favorite image from the weekend

Often seen in wedding portfolios, this is always a fun setup to do with groomsmen – the Reservoir Dogs style walk towards the camera. A great group of guys, good light with a nice background, and you have the ingredients for a photograph that the couple will just love.

I fired off a rapid series of shots to make sure I have at least one image where the motion and expression of everyone worked.  I didn’t need flash, and it would’ve been difficult to set up properly with a large group of people walking towards the camera.  So the light depended entirely on the shot being set up like this, with the light from behind them somewhere.  The post-processing? No actions or filter.  Just a few sliders in ACR (hosted in Bridge), to give a faded retro look.  Hopefully the final image has a cinematic look to it that will be a wonderful reminder of the couple’s wedding day.

settings: 1/500 @ f5.6 @ 400 ISO)
Nikon D3;   Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)

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13 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1Steve says

    wow, that shot is epic. I feel like they are walking straight out of the flashbacks in The Godfather Part 2, on their way to beat somebody up before getting hitched. Very nice shot!

  2. 4Randy says

    I love the shot, only thing that keeps it from feeling like a shot from a movie is the aspect ratio.

  3. 5Fred Silver says

    You’ve captured very clear DOF for 5.6 and it obviously works in this shot.
    Is greater clarity of the background generally preferred in street scenes so that one can relate to the atmosphere at the risk of distraction from the main subject, or not?

  4. 6Derryl says

    I agree with Fred Silver. I was surprised when i saw f5.6. Oh well, I guess f5.6 works too. I would’ve have thought i would need f8 or highter…Something new for me to learn everyday :)

  5. 7 says

    If Neil is far enough away from the groom and the groomsmen, the DOF has a greater range, so things away from his focus point do not blur as quickly. DOF is dependent not only on your aperture but your distance to subject as well.

  6. 8Fred Silver says

    Thanks Stephen for the technical input.
    Neil, I would still like to know from the creative side if ambient detail is preferred or not.


  7. 9Neil vN says

    Fred … I would’ve preferred more separation between the groomsmen and the background. But only so much is possible when shooting on location with a quick setup, and while dodging traffic. So ideally, I would’ve set them up much further away from the buildings and people in the background.

    Neil vN

  8. 10 says

    Your kidding me right! That was the mock movie set at MGM in Orlando! Great shot and very nice setup. Its nice when the guys cooperate and not give the photo guy a hard time and not drunk before the ceremony. Did you bring down the sat a little in post? It has that little grunge look to it. I like it a lot, I’m going to steal it for my next shoot. Big fan, learn tons, when the second edition of your book coming? I’ve read the first to the point its falling out of the binder. Neil, you need to have more workshops here in the Midwest, Chicago Milwaukee area?

  9. 11Neil vN says

    Randy … thank you for the compliments.

    I did bring down the saturation on the image, but I also played with the Split Toning tab to bring in some warm color. But I didn’t split the tones; I kept them the same for highlights and shadows. Then it just adds muted tones to the entire image.

    Re workshops – I’ve indefinitely paused the traveling workshops. I’m burnt out on dragging big cases through airport terminals. So the upcoming workshops here in NYC, for July and September, will be the last two workshops until May next year.

    Neil vN

  10. 12Kris says

    Neil, I’ve got a little question, not about the light this time, but about the focussing. If this group is walking towards the lens, how do you focus? I think you’re also using Nikon, right? So you put the camera to C (continues focussing) and what about the other focus settings? I always find this difficult because I shoot more static portraits. Thanks again for all the wonderful tutorials, I can’t stop reading your blog. :)

  11. 13Neil vN says

    Kris, I most often just shoot in AF-S mode, and use the central AF point. But I do change it up as needed. This might be a topic for a more thorough blog post in the future.

    Here is a more thorough explanation of how I use the focusing modes on the Nikon D3.

    Neil vN

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