It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Justin Wojtczak!
What’s going on, I am Justin Wojtczak with 375 Photography from Atlanta, Georgia. We are commercial photographers who do 40 weddings a year, have been voted Best of Weddings for the past three years and I’m an instructor at KelbyOne.com.
As a commercial wedding photographer, light can be your best friend or worst enemy. We have been doing this for almost 10 years now and I have found that what has helped stand out is the ability to light and get the shot that the bride and everyone at the wedding will remember and talk about. At the beginning we relied on speed lights. They were great and easy. But there were so many times where we went out to light a shot and the speed lights did not fire. They became to us an unreliable light source.
So in 2012, we got introduced to Profoto by Lee Morris and Patrick Hall of Fstoppers. Ever since then, we rely on the D1 Air light kit. With these lights we can light any situation that we encounter during the timeline of a wedding day.
Let’s get right down to the good stuff and break down three shots.
At 375, we get to know each client on an emotional level throughout the wedding day reading their body language and how they react to certain people. With this shot, I knew in advanced that she and her dad had a great relationship. Knowing your subjects allows you to anticipate these moment so you’re ready when they happen.
This was a two-light shot. We had one behind the bride and dad set to 4.0. Then we had our key light behind the camera with a shoot through umbrella pointed at ceiling. TIP: Use the ceilings to help bounce the light to light your couple. This will make a big difference in your shot.
This is actually two shots. With this wedding, it was all after dark. We did not get to the wedding location till 5:30pm, which was 15 minutes after sunset. I knew beforehand that catching any sort of sky would be critical to making the pictures beforehand memorable. After rushing down the stairs to the front of the house and getting the bride in place, we started to shoot. When trying to capture the sky, I wanted to draw in as much ambient (natural) light as possible.
Tip: Your shutter speed controls the ambient light in a shot when using flash. We had one Profoto with a shoot through umbrella at 7.0. as high as we could go, angled down. Look at the difference between the next shot as the umbrella being high and just facing the bride:
Umbrella facing the bride
Umbrella above and angled down toward the bride
The simple change of the angle of the umbrella made all the different in the feel of the image.
5D MkIII at 1/20 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200
Key light: D1 Air at 7.0 with shoot through umbrella
Lens: Sigma 35mm f/1.4
Having been to amazing venues all over the southeast, I’ve learned that it is critical to build trust with your bride and groom so when you see a shot that takes a little bit of time to get to, they know that you are asking for the best shot possible. This was up a ridge at her parents’ 1,000 acre farm. We had to take a truck to the parents’ house, then run down the fence line to the gate, then sprint to the edge of the ridge. It was well worth it!
What made this shot was the height and angle of the umbrella. I wanted the umbrella just out of frame, right above their heads angled down so it illuminates the bride and groom but then to get a little spill onto the grass. I love the how the bride and groom and the grass give you a feel of the location and for the background.
5D MkIII at 1/20 sec, f/3.2 ISO 200
Key Light: D1 Air at 4.5 with shoot through umbrella
Lens: Sigma 85mm f/1.4
Shooting weddings every weekend and being in sometimes remote places, it is critical that our ability to light any moment is not hindered by our light source not working for a mysterious reason. Since shooting with the Profoto D1 Airs, we have not missed a moment. They are reliable, consistent and add value to our final product. Using the D1 Air has advanced our understanding of light and has enabled us to capture moments every time where in the past it was a frustrating hit or miss moment. Capturing these moments in the way that 375 does helps to add to the bride and groom’s experience which goes well beyond the wedding day.
Thanks to Brad Moore, Pete Collins, Justin McGough and Grant Norwood for the help of this video, and to Scott Kelby for giving us this platform to share with each other!