Wedding Cake with Back-Lighting – How We Shot It
I suppose you could also title this post, “What do you do when your lens hood is no help at all?” Either way, here’s today’s image of the day, and some insight into how it was shot and processed. Hopefully you folks are enjoying your weekend!
The Equipment and Settings
- Nikon D700, Sigma 35mm f/1.4, hand-held.
- 1/90 sec @ f/1.4 & ISO 800
- Manual exposure, manual WB @ 3000 Kelvin, RAW.
- Nikon SB80DX wireless flash with CTO gel, Pocket Wizard 2 radio triggers.
The Shooting Conditions
When I first came in to photograph the details of this wedding reception, I didn’t have a flash set up in the corner yet and needed to focus on getting the wide-angle images first because guests were about to enter the hall. The cake phots looked good, but I knew I would come back and do better later when I had more time. The cake is one detail in a wedding reception that often gives you this opportunity, because it is usually in a corner and goes un-touched until later in the night.
Once the reception got started up and I eventually had a few minutes to spare, I came back to the cake now that our team had placed a flash in the corner of the room just to the side of the cake. It was perfect, except for one thing. I wanted to frame my shot with the up-lighting on the walls just exactly the way you saw in the above image, with the rim-light from the flash at just the right angle so that it wouldn’t be distractingly bright, ….unfortunately that meant that the flash in the corner was so close to that composition that it caused THIS, even when using my lens hood:
So, what to do? Ninja-chop the flare, of course! It may look silly, but it’s the fastest way to get the results you want. Now, if you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “ninja-chop”, allow me to demonstrate:
…That’s about as low-tech as it gets, folks! But, problem solved. Now I had the crisp, vibrant contrast and color that I felt this image needed. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes flare is a great thing, just not in this situation.
If you pay attention to detail on the front end, (exposure, white balance, etc.) …then post-processing for an image like this should be easy. Usually I just start with an SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 preset, then tweak my white balance as necessary, and maybe bump one or two of the basic develop settings. Some of the time I may need to tweak one other setting such as vignetting. If the image is one of my favorites, I might do a touch of burning and dodging or other local adjustments.
With this image, I started with the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Preset for “Vivid Landscape”, then adjusted my white balance down a tiny bit from 3000K to 2650K. Next, I bumped my shadows down a tiny bit, added some vignetting with the SLR Lounge LR4 Preset “Medium Vignette”, …and finally I hit the curtains in the background with an adjustment brush that warmed them up by a little bit of both temperature and tint. Done! Thank you all for reading, and be sure to check back tomorrow afternoon for another “Photo of the day”!
Until next time, take care!
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