Light when there is none

This is my first blog post, and I thought I’d kick it off by showing you how I took this photo. (If you want to see all of the photos from Symon and Lauren’s wedding click here.)


Click the thumbnail above to see a black and white edit of the same photo.


In winter the days get shorter and shorter and so does the window for good light. Some wedding photographers will claim they only shoot with natural light because they prefer it, but normally it is for a lack of knowledge both of photography and technology.

Recently I shot a wedding in the Hunter Valley wine country in Australia. It was a beautiful wedding that felt really close and personal. The tree line surrounding the vineyard was pretty high though so we knew we’d loose the light early. The wedding couple were really keen to get a lot of group photos which ate precious minutes out of our “magic hour” window of light. We got the group shots done, and then rushed to a few spots we had thought would look good before we lost the light and the bride and groom were to have their speech. Darkness fell and Will and I snuck off to set up for this shot. I needed Will so that I could set up the shot without keeping the bride and groom waiting out in the cold dark vineyard (remember, it’s pitch black at this stage). This is where an assistant comes in really handy. Will was not my assistant, in fact he’d asked me to be his second shooter at this wedding.

Anyway we got out to a suitable spot waving a stick in front of me to get rid of the spiders that had already begun to set up webs across the path between the vines. Once there I started setting up the flashes using my camera phone as a light. Will had a video light as he has mostly been doing wedding videography through most of his career.


Will lit himself with the video light he had so that I could get focus. Later he would do the same to the wedding couple. Did I say it was dark?



The first shot looked like this. A positive result.



But wow! Ok dial it down a bit. This was better.



I had a lot of trouble getting the Nikon CLS system to work like it should and fire the rear flash as it was blocked by the subject. This is where a radio remote system is superior to the Nikon infra controlled system. Nikon have been a bit lazy in updating it but hopefully they will improve it soon. I finally got it to work, but I had to set the flashes to go off from the other flash which meant I had to switch everything to manual. Ok, we’re in business. It might not look as good as the other one but at least we’re getting consistent results.



With a touch of fine tuning once the wedding couple were in place I got the result I was after. This was the picture straight out of camera.



After a bit of editing in photoshop you see the end result up the top.

To see the rest of the photos from Symon and Lauren’s wedding click here.



If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them below and I will try to answer them as best I can.



Symon and Lauren in wine country » Thomas Klockseth - July 2, 2014 - 3:41 pm

[…] There was one photo in particular from this shoot that got a lot of attention so I put together a blog post on how we took it. Click here to see the blog post. […]