A fellow professional asked a question about this photo from Natasha and Chris wedding and it got me thinking. It is a very simple photo of the bride and groom exchanging their wedding vows in the beautiful Cheshire gardens of the stunning Grosvenor Pulford hotel. The wedding guests are enjoying a rare glimpse of the summer sun and it is idyllic.
The question asked was ‘Is the Nikon D4 dynamic range really that good or have you used flash?’. I use a Nikon D4 as a main camera and it has at anything above 400 iso the highest dynamic range of any camera made. Dynamic range is the amount of different colours and intensity of colours a camera can record between pure white and pure black. At both ends of the spectrum you have no detail. Think of a wedding dress with no detail left in it as the exposure is incorrect and has burn out the detail.
In the above photo what he was referring to is the couple in the middle, just think for a while about the sun over head and the couple on there wedding day in the shade of the gazebo, they should be dark and in deep shadow but they are as clear as day. As soon as I arrived I realised to get a beautifully balanced photo I had three options, one was to hope the camera could cope, the second was to make two photographs of the wedding ceremony and merge them together later and the last was to light the interior of the gazebo. I dismissed the relying on camera straight away just in case, the Nikon D4 has an impressive dynamic range but I thought that may be pushing it. I discarded the second option of tow photos as it is extra work in Photoshop and went with the third option of lighting the interior. I preferred this approach as I am a great believer of getting the image correct in camera first and doing as little as possible to correct it after.
So how the Gazebo is is illuminated is with two flash guns placed in the corners and pointing down at the couple at approx 45 degrees and fired with RadioPopper remote triggers from the camera. I can adjust the output of the flash guns remotely from the camera as well to make sure the wedding image is not to bright or not too dark. I think it works well.
The point I am trying to make is the importance of hiring a professional photographer for your big day. This is a very straight forward shot but I don’t think many would realise the amount of work which has gone into creating this wedding image and hopefully making Natasha and Chris wedding photos just that bit finer.