The bride

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    • #409022

      Hi guys,

      This photo was shot using a 36″ softbox for a bridal shoot. Any suggestions welcome. I would love to hear how can I improve this further during the shoot or at edit.

      I did not color grade it according to the current wedding trends (crush blacks and whites) as I try keep my photos natural and vibrant and get the exposure right in camera.

      Bride to be...



    • #409096

      Hello Addie and thumbs up for not color grading your image – it’s just useless to follow all those wedding photography trends. This photo is well exposed and tack sharp, I don’t think there’s much to change. Maybe this kind of scene would be visually more interesting if it was shot vertically, but it’s hard to predict that based on this photo. Another thing I could suggest is playing with white balance – I feel that the general vibe of this photo could change by slightly changing the white balance.


      • #409137

        Thanks Jansenka,

        I shot the image wide to get the vines and some of the environment in the shot. Can you please let me know about the WB? Maybe a bit warmer? I tried playing with that but kept coming back to this.

        The reason why I posted this for a critique was that this image was a part of a day long shoot and ended up getting me a lot of business. Kinda increased my portfolio value?

        But the lady in the photo wrote almost after a month yesterday that they were “disappointed” with the photos and no explanation whatsoever. I felt so disheartened and started feeling that there is something that I am doing wrong.

    • #409150

      Wow, Addie, I think that is a stunning photo.  How disappointing it must be to hear that from the bride.   (of course, I often hear it from my bride about my photos).  But, not to give you any explanation is not at all caring or thoughtful, and certainly not helpful.

      This image really shows a beautiful, dress, bride and flowers in an environment that does not distract us from the bride.

      If there is one thing I might try would be to lighten the trees just a bit more to see where we are.  The edges are quite dark.   But, maybe we do not need to see any more detail there.  I don’t know for sure.

      My daughter is getting married in July.  I cannot imagine being a wedding photographer.  Regardless of how the photos turn out, the photographer already has my admiration just from seeing her portfolio.   So, bounce back and remember brides want the perfect wedding and who knows what that might mean.  One of my favorite pictures of my parents is of them sitting in the back seat of their getaway car, laughing as they are about to be driven away from their wedding celebration….a candid black and white photo from 1940!

      • #409169

        Hi Frank. Thank you for the kind words. I realized early into the photography carrier that photos that show emotion worked way better than technically good photos. Thats why you must love your parents photo.

        I did not lighten the trees as they were distracting a bit. But I guess it will work both ways. In the past 35 weddings we did this season, I got zero complaints, in fact all I got was praise and stories of how we were fun to work with. But I guess you cannot please everybody.

    • #409168
      Lenny Wollitz

      IMHO, you have to be a bit of a masochist to shoot weddings:-)  I think this is a nice shot.  Too bad your client didn’t tell you why she didn’t like the photos.  If this shot is indicative of your entire shoot chances are it’s something silly.  My shark tank comment is, there is a dark blob in the trees just above her head that is a bit of a distraction and I would lighten it a tad.

      • #409170

        Hi Lenny,

        Lol. I guess I will be forced to become one working with these kinda clients. The entire shoot is of similar / better composition, expressions and some beautiful locations. In fact we were so stoked when we delivered the photos.

        I have realized that some brides who are snobs, with tons of money, or not feeling good on shoot days, are the ones that usually complain about stupid stuff. I checked out the photos that she usually likes, they are all iphone photos with absolutely no composition, expression or emotion.

        Oh! and her husband is a hobbyist photographer. So I guess most of “I didn’t like these” comes from a suggestion from him.

        Noted about the dark blob. Now that you mention it, it is something that can be improved. I’ll do it.


      • #409545
        Federico Alegria

        Not masochist jajajaja, it is just a vocation we both don’t share. Congrats @darthaddie, shooting weddings is not an easy task. I’ve noticed in the recent years that a huge level of “photojournalism” approaches have been developing among wedding photographers. And that is not a surprise due to the massive cuts on the press agencies. People have to eat and weddings are a very lucrative niche. Good luck mate! Keep them coming.

        • #409954

          That is so true. I know weddings are not easy but I find them a lot of fun and interesting. Get to know a lot of cultures, people and lifestyles.

    • #409205

      Hello Addie. (Traditional disclaimer about knowing nothing aobut wedding photography. Or other kinds, for that matter.)

      Your white balance needs to be warmer. Just fixing that will make the trees more visible and interesting and increase the apparent exposure of the bride. Do this in photoshop with a curves adjustment. In the panel, select the white eyedropper then click in the whitest area in the pic (which is next to the column top left), then select the black eyedropper and click the blackest part (top right), then select the middle eyedropper and click Auto.

      I also raised the exposure by 1/3 stop and added a soft square vignette to hide the blown out section (whitest part)

    • #409211

      Very nice, 3pco.   Now I know what those eye droppers are for!   Just get rid of that black cat stuck in the tree above the bride’s head.  Maybe crop in from the left to get rid of that small patch of green in the upper corner.

    • #409323

      Thank you everyone.

      Made the suggested adjustments. Got rid of the cat as well. Looks  better IMO

      The bride - edit

    • #410057
      Steve Walker

      I like the result of removing the cat and the white balance warm up. I don’t know what other images you provided that resulted in the expression of disappointment. It could well be something as unrelated to the day as her becoming overly tired. Mood from one piece of experience tends to bleed over into other parts. The passage of a month may even affect the perception of the past. It cold also be that she doesn’t like the way the full body image makes her hips wider than she might have wished.

      Take it all with a grain of salt but be careful not to rub it in any open wounds.

    • #410070
      Rob Eyers

      I’ve been watching this thread for a while so here’s my 2 cents worth.

