How to make good pictures at bland locations

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Unless you’re among the crème de la crème of Indian wedding photographers, you’ll be mostly shooting at locations and venues that are low on aesthetic appeal. Don’t get us wrong. Your customers might spare no expense while setting up the décor, but you’d often be shooting similar backgrounds, in muddled makeup rooms, and in less-than-pleasant lighting conditions.

This is when you as a skilled photographer can make a difference.

A few tips to make good pictures at bland locations:

#1. Composition

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How you compose the scene can determine the aesthetic value of your image. A lot of it has got to do with the absence of distractions, and when you’re planning your composition consciously, you can see your images going from bland to blissful.

#2. Bokeh

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Use selective blur to your advantage—not in photoshop but with the use of props that you can find at the venue. When it comes to bokeh, sky is the limit. Unleash your creativity.

#3. Framing

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Like composition, framing imaginatively makes your subject the only important element of the picture. Everything else recedes into invisibility.

#4. Reflection

Beaten to death yet one of the most interesting composition elements, a reflection can turn your picture into a work of sublime art.

#5. Expressions

If you’ve exhausted your arsenal of techniques, the mood in the room can work to your advantage. If your subject isn’t expressive, you can introduce humor or drag the mother of the bride into the room. Magic—either in the form of overwhelming emotion or giggles aplenty—is bound to happen.

#6. Color

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If we were to use a single word to describe Indian weddings, it is “color”. The interplay of color and light can sometimes transform what would’ve been a simple picture into something more eye-catching. Just make sure you don’t go overboard—excessive use can be an eyesore.

#7. Shallow depth of field

 

Trust us, a wide lens can make you look good as a photographer. And, you don’t have to try too hard. Nail the focus, and you’ll have a winner.

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8 Comments

  1. Tej said:

    What are the props that you use to get the bokeh(especially the bokeh of lights) in your pictures. Do you use photoshop even occasionally to overlay the bokeh. How do you light the bride and bride groom in a mandap ( Bouncing continuous lights). Do you ever use overhead flash. Also what are the lenses that you use. Is 85mm 1.4 a must have lens to get the look of your portraits.

    • The Editor's Desk said:

      We don’t use photoshop to create artificial bokeh.

      For the bokeh of lights, we used battery-powered christmas light strips. Sometimes, we use the lamps at the venue or drinking glasses as well.

      There isn’t a single go-to lighting strategy that we use for lighting the bride and groom. As you said, it might be continuous lights through an umbrella, sometimes just the speedlight, and at times it might be a combination of this and gelled speedlights. If by overhead flash you mean strobes on either side, we don’t use that. It’s a pain to carry around.

      Lenses we use: Canon 85mm F1.2, Sigma 35 and 50 Art, Canon 100mm F2. We use a variety of other lenses occasionally.

  2. Nitya said:

    Geez, thanks for insulting our ‘bland’ wedding venues. Not everyone has the inclination or money to build their own Telugu movie set the size of a small kingdom for a wedding.

    • The Editor's Desk said:

      It wasn’t meant to be offensive. “Bland” here is used subjectively, the way a lot of photographers may see it. Also, we believe investing millions in decor doesn’t translate to a beautiful venue for the photographer. It is about how even the simplest of ideas, perhaps even using just flowers or serial/christmas lights, may convert any venue into a photographer’s paradise. Having said that, as photographers, even if there’s zero investment in decor, we should make pretty pictures. This post is about how it can be done.

  3. Dinesh said:

    How you come up with similar kind of editing at all the occasion even in outdoor at times. All have the similar greeny tinted skin which we tried with everything we know but cudn’t get it. Is it the location or make up that matters or there any specific lighting that you follow for that kinda output. And am not among the crème de la crème photographers.

    • The Editor's Desk said:

      A typical editing workflow starts with standardizing the color temperature. To keep the look consistent regardless of the type of light, a lot of effort goes into the post-processing of images. There is no specific formula, as such.

  4. HariPrasanth said:

    Hi Team ! Greetings !
    I came across a post saying that you use some kind of color paper to get beautiful color softness in front and the bride at the background . How that could be achieved? . And a article regarding different ways of creating bokeh other than serial lights and lamps will be really useful for photographers like me to make the bland location look beautiful and to satisfy the client with 200 %.

    looking forward eagerly….

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