We recently had the opportunity to photograph beautiful couture bridal gowns from Mon Amie and Casablanca Bridal boutiques at Laguna Beach’s Seven-Degrees, a very unique wedding venue on Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. The architecture and decor are very modern, with lots of glass, beautiful wood floors, chromed steel ceilings and sleek cement walls. These photographs will be featured in next year’s Ceremony Magazine. Our models Cristina and Carissa did a fabulous job! Below are some of our favorite images from this challenging, but fun shoot, along with “behind the image” photos. It was one of the hottest days we’ve had this year but Cristina and Carissa endured the heat like the real pros they are.
It all started with makeup as usual, by two very talented makeup artists from Design Visage, then, the gowns and accessories each model would wear were chosen. Although we have photographed weddings at 7º in the past, we came by to scout the location a few days before the shoot to select the specific locations we were going to use. We started shooting at about 2 pm. Because it was such a hot day, and afternoon light would work better for us, we decided to shoot the interiors first. That way by the time we went outside, the temperature and the light would be better. Below we have final images, followed by the lighting set ups used.
These are glass doors that lead into office space. I actually liked the reflection off the glass, so we didn’t eliminate it by moving the lights. We used 3 Profoto B1 heads with various modifiers, reflectors and translucent panels on this shoot. For the image above we had a Chimera medium box on the left for fill, along with a horizontal 3’x6′ silver reflector, an Elinchrom octa on the right for main, and a small Profoto octa on the right aimed very low. All on B1 monoblocks.
I like the “look” you get with a longer lens, but I didn’t have lots of room to back up, so I had to shoot from inside an elevator into the room with the glass door background. I chose a low angle for this image.
This was a fairly simple set up. The main light came from the window, but I wanted a little more, so we placed the large octa outside the window, the medium box inside is the fill, and the silver reflector in front of the model helped smooth out the transition. With wedding gowns, especially the ones with lots of texture like this one, sidelight makes the texture stand out more.
This is the first set up outside. It was still very hot! The main light is definitely the sun, but to reduce the specular quality of the sunlight, we used a 6’x6′, 3/4 stop translucent panel. You can see the shadow on the floor, which we could reduce that in post, but I like how it compliments the geometric shape of the fountain behind the model. The fill / edge light is from the Elinchrom octa on the other side. To keep Cristina more comfortable, we gave her a Samy’s Camera umbrella to hold while we tweaked the set up… Samy’s to the rescue again!
This image above features the modern architecture of Seven-Degrees. The stairs provide us a way to show the beautiful long train of this gown. This shot was in the shade, but to keep the sky blue, even out the light on the gown and show texture, we used a small octa on a B1 pretty high and far from the model. This reduced the size of the light source, giving it more of an edge.
This is the same gown as in the stairs shot. It was an important one, so we wanted to give the magazine 2 different options. Now it’s later in the afternoon and we’re working in the shade. To keep the light directional and show texture we’re using a large, deep, white Profoto umbrella and a 42″ round silver reflector. I like the 42″ size round reflectors or translucent panels, it’s the perfect size. The smaller one is too small for most uses, and the larger one is difficult to control, especially if it’s windy.
These last 2 images are in the front of the property. It was getting late, and the light was very flat. We’re using the white umbrella again, with the Profoto B1 at low power to create directional light and bring out detail in the gowns. I probably would have preferred a silver umbrella for these 2 photos, but it would have taken a few minutes to get it and the light was going fast. The 2 images were photographed very close to one another, by changing the angle and using a long lens we achieved very different backgrounds.
All images shown here were photographed with a Nikon D810 and a 70-200 2.8 VRII lens. The Profoto B1 monoblocks worked beautifully, as always. We brought several extra B1 batteries, but did’t have to use them. I’m always amazed by how efficient these batteries are, and the incredibly short recycle time. In this environmental shoot we used manual exposure mode and the Profoto TTL remote to fire the B1’s, using the TTL mode as a flash meter for each set up.
The previous bridal fashion shoot we did for Ceremony magazine was at our studio, a very different, controlled environment. For that one we used Profoto D1 monoblocks along with the B1’s. The D1’s are almost identical to the B1’s except that they are AC powered (plug in), with stronger modeling lights both AC and DC units work together perfectly.
Here’s a short video by Godfather Films of the studio shoot:
As always, please feel free to leave questions or comments. We look forward to hearing from you!