) and add more dimension. [figure 5]

Figure 5

We kept the TritonFlash™ inside the OctoDome® at about 1/8th power and set the HalfDome® boxes to 1/4th power, since they were about twenty feet from our model.

Here's an overhead diagram that illustrates the angles of the lighting setup. [figure 6]

Figure 6

I shot at different distances from my subject and was able to capture some really unique images with the same lighting setup.

In figure 7, I pulled back and shot at the following settings:

  •     Exposure: 1/60th of a second at f/5.0
  •     ISO: 100
  •     Focal Length: 135mm
  •     Lens: Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM

While in figure 8, I moved closer and zoomed in a bit tighter:

  •     Exposure: 1/50 sec. at f/3.5
  •     ISO: 200
  •     Focal Length: 140mm
  •     Lens: Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM

Upon comparison, you can see that I was able to capture two completely different styles, even though the lighting setup remained the same.

Figure 7

Figure 8

The Fountain

Confident that I captured the best images I was going to get out of this location, I was ready to move on to the final location- the fountain. [figures 9 & 10]

Figure 9

Figure 10

After some discussion, we decided that it would be great to showcase the action-stopping power of the TritonFlash™ in this particular shoot. So we mounted one TritonFlash™ head on a Photoflex® floor stand (the bottom base section of the extra small LiteStand) with just a hard reflector attached and positioned it behind the fountain and aimed toward our model.

To light Amy, we placed the 7 foot OctoDome® about ten feet from her at a 45-degree angle and then placed a third TritonFlash™ with a medium HalfDome® SoftBox at roughly the opposite angle about thirty feet away from her. [figure 11]

Figure 11

I was shooting with the camera mounted to a tripod at a super slow shutter speed in order to capture as much ambient light as possible. The rim light behind the fountain was key in adding a bit of magic to the image. Overall, this lighting setup created a balanced, soft, and flattering look for the model.

For both the OctoDome® and the HalfDome®, the TritonFlash™ units were set to about 1/2 power. The rim light behind the fountain was set to about 1/4 power.

Here's a look at our final setup. [figure 12]

Figure 12

In addition to adding a tripod, I made some other changes to the camera setup. First, I substituted the 70-200mm lens with a 17-40mm f/4 lens.

My camera settings were as follows:

  •     Exposure: 1/6th of a second at f/5.0
  •     ISO: 800
  •     Focal Length: 20mm

With everything squared away, I fired my last shots of the night. This one ended up being a favorite. [figure 13]

Figure 13

In this cropped version of the shot, you can see what a good job the short flash duration of the TritonFlash™ did in freezing the spray of water in the background. [figure 14]

Figure 14

That wraps it up for this lesson! Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, I encourage you to go out and experiment with lighting your own photography projects!

Thanks to Photoflex® for inviting me to teach and to everyone who made this lesson possible. Please visit PhotoflexLightingSchool™ often for more great tutorials by me and many other talented photographers.


Images and text by Michael Corsentino, award winning contemporary wedding and portrait photographer and contributing lesson writer for PhotoflexLightingSchool.com®. Location: St. Vincent’s School for Boys

Modeled by Amy Tonge

Dresses courtesy of Nan Winter’s Bridal Collection (http://www.nanwinters.com/)

Bouquet courtesy of Sonoma Mountain Flowers (debbiegoan@sbcglobal.net)

Assisted by Dennis Urbiztondo, Jaron Schneider, and David Cross

Post Production by Michael Corsentino (michaelcorsentino.com)

Edited by Jaron Schneider and Ben Clay


Lighting Equipment


On August 24, 2012 at 05:02 PM, Eduardo najhar said:

its, a good and simply video how to use the different kind of ligth modifiquers.. thas good

On October 06, 2012 at 02:12 PM, Hamid Ghelichkhani said:

Do you for element the must use the lens 70/200

On May 15, 2013 at 04:51 PM, nelson crisostomo said:

gracias por brindarme información de iluminación es fantástico

On January 02, 2016 at 03:00 AM, cosmetica groothandel said:

Your notification is very deep nice .I think men will take it very care.
cosmetica groothandel

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