C+G Wedding at Skirball Cultural Center
Back in the middle of 2017, the director of communications for USA Water Polo and his fiancé asked if I would cover their wedding planned for 2018 at teh Skirball Cultural Center. It's rare that I book a wedding over one year out and this one was incredibly important because it not only affected my reputation in regards to wedding photography, but if I totally blew it, it could also affect my relationship with USA Water Polo.
As it turns out, the wedding was at 6pm. 6pm in the summer is beautiful. 6pm in October, is, dark. They also went the traditional route of not having a first look. I had to be very candid with them that while this wouldn't be a problem for me per se, I wanted to make sure we shared expectations about how the images would turn out. I could bring lights but I couldn't make it look like 90% of wedding photos these days where the trend is bright light filled images.
Flying down to Los Angeles for the wedding, it would have been unreasonable to bring a truckload of lights but I was able to pack an Elinchrom ELB 500 with a light stand and small softbox. This turned out to be so critical.
For the groom's images we had some daylight still to create a nice rim light in front of shaded trees.
But by the time the bride was ready, sun had already set, so instead of trees for greenery, I found a nice wall (among other locations) and added just a bit of fill.
By the time the wedding started it was twilight, which is great for landscape photos but not so much for portraits.
I could have just brought an on-camera flash, which I did as well, but for someone who does 99.9% of my weddings with natural light only (excluding reception party photos) I typically don't like the look of artificial light because I love the nuances of natural light, not to mention the ability to be more flexible and not have to set up lights and stage images. But in this case it was absolutely necessary. And even better to be able to take the light off-camera so images weren't just a harsh -pop- in their face. With the ELB 500, I could have a slightly longer exposure to set a twilight scene instead of total darkness in the plaza without having their faces blurred from motion.
My little speedlight flash wasn't totally forgotten as I set it to slave behind them to try and make the photo a little more dynamic.
We tried to roam around the grounds a little more before heading to the party as the day wasn't quite going according to schedule (weddings never do, and typically it's the photos that they always try to cut to make up time). Just before they entered the party I took one more, which I think was perhaps my favorite. It's these candid moments that really capture a couple and the day.
As I work in challenging conditions, I remind myself, this is why you hire a pro. Not someone who can make beautiful images at golden hour, but someone who can create images no matter what the scenario, timing, lighting, anything. The more preparation I can do the better, but I've also spent a career preparing for any scenario. I'm here to do my job and capture treasured memories. Cute kids and game time never hurts.
Congratulations to the happy couple!
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