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News & Insight

WPPI 2009 – Platform Speaker Notes – Doug Gordon

By Christopher Lin on April 20th 2009


Lecture Title: Fashionable Weddings

Overview: In his presentation, Doug Gordon, popular amongst photographers for his Ëœflow posing,’ demonstrated his use of shadows, reflections, lighting, and posing with live demonstrations. He also marketed his torch light, DVD, and post production software during his presentation. The energy he brought to the room got even the 40 somethings on their chairs dancing and hollering for a free DVD; and his live demonstrations had an entire room of photographers jumping up and trying to snap a few shots of the models. Overall the presentation was entertaining, informative, and effective. He definitely knows how to market himself, his products, and his techniques.

Lecture Notes:

Matching the Lighting

Doug Gordon emphasized the importance of identifying and matching the temperature of the light, stating that “mixed light = mixed results.” As such, if the lighting is tungsten, photographers should be using a tungsten video light, like the model he was selling. To further promote using video lights, he mentioned that “people can walk into a room and say… ahh.. tungsten; but nobody walks into a room and says … ahh.. flash.” This statement gives insight into how unnatural flash lighting can look in a tungsten lit room. He also mentioned that flash and daylight is very close in temperature, so it is okay to use it as fill light outdoors.

Chris: This is a great tip for anyone shooting in color. However, I still think it’s more practical to shoot with flash in a tungsten lit room in many situations, as we don’t always have an assistant to hold a video light; and it’s a bit risky to only use natural light. In these instances, you should bounce the flash off the wall when possible or use a diffuser as the last resort (never utilizing direct flash).

Using the reflector

He also stated that the Ëœreflector is the softest light you can use;’ and he places this reflector directly underneath the subject to bring out the eyes.

As a joke, he comically danced around the subject with the reflector trying to ‘find the light,’ angling the reflector every which way. After this demonstration, he simply placed the reflector at about waist level of the subject and angled it slightly toward her face to show how simple lighting the subject should be.

Chris: Great Tip. I think we can literally dance around our subjects looking for the best reflection of light when it’s often right under the subject’s face. However, this is not always the best position for reflector, as our primary light source may be directional; and we may want to use the reflector to fill in shadows from a certain direction.

Doug’s Settings

Doug shoots on aperture priority on his favorite lens, the 70-200 IS f/2.8. He shoots at f/2.8 and spot meters right under the eye, utilizing the exposure lock on his Canon 5D Mark II.

Doug likes 2.8 because the shallow depth of field softens the skin and helps create a dreamy effect. He likes to spot meter under the eye because he believes that “the subjects are the ones paying the photographers, not the background.” This is his way of saying that the subjects are more important than the background. He does mind using aperture priority and letting his shutters fall very low, as he likes to utilize a monopod.

Chris: I love shooting couples shots at 2.8; however, aperture priority in anything but the well lit rooms can often lead to shutters dropping too low. Even with a monopod any slight movement of the camera or your subjects will create less-than-crisp imagery. Why not just spot meter on Manual to have complete control over your camera?

Flow Posing

The most useful part of the presentation was his demonstration of his Ëœflow posing.’ Essentially, Doug has a routine of shots with every couple; and within a matter of minutes, he captures a set of shots that cover the traditional shots as well as Ëœposed photojournalism.’ Posed photojournalism is the recreation of intimate moments and important moments, like the first dance. For example, his first shot is always the “tuck, roll, lean.” This is where the bride tucks her shoulder under the groom’s arm, rolls her other shoulder out to accentuate the bust line, and the two of them lean forward to stretch out the neck and decrease the likelihood of double chins and wrinkles. From this position, he takes a couple of traditional, full body shots; and from there he moves to the couple turning their heads and looking into each others’ eyes. The ‘flow’ goes on and he basically gets four or five different shots from each pose by having the subjects alter small aspects, such as where their eyes are looking or the position of their heads.

Chris: We’ve incorporated flow posing into our wedding day workflow, achieving results like this:


If you are a pure photojournalist, you won’t necessarily like using these techniques, as you are anything but a fly on the wall during this time. However, I believe that all of our clients have appreciated the images produced by the ‘flow posing,’ regardless of the style of photography they originally said they wanted. Furthermore, it essentially covers all of your ‘must-have’ couples shots, after which you are free to get more creative and add your personal artistic touch.

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Co-Founder of SLR Lounge and Photographer with Lin and Jirsa Photography, I’m based in Southern California but you can find me traveling the world. Click here to connect on Google +

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa


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  2. Scott Trombley

    Thanks for the tips.

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  3. Curtis Copeland

    Great information. Doug is an outstanding photographer. Thanks for sharing!

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