Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday: The One That Got Away – So Beautiful, Almost

Good Morning Everybody,

Things are a little slower around here today with studio deliveries queued up and looking pretty good for the holidays.  The “Crazy Cabo Road Trip” details are coming together too. 

Fuji HS10 1 I’m testing a new camera out during this road trip.  I just ordered and received my brand new Fuji HS10 camera from B&H [link] which has a sale on them, BTW.  They call it a bridge camera – somewhere between enthusiast and pro-sumer. It’s getting great reviews [link] so I thought I’d take it out for a spin.

Here is what caught my eye about the camera – it’s a 10 meg camera with a zoom range from 24-750mm and image stabilized!!! It shoots RAW and Jpeg, and yes, it also shoots Hi-Def video!!!  It sounds like the everything kind of camera.  I’ll give it a workout over the next several days and report back to you.  Sometimes I wonder if there is a place in a pro’s gear bag for a niche camera like this – uhmmmm… – sound like a Food For Thought Friday post ;~)

Anyway, that’s the latest, so let’s get right on with today’s post.

Special CBTL 2010 Deals To Expire Soon!

Deals2 Hey everybody, I wanted to remind you one more time about our CBTL tour specials which will be expiring at the end of the month.  I’ve posted all three design webcasts on line right here along with a description of the specials.  Don’t miss out on these great specials, so check them out right away!

The One That Got Away – So Beautiful, Almost

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of “The One That Got Away.”  This week we will discuss an image that is just so close – great lighting, good looking bride, great expressions – yep, it seems to have it all.  Checkout the image below to see what I’m talking about.So Beautiful - Almost

Let me point out some of the things that were just “nailed” in making this bridal portrait.

1 - Everything about the positioning of the bride is nearly perfect. Her body is turned away from the the incoming light creating lots of detail in the gown.

2 - The maker has her face turned back into the light into what we call a modified 2/3’s view and created a perfect loop lighting pattern on her face.

3 - The maker also assumed a lower camera position which lowered the horizon line thus creating a much more dramatic presentation of the bridal portrait.

4 – Lighting is perfect with a nice balance of ambient and flash exposure. The bride seems to “pop” from the composition.

So what’s the main problem with this image? 

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

It comes down to this – it’s the bride’s positioning with respect to the crucifix in the background.  The one simple thing that could have been done to make this image really exciting is to position the bride to the left of the cross in the background, NOT the right of it.

Why, because the cross needs to offer a slight counter-balance to the bride’s position within this image.  With the cross BEHIND her, it seems she is moving out of the frame.  With the cross positioned in front of her, it would have created a “framing element” to keep her held better within the frame.

Take a look at a similar image below I showed during my CBTL2010 tour.Picture1 crossThe secret is to keep the cross from growing out of her head.  And the easiest way to do that is to have the subject looking into the direction of the cross, not away from it – it’s just works better compositionally.

Want to improve this composition even more?  By moving my camera position even more to the left, I was able to position my bride against a much less distracting background – check it out below.

Picture2 - crossNow the bride is framed up nicely within the blank wall behind her.  The cross now serves as a direct counter-balance to the subject creating a nice overall visual balance to the scene.

The easy rule of thumb is this.  Always have the subject looking in the direction of the cross in the background of the church.  It not only looks better but also “feels” better.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We are heading to Dayton, Ohio to be LaDawn’s family for our Thanksgiving Day celebration in just an hour or two. Tomorrow I have a family portrait shoot right at noon, but I will be back for a few Thanksgiving Day thoughts.

Then on Friday we begin our long cross country journey – plan to stay tuned for the road show reports.  I’ll probably even keep them going over the weekend – assuming I can still type after a day’s driving ;~) and without LaDawn’s editing be ready for a mistake or two.

Have a great one and I'll see you then.  -David


  1. Great post David. It seems like in the second shot you are with a greater exposure, which causes less contrast between the back/foreground. The darker and more saturated tones in first shot seem to be more distracting than it the second shot...
    Anyway, just my thoughts.
    Happy Thanksgiving!


  2. Just me maybe, but I actually prefer your before picture (second examples) and it has something to do with symmetry of the background. It rings while the second suffers from discord. This is somewhat mitigated when looking at the cross as the subject - a problem with the intended composition. I'm thinking it's a ceiling issue possibly. I also disagree with your thoughts on the cross on the first pic. I love the composition of that one and the cross off the right shoulder works just fine on multiple levels. The fact that it's there and she's looking away is also nicely metaphorical for the unseen presence - if that's your thing. Take it all with a grain of salt though...I have no idea what I'm talking about beyond what my admittedly amateur eye provides.

  3. Hi David, Great photo's I have a question, when photographing a wedding inside the church whiel going on what is the best shooting setting should be used Aperture or ISO Priority mode?

    Felipe A

  4. I always like getting my photos critiqued and was surprised to see this one featured. The problem I was running into when I snapped the first picture of Amber was that by shifting to one side or the other to reposition the crucifix, I ended up capturing more of those horrible speakers in the image. Based on the situation, I chose to try and achieve more symmetry with the speakers so the balance wouldn't call as much attention to them.

    Love the critique (again) though! I also see you are going to be in Dallas in May for the Texas School. I hope to see you and LeDawn again then.