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Today’s post is from Easton Reynolds. Easton and his wife Laura are international wedding photographers from New Jersey. You can see more of their work at Lurey Photography

Shutter Drag Portrait -1

Thought Process

One of my favorite things to do on the dance floor at a wedding reception is to drag my shutter. You can see my blog post on how to utilize shutter drag for the dance floor here. It always makes for some pretty cool images.  When this couple requested a night shot, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. As you can see in the image below, there were a bunch of trees with Christmas lights on them along the path.

I had a thought that maybe I could place the couple off to the right where there wouldn’t be any lights behind them. This would allow me to drag my shutter and hopefully not have any lights covering my couple. I knew I would need to freeze the couple with my flash while dragging my shutter. At the same time, I would need to slightly move the camera to create the orange lines across the image.

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Execution

I positioned the couple in the right side of my frame with no lights behind them.  I then set up my Yongnuo 560 III with a MagMod grid and placed it on my Cheetah Stand to camera left about 30 degrees.  I used a grid so the light from the flash wouldn’t spill all over the place. 

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The hard part was moving the camera ever so slightly from left to right to create the blurred lines without having it spill on the couple.  After about 7-10 shots I came up with the below image.

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This is basically SOOC with a little exposure bump. I then cropped a bit and edited the image in LR. I edit all of my images with a preset that I developed to fit my style. The formula is as follows:

  • Contrast +23
  • Highlights -85
  • Shadows +90
  • Blacks -90
  • Clarity +10
  • Vibrance +15
  • Sharpness +70
  • Noise Reduction +60

This is my starting point for every image. I normally have to raise the exposure by 1.5 stops to compensate for the above settings. From here I de-saturate  skin a bit to re-normalize it. The result is pictured below.

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From here I brought the image into PS and cloned some of the orange lines to fill in around the couple. And that’s it!

Shutter Drag Portrait -1

About the “How to Shoot It” Series

This educational series highlights amazing images from our writers as well as our community. The goal is to not only feature inspirational work but to provide valuable education for our photography community. If you would like to submit your work, please click here for more info on writing for SLR Lounge.