      If she won’t say why she’s “disappointed” it could be anything from her trying to get a discount to just needing to be nasty to someone because she’s mad at her hair stylist. Who knows, but I wouldn’t let her get you down. After all the shoot got you more business right. It’s good that you care though.

      I agree with the cat and the warming previously mentioned however she seems a bit lost in the image. I hate to be the guy who says crop, but there you go. As it is, there’s a lot of things in the surroundings competing with her and she’s also very centered. Along with some additional brightness to her face, added detail to her lovely gown, and a custom vignette here is my suggestion for what it’s worth.

    • #410178
      Matthew Brazle

      I think 3pco and Rob E have some great ideas.

      A bit of conjecture here, as a man too, but as the bride I think I might be disappointed with a shot like this because it is SOOO dark, and the wedding/bride may not feel like this dark of a photo is appropriately themed. The bride does stand out and the photo is certainly visually stunning, but the dark trees and vines could certainly be seen as “evil” or “nightmarish” from someone’s POV. Just a thought about the “theme” of the photo being a somewhat ill-fit as far as subject vs background. Maybe just lightening up all the shadows a good 3 stops or more could make a big difference.

    • #410269
      Kent DuFault

      I like Rob’s version. If I’m the bride, and it’s my day, I want to see myself. She is quite beautiful!

    • #410443
      Lynne Guenther

      From editing wedding photos for unhappy brides… They like low contrast and light shadows/blacks on their wedding day. And red removed from their skin.

    • #411206

      A couple of points that I noticed Addie. These are small changes to the pose that may have enhanced the image. In this instance, I would have taken your initial shot as is, and then possibly incorporated a few changes and then determine which version I preferred after post-processing.

      After ‘enlarging’ the image, I noticed how her right eye breaks the ‘plane of her face’. So it almost seems to be ‘popping out’ of her head. I might have been tempted to compromise and either have a full profile of her face, or have her turn face to the camera so her eye is ‘framed by her face/head’.

      Her ‘hip position’ appears to be ‘too square’ to the camera. This makes her hips look larger (even though they are probably relatively small). I would be tempted to have her hips face more to ‘camera left’. This would narrow her hips in the image, as well, and for lack of better wording, show the curvature of her butt. Overall, this would amplify her natural curvature as well as make her waist appear smaller (although I think her waist is fairly small already).

      Additionally, if you – did – turn her hips, you could move her ‘left elbow’ back a bit to provide a natural separation from her elbow and waist which would also enhance her curves. Although I like Rob’s crop better, I find this version also makes her hips larger than they are (in her current pose). Having that small bit of separation permits her curves to come through better.

      Perhaps in this specific pose, have the flowers closer to the centre of her body, this would have moved her LH elbow back and naturally creating the separation.

      I’m not sure what reference material you use, or have used, but I would highly suggest as good reference books the works of Roberto Valenzuela. He is straight forward and provides “a ton” of ‘useful’ information. Probably the best photography books I’ve read.

      His Picture Perfect Posing breaks down posing into several different areas of the body and how to direct it to get the most of the person. From subtle hand positions (and finger positioning) to placing the person’s eyes.  He also uses a fair amount of his wedding photographs for reference images.

      I haven’t read his ‘Wedding Story Teller’ versions (it’s his only book I don’t own, yet), but if they are like his other books they will be very good and provide a wealth of information.…0.0..0.277.2001.0j11j1……0….1..gws-wiz…..0..0i131.bMLyLMucRqg

    • #442218

      Hi everyone,

      I know this might be too late. Almost a year now since my post. I got so tied up in work and a few things at home that I never got to respond and thank you all for the awesome suggestions.

      By the way, the bride responded back later last year. She wanted 200+ photos from a two hour shoot, I delivered 38 photos.The entire bridal shoot was done using a 36″ soft box. I couldn’t possibly imagine delivering 200 photos. Is that something photographers do?

      We shot 49 weddings and 50 bridal portraits last year. We got nothing but compliments and rave reviews. (not trying to brag at all :-D). She was the only one disappointed.

      • #442232
        Federico Alegria

        Hi there @darthaddie, long time no see!

        Since photography isn’t perceived as a material thing any more, clients tend to think that it’s the same to ask for 1 or for 200. It is not a perverse intention (I hope), it is just unawareness, which we as providers need to explain. Ergo, “client education” is a must for photographers nowadays. I think that 38 is a good number mate (my OCD would have made me deliver 35, but that’s just me). The important thing for future projects is that your work gets properly paid (in both time and rates).

        Hope it doesn’t take another year for us to hear back from you 🙂

    • #442258

      Hi Federico,

      Thanks mate. I agree education is a must, and it was indeed communicated to her prior to the shoot. Expectations were set… Don’t know what happened post that. Don’t care any more though.

      I will be hanging around and probably be more active.

      Stay safe my friend.

    • #443886

      Hi Addie…..yeah she looks lovely and you have taken her really well! 🙂

      Rest of the image is a mess……………..shadows and highlights need bringing into the centre………….subject is looking out of frame to the left while im distracted with the seats etc…. too the right.

      Unatural blue path,the overbright far end made worse with the darkness of the trees plus the greenery left.

      My advice for the future is to concentrate on the subject(ie the bride in this case)and let the subject dominate the surroundings…………

    • #446208

      Hi Falxy,

      Thank you for your comments. I totally get some of your concerns. Well noted.

    • #446365

      Lovely shot Addy. I just feel a need for a little more light so I raised your blacks a bit (which are blown on the histogram) as well as the whites.

      I agree with @reyers’ crop although I don’t see it as a replacement for this shot – it rather complements it. I actually love the context around the bride.


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