<<< o >>>untitled #91 23 comments + add yours

One of the things I enjoy most about wedding photography, which is probably the thing that would slowly drive me insane if I shot more than three or four a year, is that you rarely have time to think – it's just a question of doing your best to get the shot. The net result of operating at this speed though is that it's often difficult to get the perfect image. Take this one for example: while I'm pleased with the end result it would have been better if a) the focus had been about two inches further forward (the bride's face is a bit soft), and b) I'd used a slightly higher shutter speed (the motion blur of the bridesmaid's hair is a bit of a distraction). Other than that though, I am pleased with this one.

And if you're interested, the post-production techniques I used for this image are covered in my Portraits: part one tutorial.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
7.07pm on 30/8/09
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
aperture priority
580EX II (-2/3 FEC)
3x2 + children [portraits] + people [portraiture] + no print + weddings
comment by DREAMS OF LIGHT at 07:34 AM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

ei voilà!!! the bride!!! FANTASTIC DAVID!! nice blur effect...

comment by Mirko Herzner at 09:31 AM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

I am not so sure if I like the softness of this shot. Gives such an artificial look to the image. The scene itself is beautiful.

comment by Jason at 10:32 AM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

Hi Dave, I actually think the softness really works well for wedding photography and it is perhaps the one place you can get away with it as 'intended effect'. I really like this shot because of it and think its a wonderful natural shot.

However I immediately get distracted by two things:
a) is the halo coming off the bridesmaids hand
b) is that the bridesmaids face has a slightly mannequin type look about it.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 11:23 AM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

You captured a random/very nice moment... the subject of the piece is endearing.

Not quite sure what to make of the processing... the child's face almost looks like the computer generated faces from the movie The Polar Express. That's not bad, just a subjective observation.


comment by anon at 11:50 AM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

it´s not the motion blur, it´s the post process... it´s terrible.. WAY too airbrushed... Sorry to say but this looks so amateur. This image doesn´t fit your standards.

comment by Cruzn4photos at 12:56 PM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

Hi Dave, Can you link the original image of this shot so we can see the effects of your post-processing please. I have to make it a priority to start going through your tutorials - signed up a month ago. Every time I see another of your postings I remind myself - go do the tutorials! One day soon. Thanks. Bruce

comment by Ryan Rahn at 04:07 PM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

I love the photo and the colors, but I'm going to have to agree that the post-processing is too airbrushed. Otherwise great shot.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 05:21 PM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

WOW, my very first thought was how beautifully smoooooooooth everything was. I don't disagree with your nitpicking about the focus on the bride--that is my biggest nitpick with myself!!! but overall you've created a beautiful photography. well done!

comment by Piet Osefius at 07:42 PM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

Your pictures are beautiful, this photoblog is an great inspiration for me. I added your link to my photoblog.

comment by J Parker at 08:28 PM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

Dave - I can't imagine the sheer amount of fortitude you must have to read your comments. I can't imagine ever being as critical of someone else's work as to say what others here say.

Beautiful photo.

comment by Nicki at 09:32 PM (GMT) on 13 September, 2009

Hi Dave, I'm not shure if I like the softness here. The moment is really stunning and I would have used a b/w processing. For discussing, is it possible showing the same picture processed without softness instead b/w?
Anyway, I'm fascinated again and again in that Lens, think about getting one. The question is with or without IS? I know, questions questions ... ;) Good evening!

comment by djn1 at 12:03 PM (GMT) on 14 September, 2009

It seems like opinions are divided on this one ;-)

Jason: the halo is actually present in the original, but accentuated by the processing. I agree though, it is a distraction. And yes, the bridesmaid's face does look a bit mannequinesque - but again, it does in the original.

anon: I don't bite, so please use a valid email address next time you comment ;-)

Cruzn4photos: I don't mind posting the originals for my own stuff, i.e. my own work, but would rather not post the originals of any client images.

J Parker: I used to find negative comments a bit bothersome, but these days I tend to find that once I've posted something, and it's in the public domain, I can be a lot more objective about it.

Nicki: I did try a black and white version, but didn't like it as much as the colour one. And yes, I used IS for this shot.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 12:39 PM (GMT) on 14 September, 2009

...soft vs. sharp focus at f2.8... I had a similar shot this past weekend shooting with my 24-70mm f2.8. I was getting overall very good nose focus but the eye's iris just 1-2 inches back was soft. But in my case I had all the time in the world to pose and focus on my model; I've never shot a wedding so I can't imagine how quickly you'd have to move/shoot/move/shot/... all things considered this is a beautiful image.

comment by Jason at 04:01 PM (GMT) on 14 September, 2009

Hi Dave, thanks for your response. As Dan Kaufman said, he had never shot a wedding and had no idea how quickly you had to shoot and neither have I but I can imaging that you can't always get the correct shutter speed etc. I presume the bridesmaid was moving her hand as well as her head so shot at 1/60 its inevitable. Also having looked at it again I can see she is wearing a lot of make-up as you would expect at a wedding which is why her face looks like that. I still really like it as its so naturally composed and fluffy and would be honored to have you shoot my wedding if I was not already married....

comment by Adam Stevens at 05:36 PM (GMT) on 14 September, 2009

All the witty "banter" aside, I like the shot! You have also struck on the bit of wedding photography that I like, like life, typically, it's hard to re-shoot. There is lots of emotion, and you either get it or you don't. I am with you though D. I don't ever want to shoot more then 4 or 5 a year.

comment by DedicatedRR at 01:39 AM (GMT) on 15 September, 2009

I'm sure the bride loves it, so that's all that matters, right? ;)

comment by Jason Wall at 02:45 PM (GMT) on 15 September, 2009

I've shot weddings before, and I'll attest that its mixed bag when it comes to the situation. Action happens fast, and the photographer has very little leeway to stop things. its very much like shooting photojournalism.

Hey Dave! :)

the shot itself feels a little p/s ish. i suspect its the tonal range that does it. the whites in the dress and the halo (soft focus effects) feel low/fi. thats not a criticism as much as an observation. you take what you can in these situations.

the scene itself is indicative of your style though, and i like it.

comment by P.J. at 07:58 PM (GMT) on 16 September, 2009

I can see your reasons for having things different, but at the same time this is an excellent image. For me, I like the softness. I think it makes wedding shots better. I only shoot weddings here and there (usually for friends) because of the pressure and such, but these are the types of images I usually go nuts for when I get. I really love it.

comment by Samar at 06:16 PM (GMT) on 17 September, 2009

I love the glowing feeling!!

comment by moonhead at 10:35 PM (GMT) on 17 September, 2009

Its a nice shot but my personal felling is that is overcooked on the photoshop front

comment by Product Photographer at 09:43 AM (GMT) on 23 September, 2009

Lovely image, i don't think it's too soft, it's nice it has that dreamy effect


comment by Krista at 08:23 PM (GMT) on 26 September, 2009

This is so beautiful and dreamy! I love the vibrant green!

comment by April Pinsonneault at 05:06 AM (GMT) on 2 November, 2009

Hi Dave,

I guess I don't know anything about photography. I am really drawn to the softness of the bride's face and the blurred hair. I also like the childs one blurred curl. I think the moment is dreamy and that these effects add to the puity of the moment particularly with the green so vibrant. Green is a heart color. I don't know if I like all sharp clear edges all of the time. Someting I will have to learn the rubric for. I think it is a picture perfect moment and if there is anything not perfect about it is that it looks like it could be an advertisement because it is so perfect. I guess that is a paradox. :)