Weddings are one of my favorite things to photograph. There is so much joy and beauty in every wedding I have shot so far and it is really an honor to be there for the couple. The couple’s photos, after the ceremony has occurred, is probably my most favorite part of the day. Getting to capture their interactions together or just creating an epic photo of them is what I strive to do best. Lately, at weddings, I have been playing around a bit more with doing composite photos. This allows me to include a bigger and wider shot that normally I would have to avoid doing as just one photo. My style is more on the dramatic and commercial side, so when shooting the couples photos I try to light them up independently of the background giving them more contrast; letting them just “pop” in the photo. Last weekend I was blessed with some clouds in the sky, a sunset, some great water on the sand to create a reflection, and a beautiful couple.
The reason for doing a photo as a composite of two or more different photos, for my situation, is that I can shoot a very wide angle shot and still get an assistant to hold lighting equipment. One photo is done with the couple light up by an off camera light source and then a second photo is done to give me a sample area that is clean and free of the assistant. This second photo makes the editing process much easier for removing the assistant from the final. Using Photoshop I can copy and paste the section without the assistant in frame into the one with the assistant. Then, using a mask layer, I can just brush the two sections together and blend it to make the transition smooth. I have included the Behind the Scenes originals below for everyone to view:
For the editing of the actual final I do all of it in Lightroom. I have found that Lightroom, when you get used to all the nuances, is actually very powerful and you can do pretty much anything you want to. The blending was done mainly in Photoshop with some cloning/healing in Lightroom. The sky was obviously a bit overdone but I really like the contrast and colors to it. I basically just brushed in the sky and water with an adjustment brush in Lightroom and then I upped the contrast, clarity, sharpness, and did some adjustments to the highlights and shadows. I also did a gradient coming from the top left of the photo to the center with a small adjustment brighter on exposure and a 9% level of red. This gave it a slight purple hue to the sky that I liked a lot. From there I just did my normal adjustments of color, contrast, exposure, sharpness, etc. to the photo.
Overall I am very happy with the outcome and I know the bride and groom were happy to see the final. I think I will continue to expand upon this technique and add some new ideas to it. If anyone is interested they should check out the work of Ryan Brenziner and his method for creating impossible low depth of field photos here.