Image Deconstructed – Wedding gown shoot

Gears used:

Sony A7r2, Sony FE 16-35 f4
Broncolor Move 1200L
150 Octabank

Location. Choosing a location is very important if you want to accentuate the subject of your shoot. So for these wedding gowns, we want it to have a touch of elegance and class so we chose an Italian themed PAX Ristorante inside Dusit Thani Hotel. This location has natural light from the high windows and a mix of available light from within the restaurant.

Whenever I light my set I always ask myself ” Do I want the natural light to part of the image? Kill the ambient light with my flash? or have a mix of both?” As a quick review, In order to have more of the ambient light into your exposure, you need to drag the shutter (slow shutter speed). If you want to kill the ambient with your light then use a fast shutter speed that is the highest sync speed of your camera, mine is at 1/160th. Basic understanding of your camera and flash settings is a must for every photographer. Seriously, this is very basic.

Modifier. I chose a large modifier that is a 150 Octabox from Broncolor. Why a large modifier? It’s because, I’m on a set, with no assistants so this modifier is easy to set up and it’s a fail proof one. No matter where you place this on a set, you will always have a beautiful soft light. A large modifier like this mimics the beauty of window lights.


Light. I always shoot with the Broncolor 1200L Move pack because of its portability, you don’t need to worry about a power source and the 1200ws power can overpower the sun at anytime. There are now HSS triggers but during the time I’ve done this project, HSS triggers were still in pre-production.

Camera. The A7rm2 is my camera of choice. The high dynamic range is one thing I really need to play around the raw file and quality of image I get from this camera is what my clients love.

Lens. At the time of this shoot, the only available wide-angle lens native to Sony fe line is the 16-35 f4. I still use it for my wide-angle shots.

I needed to play around the mix of light from strobes and the available light.

So I placed one light for my subject and one light behind. Image above.

There are now two lights on the set but the background light seems to eat up the subject because the gowns are already white. We must remember that the viewer will always have their eyes on the brightest part of the image. IF the background is brighter than my subject then your viewers will look at the background first and I don’t want that to happen. So I got rid of the background light.

People always ask me how I choose what aperture to use on set. I always set the aperture on how I want the image to look. If I want to have a sharp image across the frame then definitely around f8 to f11. If I want the subject sharp and background blurred then it’s a wide aperture from f2.8-1.4.

And how I choose my shutter speed? That depends if you want more ambient light into the scene then it’s a slow shutter speed and if you want to kill the ambient with your flash then it’s a fast shutter speed.

How about ISO? ISO is the last option of the exposure triangle. If my lens can’t open any further to have more light into the sensor then I crank up the ISO. If I want to keep my shutter speed at a certain value but still have more ambient light into the exposure I crank up the ISO.

After a few minutes fiddling around the settings. I was happy with Aperture F5.6 shutter speed 1/125th and ISO 100.

I kept my shutter speed at 1/100th because this value still lets the ambient light from the window into the exposure as seen below. Those window lights are the white rectangular shapes that you see on the final image.

Here’s the final image.

I needed to give my client a variety of images from this set so I wanted to play with the lights again to give it a different look. I placed the light behind and got the image below.


Other images from this set.


Special thanks to:

Gowns –
Stylist –
Hair and Make up –
Hotel –


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s