If any of you have read some of my previous posts you would guess that I have an obsession with street photography. Understandably, it’s only fitting that when I choose to do a bridal shoot for an editorial theme I shoot where else? on the street. This proved to be difficult over the last two weekends as we had some dismal weather. After corresponding with several models whom eventually cancelled due to cold rainy weather I was grateful that a local model named Leah Mack decided to brave the cold weather and attend the Saturday Gown fitting. From the moment I met Leah towering over me at 5 foot 11 inches I could see she was not only physically strong but mentally strong as she related a stressful event that occurred on her journey out to the pick up location. We arrived at Rene Schindel’s Costume Bank location near the Pattullo bridge a few minutes before she opened. We had a few minutes alone with Rene quickly selecting a few gowns for Leah to try on. Several other clients walked in while we were going through our selections and I was impressed to watch Rene switch back and forth to each client giving them individual attention and advice. The place is a candy store for theatre, film and photography themed events. I highly recommend her services for any themed editorial or costume event. My total cost for 1 week rental of 2 vintage wedding gowns, 2 veils, 1prop umbrella, size 11 shoes, dress slip was $106. Very reasonable, here is a link for Rene’s site .Costume Bank
We headed to New Westminster to our shoot location near a waves coffee shop. Arriving safely after negotiating our way through a police “incident” barricade I set up a single off camera flash on a stand with Flash bender modifier remotely trigged. I test flash, blinding myself to make sure it’s working.;-) All shots are taken with my Canon 5D classic “tank” in Aperture Priority mode with a Tamron 70-200mm lens. Leah sips her matcha latte while people stare at us.
Once sorted and set up we hustle out into the cold and into a small corridor between a bridal shop that wouldn’t let me shoot inside a few weeks prior and a bridal custom design studio at the top of the uphill walkway. This little spot has stairs, railings, brick archways and large pillars or stone columns that provide lots of texture and geometry for context, leading lines and background for the shots. The first featured image above the title is with the flash to camera right in front of and slightly above the model “butterfly/paramount” angle which lights both sides of her face. The camera axis should be in line with model but I was off to one side a bit as I shot quickly to catch the wind blowing the veil. Below is an example of “Broad Lighting” single flash set to camera left. The camera axis is in line with the lit side of the face. The light is further softened by the veil. In this shot my shutter speed was a bit too high to sync with my cheap manual flash but it’s good to know I can push it a bit and just crop out the dark line from the shutter closing faster than the flash. I should be around 1/250sec for comfortable max sync speed. I included this shot as its moody and I “got away with it”.. It provides context for the whole discussion of knowing the max sync speed of whatever flash and trigger set up you are using. She was in the shade and would be completely blacked out without the miracle of that little flash thingy. 😀
Below is an example of very dramatic “short lighting” the single flash with flash bender modifier on it is placed to camera right. The camera axis is directly in line with the shadow side of the model’s face. Leah is quite tall and I chose to not be shy about it and shoot up at her making her a commanding female lead.
The shot below shows the context of the place. Also “Short lighting”. A single off camera flash was placed to camera right directly opposite the model. It’s a bit diffused by the railing and distance from the model but she does get a splash of light on the left side of her face. The walkway is sloped and everything provides geometric leading lines to her. And if you look closely at top right of the frame you will see that in 1930 there was in fact a sky train. My 1/200sec shutter speed was able to catch it as it sped past. Some of the shots were better than this one but I included it as most photogs love the challenge of photographing a moving train. Myself included.
Working with only a single light and shooting fast in the cold I was able to get about 95 shots. I made good use of my own advice from previous articles about keeping it simple. If I had tried to set up multiple off camera lights on stands with umbrellas we would have impeded pedestrian traffic and possibly had a by law or police officer visit us looking for a commercial permit for photography or film. Using a single flash on a stand with a small flash bender modifier kept it low profile and easy to change lighting angles. In addition I had all my camera gear neatly on my back in a pack. These two measures allowed us to quickly shift shooting angles and backgrounds not to mention dash to the coffee place to warm up and do a clothing change. Many thanks to the Waves @ begbie & Columbia. This shoot took “Street Photography” to a whole other level for me. I loved the adventure of not knowing what would happen and just adapting to things and being organic and in tune with the people on the street around us. We made jokes and chatted with people when they wandered through a shot it added a sense of playful risk. Can’t wait to do another one like this. I uploaded 82 images from the shoot to my gallery. Feel free to view or purchase a download for the price of a latte.Vintage Cinema Bridal Editorial
There will also be a behind the scenes video uploaded to youtube but I am still working on that. rebel optics youtube channel