Mid Day Sun Wedding Portrait How To

Wedding Day in the Traverse City Sun

Powering through the brightest and hottest day I've ever worked on.

It seems that Mother Nature saves the hottest and sunniest days for when I'm shooting weddings. This particular day proved similar, with the only difference being that intensity & heat seemed to kick it up to 11. It was a sauna out there, and again, not ideal at all for good lighting. For this post-ceremony location shoot we went to a vineyard where, in this type of weather, would prove to be quite the lighting challenge that would push my gear to its limits.

For this particular shoot I used the following: (click for links to Amazon)

I definitely pushed the limits of the little Godox light for this bridal portrait. I wanted some depth of field so I chose f5 and to properly expose for the background at that aperture I ended up at ISO 100 and 1/800s. I positioned her so that the sun was lighting her face, left shoulder, and hair. Unfortunately her entire back and dress was shrouded in complete darkness due to the high contrast and harsh shadows the hallways of the grapevines produced. To combat this I placed the strobe in a brolly box at full 1/1 power just out of the frame about 2 feet from the back of her dress. I crouched and shot from right underneath the brolly box to get a stronger angle. I needed every little bit of light that the little strobe could put out to get the entirety of her right side and back exposed.

Camera Settings: (view this image full res on my Flickr page)

  • Aperture: f5
  • Shutter Speed: 1/800
  • ISO: 100
  • Focal Length: 35mm

After some basic edits including some cropping, color adjustments, and retouching, I added a bit of clarity for a dramatic effect and gave it a smidgen of a green & yellow tint to get the color grade I wanted.